Richard III, Theon Greyjoy and The Lost Princes

theon-burns-letter-to-robb

Theon turns his back on Robb and burns the letter warning the man to whom he had sworn allegiance that his father was planning to invade the North. © HBO.

I often forget exactly why the people of the North loathe Theon Greyjoy. Theon Turncloak. Many Northerners still believe Theon Greyjoy murdered Bran and Rickon, the last sons and heirs of the beloved house of Stark. However we know that Theon did not murder Bran and Rickon. It is true he murdered two innocent children, a terrible crime of which he should not be absolved. But Bran and Rickon still live. And in A Song of Ice and Fire there are even some in the North who have heard whispers of their survival.

The Princes of Winterfell

Balon Greyjoy, still suspicious of his only son, had sent his daughter Asha (Yara on the show) to take Deepwood Motte and Theon to raid fishing villages on the Stony Shore in the North. Theon, still desperate to prove himself to his father, decided to take Winterfell while the senior members of House Stark were absent. Winterfell would be a huge prize that would, in Theon’s eyes, win him his father’s approval. But to hold Winterfell he would have to hold Bran and Rickon hostage. He would reverse their positions, now Theon would no longer be a hostage of the Starks, and he would have power over the precious Stark heirs. When Theon discovered they had escaped he would have known it was not enough to merely hold Winterfell while Bran and Rickon were thought to be alive and at large. Alive they would still be the focus of rebellion. In the end the heirs to Winterfell had to be eliminated.

Theon_Burned_bodies

Theon with the burned bodies he substituted for Bran and Rickon. © HBO.

Would Theon really have murdered Bran and Rickon had he found them? The act of murdering the miller’s boys was horrifying but not one that Theon actually exalted in.

“He took no joy from those heads, no more than he had in displaying the headless bodies of the children before the castle. Old Nan stood with her soft toothless mouth opening and closing soundlessly, and Farlen threw himself at Theon, snarling like one of his hounds. Urzen and Cadwyl had to beat him senseless with the butts of their spears. How did I come to this? he remembered thinking as he stood over the fly-speckled bodies1   .”

After burning the bodies of the miller’s boys to make them unrecognisable Theon kept a shard of melted silver, all that remained of the wolf’s-head brooch that had once been Bran’s. It is a reminder of the man Theon once was and just how far he had fallen into darkness.
In Theon’s predicament we can see shades of a centuries-old mystery, the disappearance of King Edward IV’s sons, King Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York.

The Princes in the Tower

Infanticide is an unforgivable crime that has earned Theon Greyjoy his reputation, and that has stained the reputation of Richard III for five centuries. The fate of the ‘Princes in the Tower’ is so complex it is fiercely debated to this day and remains one of the greatest mysteries of the middle ages.

edward_5_contempary

The young Edward V (front right) in better days, with his father Edward IV (seated in blue robe) and Queen Elizabeth Woodville.

Theon’s actions are, on the whole, clear. He took Winterfell to impress his father and win his trust. Perhaps there was some lingering resentment towards the Stark family. Richard III’s actions, however, continue to perplex historians. The facts that we have are after Edward IV died, his young son, now King Edward V, was escorted into London by his uncle Anthony Rivers. Richard, then Duke of Gloucester, met them at Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire. In the first of his shocking moves, Richard captured Anthony Rivers, Edward V’s half-brother Richard Grey, and Edward’s long-time chamberlain Thomas Vaughan. He would execute all three men. As was the usual tradition, Edward was lodged in the Tower of London until his coronation took place. But Richard seized his nephew’s throne and declaring the marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville invalid, and therefore their children illegitimate.

Elizabeth Woodville still had her younger son Richard in her keeping and fled to sanctuary in Westminster with Richard and her daughters. Richard III eventually pressured Elizabeth to give up her youngest son to his safekeeping. She never saw either of her sons again. Or so we are led to believe.

The Lost Princes

Theon Greyjoy fooled most of the North by providing evidence, corpses. By burning the bodies he was able to disguise their features, about the right age, about the right height, a sickening sight that would raise little question. No one could know that the Princes of Winterfell escaped. Had Richard III presented two bodies we would now only be debating who murdered them. Yet there are many who believe the boys were not murdered at all. Historians tend to shy away from the idea as a flight of fancy and there is a tradition of deposed kings being murdered, such as Richard II and Henry VI. However it would seem far more logical to ask how we can be debating the murder of two boys when we have never been presented with a shred of evidence that they were murdered at all. Not for five centuries.

Richard III

Richard III

We have some contemporary rumours of their demise. Later writers directly accused Richard III of the murder, and William Shakespeare immortalised the idea in his play The Tragedy of Richard III. Yet we lack concrete evidence. The remains in Westminster Abbey that are alleged to be the princes were found in 1674, in the Tower at foundation level, ten feet down, under a staircase it had taken many workmen several days to dismantle. Hardly the stuff of a hasty burial. Although the remains were exhumed in 1933 for further analysis these tests have been largely disputed, while the approximate ages at the time of death may be correct we have no way of knowing if they were able to even determine the sex of the remains. The only conclusive evidence we have is that the bones belonged to children.

