Tag Archive: Tudor Dynasty

Henry and Anne – Image source unknown

“Entice the King!”

They said.

“It will be grand!”

They promised.

“All will be glorious!”

They exclaimed.

They enticed her

As she enticed her King

Spinning tails, promises

Of sweet love.

Soon the enticer

Became the enticed.

Ravenous, fierce

Primal desires

Fed one another

Like oxygen

To a flame.

The flame

Burned, hotter,


Then one day

It blew up.



Loss of love,


Children not


No heir.

Then the



Her King was

Now enticed

by another.

Promises made

Not kept;

Chaos ensued.

Once regal, proud,


Highest of

The high,

Now brought

So low.

Death awaits

And then stalls

As the blade

Fails to arrive.

Finally, she is

Now enticed

By death,

By her peace

By being pariah

No more.


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!)  http://tudorswiki.sho.com/photos and a Sarah Bolger fan site: http://sarah-bolger.com/gallery/index.php

The casting of Catherine Howard was fun and very easy.  I was actually amazed at how easy it was.  I have quite a few choices for her and I am going to share them all!

Catherine Howard was Henry VIII’s fifth wife.  She had quite an unsupervised type of adolescence which ultimately led to her execution.

Henry fell hard for the young Catherine in the last remaining days of his marriage to Anne of Cleves.   He thought she was everything he could possibly hope for in a wife.  Unfortunately, the King would find out he was terribly wrong in this assumption.  She was small and slender, with auburn hair, and was said to be kind yet frivolous and empty headed.

Here is an actual pic/painting of Catherine Howard:

Here are the actresses I picked to portray Catherine Howard.

My first choice is Erika Christensen.  I have seen her play a wide variety of roles and believe that she could play this role quite well.  She has played the out of control teenager before, in the movie, “Traffic,” and I really believe she would do Catherine justice.

My second choice is Mena Suvari.  I have also seen her play the rebellious teenager well onscreen.  Her role in “American Beauty” is what really leads me to believe she could play the seductive young girl and really capture that sexual essence that Catherine had even as young as she was.

My third choice is Amanda Detmer.  She has a very sunny, youthful appearance and I think she would make a good Catherine.

I have two other actresses who I had given some thought to, and although I am not entirely sure they would be right for the role, I will post their pics anyway.  They are Rachel McAdams and Dakota Fanning.

When Henry married Catherine, he had a medal struck to commemorate the occasion.  He quickly dubbed her his “Rose without a thorn.”  Little did he know at the time how much he would come to regret calling her that!  The young girl had absolutely no idea how to be a Queen of England and it was very apparent to everyone that the only thing she did know how to do was to “make merry and dance.”  She broke the king’s heart when he learned of her adultery and she became the second of Henry’s wives to lose her head.

Catherine’s motto was “No other will but his,” and her badge was a crowned Tudor rose.  She was only a mere 17 years old when she was executed for treason at the Tower of London.

Episode 5 of the final season, very aptly named, “The Bottom of the Pot,” brings us to the end of the young Catherine Howard’s life.

It is an EXTREMELY quick rundown of actual events that took place during this time period, but such is the way of this series.  The opening scene is Henry, showing Edward Seymour the letter that was sent to him, demanding to know what the letter is all about.  Edward seems just as puzzled as the King  as to the young queen’s past.  Being ever careful and paranoid, Henry tells the Earl of Hertford to investigate the matter thoroughly and to not stop until he reaches “the bottom of the pot.”

Catherine is quickly confined to her chambers with only Lady Rochford to attend her at Henry’s command.  Quickly, witnesses are rounded up, and Francis Derham is arrested.   It is clear that Henry does not believe at this time that Catherine is guilty, but still he is waiting on the results of the investigation to make his judgements.   The young queen is determined to find a way to speak to the King, sure that he will listen to her if he sees her.  It’s sad really, because this way of thinking, was actually quite true.  Henry could never get rid of someone who could get to him and speak to him… he almost always would relent.  Such is why, historically, when someone in the Tudor times was about meet their end, Henry would isolate himself from the person, often times leaving to get away.

