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Richard III for Dummies Part 2 as in Oh Heck! It’s The War of the Roses

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m on a quest to learn more about King Richard III.

I hope it will help with the collective reading of Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour.

Just to clarify, the reading starts on the 23rd of September, with the discussion of chapters 1+5 a week later!

I know some of you, like me, will start earlier, just in case life and other nonsense get in the way!

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t really know anything about RIII, but what I do learn, I will share in a cycle of posts titled:

Richard III for Dummies.

I see it as a collection of random RIII facts that I found interesting.

I won’t be going into great details, just the bare essentials necessary to understand the book chosen for our collective reading.

It’s time to tackle The War of the Roses!

It was a terribly destructive, long-lasting civil war in England between two  families with rival claims to the throne.

The war takes its name from the two Roses that symbolized the two sides meaning, the houses of Lancaster (red rose) and York (white rose), among the English aristocracy.

Those English and their gardening…

I’m not going to go into detail, but let’s just say both sides had a legitimate claim to the throne.

The clip is extremely interesting, definitely more than my writing 😉

Just look at  it as a very long boxing match.

The war itself occurred in three phases:

The first phase was the longest and bloodiest, and resulted in a York victory.

The second phase involved a rebellion within the York family which provided an opportunity  for the Lancaster’s to reassert their claim.

They briefly succeeded, but the crown soon fell back into the hands of the Yorks.

The third phase occurred following the death of the Yorkish King Edward IV,  and was fought between Richard III and Henry Tudor a distant cousin on the Lancaster side.

 It’s not an easy war to follow in terms of alliances, or military progress.

There are so many twists, treachery, changing sides and battles, so I shall focus on the elements that appear in The Sunne in Splendour.

By the way, I started reading the book yesterday and I couldn’t put it down.

I thought the vocabulary wasn’t bad at all, and with the help of my trusted Kindle 3 dictionary, I didn’t come across any phrases that would prove to be challenging.

Here’s are the key elements of what I’ve read.

Please be warned, there may be spoilers if you haven’t started the book yet!

We meet Richard (nicknamed Dickon, because that’s such an adorable name for a young boy…) on the eve of the attack on Ludlow village and its Castle, a major base in The War of the Roses.

In the first chapter we are introduced to some members of Richard’s family:

Ma Mere meaning Richard’s mother, Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, wife to  Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York.

Richard’s brother Edward (Ned), 4th Duke of York, 7th Earl of March, 5th Earl of Cambridge and 9th Earl of Ulster.

He goes on to become Edward IV.

Edmund, Earl of Rutland, second surviving son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York.

George, only a few years older than Richard,  1st Duke of Clarence, 1st Earl of Salisbury, 1st Earl of Warwick.

I think it’s best to keep an eye out on George, as he’ll be playing a very important role later on.

The Queen Margaret of Anjou continues to raise support for the King Henry VI among noblemen,whilst the Yorkist command under the Duke of York is finding anti-royal support despite the severe punishment for raising arms against the King.

The Yorkist force based at Middleham Castle in Yorkshire need to link up with the main Yorkist army at Ludlow Castle in Shropshire.

As Salisbury marches south-west through the Midlands the Queen orders Lord Audley to raise a force to intercept them.

This results in a bloody battle, but also signified that the Queen is set on war.

Fearing that an attack on Ludlow is imminent, all the male members of the York House escape, leaving behind Cecily and her two youngest sons George and Richard.

The assumption is that no harm will come to them, as the code of conduct forbids involving women and children in fights.

Ah, but will it?

You’ll have to start reading the book to find out 🙂

I found the character of Margaret of Anjou fascinating, but then I would!

I found this clip very interesting clip:

 

Richard III for Dummies Part 1 meaning a quick introduction

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m on a quest to learn more about King Richard III.

I hope it will help with the collective reading of Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t really know anything about Richard III, but what I do learn, I will share in a cycle of posts titled:

Richard III for Dummies.

I see it as a collection of random RIII facts that I found interesting.

I won’t be going into great details, just the bare essentials (according to me!).

Visuals really work for me.

They are an endless source of inspiration, and there’s nothing like an image to spark my interest.

Sorry, but this does nothing for me:

I’ve never been a fan of a man with blingbling, and the hair’s just daft!

This illustration by Martin Rowson/Guardian is a whole other story:

The hair is still daft, but from what I gather, maybe this Richard III character will offer something interesting.

Here is a quick look at the more interesting facts about Richard III, served tongue in cheek, AgzyM style 😉

Time:

1483-1485

Nope, that doesn’t mean anything to me either, so here’s a visual:

Doesn’t British History look better when there’s a Tudor around?

Well, unless you happen to be Henry’s wife…

Why should I bother with Richard III?

Richard Armitage likes him, and so should you!

OK, only joking… kinda…

Richard III seems to have a murderous streak in him, as he’s implicated in the deaths of Henry VI, his brother George (who allegedly drowned in a vat of wine after a stint at the Tower of London)  and the disappearance of his young nephews – the Princes in the Tower.

I simply love a bloody monarch 🙂

Sorry, I forgot to add allegedly bloody…

He’s rumoured to have had a withered arm, crooked back and a limp, although many believe this to be a fabrication.

One thing’s for sure- he wasn’t a fan of facelift and Botox!

Also, the man clearly loved his jewels, so he may be the original Royal Pimp Daddy 😉

Richard is credited with introducing the bail system in 1484, perhaps to give himself a get out of jail free card if things got out of hand with Henry Tudor.

