Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tudor Me

What a brilliant idea! Where else can you find adultery, political conspiracy, religious power plays, innocent executions than 16th century England? Plenty of opportunities for busted corsets, toppled heads and stunning costumes and tiaras.

I've started watching "The Tudors" during Season 2 and am totally absorbed. I read Antonia Fraser's book "The Wives of Henry VIII" a few years ago. I don't read historical nonfiction, but I was captivated by these historical events and the people involved. So, I considered myself somewhat of a "Henry VIII authority".

Now, with this series, Anne Boleyn lives again (full headed). I'm absolutely impressed with Jonathan Rhys Meyers who I still remember as the cute soccer coach that kissed Parmindar Nagra in "Bend it Like Beckham."I loved him in Woody Allen's "Matchpoint," where he really stepped up to the character portrayal. Now, as King Henry, his acting is flawless - he'll do a small movement such as a flick of a wrist or raise of an eyebrow. I'm always impressed with actors who show ranges of expressions on their face, not their words.
Then, there's Natalie Dormer who is devastatingly cute, but so passionate in every sense. She's brought Anne Boleyn alive as the woman who could persuade a king to create his own church and laws at any cost. And, she becomes a woman who steps into her role as Queen of England so confidently. I'm really going to miss her. We have to wait for Katherine Howard to come along for some more passion.

Now, there was a piece on NPR some time ago that history scholars were upset by the historical inaccuracies. The show's screenwriters say they're exercising creative license. I won't make a fuss that they changed a Mary to a Margaret because there already was one Mary. However, the language strikes me odd when they use modern curses and humor. For example, someone made a flippant remark about "bondage" as a kinky fetish. Yet, in 1500's, bondage was an interrogation technique. Also, if they used the swear words of that era, it won't have the same impact on the audience of today. It was religious blasphemies that were powerful, while today it's more sexual nature.

There as also a woman who protested the Catholic Church and she talked about their influence on people's bodies. I thought that was anachronistic.

One thing I remember from the book how complicated the King's "administration" became with every new wife. It was as if there's a new wave over the land, as his moods changed.

It's great to have a series that transports you to a different time and place.

If there are fans out there, can someone explain to me who the woman is that has to travel in a box? I missed something there.


ZenDenizen said...

What did you think of JRM's portrayal of Elvis?

Anonymous said...

I missed that one! He's got such an intensity about him.

Anonymous said...

Side note - I'm happy I put JRM photo -- it's nice to see him everytime I check my blog!