Past Features

Turning Off The TV #15: The Tudors

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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?

Past Features

Turning Off The TV #2: Game of Thrones

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Welcome to my new Thursday feature: Turning Off The TV! In this feature I’ll be recommending books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both entire series and specific episodes.

The TV series this week is: Game of Thrones.

Seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros.

The obvious thing here – read the books written by George R.R. Martin. But perhaps you’ve already read them, or for some reason you’re just not prepared to read them (yet!). They are all pretty hefty reads after all! So, whether you’ve read the books or not, here are some recommendations based on Game of Thrones – the covers link to each books’ respective Goodreads page.

The White Queen, The Kingmaker’s Daughter & The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

The White Queen The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

The Wars of the Roses were a big inspiration for George R.R. Martin whilst writing the series. These three books cover the life of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen Consort of England as wife of King Edward IV. Game of Thrones is full of strong female characters, just like Elizabeth, and I think if you like Cersei, Daenerys, Arya et al, you’ll love Gregory’s cast of characters.

The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson

An adventure story set during the Wars of the Roses, but unlike the books above, this one does not feature royalty as a main character.

The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

The first book in the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, George R.R. Martin has quoted Tad Williams – and this book in particular – as being a huge inspiration on his work. An epic fantasy published eight years or so before Martin’s own epic series, A Song of Ice and Fire, was published, it has some pretty good ratings and reviews on Goodreads!

Have you read any of these books? Do you have any others to recommend? Are you a fan of Game of Thrones?