Group Read: The Cromwell Trilogy

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Group Read: The Cromwell Trilogy

Editado: Feb 5, 9:05pm

So it looks like we're doing this. The reading schedule is:
  • Wolf Hall - January/February
  • Bring Up The Bodies - March/April
  • The Mirror and The Light - May/June

  • Obviously people can participate in the whole thing or for particular books as they want.

    There aren't rules per se but the following would be appreciated:
  • Only post about a book on or after the first day of each read.
  • Include information on the book and chapter/page you're posting about to help other avoid spoilers.
  • Hide or flag spoilers.

    I'm looking forward to this!
  • 2Settings
    Ene 2, 9:21pm

    Sweet! Joining yet another group read! (No sarcasm, joining way to many group reads is all the fun).

    I really want to finish the series with The Mirror and The Light, but my memory of the first two has faded and I respect it too much to start without rereading. And I'm not motivated at all to reread books. The dilemma lol.

    Ene 2, 11:16pm

    I’m on page 34 of Wolf Hall. All I can say is i recognize more than I expected but mostly forgot stuff.

    Thanks Rhian for making this start happening.

    Ene 2, 11:18pm

    >2 Settings: do you reread at all? Some people love to, some never do. I rarely do, but mostly find it rewarding.

    Ene 2, 11:40pm

    >4 dchaikin:
    No, I don't. Only rereading that gets done is parts of books I'd previously started without finishing.

    Used to reread stuff happily, but that was as a child when I couldn't get an unlimited number of new books. The pressure to read new things is too strong. Do suspect I'd get a lot out of rereading though.

    Ene 3, 4:44am

    >3 dchaikin: I'm also up to page 34 and I remember nothing from the first time :-).

    Ene 3, 8:53am

    I almost never reread, but I found at least Wolf Hall totally worth revisiting. I'm a much different reader than I was ten years ago, and I'm better grounded in Tudor history than I was then.

    Ene 3, 12:20pm

    Thanks for setting this up, Rhian! I'll lurk for now, as I've already read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, and depending on how my planned reading goes in the next couple of weeks I may join in later this month or in February.

    Ene 3, 12:40pm

    I will try to join in, although I’m usually commitment-averse. I’ve not read any of the 3 volumes, but I’ve had the first two on my shelf almost since they were published. I probably won’t start Wolf Hall til later in the month.

    Ene 3, 12:42pm

    Great stuff. My copy of Wolf Hall is in the post and I've another book to finish first, so I expect to join in at the weekend.

    Ene 3, 2:11pm

    excited to see all the interest here.

    Editado: Ene 3, 2:18pm

    >6 rhian_of_oz: The scene with his sister really stuck with me all these ten years, although the details were hazy. I thought at the time that it oriented the whole book to a domestic foundation, even if quickly left that stuff behind. On re-reading I'm not sure that scene is quite as re-directing as I thought the first time.

    Ene 4, 8:00am

    WH Part Two Chapter 1 p56

    I wish I had the words to describe how Ms Mantel makes her work so easy to read even though it's not necessarily simple.

    >12 dchaikin: So far it seems to me that the scene in question is showing his "rags to riches" (to rags? - I'm deliberately not looking him up) story, contrasting the learned, important man he becomes to his humble, violent beginnings. It's too early for me say whether it also illustrates a priority/emphasis on family, but there's a scene described with his newborn son near the end of Part One that suggests it may do.

    Ene 4, 8:12am

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    Ene 4, 8:43am

    I think it goes a long way in showing how compassion was (literally) forcibly instilled in his personal makeup alongside roaring ambition and ruthlessness. Those qualities exist side by side for him throughout his career and life, which is what makes him such an interesting character in Mantel's hands—and she's really gifted in the way she sets that up, starting with that scene.

    Ene 4, 10:32am

    >13 rhian_of_oz: >15 lisapeet: that too. The compassion is what I’m trying to process historically. I wonder if she made this aspect of him up or it’s well documented.

    In my head the historical T Cromwell is a no nonsense, get things, the end justifies it type. But that’s just my imagination. Mantel’s Cromwell is certainly nuanced.

    Ene 4, 11:15am

    This is a good idea. I re-read Wolf Hall before reading Bring Up The Bodies and found it very different from how I remembered - completely different things struck me. I will tentatively try to join this, starting with reading Wolf Hall again next month.

    Ene 4, 11:28am

    >16 dchaikin:

    The historical Cromwell suffers a bit from the same malady that Richard III does - his enemies got to write his biography for the most part after his death and the king in power at the end of his life really disliked him.

    Which reminds me that I have a biography of his I had been planning to get to - may as well read that while waiting for Wolf Hall from the library.

    Ene 5, 11:14pm

    I'm waiting for an Amazon used copy to come in the mail, but I'll be with you by the weekend, I believe.

    Editado: Ene 7, 1:08pm

    My Amazon copy should be here sometime between the weekend and June given that no one seems to understand how to navigate the new NI border controls that arose out of Brexit on 1st January.

    Ene 7, 2:30am

    I'm using an ebook. I didn't mean to, but my paperback from 2010 is missing and I keep imagining I will just magically stumble across it. So the ebook is a form of denial.

    Ene 7, 8:54am

    I found the ebook version of WH really helpful—being able to look up the mentions of people's names when I had forgotten who they were, or toggle back and forth between that cast of characters at the beginning.

    Editado: Ene 7, 9:11am

    >22 lisapeet: And translations and definitions. Although i still had to look up foreign chess phrases

    On Thomas Cromwell’s Wikipedia page there is this quote about Wolsey’s trials. It’s from George Cavendish’s biography of Wolsey:

    "There could nothing be spoken against my lord…but he {Cromwell} would answer it incontinent{ly}"

    Cromwell was admired for his defense of Wolsey.

    Ene 8, 8:29am

    Day 7 - curious where everyone is at. Who is still waiting for their copy?

    Ene 8, 8:40am

    >24 dchaikin: I'm at p65 at the start of "An Occult History of Britain".

    I know practically nothing about Thomas Cromwell (I knew his surname before but I don't know why he's important) or the Tudors (other than they won :-)) and I'm (so far) resisting the temptation to look up Wolsey to find out what happened to him.

    Ene 8, 9:42am

    Mine just arrived this morning. I want to leave it 3 days before touching it as COVID is rife here at the moment, so if I finish my current book I'll aim to start next week.

    Ene 8, 1:42pm

    >24 dchaikin:

    I am picking it up tomorrow - someone returned it last night in my library so it is waiting for my visit tomorrow - I was #1 on the list when I asked for it earlier in the week, now there are 5 more holds behind me on the 4 library copies... :)

    Ene 8, 4:25pm

    I almost feel guilty. I’m all the way to page .... gasp.... , well just p113.

    But as of there I have found there is a whole lot I don’t remember that feels very new to me. Also I’m on Wikipedia a lot and found practically every name in the book has a page there. I’m getting into the info dive the book provides - through Wolsey memories (and his history of England in like a page is fun) or Cromwell connections or assignments. Happy I at least know who Tyndale is this time around, since he’s constantly mentioned.

    Ene 8, 7:42pm

    >28 dchaikin: The first time I read it, I was in the middle of one my Tudor phases - which probably made it so much more enjoyable than it would have been. I have a suspicion that reading the trilogy this year will send me into another of those phases :)

    Ene 9, 9:40am

    WH Part Two Chapter 2 p104

    I think not knowing about Thomas Cromwell in an historical context is allowing me to accept Mantel's portrayal of him because I had no pre-conceived ideas about him.

    I don't know whether he turns out to be a right villain but so far he is quite sympathetic. The scene with the cardinal after the meeting with Thomas Boleyn is quite poignant, and Cromwell's relationship with his wife comes across as respectful and, hmm affectionate is not quite the right word but I can't think of a better one.

    I'm surprisingly a bit sad about what has just occurred.

    Mild rant: Why do royal families have to keep reusing the same names? Thank goodness for the family tree diagrams.

    I can't stop thinking about the meeting between Wolsey and Boleyn - I understand that Wolsey couldn't have foreseen what would happen between Henry and Anne but it still seems incredibly arrogant to me to essentially call her a slapper *to her father* and then further insult him personally. I don't imagine one becomes Archbishop and advisor to the king without having a lot of political savvy, so I don't understand why you would make enemies unnecessarily.

    Ene 9, 10:02am

    >30 rhian_of_oz: I have trouble following who is related to who despite the charts. : ) The words uncle or aunt send my brain into panic mode!

    I thought the Wolsey-Boleyn initial tension was handled oddly. I would expect more of a power play thing. Although I haven’t fully thought that through yet. And It was, of course, a kind of power assertion in the novel, by Wolsey.

    Ene 9, 10:24am

    >31 dchaikin: Oh yes I definitely saw it as power assertion by Wolsey, I just thought he might have been a bit more subtle about it.

    And while I (so far) quite like Wolsey, after that scene (and taking into account the "move" to Putney) the term "hoist by hiw own petard" came to mind.

    Ene 9, 10:38am

    Ene 9, 10:40am

    Rafe Sadler was, of course, also real and really apprenticed and was educated under Cromwell. He became a prominent official under Edward vi and later under Elizabeth I.

    Ene 9, 11:32am

    >32 rhian_of_oz: I saw this as Wolsey's small glimmer of hubris. He was self-effacing and realistic, but I think Mantel does a great job of showing just how opulent the cardinal's life was, and how he inhabited his position to the extent that it didn't always help his case. If there's any overarching theme to WF, it's that power corrupts in all sorts of different and subtle ways, and there's no one way to portray that. Lord knows it took her a few thousand pages altogether.

    Ene 9, 11:38am

    >35 lisapeet: i had a more Shakespeare-ish view - calculating for power is the morality. : ) But her Wolsey does enjoy his comforts.

    It’s interesting how influential Wolsey was throughout Europe before our book opens, negotiating major treaties Etc.

    Ene 9, 3:54pm

    >30 rhian_of_oz: Why do royal families have to keep reusing the same names? I don’t think it was just royalty. I was listening to a podcast recently that was talking about the development of surnames and one of the reasons that there was a need for them was that so many men had the same first name.

    Ene 10, 9:36pm

    Page 159

    “He is like a man who has wandered inadvertently into a play, who has found it to be a comedy, and decided to stay and see it through.”

