But I don't want her to lose that pretty devious head!
While everyone I know is losing their own heads over mindless TV shows Gossip Girl and before that Grey's Anatomy, I've been losing myself to Rome, Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, Weeds, 30 Rock, and--my super duper current favorite--Showtime's The Tudors.
With only 2 episodes left for The Tudors second season, I am really despondent. It's like a dear friend of mine is going to go on vacation and I'm really not sure if she's coming back. Well, there will definitely be a third season but the Tudor dynasty doesn't end with Henry and his wives so I wonder if there'll be enough public interest to see the series through to Edward, Mary, and finally Elizabeth. You never know with these series. For example, cult favorites sci-fi Firefly and comedy Arrested Development just quietly died, despite being two of the best written and best acted shows on television. Sigh... It sucks to have the general public dictate their taste really.
Anyway, back to The Tudors. So last week, Anne Boleyn finally confirms that her husband, Henry VIII, is in love with another woman, that vile Jane Seymour. In contrast to the passionate and extremely intelligent Anne, Jane is virginal and submissive. But like Anne, Jane is utterly the same when it comes to stealing husbands. What makes her worse in my mind is this: Anne asked Henry to divorce Katherine; Jane mutely wanted Anne dead. She wasn't going to wait for a divorce the way Anne did (who waited seven long years); she'd rather her royal rival was conveniently dead and this was accomplished in five weeks! Murderess! In fact, she married the king 10 days after Anne was beheaded! The slut! Ooooh, I can't stand Jane Seymour!
The problem with being very familiar with English history is that you know how the story's going to play out so there's no real suspense. And since I'm a bit knowledgeable about it, I can also spot right away if the writers deviated from fact. But despite those annoying things, the brilliance with this series is the tight writing and the amazing acting. So I'm always caught up in the emotion, the very moment of it all even though I know what's going to happen next--which Vince hates since I sometimes can't help saying aloud, "Don't hug the queen, you moron, because you'll go to the Tower for that!" and he'll grumble, "Now you ruined it for me... Who's that moron anyway?" and I'd be happy to fill him in on the history. Though he hates it when I spoil episodes, Vince gave me David Starkey's very thick book, Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII, anyway. It was his first present to me as my husband. What an ominous first gift, I say!
I've always been interested in this part of English history not just because of everyone's reason (the story of a king who had six wives is always juicy) but because I was raised a Born-Again Christian. So Henry VIII, in breaking with the Roman Catholic Church, was a hero of the Reformation. Of course, since I was also raised a Catholic by my grandparents and I studied in a convent, I was told that Thomas More, who Henry beheaded, was the hero of the time and that Henry was the devil incarnate. Yeah, it can get confusing for a kid so the kid (that's me) hit the books and just let history decide for me.
Seeing history books now come alive in sumptuous costumes and divine acting is mesmerizing for me. I understand history even better and I have a better and deeper appreciation for politics, religion, faith, and the relationship between a man and a woman. Yes, The Tudors will show you that! As the exceedingly bewitching and talented Natalie Dormer (who plays Anne Boleyn) said on her podcast on the website, "You're looking at such a turbulent time dramatically in history. All these fiercely strong charismatic individuals, be they Henry, More, Anne... the seriousness of the situation--the Reformation for C****'s sake--that they're faced with and what it does, they all handle it differently. And some come out of it better than others."
Too bad for Anne, she came out of it headless. Though she did end up the mother of her country's greatest monarch, Elizabeth I, and, without Henry realizing it, Anne was also the mother of the English Reformation. Of course, in the show, Pope Paul III (played by a really cool Peter O'Toole) realizes this and caustically remarks, "Why doesn't someone just get rid of her?" And Henry, the great hero of schism, unwittingly obeys him.
*The Tudor images from abcnews.com and Showtime. Book image from Blackwell Bookshop.