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She-Wolves: England's Early Queens


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Frequently Bought Together

She-Wolves: England's Early Queens + The Wars of the Roses: A Bloody Crown + The White Queen: Season 1
Price for all three: $78.79

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Product Details

  • Actors: Helen Castor
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Athena
  • DVD Release Date: February 5, 2013
  • Run Time: 185 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00A4E8E78
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,070 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

BONUS FEATURES
  • 16-page viewer’s guide with articles about the first she-wolf, the makings of a “she-wolf,” women in common life, powerful women in history, and matriarchal societies
  • Biography of Helen Castor
  • Plus discussion questions at athenalearning.com


SDH subtitles

Editorial Reviews

“Captivating twists and shocking betrayals” —Radio Times (U.K.) “Riveting” —The Times (U.K.)

Seen on public television

The medieval and Tudor world was built for and ruled by men. Kings were warriors who earned power through blood spilled on the battlefield. Women who sought to rule in their own right were viewed with horror and vilified as “she-wolves.” Yet beginning 800 years ago with Matilda—daughter of Henry I, granddaughter of William the Conqueror—a handful of extraordinary women decided they would wear England’s crown. They were thwarted, betrayed, imprisoned, and condemned until the day came when England had no choice but to name a female monarch.

Hosted and based on the book by Dr. Helen Castor, “an accomplished and elegant historian” (The New York Times), and filmed on location in England and France, this captivating BBC series explores the lives of seven English queens who challenged male power, the fierce and fiery reactions they provoked, and whether, in fact, much has changed.

Cambridge professor Dr. Helen Castor is a historian of medieval England, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Making History, and author of the award-winning book Blood & Roses.

Customer Reviews

Some information i did not know.
Blue Goose
Very good historical focus on women in English history.
cmurphy
Too much forcing the information to fit the thesis.
H. V. Stoughton-ter beek

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Gary Selikow on January 8, 2013
Format: DVD
An intelligent, and compelling series of three one hour documentaries by Dr Helen Castor who demonstrates a passion, understanding and deep knowledge of her subject. She focuses on the reigns of 7 phenomenal women, Queens of England. In a time when power was seen as the prerogative of men, the exercise of power by a woman was seen as unnatural, unfeminine and even monstrous and the early queens such as Empress Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine , Isabel of France and Margaret of Anjou were vilified as she-wolves, often demonstrating power and waging war, and certainly displaying ruthlessness but no differently from many kings of the same time.

All of these women were certainly multi-faceted, all , with the exception of the ill fated Lady Jane Grey, were capable of great ruthlessness. But perhaps Dr Castor if incorrect when she insinuates that Matilda was driven out of London because the people because the people did not want a woman ruler , when it was in fact because of the steep taxes she had imposed on the citizens of London, much as Margaret Thatcher finally lost power in 1990 after planning to impose a poll tax on the poorest in British society.

This collection focuses on relationships, and politics and war as well as religion and society. We get an understanding of what shaped a naive twelve year old child bride , Isabel of France into a ruthless power player dubbed the 'she-wolf' who seized England together with her lover Roger Mortimer, and possibly had her spouse, Edward II put to death. Of Isabel it was said "No man ever excited her resentment who did not perish under its effect; the king himself forming no exception to this fact.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mary on April 25, 2013
Format: DVD
Women throughout history who have expressed any inkling of ambition have traditionally been disparaged by the world's predominantly paternalistic societies as either harlots or traitors to their own sex. Britain's women who would rule were no different and branded as she-wolves by the men who sought to claim sovereignty even without the prerequisite royal blood line. It is the lives of these women of Britain that are explored in Acorn Media's series "She-Wolves: England's Early Queens" based on a book of the same name by medieval scholar Dr. Helen Castor. Castor produced the series for the BBC and serves as its host throughout the program.

In opening remarks, Castor points out that men rose to power by demonstrating their superiority in military leadership and prowess as warriors. But women in the royal line of succession were often ignored or married off to males deemed unfit because of fragile health or mental instability so other powerful men could assert their rights to the royal succession. To press their own claim or the claim of their offspring to the throne, queens were often forced to forge alliances with men who could just as easily thrust them aside once a battle was won.

Episode 1 examines the struggles of Matilda, daughter of Henry I, and Eleanor of Aquitaine, first a queen of France then wife of Henry II of England. I was somewhat familiar with at least a basic outline of the events that transpired in the lives of these two women.

The war between Matilda and her usurping cousin Stephen of Blois has been the backdrop for a number of theatrical productions including the excellent miniseries "Pillars of the Earth" based on Ken Follett's book by the same name.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By chcjrbone on December 24, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This DVD is excellent for three reasons.

First, Dr. Castor provides just the right amount of detail without getting bogged down. The viewer never feels lost or bored. On the other hand, this DVD is not merely a general overview. She names names and dates and places.

Second, there are many on-site scenes where the events actually took place, all beautifully filmed. The video includes numerous scenes where Dr. Castor is reading from the original documents in a library or museum.

Third, at those times when historians really don't know exactly what happened, due to lack of evidence, Dr. Castor admits that historians "guess" or "speculate." She does not state events as fact when there is no supporting documentation.

This is a very worthwhile purchase.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By lynn Place on May 10, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
Many times the music is so loud you can't hear the talking. The information was very good when I could hear it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lisa D on July 13, 2013
Verified Purchase
I think I would like this series, but the soundtrack was so relentless that I couldn't feel anything beyond irritation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Patricia A. Brusie on August 4, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
I was expecting more in the way of character development not lots of shots of churches, towns, etc. No sense of the time these ladies lived in or what they had to do to be hold their own w/men. These were remarkable woman, but Dr. Castor never got me involved in caring about them.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By H. V. Stoughton-ter beek on February 10, 2014
Format: DVD
I looked forward to this dvd, being a passionate lover of British history, and its Queens.

I have a degree in and keep up with new material/thinking in the subject of medieval/Tudor England, I knew this documentary would most likely not contain new or startling information. But I expected more than this quick, slick and surface treatment. Another reviewer stated the presenter is too intrusive, and I absolutely agree. Let the story play itself, don't give a lecture. Much over-blown, and over-hammered home, this 'women acting like men'. Too much forcing the information to fit the thesis. Every third sentence seemed to include 'She-Wolves'. This was dull.

Most of these Queens weren't really rebels daring to act 'like men'-- they were simply terrible rulers, as have been many Kings of Britain. That Mary I is on the cover is telling. If ever a sovereign failed in every significant way, was self-serving and wrong, as well as cruel, it was 'Bloody' Mary. And Margaret of Anjou was an absolute horror.

I learned nothing new. The movie was a People Magazine version of the subject. Hardly a snack.
Usually I re-view historical British documentaries several times. Not this one. It had no good qualities: badly presented, tedious to watch, too much thesis and not enough story, too much of the Professor...I certainly expected more from Dr. Castor and BBC. I'm glad I didn't buy this, and sorry my Library did.
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