    Ene 11, 1:14am

    >18 AnnieMod: (Addendum)

    As it turns out, I do not have "A" biography on my shelves, I have 6 of them (5 on paper, one on the kindle). Which if I am not wrong are all the biographies from this century - even if Elton kinda put Cromwell back on the map in the 1950s, the first modern biography was slow to come out and most of them (but not all) came out only after Mantel showed that he is interesting enough for the reading public (there are a lot of interesting people in the Tudor I guess most historians should be forgiven their disbelief that anyone would care to read a book about him). I plan to read one of them before I go to Wolf Hall later this week (one of the shorter ones - Loades' Thomas Cromwell: Servant to Henry VIII most likely - even though I would love to read MacCulloch's, it will wait for later in the year - and Loades style is usually an easy one to read and he knows his Tudors).

    Ene 11, 7:38am

    >39 AnnieMod: what are the other the five? 🙂

    Ene 11, 2:37pm

    >40 dchaikin:

    Thomas Cromwell: The Rise and Fall of Henry VIII's Most Notorious Minister by Robert Hutchinson (2007)
    Rise & Fall of Thomas Cromwell: Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant by John Schofield (2008)
    Loades' book is in 2013
    Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant by Tracy Borman (2014)
    The Rise of Thomas Cromwell: Power and Politics in the Reign of Henry VIII, 1485-1534 by Michael Everett (2015, Yale, unknown to me historian with no Tudor credentials I know of although the professional reviews seem to be positive).
    Thomas Cromwell: A Revolutionary Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch (2018) - the latest and considered the best.

    While I was looking a Loades' book bibliography, I realized that there is at least one more (or 2 - need to figure out if Patrick J. Coby 's Thomas Cromwell: Machiavellian Statecraft and the English Reformation (2009) and Thomas Cromwell: The True Story of 'Wolf Hall' (2012) are different books or edited/same versions of the same one)... and I suspect I will find some more I had missed...

    Ene 11, 2:56pm

    >41 AnnieMod: Oh my. Thanks! (😍)

    Ene 11, 3:11pm

    >42 dchaikin:

    If I have to pick one, I would go with MacCulloch - there is a reason why he was the last to publish (and it is not because he writes slowly). But as I have all of them and it is the Tudors, I will probably end up reading them all so I will be posting and will see if I still think so at the end... ;)

    Ene 11, 8:53pm

    I’ve just started, read about 25 or so pages so far, and I am surprised by how readable it is. I was expecting density. Perhaps that will come.

    Ene 12, 6:36am

    I'm starting this evening, all being well. Still on the fence in terms of my expectations.

    Ene 12, 10:27am

    >44 arubabookwoman: What I keep tripping over is Mantel's practice of referring to Cromwell as 'he'.

    For example "'Teach him all you know,' Henry proposed, a little fearfully. He arranged to collect Rafe on his way ..."

    I read "He arranged" as "Henry arranged". A few sentences along I'm confused because it seems Henry is talking to himself when I realise that "He arranged" means "Cromwell arranged".

    Ene 12, 11:11am

    >46 rhian_of_oz: I remember that from the first time I was reading it - the overusing of pronouns which were ambiguous and required thinking on who that might be...

    Ene 12, 12:37pm

    >46 rhian_of_oz: >47 AnnieMod: I thought that Cromwell referring to himself in the third person was a brilliant stratagem, showing his ability to divorce himself emotionally from the situation and observe things dispassionately. This will become more important with time, and with even more time (and volumes) watch how the use changes.

    Editado: Ene 12, 12:54pm

    >48 SassyLassy: Oh, I agree completely. Once you get used to it and as the book progresses, it did make sense and actually worked. But the first few chapters were hell :)

    Note: Plus back in 2009, I was already reading in English just fine (and with no issues) but nowhere as widely as I do now - so that was also coming into my reading.

    Ene 12, 1:19pm

    The “he” has an interesting affect on how I read this. Seems to create its own atmosphere, a little intimate and a little removed. Anyway, I remember it confusing me in 2010, it feels right to me this time.

    Ene 12, 5:33pm

    >4 dchaikin: Historically I seldom reread books; some I did included Once and Future King, Far Pavillions, Good Omen. As Ive gotten old I find myself returning to those books that caught my attention and never let go. WH was one of those. Ive probably reread it 6 times; a few for book groups, but usually coz it just called to me, and every time I reread it, I learn something or catch something I didn't see for the first time (and now having read Mirror and the Light, I went back to WH and learned so much more. And yeah, Ill make another go

    BTW remind me how spoiler code works here. thx

    Ene 12, 5:34pm

    >7 lisapeet: what! was it really 10 years ago? Damn...

    Editado: Ene 12, 9:44pm

    sorry, spoiler, carry on nothing to see here!

    Ene 12, 5:39pm

    >16 dchaikin: ive wondered that myself, but listening the Mantel lecture, or hearing other historians, I think many of those incidents happened. Rememver too, that HenryVIII was more than happy to talk the worst about him afterwards, and so the evil always coame up. Which is why I love how nuanced he is under her hands

    Ene 12, 5:42pm

    >18 AnnieMod: hee yeah I agree with Richard III malady. DId we talk about this, Daugjter in Time is an excellent read on him (btw, I did not realize Tey wrote more Grant books, Ill have to take a look at them)

    Ene 12, 5:45pm

    >30 rhian_of_oz: Why do royal families have to keep reusing the same names? Thank goodness for the family tree diagrams.

    Ha! yes

    Ene 12, 5:48pm

    >46 rhian_of_oz: yeah she got a lot of flak for that. Her second book she solved it by using He, Cromwell, all the time which got annoying. Basically when that happens assume its Cromwell unless otherwie noted

    Ene 13, 12:29pm

    >51 cindydavid4: six times! I’m impressed. I’m really happy to be reading it this second time and picking up all her historical person cameos and their details

    >54 cindydavid4: have to see how all this evolves. h-viii seems a curious one and his relationship with Cromwell - well, I’ll look forward to seeing what Mantel made of the end.

    Ene 13, 12:31pm

    A little insight into Wosley’s fool - Sexton/Patch:

    Ene 13, 2:15pm

    Aw, poor Patch. You have to imagine there was a lot more to that last bit about him speaking poorly of Anne B and Elizabeth.

    Ene 13, 3:58pm

    >24 dchaikin: Well, I just made it here, because my Wolf Hall just arrived yesterday! Oh, well.

    >56 cindydavid4: As to why royal families use the same names over again. I really think it is a sort of sympathetic magic. If I use the regnal name Elizabeth, I will be like one of those two redoubtable ladies ... or as long-lived, or prolific in children ... or whatever. It wouldn't surprise me if that were true in non-royals too. If I name this child after the queen/king, she/he will be successful or important.

    Ene 13, 4:18pm

    I had forgotten that Part Two is circular - Wolsey falls, then the "memories/history" long chapter for the background and the backstory - and then back to the fall of Wolsey. I kinda understand why (if you do not know what happens, knowing that Wolsey is going down makes you look for it in the long chapter) and it allows some of the history that Cromwell did not witness to be presented cleanly while allowing Part One to get somewhere without 30 pages of history...

    Onto Part Three for me...

    >46 rhian_of_oz: >47 AnnieMod: >48 SassyLassy: >49 AnnieMod: >50 dchaikin:

    And on this reading, the whole "he" does not bother me at all. Probably because I already know that "he" means Cromwell unless that is impossible... But it actually works...

    Ene 13, 4:45pm

    >60 lisapeet: interesting job, a professional fool

    >61 sallypursell: welcome. We’re here for a while and there’s no pace except semi-official Jan-Feb

    >62 AnnieMod: ah, glad you highlighted that! She’s managing the reader in part 2. I see this mixed timeline thing done wrong so often it’s nice to see an author have it completely under control.

    Editado: Ene 13, 5:35pm

    >63 dchaikin: Yep... this can either become an info-dump or get the whole flow of the novel messed up and she pulls it off. I was not a huge fan of how the story of Percy was told with the role-playing but it actually felt as something that may have happened...

    Another thing in this Part Two that I failed to even notice, let alone appreciate, in 2009 was the names usage. Take Charles Brandon. In a history book, his name and "(Duke of) Suffolk" will be used interchangeably once it is established that it is the same man. I am pretty sure that Wolf Hall was the first Tudor novel I read... so I was not expecting something different. 11 years later, the lack of balance actually is noticeable. Mantel's usage is a lot more subtle and meaningful - making a distinction between the man (husband of the king's sister, friend of the king) and the title holder (one of the main movers of the era). Same for Norfolk - although he is rarely called with his name and that also has something to do with both Cromwell's feelings towards him and his relative position as a Howard compared to Brandon on those years...

    Ene 13, 6:06pm

    I'm in! I'm around page 100 or so in part 2.

    First impressions are great - I'm really enjoying it. I'm regularly stunned by the level of research Mantel needed to do to execute this novel so well. It's not just the complexity of all the characters involved, but also the minutiae of information that keeps the backdrop fine detail historically correct.

    Historically I was doing OK up to a few pages ago. My son was studying Henry VIII last year for History so a fair bit was relatively fresh in my head, but when she refers back to the previous ascensions to the throne that came out of the War of the Roses I felt obliged to do some Googling to fill in the blanks and my brain quickly began to hurt. I've decided to just move on, even if I still really, really want to get straight in my head how Henry's Plantagenet grandfather came to behead his Tudor great-grandfather, i.e. how those two dynasties came together. I'll probably go back to it tomorrow as it's annoying me. I need to find a good family tree of the linkages.

    Thanks for the heads up on the regular use of he for Cromwell. That saved time and unnecessary confusion.

    Cromwell still feels very much a dark horse, which I'm liking.

    Ene 13, 6:24pm

    >66 AlisonY: Actually I've got the broad dynasty linkages straight now. I'm just still struggling to place Edward Plantagenet correctly.

    Editado: Ene 13, 7:00pm

    >66 AlisonY: Which one of them - they have as many Edwards as Henrys - both cadet branches (Lancaster and York) are actually Plantagenet as well an are called by the name when it suits someone? :)

    The one who killed Owen Tudor (well, ordered him executed after catching him after the Battle of Mortimer's Cross) is better known as Edward of York (and then Edward IV as king) and is the father of Elizabeth of York (Henry VII's wife and Henry VIII's mother) - thus being Henry VIII's maternal grandfather (Edward IV -> Elizabeth of York -> Henry VIII) while Owen Tudor is his paternal great-grandfather (Owen -> Edmund -> Henry VII -> Henry VIII).

    (Edit: Just adding a few more details).

