Archive for June, 2010

I shook my head in sheer exasperation this morning when I read this article:

While I should have expected something like this, it still just disgusts me.  I know some people pride themselves on collecting the unusual souvenirs from celebrities of past and present, but…… REALLY?  The woman’s x-ray????

Julien’s Auctions sold other strange items from some of Marilyn Monroe’s last years.  Again… where are the proceeds going for all of these pieces from her estate?  And WHY do they feel the need to pick apart her past like vultures????

Greed is really an ugly thing, ladies and gentlemen.

End of rant.

*Picture found via Google images


Guess who’s back???

Shady is back and better than ever!  Eminem’s new album, “Recovery,” was released about a week ago, and I have to confess, I am really happy to see the angst ridden rapper kicking ass and taking names once again in the music biz!

I will admit to you all that Rap is not one of my most favorite of music genres, however, there are some rappers I really enjoy listening to, and one of them has been Eminem since the day he came out with “The Slim Shady” LP.   While there are some out there that get heartily offended by his lyrics, especially those that have come under the line of fire in his songs, I personally love them.  I am a very lyric oriented type of listener and his writing is really something you can sink your teeth into.

His newly released single featuring Rhianna, “Love the Way You Lie,” is really moving and done in a style that is newer for the Detroit, Michigan rapper.  It instantly became a favorite for me.  If you haven’t heard it yet, I heartily encourage you to check it out!!!!!   The new album also contains songs featuring Pink, Lil Wayne, and more!

You can also check out his Facebook page for more information:!/eminem

I first heard this poem recited by David O’Hara, the man who played the Earl of Surrey in The Tudors. It moved me for some reason, so I thought I would share it. 🙂

“My friend, the things that do attain
The happy life be these, I find:
The riches left, not got with pain;
The fruitful ground; the quiet mind;
The equal friend; no grudge; no strife;
No charge of rule, nor governance;
Without disease, the healthy life;
The household of continuance;
The mean diet, no dainty fare;
Wisdom joined with simpleness;
The night discharged of all care,
Where wine the wit may not oppress:
The faithful wife, without debate;
Such sleeps as may beguile the night;
Content thyself with thine estate,
Neither wish death, nor fear his might.”

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Episode 9 begins with the incomparable Earl of Surrey getting himself into a rather deep mess.  Edward Seymour reports to the King that the Earl rashly attacked French supply forces in Boulogne, losing 600 men, including all of the captains and gentleman, having put them in the front lines.   The now very aged monarch looks disappointed at the news and says nothing at first.

While holding council, Henry relays the information he gained from Lord Hertford.  It is clear that the King is not pleased that the bold Earl risked his tenuous hold on Boulogne.  He commands Lord Surrey to return to England to be examined as to his conduct.  He appoints Lord Hertford as his replacement.  He also appoints Risley as Lord Chancellor and also creates him a Baron.   The Duke of Suffolk also tells the King that the Emperor is now seizing all English ships and properties in the low countries.  He has clearly betrayed England to side with France once again.  I must say, the way the Kings in Tudor times stabbed eachother in the back so frequently, it’s a wonder England held her own.  Always between France and Spain, always being the sort of “monkey in the middle” between the two.  It makes me glad Elizabeth played her own game with those two countries and gained the upper hand when she had power, lol!

Charles Brandon’s son comes to court to visit.  The Duke explains to his son that Brigitte has now become his “Official Mistress,” and explains that he is sorry the boy’s mother, the Duchess,  is displeased with his choice, but “there is no help for it.”  The Duke feels his son is old enough to know the plain truth, and the his son responds favorably, stating that whatever makes his father happy makes him happy.  It’s nice to see Brandon have some resemblance of a happier life now with Brigitte, as he was very miserable for quite sometime.

King Henry and Queen Katherine dine together along with her sister, Anne.  The King confesses he is not so happy as he was in France.  He waxes philosophical about people’s interpretations of the “real” facts, that everyone is full of guile, hypocrisy and dishonesty.  Catherine decides to present to him a book that she has written, “Lamentations of a Sinner.”  He seems a little surprised that she has gone so far as to write a book, but appreciates that she has dedicated the book to him in a most praising manner.  He sort of “tsks: her for her words about the Pope and Rome, although does not completely disagree.  Catherine seems nervous, and no wonder, no one ever knew exactly what the King would do next in terms of religion.  I don’t think even Henry himself knew what he really wanted, lol!

