Friday, September 1, 2006

BBC: The Other Boleyn Girl (Day 2)

I’m so glad this BBC selection is finally ending. Oh, it’s not that I’m not enjoying our discussion of The Other Boleyn Girl—I am!—and I hope you are too *smile*—it’s just that, Trollop and I are really looking forward to next week. *g* Ohhh, I cannot wait. So many things, so much fun... and we have some announcements too!

Anyway, before I give out anything I’m not supposed to LOL, here are the last questions:
  • George exclaims to Mary, “You cannot really want to be a nobody.” Why is this such a revolutionary idea in Henry’s court, and for the Boleyns in particular? What should the response have been to Mary’s question to Anne about the rewards of Anne’s impending marriage to the king: “What is there for me?”
  • In King Henry’s court, homosexuality was a crime. Why do you think George essentially flaunted his preference? What do you make of the intimate kiss between George and Anne that Mary witnessed? What is the impetus behind George and Anne’s relationship? Discuss whether or not you believe that George slept with Anne so that she might have a son, and why.
  • After Anne is arrested, Mary pleads for her by saying, “We did nothing more than that was ordered. We only ever did as we were commanded. Is she to die for being an obedient daughter?” What is your reaction to these arguments? Did Henry have no choice but to sentence her to death?

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25 comment(s):

Blogger Vanessa said...

What are you bitches up to? What's going to happen next week? Hey, I hope that includes some naked men! lol :P

9/01/2006 01:42:00 PM  

Blogger Gun_Wielding_Bitch said...

I don't think George can grab the concept of WANTING to be a nobody because they were raised to believe that court and fancy titles and your standing in public is what life is all about.

Anne should of responded by thanking Mary for being a loyal sister and for putting her life on hold for her. Mary should of gotten the spoils that were deserved to her, not her husband or other male family member, HER. Anne should of made it so Mary could be independent of men if she wanted.

Throughout early history, sex was running ramped, but you were not to be open about it. The earliest accounts of homosexual behavior seem to be found in ancient pagan religious practices. If you look into Greek mythology you will see it was believed the God had sex to procreate more Gods, and there was lots of sex with satyrs and other ½ human, ½ animal beings. In early Babylon is where we first find phallic-penis worship. The art and statuary of the ancient Greeks reflects this love for the body, particularly the male body. They took great pride in the physical form. Public nudity was both tolerated and often encouraged. The Greeks were really into pre-pubescence boys. After the age of nineteen or so, young men was expected to marry and establish a family. Those who did not, or who continued to engage in homosexual relations exclusively, were subject to ridicule, or worse. In ancient Rome, the moral issue toward sexuality in general, and homosexuality in particular, revolved around the idea of control for the Romans. One could enjoy any kind of sex, so long as he did not allow himself to be controlled by his partner. You could receive pleasure but not return it. Tolerance of homosexuality seemed to rise until about the thirteenth century. There was a time when monarch and commoner could be openly homosexual. One particular relationship brought the king of England and the king of France into the same bed, professing their love for one another. During this time there was an active homosexual subculture with influence in many areas of life including the arts and the church.

I think it was natural for George because many people did it, everyone knew, but no one discussed it. I think he figured since everyone was doing it and what his status with the King was, that he could be lax in the "don't ask, don't tell" rule. I mean really, if everyone knows, a lot of people are doing it, then why "keep it a secret"?

I think that Anne and George did have sex and did have a baby together. Well, the one that died. I think everyone here knows about chromosomes and how relatives (especially siblings) share common chromosomes and everyone had “bad” chromosomes, the ones that cause major ailments, such as hemophilia. One can have a “bad” chromosome and never see the effect from it (or in their children) but when parents share that chromosome, it usually shows up in their child. Look at the royal families, always keeping it in the family because they wanted their pure royal blood to stay that way and all the heirs ended up having hemophilia, “The Royal Disease”, because of the incest. My point, that is why Anne’s baby came out looking like a “monster.”

Anne went above and beyond what she was asked to do. Well, actually, she went about it in a very negative way. Poisoning people, threatening people, filling the Kings head with garbage. It all came to bite her in the ass. Letting the immature, fickle, pompous ass of a King know what power he could wield was a BAD idea. Anne went to far and got what she deserved. Mary was asked the same of her as to what was asked of Anne, but she didn’t completely abandon her morals and that is why she didn’t succeed and that is why she wasn’t killed too.

9/01/2006 01:59:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

An aristocrat is valued through how many lands he has, his titles, his wealth. For a courtier, here's no life outside of the court.

Anne could have easily let Mary go and have the life she wants. But despite all the things she'd given up for her family, Mary got nothing.

Sodomy is a civil offense punishable by death during Henry VIII's reign. I think George didn't care because Anne, his sister, is the Queen. I think George and Anne did sleep together because the baby came out deformed.

