Sunday, August 11, 2013

The White Queen Recap: In Love with the King

* Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen Episode 1, "In Love with the King." *

I love me some medieval English history and anything to do with Richard III, so when I found out that Philippa Gregory's novels about The Wars of the Roses were being turned into a TV series, I was beyond psyched and planning to do a weekly recap here on the blog, à la Game of Thrones. After very recently DNF-ing The Kingmaker's Daughter and catching the sneaky airing on Friday night of the first episode of The White Queen, however, I debated going forward with the idea. Episode 1 didn't exactly bowl me over, but Ally had already gone to the trouble of drawing the above awesome graphic for me, and it was only the first episode. Here's hoping that the pacing picks up in the next one. Even if it doesn't, I'll still post a recap on Sundays for the duration of the series, because now I have to see this through. So on with chatting about the first episode!

There Once Were Two Houses

. . . that hated each others' guts and squabbled over the English throne. Edward IV of the House of York currently sits on that throne, and he's about to meet Elizabeth Woodville, the widow of a Lancastrian knight. Translation: she was married to the enemy! Elizabeth's going to ask the King for her dead husband's property, but she's about to walk away with more than that. The moment Edward sees her, it's insta-love, at least on his part. Courtship? Who needs that when you're the King of England?!

And Some Witch-y Stuff Happened

Okay—I'm not a big fan of the paranormal-esque element, and it was a big reason why I quit reading The Kingmaker's Daughter, which was told from the perspective of Anne Neville, the younger daughter of the Earl of Warwick, Richard Neville. In that book, it was as though the Woodville women's witchcraft single-handedly swept the House of York to victory over the House of Lancaster. Strategy and skill on the battlefield obviously played no roles. When she's not trying her hand at imitating Princess Leia's cinnamon roll hairdo, Elizabeth's mother, Jacquetta, is outdoors rigging up some kind of intricate fate-predicting thingy using fishing lines. Jacquetta is a smart, calculating woman, I'll give her that, but between her scrying and Elizabeth going all Professor Trelawney with her visions, well, I wasn't quite sold on that.

Craster and Cromwell Are Alive . . . and Staring Each Other Down

Hey! That's Craster from Game of Thrones as Elizabeth's father, Richard Woodville, and Thomas Cromwell from The Tudors as Warwick! They're both looking pretty good for what they went through on their previous shows.

Fancy Meeting You Here

I understand there are quite a number of important characters to introduce, but I thought Margaret Beaufort's entrance was a little awkward. It looked like she just happened to be milling about when Jacquetta passed by. Now I can't wait to see how Margaret of Anjou, queen to Henry VI and despised by the Yorkists, makes her first appearance. It'd be great if she stormed into the palace dining hall and literally flipped a table while demanding her fancy chair back from Elizabeth.

Warwick the Matchmaker Kingmaker

Poor Warwick. He goes to all that trouble to broker a marriage between Edward and a French princess, and Edward is all like, "But I'm already married!" The life of a Kingmaker is hard. Very hard.

Enough of All These Woodvilles, Where's Richard?

This episode was rather Woodville-centric and not very compelling TV for me. I kept waiting for a glimpse of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and that's all the first episode showed of him—a glimpse when Edward introduced his two brothers upon Elizabeth's arrival as Queen of England. So I shall wait until next Saturday in the hope that he'll actually have a line in the next episode.


  1. I really liked this series premiere! Maybe because I hadn't read the books yet, but I am definitely intrigued and excited for more!

    Angie @ Pinkindle Reads & Reviews

    1. I love that time period in history, and I always thought that if a TV show could be made about the Tudors, why not the Plantagenets, lol.

  2. I for one really liked that they kept magic as part of the story, made the adaptation filaithful to the book. Supe it up please! LOL

    I wasn't a fan of Elizabeth in the books and it looks like I will not be a fan of her small screen counterpart either. She's too arrogant and although one does need concrete as skin to survive Court, still she's too cocky for my taste.

    The scene with the Duchess is golden! I so loved that in the book & I'm glad they kept that intact.

    IMO as far as the adaptation is concerned, they're doing an awesome job. Looking forward to the next episode because Max Irons is hot!


    P.S. I was surprised to see Cromwell alive & well too LOL

    1. For all of the paranormal that I read, you'd think that I'd be like, "More magic, please!" But I think that since this is supposed to be primarily historical fiction, that's why I'm having my little hang-up with the witchery, lol.

      Agree with you about Elizabeth's character; I don't really like her mother, either.

      Glad to hear your thoughts on how the books compare to the TV show! I didn't have much interest in reading about Elizabeth, Jacquetta, or Margaret Beaufort, so I skipped straight to Anne Neville's story but just couldn't get into that book.

  3. I was leery to watch the premiere. Honestly, mostly because I am not a big Max Irons fan. Though, gotta say he did okay...better than I expected.

    I, unlike you and Braine, really like Elizabeth. I think her arrogance and strength is admirable for that time, when women were really just used as pawns in quests for power. She has her many faults, but I still admired her gumption.

    I will agree that the scene with the Duchess was brilliant. Here's hoping the series finds its footing next week. :)

    1. I saw Max Irons in The Host, too, and I'm still not sure what I think of his acting. I must admit I don't mind staring at him on my TV screen for an hour each week, though, lol.

      I read this other book about the Wars of the Roses, The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman, and Elizabeth was portrayed as arrogant and calculating, so I think I've developed somewhat of a bias against her.

      I'm looking forward to more Cecily/Elizabeth face-offs, too. I'm sure there will be plenty!


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