Henry meets with his council and unfortunately, to his humiliation, finds that all the charges against Catherine are true.  What they don’t know about at this point, is that she had been having an affair with Thomas Culpepper.  They are only investigating claims about her past music teacher, Henry Mannox, and her prior relationship with Francis Derham.

When Thomas Seymour comes to tell the terrified girl of her fate, that she is no longer queen of England, that she will be taken to Syon Abbey and placed under house arrest, and that everything she has is forfeit, Catherine gets hysterical.  What happens next has been debated for years by historians.  According to legend, Catherine gets free of the men who are guarding her in an effort to find Henry.  She runs frantically to the chapel in Hampton Court to find him, screaming his name.  Just as she sees him, she is dragged away, beseeching him to look at her, to speak to her.  Michael Hirst chooses to use this particular legend in his series, which I think adds a poignancy and makes you feel a bit sorry for the young girl.  Henry does seem to be a bit moved, however, and sends Bishop Gardiner to interrogate Catherine.

Meanwhile, they continue to torture Francis Derham, sure there is more to his story than he is telling.  (Well, that and Edward Seymour just loved to use torture, LOL!

Being a girl who wasn’t so bright to begin with, Catherine is given a way out, she is presented with a merciful bargain from Henry, only to continue lying and maintain her complete innocence.  She is devastated and broken and it is quite plain that she is not thinking clearly, whatsoever.  You are reminded that indeed, this is a young girl who really didn’t know what she was doing, really did not have the good sense to realize she had done herself in.  Her stories changed from day to day, they varied, first confessing things and then vehemently denying them, laughing them off.  It is my opinion, she was afraid to commit to anything for fear it would kill her, but in the end, she was to die anyway.

The Bishop Gardiner brings Henry the queen’s “confession,” however, Edward Seymour and the Duke of Suffolk have other suspicions.  Edward finally gets Francis Derham to crack under torture, giving him Thomas Culpepper’s name.  Then, all hell breaks loose.  At first, Henry was content with being able to annul the marriage.  Now, he would not be so generous.  It turns into this horrible “he said,” “she said,” triangle between Lady Rochford, Thomas Culpepper, and Catherine Howard.  It’s almost sad how they throw poor Lady Rochford under the bus, blaming her, saying she acted like a madame in a brothel.  Poor woman.  Wrong place, wrong time… ALWAYS.

Edward Seymour then has the unfortunate job of informing Henry that he has indeed scraped “the bottom of the pot.”  Henry is enraged (duh), and decides to have his just revenge on “that wicked bitch”.  The real twist in the knife is when Seymour reads Catherine’s letter to Culpepper to the king.  OUCH!!!!!  If Henry wasn’t such a tyrant, I would feel so sorry for him!  Of course, in typical Henry VIII fashion, he blames everyone but himself.  Didn’t we see that one coming?

Can someone explain to me just WTH is going on with this crap????  (See above picture)  Michael Hirst goes to the trouble to insinuate that Anne Stanhope’s  son Thomas is indeed her brother-in-law’s son, not her husband Edward’s?  Interesting touch, I guess.  You never know, lol!

Poor Lady Rochford.  She has gone mad, and Henry still wants her dead.  Henry is out for blood and even stoops to chiding the Duke of Suffolk at every turn for his involvement in “putting the queen before his notice.”   It’s kind of maddening how one person refused to ever take responsibility for his own actions.

I really love how Michael Hirst can turn a gruesome death into almost this most moving and beautiful moment.  You hear Catherine’s voice reciting her letter to Culpepper and her testimony about him and Francis Derham…. meanwhile you see Culpepper and Derham going to their deaths.  You see a young, vulnerable girl, dancing as if she were still at court, getting the feeling that she is in a whole other world… far away from her troubles.  As you hear her voice and as she dances, Culpepper is beheaded, Derham, hung, drawn and quartered.  I can’t say I was sad to see either of them go.

