Peaky Blinders: Every reference to 'In the Cold Midwinter' (and why)

Peaky Blinders often quotes the phrase "In the bleak mid-winter" from British carols. Here's what the Peaky Blinders say every time and why.

Peaky Blinders often quotes the traditional British Christmas carol "In the Cold Midwinter" when the main character is dying. "In the Cold Midwinter" began as a poem until it became popular when it was adapted as an anthem by composer Harold Darke in 1909. While it may seem odd to quote a Christmas carol when facing impending death, the song is actually a favorite of British soldiers who often sang carols together in the trenches during World War I. Tommy Shelby explained what the song meant to them after his brother John was killed in Peaky Blinders season 4.

He told the crowd at John's funeral how they sang the song when he and the rest of the Little Hiss were stuck behind enemy lines, cut off and out of ammunition. They expected to be rushed to death by Prussian cavalry at any time, so they sang "In the Cold Winter" for comfort before dying. Luckily the cavalry didn't come and the Little Heath Rifles later decided that every minute of their life since then was an extra, and when death came forever, they would meet it without fear Avoid "In the Desolate Midwinter".

Season 1, Episode 1

"In the Bleak Mid-Winter" was first referenced in Peaky Blinders Season 1 Episode 1, when Tommy pretends to kill his fellow soldier Danny Whizz-Bang. Danny suffered from severe post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) while in France. In a bout of hysteria brought on by his PTSD, Danny kills an Italian in Italian gang territory, forcing Tommy to either hand Danny over or go to war with the Italians. Tommy instead decides to fake kill Danny, using a bullet box full of sheep's brains. Just before shooting Danny in the back of the head, Tommy murmurs, "In the cold midwinter."

Tommy uses this word here to remind Danny (who he thinks he was actually shot) that they were at war agreement in . He says it's to calm Danny down, to remind him that they've been living on borrowed time and should have died years ago. According to Small Heath Rifles, they died in France that day. Tommy and the others realize that some of them have indeed died in the blood of the trenches. Even Danny recognized it Before Tommy fires the dummy bullet, he tells Tommy "I'm dead there anyway, Tommy".

Season 2, Episode 6

The next occurrence of this famous phrase is in the Peaky Blinders season 2 finale. At the end of the episode, Tommy is kidnapped from Epsom racecourse by a group of Irish Republican Army (IRA) agents. They drove Tommy to the remote country where a grave had already been dug for him. Forced to kneel and with a gun pointed to his head, Tommy has accepted his own death, he says, "in the cold midwinter". An IRA agent then shot his companion and revealed to Tommy that he was a spy working for Winston Churchill.

Before Tommy Shelby died, he resolved to make peace with it. As IRA agents put a gun to his head, he muttered to himself "in the middle of cold winter", reminding himself that he had "died" once. Just before he is forced to his knees, Tommy laments how close he has come to achieving his and his family's goals. Quote from "In the Bleak Winter" to remind him not to be angry about what he didn't accomplish, but to accept The extra time he had in this world, he willingly went to his death.

Season 3, Episode 1

"In the Bleak Mid-Winter" reappears in the next episode of Peaky Blinders. The season 3 premiere opens with Tommy and Grace getting married, the choir singing the song at the beginning of the ceremony, and Grace walking down the aisle. It's worth noting that Grace was killed shortly after their wedding, so "In the Cold Midwinter" may have been meant to foreshadow that. While none of the main characters referenced the song in this instance, the decision to use "In the Bleak Mid-Winter" at Tommy's wedding certainly meant a lot.

While the use of "In the Bleak Mid-Winter" may be partly intended to foreshadow Grace's death, it is also meant to contrast with the Peaky Boys' usual use of the phrase. Often, they quote the song on their deathbed as a reminder that they are living an extra life anyway. In this case, however, the song is used to show that good things can also come from their extra time. After good things happen, they should be thankful for a second chance in life, not just when they are dying.

Season 4, Episode 1

The next time they reference the song is when Arthur, his brother John, and their cousin Michael nearly die. They were all about to be executed for their crimes last season, but Tommy was able to secure their release because the noose was literally around their necks. As the noose is put around Arthur and John's necks, they invoke their motto, "In the cold midwinter."

In this case, the brothers use the phrase to prepare for death, as Tommy did in the season 2 finale. They say this to remind themselves that when death finally comes, they agree to accept it. Both John and Arthur are prepared to die at any moment, and the use of the phrase "in the cold midwinter" is just a way of reminding ourselves not to be afraid.

Season 4, Episode 2

Next reference "In the Cold Midwinter" is one of the saddest moments in the series. Peaky Blinders is full of shocking turns, but John Shelby's death is one of the most poignant. After John died, Arthur and Tommy went to the morgue to see his body. as As they stand over John's body, Tommy mumbles "in the cold midwinter" before forcing Arthur to join him. The song itself comes up at John's funeral as Tommy explains its meaning to mourners.

In this case, Tommy and Arthur force themselves not to be angry that John died so young by invoking this quote. In their view, they all died in France, so they should not allow themselves to wallow in grief. John has an extra life, and they're trying to remind themselves to be grateful for the extra time they've spent with him.

Season 6, Episode 6

The ending of Peaky Blinders season 6 is the last reference to "in the cold midwinter". It happened when Tommy was about to commit suicide because he thought he was dying of tuberculosis. He quotes it as he holds a gun to his head, just before an apparition of his dead daughter Ruby appears and convinces him to investigate further. Fortunately for Tommy, he finds out that his doctor is a Nazi and that TB is a lie.

Here Tommy says "in the middle of dreary winter" The way of resignation. He knew he had lived far longer than he should, and he wanted to be ready for death. It's similar to his brush with death in Peaky Blinders season 2, when he thought IRA agents were going to kill him. Tommy used the words as a farewell to the world and a final salute to the Little Heath Rifles.

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