Anne deserves to die because she committed a lot of crimes even poisoned someone.

9/01/2006 04:00:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

Being a courtier, your life is at court. It's unthinkable for them to live their lives in the country away from the festivities of the kingdom.

Anne should have at least been grateful to Mary who has helped her a lot. It's unfair for Mary how every member of her family seemed to have benefited from an affair with the king that she actually started.

Mary believes Anne and George had the affair to help Anne conceive since Anne's driven to give Henry a son. I think Mary sort of confirmed her suspicions when Mary gave birth to a baby that looks like a monster.

I think with all the things Anne has done, death sounds fitting. To answer Mary's question though, I don't think Anne should die by following their uncle and father. However, Anne became consumed of keeping the power within her that she went far and beyond than just being an obedient daughter.

9/01/2006 04:21:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

Hey, BBs, are we having chic lit next? I vote for a Marian Keyes book. :)

9/01/2006 04:24:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

It's unthinkable to be a courtier, and someone who has the king's favor to want to be a nobody. Like Izzie said, there's no life outside the court, especially for Boleyns whose sole goal is to be the highest, most powerful family in the kingdom.

Mary should have been set free to do her will. She did everything for her family and she deserves more than just being Anne's maid.

Of course Henry has a choice! He's the king, for crying out loud! He could have exiled Anne or sent her to some god forsaken place if he wanted to. He's just a selfish bastard.

About George and Anne, i think they did have an incestious affair. Anne's been desperate to give Henry an heir. It's clear from the start she's not the kind of woman who'd let anything, sin or crime, stand in her way. If Henry can't give her a son, she would find someone who would.

9/01/2006 05:44:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Danielle,
Yes, chiclit next. :) Trollop will announce it tomorrow.

9/01/2006 05:47:00 PM  

Blogger Polly King said...

Can't we have Harry Potter for BBC? LOL. Loving the series. Now reading Order of the Phoenix.

9/01/2006 06:11:00 PM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

If I were in Mary's position, I too would want to be a nobody. That court is soffucating! It might be glamorous but there's scheming everywhere and intrigues that would drive a person mad.

I too believe Anne and George did sleep together, and that Anne's deformed baby was George's. I agree with Harlot, Anne would do anything for her desire of power.

I agree with GWB, Anne did more than obey. She resorted to crimes and incest. Nobody thought a queen could be beheaded. And everyone thought Henry would give Anne forgiveness. But he didn't because he wanted to be totally free of Anne.

9/01/2006 07:06:00 PM  

Blogger C Bradshaw said...

Henry turned on Anne after her last miscarriage. I don't think there's a chance Anne could have survived if Henry wanted her dead. And he did.

I agree with Harlot about Anne doing everything to make sure she produced an heir to the throne. I think she's chosen George to keep everything in the family, so to speak.

I agree with GWB about George and his sexuality. It's a common practice at court to be a man and be with a man, only no one talks about it.

I really enjoyed this book. You'll see and feel what's it like to live in Henry VIII's court, one of the most powerful kings in history. PG writes in a way that you feel you are one of the courtiers. Great book!

9/01/2006 07:23:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

Casey, I agree. I think Anne would think George would be the perfect choice.

By the way BBs, I second Vanessa's request - naked men next week! :P LOL

9/01/2006 07:32:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

I like this talk between Mary and his uncle. The inequality of life in Tudor England especially for women is scary.


He smiled at me, his wolfish smile. "We are making a new order," he said. "A new world. There is talk of the end of the authority of the Pope, the map of France and Spain is being redrawn. Everything is changing, and here we are, at the very front of the change."

"If I refuse?" I asked, my voice very thin.

He gave me his most cynical smile that left his eyes as cold as wet coals. "You don’t," he said simply. "The world’s not changed that much yet. Men still rule."

9/01/2006 10:58:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

Oh, this one too I like. :P One of those things that show what it's like to be a courtier, why George can't grasped the fact there's life outside of it.


I caught his hand as he was about to go. "Wait, George, I wanted to ask you something."

He turned back. "What?"

I tugged at his hand to make him lean down to me so that I could whisper in his ear. "Do you think that he loves me?"

"Oh," he said, straightening up. "Oh, love."

"Well, do you?"

He shrugged. "Whatever does it mean? We write poems about it all day and sing songs about it all night but if there is such a thing in real life I'm damned if I know."

9/01/2006 11:05:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

Outside of the court I mean.

9/01/2006 11:06:00 PM  

Blogger Jolie said...

What is there for Mary? Even when Mary's still the favorite of the king, Anne says, that all she does is for the advancement of their family, that she hardly thinks of Mary. What more when Anne's the favorite already? No way she'll be thanking Mary or giving her sister what's rightfully hers.

I like George. I feel sad that he also had to die. Didn't care much about Anne. LOL Besides the fact I knew already about her tragic ending, she deserves to die with all the horrible things she has done.

