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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Game of Thrones: Reunions To Look Forward To



"Stick 'em with the pointy end."


     I can't believe it may be a year until we see Game of Thrones again! 2019?! Until then we can binge the whole series again. But let's talk about the reunions on the way.



"Relax your bow arm."

     Jon will meet up again with Arya and Bran! That's a long awaited reunion. Jon and Arya are obviously close and if Jon will run up and hug Sansa, a sister he's never been tight with, then you know his and Arya's reunion will be extra emotional. Sansa and Jon will have a lot to discuss (argue mostly) but I feel like it will also be strange for Jon to meet the new Stark siblings. Bran and Arya have been through so much horror and death but they can mostly bond on their supernatural experiences. But I'm hoping Bran and Jon don't get any alone time so Bran doesn't drop the Targaryen bomb so soon (though he will so brace yourselves, Jonerys fans). 



"You want to fuck that Stark girl. You just don't want
admit it."

     I don't think anyone's put much thought into this but Tyrion reuniting with Sansa will be interesting mostly because they're still technically married. Though Sansa was married a second time (that one being brutally consummated) some Northmen may still see Sansa as Tyrion's wife if they see the two being so friendly. I feel like Tyrion has always had a soft spot for Sansa. Shae accused him of being in love with her after he called her "a great beauty" and how he was attentive to her. Bronn also accused Tyrion of wanting Sansa. Perhaps Tyrion was always a little in love with Sansa. He admired her emotionally strong spirit not matter how bad the abuse got and as Tyrion mentioned he's always had a soft spot for broken things. Sansa has healed for the most part and is stronger for it though she may be apprehensive on meeting back up with Tyrion. She did leave him holding the suspected murder bag. However, Tyrion doesn't blame Sansa at all. It's just not in his nature to hold a grudge (against some people; anyone who doesn't hold a grudge against Cersei is either mentally ill or never met her). So will the reunion be romantic in any way? So far it's mostly speculation.



"Kingslayer. Oathbreaker."

    Jaime is riding North to help fight the White Walkers despite his sister's objections and threats of death. Jaime betrayed and murdered Daenerys's father and I would love to get her and Jaime alone to have a one on one. They saw each other in the Dragon Pit but they never exchanged words. Could be Daenerys is focusing on the battle at hand instead of old grudges. But that doesn't mean it may be smooth between them if they find themselves in closer quarters without all the pomp and ceremony. Daenerys understands that her father was an evil mad man who was going to burn a million innocent people and more to keep the throne so maybe she won't be entirely hateful towards the Kingslayer and see that there's a real honorable man deep down. I want to see them have this conversation, I feel it will be emotionally rich and poignant for each character. Jaime will have Brienne and Tyrion to vouch for him and he did break with Cersei to come all the way down there to help them. I don't know if Jaime is bringing any army with him given that Cersei is now the Head of House Lannister with his desertion.  But still Jaime's gesture of honor should be good enough for the Dragon Queen not to torch him.



"I never had a friend before."

    Jon and Sam haven't seen each other for a while now and they'll have a lot to talk about. But I'm also reluctant for them to have that conversation where he backs up Bran's claims with evidence of Jon's legitimacy and his real name. This reveal may tear apart new alliances or make new ones. But what may really be awkward is Sam meeting the woman who burned his father and brother alive. Sam still doesn't know his father and brother are dead making him the new Head of House Tarly. Randall Tarly was a jerk (more than a jerk) but Dickon wasn't a bad guy. And Jon is sleeping with the woman who killed them. So yeah... some more awkwardness to go around... Either way everyone's loyalty will be tested. The Northmen and the Vale may turn away from Jon if Sam and Bran tell everyone. Knowing Jon he'll blurt it out the day after he finds out (after brooding about it of course) and cause upheaval. The North is distrustful of the South most of all the Targaryens. If Jon outs himself as a Targaryen his allies may turn away from him leaving them all vulnerable.


     I know one thing is certain: The White Walkers are coming with undead giants and a dragon and so all the chaos about Jon's heritage may take a back seat to the final battle.  

   

Game of Thrones: Consequences of Daenerys and Jon Snow

    
A fairytale story... of a man falling in love with his
long lost aunt... Ok not a classic fairytale...

  Season 7 was like a fan fiction (except for that Arya & Sansa storyline that was done poorly). The biggest thing to happen this season is the long awaited Jonerys hook up. Despite the groans and obvious objections like they're aunt and nephew Jon and Daenerys still have great on screen chemistry and a powerful attraction to each other. But eventually Bran is going to tell Jon about his true origins so what kind of consequences will there be after the Jonerys hook up. 



Jon is great with kids; especially the big and scaly ones

1. Incest. Yes they're related. We keep saying it. No need to go deep into that until later.


Rhaeger couldn't have two wives? He had
to divorce one?

2. Jon is really the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne being that his parents married. Being a boy he would be ahead of Daenerys. 



You know when Jon invites you into a cave you're in for
6 inches of Snow

3. Both Jon and Daenerys will face emotional and personal consequences after discovering that not only are they related but that they are rivals for the Iron Throne. Daenerys thought she was the last Targaryen and Jon thought he was a Northern Bastard unable to inherit (despite the fact he was named King in the North). 



That moment you wonder: "Did I back the right monarch
or just support another mad queen?"

