I sit writing this post having just watched the final episode, and all the special features of the final season of Showcase television show, The Tudors. I discovered this show about a year ago, but my fascination with the Tudor dynasty goes back further. For anyone who is an avid reader of the novels of Phillipa Gregory, the period was a time of wonder and enchantment, but also of fear;her books are written from the point of view of those women most known and descriptions of violence are kept expedient. The Tudors series creator Michael Hirst puts a different interpretation before us in showing us the 'real' Henry, subtly taking us on a journey from fun loving young king to tyrant.
Here are a few points of interest about the show.
1. Henry Cavill
I must confess that Cavill became my favourite cast member because I developed a slight crush on him... that being said, the show has overall a very attractive cast, and the first two seasons of the show at least were devoted to making England seem like a very sexy place to live (but also a cleaner one than I know it would have been.) But what amazes me about his character, Charles Brandon, the first Duke of Suffolk is his longevity in the cast. While other characters come and go, often without explanation, the Duke remains King Henry's oldest and truest friend. The pair grow old together, and it seems that as Henry's wives come and go, Charles remains a testament to loyalty. (How's that for 'bro's before ho's'?) Brandon's fealty to his sovereign costs him his faith, the love of his wife Katherine Brook, and his youth. His death in the final episode was to me far more touching than the King's final moments, proving to me that my affection for Henry Cavill had developed from a silly girlish crush into respect for the attention devoted to the role.
2. Sarah Bolger
I was delighted to learn that in the fourth and final season of The Tudors, Sarah Bolger had finally been given an opening credit. There is something very human about Bolger's portrayal of the young Mary Tudor that I have found lacking in other presentations of her. She is much more relatable than the old, cruel spinster she is often known as; her hurts are real, she loves, she is strong and she is true to her beliefs, making her a very strong female role model of the period, despite what would happen during her reign (1553-1558). I attribute this humanity to Bolger's charms and her talent.
3. Alan van Sprang... because no TV series is complete without a character who resembles a pirate
This point should not entirely be devoted to van Sprang, but rather to the league of temporary core cast members like him, who often disappear without explanation (and in the case of van Sprang's character, Sir Francis Bryan, appear that way too.) The show is so intriguing that my cries of 'But whatever happened to Sir Anthony Knivert?' (Callum Blue, season one) are forgotten in due time. Other characters who disappear without much explanation include lady Margaret 'Madge' Sheldon. How a man like Francis Bryan could have come into the King's good graces is completely beyond me, seeing as he is immensely immoral.
But also, he's a pirate. It's just funny.
4. The plethora of terrible accents, first and foremost in the acting of Gabriel Anwar
Try as they may, they cannot cover up that a lot of the cast is Irish. Even the King's voice changes and becomes largely false sounding as he tries to make it sound gruffer and older. But it is Anwar's English accent, in her role as the Princess Margaret, that is most laughable. Good times.
5. The host of Harry Potter guest stars
Just an interesting little point; when the King goes into seclusion after the death of Queen Jane, he is entertained by his fool, Will Somers... played by Argus Filch, or in any case the man who plays Argus. And in season four, the Earl of Surrey appears... only it could very well be Harry Potter because David O'Hara was also in the most recent Harry Potter Film (Deathly Hallows Part 1) as Runcorn, the man Harry changes into when he partakes of polyjuice potion to get into the ministry.
Also as a HP related segue... Fleur Delacour was in Gossip Girl the other night. Does this mean HP is really nearly over??? Everyone seems to be working on new projects.
In truth there are many reasons why I love this show, and this period, but it would take me a whole book to write them down. It took me a week and a half to get through all four seasons of the show, and it has been a nice little holiday from being a writer, but I shall get back to work on the Compound now, with fresh eyes and a re-invigoured approach... that is, as soon as I can stop speaking and thinking in Early Modern English.