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BBC’s The White Queen Episode Three Review

July 11, 2013

I want to warn everyone, for the third time, that there will be spoilers in this review, so if you have yet to watch episode three, then beware! We are now on episode three, out of ten, which is a nice feeling because we are not even yet half way into this entertaining drama. Personally, I still cannot see why it had received so many bad reviews, but then again, I may well be blinded by the fact that I love this story and the book by Philippa Gregory. The three episodes are still on BBC’s iplayer, so you have a chance to catch up if you have not already done so. And of course, as always, I would recommend the three books this series is based on, The White Queen, The Red Queen and the Kingmaker, I have read them, but far too long ago to provide a decent review. But I will be reading others in the series from which they come from, The Cousin’s War.

Back to the show! Last night we saw Isabel, Warwick’s daughter star in a lot of this episode, this is because she is pregnant with George, the King Edward’s brother’s baby. We also discover that Elizabeth is pregnant again, with Edward’s baby, and she says that this time she is sure of a boy. After having three daughter’s with him, that’s a pretty big assumption to make. During this episode Warwick, George, and of course Warwick’s wife and two daughter’s set sail for France int he hope of finding some support for their cause there. However, when Elizabeth and her mother find out they are doing so, witchcraft ensues. The women sit and blow, in the hope of commanding a storm to prevent Warwick from crossing the channel, and the storm does arrive, so much such Elizabeth’s mother is concerned by its strength. The storm does not stop Warwick from boarding the boat, with his heavily pregnant daughter, who goes into labour during the crossing to Calais. Unfortunately for them, Calais close the gates to the harbour, showing themselves as being loyal to Edward. Isabel’s labour does not go as planned, the baby gets stuck and in the end, dies during the birth, it was a boy. Isabel’s husband George, with no emotion, turns to her and says they must have another as soon as possible because Elizabeth is pregnant again.

Moving onto another family, Margaret Beaufort’s appearances are increasing, and in this episode she goes to where her son is living with Jasper Tudor, she is still convinced he is King. On arriving there we discover that she is in fact in love with Jasper Tudor, and her husband is understandably unhappy about this. She again visits him during the storm, only to find that Jasper has fled, leaving Henry, who doesn’t seem to recall or love his mother.

There are some things worth discussing in this episode. The first is witchcraft, this features heavily in the books, the rumour that Elizabeth Woodville and her mother were both witches. We know now that even if they did practice some sort of witchcraft it would not have helped them, but at the time maybe they thought it did. What I love about this topic is that some women were accused of witchcraft for no reason, and killed for it, others probably practiced it and were never caught, but it was so incredibly dangerous. Not even being the queen, or the mother of the queen would have helped her. So, simply put, although on screen it doesn’t seem dangerous, and even though I know the story of Elizabeth, it still makes me incredibly nervous that they will be caught for their witchcraft.

The second thing is marriage. Marriage in modern times is, for the most part, about love, and committing to one another. However, in medieval times and indeed before that it was about securing allies and land, and ensuring the family name was kept well known and in high regard and of course passed down. Daughters would be given in marriage to whomever had the best deal and would take her, and marriages were often arranged when the children were mere infants. This is shown so well in this program, that father’s seemingly having no regard for their daughter’s happiness, marry them off to the highest bidder, I don’t think we should judge, it was the done thing.

The final item I want to discuss is the expectation of boys. We have all heard how kings and noblemen didn’t care for their daughters because they were not sons. These families needed sons for the future of their houses, they needed heirs to pass down their land and titles to. In the case of the royal family, the King needed an heir to secure his own future, a solid future on the throne. So, it is unsurprising that boys were expected, needed and so desperately wanted, not only just by the men but by the women too, so they didn’t feel like a failure. We can see in this episode how important a son can be, and how babies for some men were seen simply as a tool for securing their future.

I will be posting the review for episode four tomorrow, and then I shall be caught up, and on Monday, the review of Sunday’s episode five shall be posted. I’m looking forward to what they both have in store.

  1. I’m enjoying your reviews of The White Queen 🙂

    • Thanks! It’s nice to know my writing is appreciated! Hopefully next Monday I will be posting a review of episode 6. I can’t wait to watch that episode, should be a good one.

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