Wolf Hall: Shut up, shut up, shut up!

Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn in Wolf HallPreviously on Wolf Hall: Anne miscarried again, so Henry told Cromwell to find a way to get rid of her, so he can move on to Jane Seymour.

Cromwell’s having a dinner with an extremely unlikely guest list. The Pole and Courtenay women are there, as is Norfolk, who’s demanding his food. Cromwell calls it forward, and as the plates are placed on the table, he sees Anne coming towards him, dragged by ropes over the dishes, dressed in her coronation gown. Oh, dream sequence. That makes sense. Anne looks up at Cromwell and smiles creepily. He stands and lifts a dagger over her heart, plunges it down…

…and comes back to himself at breakfast, with his family. So, it was kind of a waking dream/fantasy then? Odd. He eats, rather mechanically.

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Wolf Hall: Anna Regina

Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn in Wolf HallPreviously on Wolf Hall: Wolsey died en route to prison, setting Cromwell on a revenge path against the Boleyns and everyone else involved in his downfall.

It’s now 1531, and Henry’s asking Parliament to declare him Supreme Head of the Church of England, so he can declare his own marriage to Katherine null and void. That’s not going over too well with loyal Catholics, like More, who enjoys spending his afternoons reading aloud from the Bible (or a prayerbook) while some poor bastard gets tortured.

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Wolf Hall: Don’t Ask, Don’t Get

Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell challenges Henry VIII to an archery contestPreviously on Wolf Hall: Henry VIII decided the best way to get a son and heir was to ditch his wife and marry someone younger. He set Cardinal Wolsey the impossible task of dissolving an ironclad marriage, and when the Cardinal failed, he was sent off in disgrace. This is all witnessed by the Cardinal’s lawyer, Thomas Cromwell, a man who dragged himself out of the gutter and is definitely on his way up.

It’s December 1529. Wolsey’s still at Esher, but Anne and Norfolk want him sent further north, further away from Henry. Cromwell’s still in London, fighting on the Cardinal’s behalf.

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Wolf Hall: Three-Card Trick

Wolf HallI can’t tell you guys how much I’ve been looking forward to this for ages. Ever since I read the books a couple of years back. I loved Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies and can’t wait for the third one to come out. I really, really wanted to go see the stage play at Stratford-Upon-Avon, but it didn’t work out. That’s ok, I’ve got this. Are we ready? Let’s go.

It’s 1529. Henry’s been trying to get rid of Katherine of Aragon for two years, and man, is he mad that it hasn’t happened yet. And all that considerable Henry rage has been directed at Cardinal Wolsey.

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The Princess of Wales

On 19 May 1499, a young Catherine of Aragon married, by proxy, Arthur, Prince of Wales, unwittingly taking her first steps on her journey into living hell. Catherine was only three years old when she became engaged to Arthur, and not yet 14 when the proxy marriage took place. She and Arthur corresponded in Latin, that well-known language of love, until Arthur turned 15 and … Continue reading The Princess of Wales

The Life and Death of Thomas Cranmer

Poor Thomas Cranmer. He thought he’d been doing a good thing, establishing the Anglican church, instituting all sorts of reforms, and clawing his way up to the position of Archbishop of Canterbury. But all you need to screw it up was one slightly crazed Catholic with an axe to grind and suddenly you find yourself strapped to a pyre on a fine spring morning. Cranmer … Continue reading The Life and Death of Thomas Cranmer

Good Queen Bess

Happy coronation day, Elizabeth! That’s right: on January 15, 1559, Elizabeth I, last monarch of the House of Tudor, was crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey, following her accession on November 17, 1558. After a highly unstable childhood, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn somehow managed to weather the reign of her devoutly Catholic half-sister, Mary, who was a little too fond … Continue reading Good Queen Bess

Third Time’s a Charm

Halfway there! On May 30, 1536, Henry VIII married his third wife, Jane Seymour, a mere 13 days after the execution of Anne Boleyn on trumped-up charges of adultery, treason, and incest. Oh, Henry. You were such an asshole. Jane was no stranger to the court, having served as a maid-of-honour to both Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Henry began paying her attention when … Continue reading Third Time’s a Charm

Princess Bride

On May 13, 1515, Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor, Queen of France, were officially married at Greenwich Palace, more than two months after marrying in secret in France following the death of Mary’s first husband, the French King Louis XII. Mary, who was extremely close to her elder brother, Henry VIII, was reputed to be one of the most beautiful princesses in Europe. Her marriage … Continue reading Princess Bride

Better Luck Next Time

The fourth time was not a charm for Henry VIII, who annulled his marriage to Anne of Cleves on July 9, 1540 on the grounds of non-consummation. Even as royal arranged marriages go, this one is famous for being a disaster. Henry agreed to the marriage before even meeting Anne face-to-face, instead relying on a portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger. Although popularly thought to … Continue reading Better Luck Next Time