Dark Tudor series are finally coming to our screens!
After The Other Boleyn Girl, The Tudors and The White Queen have been splashed across our screens it was only a matter of time before Hilary Mantel’s award-winning novels made an appearance too.
Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies catapulted Mantel into the spotlight as the first woman to have won the Man-Booker prize twice. We have the first book, Wolf Hall, which chronicles the rise of low-born, son of a blacksmith Thomas Cromwell, and how he became the most powerful advisor of the court to King Henry VIII. Following this is Bring Up the Bodies, a novel that questions just how involved Cromwell was behind the tragic demise of Anne Boleyn. Two absolutely gripping reads,with a couple of casual beheadings along the way of course- this is Tudor England you know.
Cromwell is almost always portrayed as the villain in history. A powerful and brutal man who ruthlessly hunted down those who worked against his benefactor Cardinal Wolsley, he helped rid Henry of Catherine of Aragon and had a hand in the famous break with Rome. He rose with Anne Boleyn and betrayed her when it came to her bloody demise, and swiftly went on to partner Henry with the shy and seemingly Miss Perfect (compared to Anne anyway) Jane Seymour.
Mantel offers the reader all of this on a plate but questions if Cromwell really was the villain in all of this, which is what, if they get it right, will make the series as engrossing as the books.
News of the six-part series adapted by BBC came about last year but it has recently been confirmed that British actor Mark Rylance will starr as the main protagonist in the Wolf Hall novels and the final, unpublished book in the series, ‘The Mirror and the Light.’ The series has been described as ‘intensely polictical’ by director Peter Kosminsky and it set to air in 2015. I wish we didn’t have to wait that long but in the meantime, go and read the Wolf Hall books and get yourself up to date!
I know some readers weren’t huge fans of the book for me personally I could not have read them faster. Mantel creates the rich Tudor history so vivdly with just the right dose of humour, “At New Year’s he had given Anne a present of silver forks with handles of rock crystal. He hopes she will use them to eat with, not to stick in people.”
But of course, we never lose that permanent sense of danger that lurks in the depths of Tudor history, where out there it’s survival of the fittest and even the fittest can die.