Monday, February 13, 2012

anglophiled out

I woke up this morning yearning to tell Carson I'd take my tea on the terrace. I desperately wished for cook to whip up a healthy breakfast while an upstairs maid got my children ready for school. I felt so tired this morning--that second hour of Downton Abbey wore me out. It's exhausting to sit at the edge of one's bed, hands clenched, breath held, eyes bugged out while those characters die, marry, fall ill, vow, lie and confess. I cheered for Sybil. I wept for Anna and Mr. Bates. I felt SO DAMN CONFLICTED towards Cora. I wanted to bitch-slap Mary.

This came on the tails of a weekend marathon entrenched in the War of the Roses as I wrapped up reading The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory--which of course meant I had to skip through The White Queen because I can't read historical fiction out of chronological order. WHYWHYWHY did you write this trilogy in such weird order, Ms. Gregory? And how does the House of Lancaster turn from York to Tudor? I forget. My mind is bogged down with details. And it doesn't help that all these characters share the same name (I swear, the women are all named Anne, Mary, Elizabeth, Catherine or Margaret. And the men are either John, Edward, Richard, George or Henry). And title. When one Duke of York dies, another character gets named Duke of York and is referenced as such. One wishes Ms. Gregory would notate her novels-- (Duke of York: Richard, the one whose brother Edward became king, son of Richard Duke of York, Grandson of Richard Duke of York, AKA the evil brother with aspirations to usurp his brother's crown and kill his 2 nephews in the Tower, given humpback in Shakespeare play.)--that would help so much. Simon & Schuster could publish an entire line of Philippa Gregory books, the British History Annotated for Idiots Edition.

And the hours I've spent poring over pictures of the castles, manors, palaces referenced in these books to get a stronger sense of place. I would dearly love to make another trip back to England just to see some of these historic spots.

This behavior requires gallons of tea. And a long hike with a dog at my heels before returning home to slippers and scones fresh from the oven.

Spill it, reader. Did you spend your weekend as an Anglophile?

18 comments:

  1. I read three Jane Austen fan lit books this weekend. Two were wonderful, one just okay. I will now confess that I have dvr'd all of Downton Abbey but I just don't like it. I cannot find one character I really like, and many I actively dislike. So I deleted it, and I delete them as they come on.

    Is it time for Inspector Lewis to return yet?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh yes. You have me here. Not only have I been reading a ton of books on the subject, but I'm working my way through The Tudors and I am so obsessed with it. Totally sucked in. Hoping to get Season 3 for Valentines!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know if this counts: I am reading a biography of Rudyard Kipling. Maybe its anglophilia is cancelled out by the fact that I am also reading Mark Twain.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Many years ago now, I discovered the fabulous Brother Cadfael books, by Ellis Peters. While I was reading them, I sought out some books on the history of the British monarchy. I'd get so confused about who was who, and I needed a flowchart of the different families, marriages, and children. It was a lot of fun.

    ReplyDelete
  5. We watched "The Young Victoria" per the begging of the mini-me. So yes, we were there too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love the Brother Cadfael series, I have all of them. I too had difficulties following the chronology. after I finally acquired all the books, I had to re-read them in order, just to get things right.
    sorry no downton abbey, I actually was going to watch it this week, just to see what it is all about, but I got asked to proof part of a manuscript, so did that instead.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Weather Wussy Floridians spent the weekend in PJ's and blankets because it was in the 30's!

    We watched our back episodes of Switched At Birth and spent Sunday creating my hubby's new Cigar blog.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I actually jumped on the Downton Abbey bandwagon by watching the first three episodes with a friend on Saturday night.

    We both adore it, natch.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm kind of glad that I haven't gotten sucked into Downton Abbey. Don't worry, though. Three or four years from now, I'll probably decide to watch it and I'll be the only one still talking about it. I did that with Sex and the City and Six Feet Under and I'm not above doing it again!

    P.S. I like making tea, but not drinking it. Sometimes I make unsolicited cups of tea for my husband, just so I can make it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. No....but I soooooooo want to watch Downtown Abbey!! But of course I must start at the beginning and get caught up....someday!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I AM THE ANGLOPHILE!!! Reading P.D. James' ode to Austen "Death Comes to Pemberly," oh, Mr. Darcy!! And that nasty Mr. Wickham...just desserts have never tasted so great.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I wanted to read but instead I spent my weekend cooking, cleaning and partying for Vday!

    ReplyDelete
  13. As a matter of fact I did! While touring Westminster Abbey I said more than a few times to The Saint "Thank God for Phillipa Gregory!" I know it's fiction but it does help me to keep everyone straight! And I HIGHLY recommend "The Constant Princess", fab!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Did you read Tom and Lorenzo's recap of Downton Abbey? Hilarious. I dropped the ball and haven't seen the last few episodes, so I'm waiting for it to come out on netflix.
    I've noticed that too--that there were only five names for each sex in the tudor era. No wonder there are so many creative nicknames for those old English names.
    The Lancasters became the Tudors because Henry Tudor, a descendent of Edward III, through an illegitimate union between his son John and Katherine Someone or other, married a York and grabbed the throne. How he was also a Lancaster is unclear to me. If you like romantic historical fiction, try Katherine by Anya Seton, which tells the John of Gaunt/Katherine love story.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am holding out on Downton Abbey. (Elizabeth McGovern and Dame Maggie Smith!) Once there are three seasons available for download, I'll gorge myself. Until then, the anticipation will be lovely.

    Have you read any of Alison Weir's books? She's a lovely addition to the bookshelf groaning with Austen and Gregory. I'm partial to her histories and novels both.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I spend my every waking and sleeping minute as a committed, devoted, passionate Anglophile.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I didn't think I was...but I am LOVING Downton Abbey!!! I just got a new google tv and wonderful PBS has their episodes on their website for free! I finished season 1 last weekend and am onto the 2nd. I need to slow down so that I don't get caught up and have to wait for each episode (horrors!).
    I just love every one of the characters on this show SO MUCH!

    ReplyDelete
  18. As an Anglophile, I think you'd really get a kick out of these... Downton Abbey paper dolls! I especially love the facial expressions available for the Countess. http://www.vulture.com/2012/02/print-out-vultures-downton-abbey-paper-dolls.html

    ReplyDelete

Spill it, reader.