Enter the ever scheming Bishop Gardiner…. while Catherine and Henry are dining (still the same scene), he is granted an audience and asks the King’s permission to arrest and “examine” the known “heretic” Anne Askew in order to flush out her supporters at court.  It is clear that both the Queen and her sister know who this woman is and they are squirming in their seats.  I can’t help but really dislike the Bishop, who always seems to want to have someone arrested or killed, all in the name of religion.

Here is where things start to get intense.  While preaching, Anne Askew is arrested.  She is undeterred, shouting her beliefs while being dragged off to the Tower.  Historically, she was a woman who was very strongly in favor of the reform, denouncing the part of the mass where the priests turn bread into the body of Christ, etc.

The Earl of Surrey has returned from France, to be upbraided by the council, and examined as to his behavior while in command.  The Earl, for his part, defended himself extremely well.  The King is not moved by this reason and is more upset by the loss of so many and the potential loss of Boulogne.  Surrey is stripped of his title “Captain of Boulogne” and ordered NOT to return to France.  OUCH!  For a man as proud as Henry Howard, this had to stick in his craw in a huge way, especially since he felt it was unwarranted, that he had done his best in the situation.  He insists the King will see reason once he speaks with him, however the Earl is refused an audience.  I think at this point, Surrey knows his days may be numbered.

More saddening news comes from abroad as Sir Richard Rich reports to the Lady Mary that Eustace Chapuys has died.  I admit, I got choked up.  I always liked his character, as he was so good to Mary, and seemed to always try to do the right thing.  My heart just wanted to break for the poor, lonely princess as she tells Richard how remarkable he was and a true friend and that now she is alone.  He assures her that is not so, that there are many who share the Catholic faith and stand behind her.  He pledges allegiance to her on the spot.  He assures her that there is work afoot to stop the “heretics.”  Mary tells him that she will pray for their success and to send a message of support to Bishop Gardiner.  Quite frankly, all of this extreme madness in the name of Christianity just turns my stomach.  My own personal feelings, but they are there just the same, and it’s a bit frustrating to watch at times……

Bishop Gardiner and Richard Rich question Anne Askew as to her preachings of “heresy” and her connections with influential ladies at court, including Queen Catherine.  She refuses to name any supporters and they threaten to “make her speak” by means of torture.  You can tell the poor woman is frightened, however her resolve only grows stronger.  They bring her down to the lower level of the tower.  The Constable of the Tower is clearly in disagreement about torturing a woman, however, he does as ordered by the Bishop.

The Duke of Suffolk and Earl of Surrey sit down to have a chat about recent events, with the Earl claiming no fault in the recent battle in Boulogne.  I am not sure if Brandon really believes that the Earl will come out of everything okay and regain the King’s favor as he says, but he makes every effort to reassure Surrey nonetheless.  The Earl is now even more determined to bring Edward Seymour down, and says as much to the Duke.  The Duke advises him not to raise arms against the Seymours, but Surrey is certain he has no choice.  Again, there are questions of who will govern once the King dies.  It all comes down to who has “control” of the Prince.

The next part, my fellow Tudors fans, was pretty difficult to watch for me.  I am not a person who enjoys seeing a person tortured, even if it is just on TV for a drama series.  The Constable of the Tower is supervising the men binding Anne Askew to the rack, ordering them to just “pinch her, nothing more.”   I personally am horrified for her.  The men want to know which of the Queen’s ladies share her beliefs.  Risley keeps insisting that they need to stretch her further.  The men argue that they have the King’s permission, and the Constable refuses to go further, going off to report to the King.  Risley taunts her beliefs, calling her “stupid woman” and trying to belittle her.  She refuses to give in, and both Risley and Richard Rich pull harder, making the rack grow taut until she is basically suspended by the ropes.  It’s awful.  Just awful.

The Constable, being granted an audience with Henry, rushes to explain the situation, begging for amnesty for his part in the torture.  He does not get the response is expecting.  The King grants him pardon and the goes on to counter that the devil takes many forms and yet “it is always the devil”.  He thinks the explanation will “ease” the constable’s conscience.  I sincerely doubt it does.

Meanwhile, Risley and Rich rack Anne until she loses consciousness, throw water on her to wake her up and continue to question and torture her.  She never gives way or gives in to their demands, keeping her silence as to the Queen’s true beliefs.

