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Wolf Hall (BBC2/PBS)


AncalagonTheBlack

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The BBC have confirmed that they are considering a second season based primarily on the (still unreleased) third book, but if that was the plan all along they could have held back some BUTB material as well.

I was scouting Amazon UK yesterday to see if there is a release listed for the 3rd and final book, but no. I do read that it is supposed to cme out in 2015 but whether it does seems unclear right now.

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I wonder about Cromwell's interest in Jane Seymour. Does he truly fancy her? Or does he genuinely like her as a person? Or does he mean to use her? He swore revenge on George Boleyn and co. and causing Jane to displace Anne in Henry's favour would accomplish that, but so far Henry hasn't paid Jane any attention, so I can't see as to why Jane Seymour, of all ladies. I should have read the book first.

I do get more of a use her vibe in terms of setting her up with Henry. Besides that it may be a bit of him projecting his daughter onto her?

Using her to get into Henry's good books would fit with his misfire on the next wife.

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I, for one, enjoyed the last episode most of all. A lot was happening, but it didn't feel fragmentized, and individual scenes weren't too drawn out (i.e., Rylance staring into distance, frowning). Nor did I get the impression I'm watching a stage play... well, there were one or two exceptions.

A great More; one moment I wished to smooch him, another to bash his face in. He may have been a fanatic, but I couldn't help it but be on his side when he was judged by a court consisting mainly of self-serving brown-nosers.

Loved the actress playing Jane Rochford Boleyn. That is one bitter lady. Can't say I blame her since she's surrounded by the Boleyns day and night. I'd like more of her and Jane Seymour's one-sided bickering.

The sight of the blood on the floor was greatly upsetting, although I've known what was coming all along, of course. Well shot.

I wonder about Cromwell's interest in Jane Seymour. Does he truly fancy her? Or does he genuinely like her as a person? Or does he mean to use her? He swore revenge on George Boleyn and co. and causing Jane to displace Anne in Henry's favour would accomplish that, but so far Henry hasn't paid Jane any attention, so I can't see as to why Jane Seymour, of all ladies. I should have read the book first.

Agree with everything you said except Jane Rochford. Can't like her. Although she did have her reasons (George Boleyn was either gay or a womanizer who never loved her).

From the show, it looks like Cromwell is setting Jane Seymour up to be queen. iirc, he does not say 'add another' to Rafe to include Wolf Hall in the King's itinerary. Wolf Hall happened to be in the itinerary, and only after he reaches there does he notice Henry's attraction to Jane.

But in the book, he was considering her as a bride for Gregory. When Jane Rochford asks him if he fancies her, he replies someting like 'I have young boys in my house'. After all, he did marry Gregory to Jane's sister Elizabeth. But I thought Cromwell was considering marrying Elizabeth in 'Bring up the Bodies'.

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A great More; one moment I wished to smooch him, another to bash his face in. He may have been a fanatic, but I couldn't help it but be on his side when he was judged by a court consisting mainly of self-serving brown-nosers.

Ha, it's funny because I had the complete opposite reaction. When he started sounding off about not recognising the judgement, I got quite angry with him. If I was alive back then I guess I'd be one of the mob.

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Apparently Mantel is under some stress with the third novel, as she feels under pressure to make it as good as the first two (understandable) and that it has to win the Booker to complete the set, which is crazy. It was really completely unprecedented for the first two books to both win the prize, and I think the chances of the third winning it are infinitesimal, so she should just ignore that.



Hopefully that pressure won't tell in the third book, although I still haven't read the first two yet.


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I haven't yet seen the adaptation -- looking forward to watching it when it makes its way to North America -- but, incredible as it seems, I'd be willing to bet that they really are going to get through the whole thing in six episodes and not hold back any BUTB material for a potential second series. I see that the final episode is called "Master of Phantoms." "Master of Phantoms" is the title of the penultimate -- very long -- chapter of Bring Up the Bodies, in which Cromwell creates and prosecutes his case against the Boleyns and the family falls from power; it takes up just slightly more than a hundred and fifty pages. Plus I think one of the articles discussing the possibility of a series 2 included a quote from a producer saying that Claire Foy -- who plays Anne Boleyn -- would not appear in such a series, which suggests they're going to pretty much reach the end of BUTB. The final chapter takes place in the summer following the executions and I suppose they might save a scene or two out of that for a second series if they're crunched for time, but it's like six pages long.


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I'm dreading reading the third book. I have this horrible feeling that Cromwell's horrific execution is going to mirror the nightmare-inducing violence he suffered from his father @ the beginning of "Wolf Hall". Much unlike.

But am loving this BBC series. Rylance is very likeable but with a core of steel. The dynamic between Cromwell & More in the last episode was just brilliant - the poor serving boy trying to make friends with the haughty young scholar. Lewis as Henry is just fantastic - he's got the hands-on-hips feet-pointing-outwards stance down right. Saskia Reeves as Johane is compelling.

