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Does The White Queen novel have any accuracies
July 6, 2013
7:23 pm
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BlueAquaOcean
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I know it’s written by PG, but how many historical facts are there?

July 6, 2013
9:18 pm
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Boleyn
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The answer to that one BlueAquaOcean is very little, S.W.M.N.B.N is a fantasy writer. The only thing she has right is the names but apart from that most of the story is a product of her deranged mind.
I tell you I would love to see Anyanka, Sharon, Louise and a few other go to town on her backside, they would grind it into dog meat fairly quickly I should think.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

July 7, 2013
1:56 pm
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Olga
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What besides the existence of people and dates? Elizabeth Woodville meeting Edward IV, the secret wedding, her influence on the King, her marrying kin off to nobles and her unpopularity is all generally factual from what I know. I haven’t read enough on the WOTR to claim any expertise. The Duke of Clarence’s death is derived from a contemporary rumour. The Elizabeth Shore character seems to follow Jane Shore’s actual involvement with the family and Hastings closely enough, although I don’t know if Edward had a hand in having her marriage annulled or if she orchestrated that herself. Cecily Neville I don’t know a lot about but the rumours of Edward’s illegitimacy are well-known and to some historians, proven, and she did plot against her sons Edward and Richard from what I have read.
The magic is obviously all rubbish, and there is a good article on the homepage about Jacquetta’s supposed arrest which you can read.
I have no idea about Richard III and Elizabeth of York’s mutual interest in marrying, it’s another contemporary rumour and I haven’t looked into it but it’s a theme in her next book as well. PG calls herself a Yorkist and doesn’t hold Richard III responsible for the murder of the Princes.
I don’t know anything about the actual battles between the Yorks and Lancaster so I can’t tell you if any of her battle scenes are factual besides who turned on who during the battle and who was he victor.
The television series is again different from the books, it is using three books from the series with different perspectives.

July 7, 2013
9:09 pm
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Bill1978
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I can’t believe I am about to type this next part but here I go. i actually admire what PG did with her Cousins War series. I feel that by presenting the whole magical/mythical aspect as a major player in the plot she is telling her audience that what she is writing is a whole bunch of fiction. I know this is giving her too much credit, but perhaps it is her subtle way of saying her Tudor series is also a bunch of fiction. I remember when The White Queen was released in hardcover thinking, oh goodness now a whole bunch of peopel are going to start thinking wrong things about the War Of The Roses, but when I read the blurb and everything else and discoverd how much magic and mythology played a role in shaping these women I began to think perhaps she won’t be destroying the York/Lancaster legacy like she did the Tudor legacy. She has come out and said THIS IS FICTION!!!!! without actually using those words. If people want to believe the books are factual, then they are complete idiots.

July 8, 2013
12:32 am
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Steve Callaghan
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I’m fond of the tv series (even though it’s basically glossy garbage) but, whenever EW is in trouble, it seems to be a case of “Quick – break out the spells/the magic/the Force!” Mantel, at least in Wolf Hall, does this kind of period-myth so much better…better, in fact, than Peter Ackroyd does in his recent series of histories. Stop throwing rotten vegetables, folks – it’s my Mantel book & I’ll like it if I want to. Laugh

July 8, 2013
1:12 am
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Olga
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Actually I think she adores magic Steve, and rather than using it when she is out of ideas tries to force it on us as often as possible Laugh

I haven’t read Wolf Hall so I can’t comment, and I don’t actually like Gregory’s Tudor series but I think she has a good handle on superstition, and a reasonably good handle on religion at the time. Well, it is there, in any case.

July 8, 2013
1:38 am
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Steve Callaghan
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Bring Up The Booker isn’t as good, Olga. Laugh

Bill made a good point, I feel, about PG’s novels being unashamedly fictional; reminds me of the debate between King and Kubrick over The Shining or Susan Hill and the makers of the brilliant 1989 tv film of The Woman in Black – even when the results are arguably dubious, a creator must be allowed to make his or her own version of a book, a film, a history etc (unless, of course, it’s demanded that said creator keeps faith with the original). I haven’t read The White Queen but I wonder if PG allowed herself licence to ‘ramp up’ the black magic angle because of the (allegedly) long tradition of black and white magic supposedly practised by royals and nobles in France? Probably not, but it’d be a good excuse/reason…

July 8, 2013
11:37 am
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Boleyn
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Talking of witchcraft, Joanna of Navarre, wife of Henry 4th, was accused and imprisoned of witchcraft. It was alledged that she killed Henry 4th with witchcraft and attempted to poison Henry V.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

July 8, 2013
5:30 pm
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Steve Callaghan
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There’s a very good post by Susan Higginbotham, entitled Jacquetta Woodville and Witchcraft, on the website now:

http://www.theanneboleynfiles……more-23637

July 8, 2013
5:36 pm
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Olga
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No it was when PG found out about Melusine, some legendary water goddess or something that Jacquetta Rivers supposedly descended from. Come to think of it I’m not sure people were accusing Elizabeth Woodville of being a witch either, which they seem to do in every second sentence in the TV series Laugh I could be wrong, people were extremely silly in the middle ages, bless them.