    Editado: Ene 13, 7:26pm

    >66 AlisonY: You are not alone! Even tho I read stories about the War of the Roses, Ive never been totally sure about it all. I recognize the names of the players and when someone reminds me of the links its like oh yeah right I knew that but my brain turns to teflon. The part I know best is of Richard III after his brother dies, Then the battle when he dies brining in the Tudors

    It will be a bit more crazy soon, because there are still a Plantaget or two still eyeing the throne and doesn't matter how often I read it I keep mixing them up! So dont feel bad :)

    One thing I will suggest is keep the intro names and places pages handy. It was so much better than a family tree, it tells you what different characters are where, and you start to put them together that way. at least it did for me

    Ene 13, 7:25pm

    >66 AlisonY: if it helps here are some familiar names to the dynasty: the Plantaents include Henry II and Eleanor, Richard I, King John etc The Tudors include Henry IIV Henry VIII Anne Bolyn, the future queen eliz. When she dies, son of the king of scotland rules and that is the Stuart family.

    Ene 13, 7:30pm

    >61 sallypursell: yes all of that, plus most of those names belong to sants so its honoring the child by getting that name. And yeah, I think its true of non royals

    Ive been teaching long enough that when I hear a certain name I can tell what decade we are talking about, or what tv shows/cartoon characters are popular! So its no so dif from now

    Ene 13, 11:27pm

    I'm up to page 46, in Part II. I have just seen Wolsey's house confiscated, and the contents be taken. His ecclesiastical robes being packed hurt, those beautiful vestments being, as he said, years of work for nuns, if not a lifetime.

    It is surprising how readable this is, and how sympathetic is Cromwell. I have never known much detail about his life and work, although I knew general outlines, but I certainly never felt sympathetic to him before.

    The Wars of the Roses has been a bête noire of mine. I have read things about it multiple times, but never gotten it straight. I have a favorite personal story about it, in fact. I recoiled when I saw the Yorkists in the Dramatis Personae, although I should have expected it.

    Ene 14, 3:14am

    >67 AnnieMod: Thanks Annie - that's exactly what I needed. I thought he must be Edward IV, but on the family tree I was looking at online his parentage didn't tally with what I'd read on Wikipedia. If you Google Edward Plantagenet it brings up a Wikipedia entry that talks about him being a son of George Plantagenet, so that's what was confusing me. Clearly they're talking about a different Edward. In fact, now that I've read the Wikipedia entry more fully, the Edward Plantagenet referred to there was put in the Tower of London when he was 10 and executed 4 years later, so it's most definitely not the right Edward.

    >68 cindydavid4:, >69 cindydavid4: Thanks Cindy - any refreshers are welcome. I'm generally not too bad from the Tudors onwards as we studied the Tudors and Stuarts in school. I think we just broad-brushed the War of the Roses, and now I can see why.

    Ene 14, 4:43am

    >72 AlisonY: Yeah - our of context, that would be the one - the last male Plantagenet technically (spends 14 years in the Tower, not 4 though) - although he is referred to as Warwick more often than not by the Tudor historians (too many Edwards who can be called Plantagenet). But in the context of the Tudors and their ancestry, it is Edward IV usually who get called that way.

    If that makes it easier - the only two lines you need to worry about from the whole Plantagenet/York/Lancaster tree as far as the Tudors are concerned are the offshoot of York starting with Edward IV (Elizabeth of York’s father) and the Beaufort line that starts from John of Gaunt on the Lancaster side (Henry VII’s mother comes from that side). Everyone else is just a side note or an annoyance once the Tudors take over and especially when Henry VIII is in power. And even the Beaufort line is only important because they made Henry VII eligible for the throne to start with.

    Ene 14, 4:58am

    >73 AnnieMod: My mistake - yes, it was 14 years in the Tower.

    That's great - I'll swot up on those particular areas of the family tree, and try not to get too distracted by off the cuff references to other figures.

    I'm hugely envious of your ability to remember this stuff. I really struggle to retain it.

    Editado: Ene 14, 7:22am

    >71 sallypursell: I have a favorite personal story about it

    and????? :)

    Yeah despite the amount of Medival and Ren England I have read, I have a similar gap. No idea way

    Editado: Ene 14, 7:06am

    >72 AlisonY: the Edward Plantagenet referred to there was put in the Tower of London when he was 10 and executed 4 years later, so it's most definitely not the right Edward.

    I thought his name was William? I thought he was cousin to Margaret of Beaufort , Mother to Henry VII. William He a claim to the throne, but Henry stopped that quite quickly.

    ETA just read Annie mods post and yeah, shes got it straight.

    If you want more information on the Platagenets, Thomas Costain wrote excellent and very readable history called The Pagent of England its a four volume set that covers the Platagenets from its beginnings with Henry II to the death of Richard III.*

    *My poor dear DH lugged that set around England on our first trip, after I bought it at a little bookstore in London. He was not happy with me when we got home and realized the books were printed in the US. He claims everytime he sees the books on the shelf it his back twings a bit in sympathy

    Editado: Ene 14, 7:23am

    >73 AnnieMod: If you read Anya Seton's Katherine,iJohn of Gaunts name will be familiar to you. Together they had rather a lot of children out of wedlock that carries through the various royal family trees!

    This all becomes a bit clearer as the book and trilogy continues.

    Ene 14, 7:31am

    >34 dchaikin: re Rafe Sadler, I would have loved knowing more about his background and the connection between that family and Cromwell.(I know children were often sent off to be trained in one thing or another. Just didn't realize how young!) Love that scene where he arrives soaking wet and Liz says something about 'boy or hedgehog'

    Ene 14, 11:47am

    >74 AlisonY: It is the Tudors (auxiliary but close enough) - I am usually hopeless with names and sequences unless either I am really interested in the topic (Tudors) or I read a LOT on the topic (again... Tudors). And Warwick is important in the early days of the Tudors. :)

    >76 cindydavid4: Are you thinking of William de la Pole (the son of Margaret's first husband (kinda - it was annulled so does not matter, right?) and Elizabeth of York (the older one - Edward IV's sister) or Warwick? The de la Poles are a different cattle of fish altogether... That's the only William I can think of who was anywhere near the throne at the time - and technically he is still in the Tower in the 1530s - he ended up there for almost 40 years - while his brothers fled early and became a nuisance for awhile - all the way into the mid 1520s :)

    >77 cindydavid4: It is somewhere on my list :) Anything between Edward III and Henry VII is like a soap opera ;)

    >78 cindydavid4: He is actually pretty well known as an adult :) Writing about children was not done often so there is not a lot about him as a child and as his family is not that important, there isn't that much information on how he ended up with Cromwell - possibly via Wolsey (possibly via Thomas Grey's influence -- which also explains him later throwing in with Jane).

    At the end, Rafe ends up serving 4 monarchs and if you read Tudor history, his name is all over the history (his full name Ralph Sadler/Sadlier) - from signing the paperwork for Jane Grey's installment as queen (so technically he can claim involvement with 5 monarchs...) to being a Privy Councillor for Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, principal secretary to the king to both Henry VIII and Edward VI and one of the biggest names in Scottish-English diplomacy.

    There is a book about him: Our Man in Scotland: Sir Ralph Sadleir, 1507-1587 which I do not have (yet) but had been on my list to look for...

    And I went on a tangent. Sorry :) Tudors...

    Editado: Ene 14, 5:06pm

    >75 cindydavid4: I was a little worried that people might be tired of my personal stories....

    So it is this: some of you may remember that I was a nurse specialist in high-risk Obstetrics for about thirty years. The staff there were mostly readers, but few read the way we at LT do. I don't think there were any serious readers. They were mostly doctors and nurses, and somehow I got the reputation among them as someone who knew, well, just about everything.

    So this was one of the most embarrassing things that ever happened to me. One of the nurses asked me at the nurses' station, where all of us hung out, "Is there anything you don't know???" (Extra ? for the loud and obtrusive way in which this was said, but not meanly, just surprised.)

    I: And of course, what a silly question, I am so ignorant about so many things, I said, "Well of course!"

    She: "Like what??"

    I: "I know almost nothing about the Wars of the Roses. Can't remember the details at all. I can tell you about when, and that it involved the succession of the English crown, but that's almost all!"

    She: {Look of complete incomprehension, everyone listening.}

    I: "You know, the Yorks and the Lancasters, the red rose and the white?"

    She: {total silence}

    I: "Oh."

    I hope that strikes you as funny. I flushed to my hairline and went to a patient's bedside. Still silence at the desk. No one ever mentioned it again, no teasing, no nothing.

    Ene 14, 7:12pm

    Hee, went to see Hamilton with some friends. At Intermission, one of them wanted to know who Lafyette was. Um, really? I was really thought that everyone knew that. Also at a book group reading The Other Boleyn Girl. One c was upset with the ending and others chimed in. Um guys, there have been tons of movies tv series and books about that! In both cases it was hard for me to keep my shock hidden (not a poker face at all) and I promised the world Id be better than that.

    Ene 14, 7:41pm

    >81 cindydavid4: Cindy, I really thought that everyone knew about the Wars of the Roses, and I was embarrassed because I was sure everyone else probably knew it better than I!

    Thank god, I know who Lafayette is.

    Ene 15, 9:15am

    Morning all. Just yesterday I read Shakespeare’s version of the beginning of the War of Roses (in Henry VI part one, act 2, scene 4). Richard Plantagenet (York) and John Beaufort (Somerset) literally request everyone pick a rose of the color they support.

    Plantagenet: Let him that is a true-born gentleman
    And stands upon the honor of his birth,
    If he suppose that I have pleaded truth,
    From off this brier pluck a white rose with me.

    Somerset - Let him that is no coward nor no flatterer,
    But dare maintain the party of the truth,
    Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me.

    It hasn’t helped clarify much for me, however. Feels all petty that way.

    Anyway, Friday update. Where is everyone at?

    Ene 15, 12:57pm

    >83 dchaikin: It hasn’t helped clarify much for me, however. Feels all petty that way.

    Well, it is -- the whole War is a grown up version of a sandbox fight about who gets to play with the shiny toy - except the toy is England and the two kids are wealthy and have armies.

    Back to the reading...

    I am at the start of Chapter II, Part Five at the moment - this time around it is going a lot easier and faster - I have a better control of the English language and Tudor history. Which helps.

    Early in Part Four, I had to think a bit if Mantel was being lazy or clever by using Catherine Fillol's scandal. My first thought was that she was being lazy - it allowed her to get Jane where she needed her to be easily by using something that probably never happened and was just the easiest way to get what she needed (even if the whole thing did happen, the fact that noone contemporary mentioned it anywhere probably means it did not make it to court (and her kids were not barred from the succession later on, they were just put after the second wife's kids)). On the other hand though, it did show a(n ugly) side of Anne very clearly and later was used to highlight it again. So it sounds more like clever now - which does not surprise me really.