9/01/2006 11:14:00 PM  

Blogger Vixen said...

* I don't think George can fully comprehend why Mary would want a life outside of the court. Even though his life is ruled by others and he doesn't really get to have what he wants he still beleives its the right way, the way things should be. Mary saying she wants to be a nobody is just a ridiculous idea to him.

* What do I make of the intimate kiss between George and Anne?
EWWWW. That's what I make of that. I think George seemed to be infatuated with Anne, she had a power over him that drove him to do whatever she wanted. Yes, I do think George and Anne had sex and the 'monster' was a bi-product of their weird incestuas relationship.

* Henry sentenced her to death becuase he is a weak man and suffers from the constant need to be exactly what everyone expects him to be. He couldn't back down because he never backed down. It would show weakness.
What Mary said is true to some extent. They were just following the rules set by their family but Anne made her own rules and went a little nuts.


Looking forward to next bbc choice. I vote for anything without incest and nasty kings!

9/02/2006 12:23:00 AM  

Blogger Ladybug said...

I agree with CB, I think Anne did everything to save herself, even agreed to divorce and exile, but Henry still killed her. Henry wants her out of the way.

I'm glad that Mary survived it all. One of my favorite parts in the book is the moment when Mary realizes that she is in love with William Stafford, a commoner. Mary's realization that she loves him and that love is enough for her is a powerful one. That she can be happy married to a commoner, living in the country, a new person, new spirit come alive in her.

9/02/2006 12:29:00 AM  

Blogger nova-arevette-avon said...

Great site!!

9/02/2006 01:04:00 AM  

Blogger Lorelei said...

- As glamorous as it is, if I were Mary, I too would choose peace of mind rather than life at court. George, who's raised to dance by the tune given by the heads of their family, believes it's all about ambition and your status at court that matters.

- Incest is always icky!!! I don't know how anyone can stomach this. It's sick! I think Anne and George did sleep and had a child together. Anne won't let something like incest stop her if that would help her get her goal.

- Anne's obedient alright but she also makes her own decisions. She isn't just a daughter following orders from her elders, she's a queen driven by her lust of power and she's done everything to get to the throne and hold on to it.

Anne has to die for her follies but Henry could have given her clemency. But Henry is a selfish king who would rather see his queen dead than make it appear he can't control his court.

9/02/2006 02:41:00 AM  

Anonymous Cordy said...

I've read all of PG's book in the Tudor series and I think The Queen's Fool is the best one. I'm looking forward to the newest book Boleyn Inheritance which will come out this December. Great site!

9/02/2006 02:57:00 AM  

Blogger Marg said...

I agree with you Cordy, although I thought the beginning of The Constant Princess was great. Looking forward to the next one, although I do wonder if PG is guilty of sexing up history a little too much. Having read quite a few more authors since I first read PG, I think there is a chance that she is a little more aware that she is writing for the modern reader, and that she needs to make things a little spicier than they may actually have been to keep the modern reader interested.

9/02/2006 04:28:00 AM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

I agree with Marg. But I think PG is one of the best historical fiction writers out there. She draws the readers in and makes you feel like you're part of the story. For those off you who want to learn more about Henry VIII, Margaret George's autobiography of him is quite good.

9/02/2006 08:46:00 AM  

Anonymous anne with an e said...

Although 'The Other Boleyn Girl' is a wonderful book it's not historically accurate, hence it should not be taken as fact. It's important to remember that it is fiction. Mary Boleyn was significantly older than portrayed in the book and she had lived a particularly dissolute life in France (becoming the mistress of many men there, of her own free will).

Anne Boleyn treated her sister with a great degree of kindness and the covert allegation of incest between her and her elder brother, George, baffled me. In history they are both depicted as such religious people, its really hard for me to believe they really had sexual relations together. Even the extensive historical research of Ms. Gregory is based on theories that have been discredited by leading Tudor historians. Although the novel is very compeling, IMO it shouldn't be taken as a deeply insightful look at Henry VIII's court, and above all else the relationship between the real Boleyn girls was very different.

A really good historical fiction book is Robin Maxwell's 'The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn' which is much more accurate than 'The Other Boleyn Girl,' and for those interested in non-fictional accounts of Anne's life, 'Anne Boleyn' by Marie Louise Bruce is very interesting; 2 biographies offer-up conflicting interpretations on why Anne was dethroned - they are 'Anne Boleyn' by E.W. Ives and 'The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn,' by R.M. Warnicke.

9/02/2006 12:05:00 PM  

Blogger Lola Lovegood said...

I have my answers for this part of the discussion in DH's computer. Too lazy to write them again =P Will copy them tomorrow.

9/03/2006 05:20:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

I will finish book soon, till then not reading those questions in case they have spoilers :P

9/03/2006 10:19:00 PM