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09 August 2013

Why You Should Definitley be Watching The White Queen

If you’re a BBC One viewer, you undoubtedly saw this teaser trailer early this summer:


A cover of “Wicked Game”, and a bunch of bad-ass women wearing armour? YES.

The White Queen is based on three of Philippa Gregory’s novels, The White Queen, The Red Queen, and The Kingmaker’s Daughter. Each novel looks at the War of Roses from a different queen/woman’s perspective, The White Queen being Elizabeth Woodville, the Red Queen being Lady Margaret Beaufort and The Kingmaker’s Daughter being Anne Neville, daughter of Lord Warwick. Gregory’s novels separates each woman’s story, but the BBC’s version, written by Emma Frost, brings all of their stories together.

 

I am a sucker for period dramas, and while most are drippy stories of young girls waiting to be rescued or married off or just all together miserable, The White Queen is one of the most feminist pieces of historical fiction I’ve either read or watched.

As the teaser says, not all wars are won on the battlefield, and this series shows the incredible influence the woman of the War of Roses actually had - thanks to their unforgiving schemes, manipulation, political awareness and business sense. The books also do an incredible job of bringing home what little choice women of this era had - they were either married off as children to then be forced to have children (hopefully boys) of their own, or, well, that’s about it. And that was if you were from a family of nobility that owned land - what the hell happened to you if you were born into poverty?

If you do fancy reading the books before you watch the show, the order can be a bit confusing, so I would start with:

1) The White Queen

2) The Red Queen

3) The Kingmaker’s Daughter

And then go on to The Lady of the Rivers or The White Princess from there.

If you're still not convinced that you should waste 10 hours of your life watching this series, allow me...

1)  Witchcraft

Both Jacquetta and Elizabeth Rivers are basically WITCHES, y’all.

2) There are amazing costumes

Can we talk about the clothes in this show? They’re AMAZING.

3) Drama

OH god, the drama. There is blood, there are tears, there are fights and weird things happening to dogs and whoring (the technical term) and childbirth and prayer and spells and it all gets very, very intense.

4) It's a historical wet dream

If you’re a bit of an anglophile or you like to geek out over British history or the royal family, this show is just amazing. If you can get your head around who is Lancaster and who is York and who eventually ends up marrying who, etc, etc, you will basically know more about British history than most British people. If the stories of the princes in the Tower and the king that ended up being buried in a car park, you’ll like this show.

5) The women are bad ass

I know I’ve already mentioned it, but the women in this show are just brilliant. The entire show really is about the women, but it’s done in such a way that no one could accuse the show of being “girly” or hollow - it is what it is, and Emma Frost does a brilliant job of weaving the stories together.

I mean really, it's a no-brainer. 

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