Thu, 20 Dec 2012
Bring Up the Bodies

I finished Bring Up the Bodies a few weeks ago and thought of a couple of things worth noting.

The first was the absolute importance of the arranged marriage. A marriage contract was pursued and entered into much like a business contract, something mutually beneficial to both parties. Looking back now, an arranged marriage has been the normal state of affairs in our society for a very long time (possibly millennia) and only recently (last century perhaps) has marriage become as free as it is now. A big change.

The second thing that struck me was the total and complete power of the king. Thomas Cromwell is a very confident and self-assured character but even he has a great sinking in his stomach and a terrible dread when Henry starts to press him in a less friendly way. The King has total power over your life and property. During this uncomfortable conversation with the King, we start to realise, with Cromwell, how easily everything might fall apart. He's "low born" and everything he owns is at the pleasure of His Majesty.

Our status with respect the law and the monarch is very different now. A lot of people have died to change that. We plebs should remember that.