The bad men of history and the women who save them
I wonder if the one of the attractions of the Tudor period to modern storytellers is the advances in portraiture of the time. Painting suddenly becomes dramatically realistic from 1500 onwards, and the subjects suddenly look like people rather than illustrations.
I find it hard to believe that anyone will ever rehabilitate John 'Lackland', the spoiled little shit - surely Disney's Peter Ustinov voiced cowardly lion is a portrayal that no reputation could overcome
Great piece. There's surely some similarity to those who fall in love with convicted serial killers (more so with the Richard III groupies than Mantel). I'm not sure King John fits the pattern, though - too weak, not evil enough.
I think the idea that a new regime has to blacken the name of a deposed king sounds plausible, but doesn't really stand up. It didn't happen with Richard II, or even Edward IV. There are good reasons for not doing it - if false allegations are made, that could create pushback; any allegations undermine the divine authority of kingship in general that a new regime will be desperate to reinforce; the priority is usually to move on, and let sleeping dogs lie. Richard's name was blackened by his actions. If the Tudors had wanted to stop people telling stories about the king who had murdered his own brother's young children, stories that made him out to be a nasty piece of work, they would have found it very difficult to do so. Even the deformed back turned out to be accurate.
I have to admit that this post did not go as I expected - I was expecting stories of the "women behind the men " but I was delighted by what I actually read, well played! Does this make Mantel the victor? :)
‘History is a body of stories that we tell about ourselves; the trick is to make your version catch the light.’ this is profoundly brilliant.