London, England. No other place on Earth holds such a special spot in my heart as does London, for a myriad of reasons, whether it be for the swinging social scene of the 1960’s, or from 1509’s accession to the throne of Henry VIII through his daughter Elizabeth I’s reign.
Whether you loved him or hated him (and he was certainly deserving of both), no one can deny the major impact Henry VIII’s reign had on England, as well as being one of history’s most influential monarchs. From the very first episode of The Tudors, I was enthralled and totally committed to seeing every episode made in the 4-season series.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars as a young Henry VIII, an avid sportsman and all-around hedonist. Purists complain that the series falls short of being 100% historically accurate. Yes, that is a valid complaint if this were a history class instead of entertainment, and this most certainly is entertainment. The lion’s share of the series is, however, accurate insofar as history is concerned. I have always been interested in the Tudor reign of the British monarchy, and as such have read a great deal of the histories of both Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I. Truth be told, some of the more interesting facts of this period were not included in the series – more on that later on.
Henry VIII is most remembered for his having had 6 wives, and this common thread permeates the series 4 seasons. A young Henry is first introduced in season 1 as a lusty and hot-tempered monarch, immersed in such a passionate existence that many of his would-be kingly duties are performed by Cardinal Wolsey, played by Sam Neill. Sam is wonderful in this role, as his machinations of the kingdom’s direction leaves Henry free to indulge in his limitless hedonism. Question: What is the difference between rape and seduction? Answer: Patience, and patience is an element foreign to Henry’s behavioral repertoire, whose every whim was quickly catered to. As Henry’s life as king unfolds, the viewer is introduced to the personal agendas of many of the changing cast of this period of time. One thing the viewer is constantly reminded of is that Henry’s agenda is paramount, and if someone else’s agenda is at odds against Henry’s, the king’s agenda will prevail.
British coin minted in 2009.
(Photo courtesy of Philbert Desanex).
Agendas. Everybody has them – many are hidden. Some are overt, and if yours can be smoothly melded with the agendas of those in power, so much the better for you. It’s like that now, and that has always been the case, especially in 1509 with Henry VIII’s accession to the throne of England.
By virtue of the time element involved since Henry VIII’s reign (we are talking half a millennium here), his era has been elevated into almost a pseudo-mythology, somewhat romanticized while still retaining the gritty reality of hardships endured, especially that of the axe falling down upon so many necks of that period.
Using the poetic imagery of history, exhaustive research, insight, and an ingenious plot interweaving fiction with the dramatic and historical events of the era, here has been produced an authoritative account of the reign of Henry Tudor. It is no exaggeration to say that the viewing of this brilliantly imaginative series is an experience that no viewer will ever forget. It is a most powerful and serious work.
On a final note, it is rumoured that Henry’s embalmed corpse was, at his daughter Mary’s command, removed from his tomb and burned as a heretic!