Wolf Hall – thank you Anne Boleyn

As I watched the last episode of Wolf Hall, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Anne Boleyn. I’ve hardly ever read anything that puts her in a positive light. Ok, so she was vain (who at court wasn’t), temperamental (as if her husband wasn’t) and sharp-tongued. But witchcraft, adultery and incest? Honestly, give me a break! And on the opposite hand, was also known as vivacious, witty and intelligent. And Henry wasn’t the only one smitten.

But no matter which side of the divide you stand on, no matter what you say about her, no matter what qualities you subscribe to her, the wonder of it, and the bottom line is – she produced one of the greatest monarchs in English history – Elizabeth I. And all I can think is – thank heavens Henry didn’t have a boy that lived. If he had and he had been like Henry, I’m not sure England could have survived it. And certainly, it wouldn’t be the England we know and love today.

Thank you, Anne Boleyn.

Wolf Hall – Tudor England at its infighting best

I’ve been watching Wolf Hall with much enjoyment. The BBC really does these period dramas well, doesn’t it? The trouble with Henry’s court was, well, Henry. You wouldn’t want to be close to the man would you? Pity the poor people who found the glare of the sun a little too dazzling to resist only to find it a little too combustable for their comfort.

But is the title of my little rant here really correct? Certainly Henry’s court, like all others, was full of back-stabbing and infighting. But, as in so many other areas, I think his daughter might have outdone him. Why? Precisely because most of her ministers, advisors and friends actually kept their heads (note I did say most).

But not only did Elizabeth have the infighting, she also had the out-fighting, so to speak. Certainly Henry had wars, but Elizabeth was beset with enemies of Church and State on a grand scale. Religion and politics, both within and without, were and are bedfellows of the most volatile kind. This is precisely why I have chosen to write about her era. As has oft been noted – truth is stanger than fiction and one couldn’t make it up! The Elizabethan period in particular is a gold mine for an author.

And for the audience? As I watched them buckle the jousting armour onto Thomas Cromwell’s son in this latest episode of Wolf Hall, I was reminded that no matter what one’s age, that combination of jousting and conflict from all sides never loses its luster or fascination. That’s why my novels are replete with them. That’s why these dramas are so popular. I wouldn’t want it any other way.