King Henry presides over Parliment in December 1545, stating that he would like “perfect love and concord” in the realm.  He is unhappy with discord between the clergy, and the laity, slandering eachother and plotting against one another.  He wants the divisions to become extinct, for the realm to become one, become like brothers.  He speech is very well received by all, but it only seems to add to the confusion.

Thomas Seymour, Anne Stanhope and Queen Catherine discuss the King’s new demands of the kingdom, not sure how to proceed when the King changes him mind from day to day on religious reform.  Anne Stanhope has the best line in reference to the Reformation, saying glibly,  “Madame, the King has opened a Pandora’s Box, and whether he will it or not, he simply cannot close it now, whatever his complaints.”  Soooooooo true and so right on the money!

Charles Brandon and his mistress, Brigitte take a stroll through the gardens.  He confesses to her his concerns and fears of the machinations and the plots and plans of the men at court.  He feels as if he has no knowledge of what is going on and it leaves him feeling rather adrift.  On one hand, he is relieved, on the other, he is alarmed at what may come to light after the King’s death.  He knows Henry’s infirmities are growing worse day by day and that only increases his concerns.

Lord Hertford returns from France with terms from King Francis as to terms of peace between the two countries.  They are definitely NOT the kind of terms the King wants to hear.  In eight years, Francis wants Henry to hand Boulogne back to France in return for a payment of 2 million crowns.  Knowing how destitute the royal coffers are becoming, Henry concedes to the agreement, telling Hertford that he has negotiated well.

Bishop Gardiner strikes again!  He requests, via Risley, to have several of the Queen’s ladies arrested on suspicion of heresy, including the Queen’s own sister, Anne.  This had to be extremely frightening for Catherine, as she well knew that she could lose her head quite easily at any moment.

The Earl of Surrey attempts to have a secret meeting to plot the takedown of the Seymours.  He intends to overtake Windsor in an effort to gain control of the Prince, and therefore the realm.  Sticky, sticky, sticky!!!!!!

While Queen Catherine moves to warn Edward Seymour and his wife Anne about the Bishop arresting her ladies and her sister, Mary speaks with the Bishop to find out how his plans are proceeding.  The Bishop reminds me of a puffed up peacock as he reports that things are moving along swiftly and according to plan.  I am so conflicted about Mary’s part in all of this.  I can see why she would be so staunch about the Catholic faith, but she is really showing her ruthlessness.  It makes it very easy to see her transformation into “Bloody Mary,” that is for certain!  Gardiner also reports that Anne Askew has been condemned to be burned at Smithfield.

The Earl of Surrey is arrested for treason……

At Smithfield, Anne Stanhope comes into view, looking upset and rather frantic.  This is the most emotion I have ever seen out of this woman, so naturally, I am curious to see what she is about.  She privately speaks with the executioner, asking him to take a very large sack of gunpowder and tie it around Anne Askew’s neck.  She asks him to do it not for the money, but for the “love of God.”  She is very clearly broken up over this impending execution, and you get the sense that Anne Askew is of great importance to her.  The guards bring a very broken and tortured Anne, carrying her on a chair.  This is actually historically accurate, for they had stretched her so badly on the rack that she did not have use of her arms or legs.  So sad, so horrifying.  I actually debated with myself over whether or not to watch this part, but I did want to see how Michael Hirst put this scene together.

The poor woman cries out as they carry her to where she is to be burned.  While they bring her to the scaffold, the disgusting Risley decides to sidle up to Lady Hertford to inform her that Bishop Gardiner would like to see her very soon.  We can all guess what that means, right?  On the scaffold, they have Anne Askew tied to a large stake.  This part is the one thing that Michael Hirst made a mistake about, and I am not sure why he did.  They have her standing, which is not what actually happened.  Historically, when Anne was tied to the large stake on the scaffold, she was set astride a small seat attached to the stake.  As I said before, she did not have use of her limbs, so she could not stand.  The executioner places the bag of gunpowder around her neck and tells her it is from a friend.  There is a gutwrenching moment when she meets eyes with Lady Hertford and it’s almost like she is trying to help her through this and help her stay strong.  It’s both touching and sad.  Historically, she was burnt with three other men, but this was not the case in this episode.  I think Michael Hirst most likely wanted to give the Protestant Martyr her due, and devote the scene to just her.  Some accounts I have read about Anne Askew states that she made no sound until the flames reached her chest, some state that she shouted her beliefs and prayed until the flames consumed her.   The gunpowder explodes nearly immediately and she is gone in a great puff of smoke.

