The authors of the successful Anglo-Saxon series "The Tudors"(The Tudors) were well inspired to choose this turbulent period in English and European history. It was the time of Henry VIII and his conjugal escapades with major political and religious consequences, of François I, a figure of the renaissance, of Charles V and his dream of a universal Empire, of Thomas More and Erasmus, precursors of humanism, of the religious reform of Luther .
History of the Tudors
Both historical and fictional series, the Tudors are set in the 38 years of the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547). The war of the two roses that bloodied England had ended two decades earlier, and the new dynasty imposed itself and asserted itself at the head of the kingdom amid a religious crisis.
Devout Catholic - he was appointed defender of the faith by the pope thanks to a pamphlet written with Thomas More against Luther - Henry VIII was then married to Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon. This prestigious wedding is intended to strengthen the ties between England and the rising European power, Spain. This union, then its laborious annulment against a background of legal and religious controversies, were at the origin of the "great affair" which agitated Europe for many years, and which would end in the rupture of England and the Church. Roman Catholic.
Catherine had been married for the first time to the brother of Henry VIII, but the latter died prematurely, without it being said that the marriage was consummated. Under pressure from Spain and England, the Catholic Church, despite doubts, agrees to remarry the new ruler, Henry. As this union did not give him a male heir, Henry began to seriously consider the divorced. The tables are turned, Henry and his supporters questioning the legitimacy of the king's marriage to Catherine, with the Church defending tooth and nail the validity of this union.
Determined to engage in a standoff with Rome in order to marry Anne Boleyn, Henry separates from his ambitious chancellor Cardinal Wolsey, confiscating his property in passing, then his successor Thomas More, both procrastinating or opposing the planned breakup of England and the Roman Catholic Church. Appropriately based on the new ideas of the reform, he gradually established himself as head of the Church and of the clergy in his kingdom, violently suppressing resistance, surrounding himself with supporters of the reform such as Chancellor Thomas Cromwell and the Archbishop of Canturbery, William Warham. In 1533, he forced fate by secretly marrying Anne Boleyn, which earned them immediately excommunicated by the Pope. This episode in history is at the origin of the singularity of Anglicanism, a sort of Reformed Catholic Church.
The television series "The Tudors"takes up most of these events and its protagonists, the whole is well served by sumptuous sets, magnificent costumes, a neat soundtrack and mostly credible actors, with the notable exception of the actor who plays Henry VIII Obviously chosen more to please the housewife under fifty than for any resemblance to the illustrious monarch, he often appears cramped in his costume when he wears one.
We will gladly forgive anachronisms and the freedoms taken with history for scriptwriting reasons, to revel in the plots, intrigues and passions that marked this turbulent time to say the least. It may be regretted, however, that certain themes have not been further explored and that the events follow one another in a puzzling way, which sometimes makes it difficult to immerse yourself in these fascinating times. We may also be surprised at certain blatant scriptwriting biases - cold and cynical reform supporters, martyring humanist and idealistic Catholics - or annoying very British clichés about the boastful, rude and self-righteous French ...
Despite its flaws, the TV series "The Tudors" happily brings these fascinating characters to life, and it's hard to resist the urge to go on and on. Take for what it is, a rather successful dramatic fiction.
The series currently features four seasons based on the tumultuous reign of Henry VIII. New seasons could emerge around the reign of his daughters, Mary called the bloody, and Elizabeth I.
- DVD: The Tudors, seasons 1 and 2 - 6 DVD box set, 2009
- DVD: Les Tudors, Complete seasons 1 to 3 - Exclusive edition, 2010.
- Henri VIII by Georges Minois, Fayard, 1989
- The England of the Tudors: 1485-1603 by Jean-Pierre Moreau, 2000.
- Les Tudors, by Liliane Crété. Flammarion, 2010.