Wish the whole thing was longer & had more from the books :D

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Agree with everything you said except Jane Rochford. Can't like her. Although she did have her reasons (George Boleyn was either gay or a womanizer who never loved her).

From the show, it looks like Cromwell is setting Jane Seymour up to be queen. iirc, he does not say 'add another' to Rafe to include Wolf Hall in the King's itinerary. Wolf Hall happened to be in the itinerary, and only after he reaches there does he notice Henry's attraction to Jane.

But in the book, he was considering her as a bride for Gregory. When Jane Rochford asks him if he fancies her, he replies someting like 'I have young boys in my house'. After all, he did marry Gregory to Jane's sister Elizabeth. But I thought Cromwell was considering marrying Elizabeth in 'Bring up the Bodies'.

Lol yes, she's an unpleasant person, but I've gotta love the actress' performance. The facial expressions, the voice, the general air of being pissed. I feel sorry for real Jane Rochford, though. I've read somewhere that there's no proof she had terrible relationship with her husband or that she was embiterred and irritable.

Thanks for the explanation. Just the other day I found out that Cromwell's son married Jane Seymour's sister. I don't undertand how I might have missed that piece of information before. I guess I must have tuned out everybody else than Henry and his wives and children as uninteresting.

Ha, it's funny because I had the complete opposite reaction. When he started sounding off about not recognising the judgement, I got quite angry with him. If I was alive back then I guess I'd be one of the mob.

I can forgive those who truly believed in Reformation, but there were many who just supported it to stay in Henry's good graces... which is understandable since they wanted to keep their lives and wealth, but to send someone to the block is less sympathetic. Again, I understand why they would do it, but my overall impression was of people without conviction, who send someone to death because he has a conviction.

Also, I find it hard to be on the side of reformation in this particular case because it appears it's driven mostly by Henry's ego and lusts. Not exactly a worthy cause.

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Cromwell's face was priceless during his drunk conversation with Henry. Reaching almost Grumpy Cat levels of cosmic distaste.

What are people's thoughts on the sexual tension the TV show has been introducing to the Anne/Cromwell relationship? I don't mind it, but I'm not sure why it's there. To show off Anne's charms more directly to the viewers? To give Mark Rylance more opportunities in the final episode to hang around mullioned windows looking troubled?

desire without respect is dehumanising. I think his sexual attraction to her whilst despising almost every aspect of her character will make it much easier to kill her.

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Interesting point, though I'm not sure he does despise her in the tv adaptation. Book!Cromwell is certainly repelled by her, and Rylance may have shown a touch of distaste here and there when she throws a tantrum, but overall I've mostly seen from him a mixture of attraction and wariness. And her tantrums seem partly to be there to tease/provoke Cromwell as much as to test Henry - when she insists she wants the Princess Mary as her daughter's servant, for example. I seem to recall her giving Cromwell this look, as if to say, "Well? So are you going to dare to argue against this then?"



There's the fate of Wolsey, which he holds against her. OTOH, she and Cromwell have Protestant sympathies in common (okay, that's from history not tv) and Cromwell seems to quite enjoy being flirted with by her.



Re: Thomas More.



I have an audio book of Anton Lesser reading Paradise Lost plus other works of John Milton. I love his voice, even if he was miscast in the BBC radio Falco series. Looked him up on Wikipedia and found out that he's from Birmingham and went to the University of Liverpool, which took me by surprise. Always expected something more along the lines of Eton and Oxbridge, going by his voice.



Anyway, Milton and More have quite a lot in common, I think, even if Milton would have abominated the latter's popery, and More would have felt the same about Milton's radicalism. They both believed that tyranny needed to be restrained, but for More the answer was tradition and order; for Milton it was republicanism and Cromwell mark 2. Both puritanical, both idealistic, both with some liberal inclinations - though Milton censored books, while More had them burnt (and their owners.) So for me, I'm not sure a more suitable actor could have been chosen for the role. Lesser came trailing clouds of context, as it were.



I saw A Man for All Seasons when I was quite young, and watched it again a couple of years ago. Worth watching if only as a compare/contrast to Wolf Hall's version of events, and for More (Paul Scofield) delivering a certain line to Richard Rich, the brand new Attorney General of Wales:



"Why, Rich, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. But for Wales?"




To a much greater extent, it suffers from the same problem as the Beeb's Wolf Hall/Bring Up The Bodies - the main character isn't allowed to be flawed, is too saintly.



As for the historical More, I tend to go with the view that he was a clever man and a sometimes brilliant writer who sadly did the Tudor equivalent of drinking the purple kool-aid when he achieved high political office. If he hadn't been executed, I might well detest him for all that he was a man of his time. "The devil's stinking martyr," he wrote about the burned heretic Thomas Hitton, "He hath taken his wretched soul with him straight from the short fire to the fire everlasting." But I respect him for having the courage to defy Henry at the cost of his life.



