Thursday, August 31, 2006

BBC: The Other Boleyn Girl (Day 1)

Hullo. *g* Before we start our discussion of Philippa Gregory’s outstanding novel, The Other Boleyn Girl, I want to make some things clear. 1) No, I didn’t hold BBC up (which was supposed to begin last Monday) because I wanted to torture those who have been waiting to start. 2) No, the delay wasn’t all because of Trollop; thank her laziness as well. 3) No, I will NEVER move discussion date EVER again, grrr, because you lazies will not read in time!!! (That is, unless, I’m the one who still hasn’t finished the book. :P)

Now, these questions have been long overdue, so for the love of King Henry VIII and his disgustingly fascinating court, courtiers and whor—er, wenches, let’s start! *g*
  • Why does Philippa Gregory choose Mary to narrate the story? Keeping in mind the relationship between the observer and those observed, is Mary a good, trustworthy narrator? As Mary ages, how is her loss of innocence reflected in her telling of the story?
  • Mary professes her love and admiration for Queen Katherine and feels she can’t betray her. In what ways are her honorable ideals compromised as she embarks on her adulterous affair with the king? Recount the whirlwind of events preceding Anne’s becoming queen. Do you agree that “from start to finish” Mary “had no choice” but to betray Queen Katherine?
  • In general, what are your impressions of the sisters? Keep in mind Anne and Mary’s discussion: “So who would come after me? ... I could make my own way.” Also, when Anne says, “Hear this, Mary... I will kill you.” Why are these statements significant, particularly given their timing?
  • Share some of the characteristics that you like about historical fiction. For you, what aspect of TOBG stands out the most? How does the book change your impressions of life in King Henry VIII’s court? Discuss the level of corruption in the court. Does it surprise you? Were you aware of Anne’s dogged and exhausting pursuit of the king? Did the way Anne became queen shock you?
P.S. Thanks everyone for waiting! :D I hope you had as much fun as I did reading TOBG. Selection for the month of September will be announced tomorrow (or Saturday LOL). Ta!


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37 comment(s):

Blogger Gun_Wielding_Bitch said...

LOL, I'm first! I'll be back when I can make an educated statement.

8/31/2006 10:33:00 AM  

Blogger Mailyn said...

Is it sad that I got this book for free, I love the pretty cover, I love historical novels yet I haven't even cracked it open? Yeah, I'm pathetic. LOL.

8/31/2006 10:55:00 AM  

Blogger Shoshana said...

*I have absolutely no idea why PG choose Mary, but it's a good choice because history is usually a "winners circle" point of view. She's probably a good narrator for the story because it's something that's not quite explored before. Later on, she's become quite jaded, and a tad stupid, but that's acceptable as she established in the beginning that she doesn't have spine when it comes to family.

*Well, for that era, it might be acceptable, but the moment you draw attention of someone's husband to yourself, you've betrayed the person already. The second you act on your lust towards someone else SO, you're one step into betraying that person. I do believe that Mary had no choice. The way the story was set up, she had no choice. Women it seems, are bred to be pieces of a chess game. Disposable, not-quite important enough if it doesn't advance anyone's position. I wouldn't want to be a woman during that time. I won't be happy, even if I were to boink a king. A married King.

*The sisters have love-hate relationship exacerbated by being used by their family against each other. No one can exist in oblivion if family constantly pit you against the other. I have a close cousin. We're both smart, pretty *grins*, and same ages. Our relatives are forever comparing us. I would sometimes hate her. The only thing that saved our relationship (she's still my favorite and close cousin) is because we never end up in the same close past first grade. We could both graduate Valedictorian and enjoy our accomplishements. I did topped her in NCEE and SAT,but that's just me being bitchy. :P.

No matter how much you love your sister, if the other always acts know-it-all, it grates on the nerves. These two didn't start out as close. But have you noticed that when one does truly need the other, they're there even under protest? That's being sisters too.