    And I love her handling of Jane Seymour through parts 3 and 4 - especially if someone knows where that whole thing is going... and the the switch in Part Five that fits perfectly with all that is happening with Anne and the parallels are striking.

    Editado: Ene 15, 5:10pm

    I’m behind Annie, in early Part 4 (page 272). I’m reading on the Kindle app and every time I highlight a name, the app offers me a Wikipedia page. So I’m spending a lot of my reading time there, in Wikipedia. I think foresight, knowing what’s going to happen to each character is a big drive for this book. I’ve met Jane Seymour. I’m fascinated by the world.

    In the interesting articles thread ridgewaygirl posted a link to an article on realism and the article essentially mentions Wolf Hall as about as far as a book can get to realism. I’m on the fence there, partially because I think this book is better when thinking Mantel is playing within the facts than thinking she is actually trying to recreate the reality (which is an impossible standard). But still, an interesting comment.

    Ene 15, 5:11pm

    >85 dchaikin: In our book club meeting yesterday discussing a novel about Mary Anning, the question arose about whether you can even write believable books about historical characters, or did belief have to be suspended. Once I mentioned Mantel's books, the answer was a unanimous yes.

    Will have to read that article now.

    Editado: Ene 15, 5:42pm

    >85 dchaikin: "I’m on the fence there, partially because I think this book is better when thinking Mantel is playing within the facts than thinking she is actually trying to recreate the reality (which is an impossible standard)."

    I am noticing a lot of small things this time around because of all the Tudors reading I had been doing. Which adds an additional layer of sub-stories and small nods but it makes me wonder how much of my enjoyment is because of that shared reality and how much is the novel itself. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the story and the style but... would I enjoy it as much if I do not know who everyone is (or how certain people are connected or will be connected). But then this is a common problem when real-life people are used in historical novels...

    And Mantel is extremely accurate in her facts (and rumors) - she is actually more accurate than some history books I had read... She is just adding color and details and probably moving some actions around -- but the overall story is there...

    Ene 15, 6:44pm

    >88 AnnieMod: yes. Fun stuff. I usually struggle with historical fiction with real characters when the author fails to flag that they’re not intending seriousness. Here I’m looking for those flags and I think I’m finding them. Iffy. But anyway historical fiction often works because of the nonfiction details and here it’s terrifically and thoroughly done. Without them, as say just a fictional story, does this still work? well, if might work best if you’re willing to read at least twice (??) Not sure. I think it wants the foresight-knowledge vs present narrative mixed in the reader. Books do different things and it’s hard for me to separate the fact from fiction here to make that call.

    Editado: Ene 16, 6:20am

    >85 dchaikin:
    Based on my reading of Mantel, her notes in her books and from other historians, many of the events that happen in the book are at least based on real events, with changes and embellishments as nec to tell the story. The truth about Cromwell and his character is still out - clearly his actions during the Reformation has been criticized. Its a different take on him from other HF; and Mantel writes this from Cromwells perspective, which would be different if written otherwise.

    >88 AnnieMod: And Mantel is extremely accurate in her facts (and rumors) - she is actually more accurate than some history books I had read... She is just adding color and details and probably moving some actions around -- but the overall story is there..

    Yes. Mantel is turning the world upside down in this trilogy; growing up, More was the saint, and Cromwell the villian. Mantel gives both of them much more nuanced and complex characters. Which makes it a treat to read.

    Love authors who put in notes as to what is real, faked or middle, and who were used as sources. Oh and maps. Ranking in my head I take one star away for making me spend too much time in google maps!

    Editado: Ene 16, 5:58am


    Ene 15, 10:16pm

    >90 cindydavid4: wait, notes? There are notes? What notes?

    Ene 15, 10:18pm

    >90 cindydavid4: also, funny about Google maps. I’m there a lot too.

    Editado: Ene 15, 11:12pm

    >92 dchaikin: pg 651 its really just a paragraph, i think longer in the other two books.

    Im at page 170ish or so; love descrptions of his family life - if not totally accurate, Id assume similar to other business men of his time. But I love his love for liz and his children, for Wolsley.

    the sweating illness taking so did they all manage back then, when there was nothing to stop it, when life was so short

    Then Loved when I first realized the thing bet ween Thomas and Johane the conversation pg171

    He says to her I wish we had a baby it seems like just a long time since we had a baby in the house

    Johane says 'Dont look at me" He does

    He asks Does John Williamson not do his duty by you?

    she says His duty is not my pleasure

    As he walks away he things 'thats a conversation I shouldn't have had'

    a few other fav parts

    pg 174 That year Grace was an angel

    the law students make a play about the cardinal

    Ene 16, 4:05pm

    Thanks Cindy. The place you are in the book left an impression on me.

    Ene 16, 4:07pm

    From my phone - the impact of reading this on Kindle...

    Ene 17, 5:35am

    I've read books 1 and 2 in the trilogy before so I'm not reading them now but I'm following this thread attentively. I'm British and we study the Tudors as part of History lessons - in my case several times, although now some 45 years ago - whereas I imagine that Americans focus on American history so I am very impressed that you all seem to know so much even if you find it a bit complicated sometimes. Although I took History A-level - the Tudors and Stuarts - I still learnt a lot of my history from the many historical novels I read as a teenager onwards and Cromwell was always the 'villain' so this he took a bit of getting used to in Wolf Hall!

    Ene 17, 7:18am

    >97 CDVicarage: heh, actually I have always been much more interested in world history than in US, and have been to UK several times, soaking it all in. Its only when Hamilton popped up that I became interested in our history!

    Did you read The Man on a Donkey? Someone here suggested that, and I read and reread both volumes last year giving me a very different perspecive from WH, but fascinating to read. (welcome btw)

    Ene 17, 8:58am

    Hi, I'm Ella, from Holland. Found this thread accidentally and am following. I've read parts 1 and 2 earlier, and still want to read part 3.

    English history isn't covered as such of course, in Dutch schools, but everyone has heard of Henry VIII. So many historical novels about him or his wives.

    I found part 1 fascinating, as the reformation was a large and very important part of Dutch history, but in England it turned out very different.

    Ene 17, 9:35am

    >98 cindydavid4: Thanks. Man on a Donkey is on my TBR pile, I'll move it up.

    Ene 17, 10:40am

    >100 CDVicarage: excellent! Its a big of a slog at the beginning as you are introduced to so many characters, but its all worth it.

    >99 EllaTim: knew Holland was involved in the reformation but most of what I know is the conflict with spain and Cromwells connections with merchants there Can you recommend a good read for me (history or HF)?

    Editado: Ene 17, 11:14am

    >101 cindydavid4: The reformation was one of the reasons for the conflict with Spain. A very catholic country, and there was the Spanish Inquisition. And there were taxes of course, as a second reason. There's a whole story of course with also refugees coming into Holland from Belgium and France, looking for freedom of religion.

    A good book, there's a question! Problem is that Dutch books would often not be translated. Maybe someone else has a suggestion?

    Ene 17, 11:25am

    >97 CDVicarage: >99 EllaTim: welcome

    >97 CDVicarage: I think my school learning was roughly: “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived”. Maybe a tiny bit more than that as we covered world history in a year.

    Ene 17, 11:45am

    I will probably be starting Wolf Hall at the beginning of February.I’m lucky in having a History teacher for a husband and a son who is currently studying History at University and either of them can usually deal with any historical queries that I may have.

    Ene 17, 9:03pm

    I'm a bit behind "par pace" at the moment but I'm on holiday for a week so I'm looking forward to getting back into it.

    Ene 18, 3:40am

    Warning!! I don't know how to do spoilers (can someone instruct me please?), and although I've tried hard not to introduce any spoilers if you're not up to page 200 yet maybe don't read this.

    Musings and ramblings on what I'm thinking about with this book at the moment:

    I'm hugely enjoying how much Mantel is bringing this history to life. Asides from the obvious interesting stuff that's going on around Henry VIII, and the ripple effect of that on Wolsey, it's really bringing alive the social history of the time as well.

    In particular, I've found myself thinking a lot about the sweating sickness, and the parallels with what we are going through today with COVID-19. Previously when reading about different types of plague in history it seemed like something from a story book that was interesting but unrelatable, but here we are living a modern day plague so it resonates a lot more. Scarily, it seems there are still modern day outbreaks of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (which is the modern name for sweating sickness - this book is a nightmare for Google segues), but thankfully it is relatively rare.

    I found this article interesting on it if anyone's interested:

    It's also made me think more about life expectancy in that period and what people went through in a lifetime, when losing family members either as children or relatively young adults was commonplace. Mantel is really bringing the emotion of that alive, in particular how although it was expected to a degree it still tore people apart.

    Finally, I'm feeling sorry for Katherine of Aragon (incidentally, why can history not agree if her name was spelt with a k or a c?). What she went through as Henry went through the motions to get his way with Anne Boleyn must have been excruciatingly embarrassing as well as hugely upsetting. I felt sorry for her as the finer details of her first marriage with Arthur were discussed in particular.

    Ene 18, 3:47am

    >106 AlisonY: How to do spoilers:
    <spoiler>Your text here</spoiler>
    will produce
    Your text here

    Just copy the line I have (or type it) and replace the text in the middle (I did some html tricks so you can see the brackets and they don't get resolved; if you copy as is, you get the second line) :)

    Ene 18, 3:56am

    >106 AlisonY: "why can history not agree if her name was spelt with a k or a c?)."

    Well, don't look at the Spanish chronicles or you will be even more exasperated - they often call her with her Spanish name: Catalina. :) See also for some interesting tidbits - she signed it with K (but what followed after that was... inconsistent)

    Between having the same names all over the place and spelling them pretty much like they spelled everything else (aka "creatively and every which way"), there had been whole dissertations being written on the history of minor families of the time (proving who is who and that the 4 sons are actually 3 and so on...)

    Ene 18, 5:58am

    >107 AnnieMod: Thanks!

    >108 AnnieMod: Funny, at the beginning the Catalina think threw me a bit. Thankfully because it was fresh in my head from my son studying it last year I was convinced that they meant Katherine of Aragon, so a quick Google sorted me out there.

    Ene 18, 8:36am

    >106 AlisonY: life is cheap here.

