Customer Reviews: The White Queen: Season 1
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on August 24, 2013
Being an novice student of British history, I am always eager when any new show comes out relating to this topic. While this is historical fiction it does follow history quite accurately. The casting is phenomenal! I will address some of the characters that really stood out for me. I am NO authority these are just my opinions! :-)

Rebecca Ferguson portrays a brave and beautiful Queen Elizabeth. Her performance is commanding and powerful. She really portrays the strength and courage of her character during a very dangerous time in British history.

Amanda Hale presents viewers with a pious and scheming Lady Beaufort. She does an excellent job of conveying her love for God and her son while showing the ugly side of greed and bad behavior.

Aneurin Barnard plays Richard Duke of Gloucester. His character evolves from one that seems sweet and caring as the Duke however, when he becomes King Richard we see him transform into power hungry and vile creature.

Max Irons as King Edward....I'm not sure about the casting with this actor. While he does a good job acting, I don't feel that he physically fits the part. Don't get me wrong he is very handsome he just doesn't fit the appearance of a King during the 1400's. The portrayal of King Edward is one of a womanizer (which he was) but his real character was much richer than this. I would have liked to see this developed more in the script.

David Oakes as George Duke of Clarence....PERFECT casting! I can't see any other actor doing a better job! He plays the jealous, conniving, backstabbing younger brother of King Edward with such conviction.

Janet McTeer as Jacquetta Woodville mother to Queen Elizabeth. McTeer plays the mother figure with style and grace, portraying a character that is determined to see her daughter and family succeed. The love that she has for her daughter is very palpable.

James Frain as Lord Warwick....James Frain, enough said. A great period actor; he never disappoints. His portrayal of Warwick is thoughtful and insightful.

If you are looking for a juicy story filled with murder, scandal, backstabbing, and scheming....there is nothing like a story that really happened. I recommend you give this show a try. ;-)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 4, 2013
Forget historical accuracy. Done that? Good, because "The White Queen" has very little, even less so than the books by Philippa Gregory upon which they are based. The sooner you accept that, the more you can enjoy a mini-series that doesn't claim to be anything but a loose dramatization of the War of the Roses, starting from 1464 with the meeting of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, and ending with the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.

The time was ripe for a dramatization of the War of the Roses given the immense popularity of George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones and the subsequent HBO television adaptation, for the author has made no secret of how much this period of English history inspired his own work of fiction. In fact, for fans of the books, it's hard not to watch "The White Queen" without drawing correlations between the two: Henry Tudor's situation is very much like that of Daenerys Targaryen, whilst Robert Baratheon seems to owe his existence to King Edward IV. Cersei Lannister might well be a less-than-kind depiction of the titular White Queen, and even the emblem of the famous rose sigils of Lancaster and York can be found in the fictional Tyrells' standard. It stands to reason that if you enjoy one, you'll enjoy the other.

But what "The White Queen" brings to the table is an emphasis on the women that were involved in the period, namely Elizabeth Woodville (wife of King Edward), Anne Neville (daughter of the man known as "the kingmaker") and Margaret Beauford (mother of Henry Tudor). Far from being passive observers to the drama, the mini-series makes good on its promise to depict the events from their eyes, and has them right in the midst of the intrigue and violence that characterizes this tumultuous period.

Worth noting however is that this is not so much a miniseries about the War of the Roses, but an adaptation of author/historian Philippa Gregory's take on the events in question. Based on three of her books: The White Queen,The Red Queen and The Kingmaker's Daughter, various plot-points and characters are based on *her* specific understanding of what really happened, a relatively important distinction to keep in mind when you watch. Some historical figures are cast in an unsympathetic light (poor Duchess Cecily gets the worst of it, portrayed here as an embittered old harridan), whilst others can come across as noble heroes or helpless victims. Gregory's rather notorious reputation for distorting the facts to suit her favourites or to increase the levels of drama (seriously, don't believe *anything* you see in this show regarding Richard III's relationship with Elizabeth of York) means that everything seen here should be taken with a pinch of salt.

But you could have probably assumed some degree of historical inaccuracy simply by watching. From the perfect skin and whitened teeth of the actors, to the visible drainpipes on the buildings and rubber-soled boots worn by the men, to the inexplicable decision to film the Battle of Bosworth FIELD in what is clearly a FOREST, there's not a huge amount of effort in keeping it realistic.

But the main points of what became known as the War of the Roses are all touched upon: the controversial marriage of King Edward to Elizabeth Woodville, the Mad King and the Bad Queen, the on-going warfare between York and Lancastrian households, George of Clarence's execution, the mystery of the Princes in the Tower, Richard's stressful reign as king, and finally the invasion of Henry Tudor's forces.

Emerging from the ensemble cast are several stand-outs: James Frain as a scheming Lord Warwick, Rupert Graves (best known as Lestrade from Sherlock) as the opportunistic Lord Stanley, and Rebecca Ferguson as the titular White Queen, who combines beauty and charisma with steel and fire. Veerle Baetens also has a small but unforgettable role as Margaret of Anjou.

For me however, it's Aneurin Barnard as King Richard III and Amanda Hale as Margaret Beauford who really steal the show. Barnard's portrayal of Richard throws him into a far more sympathetic light than what we are used to, freeing the man from the most famous depiction of him as the black-hearted villain in Shakespeare's play. Here Richard is an honourable but conflicted man, grappling with a fraught political situation and driven to the edge by circumstances: the product of bad luck, wrong-headed decisions, treacherous counsel, and enduring rumours surrounding the disappearance of his nephews that he cannot be rid of.

Hale depicts Margaret Beaufort as a terrifyingly fanatical woman, engrained with the belief that her son Henry Tudor is destined to be king and not afraid to stamp out anyone who might get in the way of that. Combining hypocrisy with sincere piety, ruthlessness with moments of regret, and godliness in the struggle against her own vanity, she ends up dominating every scene she's in. If there is one weak note it's that Henry Tudor is not given particularly strong characterization, and for such a pivotal figure in the drama he ends up too bland to garner much of an opinion of him one way or the other.

Because of the format of the miniseries, several established characters drop from the action without warning once their roles are complete: Duchess Cecily, Margaret of Anjou and the Countess of Warwick are such narrative casualities, and you'll have to turn to Wikipedia to get an idea of their eventual fates. Likewise, the ending itself is quite abrupt, and it'll be interesting to see if Starz will follow through on its promise to adapt Philippa Gregory's The White Princess in order to continue the story of the surviving characters.

Speaking of which, it's worth pointing out that the Starz and BBC versions of "The White Queen" differ in a number of ways. The Americans were treated to more racy sex scenes, but there were also a few other bits and pieces that were either deleted or added, including a scene that puts an entirely new spin on what was really going on between Richard III and Elizabeth of York.