    So why was Tyrion lurking outside Dany's door? Some hint at a love triangle but it was more like concern. Tyrion's perceptive and knew that eventually Jon or Daenerys would act on their feelings for one another and to him there are more set backs to this. Jon and Daenerys are both rulers and the romantic feelings they have for each other may affect their decisions in the future. Something that seems strategic could be overlooked because it puts one of them in danger or a decision may benefit one monarch but royally screw the other. He is right. Also when Daenerys finds out she has a blood relative living as well as a rival for her throne she won't want to share and may see Jon as a threat.



Drogon: "Mom, I like my new Dad."

    Another consequence is the North won't be happy with Jon when he gets there. They named him their king and though they were ready to name Sansa the Queen in his long absence they prefer a Northern Monarch to Southern Rule which has caused them nothing but pain and suffering over the decades. They won't just bend the knee to Daenerys on Jon's word. Also since the White Walkers brought down the Wall and are on the move with a zombie dragon Daenerys will be pissed that she let Jon convince her to leave her other dragons behind. Jon may know cunnilingus but everything else he seems to know very little. 



Daenerys: I can't have children.
Jon: *Challenge accepted*

     However there are also some pros to this situation. Jon already bended the knee to Daenerys so one may sight that as him giving up any kind of crown to her including the Iron Throne. The Targaryens have been practicing incest marriages for centuries and while it has led to some downsides in this case it could be more beneficial. For one thing Dany thinks she's barren. If she dies before Jon then the kingdom will have an heir. Or maybe what the witch said was total bull shit and Dany can have children in which case still the Targaryen line will continue. Second of all, it would bring two warring houses together and like Dorne bring the North back into the fold. 



Some romantic music should be playing right now...
What music do you play for an incest hook up? Alternative Rock?

    Another thing is that strong romantic feelings don't just go away. Jon and Daenerys have been giving each other heavy burning looks of longing ever since that cave. Jon is honest when it comes to his feelings and he may have chosen the Night's Watch over Ygritte he may opt to do the opposite and hope he and his aunt paramour can work it out. Like Jaime said infamously in season 3: "We don't get to choose who we love." Daenerys thought she was the last one of her House to survive but finding another relative may make her happy though conflicted. I still hold out hope for them even though romances don't have a great track record in Game of Thrones. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Game of Thrones: "Beyond The Wall" Discussion

   As we head towards the end of season 7 (meaning there will be only 6 episodes left in the entire series). I wanted to discuss the consequences of "Beyond The Wall". 



Hopefully no more Starks die but I won't hold my breath

Arya & Sansa Feud

    I just wanted to get this out of the way, I think this argument between Sansa and Arya makes no sense and worse it's boring. Both characters have been through hell and Sansa has grown up quite a bit; perhaps being the most emotionally strong of the Starks. And Sansa's right, she won the Battle of the Bastards and Arya probably wouldn't have survived what Sansa went through. Arya's anger at Sansa is undeserved. Arya is blaming Sansa for something that was out of both of their control. Robb and Catelyn never once believed Sansa was writing that letter of her own volition.


Arya: "I've read you emails."

    Arya's pretty badass but she doesn't seem to understand there are other ways to fight. I'm reminded of Obara's story of when Oberyn came to get her and take her to Sunspear: "In Dorne, we choose our weapons, boy or girl. He pointed to my mother's tears then to the spear." Obara chose the spear. Arya most likely would have chosen the same weapon while Sansa would have chosen tears. Sansa understands that to play the Game of Thrones one has to be subtle and work with people not just kill those that piss you off. 


I also have a younger sister but we're not
as dysfunctional as these two

    It could be that Arya has spent too much time with psychopathic killers like the Hound and the Faceless Men. But there were times where Arya was a wolf among lions and she got to see that her enemies weren't as black and white as she thought. Tywin actually treated her kindly despite her pretending to be a low born girl (that he quickly figured was really a high born girl but luckily didn't guess which one). He let her speak freely quite a bit and even opened up about his father revealing some vulnerability. Then Arya formed a dysfunctional bond with the Hound as he told her about how his brother pushed his face into the fire. And more recently when Arya shared a camp fire with Lannister soldiers who weren't the bloodthirsty beasts we've come to see them as. Just because they serve an evil family doesn't mean they themselves are that way. There's a theory that the sisters are secretly working together to out wit Littlefinger and I hope that's true because this argument over who's responsible for Ned's death (it's Joffrey duh) is boring and feels pointless.


"You don't look much like your dad..."

Easter Eggs Beyond The Wall

      Jon and his band of "Avengers" trek beyond the Wall to catch a Wight Walker and bury some hatchets as well as have some profound conversations. My favorites were when Tormund and Jon talk about Daenerys's terms to help if Jon bends the knee. Tormund pointed out how many Wildlings Mance could have saved if he had bent the knee to Stannis. Then the big Easter Egg was when Beric pointed out: "You don't look much like him. Your father, I mean. Perhaps you favor your mother." That's true on so many levels! Jon looks like neither of his fathers (his foster father Ned and his biological father Rhaegar who had the signature silver blond hair that would have given Jon away immediately) but he most likely favors his mother Lyanna Stark with her dark looks so it was easy for Jon to be passed off as Ned's bastard. This is just another teaser closer to Jon finding out his true parentage which may well happen in the Season 7 finale.


Since you're getting the girl you might as well get
the sword too

     Possible foreshadowing: Jon and Daenerys may have children together. In the episode Jon tried to give his sword Long Claw back to Jorah Mormont who gave it right back saying: "It belongs to you now and to your children long after you." In another scene, Tyrion tries to discuss a succession after Daenerys dies which angers her. Daenerys has said repeatedly that she can't have children so it's only natural to discuss a succession but it's a sore subject for Dany and she dismisses Tyrion. Tyrion has a good point though: if Daenerys dies before claiming the Iron Throne then what? But really could this be a foreshadowing? Jon has mentioned that he didn't want children because they would have been bastards like him and he didn't want anyone to suffer that kind of stigma but as we've discovered Jon is actually legitimate. Dany told Jon on the boat that her dragons are the only children she will ever have as if saying if we hook up don't expect any kids. I feel like it's setting us up for a huge surprise by the end of the series.


AILF: Aunt I'd Like to Fuck
NILF: Nephew I'd Like to Fuck... 

 Jonerys: A Sure Thing

     I know a lot of people are grossed out that Jon and Daenerys are really aunt and nephew and that they shouldn't hook up but forget about our real world taboos. First off, the Targaryens have been wedding brother and sister for centuries as well as uncles with nieces. It makes political sense to keep others from trying to claim the throne. Ancient Egypt and Ancient Sumeria employed the same logic for their royal family. Second, Jon and Daenerys didn't grow up together or share the same house hold; they're total strangers so it's kinda less weird.


When Jon brings you into a cave you're in for
6 inches of Snow

    Besides, Jon and Daenerys have been giving each other such thirsty looks it would be disappointing if they didn't hook up. What better way to bring the North and the South together as well as two warring houses together than to marry Jon and Dany: the last 2 Targaryens. Since Jon is legitimate he has a stronger claim to the Iron Throne than his aunt which may cause another Dance of Dragons. The Dragons (well Drogon so far) seem to respond well to Jon so he could ride Rhaegal and be an equal match for the Dragon Queen. And if Dany really can't have children then no incest babies and Dany could feel better about choosing a successor. So it makes sense for Jon and Daenerys to end up together.


Y'all are f**ked now

   Ice Dragon!

        Oh my God! Fans have been discussing the possible existence of an ice dragon and now it seems they're getting their wish! Although it means the third Dragon Head prophesied by Rhaegar in Dany's vision in the House of the Undying in the books is actually evil it's still amazing! Also sad at the same time. I haven't been this broken up over a character death (even if it is a dragon) since Ned Stark (glad to know I can still feel after 7 years of watching this show). But what kind of powers does a zombie dragon have? Can Viserion blow ice? Or just blue fire (which incidentally is actually hotter than yellow fire)? The Wall has magic spells weaved into it's foundation but the Wight Walkers are closer than ever. Is Viserion the key to breaking through? So many possibilities! And is Uncle Benjen really dead or did the writers just kill off an important character (who could have fit on that horse by the way)? We may never know unless Benjen reappears.

Good Dragon...

     After the season 7 finale there will be only 6 episodes left in the series and I hope it's a happy ending or at least gives fans some closure.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Game of Thrones: Game of Fashion (Sansa & Margery)

   Fashion can reflect a character's personality or project a message they are trying to send. The fashion of the characters in Game of Thrones (mostly the women) has evolved to match their personalities, moods, and the messages they are trying to send. I will be doing a series of blogs on this subject. To start I will examine Sansa Stark and Margery Tyrell.


  Sansa Stark

   Sansa Stark (played by Sophie Turner) has really evolved these past 7 seasons. She went from innocent powerless girl to a more mature young woman ready to play the game of thrones. At the start of the series Sansa wore simple cotton fabrics with cute designs stitched on. She's really skilled in sewing and mostly makes her own clothes. This shows creativity and industry. But like an insecure teenage girl Sansa often wore what everyone else wore, imitating their style in an attempt to fit in.



    Sansa has pale skin and auburn hair so her colors are often pale or blue, gray and even mauve as a color palette. By the end of Season 1, Sansa started dressing like a Southern Lady and wearing silk dresses with overflowing sleeves and simple gold belts and accessories. She's to be the future queen consort but she's not as ostentatious as Cersei which made her unthreatening to the Queen Mother. I feel that's why Cersei "took it easy" on poor Sansa. "Little Dove" was mostly a chide at Sansa's meek character which more often annoyed Cersei but other times she felt a bit bad for her so in quiet moments the nickname had some degree of pity. 



    Season 3, Sansa's look became more in line with the Northern style. She wore her hair down instead of in that fancy roll and pig tails. She wore the Southern style of dress but nothing too bright or colorful. The somber colors of dark powder blue, silver, and mauve reflected her somber mood being a prisoner in King's Landing now tossed aside to be used as a pawn for the Lannisters. Her wedding dress was a mixture of grey and gold. Grey for the Starks and Gold for the Lannisters but the stitching on the dress was lions showing that the Lannisters now owned Sansa completely. 



     Sansa's accessories varied from dragonflies to lions. Dragonflies symbolize change and the change and change in the perspective of self realization, the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life. Sansa begins to realize the harsh reality of her situation when Joffrey beheads her father. She realizes he's not a kind charming prince but a monster and that those kinds of romances are fairytales. She would wear the Lannister Lion necklace but to me it was like putting a collar on Sansa by the Lannisters who held her prisoner. She was theirs to command. She didn't wear the necklace again until her marriage to Tyrion. Sansa then creates a hard outer shell trying to be a "good" girl for Joffrey to escape his punishment and even after he abuses her she stands up and walks with her head held high only to cry in private. She doesn't wear the wolf symbol as for a while it was a source of shame as well as a target on her back. The Starks were seen as rebels and traitors defying their king and so to wear even a hint of Stark color or symbolism was a mark of death. When Margery informs Sansa that she was betrothed to Loris, Sansa shows her gratitude by changing her hair style to match Lady Margery. She stops however when she she's told that she's to marry Tyrion. 



    By the end of season 4 and a bit during season 5, Sansa makes a dress using Raven feathers and uses dark fabrics. She's dressed as a mocking bird, the sigil of House Baelish. She feels she has found a true champion in Littlefinger who killed her Aunt Lysa when she tried to hurl Sansa through the Moon Door in a jealous rage and who also killed Joffrey to protect her and to avenge Catelyn's death. Sansa even wears the same kind of cloak as Littlefinger and dyed her hair to help herself blend in. Yet once she is abandoned by Baelish to a cruel husband Sansa abandons these colors. As far as accessories Sansa wears a necklace that resembles the Phi symbol with a needle hanging on the end of a chain. The needle is Sansa's weapon, her ability to create an identity to suit her environment but still a hold on her old identity as a Stark girl. The Phi symbol is the Golden Ratio, a symbol of harmony, creativity, and balance. Sansa feels she found that with Lord Baelish but the illusion shatters when she is forced to flee Ramsay.



     Her wedding dress in Season 5 was interesting. It was white a symbol of purity and innocence and on Sansa's dress were the sigils of her mother's House Tully, the fish. I found it curious that she should use Catelyn's sigil for her wedding and perhaps it's an echo of the Red Wedding. The Houses Tully and Stark have both suffered for and at weddings. She still doesn't wear the wolf even though she has returned home. The Stark Wolf is still a dangerous symbol to parade around. Sansa would rather associate herself with Tully perhaps? A fish seems much less threatening to a skinned man than a wolf and Sansa wants to project an air of innocence to make herself seem nonthreatening which has been her strategy to gage pity from others and from her abusers who might leave her alone for the most part. Of course that didn't work.



    Season 6 and 7 we see Sansa take up the wolf sigil of her house to show her Stark pride. No longer ashamed of who she is or where she comes from Sansa dresses like a Northern Lady. She stitched the wolf into her gown and even imprinted the Stark sigil on a leather belt for Jon in the fashion of their father's Lordly furs. She now seeks to honor her house and avenge her slain relatives though she is still new to the game and may make mistakes that will hurt Jon and his cause. And she wears the Phi symbol again perhaps because she is attempting harmony with her half brother Jon Snow as they try to rule the North together.



Margery Tyrell

   Margery Tyrell (played by Natalie Dormer) is a rose with thorns hidden beneath her petals. She is Cersei-Light. She's ambitious but seems to have more compassion. Margery seeks to use charm and persuasion rather than through fear or brute force and she obtains the results with better fortune. She wears bright summer/spring colors and the colors of her house green and gold. Blue, green, gold, and grey: Blue, grey and green when she was married to Renly Baratheon to perhaps make herself seem more demure or mature so that she may be taken seriously as a queen or perhaps grey was a storm color as Baratheon hails from the Stormlands and Margery's outfits were to convey her house's allegiance to House Baratheon that claims descent from the gods of wind and sea. 


     Margery's style of dress is quite provocative and revealing. She's not afraid to use all of her physical charms to achieve her goals. Like a deadly flower her beauty distracts from her ulterior political motives. This show of skin evokes jealousy from Cersei who is threatened by the young beauty. As far as accessories go Margery sports the Tyrell Rose in most of her gowns. One rose was rose gold, a combination of red and gold to combine her royal status with her sexual energy which she uses to advance her political career. 



     When she married into the House Baratheon, Margery sported the antlers of the Baratheon Stag on her silver crown. Silver is a feminine metal, malleable and perhaps a call to the moon goddess of Greek myth Artemis goddess of the wild and tamer of wild beasts, the virgin huntress who's symbol is also the stag. Margery is no virgin but she does seem to be a skilled huntress when it comes to marriage and the throne and could tame even a mad lion such as Joffrey. She is anything but weak and adapts to her surroundings accordingly to remain in power.



    In season 6, Margery is stripped of her finery and given a simple cotton shift of a peasant. It was meant to strip her of her identity but Margery remained strong. She remained cool and calculating for the most part, testing the waters on occasion and plan accordingly for her next move. Then when she was freed from the Black Cells her fashion sense became much more conservative. No skin at all and her colors are darker and less flashy to match the religious climate that had taken hold of the city. Her crown was gold with stag horns but the Tyrell rose resting on the front in rose gold. Gold is more of a masculine metal. Margery wanted to show her commitment to her husband and the faith (however hollow) by completely changing her fashion sense. Yet still the rose forever symbolized Margery's true personality. "Growing Strong" was her motto as well as her family's as Margery lived by that code to be a rose, sweet and beautiful but beneath her petals and leaves were sharp thorns of intellect and winter may come but spring always followed and the rose always returned with it. Margery adapted and tried to weather the storm but in the end she still lost.


    Margery has fallen but Sansa still lives. I'll miss Margery's wit and fashion sense most of all. Next blog post will be about Cersei Lannister and Danaerys Targaryen. 


Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Originals: We Need Another Time Jump

      I can't be the only one having ideas about season 5 and what should happen. What I personally think should happen is Hope grows up to be a teenager.  


She's the best part of Klaus

     Every little girl sees her daddy as Prince Charming. Hayley kept Hope away from Klaus's dark past but Hope will find out eventually it may dim Klaus in her eyes. We all have seen Klaus start freaking out when he first meets Hope as a 7 year old. She was shy and sensitive and he spent 5 years dreaming about their first meeting be her running into his arms. Klaus deeply cares what his daughter thinks of him. In that way she's changed him. We see Klaus more merciful even to Marcel his adoptive son who Hope loves (so Klaus can't hurt Marcel even if he wanted to because Hope would hate him and that's his biggest fear). Because Klaus had such a terrible childhood he's more determined to be the best father and that means spoiling Hope. Thankfully Hayley balances this with being the disciplinary parent so I think Hope will grow up quite fine but even nice girls make whiney teenagers.


The doting father is something of Klaus no one
ever sees

    As a little girl your dad is your knight, your prince charming, your super hero but when you're on the verge of womanhood that image starts to get tarnished as you start to have your own opinions as a young woman while your father still sees you as his little princess. Hope is a Mikaelson and so far she's demonstrated the Mikaelson gene for stubbornness. I feel as a teen Hope will start to discover her father's many sins because her family has made hundreds of enemies. They'll tell Hope every sin her family committed. The blood on Klaus's hands is especially thick and she may see him less as a prince charming and more as human being who has flaws and fears just like everyone else. I don't think finding out her father was (or in a way still is) a big villain will cause Hope to hate Klaus. Still... there's that other rite of passage to womanhood.


These two are certainly star-crossed

      God knows the Mikaelsons have horrible luck when it comes to love. Most of the time their significant others fall prey to their other family members. Rebekah could write a memoir of her doomed love affairs that ended with Klaus tearing their hearts out. But when Hayley commented on how Klaus will be when Hope starts dating he said that when Hope starts receiving suitors if he deems them unworthy he'll compel them into the priesthood. It's actually a step up for Klaus because any guy who got near Rebekah he would be marked for death. I can see Hope growing up lonely then seeking out affection from outside her family but there's that old saying "Little girls marry their daddies" where she may find a bad boy like her father causing tension.


Are we sure Hope is Klaus's? She's so sweet!

   But the biggest conflict I see happening is Hope not just seeking lovers but also friends. Hope is lonely and bored. She wants friends to play with but Klaus is so concerned for her safety he's being overprotective. He says she needs to harness her power so she can be worshipped as a goddess but that's not what Hope wants. She wants friends not followers. I can see a scene where they would have this exact argument and if Klaus isn't careful it could cause a rift between him and his daughter. Gods are cold and distant while Hope is warm and loving.

Sweet Hope...

      It's hard when you're a girl who weeps over an injured butterfly and fixes their broken wings who finds out she comes from a violent family that has caused so much pain. I feel Hope will be a chance for her family's redemption but she'll want to be her own person with her own personal identity and not that of just another Mikaelson. I still see Klaus loving and supporting Hope no matter what though we all know that he occasionally falls back on bad habits that may cause her to see him differently as she grows older.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Reign: The Real Mary Stuart & Elizabeth Tudor

     In terms of fashion Reign has gotten a bit more accurate though I never complained about the clothes. Another thing the CW show got right was perhaps the rivalry between the cousin queens for the English Throne. But of course the story is a bit a skewed... Since there's too much to cover I'm going to focus on the events of the current season because that's the most important.


Queen Elizabeth I & Mary, Queen of Scots


Some Background...

     To understand the rivalry between Queen Elizabeth Tudor and Queen Mary Stuart you need to look at their family tree. Mary Stuart is the granddaughter of Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII's older sister making Mary Stuart Elizabeth's second cousin. Mary was born in Scotland December 8, 1542. Elizabeth was 9 at the time. She had been declared a bastard by her father when she was 3 shortly after he ordered her mother's beheading. From that day forward Elizabeth would live a life on the edge of a knife reliant on her mercurial father's affections.



Elizabeth as a young girl

      Scotland and England were not on great terms at the time. Henry VIII and his nephew James V were butting heads (a conflict that would lead Henry to cut out the Stuart line from succession to the English throne but that wouldn't be an issue due to religious conflict). Mary Stuart was only six days old when her father died. She was crowned Queen of Scotland and at one point Henry VIII proposed that the infant queen marry his own son Edward. But like many dynastic marriages it came to nothing. In 1547 Henry VIII died leaving his only son and heir Edward VI, he was 9 or 10 years old at the time (in Henry VIII's will he re-legitimized his 2 daughters naming them in the line of succession should Edward die without heirs). Because of rumors of assassination Mary was smuggled out of Scotland when she was 5 years old in 1548 and taken to France where she was to marry the Dauphin Francois. 



Francis & Mary

      So Mary grew up and when she was about 16 she married her fiancĂ© Francois (who was 15). But it was not to be. Mary soon became a young widow after her husband died of an ear infection when she was about 18. In England, Elizabeth was queen and 27 years old. She and Mary were already having confrontation over inheritance. Mary never directly challenged her cousin for the throne but she never denied her right to it either. This caused tension between the cousins which was the source of their conflict. Nine months after Francois died, Mary returned to Scotland where more tragedy awaited her.


