9. The White Queen Adaptation: My Thoughts

Sunday 23 June 2013

With episode two of 'The White Queen' airing tonight I find myself hoping it steps up a notch from the cringe inducing moments in episode one.

Now, here's the thing. I have had my issues with adaptations of Gregory's books before, namely 'The Other Boleyn Girl', both versions. Heck I had issues with the book in the first place. It took me a while to pick up one of her books again, and yes - reading her 'Cousin's War' series has needed me to take it with a very large pinch of salt due to the mythological elements. Surprisingly I have enjoyed them - especially the 'links' between Jacquetta's bloodline and the water goddess Melusina. I enjoy it purely as fiction, and was concerned about how well that element of the story would translate to screen.

Once I got over my initial excitement that it was being adapted I started to worry about how it would come across. Areas of the book that I thought would make me cringe certainly did make me squirm in my seam, namely Edward declaring to Elizabeth:
Now, Rebecca Ferguson is a very attractive woman, but she's not playing Elizabeth Woodville at all how I imagine her to be. So far she is very drippy, with not a lot really going on up there it seems. She seems to show little thought to her deceased husband, whom in the book she describes as being very much in love with, and little thought to the fact she is going to win the eye of Edward to help her reclaim her lost lands. She seems so airy fairy, and that is not how I expected Elizabeth to be. I was so sick of seeing the 'I'm so grateful you love me' Elizabeth on screen. Where is my strong minded, willful, ''I'm going to take control of my own destiny" Elizabeth Woodville? I do not see the character that sprung up from the pages of Gregory's book in the character being portrayed on screen. All in all, disappointed in her portrayal to say the least. But still, it's only the first episode. I can hope it gets better. I believe she was very calculating from the get go, but this doesn't come across in episode one.

Max Iron's 'I'm too sexy for my shirt' (because he never seems to be able to keep it on) Edward IV seems to be the spoilt golden child who is used to getting what he likes, and I suppose this is spot on in terms of how I expected Edward to be. However, Max? Less of the cringey emphasis on the LONGING, and generally lecherous creepiness okay? Also I don't believe Edward would be mooning over Elizabeth and putting his head to her forehead in front of her family and his soldiers at the roadside, romantic license to blame there. Way to let the cat out of the bag! But no, everyone is oblivious to what was unfolding mere steps away from them. Apart from Jacquetta, who sees everything don't you know!

I'm really hoping that there will be more to the portrayal of Edward and Elizabeth's relationship than the Mills and Boon scenes we've been treated to so far. I understand they are supposed to be madly in love with each other and all that, but there are other ways of showing that. I guess they thought hyping up the sex would sell it - not working for me though. It's like compensating for substance.

Other initial thoughts:
  • Zips did not exist in Medieval times. So WHY are they on costumes in this drama? Are the producers stupid enough to think this won't irk period drama fans/history obsessives!? I know.. blah blah blah adaptation blah blah blah.. at least try to conceal them better! Other costume issues in general, but I think they're being obsessed enough in fan communities without me needing to list them here...
  • Enough with the pink dress. It's overly feminine and I'm not digging it for Elizabeth.
  • Loved Lord Warwick, can't really go wrong with James Frain.
  • Jacquetta was not how I imagined she would be, although Janet McTeer is winning me over gradually. Some of the lines the writers have her saying are pretty ridiculous though.
  • Amanda Hale gave a brief appearance as Margaret Beaufort. Still don't dig her, but this is an adaptation so I'm allowed to be biased. 
  • I feel that they should have cast the actor playing John Woodville as Anthony Woodille, and vice versa. Just my impression from the first episode. Anthony Woodville is one of my favourite historical figures so I really hope Ben Lamb can bring him to life, but I'm not convinced right now. 
  • Scene with Duchess Cecily and Jacquetta  was probably my favourite of the whole thing. Also when Elizabeth forced Cecily to bow to her as queen. In yo' face Cecily!
  • I thought that when Edward married Elizabeth in 1464, Richard was around the age of 12, and that Elizabeth in the book thought he would make a great friend for her two young Grey sons? He seems VERY grown up and man like in the first episode compared to the two very childlike sons of Elizabeth and her husband Sir John Grey. I understand that writers will take a lot of creative license in adaptations but this is quite a big deviation from the book, and from the general time line of things. If they do touch on the alleged relationship between Richard and Elizabeth of York later in the series there is going to be an even larger gap that the actual age gap between his age of 31, and her age of 17 in 1483 when the rumors were circulating. 

Gearing up for episode two tonight. What are your thoughts? Do you agree with anything I've said, or am I horribly wrong?

FYI - If I see any zips, or pink dresses in tonight's episode I may implode. 

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