*It happened already...no matter how improbable something is, there's the "real" story to back it up. It brought King Henry alive for me. I always thought of him as that murdering, ugly fat King...but to think that he's really attractive at one point, that's new to me. If I used to dream about being "The Queen of England" before, consider that dream done, and stumped to death in this book. I would want to be anywhere around those stress! I bet the level of corruption in that court is not much worse than most Asian or South American government, shoot even some European ones too. When we first met Anne, you can already feel she's the go=get-it-all-and-be-damned-for-it girl. Even if you didn't know she'd end up as Queen, you get that impression. That table is set up beautifully on that one. The dead babies shocked me though.

Oy, time expired on my freedom. My 5-months old wants to type too!

8/31/2006 10:59:00 AM  

Blogger Jordis said...

1. I'm not sure why PG chose Mary to be the narrator. LOL Maybe it's because Anne's always been the more popular Boleyn sister and it would be nice to have a story from Mary's POV. :P

I think Mary is a good narrator. She narrates what she sees, what she feels and her conclusions of the matter. The book starts with her only a 13 year old girl who says she's always hungry. LOL She then fancies herself to be in love, afraid of her elders, following their every order, until she becomes a mother and started thinking of herself and her worth and what she wants and what's good for her and her children rather than the ambition of the Howard family.

2. I think mostly Mary didn't have any choice but to have an affair with the Henry, at least that's according to the Howards. Usually she is torn between her adoration of Queen Katherine and her love of Henry. I think Mary betrayed the Queen because at that point, to be with her children matters to her most than anything.

3. I hate Anne! She's a manipulative, scheming bitch! She's selfish and all that matters to her is what she could gain. Mary is the weaker sister. She can't rival Anne's cunning and witty ways, but as the story progresses her convictions become stronger especially when what's at stake are the people she loves. Anne, even from the beginning is very ambitious and this pushes her to do anything to achieve what she wants. She even said that she would kill Mary if Mary stands in her way.

4. I couldn't believe how the courtiers behave sometimes. Henry himself is disgustingly spoiled and acts like a rotten child instead of a grown man who’s supposed to be a leader of a powerful country. The court's corruption, from the Howards, to the Pope, everything is done by what one can get. They would sacrifice wives, sons, daughters, etc, anything, all to be favored by the king, which in turn means more titles, lands, prestige, and power.

Somehow it didn't surprise me that Anne pursued Henry even when he's still Mary's lover. From the start, Anne has said that she never thinks of Mary's welfare, only of hers, or the advancement of their family. It didn't surprise me either that Anne became queen since I knew already that she would. LOL

8/31/2006 11:23:00 AM  

Blogger Jordis said...

"These two didn't start out as close. But have you noticed that when one does truly need the other, they're there even under protest? That's being sisters too."

I agree with Shoshana. Mary and Anne have that love-hate relationship every sister have. LOL I think sisters are bound to hate each other one point or another. It's enevitable. Usually, it's the comparison that's always the source of the problem. What she has that you don't, why she has it when you're entitled to have the same thing, etc.

8/31/2006 11:31:00 AM  

Blogger Gun_Wielding_Bitch said...

I think Mary is the narrator because she is the only one that is not a total psycho bitch. I don’t think anyone directly involved would be a good narrator because they are emotionally involved so they see a tainted picture, though Mary was best choice of the people involved because she tried to be an outsider looking in when she could. It comes down to the old adage; there are two sides to every story and then there’s the truth.

As Mary got older, she finally got more balls, not much but more. She started seeing things for what they were and saw what a bunch of assholes her family was. I think she started to understand that her siblings, especially her sister, were puppeted by the elders of the family too, so her sister being a total bitch wasn’t always her doing. Though I would of pushed the bitch out the window if she tried to take my babies and I would of said she slipped. I’m still pissed that she never put up more of a fight about it. I would have killed her regardless of what would have happened to me. Don’t fuck with my babies!

