Armchairing's Blog

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Kings gazing at Mary Boleyn, "The English Mare"

Episode II opens with the picturesque sprawling hills of Val’ d’Or (Valley of Gold), English occupied France.  King Henry VIII along with a small band of his heavily armed men approach the meeting point that would be the site of the signing of the” The Treaty of Universal and Perpetual Peace” between France and England.  The two Kings meet and you could see them sizing each other up.  I would say that the acting was superb because I could feel the cautious tension between the two without words being spoken.  

Anyway, the two host a celebration before the signing of the treaty.  I am sure that there were other forms of entertainment but wresting was the one highlighted.  King Francois of France basically smack talks with Henry, attributing French superiority over the English in everything including beautiful women and of course, wrestling.  King Henry could no longer bite his supercilious tongue, so he challenges the lanky but taller Francois to a fight.  In the end, King Henry is thrown to the ground in defeat and at that moment, out of shame, he wants to back out of the peace treaty.  Thomas More, an English lawyer, humanist, author and statesman who acts as the angel on King Henry’s right shoulder, talks some sense into him.  In the end, the King goes through with the signing of the Treaty the next day.  I wasn’t surprised to see King Henry, after the signing, go into a demon possessed- like violent hissy fit as he pulled down curtains, turned over chairs and tables all the while screaming his lungs out.  I have to give it to him.  I have felt like reverting to toddler fits from frustration of having to do something that I rally did not want to do but he took it to a whole new level.  Then again, he is the King.  

As the King who believes he is above all law, he continues his illicit trysts, this time with Mary, the daughter of his ambassador to France, Thomas Boleyn.  He finds great pleasure in being with Mary, especially since she has already been with King Francois who lustfully calls her his English Mare.  It seemed like King Henry saw her as a possession to steal from his nemesis.  Soon he grows tired of her, thus Ambassador Boleyn calls on his other daughter, Anne to pick up where Mary left off.  After all, having Mary with the King was profitable to the family.  Basically, Ambassador Boleyn is pimping his daughters.  Creepy.   

As I mentioned in the last blog, King Henry’s kingship was not only called into question by the Duke of Buckingham but he was also plotting his assassination.  At first I thought that the Duke was way out of line, but after seeing the King’s behavior with French King Francois and his licentious trysts, I started to root for him.  Although I was fully aware that King Henry lived for many years to grow to be the huge man that we know him to be, I was still rooting for the Duke.  Of course his attempt failed and he was sentenced to death.  It was hard for me to watch the once dignified, kingly man reduced to a sniveling baby as he rested his head on the board in front of a crowd, including his daughter, to be beheaded.  I had to keep reminding myself that it was only a movie, but then again, this really did happen in history.   

Funny enough, my brief sadness was quelled by the artistic way in which the writers of The Tudors translated this horrific moment onto screen.  At the same time, King Henry rushed his way to see his wife’s maiden whom he impregnated.  Actually he didn’t go to see her.  He wanted visual confirmation of the birth of his first son.  So there was a sequence of scenes bopping back and forth between the Duke of Buckingham losing his life while the elated King Henry, gained a son.  It was poetic! 

My rating – 4 out of 5 gold pounds 


March 1, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Their whole existence was entertainment and thanks goodness for that as we would be bored today without this soap opera they call British history.

    Comment by Lisa J | March 3, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hey Nicole, so what do you mean by when you say “then again he is the king”, do you think because he is the king he can act in any which way he pleases? What kind of a character do you think a king should portray?

    Comment by ilona0420 | March 8, 2010 | Reply

    • “Then again he is the king” was a comment born out of sarcasm. King Henry, just like any other powerful ruler, believed themself to be above the law. Because he was King, he believed he deserved to fulfill whatever his heart desired-even if it meant sleeping with any woman he layed his eyes on. I do believe that a King should be above all things, just and less pleasure-seeking but history shows that even the best intentions are thwarted when a man is placed in a high position and the power and prestige goes right to his head developing a destructive spirit of self entitlement.

      Comment by N.A. Sharpe | March 30, 2010 | Reply

  3. Do you think that by today’s standards a queen, or a women in the position of a queen would have reacted differently? why?

    I think that your blog is progressing well and you are showing more interest in the proceeding episodes. I am also interested to see how Anne seduced the king, can’t wait till you post the details. Through history we see that wit always prevails to physical appearance, yet women always obsess over how they look.

    Rate the episodes from 1-5, five being the highest and tell us why you rated them so.

    Comment by ilona0420 | March 8, 2010 | Reply

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