Catherine is brought to the Tower of London by the Duke of Suffolk.  Of course, Henry orders her death and gets an act of attainder to be able to execute the Lady Rochford as well.  Informed of her impending death, Catherine requests that the block be brought to her so that she may practice how to place her head and “make trial of it.”  Brave girl.  I don’t think I would have done the same.  But, I guess one doesn’t really know how you would act unless you were in that situation, correct?

And so we come to the end of this episode.  First mistake Michael Hirst made, and I am not entirely sure why, was that he had poor Lady Rochford executed first.  This is not fact.  Catherine Howard was executed before her Maid of Honor.

In the end, Michael Hirst let Catherine go out in a blaze of glory.  There is another legend concerning the queen that her last words were, “I die a queen, but would rather die a wife of Culpepper.”  This was found to be historically inaccurate, but Michael Hirst chooses to use it anyway, to sort of show us, that this was really the type of girl that Catherine was.  And, so ends the life of wife #5.

Stay tuned for episode six!

****All pictures for this post were found on the sites – Admiring Tamzin Merchant  – http://tamzinmerchant.net/ and Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!)  http://tudorswiki.sho.com/photos .

The casting of Anne of Cleves was an incredibly difficult one.  In the end, I could only find two women whom I thought came close to representing her well enough.  Anne of Cleves traveled from Germany to become Henry VIII’s fourth wife.  Little did she know what she was in for!  I would imagine the girl was overwhelmed and a bit scared to say the least.  After all, she spoke almost no English, and had little means to communicate with the King.

Anne of Cleves did show that she had intelligence.  She learned English quickly.  When the King of England proposed a divorce, she quickly did her homework and learned from her predecessors.  She gave the King what he asked for and received a generous settlement from him for her cooperation.

Here is an actual pic of Anne of Cleves:

Here are the actresses that I picked to portray Anne of Cleves.

First, I went with another choice of Michael Hirst’s.  I think he sees some really wonderful potential in a person that not everyone would think of to choose for a particular role.   I chose Joss Stone.  I think she truly illustrates the way Anne of Cleves most likely was in life.  She really seems to get all of the subtle nuances that became Anne after she divorced from Henry, and does a very good job of showing the sort of grace one would have if they were raised as a princess.

My next choice is Julia Stiles.  Although she does not traditionally have dark hair like Anne of Cleves, I have seen her with darker hair and I believe she would be a good fit.  I think she would give Anne of Cleves the same sort of inner intelligence and glow that Joss Stone does.

When Henry VIII first laid eyes on Anne of Cleves, he was not pleased to find he had been mislead by his trusted advisor, Thomas Cromwell.  “I like her not,” were the King’s words.   She was, however, found to be one of the most “sweet, gracious, and humane queens they had ever had.”  She was queen for a mere six months.

Anne’s choice of badge was the insignia of the Duchy of Cleves and her motto was “God send me well to keep.”  She was the only one of Henry’s wives to live after being discarded by him.  Although she treasured her relationships with Mary and Elizabeth Tudor, she never had any children of her own.

Haunted by the past…. it would be a very apt way to describe episode 4 of The Tudors’ new season.  For, throughout this episode, there are ghosts from the past everywhere.

This episode starts with Henry’s progress taking him to Pontefract Castle in York, the only castle the rebels in the North had succeeded in taking over during the Pilgrimage of Grace.  They receive a warm welcome, which makes Henry very happy and he feels invigorated.  Unfortunately, for Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, the Northern progress is not such a happy one.  It is filled with moments of betrayal, unhappiness and regrets.  He is feeling haunted by his guilt for carrying out the King’s orders during the great rebellion against his own conscience.

The King sends for Catherine, intending to try again for another heir.  Catherine, for her part is already starting to make excuses not to sleep with Henry.  She can only think of seeing Thomas Culpepper and does so shortly after spending time with the King.  One cannot help but think this girl definitely pushes her luck in a most careless way!