    Editado: Ene 18, 8:52am

    >110 dchaikin: Indeed it was, Dan, but I think previously I've tended to think of this low life expectancy as being treated with a large degree of resignation and acceptance at the time. Although this is most likely true, Mantel reminded me that this doesn't mean people didn't feel any less grief about these tragedies. As a parent, I found some of it very emotional to read, but felt Mantel covered it well.

    Ene 18, 8:54am

    >111 AlisonY: I thought she did that so well, too. She writes with such a deliberate, restrained touch, and that part was a great example. You really see the characters needing to keep moving forward, even as they carry heartache along.

    Editado: Ene 18, 12:21pm

    >106 AlisonY: First totally agree with you re Katherine of Aragon, every other book movie or series makes her out to be a old witch, and that Anne is the victim. Hardly. She and Henry had a love match and one wonders what would have happened if she let him go, accepted his offer and perhaps was able to live as his fourth wife did (he divorced her, but they ended up becoming rather good friends)

    This is not the first take on her that I thought was splendid The Kings Pleasure By Norah Lofts also shows her tragedy, being separated from her child, made to feel like trash, denied the things that were hers and should have remained so. I was kinda rooting for her to call in her supporters and the public and try for a coup, but that was not in her nature.

    BTW interesting that her sibling and dear sister Joanna of Castille. She was given to Philip the Handsome, Archduke of Austria of the House of Habsburg, in marrieage and her entire life was one of abuse as she strove to stay in her crown. She saw Katherine a few times, they could not help each other. She was not mad, but thats what the men in power said, so be it.

    Editado: Ene 18, 12:23pm

    >106 AlisonY: Scarily, it seems there are still modern day outbreaks of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (which is the modern name for sweating sickness - this book is a nightmare for Google segues), but thankfully it is relatively rare.

    wow i did not know that. But yes, this book does remind one of the brief and fragile life in those days and how in the time of limited medical information*, dealt with it best they could. (thatnks for that article. and yes this whole book was one google search for days! "Mantel is really bringing the emotion of that alive, in particular how although it was expected to a degree it still tore people apart." I think this is what makes her such amazing writer - abiity to show historic charters as real people and literally making that time and place and people come alive

    ETA the last sentence of that article, written in 2015 is rather ironic" Much of the mystery of sweating sickness remains. However, we do know that hantaviruses are still with us, and their day could come again."

    Another book to read is Decameron I actually struggled with it but once I got into the language, found it also to be a story of the shortness of life and how we should spend it.

    *ironic in this days of medical knowlege of how illness happens and what to do about it, guess we haven't done much better (Spanish flu 100 years also had anti mask societies... we've come a long way baby?)

    Ene 18, 12:08pm

    >102 EllaTim: he reformation was one of the reasons for the conflict with Spain

    I got my knowledge of the conflict through the Arturo Perez series, where the focus at least in the beginning was more the economic side than religious. Thanks for the info

    Ene 18, 1:06pm

    Regarding these last several comments - I find myself getting to like a lot of characters I know have it coming (also, goodness, seems practically everyone has it coming).

    Ene 18, 1:09pm

    Page 311 we start to learn about Eliza Barton - the prophetess.

    It’s worth noting Mantel’s previous novel was on a modern day variation, a woman who can really do paranormal stuff. (That novel is Beyond Black )

    Ene 18, 11:32pm

    >109 AlisonY: My own opinion about the K/C controversy, never mind "Catalina" is that it all depends upon what language people were writing in. Just think about all the languages Cromwell used. She must surely have written some Latin, obviously in Spanish, English, of course, and I believe at least French and possibly German or Austrian, and Italian, based on her siblings marriages. Europe was more fluid then, and the royal families were all over Europe, and intermarried, too. Descendants of her parents Ferdinand and Isabella spread to every royal family in Europe. According to Wikipedia she spoke French and Greek. She was a friend of Erasmus, and he spoke highly of her learning.

    So Catalina was her birth-name, translated to Catherine with her betrothal to Henry VIII's older brother Arthur. Not only did her name vary in languages, but the orthography of English was in no way fixed, particularly for proper names.

    Ene 18, 11:37pm

    >111 AlisonY: I think the low life expectancy is really in some ways a misnomer. Many people lived a long life. It was the fact that so many infants and children died that brings down the average life span. Just think how many old people feature in this novel, and so many people are in their forties or fifties.

    Editado: Ene 19, 12:10am

    >114 cindydavid4: The last I had heard the English sweating sickness had not been identified. I am fascinated that it was a hanta virus. Those things cause some awful diseases even today. I always think of that when I wash off the top of a can before opening it, and when my husband doesn't!

    Editado: Ene 19, 12:29am

    I'm up to page 320 or so, and I have to admit I have lost part of my grip on everything. So many times I don't really understand why some of the characters do as they do. At one point Mantel speaks of a Mary, Princess of Wales, and I never did figure out whom she meant. I think I have kept the active characters straight.

    I have always felt very sorry for Catherine of Aragon and rather disliked Anne Boleyn, based on some historical novels I read as a teenager, I think, but now I can't remember who wrote them. I know one was about Catherine for whom the Catherine wheel was named. That one started my interest in the Wars of the Roses, because there was a long love affair between Catherine and one of the figures most important in them. Catherine of Aragon was a Lancaster, I just learned, and actually had, in some ways, a stronger case for being the monarch of England than Henry did. The Tudors were from an illegitimate line, and Catherine from a licit and legitimate line. I got that from the article about her parents in Wikipedia.

    *added later: it was Katherine Swynford, and the Gentleman was John of Gaunt.

    Editado: Ene 19, 12:11am

    >121 sallypursell: Mary, Princess of Wales

    The only living child of Katherine and Henry VIII, destined to rule as Mary I aka Bloody Mary (and try to restore England back to Catholicism) between her younger brother Edward VI and sister Elizabeth I.

    The "Princess of Wales" gives it away - "Prince of Wales" had been carried by the heir apparent of the English/British throne since Edward II carried it in the 13th and 14th century (Charles carries it now). As Mary is Henry's only child and Katherine considers her legitimate, she is styled that way (later in the book that will become an issue as well...). Technically the Princess of Wales is the wife of the Prince of Wales but with the succession war starting, this was Katherine's way to rebel in some ways...

    Ene 19, 12:09am

    >122 AnnieMod: I considered that, but it didn't fit the sense of the context, and I think it was related to Arthur, The Prince of Wales and an intended. Since his intended was Catherine it confused me utterly. It wasn't important, but I was trying to keep everything straight, and that's where I had to let that go.
    No doubt you are right, and I misunderstood the whole sentence.

    Ene 19, 12:14am

    >123 sallypursell: Ah, then it was Katherine herself maybe and not Mary. She was married to Arthur (Henry's brother) who was the heir while Henry VII was still living so she was the Princess of Wales for awhile? If you remember where it was exactly, I can look it up in the book (now I am curious...)

    Ene 19, 12:31am

    >123 sallypursell: If I can find it, I will. But it was some time ago in the book. And I knew it should be Catherine, that's why I couldn't make Mary fit.

    Ene 19, 9:33am

    >118 sallypursell: this is why no one knows how to spell that jewish holiday that happens around christmas. Is it Chanukah, Hanuka, Channukah, Jewish Christmas. Since Hebrew uses different letters than english you need to translate the words best you can by sound. Challanging but doable to a point :)

    Ene 19, 9:35am

    >119 sallypursell: Yes, exactly I remember being taught that the people in the m iddle ages didn't love their children because they were mostly expected to die in childhood. What hogwash!!!!

    Ene 19, 10:16am

    >119 sallypursell: >127 cindydavid4: for what it’s worth, we’re mostly following the survivors and the well-off. Not a proportional representation of the general population...

    Ene 19, 9:43pm

    >128 dchaikin: That's very true, but we do encounter "lesser" folk who still show a range of ages.

    And while I am sure that the truly poor died in greater numbers due to malnutrition, cold, violence, and crowded conditions, there were still lots of reasons why people died of infections where wealth did not matter. Appendicitis, childbed fever, the sweating sickness, cancer, pneumonia, syphilis, infected wounds, and so many more.

    My opinion is that the age ranges were very similar to now, and that once people were 10 years old they generally lived to adulthood. The rest--it is opinion only, I don't have facts.

    Ene 20, 12:46am

    WH Part Two Chapter 3 p154

    I had no ideas or conceptions about any of the historical characters going in. So far I have a lot of sympathy for Katherine of Aragon, consider the Boleyn sisters (and/or their advisers) very canny, and have little respect for Henry.

    Is Henry's behaviour considered "unregal" or was it expected that kings could satisfy their personal whims while disregarding the consequences?

    Ene 20, 5:27am

    In those days the ruler had the power to pretty much do what he wanted and that was the case for many centuries. I think most people shrugged at what he was doing, tho many were upset about the divorce from Katherine.

    Ene 20, 9:22am

    I think H viii was an unusually independent king. Complacent enough Parliament and no real threats to power, no need to lure support. He had more of a freehand than other monarchs to do what he wanted - even publicly. But it does seem that in private about anything was ok for a lot of nobles as long as it didn’t compromise wealth and the balance of powers. Similar to some things today, for wealthiest. ??

    Ene 20, 9:26am

    On another topic, some fun quotes from my morning:

    When the last treason act was made, no one could circulate their words in a printed book or bill, because printed books were not thought of. He feels a moment of jealousy toward the dead, to those who served kings in slower times than these; nowadays the products of some bought or poisoned brain can be disseminated through Europe in a month.

    Look how the innocent end; used by the sin-sodden and the cynical, pulped to their purpose and ground under their heels.

    you see now why it’s not good for the king to marry a subject, an Englishwoman?”

    “The common law does not deal with women who say they can fly, or raise the dead.”

    Ene 20, 10:00am

    >132 dchaikin: I feel like many of the monarchs around that Tudor / Plantagenet time were pretty ruthless in going after what they wanted. They knew their position was never secure in the same way as it is for today's royals, with uprisings and fights for the throne always a possibility, so perhaps it was a survival of the fittest era and only those who were prepared to come out fighting their corner in an extreme way like Henry VIII got to keep their crown.

    Anne is fascinating me, in particular her absolute gall. In the part I'm at Henry's not got his way yet in terms of sorting out his marriage to Katherine, and many in his close circle believe what he's doing is wrong (although they're not necessarily overly vocal about it), yet she has the brass neck to practically usurp Katherine's position at society occasions.

    She's coming across as pretty ruthless so far.

