24 January 2008

Many Toms, No Dick and King Harry

Everyone may well be called Dave these days, but if the historical characters in The Tudors are anything to go by, Dave is definitely the new Thomas. It's no wonder everyone had to refer to each other by surname or it would have been impossible to keep up:

  • Thomas Wolsey - Henry VIII's right-hand man until he fell out of favour when he failed to seal the deal with the Pope and get Henry his divorce; conveniently died before he could be attainted and executed for treason.
  • Thomas Howard (historically there were two of them in this period, as well as another three or four within a few generations) - the Duke of Norfolk; from the oldest noble family and a bit of a one; Anne Boleyn's manipulative, opportunistic uncle. East Anglian trouble-monger.
  • Thomas More - a reet traditional lawyer and family-man who became Chancellor after Wolsey's demise but lost his head after telling Henry what a hottie Anne of Cleves was.
  • Thomas Cromwell - reformer who came into favour after Wolsey's demise when his ideas of royal supremacy proved a convenient alternative for Henry when divorce was out; in the series, he had a bit of a flirt with Anne B too but he wasn't powerful enough for her tastes.
  • Thomas Boleyn - Anne's doting daddy, who pushed her into the king's bed only for his beloved daughter's head to be chopped off when she didn't produce any sons. He does rather well out of his daughter's success.
  • Thomas Wyatt (the elder) - Anne's ex, who liked to woo her with his cheesy poetry (not to be confused with his son, Thomas Wyatt, who got in trouble for leading a rebellion against Queen Mary).
  • Thomas Buckingham - from an old, noble family and with a chip on his shoulder; gets beheaded because the audience of the show can't keep track of all the Thomases
  • Thomas Tallis - bi (in the show) composer and weirdo with a bit of a thing for sisters (not unlike Henry).

Male characters not called Thomas: Henry VIII; Charles Brandon, Duke of Phwoar; Anthony Knivert and William Compton (minor characters and Henry's upstart mates, who are almost non-existent in history and one of whom dies for being too dull; even a gay subplot couldn't save him from Teh Sweatz); Emperor Charles and a couple of Spanish peeps; King Francis; and George Boleyn (Anne's brother with whom she is later accused of being incestuous but the first series didn't get that far).

So there about the same number of Thomases as non-Thomases... Those Tudors really could have been a bit more creative when it came to baby names. However, perhaps the story of Doubting Thomas persuaded Henry that Thomases couldn't be trusted leading to their eventual execution.

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