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Wolf Hall episode 2; are you still following?

Wolf Hall episode 2; are you still following?

Wolf Hall’s second episode has aired, and if you’re not a history buff or reader, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the cast of characters.

Thankfully, the Religion News Service of the Huffington Post has a thorough guide detailing the four Thomases.

From the article:

Viewers of Masterpiece’s “Wolf Hall” might be forgiven for getting a bit confused about who’s who in the six-part miniseries based on Hilary Mantel’s books. At least four of the main characters are all named Thomas. Even more confusing, three of the four Thomases wear nearly identical black hats.

The Guardian posted an in-depth recap of episode two months ago, when it first aired in Britain, but it may be helpful to American viewers struggling to keep up with the complex and slowly unfolding story. Spoilers abound if you haven’t seen the second episode yet, but it is available on the PBS website.

Hilary Mantel, twice Booker winning author of the original novels, was interviewed on Studio 360 for a long piece about Wolf Hall and Thomas Cromwell. She talks about the obviousness of Cromwell’s story, and her surprise that no one else wrote it. She sees Cromwell as a sort of archetype of the self-made person, rising from an obscure birth to a place of prominence and importance. (Audio only, no transcript)

Are you still enjoying the show? Would you enjoy it less if you weren’t already familiar with the story and the era? Most importantly: why do three of the four Thomases all shop at the same hattery?


Posted by David Streever


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William Moorhead

I’m finding myself intrigued by what a scumbag Stephen Gardiner is portrayed as being. Well, who knows….?!

David Murray

Indeed. 🙂 Ah, the mysteries of Stephen Gardner…

JC Fisher

Mark “Mycroft Holmes” Gatiss always is. 🙂

This series is a bit minimalist for my taste (Gatiss excepted). Definitely a different take on Cromwell, than James Frain’s in “The Tudors” (where he was snidely schemer). Nevertheless, as an Anglican, I can’t really miss it (even though I’m preemptively weeping @ the destroyed monasteries. Even if they WERE corrupt.)

Tobias Haller

I appreciate it also for the legitimate belly laughs that came as quite unexpected in most period dramas! Rylance is dry, dry, dry, but some of his lines remind me of Ian Richardson in the British House of Cards! Politics is politics.

The hats are one thing… I was more concerned about Cranmer’s beard. My understanding is that the beard came in later in his life, as part of his increasing evangelicalism…

Christopher Johnson

I like it a WHOLE lot more than I thought I would.

John Wirenius

Still enjoying very much (the cast is quite good), but then I have read the novels. Rylance isn’t physically right for Cromwell, but he is superb.

June Butler

I have not read the books, but I’ve enjoyed the show immensely through the first two episodes. Mark Rylance is riveting as Cromwell. Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Wolsey is also excellent. From reading the recaps in the Guardian of the two episodes, it seems I’m following the story pretty well. The character of Thomas Cranmer is thus far not prominent in the story, and I wonder if he will come to the fore in later episodes. Don’t tell me.

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