There's no doubt that even though the men are the movers and shakers, the women are the protagonists, with a particular emphasis on how they try to negotiate the pathways of influence and power. Whatever else you may think of the miniseries as quality television or as an accurate depiction of the period, I can appreciate that the women remain the focus throughout, something that's still rare enough in historical dramas to warrant praise.
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on August 10, 2013
there is a way to watch bbc as it plays in England, and so i have seen parts 1-8. two more to go. i have not been this pleased by a docu drama in a long time, and this one is right up there with the tudors. the writer is a history teacher at one of the prestigious colleges in uk, and she writes with passion and accuracy. its about the cousins war, or war of the roses. The writer concentrates not on the men involved but the 3 women behind the scene. The costumes are documented, and the buildings are historical. the women are powerful, clever, driven, and with elizabeth, in love. its about protecting their right to the throne, and they do it vengeance and devotion to their cause and families. it is rich in colour, and i was wishing there was 15 parts, not 10! if you liked the tudors, you will love this, minus some of the fun but sometimes brutal sex scenes. there were a couple but tastefully done, the concentration being on family pride.
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VINE VOICEon March 27, 2014
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I enjoyed this TV series and found that the acting was great and the set superb. Okay, so there are a few historical inaccuracies with the costume etc., but not enough to divert from the overall enjoyment of the show. (Besides, part of the fun can always be spotting such inaccuracies, right?)
I found the series to be a much more tame version of "Game of Thrones"--less action, more talking. If that doesn't sound appealing to you then stay clear of it. Also, if blatant fiction being portrayed as fact will drive you around the twist then I advise you to stay clear of it also. To name but a few; Elizabeth Woodville and her mother are shown to be witches, Anne Neville is portrayed as a harsh and greedy harpy and Margaret Beaufort's piety is shown to such extremes that she comes across as entirely loony. Overall, very dramatized personas that, of course, make for good TV. (And historical fiction too for that matter, which you'll already be familiar with if you've ever read any of Gregory's novels). If you don't enjoy facts being bended in such a way then, again, this really isn't the show for you.
If however you can get past this and are one of those people who can actually watch a show without believing everything you see, then I do recommend the series for it's captivating characters and political intrigue. It's full of mystery and suspense, love and sex, not to mention the tense familial relations that lead to national disaster time and time again. It even has the "who-done-it" aspect of a murder mystery--it's really all in here.
I just hope that if you are not familiar with the War of the Roses/The Cousins War, or the various theories associated with the Princes in the Tower, that you will research them after you've watched the series, and not just take Gregory's word as gospel. Honestly, it's a very interesting period of British history so go investigate and enjoy!!!
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on February 22, 2015
I am really enjoying it.
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on August 19, 2013
Before I saw this series, I did not know what The White Queen was about. I saw a trailer for it on TV and found that it was to be a TV series based on Philippa Gregory's novel of the same name. I knew of her work from the movie version of her novel The Other Boleyn Girl (a very inaccurate take on Tudor history), but have not as of yet read any of her novels based roughly upon between 15-1600's on the Tudor's and so fourth. I love Tudor history and more than that I love anything on the British Monarchy. I know a lot on Henry VIII and his wives as well as Queen Elizabeth I, but I did not have any knowledge onto the Plantagenet's or anything about the War of the Roses. So I jumped on this series and immediately began to watch it hoping it to be better than the Showtime series The Tudors.

I have to say at first I wasn't sure I thought though while the story seemed to be intriguing, I wasn't falling for the main characters like King Edward and his wife Elizabeth in the first episode, but by the second and third episode of the series I was completely hooked. I know there are a lot of reviews from critics saying the series didn't hold up to the standards they expected, but I think a lot of that was based on the first episode alone in the series and not the story all together as a whole.

I never realized how fascinating the War of the Roses was or what it was about. I think what makes this story so much more compelling to me versus other shows around the time period like The Tudors, is that it is told in the view of the woman who stood behind the throne and who shaped England's history dramatically without the world even realizing their importance to what was happening on the throne and how they could influence it. Unlike in The Tudors where it was more of a mans view on the world. Their are three main woman who shape the story over the period of ten episodes. You have the White Queen Elizabeth who was King Edwards wife, then you have Queen Anne who was Queen to King Richard III and you have Margaret who becomes the King's mother to Henry VII.

These woman are each inspiring in their own ways. Elizabeth Woodhouse is a very strong character in the story. She's not afraid to voice her opinion and stand for what she says. She was also one of the first monarch's to have her children stay with her while they were growing up, where in all other noble families you would send them away for months or years at a time to be tutored and not brought back to live with their families till after their education was completed on how they were to behave as a future king or queen. While Anne in the beginning is very passive wanting to please her family and sister, she is caught in the middle as her father tries to get her older sister married to one of the brother's of Kind Edward and keeps being tossed aside till her father needs her in one of his schemes to take the throne. Through all of this she finds her strength and takes charge of her own destiny. While Margaret is devote to god and seeing her son put on the throne at such huge odds that when you think of it, it's amazing she achieved so much with so much in front of her, when the cards seemed stacked against her.

What makes this series work so well are the different view points that are captured through the eyes of these woman. You can't help but feel for each one of them as they are pushed from one place to another, but each time this happens they rise again. What Philippa Gregory has done so well is she has shown 3 different view points of the same conflict and has shown us as the viewers different perspectives to the story line based on view you are looking at.