    Ene 20, 10:29am

    >133 dchaikin: When the last treason act was made, no one could circulate their words in a printed book or bill, because printed books were not thought of. He feels a moment of jealousy toward the dead, to those who served kings in slower times than these; nowadays the products of some bought or poisoned brain can be disseminated through Europe in a month.

    I still laugh out loud whenever I read this. I know he probably did not think those things but I love the very idea that he might have. thank you Hilary!!!

    Ene 20, 10:37am

    >134 AlisonY: re Anne’s character : yeah, ruthless is the word. It’s not easy to become a queen by will. : )

    >135 cindydavid4: right, thank you HM! I like to imagine she had fun with these playful lines. (I also found the interrogation of Barton especially entertaining - well, mind you, I had to neglect imagining the stakes.)

    Ene 20, 2:07pm

    stakes... I didn’t even notice the pun!

    Editado: Ene 20, 11:28pm

    >134 AlisonY: Ambitious, well coached and determined to get what she wants. As much as her fall is tragic and most likely undeserved, Anne Boleyn was not an angel...

    Oops: couched -> coached

    Ene 20, 4:35pm

    >137 dchaikin: neither did I, ouch!

    Ene 20, 10:54pm

    >138 AnnieMod: I think well-coached would also have applied. She had such an ambitious family, particularly her father, from what I understand.

    Ene 20, 11:30pm

    >140 sallypursell: Oops on that typo. My English teachers will kill me :). Thanks! :)

    That's what I was trying to say -- Anne was a victim in a lot of ways - she was a lot of things and she made her own bed alienating everyone while going up but she did not get this way on her own - her family and especially her father are at least as much to blame...

    Ene 20, 11:56pm

    no problem ... we all do that.

    Ene 21, 12:20am

    Everytime I get to the section that starts on page 260, my heart breaks. Wolsley was no saint it must be said, but how he was treated throughout the last of his days, was cruelty for the sake of cruelty. Cavendish telling Cromwell the whole tale - "when they took him from the house, the townspeople were assembled outside They knelt in the road and wept and prayed. They asked for Gods vengence on Harry Percy. God need not trouble he thinks I will take it in hand"

    Immediately after wards, "At Hampton Court they perform an interlude its name is 'The Cardinals Descent Into Hell'"

    And just after that, well, one of my favorite scenes of the whole series. You'll know it when it gets to you :)

    oh and I love 'Call Me Risley' wondered if that was real or if she was riffing off the song of the time. love his relationship with the other young men.

    How far is everyone?

    Ene 22, 9:41am

    >141 AnnieMod: I suspect she was well 'couched' by Henry too :).

    >142 sallypursell: Well that's timely - I'm literally on p.260. I've been working late this week on stuff that's been making my brain hurt so I've struggled to concentrate on it when I've picked it up. It's definitely me, not the book. I hope to get more time to relax with it over the weekend.

    Ene 22, 1:29pm

    Just checking for Friday updates. Where is everyone? Are you liking it? Why/why not?

    Ene 22, 4:27pm

    >145 dchaikin: I need to write a review - finished it late last week (insomnia is very very helpful for reading long books although I don't recommend it). It was worth rereading - even when things were coming back as I was progressing, there were things I did not notice last time at all - or did not pay attention to anyway).

    Ene 22, 9:19pm

    Its amazing that even with so many rereads, I am still discovering new things - but because I have read all three books, certain parts become more poignant to me, certain events make much more sense, or I start changing my mind about a character (one in particular that you'll read about later) So Im liking it because it contines to speak to me as the beginning of a cycle. And really don't have any bone to pick about plot, history or character and wish I could have a long talk with her, how she wrote all this.

    Ene 22, 10:32pm

    >146 AnnieMod: congrats on finishing
    >147 cindydavid4: curious about what you’re referring to later in the series... but don’t tell me

    I’m on on page 486 (part vi). I was doing good for a bit, Wikipedia free, until they started talking about the Muenster rebellion (ünster_rebellion )

    I’m finding either I remember some things and my emotional conjectures from 2010 come up, or I don’t remember and it feels so new to me (and fresh, and clear) I can’t believe I actually read these sections and forgot about them.

    I’m also finding the book creates an atmosphere of remove - where humor and other emotional stuff seems to take place unexpectedly and only after reading the whole line, so to speak. And, while that may be me, it feels like a reflection of TC. He is always calculating and keeping a distance from emotion, or any feeling. He doesn’t acknowledge exhaustion, even. It’s also curious how civil people are to each each other when they both know they want each other literally dead.

    Recently TC explained why T Moore had to keep secret and vague on the specific nature of his sacrificial protest - how, even as he walks to his presumed death, he can’t tell all. I thought that was interesting.

    Ene 22, 11:04pm

    I'm on page 550. I found the first 300-400 pages pretty interesting, but the 100 pages have dragged for me, and don't seem to have much going on. I know it is a necessary part of the story, but I'm having to remind myself to pay full attention. Henry is just like my impression of him altogether. In face, Anne is a little humorless than I had pictured her, but otherwise like. Thomas More is not what I expected, really. But I'm not sure why. I guess I had him as more warm and complaisant to Henry, as well as more obviously Blessed. He is a little more worldly than I though he would be.

    I like the work overall, but I want to get somewhere consequent again. I ordered a copy of the second volume yesterday.

    Ene 23, 10:09am

    >97 CDVicarage: Cromwell was always the 'villain'

    Another Brit here, pretty much contemporary with you. Yes, Wolf Hall was a stunner to me when I read it. I have recently finished The Mirror and the Light, so I am just following along here with interest.

    Ene 23, 10:44am

    >149 sallypursell: More surprised me as well, but many of us had been fed his history on A Man For All Seasons, in which he was pretty much a saint. Hilary has turned that on its head, showing the pure evil he did to others. There is probably somewhere in between for him, right now I don't like him much.

    The whole section in France is slow but oh so important! Its where it all happens! Much of this is background for what comes later, but there is one section in particular that is very eye opening. BTW probably my fav part of this book, aside from the flirting between Mary Bolyn and Cromwel, is when Anne is flirting till her uncle comes along oh my.

    Ene 23, 5:11pm

    >150 sarahemmm: I never got interested in the Tudors (or English history really) until 2006 or thereabouts and by then Cromwell was well on his way out of being in the "villain" position by default. Mantel helped tremendously and probably ensured that everyone hears about the shift but the historians before that had laid the groundwork in the decade or two before that (after having his whole life and work reexamined since the 50s). Same with Richard III in a lot of ways :)

    Once I went to the older works (on both), a lot of the comments of people and historians made a LOT more sense.

    >151 cindydavid4:

    A lot of those scenes with Anne are laying such a nice foundation for what is to come. If you know how she falls, you can see it starting long before she even became a queen - and Mantel shows all those pieces almost off-handedly. That's part of what I missed the first time around - I did not appreciate just how much of those random details and people just being somewhere was important and will come back to become important...

    >144 AlisonY:

    Probably :) Your comment made me smile :)

    >148 dchaikin:

    Thanks. Now I have almost 40 days to actually find the second volume - I know it is somewhere in the house because I bought it when it came out... or to decide to ask the library for a copy if I give up... For now I am off to do some Tudors reading - that's what I was afraid of - I had almost curbed it lately and now I want to read more about the Tudors again... :) But then it is always fun.

    Ene 23, 5:17pm

    >152 AnnieMod: I bought the books 2 and 3 but knew I had my 2010 copy of Wolf Hall. I still haven't found that copy, and am reading this on Kindle.

    Ene 23, 6:19pm

    >151 cindydavid4: My knowledge of More came from before A Man For All Seasons, but I'm not really sure I have ever read or seen that. If you stop being matter-of-fact about it, Cromwell's amoral and practically-ordered behavior is pretty evil, too. The monasteries, etc., is what I am thinking of. And then going after the people who don't agree with Anne's accession, and the change in the religion are, many times, pressured and tormented until they agree, with their substance taken away and their families and dependents scattered. So sad. I know it is his job, but he is all too thorough.

    Cromwell also seems to raise expectations in several women and then not follow through. He rather deserves to be lonely. He seems to get more pleasure from records than from people, and he does not spend time with others much, so no wonder no one seeks him out for company except those who can get some advantage out of it, and erroneously think they can control him.

    Editado: Ene 23, 7:22pm

    >154Cromwell's amoral and practically-ordered behavior is pretty evil, too. The monasteries, etc., is what I am thinking of. And then going after the people who don't agree with Anne's accession, and the change in the religion are, many times, pressured and tormented until they agree, with their substance taken away and their families and dependents scattered. So sad. I know it is his job, but he is all too thorough.

    Oh no question about that, I remember my first trip to England in college going to all the cathedrals and hearing Cromwells name and hearing them cursing him for the distructionhe caused. As someone who always loved history and archetecture, I was frankly appalled and He was very much the bad guy for most of my life (you really need to see Man for all seasons to see the impact it had on people re More the saint) Bur reading Mantel, and the researched she used for her books, make me see a more nuanced person, someone who hated what the church was doing, who wanted change while at the same time loved his master Wolsley, one who could loved his children and wife and grieved at their loss. There is a part in one of the books that sounds like he blames god for his loses, which maybe he questions god, or that at the very least, the teachings of the church. And perhaps gave him a hint of an idea that turned the world upside down

    Cromwell also seems to raise expectations in several women and then not follow through.

    If we go by mantels story, I dont see he was raising any expectations of women and not 'followed through' Perhaps with Mary, but she had to have seen that was not going to be possible. The affair with Johanne broke up amically, and remained friends and help raise her children. Did he manipulate theem? oh yes, esp with Georges wife and others (Mary Bolyn possible too) And certainly did wth Percy and other men to get information.

    he does not spend time with others much, so no wonder no one seeks him out for company except those who can get some advantage out of it, and erroneously think they can control him.

    Mantel shows him to have a very active social life, starting with his son, nephew and others in his household. He did business with the same men that he had dinner with or a beer at the pub. His relationship with the Emperors ambassador was one of my favorit parts.

    He rather deserves to be lonely. He seems to get more pleasure from records than from people,

    wow we are reading a different book I think. He does want revenge, and does manipute people. but he certainly gets pleasure being with peopls and frankly I don't think he was overwrought about his life. He was not lonely.

