Why is No One Talking About The White Queen?

With the appearance of Netflix, Love Film and *ahem* downloading, nowadays I rarely sit down at the television and watch something from start to finish (apart from The Great British Bake Off - it's back guys, it's back. Soggy bottoms FTW). However, one particular programme that got me excited merely from the adverts was The White Queen. It can be argued that my enthusiasm stemmed from the BBC previews displaying Max Irons in the role of King Edward, who's piercing eyes, perfectly chiselled jawline and rather appealing physique had me completely glued to the screen. "Someone give me a pen!" I shouted, as I scribbled down the name of the show, not taking my eyes off the curly brown hair. But this is just one argument; the other is that I am exceedingly enthralled by history, which to some extent is true. I prefer the first explanation though.

Based on Philippa Gregory's best-selling series The Cousins' War, The White Queen is set in 15th century Britain during the lengthy War of the Roses, a time of extreme conflict, blood lust, and a lot of promiscuity (Am I the only one who noticed that they had a lot of sex back then?). The story mainly revolves around Edward I, his controversial marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, and the constant battle for the throne (for some reason, everyone wanted to be King despite the fact that most of them were killed by treasoners, in many cases a member of their own family - I'd rather stay at home and sew, thanks). 

I have to say, this is one period drama that I was slightly apprehensive about at first. Although I have nothing against seeing Max Irons using cheesy pick up lines and attempting to be ehm, romantic, the beginning of the series was a bit like a drunken friend trying to get off with a hot girl - very speedy and no beating around the bush. The series begins with Elizabeth, a widow with two boys who's trying to inherit the land that her husband left behind. And where do you go when you need help? Well, to the king, obviously. They meet, he woos, and then BAM, they're married by the end of the first episode (did I spoil it for you? Soz).

This particular period in history was particularly brutal and one that has been told many a time through the eyes of men - the lengthy war between Lancaster and York was one full of battles, victories, and a constant struggle for the throne. The White Queen however, puts the experience into perspective from a woman's point of view, exposing the powerful relationship between mother and daughter, the pained experience when their husbands and fathers went to war, along with a few (rather graphic) births. Admittedly, the beginning is a little bit rompy, with Edward courting Elizabeth in a typical 15th century manner - trying to sleep with her. Smooth move, Ed. Lizzie however refused to be blackmailed into sex, yet ended up succumbing to the King's charms (I'm not surprised).That's not say the queen doesn't have a feisty side; Rebecca Ferguson plays a wonderful Elizabeth, displaying utter devotion and passion for Edward, shielding her children from harm yet remaining thick-skinned and invulnerable. In other words, this lady could really hold her own.

Of course with every period drama there were moments when I thought I would barf; Henry Tudor's overly emotional and obsessive mother Margaret had me wanting to throw tomatoes/something equally splat-prone at the screen, while Richard's rather emo-esque hair style was just a tad too modern for my liking. As a whole however, it worked. Many have attempted to compare The White Queen to Game of Thrones; I think it's fair to say that they do not fall under the same category. Where Game of Thrones threw in some recognizable actors and spent thousands on costume and set (I just don't get the hype?) The White Queen's rather low budget yet beautifully thought out cinematography was much more appealing to me. 

Despite being rather rushed (it's pretty hard to compact so much history into 10 hour long episodes) and a little bit cheesy, I don't think they did too badly. Although personally I would preferred more coverage of Max's chest. And arms. And face. Just more Max, basically.

Did you watch The White Queen? What did you think?

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