To tear a kingdom apart

Today I read Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. This book tells Cromwell’s side of the downfall of Anne Boleyn. Together with him we live the day that lead to her execution.

Not that I’m obsessed.

I’m just curious… Anne Boleyn tore a kingdom apart, she managed to get a queen out forever, to cut the bond between England and Rome, and to be the first queen who was ever executed. That’s quite much for a young woman. Seven years she has been working her way to the top. With her French past (she was a maid of honour there) and her pleasant character she was said to be ‘exotic’, though apparently she also had a bad temper. When she came at court to serve the queen, she quickly got some admirers since she was seen as the most stylish and accomplished woman there. Then she caught the king’s attention, and there we go. For seven years she seems to have refused to become his mistress, she resisted his seduce attempts. That may have been what kept him going for her… I guess she was one of the few women to do that.

Eventually, Anne became a queen, but that success only lasted for three years. May the 19th, 1536 – Anne’s been beheaded. It was probably the lack of male heir she promised to give the king which opened up the path to downfall. We’ll never know for sure what happened and how it happened.

Anne Boleyn - image via Wikipedia

Anne Boleyn – image via Wikipedia

I find it so interesting to read about her. How did she do that? How could she become so important? That’s so intruiging. Some people just seem to have A Thing that makes them irresistible. Much like Cleopatra, who managed to seduce the two most important men of Rome at the time. Accounts say that she wasn’t pretty… But still she was so powerful and attractive.

I guess it’s not so much about looks, but more about a strong desire for power and the ability to charm people. I suspect that such abilites are something you are either born with or not. Of course you can learn how to do small talk, but to be able to get everyone at your feet, that must be something inside you that’s always been there. I think.

To me this is very intruiging. I know I’m not like the two women I mentioned here, but it can no harm to learn from them! (Though they both didn’t die a natural death.)

By the way, in the clips I have found on YouTube from the movie The Other Boleyn Girl, Anne is almost always crying. I cannot imagine a woman who has been fighting for seven years to be queen weeping all the time. While The Tudors Anne had stronger nerves and more dignity. I believe that that is way closer to the truth. You cannot get where she got when you’re emotionally so vulnerable.

After all this time

-After all this time, still…?
-Yes… Yes.
-But how?
-There are enough ways to keep it alive.
-When did you last see him then?
-You could say about a year and a half ago for the last time… Though I also saw him again in the summer. But that was too short…
-I didn’t know… I didn’t know that was even possible…
-Apparently, it is.
-So what are you going to do now?
-I don’t know. I don’t have the money to buy all the seasons…

Yes, my dears, I still like The Tudors a whole lot. So I’ve got two clips here for you, a video and a piece of music, to see or listen as you prefer. I just like them both a whole lot. For the video, skip to 4:33. This is the moment when Anne returns in Henry’s dream or illusion. It’s so heartbreaking to see her realize he thinks she’s guilty. And then she starts making him feel bad. Look at that little smile when she turns away again… She’s so good. It doesn’t take long, so go ahead and skip to 4:33.
The piece of music is called ‘Mary told of Chapuy’s death’. Very sad piece, but very, very beautiful. I can appreciate a good soundtrack for sure.



Young blood

Dear people, I’ve been caught by a new obsession. A TV obsession. I’m not the best at following series, because of the simple fact that I don’t know how to download, and during the week I don’t have a tv. Therefore I don’t often follow anything at all.

The tides turned when The Tudors showed up. Man, what a show. The clothes! The actors! The music! It was haunting, charming, disturbing. It was great. But there’s an end to every nice song, as we say here. Fours seasons after the first episode I was hooked and left behind with nothing. It was over.
Until it returned to the screen. Unfortunately only the first two seasons, but still. I am very grateful for YouTube, because there isn’t much you cannot find there… And that’s how we keep an obsession alive.

But now, even better, a new obsession showed up! And apparently, correct me if I’m wrong, it’s from the same makers as The Tudors.

What could possibly go wrong?

King Henry seems to be born again as Dracula, and then again as the rich American Alexander Grayson. He wants to bring the Order down for killing his beloved wife way back in Rumania. Strangely enough he gets help from doctor Van Helsing, whose family was burned alive before his eyes – by the same Order.
Sounds like a great plan, no? Two broken men against a giant Order that’s ruling stuff ever since 1200 or something.
There’s only one small problem.
Dracula meets his wife again, only this time, she’s a Victorian woman, on the edge of marrying her (tall) boyfriend. She’s a very emancipated woman, studying to become a doctor, which at the time was unusual. Her boyfriend Jonathan Harker (Mina Harker, get it?) doesn’t always seem to approve of his future wife’s ‘hobby’, but they end up getting engaged anyway. He becomes Dracula’s informant, helping him to make him more powerful and ready to crush the Order. Meanwhile there is a female Huntsman trying to find the old vampire to get him killed. She falls for the charming rich American, the first man who played with her while she always used men as toys. She doesn’t realize he’s the vampire she should kill… But the Order gets mistrustful…

And that’s as far as I am now! My expectations were high after having seen the entire Tudors, and I already missed the first episode of Dracula, but still I’m pretty hooked after seeing one particular scene. I immediately fell for the music, the music is so special, and then I got carried away by the drama.
In this scene, Jonathan wants to thank Grayson for everything he did by ‘giving’ him the first dance with Mina. Both Mina and Dracula feel a bit uncomfortable; he knows who she really is, and she feels that he’s not just someone.


