Don’t you just love when history comes in a nice convenient story arc? Wolf Hall, episode 5 is the climax leading up to the denouement of the stories told in Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies. We all know how this is going to end, yet, here we are still watching, rapt, captivated by a fascinating story of a fascinating time told and performed impeccably by the best ensemble cast imaginable.
In this episode, titled “Crows”, we see leonine Henry’s frustrations coming to a head and wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing Cromwell being shown his place in the realm. And we see Anne slowly and painfully getting prepared to be escorted to the gallows. Continue reading “Murder of Crows”
"How many men can say my only friend is the King of England?"
Wolf Hall is getting darker by the minute in its penultimate episode. And, thanks to the wonderful immediacy it has —that’s Peter Kosminsky doing wonders behind the camera — you feel as if all is happening on real time, in front of your very eyes complete with a couple of moments that make you flinch!
In Crows, Henry is restless. He is capricious. He is obnoxious. He is EXPLOSIVE… And, then he turns into a little boy trying to make amends to his best friend. I don’t want to make a case for Henry but he has his reasons for being so — it is all about his obsession with a male heir. And, add to this, his being very much aware of his own mortality now that Henry makes a decision to move on… well… to the next wife… which also makes him a hopeless romantic at times…
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.
"I keep you because you're a serpent. Don't be a viper in my bosom."
Have I told you that I’ve been reading Wolf Hall for a second time in parallel? It’s been great fun, and this is really some overdose that would never kill you, but instead nourish you 🙂 And, every time I see a new episode, I am just fascinated by Peter Straughan’s adaptation: The script is wonderfully condensed with most of the conversation coming directly from Hilary Mantel’s pen. What a feeling it is to hear some of the BEST lines I have ever read coming out of Mark Rylance or Damian Lewis’ mouth. Pure brilliance.