As far as Mary screwing over the Queen, I don’t feel she had a choice but to shack up with the king, however, later when she had the choice of giving her uncle the note, no one knew she had a note, so no one would of known if she didn’t give it up. She didn’t have to tell what she and the Queen spoke about or any information, for that matter, that no one knew about. She could of lied.


I was shocked at all the drama that there was in court. I expected some but I can’t believe all the people who were out for all these devious plots. Plus, I’m surprised at how little the King knew. He seemed to be so ignorant of everything. How can you run a kingdom and be a moron? Oh, wait, I forgot about G.W. Bush for a second. ;p

8/31/2006 12:07:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

1. Have no idea why PG chose Mary LOL but maybe it's because Mary was the Boleyn who outlived them all. Not to mention everything started from Mary, from her affair with Henry that altered the Howard/Boleyns' lives, to the changes in Tudor England, to Anne and George's death.

Is Mary trustworthy? I think so. She's a good narrator. The question should be: Is PG trustworthy? :P Since many things in the book are inaccurate and different from what happened in real life.

2. I agree with Shoshana. No matter where you look at it, even if it's against Mary's will, she betrayed Queen Katherine. Mary said, compared to the rest of them Katherine is a silver, while they're all lead and tin. Still, she flung Katherine to the fire just so she would be the one to shine. Mary had no choice though, She's raised/built that way, to be nothing but a servant of her family. All that mattered is that they catch the favor of the king, for their family to become first in the kingdom.

3. Mary is the "unremarkable" sister. She's not as smart or as strong as Anne. I think if she didn't bore the king children, no one in that court would even know or remember her. Anne is a selfish BITCH! I agree with Jordis, Anne's ambition is the thing that drives her, to get MORE, even if it means trudging into something unacceptable or immoral as long as she'll end on the top. I admire Anne's tenacity though. :P Come on, she makes her own destiny and she never gives up. And she actually became Queen of England. Gotta give it to her.

4. Why do i love historical fiction? The same reason why i watch NGC and all that boring stuff about Egypt's pyramids and the lives of the pharaohs, or Greeks' way of life before the time of Christ. Yeah, i'm a dork. Always been fascinated with history. :P

The corruption did surprise me. I mean, everyone is manipulative, everyone has hidden agenda, everyone is clamoring for intrigue, it seems like you can't trust anyone. Even your own kin. Plotting against each other to get the king's favor. Even the king and queen themselves were against each other for power. It's all about who's the most powerful, who has the most hold.

Anne's pursuit of Henry didn't surprise me. Neither is her ascend to the throne. What surprised me is the incest! IICCCK!

8/31/2006 12:46:00 PM  

Blogger C Bradshaw said...

I don't know why PG choose Mary, but she's a good narrator. :P Mary started as a naive courtier to a jaded, mature observer.

Mary had no choice but to follow her uncle and father and do their bidding. Like Shoshana said, she's just a piece of a chess game. She's there for the advancement of their family. Women at the time don't have a say. It's a world ruled by men and all men bowed to the king and his pleasure.

I think Anne and Mary were bound together with more than blood. It includes envy of each other, pride, rivalry. I agree with Harlot, I too think Mary is unremarkable. Anne on the other hand is too cunning for her own good.

I knew that aristocrats and politicians in that period were all manipulative but not that corrupt. Also, I don't think I can step aside to see my wife be someone's whore. Or see my husband cavorting with other women and actually shelter a woman he's impregnated!

8/31/2006 01:11:00 PM  

Blogger C Bradshaw said...

Harlot, what inaccuracies are we talking about here?

GWB, that Bush comment, so true. :P

8/31/2006 01:14:00 PM  

Blogger Gun_Wielding_Bitch said...

CB,

She was most likely the older of the two (Ann and Mary) and her kids were most likely her first husbands. I can't remember if they were born before or after her affair with the King but I do remember reading that it was a 2 years difference from when she last did the King. He kids "looked like" the King because her husband resembled the King in the sense that they were both blonde and fair skinned.

As far as Anne getting Mary's son, that's true. She got custody, I believe of both kids, because Mary was found to be an unfit mother (because she slept around.) She not only was in Henry’s bed, but King Francois I.

