Tag Archives: HISTORY

UPCOMING FILM: THE KING

Next month, a new film will be released on Netflix called The King, which depicts the life and reign of King Henry V of England. Henry V is most famous for defeating the French in the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years War despite being outnumbered five to one. It looks like we will see the Battle of Agincourt in all its epic glory. Also, we will get to see a new version of Sir John Falstaff, who was Henry V’s famous companion in Shakespeare plays. Overall, I look forward to seeing this interpretation of this famous warrior king and I hope they do a modern version of the Saint Crispin’s Day speech, the best battlefield speech ever.

BATTLE OF LOSECOAT FIELD

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In some of my earlier posts, I mentioned the story of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, the Kingmaker. He was initially King Edward IV’s strongest supporter until he betrayed his king THREE times. The first time, Warwick was forgiven and the third time led to his death. This post will talk about his second act of treason against Edward IV.

Even though Edward pardoned Warwick for betraying him the first time, Warwick was banned from court. As a result, Warwick had no power or influence over the crown, which was the one thing Warwick wanted more than anything else. Warwick betrayed Edward and he didn’t think Edward would take it personally? With his control over Edward long gone, Warwick sought to kill or replace him with his younger brother, George, Duke of Clarence.

To achieve their goal, Warwick and Clarence orchestrated a rebellion in Lincolnshire with Sir Robert Welles serving as their proxy. However, this rebellion was swiftly quelled by Edward’s army. After the battle, Edward’s troops removed all the clothing from the rebel corpses that could identify them, which resulted in the battlefield being named “Losecoat Field.” Welles confessed working with Warwick and Clarence and even provided letters that implicated them in the rebellion. Welles was executed for his own treason shortly afterwards.

Utterly disgraced, Warwick and Clarence knew Edward would not pardon them a second time. Therefore, they fled England to France, where they formed an alliance with Queen Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI. This became Warwick’s third act of treason against Edward IV.

I am thinking of portraying a similar chain of events in my third fantasy book where one of the main character’s former supporters staged a proxy rebellion against them.

HUDSON RIVER STATE HOSPITAL

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I did some research on asylums in New York and I came across the Hudson River State Hospital. It was an insane asylum that closed seven years ago. However, I am thinking of drawing inspiration from this building for my new superhero book. Superhero stories such as Batman had asylums such as Arkham Asylum. Supervillains are often criminally insane and they often get sent to asylums so I am thinking of staying true to this tradition. In the alternate timeline my story takes place, Hudson River State Hospital will still be open except it won’t be the home of supervillains. Instead, one of the main characters’ former teammates ends up in this asylum after a traumatic near-death experience while fighting crime.

PALACE OF VERSAILLES

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This morning, I discovered a new documentary that further described the history and inner workings of Versailles Palace. Versailles Palace was constructed by Louis XIV of France. He built this palace because he did not feel safe and powerful in Paris. In Paris, the visiting nobles were close to home and had plenty of opportunity to plot against him. In an attempt to regain his power and security, Louis developed a system of running a royal court that had not been beaten.

At this time, the French monarchy’s power was weakened and the various nobles had more authority in various regions of France. This caused Louis to enter a power struggle with the nobility to regain control over France. Louis learned from the mistakes of Charles I of England. If he went to war with his own people, he would gamble his throne and the future of his dynasty. Therefore, he planned to do battle with his vassals on his own terms and on a battlefield of his choosing. The battlefield was his family’s hunting lodge, which was located some distance from Paris. Its distance meant that his courtiers would be isolated from their allies in the capital and their ability to plot against Louis would be severely diminished. When Louis first moved his court to the lodge, it proved too small to accommodate everyone. With this in mind, Louis made the hunting lodge undergo an extreme makeover into the Versailles Palace.

Louis would conquer his enemies not with armies or weapons, but with fashion and refinement. Louis would set a series of strange yet strict house rules that even the most powerful duke had to obey. These rules even involved something as mundane as watching Louis wake up in the morning. Louis was called the Sun King and he compared his getting up in the morning to the rising of the sun. In exchange for following his strict house rules, Louis would grant favors to nobles who would visit him the most. Nobles who do not obey the house rules are denied any favors from the king. All the visiting nobles would fight with one another to gain an audience with the king, which greatly reduced their ability to scheme against Louis. It also gave Louis a cult of personality where he was almost worshipped as a god. This is something Louis absolutely believed because his mother drilled into him the belief in the divine right of kings.

