Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by AragornElessar, Apr 3, 2010.
dbell will know!
I know that she retaliated against Protestants during her 5-year reign, but I was just interested in her life [so much is made of her father, his wives, and her half-sister Elizabeth but I've never seen anyone really flush out her character]
Phillipa Gregory's novel The Queen's Fool is not a bad book, and most of it is about Mary. It was her second Tudor book, and I think the last that she really researched and thought about before she got big and started churning out book after book.
Thanks. I will keep this on my list of things to read
I haven't seen any of this season because I don't have Showtime, so I don't know how they set it up for the viewers. But I have every reason to believe that Mary was very embittered, frustrated and angry. To go from a much-loved heiress to the throne who had parents that loved each other, then to have all that taken away by her father had to be very disorienting. Henry separated her from her mother, disinherited her, neglected her, caused her to confess to her own bastardry, forced her to wait upon Elizabeth, her successor to the claim to the throne, introduced her to new queen after new queen, finally to be put way on the back burner once her brother Edward was born. All of this before Henry died.
After, she had to walk a tight rope of faith while Edward was on the throne, and then there was the whole Lady Jane Grey affair. Add to that, Elizabeth was causing her problems as well. Once she became queen, it all went downhill from there, most notably once she married Prince Philip of Spain (eventually King Philip II of Spain).
I actually pity her. Had she grown up in a stable loving household, she might have been a very good ruler. But during those formative years when the rug was yanked out beneath her, all her promise for the future all but evaporated.
It didn't help that she was not raised to rule - but rather led a sheltered life, mostly away from court, in remote places with only a handful of caretakers.
One reason I think Elizabeth was able to rise above a similar situation is that she surrounded herself with trusted advisers and confidantes from the start.
Not to mention that she would've been matched very well, married younger, and mabye would've had better luck with having children.
When I was growing up, all I ever heard about was "Bloody Mary" and thought that she must be just horrible. But after learning a little more about her, I feel really sorry for Mary. If The Queen's Fool is correct, Elizabeth was quite a handful and her husband made a complete fool of her.
I know I just recommended that book, but just a caution that it appears that Gregory is not a big fan of Elizabeth. Readers have commented as such, particularly based on The Virgin Queen. I also question her authority on Spanish culture etc of the period, based on The Constant Princess. I'm no expert myself, but there were enough points in the book that made me question how deep her research and understanding were.
But The Queen's Fool still a good book that I think gets to the heart of Mary's issues as a woman, if not a ruler. I also really enjoyed the added texture of the fool's life and John Dee's role in the period.
On a broader note, I remember reading an article where she said that in preparing for a book, she mapped out the characters' real lives and cross referenced them with events of the day, even weather. I thought that The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool really benefited from that level of effort in their detail and the way that she was able to surmise her characters' motivations and emotions in context. After that, I feel that she stopped putting in the time so that she could churn out more books on publishers' deadlines and fulfill her increasingly busy calendar. I haven't read the new one set during the War of the Roses, so am not sure if she's started again with her research or is still riding on her popularity to sell books.
Women, in those days, were not raised to rule at all, but to marry and have children -- whether they were sheltered away from court or not. When applied to a ruling queen, however, there would inevitably be problems. Mary Tudor, for example, came to the throne in a wave of popularity ... but her marriage killed it. Mary Stuart also lost her throne over her marriages. Elizabeth was the only one who recognized that she could not do both ... if she married, she would effectively turn her power over her husband, or she could remain single her entire life, thereby forcing her subjects to turn to her as the ruler.
I read the Queen's Fool also, very enjoyable.
In all the things I have read, I always felt Mary Tudor was in a strange predicament. Raised to be in a beneficial marriage to England, but at many times probably was not seen as beneficial to potential suitor, with her being not being in the line to the throne part of the time. Just such an odd situation.
I was always under the impression she got on well with Catherine Parr, despite their religious differences. They became estranged after Catherine hastily married Thomas Seymour, but eventually reconciled before Catherine died (One source I read states Catherine named her daughter after Mary).
But I think the last few episodes are showing how Mary went from being a kindhearted, doting sister to burning Protestants. Interestingly enough, that Reginald Pole whom Francis Bryan and Thomas Seymour were trying to kill last season became an influential adviser to Mary and shared responsibility in the persecution of Protestants.
Have you read The Other Queen? Her non-fandom of Elizabeth continues in that one, as well.
I am reading it now and enjoying it. However, I know zero about that time in history, except that no one really knows what happened to the Princes in the Tower, so I can't tell you if the subject was resesarched thoroughly.