July 8, 2013
6:00 pm
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Boleyn
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You are right Olga, Elizabeth Woodville was suspected of witchcraft. Her mother was accused and kept prisoner by the Earl of Warwick.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 28, 2013
11:43 pm
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BlueAquaOcean
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Was the attempted rape by Edward IV real or not?

August 29, 2013
12:05 am
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Boleyn
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I rather think Blue, that Edward saw Elizabeth as another notch on his bedpost so to speak, and Elizabeth wasn’t prepared to be used and cast off by Edward, so simply told him that if he wanted her he would have to marry her. I don’t think she expected him to accept her under those terms, so it came as a great surprize to her when he agreed. I certainly feel he tried to take her against her will but she must have somehow managed to fend him off. Personally I would have kicked him hard straight between the goal posts. He would have certainly walked like a croquet hoop for a few weeks afterwards, and would have had to have had handbag to carry his gonads in too.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 29, 2013
12:08 am
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Steve Callaghan
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Good job he’s got that airbag to protect him from the kick.

August 31, 2013
9:55 pm
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Boleyn
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Yeah Steve, I wondered why Edward was stuffed with a pillow, now we know. LOL to protect his genetailia from E.W. But there again if she was a witch as some claimed why didn’t she just turn him into a frog or something?

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

September 2, 2013
11:47 am
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Tash Wakefield
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Why do we all discount entirely things we no longer believe to be true as impossible?? I am not one of those hippy middleclass women who walk around wearing pentagrams claiming they are ‘wiccan’, but I believe there is something beyond our own physical and mental ability that we no longer accept or understand due to science and scepticism. Phillipa obviously indulges in poetic licence, she is a writer, if she were to write a non fiction biography, I think even then it would be historically apt for her to refer to the Woodvilles and their supernatural family heritage. The Plantagenets were said to have descended from the devil, or rumoured by some to have been. My family have a background such as that described by Phillipa in the White Queen. My family story is that my great great grandmother, a ‘gypsy’ secretly married the illegitimate son of Frederick Sleigh Roberts, possibly she wooed him with supernatural powers, and they had 27 children, 25 of which survived infancy, and that magic and the sight as Gregory calls it runs in the women of my family. Whether the story is bullshit or not, it’s my families story that my great grandmother passed on to us and I believe this myself because I have an imagination, i am a romantic, and I love to believe in magic and whimsy. I think it makes my idea of life worthwhile. I recently read the white queen and marvelled at Gregories understanding that at the time, it was believed that women did have the ability to do such things, to ill wish people, to become fixated on something, then see it occur, and that it did not mean they were conspiring with the devil, which is utterly ridiculous and i think christians even today are afraid of such things. Her writing medieval superstitions into her story of Elizabeth Woodville is no different to people writing it into Arthurian Legend, because at the time everyday people believed in witchcraft, whatever they believed it to be. Look at what the puritans in america did to women they believed to be witches! They would not have burned women at the stake without some sort of spiritual foundation. I am not saying the women they burned were witches or guilty of anything, but there must have been some sort of foundation for it in their religion, in their belief system and the puritans were founded from the protestant movement that began in the Tudor era.
And it isn’t fair to be so dismissive of her work because she takes it in a different direction than you would have after your own research. She is a writer of historical fiction, yes, but she is also very talented at breathing life and personality into characters who have been researched and discussed to death until it is hard to make head nor tail of them on a personal level. I personally do not like what she did with Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl, but it is a fantastically written novel, and she has a talent for weaving history into something new and exciting after 500 years of speculation. I say good on her, she is a writer, and a very talented one at that. She is not literally claiming to be an historian, she simply implies it and I find her own public image is part of her fictional personae, which is hard to do these days. It’s simply part of her PR, and sometimes she gets away with it, which in this day and age is something to marvel at and magic in itself.

September 2, 2013
11:50 am
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Tash Wakefield
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And i think Henry VIII probably had a kick in the balls coming to him more than Edward did. He was such a sleaze, perhaps he did get a couple of kicks between the goal posts as you put it, and that’s how he became impotent!

