Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Blog-Along: Wolf Hall, Episode 6 - Master of Phantoms

Alas, here is my final blog-along of Wolf Hall, as we look at Episode 6. If you are new here and would like to start at the beginning, you can see Episode 1 here: Wolf Hall, Episode 1.  I will be editing things to avoid large spoilers and make things more concise, but it will mostly be my thoughts as I have them.

Wolf Hall, Episode 6 - Master of Phantoms


           Play by Play

  • Smash on the table. Food will come faster that way. Ooh, and picking food out of your teeth and sticking it in your goblet. Oh the table manners!
  • Uh-Oh, Crommy's seeing things. Cuckoo. Cuckoo.
  • Anne: Cremwell. Venom. Hiss. Threat.; Cromwell: Looked in a mirror lately?
  • Oh you did NOT just go there! Now we see the true colours of your ladies, Anne, and how far you have pushed them all to hate you passionately.
  • So your own court spreads the filthy lies about you. Your brother's wife, the worst of all. You cry when she teases you, but then claim she loves you? Lies for revenge. Better improve your skills, pretty boy
  • The calmness of ceremony in times of turmoil is both eerie and fascinating to witness. The world will progress when this moment is done
  • And now we come to the meat and bones of it.  When you look at it that way, the charges becomes plausible - and  understandable to some degree. Interesting that only some of the charges have been covered by this series
  • The faces you remembered, Cromwell? Time to enact your revenge
  • Oh! Cromwell, I didn't think you'd take me seriously! Bad Crommy! Bad! And you admitted it, too! Damn you're smart though. Is that a tinge of regret I sense?
  • "I only have a little neck" - I'm so glad they put that quote in
  • Oh George, you fool.
  • A beautiful, horrifing, and haunting end


This episode was a stunning, but haunting conclusion to the series. It shows just enough - more than some adaptations, but in the right way. This shows you the impact of certain events on the other people surrounding the final moments, which is something we are often not really allowed to consider. It shows cruelness in Cromwell that had previously been only hinted at or guessed, and the vengeance of those wronged at court. The strength of this episode allows it to close off the series well, and also easily allows for the opening of a sequel.
I spent the first episodes of Wolf Hall wondering if I ever would be able to get through the entire mini-series, so it was such a pleasant surprise for me that I enjoyed it as much as I did. Although not without faults, I would definitely say that this one is worth a viewing. If you have always been interested in Tudor history, but don't know much more about it than the basics of what happened between Henry and Anne, then this really delves deeper in the intense politics that were involved. Looking at the inner workings of Thomas Cromwell and corruption of the crown, this really opens up the bigger picture of what did (or likely did, in some cases) happen. It does at some points feel a bit like a history book on film, but that is predominantly at the beginning, and does improve greatly as the series goes on. However it never attains the gloss and drama that shows like The Tudors or The Borgias are famous for - but that is its strength. Wolf Hall is unlike anything that has been on television these past few years, and with its limited length this allows it to remain focused on the important points and not on stretching things for effect.
If you are not interested at all in the political intrigue surrounding Henry VIII's divorce and remarriage, and are interested purely in the interactions between Henry, Catherine, and Anne, then this mini-series won't satisfy you. Since it focuses entirely on Cromwell and his interactions and influence, there is minimal knowledge given to us as to other relationships. Although I felt in a few situations that it would have been nice to have seen more into those relationships, it really wouldn't have made sense considering Thomas Cromwell wouldn't have been privy to that information.
So, if you're thinking of giving this one a try, or have started the first episode or two and just aren't sure how you feel about it yet, I would definitely recommend it for better insight into this fascinating period of English history.

What did you guys think of Wolf Hall? If you've read the book, how does it compare? Please let me know if you like this format of the Blog-Alongs, and if you would like me to continue them from time-to-time.

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