Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Royal Intrigue: Henry the VIII

Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorce, Beheaded, Survived. That was the fate of each of the wives of Henry VIIIth each in their turn. 

Watching all these wonderfully intriguing Game of Thrones previews and reading season three pre-coverage has put me in the mood for more royal intrigue, and much sooner than the March 31st debut of season three of GOT. So I figure it's time for a Henry VIII fix because nobody did royal intrigue better than Henry and he was a real king. 

Henry the Eighth ascended the throne on April 22, 1509, and while his controversial reign brought stability to England, it also has generated some high-quality fiction based on his personal drama. Here are six of my favorite Henry stories, one for each time Henry got married...

1) The Tudors - The series from HBO. The plotting, the costumes, the drama, the sex. We see Henry coming into power, the struggles of kingship and then the ascent and then fall of Anne Boleyn. This series has everything. 

This series is available through HBO Go, on DVD and through Netflix.

2) The Autobiography of Henry the VIII by Margaret George. This is a work of fiction, couched as an autobiography. It's a long book but worth every page. 

3) Green Darkness by Anya Seton - A novel that starts in present day and winds up in Tudor times. I wrote all about it here

4) Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel - A fictional account of Henry's reign through the eyes of his Chancellor, Thomas Cromwell.  This book is very dense and it took my a long time to finish, but I never stopped reading and I am a tough audience. 

4) The Jemina Shore mystery series, by Tudor biographer, Lady Antonia Fraser. These mysteries are set in the 1980s in London and the heroine, Jemina Shore, is a present day character modeled after Queen Elizabeth I. The series is great fun, and Quiet as a Nun was featured on PBS Mystery! You may have to look on used book sites to find the books though. 

5) The Other Boleyn Girl, by Phillipa Gregory - Gregory goes away from the familiar territory of Anne Boleyn to tell the story of her lesser know sister, Mary, who was one of Henry's lovers before he laid eyes on Anne. Gregory has a whole series of Plantagenet queen stories that are fun to read. 

6) The Wives of Henry the VIII, also by Lady Antonia Fraser. For those of you who prefer non-fiction. Fraser's account tells the tale from the wives perspectives, which HIStory rarely does. 

No comments:

Post a Comment