September 2, 2013
12:12 pm
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Boleyn
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Tash, A rusty pair of garden shears would have been a lot more fun. H8 was the biggest arsehole on the planet.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

September 2, 2013
12:39 pm
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Boleyn
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Tash Wakefield said

Why do we all discount entirely things we no longer believe to be true as impossible?? I am not one of those hippy middleclass women who walk around wearing pentagrams claiming they are ‘wiccan’, but I believe there is something beyond our own physical and mental ability that we no longer accept or understand due to science and scepticism. Phillipa obviously indulges in poetic licence, she is a writer, if she were to write a non fiction biography, I think even then it would be historically apt for her to refer to the Woodvilles and their supernatural family heritage. The Plantagenets were said to have descended from the devil, or rumoured by some to have been. My family have a background such as that described by Phillipa in the White Queen. My family story is that my great great grandmother, a ‘gypsy’ secretly married the illegitimate son of Frederick Sleigh Roberts, possibly she wooed him with supernatural powers, and they had 27 children, 25 of which survived infancy, and that magic and the sight as Gregory calls it runs in the women of my family. Whether the story is bullshit or not, it’s my families story that my great grandmother passed on to us and I believe this myself because I have an imagination, i am a romantic, and I love to believe in magic and whimsy. I think it makes my idea of life worthwhile. I recently read the white queen and marvelled at Gregories understanding that at the time, it was believed that women did have the ability to do such things, to ill wish people, to become fixated on something, then see it occur, and that it did not mean they were conspiring with the devil, which is utterly ridiculous and i think christians even today are afraid of such things. Her writing medieval superstitions into her story of Elizabeth Woodville is no different to people writing it into Arthurian Legend, because at the time everyday people believed in witchcraft, whatever they believed it to be. Look at what the puritans in america did to women they believed to be witches! They would not have burned women at the stake without some sort of spiritual foundation. I am not saying the women they burned were witches or guilty of anything, but there must have been some sort of foundation for it in their religion, in their belief system and the puritans were founded from the protestant movement that began in the Tudor era.
And it isn’t fair to be so dismissive of her work because she takes it in a different direction than you would have after your own research. She is a writer of historical fiction, yes, but she is also very talented at breathing life and personality into characters who have been researched and discussed to death until it is hard to make head nor tail of them on a personal level. I personally do not like what she did with Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl, but it is a fantastically written novel, and she has a talent for weaving history into something new and exciting after 500 years of speculation. I say good on her, she is a writer, and a very talented one at that. She is not literally claiming to be an historian, she simply implies it and I find her own public image is part of her fictional personae, which is hard to do these days. It’s simply part of her PR, and sometimes she gets away with it, which in this day and age is something to marvel at and magic in itself.

Very interesting post Tash. The same could have been said of the Angevin line of kings, they were said to have decended from the Devil’s spawn, and indeed King John was said to have been viewed as a Devil by his people. There was indeed a funny story concerning his death, as the night he died a terrible storm was supposed to have raged, with the thunder and lightening raging just as he drew his last breath. Some claimed that the storm was sent by the Devil to claim one of his own when King John died.
The witch trials both here and abroad were based on nothing more than sheer paranoia. I also feel that that the Salem witch trials were down to Ergot poisoning. Ergot is a fungus that grows on Rye, and produces hallucinations similar to LSD when injested, I also believe that Ergot poisoning was a probable cause of the Marie Celeste.
As for S.W.M.N.B.N she may call herself a historian, but personally I don’t think she has any right to call herself that. She’s a fantasy writer of historical, hysterical fiction. To be honest I would love to hear Dr Dave’s opinion of her books. I dare say there will be a few choice swear words.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

September 3, 2013
3:30 pm
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Olga
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Tash Wakefield said

Why do we all discount entirely things we no longer believe to be true as impossible?? I am not one of those hippy middleclass women who walk around wearing pentagrams claiming they are ‘wiccan’, but I believe there is something beyond our own physical and mental ability that we no longer accept or understand due to science and scepticism.

I suppose I’m looking at it from the historical events side of it Tash. I’m observing how PG tied the witchcraft into actual events, namely the battles, the whistling up the wind and causing the fog and such. As for her knowledge into magic, alchemy and superstition at the time, it is excellent. So are some of her concepts of good lordship and politics which are usually conveniently overlooked.

Dr Dave Bo? If you’re referring to Starkey he called her books “good Mills and Boon”. Then he praised Hilary Mantel as a fine writer. That took him down a notch in my own estimation.
There is an internet mob mentality against PG. I’ve never seen so much nit-picking about a doctorate. There is another rather popular historian (and no not Weir) who has a doctorate in archeology which is quite a different kettle of fish, yet no-one complains she shouldn’t be writing Tudor history books. On that note I think Weir has written enough books that she can call herself a historian. Then again when people ask where PG got some idea or other and you point out it is from a book by Alison Weir, you’re usually told “but Alison Weir is okay” and then PG is inevitably blamed for spreading the misconception.
Then there are historians have websites dedicated to flaming PG, with articles claiming that George’s depiction in the Tudors was somehow better than TOBG, you know, because wife-beating and rape is far more pleasant that a charming young man who is gay.But they’re a historian, therefore its okay and their book must be fascinating.
Goodness knows a woman who has spent years studying shouldn’t be referred to as a historian when she is doing a guest appearance on Time Team, or use “Dr” when she is hosting a documentary.

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