Mary, Queen of Scots

 Religious Conflict

      Though Mary was born in Scotland, she hadn't been there since she was a toddler. It must have seemed pretty alien to the young queen and no doubt many of the Scottish nobles felt the same towards her. Mary seemed more French than Scottish. But the worst part was the religious conflict. Scotland was torn between Protestantism and Catholicism. Many thought that since Mary was Roman Catholic she would work hard to squash the Protestants but to their disappointment, Mary showed tolerance between her Protestant lords and subjects.



Lord Moray

     Her illegitimate half brother James, Earl of Moray (who was Protestant) was one of her advisors. Most of her council were Protestant from influential families. It was her attempt at tolerance but it would have been easier if someone like John Knox didn't hound her all the time. John Knox was one of those fire brand religious fundamentalists who hate gays and women. He believed that women were unfit to rule (Elizabeth sure proved him wrong). He was Mary's most brutal critic.  


Lord Moray from "Reign"

     Another reason some may suggest why Mary neglected to appoint more councilors more sympathetic to Catholic (and even French) causes was because she was trying to focus on trying to take the English crown. I'm not really sure that's the reason though I wouldn't rule it out. Even the one significant later addition to the council, Lord Ruthven in December 1563, was another Protestant whom Mary personally disliked. In this, she was acknowledging her lack of effective military power in the face of the Protestant lords, while also following a policy that strengthened her links with England. She joined with Lord Moray in the destruction of Scotland's leading Catholic magnate, Lord Huntly, in 1562 after he led a rebellion in the Highlands against her. Mary did send William Maitland of Lethington as an ambassador to the English court to put the case for Mary as the heir presumptive to the English throne. Elizabeth refused to name a potential heir, fearing that to do so would invite conspiracy to displace her with the nominated successor. But she assured Maitland vaguely that no one had a stronger claim than Mary. 


Lord Darnley & Mary were one of History's most unhappy marriages

     There were plans made in late 1561 and early 1562, arrangements were made for the two queens to meet in England at York or Nottingham in August or September 1562, but Elizabeth sent Sir Henry Sidney to cancel in July because of the civil war in France. 



Oh yeah they look so happy. They'll last a while...

The Marriage From Hell

     Mary Stuart and Henry Stuart (a.k.a. Lord Darnley) were first cousins. There's debate on reasons why Mary married Darnley so quickly. Some sight political reasons but most claim it was because Mary fell in love with Darnley. Mary had briefly met her English-born first cousin Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, in February 1561 when she was in mourning for Francis. They next met on Saturday 17 February 1565 at Wemyss Castle in Scotland, after which Mary fell in love with the "long lad" (as Queen Elizabeth called him—he was over six feet tall). They married at Holyrood Palace on 29 July 1565, even though both were Catholic and a papal dispensation for the marriage of first cousins had not been obtained.



Queen Elizabeth I was sometimes called the Pirate Queen
because she hired privateers to rob Spanish ships

    Of course Elizabeth disapproved of the match as it threatened her hold on the English throne. Yet Mary's brother Moray was also displeased with the marriage. Unlike in the show, James defected to other Protestant Lords Argyll and Glencairn because another Catholic monarch threatened the Protestant cause. James and his two Scottish lords were now in open rebellion. 



Mary and her brother weren't as close in real life
as portrayed in the show

       Mary set out from Edinburgh on 26 August 1565 to confront them, and on the 30th Moray entered Edinburgh, but left soon afterward having failed to take the castle. Mary returned to Edinburgh the following month to raise more troops. In what became known as the Chaseabout Raid, Mary and her forces and Moray and the rebellious lords roamed around Scotland without ever engaging in direct combat. Unable to muster sufficient support, in October Moray left Scotland for asylum in England. Mary broadened her privy council, bringing in both Catholics (Bishop of Ross John Lesley and provost of Edinburgh Simon Preston of Craigmillar) and Protestants (the new Lord Huntly, Bishop of Galloway Alexander Gordon, John Maxwell of Terregles and Sir James Balfour).


Henry Stewart (a.ka. Lord Darnley)




Darnley stomping away like a toddler...

       Speaking of rebellion, Darnley soon showed his true colors. He was arrogant, childish, and ambitious. He demanded the Crown Matrimonial but Mary refused putting a strain on their marriage. Luckily they conceived around October 1565. Darnley grew jealous over Mary's friendship with her Italian secretary David Rizzio who was rumored to have been the real father of Mary's child. Darnley joined with Protestant Lords (including nobles who participated in the Chaseabout Raid) and by March 1566, the King Consort with his Protestant lords murdered David Rizzio in front of a pregnant Mary at a dinner party no less being held in Holyrood Palace. You can imagine Mary's distress. But within 2 days she managed to convince Darnley to switch sides again and help her escape. On the night of 11–12 March, Darnley and Mary escaped from the palace, and took temporary refuge in Dunbar Castle before returning to Edinburgh on 18 March. The former rebels Lords Moray, Argyll and Glencairn were restored to the council.

     Their son, James, was born in Edinburgh Castle June 19, 1566 but Darnley and Mary's marriage was beyond repair afterwards. 



Elizabeth, the Hunting Queen

A Murder Most Foul

    Darnley's murder was to be Mary's first step into her destruction. At Craigmillar Castle, near Edinburgh, at the end of November 1566, Mary and leading nobles held a meeting to discuss the "problem of Darnley". Divorce was discussed, but then a bond was probably sworn between the lords present to remove Darnley by other means. Darnley feared for his safety and after the baptism of his son at Stirling shortly before Christmas, he went to Glasgow to stay on his father's estates. At the start of the journey, he was afflicted by a fever, possibly smallpox, syphilis, or the result of poison, and he remained ill for some weeks.