Sir Richard Rich is terribly busy these days!  Torturing Anne Askew… and now questioning the Earl of Surrey as to his treasonous activities involving his plots to gain control of the Prince.  They get one specific statement from the Earl which essentially undoes him.  He states that his malice goes much higher than his “lowly cousin.”  Henry is alarmed to hear of the Earl’s intentions, Hertford playing to the King’s paranoias.  Henry admits that he has always loved the Earl, but now Surrey has forfeited his love.

The Earl devises an escape plan, as he knows he will surely die if he does not.  He digs a hole in the stone that goes down to the Thames and asks a friend privately to bring him a boat.  Unfortunately, for the enterprising Surrey, he is found out and his escape plan is foiled.  Pity.  I almost wanted him to succeed.  The Earl of Surrey has been a very fun character to watch.  I loved his boldness and his sense of humor about things.

And so… the trial of the Earl of Surrey begins.  Most of the charges are very clearly trumped up.  The Earl once again defends himself rather well.  I felt he was most admirable to watch.  This was a very excellent scene, showing a sort of division between the nobility and the newly created men of “low birth”.  He accuses Charles Brandon of trapping and betraying him, without outright naming him, which you can see right away upsets the Duke.  You never know if Brandon had a true hand in his trial, but he seems to be sad that his one time friend may perish.  Surrey asks to be judged by God and by the country, meaning he will be tried by a jury of his peers.  The noblemen come back to Lord Hertford, explaining that they can see no real way to condemn the Earl as there is very little proof of treason or his other so called offenses.  Hertford quickly explains that the King is law and his wishes are set above everything, including lack of evidence.  The jury is basically ordered to condemn Surrey.

Queen Catherine senses that there is something not quite right between her and the Lady Mary.  She approaches her to get to the bottom of it.  You can see that here are two extremely intelligent women, both strong and shrewd and although they both know what eachother’s true intentions are, they never speak of it.  But, it’s there in the words that aren’t spoken, and the looks that they give eachother.  Catherine explains that she is aware that “for some reason”, Mary no longer loves her as she once did, but that she still loves her and always will.

The jury unwillingly finds the Earl of Surrey guilty.  The Duke of Suffolk looks very disheartened at this news, and I think it is one more thing that just makes him want to give up.  The Earl of Surrey is very dignified, asking what they have found him guilty of.  He keeps his head high, never failing to keep his composure, even as they sentence him to being hung, drawn and quartered.  Once again, Michael Hirst does a fantastic job of making you feel sorry for the accused.  I confess, I was feeling very melancholy during this scene.  As he leaves the courtroom, there is Surrey’s voice, reciting his own poem, “The Quiet Mind.”  It’s the last time we will ever see the Earl again, as he walks out proudly, a true nobleman to the very end.

King Henry decides to question the Queen himself as to her choices of reading and books.  He urges her to be cautious of the “low” people reading the Bible.  Catherine responds by becoming passionate on the subject, encouraging that he rid England of all of it’s “dregs.”  Henry dismisses everyone, claiming to be tired, which makes the Queen wonder if she went too far.  Gardiner stays on.  The King admits to being tired of being lectured on such subjects by none other than his own wife.  The Bishop accuses the Queen of heresy, asking the King’s permission to put Catherine on trial.  Henry agrees but tells Gardiner that he is resolved to sparing the Queen’s life……….

And so we come to the end of this episode…… the Final Episode coming soon!!!!!!!!

****All pictures for this post were found on the site – Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!) .

Ah, the atrocities of war.  The eighth episode of The Tudors starts out right off showing thousands of men being carted off and buried in shallow graves.  Henry’s soldiers are dying off from illness, hunger, and the bad elements as they try to continue their siege on Boulogne.  The poor, overstarved men who are building a tunnel leading to the walls of the city are visibly tired and starving and not able to work fast enough for the King’s liking.

When the physician comes in to advise Henry about the “bloody flux” that is plaguing the soldiers, the king overturns a table and goes off on a tirade, claiming the physician is lying, that there is no disease, and that the soldiers are merely cowards.  He states that he will not bring cowards home.  He orders ALL of the soldiers to fight no matter what or he will “hang them by the wayside.”  He obviously wants his glory at any cost and it’s so obvious that Henry is losing his grip on reality.  You can’t help but feel sorry for those poor boys.

