Quicksilver of Devil’s Spit

Call her Elizabeth. Call off the jousts.

canceljoust
source: BBC

A shadow is cast over the land and over Henry as he proclaims that no celebration will be necessary for his newborn girl child. In addition to this disappointment, Thomas More has refused to budge an inch to acknowledge the King’s marriage as legal and his offspring as rightful heirs. More has resigned as Chancellor, handed over the Seal, so why is what he thinks still important? Because, as Cromwell is ready to tell us, More’s opinion is adding fuel to the fire of opinion against Henry throughout the realm and Europe. No one likes what the King has done in declaring himself the head of the church
in England. No one wants England to separate from Rome. More is just one man who is vocal and adamant. When discontent is already widespread, a kingdom only needs one vocal man to foment a rebellion. And a country girl nun who sees visions (albeit with dubious timelines) and who also won’t budge an inch.

Continue reading “Quicksilver of Devil’s Spit”

All about the Queen(s)

As Henry VIII was such a notoriously much married monarch, some of the talk about him, his politics, and his reign must focus on his Queen.

Archery2
source: BBC

Continue reading “All about the Queen(s)”

Wolf Hall 2: Translator of Prophesies

As the episode Entirely Beloved starts, we learn that Cromwell’s beloved Cardinal Wolsey is more ostracized than ever, urged by the King to go further north, further away from the political center of the country. And we see Cromwell holding fast to his mission of getting the Cardinal back in favor with the King.

Meanwhile, Wolsey is destitute, flagellating himself on the advice of monks who visit and likely believe that the suffering he is going thru is the result of a sin that must be expiated with even more suffering. A cat gives birth to a litter of black kittens under Wolsey’s bed. Cromwell promptly translates the dark omen into something optimistic. He doesn’t want the Cardinal to give up hope.

Continue reading “Wolf Hall 2: Translator of Prophesies”

Wolf Hall 1: Three Card Monty Taught by a “Monstrous Servant”

“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.

Continue reading “Wolf Hall 1: Three Card Monty Taught by a “Monstrous Servant””

Soames Forsyte

Strange to talk about a series that happened over 10 years ago, but discussing Damian Lewis’ oeuvre without touching on Soames Forsyte and the Forsyte Saga would just be incomplete.

2Collage
source: Granada Television/WGBH

Imagine if you will, a 30 year old actor just returned from completing his first “Hollywood” venture, the most expensive series ever produced and shown on HBO, Band of Brothers. It was a hit! Everyone wants him! Everyone wants him to come back over the pond and play….another soldier. Word has it, and Damianista just mentioned this week, that Damian was offered a role in Blackhawk Down and turned it down to stay in England and play Soames Forsyte. One may speculate he told the casting folks that he can’t do it but his good friend and fellow Eton-ite Ewan MacGregor might be free. 🙂 Of course, BHD was a great film, but, boy, we’re glad DL said no. Continue reading “Soames Forsyte”