So, I could blame the fact that it took me over a year between parts 1 and 2 of Henry VI on grad school, but really it was just that I was not very enthused about the first part, and, as I have said many times, I like my War of the Roses stories to be about women and magic.*
But, reading part 2 this past weekend did give me at least two things:
- An opportunity to, one and for all, figure out who is related to who in the fucking War of the Roses. (BTW, technically I think it’s pretty clear that York had a better claim to the throne right?)
- A new respect for the badass that was Margaret of Anjou. Sure, she was a murderess, adulterous badass, but she was a woman who knew what she wanted and went for it.
Here’s my ultimate thing with the histories, there is so much about monarchy that I will just never understand. The most tragic part of this play (and that’s saying something as upwards of 5 people get their heads cut off and paraded around the stage) is that Henry just really didn’t want to be king at all. But, because his grandfather decided that Richard II wasn’t rightful monarch, poor Henry, whose own dad died when he was super young, has to run a mess of a country when he’d much rather hang out with his friend/uncle Gloucester and pray.
Basically, this whole play boils down to:
- Richard is King but doesn’t want to be
- Margaret is Queen but would like to be King
- York thinks he’s King & would probably be suited to it
- The common people are dumb & violent & believe they could be King (i.e. Jack Cade)
- All people who believe something different from you about who should be king deserve to get their heads cut off.
Can’t wait for part III…
*This part does have a sorcerer who tricks a woman into treason but turns out to predict the future. So…there’s that…