    I do agree with you about the common people and I must again suggest A Man on a Donkey which is the common peoples look at the destruction of the monasteries, and their attempted revolt. It takes some getting used to it at first but once you get in its an amazing and movig story about how the other half lived in this time perios

    I will tell you tho that my attitude about him turned with the second book. Stay tuned

    Ene 23, 10:21pm

    Oh, I'm still reading. And I do find much to be sympathetic with. I know he socializes, but it looks like business as much as socialization a lot of the time. No doubt he loved Wolsey, and yet recognized some of his bad qualities, too. He certainly is friendly with the young men of his household. He admires much about Henry, too, although he recognizes his difficult habits, too. Maybe I exaggerated some of those feelings to make them distinct. It wasn't intentional, though.

    Ene 24, 12:12pm

    >156 sallypursell: understood :)

    One of my absolute fav interactions, that I can't find is between cromwell and his neice

    She comes to cromwell with a message from her mother. She wants a (extinct bird) egg as a present. It doesn't exist anymore. Cromwell asks 'what color does she want?"

    anyone know what I am talking about?

    Editado: Ene 24, 2:27pm

    >157 cindydavid4: I guess a simple yes doesn’t help. I remember the line if not the context. At time I thought it was a coded message of affection. In hindsight I’m wondering if she was roughly saying - “to the man who can get anything, I need something you can’t give.” - i.e - I’m wondering if it was her breakup notice, because he’s too busy for her. And his response would then would then merely be to say, helplessly “ok, I’ll do anything”. Just thinking out loud

    Ene 24, 2:28pm

    ps. I finished WH last night.

    Editado: Ene 24, 2:59pm

    oh definitely a coded message of affection her request I love you, and his response back to her, I'll do anything....(that song from Oliver has been in my head a few days)

    Ene 25, 5:38am

    I'm around page 440 and am totally hooked. We had a big dollop of snow here yesterday which was a novelty as it doesn't always snow every year, so that took away some planned reading time. I've not found any sections to be slow, and am surprised that Mantel has been able to keep my interest throughout.

    I feel like Mantel positions Cromwell in a somewhat sympathetic light, but he still feels like a dark horse to me; we never see his true motives fully revealed. He's clearly a player, manoeuvring himself so deftly away from Wolsey's downfall into a position of trust with the king and Anne. Although I like him in the book, he never feels wholly genuine in his intents, although sometimes Mantel portrays him as almost believing his own fiction of being driven because he is simply a loyal subject. I think his early background of fighting for his own survival has made him wilier than many of his counterparts at court, and whilst they know how to play the game to a level, he knows how to play it better, and indeed is manoeuvring pieces within the game without them realising it.

    Ultimately, to me he's a canny entrepreneur who's playing everyone for his own advantage, and I'm enjoying that. I can see how he is portrayed in history as the villain. Mantel humanises him, but at the same time I think the reader is conscious that he's a smooth operator.

    Ene 25, 8:23am

    I agree with you about a dark horse, someone upthread mentioned someone having a dark cloud over her, and its the same for him. Mantel does keep his thoughts to himself so you really don't know what he's all about

    Ene 25, 10:41am

    WH Part 3 Chapter 2 p236

    I've been resisting (more or less) looking up people but I found Thomas More so distasteful I wanted to see what the "conventional" view of him was. Apparently Ms Mantel was mean - one article actually refers to More as a proto-feminist!

    Ene 25, 11:00am

    >157 cindydavid4: Oh, I remember this interchange very well. It was, in Cromwell, one of the things that made me like him so, so much. I considered it an ideal way to respond to a child, but I wondered how the child's mother would receive that message. It is a shame the Cromwell and Johane could not marry. What an ideal solution that might have made.

    Editado: Ene 25, 11:10am

    I found that through the first 2/3 of the book my liking for Cromwell continued strong, and I thought him ill-used by society. At the same time, his manipulativeness made him a little creepy to me. In the last third of the book, my recoiling from him got worse, until, by the end, he was really bothering me. It was the matter-of-factness of the way he carried out the depredations on lesser folk in order to fund the King's and friends, enemies, lovers, functionaries desire for greater wealth. His own great wealth, although he has earned it, began to grate on me, too. Hi is, indeed, a slippery man, and I hate that kind.

    I finished Wolf Hall day before yesterday, as well, and I wanted to sit with it a little before I reacted.

    Ene 25, 1:26pm

    >161 AlisonY: >165 sallypursell: interesting posts! Something about Cromwell seems to get compromised along the way.

    >163 rhian_of_oz: I had assumed More really was a ruthless self righteous pre-Inquisition torturing inquisitioner. Seems he might have been slandered a bit. But still he was no angel. Thanks for encouraging me to look that up.

    Ene 25, 1:36pm

    >163 rhian_of_oz: Oh dear... was it an article from a Catholic scholar? :)

    Ene 25, 1:39pm

    >165 sallypursell: Look at it from another perspective. Wolsey tried to say no to Henry. Thomas More said no. Both died in disgrace.

    Principles are great but unless he was willing to die and has his family lose everything (which would have happened and did happen at the end), he needed to be what he was.

    He is no saint - that part we all agree on. And he was probably more ruthless than a lot of the other people in court. But... that was the price at the time. Compare him to another set of characters we saw - Boleyn (the Elder...) and Norfolk... I'd make a case that Cromwell at least cared for his own family...

    Ene 26, 10:23am

    >168 AnnieMod: 'at least cared for his own family' - indeed, but (Mantel at least) shows him as having the most extreme loyalty, to beyond the grave.

    Ene 28, 10:50am

    WH Part 4 Chapter 1 p287

    Some thoughts on Wolsey's death.

    How well written! The initial sparse description of the timeline followed by the agonised recounting by Cavendish.

    I briefly wondered whether Wolsey might have killed himself but discounted it just as quickly based on the length of his suffering prior to his death, and the fact that suicide is a mortal sin.

    That "interlude" was vile. It's all very well for Henry to be frozen or afraid about it but he's the damn king, he should've been able to stop it. I wanted to slap the lot of them.

    Was Cromwell's appointment to the royal council some sort of appeasement of Henry by his courtiers?

    Ene 28, 6:58pm

    >170 rhian_of_oz: i think H viii was having it both ways. Passive execution, if you like.

    Ene 29, 8:28pm

    Pg 501 Among the many sigte and sounds Mantel gives of the ciry when dscussing Annes procession, she describes the animals and monsters of the city, even a devil with a child in its maw, with only the small feet sticking out. Oh how she has Cromwell care for his young people, Marriage for Richard to Mary Bolyn, but the king needs her for.....felt such sorrow for her life, but then marries the daughtr of the mayor of London. He leans back in his chair, smiles, thats ok, Frances, I like Frances. Then with his neice Alice trying to tell him about the maid, but ends up telling him she has been asked to marry, and the delight he shows. And at the end when Rafe is finally able to pin him down, and he can do no more than agree. And there is nothing for Gregory, yet. It is hilarious and in the third book, sorry for teasing. Someone somewhere in another group said that Cromwell was using these young men as spies and gophers, taking advenatge of them Certainly not how this is written (when you read Manetels notes you see from primary sources how un true this is. Oh speaking of spies, How does 'call me' manage to to work for both cromwell and gardiner. And then at the end, Cromwell writes in the calendar 'Saturday, Wolf Hall' with marriage very much on his mind.

    So Monday I start Bring up the Bodies. Haven't read it half as much as Wolf Hall

    Editado: Ene 30, 3:28pm

    I forgot to ask for updates yesterday, so delayed Friday updates, let us know where you are, unless you're Anniemod (who has finished and posted a review). I have also finished. I plan to read Bring Up the Bodies in March. (I was going to say I will hold off till then, but I just went through my February plan...oops. Instead of holding off, I will try to get to BUtB in March. :) )

    Ene 30, 3:30pm

    >172 cindydavid4: family first I follow, but he seemed to have really taken unrelated people under his wing and got them set up and promoted them. Seems those he mentored did very well in real history.

    Ene 30, 5:18pm

    I also, have finished, and there is a review on my thread.

    Ene 30, 5:32pm

    >174 dchaikin: Seems to have been a success early and working with kids, and able to teach them a trade or such. At the very least his background taught him what not to do. And plus he is able to use them for an advantage spies here and there.

    Every time I read it a certain section catches my eye, this time it was Supremacy. I got what it was about but often flipped passed coz I wanted to see other scenes. But this time I really paid attention - that little book C has with him to talk with the king and what the bible says and doesnt say. I wonder was it just Henry's wish to divorce Katherine what lead to the 30 year war or was something helsp going on. Henry soil is just ripe enough for C to plant a few seeds. But is that what he intended? And who came up with the idea of splitting

    Editado: Ene 30, 5:37pm


    Ene 31, 5:53am

    I'm also finished - musings are on my thread.

    I drifted a little around pages 500 to 600. I found I had to concentrate to keep my attention much more than I had with previous sections - for me the Thomas More section seemed to go on for many pages without much relief or segue into the humour that peppers the rest of the book. However, I get it - it's a pivotal part of the next stage in history, and I think Mantel needed to draw it out to allow us to reach our own conclusions on More, Cromwell, Audley, etc. by the point of More's demise.

    More feels admirable in the face of adversity, standing firm in his faith despite knowing the inevitable consequences, yet through Cromwell Mantel doesn't allow us to wholly forget that his moral compass has not always pointed in one direction. Whilst it wasn't my favourite part of the book, it may be one of the most important sections in terms in terms of our viewpoint of Cromwell. Although his secretive nature hitherto raised questions in my head, up to now he hadn't really put a foot wrong. I've had my suspicions previously about what's really behind this outer mask, but in this section I feel it slips a little for the first time, and as a reader my perspective of him has now begun to waiver.

    This quote from More really struck me on page 567:

    This relentless bonhomie of yours. I knew it would wear out in the end. It is a coin that has changed hands so often. And now the small silver is worn out, and we see the base metal.

    This felt very insightful. Cromwell seems to hide his true self with almost a religious zealousness, and this was perhaps the first point in the book at which someone seems to really get his number (or at least that side of his character). Norfolk, etc. regularly seem peeved that he's been able to rise up the ranks despite his low standing, but this was the first time I felt that someone really said 'You're not fooling me - even if no one else can see it, I can see you for who you really are'.

    On the one hand, to be fair to Cromwell he tries hard to help More to save himself, and is as just as he can be in terms of respecting his previous relationship with More. However, I felt he was also very much hiding behind the will of Henry, and I'm very much questioning if he has any moral compass beyond keeping the king sweet so that he can continue to fill up his own treasure room.