Once again, the people of the North seek forgiveness from King Henry for their earlier transgressions and once again, the King benevolently forgives them.  The Lady Mary leads the cheering and happy crowd in a prayer.  It’s wonderful to see Henry recognizing Catherine of Aragon’s natural dignity and grace in Mary.  I think at this point, it almost gives him comfort.

The young and frivolous queen is also being haunted by her past as Francis Dereham comes to court, blackmailing her into giving him a position of favor.  She appoints him her private secretary and usher.

Later, at dinner, Catherine informs the King that she appointed a new private secretary and usher to her chambers.  Henry laughs it off, thinking it silly that she would need a secretary.

At the very same dinner, while toasting the young queen, Charles Brandon notices something is not quite right between her and the young Culpepper.  We see a bit of foreshadowing of what is to come!

Francis Dereham, for his part, doesn’t seem to care about the inherent dangers of his lewd behavior.  He saunters in, taunting Joan Bulmer about the past, kissing her as he leaves to find himself somewhere to sleep.  He’s rather slimy and I won’t be sad to see him go when his time is up!

The ghost of Lord Darcy pays the Duke of Suffolk a visit.  Charles asks forgiveness for his betrayal and receives none.  You feel so sorry for him, for it is so clear that he is a broken man.  His allegiance to his King above everything else has taken its toll on him.  It’s so sad to see him broken and crying!

One heartwarming spot in this episode is that Michael Hirst shows us the growing relationship between Elizabeth and her brother Edward.  She is helping him with his lessons and spending time helping to guide him.  She tells him how she would like him to be a just ruler and assures him he will be a great king.  It’s so sweet and touching, and also a very true part of history.  They did love eachother very much.

Paying Catherine a visit, Culpepper decides to confront her about Francis’ presence as her new usher.  Of course, she behaves indignantly, in order to defend herself, informing him that she has a “store of other lovers” besides him.  It seems to work, for Culpepper endeavors to keep his distance for a short while.

Unfortunately for the now very beleaguered queen, Francis is making scenes at meals, embarassing her in front of her other ladies and gentlemen of her chamber.  Lady Rochford questions Joan about his “familiar” ways and is not pleased to discover that it is a large part of his personality.  It’s pretty sickening what a giant ass this guy makes of himself and once again, I cannot help but be glad he will soon meet his end.

Elizabeth goes into Prince Edward’s chamber to kiss him goodnight and finds that he is dangerously ill.  She immediately calls for Lady Bryant who sends for Lord Hertford.  If Edward were to die, it could unseat the entire Tudor Dynasty.  The Earl of Hertford delays in sending for the King, hoping the Prince’s fever will soon break.  The poor little thing.  He looks so helpless in his big bed and all they can do is pray for his health to return.

Catherine decides she has been away from Culpepper for far too long and asks Lady Rochford to send a message to him, asking him to meet her.  When Culpepper finally meets with her, he makes her promise to get rid of Dereham.  She does so willingly, telling him once they reach London, she will dismiss him.

The Earl of Surrey continues to be a sort of anarchistic character, writing poetry, some of it rather eloquent, some of it rather insulting, often speaking to the Duke of Suffolk about the way the nobility SHOULD be, how the men of low and vile birth are ruining the realm.  It’s almost as if he is living continually in the past, wishing for something beyond his grasp.  While he is brash and cocky, he is also melancholy and pensive.  Strange combination, but I am hoping that in the scheme of things, Michael Hirst is going somewhere with it.  Nevertheless, he is interesting to watch.  🙂

King Henry awaits his visit from the King of Scotland, only to find that he is not coming.  To make matters worse, the Scots cause an upheaval,  killing all who oppose them and destroying everything in their path.  It infuriates Henry, makes him feel like an utter fool and he decides to send troops to teach them a lesson.  In the midst of this awful moment, a messenger is finally sent to inform the King of Prince Edward’s illness.  He races off to Windsor Castle immediately.  He is shattered to find his sweet boy so ill, but I am sure he was also terrified beyond reason for the Tudor Dynasty as well.  He stays with Edward, not leaving his side.  Edward’s fever finally breaks, much to the rejoicing of everyone.

