Sunday, 16 June 2013

History is a romance...

The other half is currently watching "The White Queen", based on the Phillipa Gregory novel of the same name.

I have not had the misfortune of reading the book and the fifty minutes or so of this I have been able to hear while working have convinced me to stay well clear of reading it in the future.

I can appreciate that narrative necessity allows for the embellishment to the known histories, yet the tensions that are created with her family are too trivial to hang a novel on and the character of Elizabeth Woodville, after a promising start of seeking out the new king to claim her rights, turns into a weak character who is dependant on the men around her and on her mother.

Of course, the novel may be better. Novels typically have more depth and subtlety than television adaptations. It could also be the case that the story is supposed to follow her growth into a woman of strength, a character worth watching and a variant of the classic quest. A journey of self discovery is a valid story but I don't feel that there is any self-discovery here.

It could be the case that the narrative is focused on how she overcomes the obstacles of the court in accepting her as the rightful queen, but that story in itself is far too shallow to make for interesting reading.

I am not having a dig at Phillipa Gregory, I have not read her stories but I know they are valued by many. But from this adaptation of her novel it certainly seems that "The White Queen" is only a shallow stream where it could have been a raging river of a story.

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