Saturday, 14 December 2013

The White Queen

T.V Series

Consisting of 10 episodes, this British Drama series covers the reign of Edward IV and how Richard III came into succession, right to the end of the Battle of Bosworth Field. However the main focus is on the court and most particularly the powerful women of the court. 

Edward is crowned king by the Kingmaker Richard Neville the Earl of Warwick who will betray his own choice of King because of Edward IV’s wife, Elizabeth Woodville, a mid-ranked lady in English Aristocracy. Richard Neville’s regarding this choice of a wife, defiance will set a series of events into motion which later will shape the entire English history.  It is funny how when you stay too close to the knots you cannot see the great design of the entire carpet and sometimes, that which we deem an unfortunate flaw will turn out to be the greatest little detail which gives life to the entirety of the pattern itself.

Those who know me, know that I am a great fan of Queen Elizabeth and her character as a woman who reigned superbly on her own with no related male figure around her, be it a husband, brother or even half-brother for that matter back in that age.  

A woman who defied all and yet managed to stand tall and fast against every plot and treason.

A woman who gave England its own church and its own theatre.

And this is the story of her ancestors, right towards the end and after the Wars of the Roses.


And it is a story of loyalty, treason, love, hatred, witchcraft, faith, curses, blessings, war, peace, and first and foremost ambition, because at the end of the day ambition will rule over them all.

What I liked about the series most is how it was quite true to the historical events (and some of the historical rumors) and yet it managed to keep its own point of view and narration. I must admit to not liking the scenes of Elizabeth Woodville dabbling in witchcraft which adds an unnecessary amount of fantasy into history but then again if I sit back and ask myself: “Did these people believe in and blamed witchcraft for what befell them?” . The answer would be a simple “Yes”. So I decided to not take those scenes all too literal but rather a weakness of that specific age and time.

You will find portrayal of Richard III quite different than that of William Shakespeare’s and truer to the historical records. After all Shakespeare, not unlike his many contemporaries, served and admired Queen Elizabeth, not forgetting that she is a Tudor and Tudors had to black name Richard III in history in order to secure their throne.  Still the famous line “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” will escape your lips because such is the impact of Shakespeare!

 

If you get past the first episode of the series with all the mushy romantic sentiments you will find the rest of the work really well written, played, directed. For those who are interested in medieval English history, Wars of the Roses and the steps into the Golden Age of Queen Elizabeth, I would suggest watching The White Queen first and then continue with the series Tudors (there is a merit to that production despite the fact that it was inclined to stay in Henry VIII’s bedroom far too much but not without a well-founded reason) and last but not least conclude it with the 1998-production: Elizabeth (the movie) where you will see Cate Blanchett displaying her superior role-acting as always. I do not and cannot recommend the subsequent movie Elizabeth, the Golden Age because it miserably lacks the superiority of its predecessor both in insight and in production.

I think it is time to conclude this post in praise to the series “The White Queen”. I would most certainly recommend it to anyone who is interested in that specific age and time.