Past Features

Turning Off The TV #15: The Tudors


Welcome to my regular Thursday feature, Turning off the TV! In this feature I recommend books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both series and specific episodes.

The TV series this week is: The Tudors.

The Tudors

Following the life of King Henry VIII of England, infamous for his six wives, this series follows the reign and marriages of the Tudor king, in a way that you may never have seen him before.

The Tudor period has always been one of my favourite eras of British history. Not only was it one we frequently studied in school, but it is also one that has been covered time and time again by so many different people and mediums. Each monarch ruled in a totally different way, and it was also a time of great religious changes.It is therefore a very varied period of time to study, as well as one of great exploration and adventure. A pretty perfect setting for many books, no?

Looking for fiction?

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is set during the first half of Henry’s reign, covering his attempt to divorce Catherine of Aragon. It is actually told from the point of view of Thomas Cromwell, which could be interesting for fans of the show, a familiar story from a more ‘minor character’. After divorcing Catherine, Henry married Anne Boleyn – but supposedly he also had a bit of a fling with her sister, Mary. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory is told from Mary Boleyn’s point of view, and in fact much of Gregory’s writing is set during the Tudor period – I would highly recommend any of her books. I also wanted to include a book set after the reign of Henry VIII, for anyone interested in reading further into the Tudor period. Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir is about Lady Jane Grey, who was queen for nine days before being executed. She was nominated as successor by King Edward VI (son and heir of Henry VIII, who died aged 15) and was eventually convicted of high treason. Her story is a short and tragic one.

Or looking for non-fiction?

Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir Six Wives: The Queens of King Henry VIII

As well as being a writer of fiction, Alison Weir has written many non-fiction books on the Tudor period, a notable example of which is Six Wives of Henry VIII. If you’d like to learn more about the ladies in Henry’s life, then this is a great place to start. David Starkey’s Six Wives: Queens of King Henry VIII is another similar book, and Starkey is a very well-respected historian. Well, generally. My A Level history teacher hated him for some reason…

Are you a fan of The Tudors? Do you have any recommendations to add? Are there any series or films you’d like to see recommendations for?


13 thoughts on “Turning Off The TV #15: The Tudors”

  1. I love The Tudors! It’s such a fascinating time period and when I read historical fiction, most of the books are set in that time period. I especially like to read about Anne Boleyn.

    The TV show is great too. I still need to the watch the last season, but I hope to make time for it soon πŸ™‚ It’s a shame that Anne died, because I love Natalie Dormer. Stunning girl.

    1. She was a fascinating woman, wasn’t she? It’s nice to read about any women in that period really, because many of them did not get the attention or praise they deserved.

      I might start watching it soon. It’s on Netflix and I’ve basically given up on my current show on there, Greek. It’s so.. ugh. The female characters make me so ANGRY – are some girls really like that?? Super bitchy and manipulative. So yep, I should move The Tudors up πŸ˜›

  2. Ermagawd I LOVED The Tudors! I would highly recommend The Cousins War series by Phillipa Gregory first (think there’s 5 books in the series, one more due this year). The series basically starts with Henry the VIII’s great grandmother and follows the whole way through to Henry the VIII’s mother (and there’s an amazing BBC TV show adaptation called The White Queen). Then watch The Tudors. I haven’t read many other books from other authors for this period. Gregory’s stories are soo good I’m kind of afraid of ruining it! Great post. Love these!

    1. I’ve read quite a few of her novels, one that I particularly enjoyed was The Wise Woman, but not any of the Cousins War books. I did hear about the BBC adaptation, it looks great – they definitely went to town on the costumes πŸ™‚

      There are SO MANY books based during the Tudor period. I think I read a whole load of middle-grade/young adult ones when I was younger, in fact I could probably do another TotTV on The Tudors πŸ™‚

  3. I enjoyed The Wives of Henry VII by Antonia Fraser, too. Her writing style isn’t as accessible as Alison Weir’s, but she has a lot of good information in that book. I am currently ready Alison Weir’s The Life of Elizabeth I and thoroughly enjoying that one. I know it is a bit after the time period the Tudor show is based on, but still an wonderful read.

    1. Well Elizabeth had a pretty remarkable life, and she’s an infamous figure! I guess they decided that it was only worth following Henry in the series though, which is a shame – no plans to make any further series following any of the other Tudors.

      I’m trying to remember if I’ve read anything by Antonia Fraser… thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  4. Your post reminds me that I still have to finish watching The Tudors (sort of watched it out of order…or something like it). But yay for Wolf Hall and Alison Weir’s books; she’s like my go-to person for medieval/early modern English history, hehe πŸ™‚

    1. Haha, I only watched one episode or something! Maybe only half! I want to start it soon, I think it’s the sort of show that I could marathon. But like my ‘to read’ list, my ‘to watch’ list just keeps on growing and I’ve got dozens of half-watched shows. And then I re-watch old favourites…

  5. I haven’t seen the show (yet), but I LOVE historical fiction set in this time period. I’ve read so much of it. I had actually never heard of the Innocent Traitor one, so thanks for the recommendation πŸ™‚ I’m definitely adding it to my TBR list!

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