Episode 2: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
If last week was the start of this delicate and dangerous game of chess, the players merely assembled and ready, then tonight they begin to make their first moves. Just one step wrong and that could be the end – much like Cardinal Wolsey (Jonathan Pryce) who ends up dead leaving Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance) to find a new master in Henry VIII (Damien Lewis).
Game of Thrones fans tuning in to watch Wolf Hall might notice similarities between the politicking in King’s Landing and Henry VIII’s court – and they wouldn’t be wrong.
George RR Martin was partly inspired by the reign of the English monarch while writing his A Song of Ice and Fire novels, and it’s not hard to see why: this is no boring history lesson, it’s compelling stuff. You really do win or you die at Henry’s court.
The power play keeps us hooked: Cromwell’s “interpretation” of Henry’s dream illustrates perfectly how the lawyer is manipulating the situation to help secure the King’s divorce from his first wife Katherine of Aragon (Joanne Whalley) to clear the way for Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy). Continue reading Wolf Hall, Entirely Beloved – TV review: Like Game of Thrones, but without the dragons or White Walkers