Even if he did not grant nobles favors, Louis still smothered them with lavish hospitality. This legendary hospitality took the form of gambling, feasts, hunts, and elaborate parties. This constant sense of fun made Versailles Palace the ultimate playground for the French nobility. It constantly made them want to keep coming to Versailles. While the nobles were too busy having the time of their lives, Louis’s spies were gathering intelligence on them from the shadows. Even the mail was monitored in Versailles Palace. If there was any sign of treachery, Louis would be informed. Essentially, Versailles Palace became a gilded cage for the French nobility where all of their secrets were laid bare. Due to this system of surveillance, Louis was always a step ahead of his enemies and countered them accordingly.

Even fashion was strict at Versailles and it would constantly change depending on Louis’s decisions. If you wore the wrong type of clothes, they would be burned and you would be fined. Versailles also had its own version of a shopping mall for the nobility, which sold fashionable items such as shoes and jewelry. They were so expensive that the nobility lost a considerable chunk of the wealth just to please Louis’s constantly changing sense of fashion. With no money in their pockets, betraying the king became both unthinkable and unaffordable, which kept the nobility firmly under Louis’s thumb.

This system of courtly intrigue is what has allowed Louis XIV to become the longest reigning monarch in European history.

HOUSE BEAUFORT

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Allow me to share a little story about a noble family known as House Beaufort. The Beauforts were descendants of John of Gaunt, one of the many sons of Edward III of England. In addition to his legitimate children, John of Gaunt had multiple bastards from his mistress. After his wife died, John of Gaunt wanted to marry his mistress. Doing so would legitimize his bastards, but John of Gaunt was forced to accept certain conditions before he could marry his mistress. John of Gaunt would marry his mistress and legitimize his bastards, but his newly legitimate children and their descendants would be banned from inheriting the throne of England. Thus House Beaufort was born. Even though they could not inherit the throne due to their previously illegitimate status, the Beauforts were still powerful and influential in their own right. They married into other monarchies across Europe and supported their Lancastrian relatives during the War of the Roses. The Tudor Dynasty were related to the Beauforts due to Henry VII’s mother being Lady Margaret Beaufort. Thus, they defied the law that banned them from the throne by establishing the Tudor Dynasty. I am thinking of introducing two families in my third fantasy book that are related to the Magnus Dynasty and they would be descended from bastards just like the Beauforts.

INSPIRATION: THE TUDOR CHILDREN

When Henry VII of England married Elizabeth of York, they had eight children, but only four reached adulthood and only three had children of their own. Henry and Elizabeth’s firstborn son and heir was Prince Arthur Tudor, who married Catherine of Aragon before dying of an unknown disease shortly afterwards. Despite being the heir apparent before his death, Arthur is largely forgotten. In another life, Arthur would have been king and the Tudor Dynasty would have lasted longer under his rule. Henry VIII, who needs no introduction, was never meant to be king because Arthur was the heir and Henry was the spare. The daughters of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York had a brighter future than their brothers. Mary Tudor was married to the King of France and her descendants ruled France until the French Revolution. Margaret Tudor had the brightest future and legacy of all the Tudor children because she married the King of Scotland and her descendants eventually ruled both Scotland and England right up to the present day.

Because the Magnus Dynasty is my own fantasy reimagining of the Tudor Dynasty, I am thinking of basing the children of my new main character on these Tudor children. I also think it is more balanced in terms of gender: two sons and two daughters. I already have the descendants of these sons and daughters of Magnus planned out in a genealogical chart. Their story will be told in full in my upcoming third fantasy book.

MYSTICAL MADNESS

Medieval Europe had its fair share of mad kings such as Charles VI of France and Henry VI of England. Their madness was often due to the fact that the European monarchs practiced incest with one another for centuries, which resulted in mental defects in their descendants. The monarchs of Europe had interbred with one another so frequently over the years, that they all eventually became blood relatives, which made mad kings increasingly more common. However, what if a monarch becomes mad not through any biological or mental defect but as a side effect of using forbidden magic? I always say that magic ALWAYS comes with a price. I am thinking of keeping with the tradition of mad monarchs in my fantasy series and their madness will be caused by a form of magic that grants them immense power at the expense of their minds. In their madness, my characters will be mostly catatonic with their hands and necks contorted, but when they are roused they would degenerate into mindless beasts that would attack anything that moved. In addition to believing he was made of glass, Charles VI would sometimes think he was a wolf so I thought of incorporating that into some of my crazy characters.