Sunday, August 18, 2013

The White Queen Recap: The Price of Power

* Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen Episode 2, "The Price of Power." *

I was a little worried that this post wasn't happening today because a lot of my cable channels, including Starz, weren't working on Friday night and part of Saturday. I checked one last time before I was about to call the cable company and found everything back to normal. Yay!

I thought Episode 2 was better paced than Episode 1, probably because everyone's pretty much been introduced. The part of my brain that wants to watch the show from a purely historical perspective tried to be more open-minded this week, especially toward the witchcraft. This is a TV show, after all, so I did my best to just sit back and be entertained. Which I mostly was. And can I just say that I've always wanted to try on a hennin? You know—one of those headdresses that medieval women wore that looks like a giant cone and has a veil hanging out of the top of it?

It's Coronation Day

Elizabeth is officially crowned Queen of England, much to Warwick's displeasure. The guy looks like he's been whiffing chamber pots all day throughout most of the episode, even going on a full-blown rant to the Countess of Warwick about the Queen's influence over Edward, which used to be Warwick's.

Let's Play the Matchmaking Game

Elizabeth has lots of siblings who need to be married off to well-to-do spouses, and Jacquetta pitches in by literally laying all of the cards, with pictorial representations of the prospective brides and grooms, on the table. I wonder how long it took some medieval artist to illustrate those; it's a pity Photoshop didn't exist in the Middle Ages.

Don't Scare the Kid or Anything, Margaret

Margaret Beaufort goes to see her young son, Henry Tudor, and opens the conversation along the lines of, "Henry, my son, it's so good to see you. THE FALSE YORKIST KING HAS STOLEN YOUR TITLE!!!! I'M COMPLETELY BESIDE MYSELF WITH OUTRAGE ON YOUR BEHALF!!!" I felt kind of bad for the kid, having a mother who's apparently a little bonkers and has mommy issues (with her own mommy, that is).

Fast Forward

There's quite a bit of history to condense into ten episodes, and time moves swiftly along in this one. First four months have passed, and then, according to the note on the screen, three years!

"Kingmaking" Can Be Used as a Verb

After Edward denies Warwick's request for George and Richard to marry Warwick's daughters, the Earl hatches a plan to put George on the throne, part of which entails playing up rumors that Edward is a bastard. George marries Warwick's eldest daughter, Isabel, and the union is also the signal to Warwick's supporters to turn against the king. Edward is later captured by his traitorous brother and cousin.

Damn, These Names Are Long!

A grieving Elizabeth wants vengeance for her executed father and brother, John. Jacquetta tells her to write down the names of those she wants cursed in blood. On a little scrap of parchment, Elizabeth manages to write "Richard Neville Earl of Warwick" and "George Plantagenet." Kudos to her for not only fitting all of that into such a small writing space, but also for not passing out from blood loss.

Richard Speaks!

Ever since I read Sharon Kay Penman's superb novel The Sunne in Splendour, which is all about Richard III and the Wars of the Roses and which I very, very HIGHLY recommend reading, I've had a keen interest in all things Ricardian. That keen interest extends to how he's portrayed in The White Queen, and you can count on there being a mention of Richard in every recap. He hasn't been given too much to do so far except exchange a few awkward glances with his cousin, Anne Neville, and draw a sword on mad King Henry VI when the latter is carted back as Warwick's prisoner. I hope that the series at least touches upon how fervent Richard's loyalty was to Edward, because from what's been shown in the first two episodes, it looks more like Edward's Woodville in-laws were his closest confidants.

And that's it for this week's recap. Barring cable troubles, see you next week!


  1. Are you liking it so far? Its definitely nothing like The Tudors. I haven't seen this episode, I might catch it later tonight. So far its boring me but now that she's in court, I might find it more interesting.


    1. I liked this week's episode better than last week's, though I agree that it's no Tudors. I think the compression of so many years of history into one 10-part series is its biggest problem; a lot of events are glossed over, and the characters seem pretty shallow, at least to me.

  2. I was not a huge fan of the time travel in this episode, but did like this one more than the first.

    Margaret is a lunatic...poor Henry!

    And, I could not agree more on the Richard end. I hope he gets more screen time in future episodes.

    1. I think Margaret's husband was rather embarrassed by her ranting and raving; I was embarrassed for him, and for Henry.

      This show definitely needs more Richard; if they ever do show any of the battles between York and Lancaster, I hope they remember the important role Richard played in them and don't suddenly promote, say, Anthony Woodville to some kind of genius on the battlefield.


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