Armchairing's Blog

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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


  1. Who in their right mind would really want to be royalty, beyond being very political and well connected,. it is really a crappy life and having to withstand the duties and responsibilities of the crown and what has to be upheld means you have no life or mind of your own. It was probably better to be a part of the court and when thrown out you could still move around freely even if it was not in the top circles.

    Comment by Lisa J | March 29, 2010 | Reply

    • It’s a strange situation. To the outside world, the royals live a perfect life. But in reality, they are birds locked in a gilded cage. They can have anything money can buy but they can’t be with the one they love. I always said I would prefer to be with the one I love in a shack than to be in a loveless relationship in a mansion.

      Comment by N.A. Sharpe | April 1, 2010 | Reply

  2. When you said,’Yet he would expect the Catholic Church to be more sympathetic to him by allowing him to marry the one he loves’. Is that what the king expected the church to side with him? How did it play out what did the church do?

    Comment by ilona0420 | March 31, 2010 | Reply

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