This may be linked to Monopoly’s Get Out of Jail Free Card, although the evidence is inconclusive 😉

By the way, Richard III described Henry Tudor as ‘an unknown Welshman’, which is a bit embarrassing seeing how things worked out…

Richard was the last king to die in battle, meaning the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, which is a bit unlucky!

Apparently every English King called “Richard” has died violently, which is a good reason to name your son and heir Bob or Rupert.

King Richard’s violent death may be why Armitage would like to play him…

 His death at the Battle of Bosworth effectively ended the Wars of the Roses (not a battle between gardeners!), so it’s not all bad news.

Richard was the last king of the Plantagenet family, who had ruled over England for more than three hundred years, so more bad news.

Talk about not living up to your family’s expectations!

Richard’s defeat at Bosworth Field by Henry Tudor ended the Plantagenet dynasty (bummer!), but it also heralded the Tudor dynasty, so some more good news, as I actually know a thing or two about the Tudors.

Have I mentioned how much I like the Tudors?

No? Well, I do!

 William Shakespeare wrote a play titled ‘Richard III’.

You may think that’d it is cool for the most famous playwriter to write about you, but not so.

He was portrayed as a murdered and deformed hunchback who murders his nephews, as Shakespeare was writing at a time when the granddaughter to Henry VII was queen (Elizabeth I).

It was therefore within Shakespeare’s interests to portray Richard in a bad light.

That Shakespeare was such a suck-up!

Shakespeare wasn’t the only famous author to weigh in on the topic od Richard III.

Jane Austin in her History of England wrote:

The character of this prince has been in general very severely treated by historians, but as he was York, I am rather inclined to  suppose him a very respectable man.

My thoughts exactly on Mr Darcy…

Nude pictures of him cupping his family jewels at a party in Las Vegas have spread across the internet.

OK, that may have been Prince Harry…

At this point I must also urge you to get started on Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour.

Here are a few facts I found online about the book:

The Sunne in Splendour, which is a historical novel, chronicles the life of Richard III.

The story begins in 1459 with Richard as a young boy, and ends in 1485 with his defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field.

It’s separated into three parts.

The title of the novel, according to Vulpes Libris, is taken from the emblem of Edward IV after the natural phenomenon of a parhelion (an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun) in which ice crystals in the air give the optical illusion of 3 suns.

When the 400-page manuscript was stolen from her car, Penman found herself unable to write for the next five years.

She eventually rewrote the book and by the time the 936 page book was published in 1982 she had spent 12 years writing it.

For more info, I urge you to check out what Maria Grazia has to say about the book.

By the way, I’ll be back tomorrow with a riveting (don’t hold your breath…) post on the War of the Roses, dummy style!

I’m off to read the book 😉

Collective Reading of The Sunne in Splendour and I want YOU to be a part of it!

You’ve probably heard about Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour.

It’s the book Richard Armitage mentions in the  Vulpes Libris interview as one of his favorites.

This autumn and winter Fanny/iz4blue over at DistRActed musings of one ReAlity is organising a collective read of this historical fiction novel.

The group read will be accompanied by Richard III Bloggers and their ‘ fun activities‘.

Oh Dear 😉

The first deadline is:

Sept 23rd : Chapters 1 + 5 of Book One : Edward

Now, I know what many of you are thinking (I’ve had these thought too…):

Firstly, that bloke Richard III? Again?

He’s not even that good-looking!

What’s up with this obsession regarding some historical figure I don’t really know much about!

Why should I care?

Secondly, how can I possibly read an epic novels the size of a dictionary?

I don’t have the time/language skills/background knowledge to do that.

Here’s the deal.

I don’t really know anything about Richard III.

My fascination with British History starts with Henry VIII, and why couldn’t Richard Armitage and Papa Armitage be fascinated with him?

At least I’d know what the heck we’re talking about…

Then again, he’d have to be called Henry Armitage 😉

But I’d really like to learn more, as it seems like an important aspect to the Armitage fandom.

That’s why I’ve decided to set off on a quest.

And, you guessed it, I’m taking you with me!

I’m going to create a few Richard III for Dummies posts for all of you out there who (like me) haven’t got a clue!

By the end of it you still won’t be able to answer the Servetus RIII scavenger hunt questions, but maybe a little background knowledge will help with understanding The Sunne in Splendour.

That’s my second aim!

No matter if English is your native language or not, I want all of us to give the book a try.

Yes, I mean YOU!

No excuses!

That’s why I’ll be writing a post after each chapter I read to help with vocabulary, phrases etc.

Don’t get me wrong, it may be a case of the blind leading the blind, or the ignorant leading the ignorant 🙂

As the first deadline is in 15 days, that comes to roughly 1 chapter every 2 days or so.

That’s 80 pages.

I want all of us to exercise our little grey cells (as Poirot would put it).

Even if we don’t get to share our thoughts on twitter #ArmitageWatch with  #RA4R3, let’s read it because we can!

Let’s do it because the Armitage Fandom knows no boundaries!

Because a thing like a language barrier shouldn’t stand in the way of knowing more!

Learning and being exposed to new things is one of the most endearing aspects of our community.

Who’s with me?

Illustration: Martin Rowson/Guardian

You can purchase this The Sunne in Splendour on Amazon, and help support an RA charity.

For more info go here.

For those who are having trouble with getting their hands on the book, for whatever reason, please email me at iwanttobeapinup[at]wp.pl

WE CAN DO THIS!!!

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