Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's that time of year again....

You know the one. Where everyone starts blogging about their Christmas crafty stuff and Advent calendars. All very inspiring, unless you're like me and the thought of doing crafty stuff (by myself or with the kids) makes me want to poke needles in my eyes.

I've stocked up on a few Advent calendar products and booklets over the past few years so this year we are just recycling stuff from last year and the couple of years before that. Meredith's got another good set of readings up on her blog. But what I'm doing is hardly worth blogging about.

So instead of blogging about Christmas stuff (I might get around to it when December actually arrives), I thought I would tell you about the DVD series I've been watching lately.

The Tudors. I haven't actually watched Series 1 yet, but I've gotten through 2, 3 and 4. Series 4 ends with Henry VIII dying, and they haven't made any further series after that.

It's pretty full on stuff. In Series 2 and 3, Henry's at the height of his physical powers and the quest for the male heir is all-consuming. So definitely not suitable for kids' viewing. The way he ruthlessly disposes of wives once he's had enough of them (or when they fail to produce male children, or when their previous indiscretions come to light) is a bit confronting. Plenty of other people get beheaded, burned at the stake or hung, drawn and quartered along the way as well.

In Series 4, Henry finally does something other than get married and try to have a son when he goes off to war. There are a couple of good battle episodes which came as something of a relief after all the sex and execution scenes. Then he suddenly ages really quickly (in the space of a couple of episodes) at the end of Series 4 and starts to go a bit mad, just as the  position of wife #6 Catherine Parr is starting to look a bit shaky (because she is a Reformer).

I don't know that all of what's in this series is necessarily strictly historically accurate. I suspect there's been a bit of dramatic licence used to spice things up a bit. Before I watched this, I knew what had happened to each of the wives and that was about it. If you don't like watching plenty of death and sex scenes, it's probably not the series for you (although you can do what I did when they started to get a bit much, and press the fast forward button). The Tudor period of history has always interested me though. I've always thought that the whole concept of a guy setting up his own church because he didn't like what the Pope was telling him to do is an interesting foundation for the Church of England to have come from, actually. So very selfish of Henry, but from these beginnings we now have the Anglican Church. I think we can safely say it's a bit more Christ-centred these days.

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