While his Majesty is away at war, Bishop Gardiner moves full steam ahead with his plans to reveal Queen Catherine as a Protestant heretic.  He comes to her to discuss a “matter” with her.  He requests her permission to indict some men of the King’s Privy Chamber, as a sort of “test”.  She rebuffs his request, explaining that she would rather leave that decision to the King, which inadvertently gives Gardiner the “evidence” he needs.  The Bishop is very clearly not pleased with her easy dismissal of his request, but I am sure it only makes him more determined to take her down!

Charles Brandon has decided to release his captive, Brigitte’s,  father in return for her “cooperation”.  Gee, that’s not textbook or anything.  The sacrificial heroine, “enduring” the handsome soldier’s advances “all for her father’s sake.”  Guess my cynicism is showing, lol!  The Duke has his hostage’s father released outside camp and I am sure we all know what is in store for the dear lady…….

A touching moment comes when the young Richard Leland runs into Harry Hearst while on his marching rounds.  He sees his new friend is near starving and insists upon giving him his bread to eat.  The men have a very strong bond despite the atrocious circumstances and it gives the optimistic something nice to watch amid all the distasteful elements of war.

Lord Hertford visits the King in Boulogne, reporting to him that Queen Catherine is doing quite well as regent of the kingdom while he is away.  Hertford is also shouldered with the unpleasant task of reporting that the Emperor, King Charles has already taken two French cities and taken many enemy prisoners.  Henry goes into another tirade about how no one knows how to correctly handle the soldiers, that sieging Boulogne in the manner they have been is making them grow soft and idle.  The King wants results and he wants them regardless of what reality is presenting to him.  He orders Sen. Trevisso to explode one of the charges under the castle prematurely, without warning.  Meaning a lot of his own men would meet their deaths. The King wanted to test his troops, to see what they could handle in a “crisis”.  Trevisso, for his part, begs the King to give him more time, and to reconsider so many would not have to die.  He asks for two days.  We don’t really get a real answer from Henry……

The Lady Mary pays a visit to Queen Catherine.  She very clearly hints that she is hoping the Queen is in favor of the Catholic religion, and Catherine manages to skirt around the issue with some success, however, I am sure at this point that Mary knows the truth.

Queen Catherine shows a very tender side with Henry’s children, discussing with Prince Edward the start of his education with his tutors and breaking with his governess and nurses.  She also tells Elizabeth that she expects great things from her.  I like how Michael Hirst throws in those little prophetic moments like that, as we all know that Elizabeth surely rose to the challenge!  Catherine also speaks with one of Elizabeth’s ladies privately, expressing her wishes to bring Elizabeth up with the Reformed faith as her mother, Anne Boleyn would have done.  I thought this was an extremely classy and wonderful touch on Catherine’s part.  Poor Elizabeth lost her mother so young…. this was certainly a wonderful way to help the girl connect with her mother in some way.  What many don’t realize is that Catherine’s decision helped shape the way Elizabeth ruled the Church of England which ended up saving many lives.

And….. very predictably, the handsome Duke of Suffolk and his gorgeous French captive do the deed.  She awakes him to tell him she was going to escape and then came back to him.  It’s all very quick and crazy, and did I say predictable???  I am just glad the aging Duke has something to be happy about again.

Now we come to a very big climax in Boulogne.  You see Trevisso telling all of the men who helped to dig the tunnel thank you and it was a pleasure working with them….. and then orders them to go.  It’s clear he is going to detonate the charge under the castle.  Harry Hearst is one of the ones who remain behind to help light the way after the fuses are lit.  It’s a tense silence that comes over the entire field.  Then…… chaos.  The fuses are lit……there is a rumble and the earth begins to shake……..the boys in the tunnel are running for their lives, hoping to make it out before it all comes down.   You see the earth move around the castle and then it all starts to come tumbling down in a big thunderous roar.  Men are cheering and fighting all at once.  Harry Hearst is pulled from the tunnel.  He is the only one who made it out alive.  Unfortunately, his friend, Richard did not fare so well.  An arrow hit him almost immediately.  The English soldiers attack the castle.

Word quickly reaches Queen Catherine that the King has taken Boulogne.  She is overjoyed as are Henry’s children.  She informs the children he will be home soon.

Henry receives the keys to the city of Boulogne, enjoying the humiliation of the French.  The King goes on to boast and brag and, as usual,  take full credit for the siege.  He is clearly soaking this victory up for all it’s worth.  He decides after the one victory, to return to England, instead of pushing on to invade Paris, leaving the Earl of Surrey in charge in France.