The last scene of this episode shows Bishop Gardiner leading a mass, giving thanks to God for Catherine.  You then see a letter being placed on the seat next to where the King is standing!  How ironic that at the very moment Henry is showing his thanks and happiness to have Catherine for his wife, he is about to receive news that she is NOTHING that he thought she was!

Stay tuned for more on this season of The Tudors!!!

****All pictures for this post were found on the sites – Admiring Tamzin Merchant  – http://tamzinmerchant.net/ and Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!)  http://tudorswiki.sho.com/photos .

My, oh my, but you can always count on Michael Hirst to make history work for his own purposes.  I have to say, though, if you are going to give historical events your own little twist, he certainly does it right!!!

Episode three of the new season is a bit more on the sentimental side, it shows Henry’s demeanor changing, softening in ways you wouldn’t expect from the aging and paranoid monarch.  The King is feeling well enough to be up and about, and he goes to see Queen Catherine immediately.  He makes it plain that he wants her to conceive his child as soon as possible.  Catherine, however, is developing very strong feelings for Thomas Culpepper.  They arrange to meet much more frequently as the time passes.

The Earl of Surrey is made a Knight of the Garter, much to the Seymour’s dismay, but I am lead to think that perhaps Edward Seymour sees it as keeping his enemy close in order to keep a better eye on him.  The Earl of Surrey is an increasingly proud and bawdy character, and I have to confess, he downright makes me laugh.  I think David O’Hara does a wonderful job at portraying him.

King Henry is first ecstatic to learn that Catherine is pregnant, only to be abruptly brought back down to earth when she explains later that she was mistaken.  He is very predictably NOT happy with her.  I do have to say, they are portraying Henry as possibly tiring of the young queen’s childish antics and not as interested in her.  Historically, this was NOT true.  Henry remained besotted with Catherine up until the moment it was proved to him that she had committed adultery.

Another diversion from history, although it does make one’s imagination run wild, is Henry paying a visit to Anne of Cleves and his daughter, Lady Elizabeth.  For the second time now, you see Henry’s tenderness and affection growing for Elizabeth and he presents her with the gift of a book in Latin.  He enjoys his visit, playing cards with Anne, and finds he likes her much more than he thought possible.  He asks to come to her bed and she, of course (you can’t say no to the king) says yes.

Henry also has Edward brought to him and presents him with the gift of a jeweled dagger.  There is a moment where everyone gasps, because when the young prince pulls it out of it’s sheath, he holds it up to Henry’s throat.  Henry tells Edward he sees his mother in him.  It’s a very tender moment between father and son.  The King asks Edward if he knows who his mother was, and Edward nods, digs into his pocket and pulls out a locket with her picture and a thimble that had onced belonged to her.  I really liked this scene because you never see Henry speak of any of his children’s mothers until this moment.  It had to be difficult to never be able to ask your father about your own mother!

King Henry, Queen Catherine and the Lady Mary go on a progress in the North to impress the people, hoping to put the matter of the Pilgrimage of Grace in the past.  The King and Lady Mary receive a most wonderful reception and it is clear that it gives both Henry and the Lady Mary hope for the future.  It is very apparent that Mary carries herself in much the same way her mother, Catherine of Aragon did and she is instantly loved by the people as her mother was.  They all attend Mass in Lincolnshire, where Henry forgives all of the people for “their trespasses against him”.  It is also very clear that this makes Lady Mary very happy.  She positively GLOWS in this episode!

Of course, the ever helpful (and I think a bit creepy and crazy) Lady Rochford finds ways to aid the queen in furthering her relationship with Mr. Culpepper.  She arranges for her to have a room that is easily accessible to him and she wastes no time in meeting with him.  The episode ends with Thomas and Catherine having sex in her “stool chamber”.  In my opinion, knowing how those things must have smelled back then, it’s not so romantic or hot to me, lol!

Stay tuned for my synopsis of the next episode!

****All pictures for this post were found on the sites – Admiring Tamzin Merchant  – http://tamzinmerchant.net/ and Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!)  http://tudorswiki.sho.com/photos .