    Ene 31, 6:05am

    >176 cindydavid4: Interesting. I don't think it was just Henry's wish to divorce Katherine that led to the Thirty Years War. There was clearly a push for Protestantism being forced underground during this era, and Henry's divorce and takeover as head of the church seemed to open up the opportunity for a religious uprising, but no doubt this would eventually have happened anyway. Mind you, I say that, but I guess it would have taken a lot longer if that critical split in power away from the Catholic church hadn't happened at Henry's level.

    Henry feels like a bit of a poster child for the uprisings that are to come, but there was so much else in the mix in the Thirty Years War in addition to religion, mostly all born out of greed - greed for territory, dynastic greed, commercial greed.

    Feb 1, 3:47am

    >178 AlisonY:
    I've had my suspicions previously about what's really behind this outer mask, but in this section I feel it slips a little for the first time, and as a reader my perspective of him has now begun to waiver.

    I like your way of describing your growing disaffection from Cromwell, which matches mine, as well as wondering if he has any moral compass at all.

    Editado: Feb 1, 10:11pm

    >179 AlisonY: Henry feels like a bit of a poster child for the uprisings that are to come, but there was so much else in the mix in the Thirty Years War in addition to religion, mostly all born out of greed - greed for territory, dynastic greed, commercial greed.

    oh yes indeed, he or cromwell was the spark (cue Billy Joel) that was already adding on to the rest of the kindling

    I just love Mantel's command of language how she is able to set a scene, block out how her characters move, and tossing out lines about love unrequited or noThe scene that Crom walks in on when Anne is screaming about her sisters child (and for the first few readings of this I confused Mary Carey with Mary Shelton, my bad) in her room as she is packing to leave

    Love the mini conversation with Jane Seymour, the flirting a bit. Mary's rant at Rochford

    You cant love, you don't know what love is and al yu can do is envy those who do know, and rejoice at their troubles, years she screamed to be Queen and god protecct us from answered prayers.

    after Rochford leaves : In the silence that follows the words go flap crash, rattling aroung the room like trapped birds, who panic and shit down the walls ....when mistress Seymour has tied the bundles they look like birds with broken wings. He takes them from her and reties them with string.

    When Jane says she is leaving court its not like the queen likes me...been such a long time seen Wolf Hall he thinks, talking to his dead wife, Liz take your dead hands off me, do you grudge me one little girl so small so thin so plain Ah if only.....if wishes were horses

    Feb 2, 3:49am

    >181 cindydavid4: It's interesting that Anne is portrayed as such a cow that we find ourselves very much rooting for Mary Carey in the end (I also had to check the Mary names a few times), who seems so much more likeable. Somehow she seemed to get the raw deal throughout, although probably as much through her lack of care for her own reputation as anything.

    At the moment I feel like I'll be on the sidelines shouting "Off, off, off, off!" when Anne becomes unstuck, but perhaps Mantel will allow us to feel more sympathy for her in Bring Up the Bodies (assuming that's when she meets her maker).

    And Jane Seymour... How we wish Liz would have let Cromwell be free to protect her.

    Feb 2, 3:52am

    This article's a couple of years old now, but some may find it interesting:

    Feb 2, 6:50am

    Feb 2, 10:18am

    interesting, I had no idea that it was built just for that occassion; I assumed as many did that it was a typical lords house of the day. Also interesting that commenters question that the Seymour descendant interviewed could not be a decsendent of Jane. Um she had other family members so he could have been a great many times nephew. Anyway minor quibble.

    btw are we started the next thread, or is this discussion continue for the next month?

    Feb 3, 9:52am

    >185 cindydavid4: The Wolf Hall read is for January and February so this thread will continue.

    Editado: Feb 5, 2:04pm

    Two things

    1. Where is everyone at? I see Alison and Sally have finished. I also see comments around CR about interest in joining now or later.

    2. Prologue bit: Sally’s review and comments point to TC getting darker, becoming a worse person as the novel progresses. Alison notes More’s damning observations on TC. I admit I didn’t feel he changed character much. But certainly the situation changes and he is put into uglier positions and that means uglier moves (and, thinking ahead, more compromising positions.)

    2: Question - for those finished. Is TC’s changing position and character inevitable? As in just the cost of success?

    Feb 5, 9:21pm

    I'm up to Part 4 chapter 2 page 373.

    More has just resigned, or should that be "resigned". Cromwell is the Keeper of the Jewel House and has, it seems, rapidly become one of Henry's close advisors. I suspect foreshadowing in the words of the Spanish ambassador "... those so-spiteful privy chamber gentlemen cannot fail to tell their friends, who will ... plot to bring you down."

    I'm not necessarily seeing Cromwell becoming a worse person at this stage, though I do wonder whether he didn't derive some satisfaction at turfing Gardiner out of Hanworth for Anne. My sense of him at the moment is of being loyal and generous to his friends and family, definitely canny in seeing and capitalising on opportunity, and politic. I *like* him.

    My "slow" reading of this is intentional, I am deliberately pacing myself as opposed to finding it hard to read - quite the opposite! It is my lunch break book and I'm very much enjoying visiting with the story every day.

    I had originally thought to have the one thread to cover all three books but I seriously underestimated the interest! Despite the read for Bring up the Bodies not starting until March I think I might create a new thread for it now so we can keep this one for Wolf Hall.

    Feb 5, 9:50pm

    >187 dchaikin: It was probably the cost for staying alive... success was just a bonus. Although without the success, his life would have been a lot safer so it is a bit of a chicken and egg issue. Although I do not find him darker, not yet anyway - more calculating and more concerned with his legacy maybe but then anyone would be seeing Wolsey and More falling from so high...

    Feb 5, 10:35pm

    I think the necessity of pleasing Henry and Anne, rather than Wolsey, is what places him in the position to fall in the future. Wolsey seemed to be to be better-motivated than the royals. He took his clerical position seriously, despite his love of luxury. Henry and Anne don't have this viewpoint, and they are capricious and power-loving. To keep them happy Cromwell must make more people unhappy and disgruntled. That was bound to redound to his credit or dis-credit. I don't know that I think he changes for the worse as that he is positions to grind more nobles into the dust, and be disliked and subject to passionate reprisal. Nobels don't like his success in a commoner.

    Feb 6, 12:04pm

    >187 dchaikin: I'm not sure it's that Cromwell has changed; I think it's more that we're seeing a little more clearly towards the end of the book just how focused he has been on elevating his position in life, and how much he plays the system at court to keep himself in favour. There seemed more insight into how much he is driven by money in the last 100 or so pages. His abuse at the hands of his father when he was young has evidently hardened him, and although he's very generous and kind to those who live at his home, he seems to very much look after #1 in court, whilst not making it seem that that's the case.

    I therefore always get a sense that he gives just enough of himself to be efficient to those around him, but that we're never quite sure what he's truly like. So he's not necessarily dark, but certainly a dark horse. At this point he seems to be doing whatever is required of him to keep himself in favour at court, regardless of his own code of ethics.

    Feb 6, 8:32pm

    Cromwell isn't so much changing as he is reacting to his world and those around him who help and hinder. He is very much a man on a mission. Didn't realize this until the middle of BUTB, but hes going to get darker before this is over. You see this a bit at the end of WH (tho he honestly is sorry about Thomas More) but it becomes very apparent soon afterwards.

    Loved that last scene in the book where he is planning the trip for the king and just decides he needs a break and so puts in September Wolf Hall.

    Feb 11, 5:14pm

    I'm behind the rest of you, but the peer pressure worked and I'm reading WH now. Enjoying it quite a bit this second time round. I've started reading through this thread, but it's a lot!

    Feb 11, 6:18pm

    >193 RidgewayGirl: Excellent! You've plenty of time before we get to BOTB.

    Feb 11, 8:33pm

    yay glad you could join in! Feel free to post as you read and get inspired

    >191 AlisonY: I'm not sure it's that Cromwell has changed; I think it's more that we're seeing a little more clearly towards the end of the book just how focused he has been on elevating his position in life, and how much he plays the system at court to keep himself in favour.

    actually reminds me of what my dad alwasy said : people don't change they just reveal their true colors

    Editado: Feb 12, 10:49am

    Not sure we need a Friday update but feel free to share.

    Some responses to my question from last week:

    >189 AnnieMod:It was probably the cost for staying alive... success was just a bonus.

    Right- but not from zero. I think there is a point where success becomes dangerous - that entanglement in royals (or religious) politics was playing with fire. And this Cromwell did not pause in concern for that. He charged on boldly. But once he past that point...

    >190 sallypursell:I think the necessity of pleasing Henry and Anne, rather than Wolsey, is what places him in the position to fall in the future.”

    Right. But it strikes me considering he was in such danger of falling with Wolsey...he jumps from deep danger into a more dangerous place.

    >191 AlisonY: “His abuse at the hands of his father when he was young has evidently hardened him”

    I find this really interesting. (And i agree, I don’t think he’s really changed. Just charging ahead.)

    >192 cindydavid4:Cromwell isn't so much changing as he is reacting to his world and those around him who help and hinder.”

    Personally I agree and nice touch on the ending. :)

    >195 cindydavid4: “people don't change they just reveal their true colors”

    Nothing to add, just reposting to highlight

    Feb 12, 10:47am

    >193 RidgewayGirl: CR is always dangerous to reading plans, but glad you’ve joined in.

    Feb 12, 11:47am

    >191 AlisonY: His abuse at the hands of his father when he was young has evidently hardened him, and although he's very generous and kind to those who live at his home, he seems to very much look after #1 in court, whilst not making it seem that that's the case.

    I agree somewhat, he had to look out for number 1 because he had no one else, but he seemed to turn the abuse aside, and decided to live another way (as he says when Gregory is born, I will never hurt you) Rather to keep to himself, he goes out and finds his own 'family' people that can help him and who he can help. This social connection leads to others and so on. The kindess of the Dutch family certainly affected him, and provided him with more oppotunities to live. He was one directed, but was able to see the big picture.

    Feb 12, 12:45pm

    >198 cindydavid4: I agree. He had abuse and kindness as a child, also loss, coldness and affection. And I imagine these all played a role in shaping him.

    Feb 13, 10:58am

    Part 5 Chapter 1 page 470

    Anne has been crowned and I've just finished the scene where Crowmwell is speaking with Mary Boleyn about her "role" during Anne's pregnancy. Can one feel sorry for her? I do at the moment.

    I'm still liking Cromwell though it seems that his role as Henry's "enforcer" is becoming less subtle and more overt. What struck me is how much the people of the court continually remind Cromwell of his background and how that makes him inferior (by implication if not explicitly) to them. I have much sympathy for underdogs and I guess, despite his power and influence, that is still how I see him.