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THE TUDORS: EPISODE SIX – SEASON ONE

“Love makes any man vulnerable”, the Duke of Norfolk tells his niece Anne Boleyn.  Both Norfolk and Thomas Boleyn, Anne’s father, read every love letter the smitten King Henry sends to her.  After all, it was all part of the plan that they devised to have Anne planted in the King’s heart with the purpose of supplanting the snaky, conniving Cardinal Wolsey.  They both remind her to stay focused on her mission and to not fall in love with the King; too late.  It seems that Anne has fallen for King Henry even against her own will.  We can not tell ourselves who to love and who not to love.  Love just happens and it did in the case of Anne Boleyn and King Henry.  He wooed her completely not only with lavish gifts, but more importantly, with lavish heartfelt words.  My heart dropped when he explained to the confused Anne why he would want to have dinner with her father and uncle.  He said in part, “When I am with them, I am close to you.”  If nothing else showed the trueness of his love for her, this line certainly did.  The character of Anne Boleyn’s whole demeanor melted when he said this.  Even I, who despises the character portrayed as King Henry VIII, would absolutely melt if I were told this by him.

 Anyway, I digress from the mushiness. Cardinal Wolsey’s days are numbered.  The plot thickens to oust him as Anne plants a seed of doubt in the King’s head regarding Wolsey.  She coyly advises him to not believe everything he says.  Right before Anne Boleyn gets audience with the King, Wolsey notices her and asks, “Anne? What are you doing here?”  She tells him that she asked for audience with the King.  Wolsey then literally looks down on her and says with a slight giggle, “What would a silly girl like you have to say to the King?” Then he walked away with his nose in the air.  I didn’t care for the Cardinal and his evil, scheming ways before but when he looked down on Anne, as if a woman were a second rate human, I was turned off from his character completely.  Little does he know that that same silly girl is the key to his impending end.

 King Henry continues to pursue approval from the Pope to remarry.  This matter seemed more important to him than the second try at a peace treaty with King Francois of France.  He sends Wolsey to France to sign the new and improved treaty and to ask for audience with the Cardinals there to get their approval which would more than likely influence the Pope’s ultimate decision.  Although King Francois has been paying Wolsey handsomely to spy on King Henry’s affairs for him, thus showing his allegiance to France, all of the Cardinals refuse to meet with him.  They refuse to even entertain the idea of King Henry getting a divorce and King Francois can do nothing about it because they supposedly answer to a higher power.  “The wheels turn my friend.” King Francois says to the frightened Wolsey who knows full well that if he returns to England without good news for the King, it may very well mean his head.

 I loved how the ominous music began as Wolsey slowly lit all the massive candles in the room where he was to meet with the Cardinals.  He sat a bit.  Then he paced a bit and you could feel his anxiety.  I honestly felt a bit sorry for him when you could tell a lot of time passed and no one showed up.  He eventually and sadly put out every candle as slowly as he lit them.  Then in the darkness, King Francois broke the news to him.  The darkness, I am sure, represented the dark doom looming ahead for Wolsey.  All of his lights or “friends” of the cloth, were extinguished.  I thought that was brilliant. 

Thomas Boleyn manages to entice Charles Brandon (the exiled friend of the King who married his sister, Princess Margaret) to take part in the plot to get rid of Wolsey’s influence over the King.  Boleyn, using his newfound favor with the King, encourages Brandon to join himself and the Duke of Norfolk and in exchange, regain good standing with the King.  He reluctantly agrees.  Boleyn puts in a good word to the King for Brandon.  Then Brandon follows Boleyn’s advice to beg King Henry for forgiveness for taking his sister in marriage without his permission.  In a comical twist, the King, who normally goes mad with unadulterated rage, challenges Brandon to a game of arm wrestling.  If Brandon won, he would regain his station at court and all of his properties and his favor again.  At one point, only for suspense, it looked as if King Henry would win but of course, Brandon won and all is forgiven. 

 I am really enjoying all the twists and turns of the lives of these characters that are based on real persons in history.  Interest has been stirred up in me to the point that now I want to study this time in history in a more detailed way.  Funny enough, I intend to do that only after I finish watching the first season because I don’t want to spoil the ending. 