ETA: Incidentally, one forum I visited while looking for information on More was full of creepy (RC?) Christians, who in the 21st century were still able to type sentences such as, "We probably have better ways to deal with heresy now than burning at the stake." :laugh: :uhoh: :ph34r: Probably??


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Anton Lesser is a really great actor. I'm starting to think Benioff & Weiss really missed a trick in not having him as Littlefinger rather than Qyburn. He'd have been excellent, although maybe a little too old to really sell the relationship with Sansa.



Lewis as Henry is just fantastic


I agree, it's been a tremendously strong role for him after doing some fairly cheesy TV recently. I forgot that when Lewis puts he work in, he really is absolutely fantastic.


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Another very good episode this week, although I'm not buying Cromwell's Machiavellian superplan to have had Jane Seymour in reserve all along in case in Boleyn failed to provide an heir. From the history, everyone and their dog seemed shocked that Henry would fall for 'plain Jane' and it seemed to have taken everyone by surprise, so I doubt Cromwell would have been able to have predicted that.


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Loved the episode. Memorable moments for me were the total madness that gripped the assembled courtiers when they thought Henry was dead, and the look on Lewis's face when he woke up. He appeared to be wondering if he'd died and gone to hell. Since the first thing he saw was the Duke of Norfolk, that's entirely understandable.





Another very good episode this week, although I'm not buying Cromwell's Machiavellian superplan to have had Jane Seymour in reserve all along in case in Boleyn failed to provide an heir. From the history, everyone and their dog seemed shocked that Henry would fall for 'plain Jane' and it seemed to have taken everyone by surprise, so I doubt Cromwell would have been able to have predicted that.




Such a guess on Cromwell's part may not be totally implausible.



Jane may not have been that plain - Chapuys reckoned she was, but he was writing, I think, before her conservatism and sympathy for Princess Mary became apparent. Henry's pal John Russell rated Jane the mostly highly out of Henry's wives. Jane was also blonde, fair-skinned, had a passing resemblance to Elizabeth of York in terms of both her looks and her character, and was the antithesis of Anne Boleyn. Jane had been an attendant of first Queen Katharine, then Queen Anne, so Henry would have seen her around quite a lot, and had plenty of opportunities to compare/contrast.



My current landlord doesn't really approve of/see much use for central heating. I spent a lot of last Wednesday's episode staring at the gorgeous fur-lined robes worn by Cromwell and ex-Queen Katharine, hoping that they'll come back into fashion so I can have one. Then I could parade around town striking poses from Holbein with my elbow at ninety degrees to my waist. Anyway, the thought I'm trying to express is that the costumes are very well done. The detail on them is amazing. Though we also learned from Wednesday's ep that Lewis should never ever wear yellow again under any circumstances. It makes him look like a 1970s children's tv presenter.



The funeral of Queen Katharine was well done - one of the chaps in robes just to her right looked a lot like Jonathan Pryce in the brief time we saw him. Anyone else notice that?


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It was a superb episode last night. The outburst from Henry to Chapuis and Cromwell was the highlight for me.

Also like the dynamic between Cromwell and Harry Percy.

Capped off by Cromwell's "Adam Ant prince charming" ward (or cyclops from X-men)

Loved the episode. Memorable moments for me were the total madness that gripped the assembled courtiers when they thought Henry was dead,

The tension in that scene was palpable and it highlighted just how tenuous Cromwell's power is.

Damien Lewis is doing a great job - I'm not sure he's quite as immersed in the role as Rylance but his performance is still great - especially when dealing with the mood swings.

I like how Cromwell has to resort to anecdotes when trying to convey his feelings towards his son.

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God. That was intense. And contained Anne's last speech, pretty much word for word.

I thought Claire Foy did a really good job in the final episode, both in the early scenes showing Anne's slowly dawning realisation about how badly wrong things have gone for her and in her final speech.

It was another very good episode although I did start to wonder how many times we were going to have to see flashbacks to the play after Wolsey's death, it did seem atypically unsubtle for the series.

I also watched the program on BBC4 afterwards with Rylance and Kominsky discussing the show next to where Cromwell and Anne are buried. When Rylance was asked about his inspirations for the role, I wasn't really expecting him to name Brad Pitt.

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Poor Anne. This was one of the more unsympathetic portrayals of her person, but her end was heart-wrenching all the same.



I'm feeling sorry for Cromwell in advance as well. His face in that last scene: "With friends like these..." In fact I'm considering whether to watch the second season at all. I'm not dissatisfied with the quality, quite the opposite, but I'm somewhat faint of heart and since Cromwell's tale ends the way we know it ends...


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