Bullen is the family’s really last name but Anne changed it to Boleyn because she like the French and this is the way the French would spell it.

George and Anne didn’t commit incest. George’s wife who, right before she was executed, admitted she lied and apologized. (After Anne and George were killed.)

As queen, Anne was a generous patron of charity and she saved many lives from the Inquisition in Europe.

None of the sources Gregory listed in her bibliography supported the theory that Anne was guilty of any of the charges at her trial. She had used two biographies of Anne - one by the American historian, Retha Warnicke and another by Marie-Louise Bruce. Both these writers insisted that Anne was innocent, as did books by David Loades, Alison Weir and Lacey Baldwin Smith that Gregory had used when researching the story.

Mary Boleyn was considered to be fairly promiscuous, and had been sexually active before her first marriage (and was dismissed from service in Paris because of it.) The Boleyns did not encourage Mary's active sex life; quite the reverse, in fact. Anne and George Boleyn were both genuinely religious, but this was not mentioned in the novel. Historically, Anne Boleyn was never involved in any poison plots or witchcraft. Her involvement in black magic were simply rumours spread by her enemies in order to discredit her.

Summary, Mary is a slut and Anne was a good girl and Queen.

8/31/2006 02:01:00 PM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

Mary is a good narrator. I think she's the best thing in the book. She's a young woman with a sense of morality that always clashes with her responsibility with her family and their ambitions.

I feel sorry for Queen Katherine. She's a loyal wife, an intelligent woman who has a great understanding of things around her. Mary adores her but her obligation to the queen isn't a match to the Boleyn family's ambition. I do think Mary had no choice in the matter because really, women in that period were not given any.

Anne and Mary are the same, both pawns and servants of the kingdom and mostly their own family. Anne is ruthless driven by her ambition become queen. Mary is helpless. She always ends up tangled with her family's affair and their unwavering lust to advance their interest.

I was shocked with how the courtiers have acted. Especially the way of the Boleyn family and how they would sacrifice anything or anyone for power. The court is claustrophobic and everyone seems to have a consummate agenda to topple everyone just to end up on top. I think mostly everyone knows about Anne's famous tragic end but the book showed us an insider's view through Mary's eyes. All that ruthlessness of petty individuals who are all willing to use each other, step on each other, in order to achieve a particular goal.

8/31/2006 02:02:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Casey,

Here's a source:
Inaccuracies in TOBG. :)

8/31/2006 02:09:00 PM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

Harlot, thanks for the link! And I agree, the incest threw me off. Euuw. I never thought Anne would do that, even as ruthless as she is, or that George would agree. It's all self destruction all for the quest of power. GWB, thanks for that!

8/31/2006 02:19:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

I think PG chose Mary because in doing so, we'll be able to see Henry from the eyes of both a courtier and his lover, Queen Katherine and her struggles from a maid's POV, Anne as a sister and her scheming nature and her manipulations, George's lifestyle and the Boleyn family's unwavering hunger for power.

Anne is the famous sister and is potrayed in the book with so much cunning and such viciousness you'll hate her. LOL Mary is not as popular or as ambitious as her sister but her inner struggles between being true to herself and her family were compelling.

I loved this book. Very fascinating and I learned a lot about being a woman in the 1500s, which sucks! Being in Henry VIII's court and the lives of the courtier, all that politics, oh god, very suffocating. I found myself angered, saddened and entertained. Great book!

8/31/2006 03:15:00 PM  

Blogger C Bradshaw said...

Harlot, thanks for the link! GWB, thanks, that was great info!

Anyway, good thinking in Anne's part. Boleyn sounds better than Bullen. LOL

8/31/2006 03:18:00 PM  

Blogger Jolie said...

