The White Queen Review 3 | Witches & Revolts

Tuesday, 2 July 2013
Sunday was a perfect English summer's day spent laying out in the back garden with a gin and tonic, listening to the roar coming from Silverstone race track where the British Grand Prix was taking place. Of course a warm Sunday in June wouldn't be complete without a BBQ with venison sausages and bacon-wrapped chicken. After such a glorious end to the weekend I usually get a spot of the "Sunday blues". However I believe I've discovered the cure and that is the third episode of BBC's The White Queen, based on Philippa Gregory's novel series The Cousins' War.

Jacquetta Woodville (Janet McTeer) and Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson)

The year is 1469 and Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) has taken refuge in the Tower of London with the rest of the Rivers family. King Edward IV (Max Irons) is being kept prisoner by Lord Warwick and his brother, George, at Warwick's home. Their plan is to discredit Edward IV in parliament and put George on the throne. Unfortunately things don't go their way and parliament stays loyal to Edward IV. Edward  thus released and returns to his good lady wife in London.

What was already a strained relationship between Elizabeth and the two plotters has now completely disintegrated. She sees Lord Warwick and George as traitors and seeks revenge for their actions towards her beloved Edward and of course the deaths of her father and brother which occurred in the previous episode. Edward IV, on the other hand, is willing to forgive and forget. He believes the two are sorry and will not attempt to revolt again, besides he is looking to bring peace to his kingdom.

So eager is Edward to ease tensions that he even invites Warwick and family (which includes George who is married to Warwick's eldest daughter Isabel) to London for Christmas. Family at Christmas can be awkward even at the best of times, but this is too much. While Edward IV may be willing to forgive his kinsmen, Elizabeth makes it clear that she has not and never will. Case in point, the awkward conversation with Countess Warwick and her two daughters.

Warwick has not given up his plots against Edward IV so easily and he is starting a rebellion again not even half-way through the episode. This time, desperate to further her son's claim to the throne, Lady Margaret Beaufort joins Warwick's rebellion with Jasper Tudor, Henry's guardian. The rebellion fails and the traitors must run for their lives.

You can watch the episode 3 of The White Queen on BBC iPlayer here. Here are my 5 unmissable things we learned from The White Queen this week:

5. Crimping was not just popular in the 1980s. Newsflash crimping became trendy in the 1400s, or at least The White Queen's version of the 1400s. And I'm not the only one to have noticed, even Glamour Magazine remarked on The White Queen hair dresser's love of crimping!

It's not just the crimping that has people talking about The White Queen, it's also Rebecca Ferguson's incredibly long wig! Apparently it was even the longest real hair wig that the wig studio had ever made. And do I really have to mention the Princess Leia hair buns we witnessed in episode 2? Please see my episode 2 review for more detail.

4. Warwick should give up this king-making malarkey. It seems every time we see Warwick (James Frain) and George (David Oakes) they are plotting some rebellion or other. It's just a shame they appear to be so bad at it. They'll rub their hands together and smirk like comic villains and say the revolt will work this time. Next thing we know they're riding back with their tails between their legs saying "We've failed". Even the involvement of the House of Lancaster can't help them win. Then again, had they not involved Lancaster they might not have failed, but more on that later. The episode ends with them running away to France. Just give up boys and let Edward IV continue to be king!

3. Lady Margaret is a master schemer. When it comes to schemers Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) has proved herself to be one the best. This week she took Jasper Tudor's advice and asked her husband to send an army to join Warwick to overthrow Edward IV. When he refused, she then manipulated her husband to take her to see her mother. There she tells her brother that the Lord needs him to build an army for the rebellion. Poor boy, he ends up being killed by Edward IV when he goes to confess the revolt. I mean really Edward, there was no need for that! When the rebellion goes pear-shaped, as all of Warwick's rebellions do, all parties involved must flee. But not before Lady Margaret and Jasper share a passionate kiss. What happened to "thou shall not commit adultery" Margaret? Did you forget about that commandment in all your scheming?

2. I would not like to be a king-maker's daughter. Isabel Neville (Eleanor Tomlinson) is Warwick's eldest daughter and married to George. Really she's just a pawn in her father's political game. Her father is determined to have her Queen, if only so he can rule through them. So confident is he in his victory that he goes as far as sending the coronation robes to Isabel. Of course these are quickly whisked away again when he fails, as he does. I don't think Isabel is sorry to see the coronation robes go, she's cottoned on to her father's games and doesn't want to be Queen. She doesn't just have her father's scheming to deal with, did I mention she's pregnant? "

Unfortunately, she's not able to have her baby in the safety of her own home. Thanks to her father's failed revolt the entire family must flee to France, forcing a very heavily pregnant Isabel on to a ship. She could barely handle the carriage ride, let alone a ride across the channel. The crossing of the English channel is rocky at the best of times but they have a storm to contend with. In the saddest moment of the entire series, Isabel loses the baby but it's okay, George says, they can have others. And who said romance was dead?

1. The Woodville women should have attended Hogwarts. In the previous episodes it appears that Elizabeth and her mother Jacquetta (Janet McTeer) might have some magical powers. For example, Elizabeth pulls the crown ring out of the river, a premonition of her marriage to King Edward IV in episode one. However the Woodville women go from being seers to full-on conjurers of the elements in episode three! Did you know that blowing near a bowl of water could cause such a storm?

I thought these powers were just a bit of artistic license taken by Philippa Gregory but apparently not. It seems that Jacquetta was put on trial for witchcraft in 1470. In 1484 Richard III revived the allegations of witchcraft against Jacquetta, claiming that she and Elizabeth had procured Elizabeth's marriage to Edward IV through witchcraft.

Q: What was your favourite scene in this week's episode of The White Queen? Who do you think is the better schemer - Warwick or Lady Margaret?

Erin x

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  1. Gina Howie said...:

    I had no idea that blowing near a bowl of water could create such a storm...ha! It was shocking. I loved how calm they all were while blowing softly into the water ~ even the sweet little girl. I am enjoying the series and now look forward to it on Sunday evenings. Tough call between Warwick and Lady Margaret ~ I think I would have to go with Margaret...she scares me.

  1. Erin Moran said...:

    I'm wondering if that little girl is supposed to be a young Elizabeth of York? Not sure though as they did have a LOT of children.

    I think I might have to agree with you and go with Margaret. Warwick is almost a bit comical really.

    Erin x

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Yes, that girl was Elizabeth of York. In the next novel "White Princess" she was the main character and have some magic powers like her mother :)

  1. Erin Moran said...:

    Thanks for clarifying. :) I've never read Phillipa Gregory but I've always been interested. Think I might start them after I finish Jane Austen.

    Erin x

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