It’s a very sad moment when Harry Hearst visits Richard Leland’s grave.  He tells him he is sorry.  Most people wonder why he says that.  I am thinking maybe it’s some kind of survivor’s guilt?  Maybe he is just sorry to lose a friend.

Charles Brandon decides to reveal his feelings to Brigitte and asks her to come to England with him.  She agrees.

Next we see a spectacular view of the cliffs of Dover, and Henry and his men riding through the forest.  The Queen has come to meet him personally and it’s a very happy reunion.  I LOVE the costumes in this scene!!!!

There is much fanfare and joy and cheering as Henry returns to court with the keys to the city of Boulogne.

Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys presents himself before the king to ask his permission to leave court, as his health is quickly fading.  Henry decides to grill the Ambassador about the Emperor’s intentions towards the French.  He informs Eustace that he has permission to leave and that he hopes he is relieved he no longer has to lie for the Emperor.  It’s sad to me that Henry would end things with Chapuys in this way, but who could ever guess at that time what Henry would do next?

Eustace pays one final visit to the Lady Mary to say goodbye.  I feel so sorry for her.  This man was like a father to her.  Now he was leaving, preparing to pass on.  It had to be hard to be faced with that when he was the only constant in her life for so long.  Sarah Bolger gives a very heart wrenching speech as Mary to Chapuys, telling him that she will do all in her power to “make England faithful again.”  She vows to do whatever it takes.  You can see Michael Hirst is foreshadowing, showing us how she formed her ideas and her determinations which later led to her nickname “Bloody Mary”.  I am sure even the crimson dress she is wearing in this scene is symbolic of the moniker as well.  Eustace asks permission to embrace her.  He hugs her and gives her a ring in memory of him.  He explains it was a gift to him from the Emperor, who received it from her mother, Queen Catherine of Aragon.  I am so sad to see Chapuys go.  He was a character/person I really liked.

This episode is sad in many ways… and it only grows more sad.  Lord Hertford reports to the King that as well as completing a treaty with the French, the Emperor has consented to a marriage between his daughter and the French King’s son, the Duke.  He also reports that the French are preparing to march on and recapture Boulogne.  Despite this news, Henry proceeds to order Hertford to arrange for bells to be rung and masses to be said in honor of the great victory.  Henry says he wants the name Boulogne to be imprinted on English hearts.  He seems sort of out of it and delusional at this point and you just know it can’t be good.  The episode ends with Henry, alone, falling to the floor………

Two more episodes left, Tudors fans!  I can’t believe we have almost come to the end of the series!  Episode 9 coming very soon!

****All pictures for this post were found on the site – Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!) and a Sarah Bolger fan site:

Tragedy or trivial????

A very overwhelming sadness overcame me today as I read this article:

This is one of my all time favorite iconic Marilyn dresses.   “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” is my all time favorite movie featuring Marilyn Monroe.  It’s one of the very first Marilyn movies I watched, and it’s a part of what made me fall in love with her.

So where does the sadness come from?  It comes from wondering if anyone will ever see the dress again.  The article does not say to whom the dress was sold, and so I am assuming it’s a private collector of sorts.  I just really, truly hope that it is an avid Marilyn fan who bought the dress, not just someone who is collecting things.

It is my ferverent wish that Marilyn’s things would not be sold off piece by piece like they have done.  I wish they would do something with her belongings such as put them on display for fans and donate the proceeds from it to her favorite charities or similar ones if her favorite charities are no longer in existence.  I think that would be a very wonderful way to preserve her memory without pulling it apart and capitalizing on it.

I know there are Marilyn fans across the globe who feel much the same way I do about this particular topic.  All her life, people were always trying to take what they wanted from her, and it seems that even in death they are doing the same.  To me, it’s a tragedy, but to some it may be just one of those trivial things.

**Image found by Google Image Search

Fellow Tudors fans…. if you are like me and are half crazed waiting for the finale, I read an advance review of it today that included video and had me in tears.  You can find the review and videos here:

It’s a review from someone who is very much a Natalie Dormer fan, but she gives a very good overall review.  The finale is a bittersweet one for me, as part of me is very much wanting to see the last episode, and part of me is not wanting the series to end.  I know the history, I know how it ends, but Michael Hirst has brought the historical figures to life in a way I have never seen before, and that is the part that is hard to let go of.