I agree with your answers, ladies. LOL I'm being lazy. But you know, I like George more than Mary. :P

So true and sad between sisters, both kins and rivals. Wanting to see a beloved sister to succeed, and a desire to see a rival fall. I wonder how it would look like or what the changes would be if the book was written in Anne's POV. LOL

8/31/2006 03:29:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

I didn't get to reread! LOL Anyway, I agree with Petra about why I think PG used Mary as the narrator. She's Henry's lover and mother of his children, lady in waiting to Katherine, sister to George and to Anne, kin to the ambitious Howards and privy to their schemes.

I learned a lot from this book about how it's like to be alive in the 1500s in the court of Henry VIII. I was surprised at how the courtiers conducted themselves, always calculating, scheming, always plotting and always trying to use other people for one's advancement.

I think this is a moral tale about greedy, ruthless people getting theirs, while the kind-hearted ones always truimphs. Many historians disputed the accuracy of the book but readers should keep an open mind that this is not an accounting of the Boleyns' lives but a fiction based on them.

8/31/2006 04:59:00 PM  

Blogger Lorelei said...

If there's a book written in Anne's POV, we'll see Mary as the villain. LOL It's disturbing how the Boleyns didn't care which sister the king slept with as long as that would secure their position in the kingdom. Whenever they have those family meetings, like Shoshana said, it's like a chess game, watching an intese game. We saw it all through Mary's eyes, someone who's a reluctant pawn, a girl whose sense of right and wrong go against the family's wishes, and that made the book so much better. I think Mary's potrayal of the kindhearted sister adds depth to Anne's vicious character.

8/31/2006 08:13:00 PM  

Blogger Jordis said...

What do you wish Mary could have done that she didn't? If I were Mary I would have killed Anne for taking my little boy! LOL It's one thing to steal one's husband, another to steal one's child. Also I agree with GWB, there were times Mary could have just lied to her uncle. Why didn't she?

8/31/2006 08:25:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

Jordis, I agree, Mary could have lied in many of those conferences.

My complain with TOBG is the anticlimactic ending. I don't know, I was expecting more. LOL Maybe more drama to Anne's execution? It's a bit monotonous.

8/31/2006 08:34:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

I think Mary is a good narrator. I agree that PG probably have chosen her because she's connected to the different characters in different levels: sister, lover, kin, courtier, mother, pawn, etc.

I think Mary had no choice but to betray the queen. There's no way she could have survived that period, during her age, if she shuns her family. Where is she going to go if they banish her? When she's sent to Hever after displeasing Henry, it showed what it's like to be a woman in that time. A woman may have the most beautiful gowns, best jewelries, great horses, but she doesn't own them. She only does what she's told to do.

I already know Anne would be queen and that she'll die LOL so that wasn't shocking. The lives of the courtiers were fascinating. But the level of corruption was shocking. I mean the way the Boleyn family plots their every move, very cold people! It's like they're nothing but cattles. Pushing one daughter to whore for them to gain power, pushing the other sister to hold the king's attention while the sister was pregnant just so the king's favor would remain in their family. And they actually do it!!!

8/31/2006 08:53:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

Daniele, I agree, there's no way Mary could have survived if she disobeyed her family. She had nothing. I got this from the book (I have ebook copy :P) -


I laughed at that, looking down from my horse into their brown weatherbeaten faces. "I have no money."

"You're a great lady at court," one of them protested. His gaze took in the neat tassels on my leather boots, the inlaid saddle, the richness of my dress and the golden brooch in my hat. "There's more on your back today than I earn in a year."

"I know," I said. "And that's where it stays. On my back."

"But your father must give you money, or your husband," the other man said persuasively. "Better to gamble it on your own fields than on the turn of a card."

"I'm a lady. It's none of it mine. Look at you. You're doing well enough—is your wife a rich woman?"
He chuckled sheepishly at that. "She's my wife. She does as well as I do. But she doesn't own anything of her own."

"It's the same for me," I said. "I do as my father does, as my husband does. I dress as is proper for their wife or their daughter. But I don't own anything on my own account. In that sense I am as poor as your wife."

"But you are a Howard and I am a nobody," he observed.

