I told you earlier that I always assign actors to characters when I read. I don’t necessarily know why I do that, maybe to create some familiarity, but I do it. And, it’s not a secret that I dreamed of Damian Lewis as Henry VIII while I was reading Wolf Hall. Damian Lewis being cast as Henry was a dream coming true for me.
Anyhow, as I dreamed about Damian Lewis as Henry VIII, I had a few favorite scenes from the books that I really wanted to see in the mini-series. And most of them have made it to the series, but my MOST favorite scene that I talked about earlier here didn’t. I mean, I know every single scene cannot make it into the series, and my favorite scene is not really central to the story, but I was still disappointed a little.
But then… My partner-in-crime Bookworm gave me the good news! The Wolf Hall DVD had that particular scene as a “deleted scene.”
Let me give you the background for the scene and then let’s enjoy the scene altogether 🙂
We first go back to Episode 2: Entirely Beloved. Henry and Thomas are practicing archery. Henry is in a cheerful mood, and offers to visit the Cromwell house Austin Friars on a Sunday.
Then we go to Episode 4: The Devil’s Spit. Just after Thomas More’s execution, Cromwell falls ill. He has high fever for days. It’s most probably a real fever he has but I really thought it could be some psychological fever hitting Thomas when he very openly sees what happens to people that fall from Henry’s grace — Exhibit A was Wolsey and Exhibit B is More and it’s even worse. Anyhow, we know our Thomas is a fighter and he fights his way out of the fever… And, when he finally gets out of bed, we see him dictating to Rafe about King’s progress in summer. “Before Bromham, add another. Early September. 5 days. Wolf Hall.”
Now… between these two scenes… Henry finally visits Cromwell in his home. The King pays a visit to his recovering advisor. He’s extremely tender with Cromwell, the first words he says are “You sit… And give me no argument… for once.”
Let’s have it first from Mantel’s wonderful pen and then see the deleted scene!
“The ladies of the house, Mercy and his sister-in-law Johane are decked out like Walsingham madonnas on a feast day. They curtsy low, and Henry sways above them, informally attired, jacket of the silver brocade, vast gold chain across his chest, his fists flashing with Indian emeralds. He has not wholly mastered the family relationships, for which no one can blame him.
“Master Secretary’s sister?” he says to Johane. “No, forgive me. I remember now that you lost your sister Bet at the same time my own lovely sister died.”
It is such a simple, human sentence, coming from a king; at the mention of their most recent loss, tears well into the eyes of the two women, and, Henry, turning to one, then the other, with a careful forefinger dots them from their cheeks, and makes them smile. The little brides Alice and Jo he whirls up into the air as if they were butterflies, and kisses them on the mouth, saying he wishes he had known them when he was a boy. The sad truth is, do you notice, Master Secretary, the older one gets, the lovelier the girls?”
Haha, I don’t know about the girls, your Majesty, but you get lovelier by the second 🙂 I simply love this Henry, relaxed and tender, on a light-hearted house visit, hanging out with his friend and his family, flirting with the ladies, and having a real good time… He is a human being. He lost his sister exactly like Cromwell, a “common man” by birth, and he is also aging exactly like him. And, in this particular scene, he’s OK with that 🙂
Long live the King!