TV Review: In Tudor drama series Wolf Hall, power stays hungry

The greatest strength of Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up The Bodies (two books in a proposed trilogy) is tone. It’s no secret that Henry The VIII’s reign was a tumultuous one, full of internal squabbling and political strife, but instead of putting emphasis on the drama, Mantel keeps things personal and melancholy. The novels follow Thomas Cromwell in his rise to power from lowly commoner to confidant of the king. There’s backstabbing, manipulation, and sexual negotiation throughout, and Mantel doesn’t shy away from the details. But while the details are engaging, the result is less a thriller than a character study about a man negotiating the currents of the history while remaining entirely at their mercy. In finding new ways to keep the past immediate and pressing, Mantel delivers something distinct: tragic events, without the tragedy.

The BBC’s six-part …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *