Jump to content
Forums forums
PRIMETIMER

Rhondinella

Drunk History: Anachronisms, Inaccuracies and General Historical Butchery

Recommended Posts

I mean, I get that they aren't even trying to be accurate.  For all the flack that The Tudors took, it looks like a documentary compared to this (they did roughly follow the historical outline, and even had the characters sometimes saying exact lines from historical documents).  So, even though it's clear that they've just taken historical names and places and shoehorned them into a typical CW costume and sex fest,  I thought we might want to talk about that some.  (And given how . . . loose they are with history here, I'm thinking we needn't worry about any of this constituting spoilers.)

I'll start:

Show begins in 1557.  Mary would have been 15 (she was born in 1542).  Not that I expect anything different anymore, but Adelaide Kane is 24 and couldn't look any less 15 if she tried.  But, I'm not sure if they ever clarify how old they are portraying her to be in the series.

But, here's the kicker: in 1557 Francis would have been 13/14 years old.  Yeah.  He was 14 and she was 16 when they got married in 1558, after his father's death in a particularly horrific jousting accident at the joust that was part of the celebrations for his daughter Elisabeth's wedding to King Phillip II of Spain.  Of course, we saw this wedding take place in the first episode, so clearly they're already off-script with that one.

Which means, of course, that Henry II (Francis' dad) should be dead already, depending on the timeline of the show.  I mean, if they were more concerned about that kind of thing than they are to keep Alan Van Sprang around chewing the scenery and bedding the pretty girls. Clearly the latter instinct won, and I approve because he's a lot of fun.

A few other tidbits:

Bash appears to be a completely created character (shocker, I know).   While Henry did have 3 illegitimate children by mistresses, Diane de Poitiers did not bear him any children, and none of his illegitimate children was named Sebastian.

Diane de Poitiers was Henry II's long-time mistress, as the show indicates.  But they don't make clear the actual age difference between the two.  Diane was 20 YEARS older than him, and their affair began was he was 15 and she was 35 (ick!!!), although he had known her since he was 6 (double ick!)

Mary did actually have four female ladies in waiting who were her age who came to France with her from Scotland.  But unlike the preposterously named characters here (Aylee, Lola, Greer and Kenna), they were all four named-- wait for it--Mary.  They are referred to in history as "the four Marys."  Which I'm sure wasn't confusing at all.  Kinda glad for this change in the show, although slightly more period-appropriate names would have been nice (Anne, Catherine, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Jane, Margaret, etc.)

There's way more, but that's enough to be getting on with for now.

  • Love 4
  • Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post

I watch this show as an historical fantasy. It is the only way it is bearable. BTW, the Ladies in Waiting were referred to by their last names.

Share this post


Link to post

I love this thread. I don't know a whole lot about Mary, Queen of Scots, but I very much enjoy reading peoples' rants about the show's historical inaccuracies. I also think of this show as basically historical AU fan fiction.

  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post

I just can't believe how often the royals are wandering around by themselves in perilous situations. Or how much backtalk Mary has allowed her ladies to throw at her. And, most egregiously, the name Kenna. I also watch it as historical fiction, and none of these things bother me enough to stop watching. 

  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post

Oh, no, I completely enjoy a good historical fiction as well (I mean, Philippa Gregory isn't going to get rich all by herself), but I also am a huge fan of the English and European history of this time period, mainly because it reads like very well-written fiction.  I mean, who would believe the story of Henry VIII if someone had invented it?

I still like to pull out the historical facts and compare them to the show.  It doesn't ruin my enjoyment at all, and I'm not trying to imply the show isn't good if not historically accurate.

  • Love 6

Share this post


Link to post

 

It doesn't ruin my enjoyment at all, and I'm not trying to imply the show isn't good if not historically accurate.

I have been binge rewatching this show every morning before I go work, and I'm a historian for a living (an art historian, but still a type of historian!). I feel like a hypocrite; I pretend to mock the show for its inaccuracies when my husband catches me watching it, but the eternal teen girl in my heart loves this show without irony. Megan Follows chews scenery like a dying man.

I enjoy the posts with the background of the real events. This isn't my time period of specialty, so I must defer to those of you with better knowledge. I'm a bit surprised that they got rid of the four Marys, since that seems like it has potential for some hilarity. 

Share this post


Link to post

Great topic! I too am addicted to this show and its craziness, although I'm really into History and period dramas/movies.

 

Show begins in 1557.  Mary would have been 15 (she was born in 1542).  Not that I expect anything different anymore, but Adelaide Kane is 24 and couldn't look any less 15 if she tried.  But, I'm not sure if they ever clarify how old they are portraying her to be in the series.

Show Mary/Francis are supposedly 15, and Sebastian... 17!

 

Diane de Poitiers was Henry II's long-time mistress, as the show indicates.  But they don't make clear the actual age difference between the two.  Diane was 20 YEARS older than him, and their affair began was he was 15 and she was 35 (ick!!!), although he had known her since he was 6 (double ick!)

The thing that made me really mad was its lazy/typical portrayal of Diane: I mean the age difference was already an interesting factor (when the actress they casted was only 3 years older than her fictional son Sebastian), and if you add the fact that she gave tips to Catherine when she couldnt conceive children you have an amazing dynamic between two female leads going to waste. Some accounts say she was the one to raise Mary when she first arrived in France, because she was Henry's most trusted friend. She had two daughters from her deceased husband, but the most interesting fact for me is that she was titled and rich, meaning she was not just a glorified mistress. Now she's just gone lol I'm over it.

 

I just can't believe how often the royals are wandering around by themselves in perilous situations. Or how much backtalk Mary has allowed her ladies to throw at her. And, most egregiously, the name Kenna. I also watch it as historical fiction, and none of these things bother me enough to stop watching.

THIS drove me crazy.

And I don't know which name is more atrocious, Kenna or Bash?

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

I've got a to agree that in a show that features versions of all these" characters" "how can you minimise Diane De Poitiers to pretty much unimportance for Henri II? Yes Megan Fellows is very good, Catherine was also an example of an documented complex woman, why do we have to have Kenna's Janet Fleming Lite BS there instead of two powerful (in separate ways) , clever, historical women? Even Catherine demanding Chenonceau was devoid of meaning because Diane had fled the show after 1.08 apparently never to be seen again even when her son is married or was almost crowned Dauphin. 

Share this post


Link to post

Ok, I can deal with a lot of dramatic license, and sometimes even enjoy how loose this show is with facts, culture and costumes.  But Mary slapping the Queen of France in front of a guard with no repercussions whatsoever was a huge step over my very, very blurry line into disbelief.  Not just that the guard didn't do anything, but Catherine could have had Mary arrested on the spot for that, and while probably not executed, at least punished.  Plus, Mary was also a queen and would never have treated a fellow queen that way.

Yes, yes, I know, I'm wanting sense from something that is at its core nonsensical.

Share this post


Link to post

 

He was 14 and she was 16 when they got married in 1558, after his father's death in a particularly horrific jousting accident at the joust that was part of the celebrations for his daughter Elisabeth's wedding to King Phillip II of Spain.

Henry died in 1559.  In 1558, Phillip of Spain was still married to Mary Tudor until November of that year, when she died.  Then he married Elizabeth of France.

Share this post


Link to post

I just found out that Catherine de'Medici actually did have a "flying squadron" (L'escadron volant) of ladies who slept with powerful men for information. I thought that that was a complete CW-type idea, especially the name. I actually imagined some executive sending a note to the show runners saying "how about a secret group of gorgeous sexy girls who exist just to sleep around? Oh, and give them a cool name!" I have to say, I'm impressed.

 

History can be wilder than any fiction, and I hope the writers pour more of it into the show.

Edited by Rhondinella
  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post

When they said "joust" in tonight's episode, I knew it was curtains for Henry.  They also used Count Montgomery's name, although the show had 15 year old Francis do the deed. 

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

I was pretty shocked that they not only name-dropped Montgomery, but showed us that lance sticking right out of Henri's eye! I've got to hand it to the CW, they did not flinch from it.

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

Having long known about Catherine's (and later, Henry III's) Flying Squadron, I was amused they threw a nod to them. With all of Mary's relatives at Court, I'm glad they at least brought in Francis Duke of Guise. Though this one is missing the famous scar from taking a lance through his own helmet...

 

On the other hand, they missed having Nostradamus predict King Henry's death (or specifically not predicting it) which is terrible since it's the "prophesy" that he's most famous for. (though it didn't appear in print until long after their deaths.) He's kind of pointless on this show.

Edited by DaBigDave

Share this post


Link to post
×
×
  • Create New...

Customize font-size