Yes, The Other Queen is another. I found that book particularly repetitive and the three main characters to be one-dimensional. After that I read a very good biography of Bess of Hardwick (by Mary Lovell), and there's SOOO much material there, it's a shame the book didn't have more depth.
For the Princes in the Tower, I don't mind if Gregory has an opinion and goes with it, because after all it is fiction and at this point, no one knows the truth. In The Other Boleyn Girl, she says that she made certain decisions, including birth order of the Boleyn siblings, and her relationship with her brother. I'm cool with that if it's based on research, she's formed and opinion and goes with it for a fictional story. What I don't like is just plain sloppy research that accepts someone else's theory without question.
Bess of Hardwick was a far more interesting character than Gregory wrote her as and I was really disappointed in that book.
I found I did enjoy The White Queen though, I don`t know much about that particular time in history as I was more into the earlier Plantagenet`s.
I do want to read a couple more of Gregory`s books though... The Queen`s Fool being one and The Virgin Queen
The Virgin Queen was awful. I was really struck by her hatred of Elizabeth.
I didn't like The White Queen either. It seemed like she just churned it out in a few hours.
I got bored and started a Tudor-era novel. No one will ever read it, but it's fun to write!
Loved 'Bess of Hardwick' by Lovell. Such an interesting lady, plus after I read the book in 08, and then was in England and saw her houses (Hardwick Hall & Chatsworth). Hard to believe her ascent in that time, but so intriguing
Also enjoyed The Sisters by Lovell - about the Mitford sisters, very crazy story, yet true story set in the first half of the 20th C England. One of the sisters married the Duke of Devonshire, in which Chatsworth is its base, same girl was first married to a Guinness heir, another sister knew Hitler and so on.
Gregory is not the best, but for quick reads, I enjoy them. I was picking the Other Boleyn apart on the birth order. I think I liked The Constant Princess (about Katharine of Aragon) and The Queen's Fool best.
Henry Cavill can sit on my bed anytime!
Just a quick question, because this week's ep left me feeling like I'd missed something. I thought there was no Memorial Day weekend episode, and the last one I remember, Henry collapsed standing at a table at the end of it. Then this week he's aged significantly with no explanation of what happened? Or am I remembering wrong?
Off topic, but smurfy if you are interested in biographies of interesting women, a few others you might like are My Just Desire by Anna Beer about Bess Throckmorton, wife of Walter Raleigh and Jane Boleyn (wife of Anne's brother who was executed with Katherine Howard) by Julia Fox for the Tudor period; Lady Franklin's Revenge by Ken McGoogan about John Franklin's (arctic explorer) wife in the 19th century; and The Bolter by Frances Osborne about Idina Sackville, an Edwardian who became the queen of the infamous Happy Valley set in Kenya.
I particularly recommend the latter two as very well researched, well written, highly entertaining and simply fascinating biographies that also take you to all kinds of interesting places.
I am ok with having him look 20 years older from episode 8 to 9 but jeez what's with the voice. He was only 46 right? Yes, I know 46 in 1500 is like 85 now a days, but its downright hokey!
He's pretty darn even when aged to his 50s!
It's funny but in a recent interview I read with JR-M he said that he had to "work on his voice" and I had no idea what he meant until recently. Yikes.
I recently read a couple of Nancy Mitford's novels. Fun romantic fluff, in that shocking-yet-proper British way.
Henry was 56 when he died, so I think he is meant to be 54 in Episode 9
I thought he was in his 40's thanks! JRM's portrayal of Henry could have done without the voice adjustments it really cheapened the character to much for me. I know he is ill, but Henry Cavill's Charles is older is he not? I would think that they would have made Charles look even older. But then again its "entertainment".
Charles should have been nearly 60 in that episode Instead of, you know, 30. Or whatever age Henry Cavill looked.
The voice was stupid.
I think Henry Cavill looks like he's in his 40s with the make-up and stuff. He's 27 or so, right? And JRM's in his 30s?
I don't think they ever addressed that Brandon was like ten years older than Henry...
Yes, I believe Henry Cavill is 27 and JRM is in his 30's. I think that JRM was given way to much creative freedom, shame on the director.
How many episodes are left? One maybe two, don't know if I can listen to that voice for the last shows.
I believe tonight is the finale
Off topic note for JRM fans - we just saw From Paris with Love last night, and really enjoyed it! Sadly JRM does not take his shirt off, has a slight mustache and speaks with an unsexy American accent, but he still looks great and it's actually a pretty good movie if you like action thrillers. Travolta at his best IMO.