My obsession with the history of the British Monarchy will go on… and play out in the posts on this blog, that is an absolute certainty.  But, it’s great to have directors such as Michael Hirst, who not only bring these people to vivid life before us, but also show us things we not might all get from our history classes in school.  I do not even try to pretend that it’s all historically accurate, it’s entertaiment after all, however, I do think he did an outstanding job with Henry VIII and the series itself.

****All pictures for this post were found on the site – Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!) .

The beginning of episode 7 brings us to a meeting with the King and his council.  They are clearly in agreement about going to war with France and invading Boulogne.  (All except for the Earl of Hertford.)  Henry appoints the Duke of Suffolk Commander of the Armies and Charles accepts his new duties with obvious pleasure and anticipation.  I couldn’t help but snicker as Henry makes a statement about never breaking his word and being “too old to begin now.”  How delusional that monarch was!!!!

Next, we see Henry and Catherine, as Catherine recites her vows to become the King’s wife and the new Queen of England.  The union is received with much joy and celebration.

Right away, Catherine proves herself to be a very kind and doting stepmother, an intelligent queen, and an obedient wife.  She asks for permission to get to know the Lady Elizabeth and Prince Edward, and to install permanent lodgings for Elizabeth at court so that she may be closer to her father and get to know him better.  Henry gives his permission, and you see they have a mutual respect for eachother that breeds a contentment.

Charles Brandon quickly starts assembling armies and weapons for the invasion of Boulogne.  You can see it’s not only something Henry wants, but also something Charles is looking forward to.  It’s a feeling of them recapturing their youthful days in some ways.

A very esteemed Duke from Spain sent by the Emperor, comes to visit court.  (I won’t for the life of me even try to spell his name.)  The King entrusts Queen Catherine and the Lady Mary to entertain him.  The Duke is presented to the queen and to Mary, and much to his delight, Mary greets him in fluent Spanish.  It’s a beautiful moment for Mary.  When the Duke expresses surprise about her speaking Spanish, she replies, “Am I not my mother’s daughter?”  I really loved it.  I love how they have developed Mary and shown us how she did carry the same grace and dignity as her mother did.

As the merriment and dancing go on into the evening, the queen is summoned by the king’s physicians.  His leg is worse again and incapacitating him.  The king doesn’t want her to see him in his pained condition, but she quickly gets him to let her tend to him.  She is patient and kind and loving with him.  She moves her bed to his chamber to look after him better.  Such a caring wife!!!

Of course, this is when Michael Hirst decides to introduce another new subplot.  A man by the name of Richard Leland impresses the Duke of Suffolk and earns himself a nice ranking in the army.  He befriends a man named Harry Hearst.  They are sweet and personable boys and you just know that the war is not going to bode well for them.

Catherine meets with Prince Edward.  It’s a very sweet scene.  The little boy seems sad and missing his father and the queen instantly picks up on it.  She reassures the young boy that he is very special to his father and that the king would love to see him more if he could.  You can tell how attached she is already to the children.  Of course, you can’t help but feel sorry for the little prince.

Poor King Henry….it seems that his plans for invading Boulogne are not going well or according to plan.  The preparations are lagging… there are hold ups and not enough troops ready to the king’s satisfaction.  He quickly goes on a tirade once again about how inept his commanders and advisors are.  The king designates Queen Catherine as regent while he is in France, much to the dismay of Richard Rich and Bishop Gardiner.  Bishop Gardiner is determined to find out the queen’s true intentions for the realm and her true religious beliefs.

The king prepares to depart for France.  He tells Catherine he has left everything in order in the event that he does not return from France.  He explains that his wishes are for Edward to succeed him, and if he has no issue the crown goes to Lady Mary, and then to Lady Elizabeth.  I can’t help but feel overwhelmingly glad for the two girls who had been so adrift before due to their father’s paranoia and just plain cruelty.  It’s nice to see him recognizing his children and treating them as a loving father would.  Mary is very clearly broken up and frightened about her father leaving.  It’s a true testament to a daughter’s love no matter the circumstances.  Henry tenderly kisses her forehead and tells her not to weep.  He asks Elizabeth to write him of all that happens in the kingdom and whatever else she sees fit to write to him.  He kisses her forehead and it’s one of the first times you ever feel that Henry truly loves his children and wants the best for them.  He parts, telling Catherine he is leaving his children in her capable hands, trusting her to do well by them.  She of course promises to do all she can.