 My rating: 5 out of 5 gold pounds

March 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

THE TUDORS: EPISODE FIVE – SEASON ONE

King Henry VIII and Sir Charles Brandon played by Henry Cavill

 

  Episode Five of the Tudors has been an emotional roller coaster for me.  Many important events transpired causing me to look at some of the characters differently.  Episode Five begins when King Henry knights Anne Boleyn’s father, Thomas Boleyn.  His son who is about five years of age is also knighted, Duke of Richmond and Sommerset and Earl of Nottingham.  He hands him a crown and a scepter and sends him off away from his mother where he would be taught and primed to be the future King of England.  This seemed cruel to me, especially when the mother could hardly contain herself when she had to let her son go.  The same scenario was acted out when the King had Cardinal Wolsey, the bearer of bad news, break it to Queen Katherine that her daughter would be taken away from her as well to be trained to be a Princess in another palace.  This separation really hurt me being a mother and seeing how much the character of Queen Katherine is portrayed to truly love and adore her daughter amidst the cold pomp and circumstance.  Her daughter was her life, so it was as if her heart was ripped away from her.  I did not knock the King for his decisions because it is the custom of the royals. As I mentioned before, watching The Tudors helps me to realize how difficult it is being part of a royal family. Your life is basically not your own.  It throws away all childhood fantasies brought on in part by Walt Disney, of what being a princess would truly be like.   

To add insult to injury, Queen Katherine is told by her husband that he no longer wants to be married to her.  “As far as I am concerned, this marriage is over”, he says.  His excuse is that he believes he is cursed for marrying his dead brother’s wife and he doesn’t want to be a sinner in  God’s eyes (meanwhile he is jumping from bed to bed with all the women of the court).  This is a justification for something that he wanted to do for a long time since he never loved Katherine.  His lust or love (I don’t know yet) for Anne Boleyn is driving him to make this decision which is totally against the Catholic Church.  The King was cold in his delivery of this news to the Queen.  He basically told her to pick a place to move to and he never wants to see her again.  Meanwhile his eyes were red and watery.  When he dismissed himself as quickly and coldly as he entered, the Queen, who actually loved her husband, wailed her soul out, arching to the ground.  This was great acting in my opinion.   

 My disgust for King Henry was softened not only by the sincerity in the eyes of Jonathan Rhys Meyers who plays him so magnificently, but also by the fact that it is difficult being with someone that you don’t love while the one that you do love is so close but so far away from your grasp.  This soft spot I had for the King hardened again when I saw how he treated his sister Princess Margaret.   

King Henry forced Princess Margaret to marry the old, decrepit King of Portugal for political reasons against her pleading.  She kept asking him to promise to allow her to remarry whomever she chose after the old King died.  He coldly ignored her pleading.  On the way to meet her husband to be, she carries on an affair with Henry’s friend, Charles Brandon.  Margaret, driven by disgust and total desperation, suffocates the King shortly after their marriage and ends up marrying Charles. The King, upon being told about the secret marriage banishes the both of them from court and takes away their London homes, as if they were his disobedient little children.  This act turned me off from the King once again because he being in a similar situation should have been more sympathetic.  Yet he would expect the Catholic Church to be more sympathetic to him by allowing him to marry the one he loves.  Being the King in the 1400’s afforded him to be a true example of hypocrisy as he towered above everyone and apparently every law.   

Toward the end of episode five, King Henry is bogged down with bad news from everywhere.  In addition to his sister’s betrayal, he learns that he is betrayed by Emperor Charles V who has left an allegiance with him and joined forces with his enemy, King Francois of France.  It is also revealed that Spain and Germany have become allied and they have sacked Rome and killed over a thousand priests and are now holding the Pope himself prisoner.   The worst news of all was learning that his only son died of a sudden infection.  I could not sympathize with the character while he received all of this bad news but when he lost his son, I did feel some sympathy but it didn’t move me as much as when the boy’s mother saw his dead body lying on his bed.  I had to forward that part slowly because it was too emotional for me.    

I believe that the writing in The Tudors thus far has been superb.  It doesn’t matter whether the scenarios played out move me to the left or to the right.  The fact that I am affected gives credence to the writing as well as the acting.   

My rating: 4 out of 5 gold pounds

March 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments