It hasn’t come to light on this blog yet, but I am a huge history buff. When I read books, whether they are fiction or non-fiction, they are usually about history and in particular women. So when I saw this DVD at Walmart I picked it up without any hesitation.
The White Queen is a mini-series produced by Starz and the BBC about the English War of the Roses. It is based on books by Philippa Gregory. I haven’t read the books this series is based on, but I have read the sequel The White Princess. Wow, was it a terrible novel, I hope they do better with the show if they make another installment. It is repetitive and boring and the main character is completely bland and unlikeable. I don’t know how Gregory continues to sell so many books, they are terrible for the most part. So when I finally sat down to watch this show after the DVD sat under a thick layer of dust, I was prepared for the worst. But I was very pleasantly surprised. I really like this show. Border line love it actually.
As I said before, I love reading about female historical figures. I’ve read quite a bit about the wives of Henry VIII and a few other random queens and mistresses from all over the European continent and all through the ages. Marie Antoinette will always be my favorite, but English history comes in a close second. I don’t totally understand all the details of the time in which this series starts, but basically the old Lancastrian King, Henry VI has been disposed by the new York King, Edward IV. Our protagonist is Elizabeth Woodville, a woman from a Lancastrian family that’s on hard times. In the first episode she ends up falling in love with (or is it seducing?) the King and becomes the Queen, despite many protests against her. As a woman I really enjoyed the focus on powerful women and I look forward to seeing it explored more, especially now that Elizabeth is at court. I loved the part when Elizabeth pulls a knife on Edward when he tries to rape her. It’s refreshing to see women that aren’t damsels in distress.
The acting on this show is really good, I was quite surprised. I was expecting something a little more like a soap opera. The stand out, the girl who steals both the heart of the King and the hearts of the audience is Elizabeth played by Rebecca Ferguson. Wow, she was absolutely stunning. She makes Elizabeth likeable and intelligent. There’s a mystery behind her eyes. The audience doesn’t know how conniving Elizabeth really is. Did she seduce the King for her own gain? She doesn’t act like it, she acts genuinely in love. But there is one conversation that subtly hints otherwise. Rebecca’s face is beautiful, captivating. It’s easy to see why the King would go so far as to marry her. Rebecca Ferguson is currently filming the next Mission Impossible movie and I’ll be watching her closely then. I think she has great potential.
The other stand out for me was Janet McTeer who plays Elizabeth’s mother, Jacquetta. She was excellent. Anyone would love to have her for a mother. A highlight of the episode for me was when she tells off Duchess Cecily (Edward’s mother). She keeps her cool, but she’s also firm and knows how to look after her family. I really enjoyed the magic and almost witchcraft that she used to predict Elizabeth’s future. I thought it was a good way to set up the rest of the series and the two actresses made it seem very believable.
This show has me hooked. It’s a very interesting time in history, the production values are really good, and the acting is outstanding. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
• Edward doesn’t seem very kingly so far. Maybe he will grow into it. He was only 19 at the time.
• I like that Elizabeth is smart, but she’s not a genius. She makes a few understandable mistakes. It makes her all the more human and likeable.
• Warwick is going to be trouble. James Frain is great in this role.
• Margaret Beaufort is going to be a bitch, I just know it!
• Cecily tries to get away with the lowest curtsy ever. Haha, no way was Elizabeth going to let that slide.