I'll try not to give anything away about the show in this post, but even someone with a rudimentary or should I say Wikipedian knowledge of Henry the VIII, should know that he was pretty tough on the ladies. In fact the entire series really does a good job of showing how difficult medieval life was on everyone, but particularly on the women associated with the King.
Watching the show actually inspired a bumper sticker design of mine:
(Cue Shameless plug: http://www.cafepress.com/naughtyviking.423537088)
I do like twisted humor... But honestly, throughout 4 seasons of beheading and gawd-awful torture... I mean nasty things like the "rack", drawing & quartering and hanging until almost dead, then doing it again... being submersed in boiling oil, pulling out fingernails, cutting out tongues, being burned alive at the stake, hanging in chains (I thought that was a band, by the way... it's NOT). I nearly couldn't take anymore. I'm pretty sure I didn't really know the meaning of the word twisted and it's definitely not humorous. Honestly, I just started watching the show for the costumes... and the let's be honest, the gratuitous sex.
I came away thinking that greed trumps just about everything else. Generally, it wasn't the greed of the Queen or new potential queen, it was the greed of everyone associated with the woman in question and the greed of the King as well. As portrayed in the show, Henry VIII was... well, let's just say, he was a selfish, childish, bastard (not the literal sense of the word, but the 'bastard' sense of the word). I kept asking myself, why would someone want to marry a man that sort of willy-nilly beheads or otherwise disposes of his wives when the mood suits him even if doing so made them "Queen of the realm". That title does sound cool, but it's not worth a beheading! I mean, certainly, you can't blame the first wife... It was an arranged marriage and she didn't know he would turn out to be a spoiled-rotten lunatic! She ended up fighting like hell to keep what she'd earned. Good for her! But you may be able to guess how that turned out! Now, let's say you were potential wife #3, wouldn't you have to ask yourself, "is the jewelry really worth the risk?" I don't think the fickle King was worth it with his childish disposition and his stinky leg, so it had to be the jewelry, right?!
And throughout all of it, there was constant maneuvering, manipulating and cheating for power and position and titles and basically... all things meaningless. I hate this phrase, but it's appropriate here: "AT THE END OF THE DAY", you're Duke of whatever, who cares?? If you're headless, does it really matter what your Duke of... or that your a Duke at all? I'm pretty sure your central nervous system would agree with me here.
I also have to say that the most religious, not faithful or spiritual or catholic or protestant, but religious of those in the show were really the most lunatickie (I think I just invented a word there). Seriously, some of the priests would give the Marquis de Sade a run for his money and let me tell you, there was no safe word to save your hide.
In short, being a medieval woman not only sucked, it was dangerous. You could be promised to a masochist, beheaded, tortured, used, sent to a nunnery or cast out altogether because of the whim of a man... OR because a rival woman was really really good at manipulating said man. I gotta say, even though I love the clothes, I think I'll stay here in the 21st century where I have control of the remote... and my head!
(another shameless plug, buy this bumper sticker at:
PS: Wikipedia, despite my little dig, I actually love you! SUPPORT Wikipedia everyone!