Oh, to love someone you can’t get. Oh, to see your love burn and then meet her again centuries later on…! Boohoo.
But seriously, while I’m mostly very rational and sceptical, I couldn’t help but falling in love with this series a bit. It might not be as convincing as The Tudors (yet), but I’m looking forward to the next episode, so I guess it means I have found a new source of inspiration to spam this blog with…

Music on Monday : Melancholy

There’s your cell, and that’s you sitting in its corner, because corners feel safer. It’s quite cold, dark and empty in there. But the outside world is burning hot.
Once, once you had everything: nice people around you, fancy dresses and beautiful jewels. Life was good. But that changed and now you’re left with nothing, heading straight for the end. This is a lonely place, the dungeon where they locked you up. It’s a sad and tragic thing. A sad and tragic life…

This is a video on Katherine Howard’s days before she was executed. The fragments are taken from the TV series The Tudors, which was really, really good, and its soundtrack is stunning. I might be posting more of the music used there, because it is so amazingly great. There’s a great sadness in this music that’s subtle and beautiful at the same time.
But for now this will do as tomorrow, my execution will take place… In the form of an exam. I’m scared. Actually I really am… I don’t want to fail again. I want to feel smart!

So please, burn a candle for me or something. Who knows, it might just work…!

Saturday night? Let’s watch The Tudors!

Yesterday, Saturday, a friend of mine celebrated her anniversary. We went to a rather small party with good music every now and then (a nice difference with all the parties without any good song at all). In the middle of our group, we had made a huddle of bags and jackets, because it was too annoying to dance with. The entire evening we have been preventing people to step on our huddle. Imagine four girls (mostly at least one was gone for a drink or something) all of sudden stretching out their arms to block your way. That were we.
So it was a fairly good party, but then, all of sudden, I thought: ‘Oh-oh, The Tudors will be recording tonight, right? Right?’ And then: ‘Oh yes, it’s automatically recorded since last season’. Relief.

Yes, that is what I thought. Because I don’t want to miss a single episode of The Tudors. I’m hooked! And believe me, missing one episode means you can’t understand any further political/emotional development. But above all I’m just a great Tudors fan. That’s a confession.
For those who don’t know The Tudors, it’s a quite recent British series on King Henry VIII and all of his wifes. It’s hard to keep understanding who’s who, who f*cks who, who’s catholic etc. But if you persevere, you’ll be rewarded with dresses that are stunningly beautiful, with a small political background, and even some good music every now and then.

Queen Catherine of Aragon

My father and I have been watching it since the first episode and we are persevering like a sir. We have to watch all episodes together, because mostly I do understand what’s going on more or less, and I need to clear some stuff out during a conversation or decapitation. Lots of decapitations, by the way. It’s hard to believe that people at the court at that time could die a natural death. The best way to commit suicide back then must have been marrying Henry. Or being catholic. Or being reformed. Or having looked at someone the wrong way. Something like that. Especially during the third season, plenty of people have been killed. Like that, every season has its own trademark. The fourth season, currently running here, is all about Queen Katherine Howard and her childish and porn-like behaviour.

Queen Katherine Howard, dancing, something she does most of the time, next to giggling.

None of my friends watches this series, so I couldn’t discuss with them on which wife is the best. Luckily there’s Internet, there’s YouTube and look! Everyone seems to be talking about Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour and Katherine (three of his wifes were called Katherine)! Hot topic! My father and I have always liked Catherine of Aragon for her solemnity and dignity. Anne Boleyn was the fury, the seductive and tempting one. Jane Seymour on the other hand was calm and peaceful. Unfortunately she wasn’t played by the same person in season 1 and 2. I liked the second one the most, and her music theme is incredibly beautiful and touching. Anne of Cleves wasn’t his wife for a long time, she was nice but quite insignificant. In Belgium, Katherine Howard is ruling now. She’s so childish and annoying… Giggling is her hobby. One more to go… For now, I’m in team Jane and team Katherine of Aragon, and I wonder if Catherine Parr, the last wife, will change that.

As I said, sometimes they use great music. I was really touched at the death of Jane Seymour, especially in combination with the music. Here it is, enjoy and be touched.