|Say what you will about the series, Rebbecca|
Fergusen gives a stellar performance as
the bold yet innocent Elizabeth Woodville
The series, based on six novels by the incomparable Philippa Gregory, ran over the summer in the UK, where it was apparently not well received. But who cares? That was then, this is now. We colonials have gotten so accustomed to CableTV and Hollywood botching up history that we've come to prefer our history botched up. And why fuss about anachronistic details like period-specific hygiene and zippered dresses, as long as the sex scenes are good? So bring it on, The White Queen! We are ready to love you, no matter what your flaws.
Those of you who have followed my posts in different places may know by now that I am an avid fan of Philippa Gregory. I have read many of her historical fiction novels, most recently The Lady of the Rivers, the story of Jaquetta Woodville, the mother of Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen. I have not, unfortunately, read any of the other novels on which the current series is based. Though The Red Queen, a recent birthday gift, is waiting on my shelf, and seems to be calling me at this very moment.
|My most recent favorite|
from Philippa Gregory
So when I sat down to begin my own journey as a novelist, I did not think "I want to write like J.R.R. Tolkien". As much as I admire the master's work, and as much as I recognize the many seeds of inspiration he has given me, I wanted to do something different.
Nor did I think, "I want to write like George R.R. Martin," because quite frankly, I didn't even know who he was back then.
But I did want to write like Philippa Gregory and many other authors of historical fiction who had inspired my imagination by weaving stories with strong women protagonists.
I wanted to write woman-centered stories like they did, but I wanted to do it in the genre of fantasy.
The last time I saw Gregory's work translated into a screenplay was the film interpretation of The Other Boleyn Girl. This was sore disappointment that managed to butcher all the most important elements of the original novel, despite the potentially great cast.
|Great actresses, beautiful costumes, awful movie.|
I guess two out of three ain't bad.
With only one episode under our belts, it's too early to tell whether The White Queen will fulfill that hope. There were some things I didn't like about the first episode. For example, the overriding emphasis on romantic elements to the detriment of, say, building the political context or filling out some of the more interesting characters such as Warwick.
But to be fair, episode one was all about Elizabeth in love; the sort of starry-eyed, innocent manner in which she embarked upon her secret marriage with the York King. This innocence was well grounded by the more pragmatic approach of her mother, the marvelous Jacquetta. It also sets us up for what could be a very interesting transformation in the life and character of Elizabeth herself.
Personally, I can't wait to see what happens next.
And that is all you really need to know in order to call it a good story.
P.S. ~ Mark, let me just add that if you're still looking for a novel that centers on a long-term, stable and loving relationship, I highly recommend The Lady of the Rivers.
posted by Karin Rita Gastreich