"I'm a Howard woman. That means I might be one of the greatest in the land or a nobody like you. It all depends."

8/31/2006 09:03:00 PM  

Blogger Jordis said...

Petra, good quote. If I were Mary, I would probably get myself killed. LOL

8/31/2006 09:09:00 PM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Just when the story starts to drag, something shocking or exciting always happens. Have any of you ladies read the sequel, The Queen's Fool?

8/31/2006 09:17:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

Yes, Petra that's what I mean. Thank God I was born in this century!!!! LOL

8/31/2006 09:22:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

Lollie, if you liked TOBG, I think you should read the sequel, The Queen's Fool. I actually like that one better than TOBG. TQF is about Queen Mary's reign, and Elizabeth, Anne's daughter. :)

8/31/2006 09:32:00 PM  

Blogger Ladybug said...

I think Mary had no choice but to betray Queen Katherine. I liked that quote Petra posted, it shows a lot of Mary's position in her family, what it's like to be a courtier, that she is nothing but a piece the family uses for their ambition.

Anne uses her wit, intelligence, her beauty very well. She's probably the most cunning strategist in all the women there. She even eclipsed Queen Katherine and replaced her on the throne. On the other hand, Mary, although has no choice but to obey her family, has scruples unlike Anne. Anne who won't stop at nothing and won't let anyone stop her achieving her goals.

I'm with Shoshana, the dead babies are disturbing. Like Harlot, I think what surpised me the most is the incestuous relationship between Anne and George. Anne might do it but George? And he's gay in the book too. This reminds me of that scene when the Pope was captured by Charles of Spain and the Boleyns are in the brink of being ruined. Despite that, George was happy and Mary asked her "why are you happy?" And he said that he believed their family's insanity, that Anne would be queen, but after Spain captured the Pope, he's sane again. Something like that. LOL

8/31/2006 10:33:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

OK, I'm posting quotes again, LOL, for Ladybug this time. :)

I paused. George jumped up two steps and kissed my open mouth. "Silly girl," he said warmly. "This is disastrous news for the king. He's never going to get free of her. It's all gone awry and we Boleyns gone awry with it."

I snatched at his hand as he would have run away from me. "So why are you so happy? George! If we are ruined? Why are you so merry?"

He laughed up at me. "I'm not happy, I'm maddened," he half-shouted. "For a moment I had started to believe our own madness. I had started to believe that Anne would be his wife and the next Queen of England. And now I am sane again. Thank God. That is why I laugh."

8/31/2006 11:01:00 PM  

Blogger Lorelei said...

Lollie Rose, I've read TQF and liked it a lot. Great read. Pretty much continues what TOBG started.

9/01/2006 12:10:00 AM  

Blogger Isabella said...

PG might not be a reliable source of historical facts, LOL, but she's a great storyteller.

Here's the Tudor series in order:
1. The Other Boleyn Girl
2. The Queen's Fool (about Mary Tudor and Elizabeth, Anne's daughter)
3. The Virgin's Lover (Queen Elizabeth I)
4. The Constant Princess (Katherine of Aragon)
5. The Boleyn Inheritance (Catherine Howard, will be released this coming December)

9/01/2006 12:19:00 AM  

Blogger Ladybug said...

LOL, yeah that's the one. Thanks, Petra! Isabella, thanks for the list!

9/01/2006 01:43:00 AM  

Blogger Vixen said...

I'm late in the game here so won't go into detail but I do want to say that I really enjoyed this book.

Accurate or not I liked Mary.

I look forward to reading the other books. Thanks for the list Isabella!

9/01/2006 09:32:00 AM  

Anonymous Lily said...

I watched a Biography of Henry VIII, and a portion focused on Anne. The extreme pressure she was under to enchant Hentry AND give him a son apparently made her old before her time. The film described her as quite shrewish. Combine that sad fact with Petra's quote on the status of women (Howard or otherwise), and you come to realize that women were merely pawns in the game, and any sort of edge they could use to increase opportunities for themselves was merited. If faced with such daunting repression, who knows what lengths any of us would go to. I see Anne and Mary both as victims of the time they lived in.

