Jan 022014
 
The White Queen-The Coles Notes Version of the War of the Roses...with a double extra-sized portion of crying.

The series is based on The Cousins’ War, a series of books by Philippa Gregory, set during the War of the Roses (1455-1485). The amount of betrayals, uprisings, executions, pardons and further betrayals during the thirty years is honestly overwhelming. Two or three seasons would have probably been sufficient, but the series is a single season of ten episodes. Since there are only ten episodes and they are largely filled with scenes of women crying, the series is unable to explore the rich mix of factors that makes the period so interesting. To be fair, the series is accurate, at least when it comes to names, dates and general chronology, it just fails to ignite. The War of the Roses is fascinating, and I can understand George R.R. Martin’s obsession with the period. The king of the north, a mad king, dynastic marriages, constantly shifting alliances, and the ever-present threat of invasion from rival claimants to the throne who are living in exile, it’s all there in Game of Thrones. And it has dragons, freaking scary dragons. The White Queen has crying, lots of crying, and the sissiest magic I have ever seen. Read More…

Aug 082013
 
The White Queen Season One Trailer

BBC’s new series The White Queen starts next week. It is based on The Cousins’ War, a series of books by Philippa Gregory, set during the War of the Roses. What is the War of the Roses you ask? Most people probably know it as the source material for George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, the basis for HBO’s series Game of Thrones. The two most powerful families in England, the House of York and the House of Lancaster, struggled for the English throne from 1455 to 1487. York used the white rose as its symbol while Lancaster used the red rose as its symbol, hence the name War of the Roses. After reading a bit about the War of the Roses, I now know why Martin gave each house a motto, like “Winter is coming”; “A Lannister always pays his debts” and “We do not sow”, how else do you tell them apart? If people think that Game of Thrones is complicated, it is much, much simpler than the real War of the Roses, since there was a lot, really a lot of intermarriage between the major families. In theory, the arranged marriages between rival families was intended to bind them together, but in practice its main result was that cousins frequently faced each other on the battlefield and many daughters spent lonely lives among families who had killed their relatives. Despite the regrettable decision to not include dragons or white walkers, The White Queen offers a look at a tumultuous period of English history. Read More…