Saturday, January 23, 2010

Resolution Check In (What What & Anne Boleyn thoughts)

I only had two goals. Two measly goals for 2010, and I've already gotten behind on one of them.

The midway hard one. The use the wii fit three times a week one.

But I have excuses! I got sick! For a week! Its hard to exercise when you are ill! And then its hard to get back into the routine when you feel better!

[Whatever. I'm only accountable to myself]

But the other one? The easy one? I'm doing great!

Seven whole books! All written down! In order! So I can remember what I've read over the year!

If you notice, I just finished Lady in the Tower by Alison Weir yesterday.

[If you don't know, it is a book entirely devoted to chronicling Anne Boleyn's fall from Queen to the scaffold]

I have this weird tick that I need to get rid of in regards to history. I find Henry the Eighth and all the Tudors fascinating, and because of its obvious appeal, it must not be the "hard history" that other people are reading. After all, there's a Showtime show about it, there are plenty of novels and movies about it.

But am I just reacting to the fact that this is a story about women, much more than other historical stories that are told? After all, most of history is told from the perspective of the rich white guy. With recent research (Weir goes into how no one would have cared to look Anne Boleyn up if Elizabeth hadn't become queen), there is a great emphasis on how women affected the king, his policies, and the future of the crown.

And then, a generation later, you have women as supreme ruler! Making decisions! In the 1600s! And of course there are issues with gender! What isn't to love, what isn't to relate about that?

[Beyond women in power and women influencing power, there is another fascinating aspect to Tudor history: the fact that they know their own history. To a fault.

Why was Henry the Eighth so bent on getting sons? It wasn't just the normal, "I'm king and need to pass the throne on," it was, "There was immense chaos before my father became king after the sons of the king were killed and my father somehow made it out with the crown despite a massive civil war that preceded it. If there is no clear line of succession, England will be thrown back to civil war."

The other example is Elizabeth, who claimed she would never marry, and then never did. If you look at the history of marriages your father had and find that a third of them end in beheading, a third end in divorce and the other third end with one of the spouses dying just a few short years later...well, why would you want to get married?]