Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Tudors?

A recurring theme from last week's comments was Tudor love.

"I love all the Tudor drama." -- Eliza
"I've always been fascinated with the Tudor court." -- Hannah Lorraine
"I love the Tudor era! -- picyadri
"I love anything to do with Henry VIII." -- Hannah

And it got me thinking.  Why?  Why do we love these people who lived hundreds of years ago, in what would seem like a different planet to our modern age?  Why do we get caught up in their stories and their dramas, and why do they seem so present - so immediate - in our modern minds?

I have a feeling it's not just the Showtime/BBC series (I've only seen two episodes, but Henry Cavill will always have a place in my heart) because something - something bigger and more culturally potent - threw that series into stardom.

The only answer I can provide is my own.  I began reading about Tudor history to discover if Henry truly was the gross, tyrannical behemoth so easily lampooned by modern comedians.  And learned that Henry is much more complex than I ever imagined.

My second was to find out why this diverse group of women - almost all of them well-educated and obviously intelligent - would marry him.  And their reasons were as diverse as their personalities.  Henry certainly didn't marry a "type".  Which makes him even more complex.

This doesn't come close to why I'm somewhat obsessed by the entire era.  By the wars and religious upheaval.  By the clothes and the jewelry, the food and travel and sports and entertainments.  Compared to how we live now, their ways and traditions are archaic - even barbaric.  But also fascinating - and some even beautiful.

So because I don't have an answer, let me turn it over to you.  Why are you fascinated by the Tudors?  And what is it about them that captures our collective imagination?

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, I'm not sure. I actually didn't think much about them before I met you & read GILT. But I would have to say, now, that I definitely pay attention when the subject comes up! It's probably the tragedy mixed in with the shock factor of "Off with their heads!" well as the pretty clothes & jewelry. :)