Henry and his troops finally reach Boulogne, France.  He meets with the Duke of Suffolk to find out how the troops are progressing.  The king is very eager to get things started.  He is met by the troops with much excitement and honor.  The morale of the troops is high…… for now……

The King gives a very stirring speech about doing their duty for England, for their king, for their inheritances.  The men are eager to fight and prove their loyalty to the king.

Fighting immediately commences and Charles Brandon is very good in his position as commander.  And so begins the siege of Boulogne.  Henry watches from a distance with the Earl of Surrey.  It’s an intense moment as you wait for Henry to give orders to Brandon to give to the army to start firing.  Of course, we get the usual gunfire and cannon explosions and such, but I really do think that Michael Hirst did a good job of showing not only how brutal war could be in Tudor times, but also how much manpower it really did take to have the battles themselves.

Meanwhile, back at court, we start to see Catherine Parr’s true intentions.  I have to say, the woman was both intelligent and brave in the way she went about things.  She most certainly knew what the consequences of her actions could be, but her beliefs were stronger.  She appoints a man by the name of Mr. Hugh Latimer as Chaplain to her household, despite his being well-known for having “controversial” beliefs.  He happily accepts the position.  She requests of him that he conceals his true beliefs to the Lady Mary out of respect for her faith.  Hmmmm… how noble of her, but one can’t help but see it also saves her hide to “conceal” things from Mary, lol!  Catherine’s sister Anne is fearful of Mr. Latimer’s appointment, but the queen refuses to “play the coward.”  She is determined to further the cause of the reformation as long as she has power as queen.

While in Boulogne, Henry uses the tactics of an Italian man who devises a plan to tunnel under the castle to set off explosions and bring down the city.  Henry is already asking for unrealistic deadlines, go figure.  Word of some French soldiers escaping from the castle has the Earl of Surrey and the Duke of Suffolk going on the defensive in the forest.

A small battle ensues as the Earl gets ambushed.  He is quickly aided by the Duke.  The French soon lose the small battle in the woods, and Brandon is shocked to discover one of their new prisoners is a woman.  He is both intrigued and instantly fascinated by her.  She is a beautiful and fiery captive, informing Charles that the French call King Henry the “English Nero”.   It’s strange that Charles seems so shocked and disappointed to hear it… or maybe he is disappointed in himself for giving his life to serve such a man???

Queen Catherine faithfully writes to King Henry, telling him how she misses him and wishing him well on his journey and battles with France.  It is clear that the king misses his wife, and the gentle care she took with him.  His health isn’t as bad as it has been in the past, but his leg clearly bothers him on a constant level.

As if the ugly weather and the tunnel delays weren’t bad enough, the Master Surgeon informs Henry that an outbreak of Dysentery is killing his soldiers.  We leave this episode with an angry Henry, looking out over Boulogne…… we can only imagine how badly he wants to crush the French at this point, but I imagine we will get to see that soon enough in the next episode.

Stay tuned for episode 8!  We are getting down to the wire, Tudors fans!!!!!

****All pictures for this post were found on the site – Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!) .

Happy birthday, Marilyn!!!

Happy birthday, Norma Jeane, aka Marilyn!

Marilyn Monroe is always going to be one of those people who will continually live on in the hearts of others.  I was not even close to being born when she passed away, but I feel a very deep connection to this woman just the same.  It’s just sad that she left this earth before she could do everything she wanted to do.

My love affair with Marilyn started when I was about 10 years old.  My grandmother used to tell me all about “old hollywood” and the “silver screen,” and what went on with the actresses and actors behind the screen.  It was kind of like an inside look from someone who lived in those times and kept up with everything.  One day, I saw a picture of Marilyn, and that’s all it took to want to know more.  Pretty soon, I was bugging my grandma for every tidbit she could come up with about the actress…. then it was devouring books and watching her movies.  I have a small, modest collection of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia….. pictures, plates, movies, purses…. all kinds of miscellaneous stuff too.

Marilyn was a very wise woman, and I think to this day, her intelligence is not widely known or fully appreciated.  I really believe she was killed and did NOT commit suicide.  I think putting that on her death certificate was a grave injustice to the once full of life star.

Marilyn will always be special to me, I will always want to know more,  I will always be enraptured with her.  She was a beautiful icon who will always shine, because she was beautiful on the inside too.

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