The White Princess Recap: Character Assassination

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It’s almost been a month since I covered one of the White Princess episodes and I’ve had it on my “to-do” list to finish off the rest of the series. Despite not particularly enjoying it, once you start something, etc. etc. But after watching the fifth episode in the series I’m actually going to stop because I think this show crosses a line. I don’t know how many of these issues are  unique to the TV version of this story, or if they are following the lead of the books on which they are based, but there is a fine line between historical fiction and character assassination and this is the latter.

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The White Princess Recap: You Are All I Have Now

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Well, that answers the Katherine Woodville question. Yes, she comes up, but about two years too late as a means for Lizzie to hurt her mother-in-law, Margaret Beaufort. Even so, the series is coming together in its narrative arc – primarily by playing up what about it is actually compelling. The evolution of Lizzie from York to Tudor, and what the actual ramifications were for a young woman to marry her enemy, have his children and realize the wishes of her blood family would come at the cost of her new existence.

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The White Princess Recap: I Don’t Think I Should Like to Be Queen; The Clothes Are Too Ugly

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You know, I sat down to write this with the goal of being positive, calling out what the show is doing well since I’ve already outlined what isn’t working for me. But then I saw this episode and that’s over now. The first half is essentially a couple scenes of casserole in which every notable character is thrown around the same place to make it interesting. I have no idea if this comes from the book or is from the show, but let’s start with the basics.

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The White Princess Recap: Your Moves Are Far Too Obvious

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Okay, round two, here we go. The episode opens with Lizzie being pretty creepy, smiling insipidly every time Henry speaks and generally trying to prove to him that she’s a loyal and loving wife. And I guess it works? But she starts to look borderline crazy and I think there’s a lesson in here for all the men that like to tell women to smile. Don’t. It doesn’t look right.

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The White Princess Recap: He is a Horrible, Bad Man

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I debated whether I was going to cover this series for a couple reasons: 1) it’s based on a book I haven’t read; 2) it’s most certainly not going to even attempt accuracy; and 3) it’s all a bit much. But there’s value in considering how history is being dramatized, if for no other reason than to be aware of what false bits are going to become lodged in the public consciousness. In this case that’s not really a huge concern as I don’t think most people are watching this show, but if it’s not a worthwhile exercise it’s at least an interesting one.

As some background, the White Princess is meant to follow a 2013 series called the White Queen, which covered the life of Elizabeth Woodville, consort of Edward IV, from 1464 to 1485. If you would like to know who that is then I would direct you here, here or here. The White Princess dramatizes the life of their eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, who married Henry VII in 1485. For more on her actual background, you can read more here.

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