Episode two of The Tudors’ new season was quite entertaining.  From the beginning to the end, it is positively filled with new information, new innuendo and of course, a lot of sex, lol!

Henry VIII has a medal struck to commemorate his marriage to Catherine Howard, dubbing her his “Rose Without a Thorn”.  Little does he know yet!

I have to wonder at all the little subplots this episode has going on.  The Earl of Surrey is quite a boisterous and interesting character.  Once Lady Hertford (Edward Seymour’s wife) declines to sleep with him, he wickedly insults her and strengthens his campaign to insult the Seymours at every turn, claiming they are “men of low and vile birth”.  Can’t wait to see what becomes of him by the end of the season, as history says that he does end up losing his head.

I am still puzzled as to why Michael Hirst decided to have Thomas Seymour sleep with his brother’s wife, Lady Hertford.  I am thinking it was a means to show the depth of hatred they both had for Edward, but I am merely speculating.

This episode portrays another Christmas season in the Tudor court and Henry decides to invite Anne of Cleves (his ex wife) and the Lady Mary (formerly princess) to court to celebrate the holidays with him and Catherine.  We saw in the first episode that there was a bit of tension between Mary and Catherine and it only becomes more intense with this episode.  Queen Catherine decides to confront Lady Mary about her “lack of respect” shown to her as is expected.  The women trade some rather ugly words with eachother, resulting in Catherine dismissing two of Mary’s maids.  Eustace visits Mary to find her packing her things and tries to get her to see some reason.  Mary, in turn, breaks down in his arms and it is quite a sad sight to see.  You can only feel sorry for the poor girl, after everything she has endured at the hands of her own father.

Ironically, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard get along remarkably well, and when Henry decides to retire to bed early, the women celebrate and dance well into the night.  Anne of Cleves is obviously quite wise to the fact that the more agreeable she is, the more sure she is to keep her head, lol!  Henry does seem to see Anne in a new light, however, and I know that it is going to allude to something more down the road.  He does tell Thomas Culpepper when asked why he invited Anne to celebrate the holidays, “I like her after all.  She keeps her promises, boy.”  For Henry, a woman who keeps her promise is a very valuable thing indeed!

As for the King, his leg only starts to debilitate him more and more, landing him a long bout in bed in seclusion.  Catherine Howard, being the young and not so bright girl she is, assumes he is having an affair and is quite upset that she is not allowed into Henry’s presence.

Which leads to a perfect opportunity for Thomas Culpepper.  He and Lady Jane Rochford, the Queen’s Maid of Honor, start discussing the Queen’s sordid past and one thing leads to another.  Wanting to please the ever cunning Culpepper, Lady Rochford offers to arrange a meeting with the Queen.  Lady Rochford and Joan Bulmer (another of Katherine’s maids who also happens to be a friend from her past) begin to plant the seed in Catherine’s mind about Culpepper being in love with her and she decides she wants to meet with him.

The episode ends with Joan and Lady Rochford smuggling Thomas Culpepper into Catherine’s bedchamber.  WOW!!!  I REALLY can’t wait to see Henry’s reaction when he finds out.  Jonathan Rhys Meyers is so great at portraying Henry’s anger and tirades and paranoia.  I am really shocked at how much Michael Hirst manages to pack into ONE episode!  It’s uncanny!!!

Stay tuned for a rundown of Episode Three!  More to come!!!!!

****All pictures for this post were found on the sites – Admiring Tamzin Merchant  – http://tamzinmerchant.net/ and Showtime’s Tudors Wiki (which has been SUPER helpful to me!)  http://tudorswiki.sho.com/photos .

The casting of Jane Seymour was both easy and difficult.  Easy, because of the amount of young blonde actresses out there, which in turn made it difficult to choose which ones I liked best!