9/01/2006 10:39:00 PM  

Blogger Jolie said...

Lily, I agree. I can only imagine what it must be like for Anne. I mean just from reading the book, you can feel the insanity, the exhaustion of how Anne pursued Henry, even I felt it was all mad.

9/01/2006 11:20:00 PM  

Blogger Marg said...

If you want to read the books in chronological order then it would be:

1. The Constant Princess (Katherine of Aragon)
2. The Other Boleyn Girl
3. The Queen's Fool (about Mary Tudor and Elizabeth, Anne's daughter)
4. The Virgin's Lover (Queen Elizabeth I)

The next book (The Boleyn Inheritance) would go between TOBG and TQF. The book after that is going to be about Henry VII.

Personally I enjoyed The Queen's Fool more than TOBG, but I did read that first and I do think that that sometimes makes a big difference.

It is interesting to me how figures from history can inspire such differing emotions even hundreds of years after they live. For example was Anne Boleyn a scheming bitch, or was she a victim of the machinations and plotting of the Royal court. In my mind, probably a bit of both, but people do get VERY passionate about it.

9/02/2006 04:23:00 AM  

Blogger Lola Lovegood said...

Choosing Mary as the narrator was an interesting choice Mary's portrayal as the meek and kindhearted sister adds to the depth of Anne's ruthlessness and venomous character; Philippa Gregory gave a little-known historical figure a great personality!

You can see how much of a child Mary really is by the way her mind constantly changes from thoughts to actions. Her relationship with herself is extremely inconsistent and confusing. At times, she loves Anne very much (though it's hard to see why) and at other times, she wishes that her sister's ship had sunk in the sea or that she would fall off a window and breaks her neck. In some parts of the book, she is head over heels in love with Henry, and at other times, she couldn't care less if he slept with her sister or send her to Hever forever. She professes to adore and admire Queen Katherine, yet betrays her consistently. She loves her husband William, then hates him and wishes she could escape and return to court.


My foremost impression of this story is that it's a morality tale. The greedy, ruthlessly ambitious characters get theirs, while the kindhearted, victimized protagonist triumphs; it’s a fairy-tale for adults.

Mary Boleyn uses her voice to narrate this excellent story about the life of the young wife of King Henry the VIII. It is interesting to read about all the scheming and power plays that went on inside the castle walls; these people were truly revolting and sickening. Philippa Gregory is able to capture the essence of what happened during this period by giving Mary, who is very naïve and innocent, a voice to tell her story.

Another great historical book is in the same genre is The North Kingdom by Jordan N. Danniels. It has many plots and intrigues that twist and turn like a top throughout the book. Like The Other Boleyn Girl-one can see how much corruption is associated with those who wear the crown-and thus have all the power!

9/02/2006 12:40:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

I think she chose Mary b/c she's been overlooked in history. Anne is much more famous and having her as a narrator might have spoiled somethings. Also, Mary is the only one that is alive and part of it all from beginning to end.

Funny, but I don't think Mary loses all of her innocence. Either that or she's a bit dumb lol She makes the same mistakes over and over throughout the book. Not sure if that's what is reffered by innocence. She does become very jaded later on and snobbish; she starts being more and more like Anne was when the book began.

I'm not sure Mary considers her adulterous relationship with the king as betraying queen K. I think it was normal behavior in court. I think she felt a tad bad about it, but not enough not to do it. the skank LOL.

I disagree with everyone that says Mary didn't have a choice. She did have a choice; she had many choices. We see her make them throughout the book. She not only slept with Henry because of her family, she did it b/c she thought herself in love with him too.

They have normal sibling rivalty multiplied times 100 LOL Their families kept pushing them against each other. In a situation like that we could never expect them to be real friends.

I'm still not finished with book! Will get back to questions when I'm done :D probably by the end of the week :P

9/03/2006 10:16:00 PM