Mary and Darnley started out great but once they were married
his true colors showed

     Some historians claim Darnley was suffering from syphilis and claim Mary never sharing this affliction as proof that James VI wasn't really the son of Darnley but I have a hard time believing that. n late January 1567, Mary prompted her husband to return to Edinburgh. He recuperated from his illness in a house belonging to the brother of Sir James Balfour at the former abbey of Kirk o' Field, just within the city wall. Mary visited him daily, so that it appeared a reconciliation was in progress. On the night of 9–10 February 1567, Mary visited her husband in the early evening and then attended the wedding celebrations of a member of her household, Bastian Pagez. In the early hours of the morning, an explosion devastated Kirk o' Field, and Darnley was found dead in the garden, apparently smothered.


Elizabeth stood the most to lose from her cousins' marrying

     The people named in the murder of Lord Darnley were Moray, Maitland, Bothwell and Mary herself. Elizabeth actually wrote to her cousin warning her of the rumors and how they made her look: 

     "I should ill fulfil the office of a faithful cousin or an affectionate friend if I did not ... tell you what all the world is thinking. Men say that, instead of seizing the murderers, you are looking through your fingers while they escape; that you will not seek revenge on those who have done you so much pleasure, as though the deed would never have taken place had not the doers of it been assured of impunity. For myself, I beg you to believe that I would not harbour such a thought."

     Sounds like something a frenemy would say while being concerned there's blatant criticism in Elizabeth's tone in the letter. Most likely Mary destroyed the letter in a huff but Elizabeth was also pointing out the danger. What Mary did next perhaps damaged her reputation even more. She actually pardoned Bothwell of the suspected murder of her husband. Needless to say it didn't look good and was about to look worse...


James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell

Lord Bothwell

      The show makes the whirlwind romance between Lord Bothwell and Mary Stuart out like a romance novel though it may be less romantic or more complicated than that. James Hepburn was the 4th Earl of Bothwell. He was already married twice and by the time he met Mary, Bothwell was on his second marriage with a woman Jean Gordon, sister of Sir John Gordon and of George, Earl of Huntly. They were divorced on 7 May 1567, citing his adultery with her servant as cause. Eight days later he would marry Mary, Queen of Scots. 



Bothwell was the cause of Mary's downfall

    In the show Lord Bothwell first meets Mary when she returns to Scotland but really they met much earlier in France in 1560. During the regency of Marie de Guise (Mary's mother), Bothwell was a supporter of hers. After Protestant Lords gained power following Marie de Guise's death and the return to Scotland of Mary, Queen of Scots, Bothwell appears to have been not much more than a troublesome noble at court (not the Loyal Watchman Mary had come to rely on). His open quarrel with the Earl of Arran and the Hamiltons, who accused him of intriguing against the Crown, caused some degree of anguish to the Queen, and although the Earl of Arran was eventually declared mad, Bothwell was nevertheless imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle without trial in 1562. Later that year, while the Queen was in the Highlands, he escaped and went to Hermitage Castle.



The show makes them a romantic couple but
he also may have raped her so... nope...

    The Queen and Bothwell were by now very close. When Bothwell married Lady Jean Gordon, daughter of The 4th Earl of Huntly, in February 1566, the Queen attended the wedding (the marriage lasted just over a year). In the following summer, upon hearing that he had been seriously wounded and was likely to die, she rode all the way through the hills and forests of the Borders to be with him at Hermitage Castle only a few weeks after giving birth to her son. But some historians claim that Mary was already on her way to see Bothwell on matters of state before she heard about his illness, and that therefore this visit is not evidence they were already lovers at the time of his accident. The story of her mad flight to his side was put about later by Queen Mary's enemies to discredit her.



Mary building up her own faction against Darnley

     Bothwell was one of the people named in the suspected murder of Lord Darnley along with Mary herself. Lennox, Darnley's father, demanded that Bothwell be tried before the Estates of Parliament, to which Mary agreed, but Lennox's request for a delay to gather evidence was denied. In the absence of Lennox, and with no evidence presented, Bothwell was acquitted after a seven-hour trial on 12 April. A week later, Bothwell managed to convince more than two dozen lords and bishops to sign the Ainslie Tavern Bond, in which they agreed to support his aim to marry the queen.


Bothwell abducts Mary but she may have planned it... Maybe

  On Wednesday 24 April, while Mary was on the road from Linlithgow Palace to Edinburgh, Bothwell suddenly appeared with 800 men. He assured her that danger awaited her in Edinburgh, and told her that he proposed to take her to his castle at Dunbar, out of harm's way. She agreed to accompany him and arrived at Dunbar at midnight. There Mary was taken prisoner by Bothwell and allegedly raped by him to secure marriage to her and the crown. Whether or not Mary was complicit or a victim is still debated. On 12 May the Queen created him Duke of Orkney and Marquess of Fife, and on 15 May they were married in the Great Hall at Holyrood, according to Protestant rites officiated by Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney.