Jane Seymour was Henry VIII’s third wife.  There is some debate as to how Jane felt about being Anne Boleyn’s replacement.  After all, she married the King of England the day after he had the former queen and her predecessor beheaded.  Was she a scared, young girl trapped by her family’s ambitions or did she play an active  role in replacing Anne?  There is one thing I do believe to be very true.  Jane went out of her way to be the exact opposite of Anne Boleyn.  I think it was a smart act of self preservation on her part to be so submissive to Henry.   Jane was said to be very beautiful, with light coloring…..blonde hair, light colored skin and blue eyes.

Here is an actual pic/painting of Jane Seymour:

Here are the actresses I picked to portray Jane Seymour.

My first choice is Annabelle Wallis.  I actually surprised myself by choosing her, because when I first saw her in the promo photos, I was not happy.  Once I saw her in “The Tudors”, however, I realized she was very right for the role.   She plays a more gentle, yet strong Jane, who is caught between keeping her head and staying true to her beliefs.

My second choice is Kate Bosworth….I think she could do the role justice and portray a more innocent version of Jane.

My third choice is Reese Witherspoon.  I think she could take Jane in a different direction, more of a strong side to Jane.

My last choice is Sienna Miller.  I think she would do a good job of portraying both the submissive and the strong sides of Jane.

Henry VIII considered Jane his “true and most beloved wife” even after he married other women.  In Tudor paintings, he had her painted next to him, instead of the current queen.  She was the only queen anyone ever saw King Henry mourn.   She was never officially crowned queen.

Jane’s choice of badge was a phoenix rising from a castle with Tudor roses.  Her motto was “Bound to obey and serve”.  She was the only Tudor queen to give Henry VIII a legitimate male heir that lived past infancy.  Her son, Edward VI went on to become King after Henry’s death in 1547 with her brother, Edward Seymour acting as Lord Protector.

I am excited to talk about the casting of Anne Boleyn because she is my favorite of Henry’s wives.  Many people think she was a horrible person who deserved to die, a harlot, a heretic…..but I really don’t pay attention to any of that.  There were other things that made up Anne Boleyn and I chose women that I thought would represent what she was historically known to look like.  Paintings and reports on Anne Boleyn describe her as an unusual creature, with olive toned skin and eyes so dark they were nearly black, and long dark hair.  Women with fair hair and skin in Tudor times were considered far more beautiful than “The Brunette” as Thomas Wyatt referred to her in one of his poems.

Here is an actual pic/portrait of Anne Boleyn:

Here are the actresses I picked to portray Anne Boleyn.

My first choice is Natalie Dormer.  Natalie played Anne Boleyn on Showtime’s “The Tudors” and it is my opinion that no one has ever done Anne Boleyn justice the way that she has.  She perfectly portrayed all the elements that made up who Anne was, and rose to the challenge of going from a young confident girl, to a woman in love, to a woman in fear for her very life.  That is a wide spectrum of emotions to go through in just two seasons!  But, she succeeded beautifully!!!!  The only thing I would complain about if anything is that Natalie’s eyes are blue and not the sparkling almost black that Anne’s eyes actually were.  All in all, for me, when it comes to the role of Anne Boleyn, there will never be anyone who “does it” for me like Natalie Dormer does.  As my best friend says, “She NAILS that role!”

I am posting more pics, cause I just LOVE her!

My second choice is Eliza Dushku….. I think her eyes could pull off the Anne Boleyn look and she has that sultry, but subtle draw to her.

My last choice is Rachel Bilson, although I am not completely sure about her.  She may be a bit too wholesome looking, but I thought I would post one of her anyways….

As usual, both history and movies always need a “villain”, and that person for King Henry’s subjects was Anne Boleyn.  Henry was so taken with Anne, he even wrote her love letters (Henry hated writing letters and seldom did to anyone else), one of which is still in existence today.    She was an intriguing character and I look forward to writing much more about her.

Anne’s choice of badge as queen was the crowned falcon with Tudor roses and her motto was “The Most Happy”.  Although her reign as queen did not last long, the effects of her time on the throne changed religion in England forever.  Her daughter, Elizabeth I, went on to become queen and to have one of the most successful reigns in British history.

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