“Normal People is good but have you noticed Connells chain??!” Within hours of the release of Normal People, the world has realised that maybe the biggest star of the TV adaptation was in fact, an item of jewellery.
At the end of week 5 of lockdown, when we were all starting to go slightly mad, we were saved by the BBCs TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People. Rooney’s book, winner of Costa Book Award “Best Novel” in 2018, was praised by the Guardian as “tender and devastating”, Vogue reviewed it as “A classic coming-of-age love story”. The book tells the story of the on-off relationship between the two main characters Connell and Marianne from sixth-form through to the end of University.
Connell, a sporty and popular boy from a working class family falls for Marianne, a lonely, bookish girl from a wealthy family. Though they often take different paths in their lives, they remain irresistible to one another and share an emotional and intellectual connection which they cannot find with other people. The BBC captured the beautiful yet heart-breaking romance between two characters so wonderfully, the series has broken BBC download records with more than 16.2 million download requests in its first week of being released (BBC, 2020). Whilst we laughed, smiled and wept at our TV screens, it was not the plot which captured the nation.
A simple silver chain worn by the character Connell Waldron, played by Paul Mescal, was enough to become the world’s heartthrob. In Rooney’s novel, the chain was described as “Argos chic”, this is not how the world reviewed the chain after it was worn by Connell throughout all twelve episodes. Within days of the release of the BBC series, an Instagram account was set up to admire the fabulous item of jewellery. The page has accumulated a staggering 117,000 followers. Unsurprisingly, searches for men’s chain necklaces have increased by 68%. It does help that this piece of jewellery is worn by a character portrayed as intelligent, emotional, respectful and incredibly handsome. Mescal has since been described as the most desired man in the country.
Jewellery has always been in and out of popularity amongst men, with the likes of Harry Styles wearing jewels on the red carpet, so why now has there been such chaos caused by a thin silver chain in a BBC series? In an interview with The Times, Mescal said “I’ve worn a chain for years now…..have I been sexy the whole time?” It’s hard to know for sure why such attention has been placed on the chain, but for now we can all agree that we will enjoy a few more daily updates from @connellschain on Instagram. Alexa, play The Chain by Fleetwood Mac.
Title image credit: GQ Magazine