“It’s no roistering doistering Tudor romp.” – Damian Lewis
Indeed. Be forewarned, in Wolf Hall, viewers will get no heaving bosoms, no bodices ripped by spoiled princes with fickle insatiable appetites. The King’s private life and private matters are very much the subject of this drama, but the King’s chambers are very much off limits to the camera throughout this series.
Wolf Hall is about Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell did all his most significant work during the reign of Henry VIII, thus, Wolf Hall is also about Henry VIII, but only insofar as the King is the patron and leader and provider of opportunity behind Cromwell’s ideas. Lots of things changed in fact and in spirit during this time in English History. Since England was such an expansionist empire, these ideas rippled throughout the world, and, even you, especially you, dear America, were a beneficiary of the ideas born in the time this story is told.
Abbey Road, London. It’s special. It’s special because it houses the famous zebra crossing that the Beatles walk on the cover of their fantastic album, titled, of course, Abbey Road.
Can you imagine, how many fans, from England and all around the world, speaking all different languages, but sharing the same love for the Beatles, have crossed the street posing like one of the Fab Four?
“Perhaps you should teach me your Three Card Trick… in case we both end up on the streets.” -Cardinal Wolsey
“Three-Card Trick” is a slow-burning episode that sets the scene for Wolf Hall. We get to meet our protagonist, Thomas Cromwell, and find out about his personal tragedy — from his humble beginnings as a violent blacksmith’s son to losing his wife and two daughters to “sweating sickness.” Cromwell starts at the bottom, escapes from home at an early age, spends time in Europe, learns trade, fights for France, and is now a pretty affluent lawyer in the service of Cardinal Wolsey, the Lord Chancellor of the King Henry VIII. Still, our Thomas is “Master” Cromwell — or “a person” as Duke of Norfolk likes to call him — essentially, he doesn’t have a title. Continue reading “Wolf Hall on PBS, Episode One: Three Card Trick”