As much as Wolf Hall is this smart, dark political drama, Episode 3 is probably the happiest episode in the series. Henry, Anne and Thomas all get what they have wanted for a long, long time… “Anna Regina” has HOPE — in particular, the hope of the male heir that the King has long been obsessed with…
Well, let’s start with Henry. The King wants… well, Anne! He has desired her for years! “I’ve known passion, Cromwell,” he says as they look at “Anselma” together, which he sends to Austin Friars as a gift later. “With Anne. I shake, do you understand, I shake.”
It’s quite amazing that, the guy, and not your regular Joe, the King, waits for this woman for years — which makes me agree with Damian Lewis, who says, for Anne, “she was good at withholding – that’s never changed between men and women, that little dance, so on a domestic level that was a very normal situation.” Henry genuinely cares about Anne, and respects her wishes. And, there is still that little problem the King has regarding his marriage to Anne: The Church.
Cromwell takes care of it. He pushes a bill through the Parliament to suspend the payment of annates to Rome. He strategically divides the house: “For, to my right; Against, to my left” so that the King can see who is for him and who is against him.The bill passes and brings along the resignation of Thomas More. “His great protest,” Cromwell says to Anne. “England is just a stage to him.”
And, for Anne, this outcome is simply two birds with one stone. Anne wants… well, she may be in love with Henry in her own way, but I think what she really wants is to be the Queen! Anne wants power. She is smart and she knows what she’s doing … I put my signature on Claire Foy’s observation in an interview with Radio Times: “For the amount that she achieved, and given the limited role of women in her time, Anne really had massive balls – bigger balls, I think, than anyone at Henry’s court. If she had been born in a man’s body, I think she would have made an extraordinary ruler.” And, I believe she actually did it through her daughter, Elizabeth, who became one of the strongest rulers in history.
Anne now has a problem, too, though: Harry Percy. The guy claims his marriage to his wife is not valid, because he is in a lawful marriage to Anne. The King is furious, so are the Boleyns. They call Cromwell for help. And, our Thomas takes care of it very gladly since Percy was the one that walked in to arrest cardinal Wolsey. Cromwell is LOYAL. Been loyal to Wolsey to the end. And, now loyal to the King and Anne Boleyn.
And, the way Cromwell tells Percy about how the world works feels SO CONTEMPORARY that I declare it the BEST lines ever said on TV! I am copying a few lines here, but the entire Cromwell monologue is priceless and worth hearing again, again and again.
“The world is not run from where you think it is, from border fortresses, even from Whitehall. The world is run from Antwerp, from Florence, from Lisbon, from wherever the merchant ships sail off into the West. Not from castle walls, from countinghouses, from the pens that scrape out your promissory notes.”
Well…Times change, players change, and the game stays the same. Wolf Hall is TIMELESS.
And, Cromwell’s loyalty to Anne pays off handsomely. Anne makes sure that Cromwell gets an official post in the court: The Keeper of the Jewel House.
The King says: “I have a new post for you. I want you to be my new keeper of the Jewel House. Why should I not, tell me, why should I not, employ the son of an honest blacksmith?” And then probably the MOST famous line from the series trailer: “Everything you are, everything you have, will come from me.”
The King wants to show himself in Canterbury before leaving for Calais where he would meet with the French Emperor. However, a bitter surprise waits for him there: The so-called “holy maid” Eliza Barton tells the King he would not last a year if he married Anne, and moreover the lightning would strike him. The King is not happy. Not at all. It’s again Cromwell’s time to shine — exactly like he did in “Entirely Beloved” when the King saw his dead brother Arthur in his dream…
Drama continues at the dance after an evening’s feast in Calais. Henry is dancing with the wives of Calais notables whereas Anne is flirting with Francis. Henry’s face tells it all. The agony. The pain. The anger. All bundled into one. Damian Lewis, as usual, does not need words, he says it all with whatever it is, you know what I am talking about, that he can do with his face!
Cromwell tells Norfolk to fetch away his niece. “She’s done enough diplomacy.” And… Henry ends up getting what he wants that night… but on the condition that he swears on the bible that they are married in God’s sight and he will later marry Anne in England and crown her the queen. During the small marriage ceremony, Mary Boleyn makes a hand sign to Cromwell meaning “she is pregnant.”
According to historian Dr. Joanne Paul’s tweet, Anne Boleyn is the last of Henry’s wives to be crowned. None of the others got that far 🙂 Henry watches the ceremony from behind a screen. He has such tenderness to him at that moment: He is in love, and, he thinks, the male heir he has been long-obsessed with is finally on the way.
And, as the King sends Anne to her confinement with a kiss… Rafe nails it: “All our fortunes depend on this lady now, and whether she can provide an heir.” And, the HOPE goes downhill from here on starting with the burning of a man, James Bainham, a barrister, for reading the Gospel in English.