Books and Movies Reviews

The Lion In Winter

The Reality of the Medieval Soap Opera
The Lion in Winter begins with a friendly sword fight between father and son, a lively jousting match, and a battle led by King Henry II's son, Geoffrey of Brittany.All scenes are typical of the 12th century.A few mistakes did exist, however, which included reference to syphilis, pulp paper, and Christmas trees.Despite minor errors, the greatest historical accuracy lies within the portrayal of the royal families of England and France.Both families are uniquely connected and utterly dysfunctional, which is characteristic of many soap operas today.Henry's sons are continuously fighting over the throne and plotting with the enemy, the king of France, Phillip II Augustus.Meanwhile, Queen Eleanor is constantly instigating arguments over the children, his mistress, and their marriage.
Henry II's children are notoriously known for their misconduct and rebellion.Following Henry's eldest son's death, brothers Richard, Geoffrey and John fight competitively to be heir to the thrown.One of The Lion In Winter's major themes is the family tension that exists over Henry's heir.The film accurately grasps the character of the brothers' desire to acquire the crown.For example, there is a scene where each brother seeks out Philip II Augustus, the king of France, in order to create an alliance.All three are caught red handed when Henry surprises them all with a visit to Philip.
Richard, known as the Lionheart, has been built up in history as "a constant soldier and sometimes poet."The picture adheres to this description.Richard states his loyalty to his father's kingdom by refusing to give up Alix or the Aquitaine if he becomes king.Furthermore, Richard's softer side is revealed by means of his apparent love affair with Philip.This follows historical belief that Richard Lionheart was a homosexual.Like his brother,…


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