I have become obsessed with the Tudors. It all started when I checked out the DVD set of the first season of the Showtime series The Tudors, which stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII, from the Central Library right before the big snowstorm this past December. My husband and I spent several evenings in front of a blazing fire devouring every episode on the four discs in the set. Soon after finishing season one, we visited a nearby Silver Platters and were happy to discover that the second season would be released on DVD in early January. Needless to say, we bought it the first weekend after its release, and within a week or so we had devoured all of season two as well.
While I have read that The Tudors contains certain historical inaccuracies, I have to give it credit for sparking my interest in that particular period of English history. Although I had learned about Henry VIII in history classes, I’d never found him particularly interesting. However, seeing his character and those of his court brought to life by such skilled actors and in such rich detail suddenly made me want to learn more about him, his court and family, and his legacy.
As I anxiously await the premiere of the third season of The Tudors, I am exploring the wealth of resources available at the library to feed my new interest. A general keyword search of the library catalog for the term “Henry VIII” yields well over 200 results! Here are some notable ones:
Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England’s Tragic Queen by Joanna Denny
An attempt to redeem Anne Boleyn from her historical reputation, written by the author of a fictional trilogy on the Tudors.
The Other Boleyn Girl
Originally a novel by Philippa Gregory, this fictional account of Henry VIII’s relationship with the Boleyn sisters, Mary and Anne, is available in two different film adaptations: one originally broadcast by the BBC in 2003, and one starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Eric Bana.
The National Portrait Gallery History of the Kings and Queens of England by David Williamson
An excellent introduction to the history of British monarchy, with paintings from the National Portrait Gallery of Great Britain.
The Last Days of Henry VIII: Conspiracies, Treason, and Heresy at the Court of the Dying Tyrant by Robert Hutchinson
A detailed and readable account of the reign of Henry VIII.