This series is a fast pace series as far as time lapses go. Episode 1 starts off with the meeting and marrying of King Edward to Elizabeth Woodhouse. By episode two they are married and have children and by the end you are at the beginning of the Tudor era. Even though there are gaps by years in the show it flows so well together and the drama keeps you glued to the screen. You can't help but feel for these ladies in the show.

As far as how accurate this series it to her books I don't know, how accurate it is to history I do not know either. What makes a great historical drama period piece is when a author knows how to weave the fiction on around the historical events that truly took place. I feel that as far as I can see Gregory has done just that, but just don't quote me completely on it! The magic of an author should be to captivate the audience and have have them wondering which parts are the fictitious and which are reality and when it comes to Plantagenet's history it can be hard to say what was fact and what was Tudor propaganda. Leading the reader or watcher to make up their own mind. Which is exactly what Philippa Gregory does.
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on January 30, 2015
The White Queen is a British 10-part television series based on the historical novel series The Cousin's War by the award winning British writer Philippa Gregory. It is the story of the struggle for the throne of England between two rival royal factions, the house of Lancaster and the house of York, in the Wars of the Roses between 1455 and 1487, as seen through the eyes of the female characters Elizabeth Woodville, The White Queen (Rebecca Ferguson), Margaret Beaufort, The Red Queen (Amanda Hale), & Anne Neville, The Kingmaker's Daughter (Faye Marsay).

The film is engrossing, with beautiful cinematography and excellent acting. The plot is fast moving, full of political intrigue and family feud with grave consequences. There are some criticisms of historical inaccuracies of the scenery, stage sets, and the chronology of events. To avoid confusing fictions with facts, the viewers should remember that the film is a historical novel, not a history documentary (See my comment below). Two versions were made. The BBC version, first aired on June 2013 in the UK, is more conservative, followed by the steamy Starz version, aired in the US on August 2013. This Amazon Prime video is the Starz version, with male and female nudity, explicit sex acts, and graphic childbirth footage. So parents beware.
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on February 28, 2015
It wasn't the plethora of sex scenes featuring much nudity and scarce plot points, despite the nebulous character list. I'm a fan of midevil England historical dramas. This is not historically accurate. It does raise some interesting historical questions.
Essentially, this is supposedly a retelling of the final acts of the War of the Roses from the female perspective. It depicts the male characters as indecisive and pushed to dastardly acts by the wives and mothers of royalty and nobility. It still fulfills the scheming stereotypes and sticks with the Garden of Eden apple eating notion that woman are behind the world's ills after all.
Plus the plot line that an attempted rape, halted by a suicide threat and throat cutting lead to the overall blissful love match of King Edward and Queen Elizabeth defies human nature. I just kept watching, waiting for the plot to improve or the characters to age. Neither happened.
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VINE VOICEon December 6, 2014
A while ago I was watching some old Tudors episodes and thought, "They should really do a show about the Plantagenets." Well, since that name wasn't in the title I had no idea it had already been done. So imagine how happy I was to see this! I love the idea of showing history through a woman's perspective. I am not at all bothered by the changes that the writers took- and I tend to be a stickler for history. The story is good enough to make me not care. And there is a lot that would have to be filled in anyway, so one guess is as good as another in some areas.

I loved the acting, the cast, the writing, the costumes, the sets, everything. I don't see a need for nudity or sex scenes that exist only for the purpose of nudity and sex, but this series had a lot less of that than HBO so that was okay too. I thought it was well done. The writing really helped me to understand how family members could be so ruthless and blood thirsty. Fear, ambition, loveless political marriages, superstition, popularity, and power really wreaked havoc with people's lives. Very interesting story. I am a happy customer.
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on February 12, 2014
This is a beautifully produced series, but I wish it had been more historically accurate. With The War of the Roses so thoroughly researched through primary sources, I'm disappointed with the many historical mistakes or misrepresentations. Why this must be done I will never know. This is such an amazing story to begin with, why change it for dramatic purposes?
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