My brother (Any sentence that begins this way puts me in mind of Bill Withers), knowing my preoccupation with English history and the Tudors in particular, tried to convince me to watch the miniseries The Tudors. His breathless description sent me urgently to Netflix, where I ordered up a batch of The Tudors DVD back episodes.
Now, I am a huge squealing fan of gratuitous sex and violence, but this felt so forced and phony that I was embarrassed for the actors, and could not make the leap. It left out huge chunks of Henry VIII’s character (as well as huge chunks of Henry, who by the time he married Ann Boleyn was a porky pain in the ass, not a randy, heroine-skinny smoldering Armani model).
There was one thing this series got right: The Tudors – and all their kin – were scary, omnipotent mafioso-esque badass mofos who held grudges beyond the grave. French royals tended to be slyly Machiavellian, but English royals hauled you off, stuck you in a damp, fetid tower and beheaded you or burned you at the stake, or took your children and signed some paper that snatched away all your family’s property leaving you homeless and penniless. Royal pricks!
They came by their thuggishness honestly. By the time the houses of York and Lancaster had finished kicking each other’s asses all over the English countryside, they had left a bloody red gash in the fabric of history for the Tudors to fill.
My personal favorite York is George, Duke of Clarence who fought to overthrow his own brother (Edward IV, King of all the Righteous Foxy Badasses, who forgave George, positing himself as one of the exceptions to the Thuggish Royal Rule), and ended up being drown in a barrel of wine. Awesome.
No. Wait. My uber-favorite is Elizabeth Woodville, who was Edward IV’s queen consort. I love this badass bitch with all my black heart. She dodged rumors of witchcraft all her life, loved her famously philandering husband something crazy, and hated her husband’s family with a white-hot heat of a thousand suns. George – the wine-soaked treasonous bastard described above…? Legend has it that she kept his name written in blood on a piece of paper in a black enameled box, signifying that she wished his death. I love that kind of seething Technicolor hatred in my historical heroes.
I am a far more peaceful and resigned (read: lazy) person than that, though. Grudges are heavy and burdensome loads to carry around for very long. Except for one former co-worker. It’s been years and years and years. And I don’t exactly wish someone dead. But that black box idea is just my icy cold slice of revenge pie.