Unfortunately Mary had the worst taste in men when it
came to being her own choice

    The marriage divided the country. Catholics considered the marriage unlawful, since they did not recognise Bothwell's divorce or the validity of the Protestant service. Both Protestants and Catholics were shocked that Mary should marry the man accused of murdering her husband. The marriage was tempestuous, and Mary became despondent. On 16 June, the Lords opposed to Mary and the Duke of Orkney (as Bothwell had newly become) signed a Bond denouncing them. A showdown between the two opposing sides followed at Carberry Hill on 15 June 1567, from which Bothwell fled, after one final embrace, never to be seen again by Mary. In December that year, Bothwell's titles and estates were forfeited by Act of Parliament.


CW likes to blend historical fact with
contemporary fiction but they do it well
    
Mary Dethroned & Imprisoned

     The lords took Mary to Edinburgh, where crowds of spectators denounced her as an adulteress and murderer.[134] The following night, she was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle, on an island in the middle of Loch Leven. Between 20 and 23 July, Mary miscarried twins. Some like to romanticize that Mary's twins survived and were smuggled out of Scotland to be raised in France. Not sure if the show will go with this story line but it feels like something it would do. On 24 July, she was forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son James. Moray was made regent, while Bothwell was driven into exile. He was imprisoned in Denmark, became insane and died in 1578.


Mary had to make the toughest decisions
for her country

    Mary eventually escaped Scotland but where would she go? England was the only option. Elizabeth assured her cousin that she would keep her safe and help restore her to the Scottish throne. However, Elizabeth never did. Mary was too dangerous to be kept prisoner and even more dangerous on a throne. 


Elizabeth I probably wishes she had a more loving family
that didn't need to kill each other to hold onto power

Final Years and Eventual Execution

   Poor Mary was Elizabeth's prisoner for about 19 or so years being moved from castle to castle. There were many Catholic plots to free the Scottish queen but they all failed. Even after Mary was convicted of Darnley's murder and guilty of treason against the English crown Elizabeth refused to sign Mary's death warrant. It was definitely hard for Elizabeth. It must have drudged up painful memories of losing her own mother who was a crowned queen and also the fear of setting a precedent for killing God Anointed Queens. But also maybe Elizabeth felt a sympathy for her cousin who was also born the wrong sex to the disappointment to their kingly fathers. 


Mary approaches her death...

    The story goes that a council member had Elizabeth sign the order for Mary's execution by making her think it was for something else. At Fotheringhay on the evening of 7 February 1587, Mary was told that she was to be executed the next morning. She spent the last hours of her life in prayer, distributing her belongings to her household, and writing her will and a letter to the King of France. The scaffold that was erected in the Great Hall was two feet high and draped in black. It was reached by two or three steps and furnished with the block, a cushion for her to kneel on and three stools, for her and the earls of Shrewsbury and Kent, who were there to witness the execution. If you remember a certain film, The Golden Age, there was a scene where Mary Stuart was being led to her execution she wore a deep red dress as a symbol for the Catholic faith. The executioners knelt before her and asked forgiveness. She replied, "I forgive you with all my heart, for now, I hope, you shall make an end of all my troubles." She was blindfolded by Kennedy with a white veil embroidered in gold, knelt down on the cushion in front of the block, on which she positioned her head, and stretched out her arms. Her last words were, "In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum" ("Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit").


Mary's destiny was always headed down this road

      Mary's death wasn't quick though. It took a few tries for the executioner to remove her head. The first blow missed her neck and struck the back of her head. The second blow severed the neck, except for a small bit of sinew, which the executioner cut through using the axe. Afterward, he held her head aloft and declared, "God save the Queen." At that moment, the auburn tresses in his hand turned out to be a wig and the head fell to the ground, revealing that Mary had very short, grey hair. A small dog owned by the queen, a Skye terrier, is said to have been hiding among her skirts, unseen by the spectators. Following the beheading, it refused to be parted from its owner's body and was covered in her blood, until it was forcibly taken away and washed. Mary was only 44 years old when she died. 


Sometimes winning sucks

    When Elizabeth heard of her cousin's execution she flew into a despondent rage and imprisoned the messenger who delivered the order in the Tower. Cecil promptly pardoned the messenger. Elizabeth's grief may have been a bit staged but there most likely legitimate tears. In another life Mary and Elizabeth could have been friends but Mary triumphed in the end. Her son James though baptized a Catholic was raised as a Protestant and when Elizabeth died he finally brought the two countries together under one rule without bloodshed... well not a lot.


Whenever I read about Mary Stuart I always say
"Poor Mary"
     
The Legacy of Mary and Elizabeth

      So was Mary a victim or was she the architect of her own disaster? You could debate that as much as you like but you won't find an easy answer. The conflict and rivalry between the cousin queens is perhaps one of the most famous stand offs in history. The Renaissance was an age of women in power whether on the throne or in the shadows, of religious strife, of new ideas, of piracy. One has to ask how Mary could have fallen so far? Some sight her pretty face but that feels one dimensional. It was the people around Mary that spelled her doom. 


Mary, Queen of Scots buried beside her cousin...

     Elizabeth faced the same criticism as Mary but I feel she had the right advisors surrounding her and even the force of character to stay on her throne. Another reason I feel is because Elizabeth was born and raised in England where as Mary was raised away from home. If Mary had grown up in Scotland maybe the nobles would have viewed her less as a foreigner. Yet in the end it was through all this strife and blood shed that forged two nations into one. Though they were never close in life Mary Stuart is buried beside her rival and cousin Elizabeth (who is also buried with her sister Mary Tudor) in Westminster Abbey. 

Elizabeth I buried beside her older sister and a few
feet away from her cousin queen.