As to the contemporary accounts of their fate it was never officially declared the boys were dead. Richard III was never accused by Henry VII, Elizabeth of York, Margaret Beaufort or Elizabeth Woodville of having murdered Edward V and Richard Duke of York. It was not to either Richard III or Henry Tudor’s advantage to not produce a verdict, or scapegoat, for the fate of the Princes. In Richard’s case it garnered mistrust, and in Henry Tudor’s cause for rebellion. We again have no actual evidence of the alleged confession by Sir James Tyrell. Henry VII never officially declared that Tyrell had confessed, it was Sir Thomas More who would come up with this alleged confession, written forty years after the event, in a manuscript that remained unpublished during More’s lifetime after he abandoned it. And even Thomas More wrote that ‘some remain yet in doubt whether they were in [Richard’s] days destroyed or no’.

delaroche-princes

Edward V and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury by Delaroche.

The fate of the princes? It is impossible to say. But certainly not impossible that they left the Tower of London alive. Theories range from Edward V dying of illness in the tower and Richard of York then being removed and sent abroad, to both boys being spirited away from the tower after Buckingham’s rebellion and sent to Flanders. There is even a Tyrell family legend that the boys survived, staying at Gipping Hall with their mother Elizabeth Woodville “by permission of the uncle”. Even more curiously, Elizabeth Woodville drops off the map between making peace with Richard III and leaving sanctuary and the Battle of Bosworth. A long time for the Dowager Queen to go unnoticed, considering her daughters were firmly ensconced at court2 .

It is very significant indeed that so many were prepared to take the word of the pretender Perkin Warbeck, naming himself King Richard IV, the lost son of Edward IV during the reign of Henry VII. Had there been evidence of their murder, or even a general acceptance, how could Warbeck have posed as Richard Duke of York and gathered so much support?

220px-Perkin_Warbeck

Perkin Warbeck

Both Theon Greyjoy and Richard III’s names have been blackened by the accusation of murdering their kin. They are neither saints nor wholly innocent of crime. But Theon did not set out to murder Bran and Rickon, only to hold them. Richard III did not plot to murder his nephews, only to depose them. The unfortunate miller’s boys presented Theon with the opportunity to quash any hopes of rebellion. Richard III had to remove his nephews after Buckingham’s rebellion, an attempt to take the boys from the Tower of London. In the end the Lost Princes of York may have shared the same fate as the Lost Princes of Winterfell.

Literary and Literal Afterlife

The last and rather curious parallel we can draw between Theon Greyjoy and Richard III is Richard’s fictional body and Theon’s injuries at the hands of Ramsay Snow. George R.R. Martin’s description of Theon is lean, dark and handsome. Richard III was described as small of stature, rather slender and he was dark-haired. What William Shakespeare created was a monster of a villain, twisted and limping, with a hunched back and a withered arm, drawing on the superstitious prejudice against deformity of his time. By doing so he took away much of what made Richard III the man he was, a military general and a knight, and the only English king to be slain in battle defending his crown. It was a death worthy of songs and sagas. As Polydore Vergil would famously state ‘King Richard alone was killed fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies’. Even the stuffy old Crowland Chronicler would describe “For in the thick of the fight, and not in the act of flight, King Richard fell in the field, struck by many mortal wounds, as a bold and most valiant prince.”

ramsay-theon-torture

Ramsay torturing Theon. © HBO.

Shakespeare, however, was writing a morality tale and in all likelihood a political satire. We now know that Richard suffered from scoliosis but it did not necessarily affect his abilities on a horse or in battle. Theon Greoyjoy was a healthy young man, an able soldier and a womaniser, proud of his masculinity. Yet when the psychopath Ramsay Snow captures Theon, he continually injures and tortures him into submission. He flays the skin from his fingers, his toes, he breaks bones and teeth, he may even have cut off Theon’s genitals. Theon is unable to eat or even walk without pain, and Ramsay never allows him to bathe. Reek. As the real Richard III was eclipsed by Shakespeare’s twisted monster, Theon’s maimed body has swallowed his true self. The man that Theon once was is so deeply buried that Theon has forgotten him, and become Ramsay’s creature. Theon Greyjoy is still living in a nightmare of a body, not unlike the nightmare that Shakespeare created for Richard III. The monster, the creature, the villain. The Turncloak.

 


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By Olga Hughes. Olga runs the online magazine Nerdalicious with her partner C.S. Hughes. Nerdalicious is the best source of Game of Thrones and other pop culture news, including books, film, sci-fi and medieval history.


  1. Theon A Clash of Kings pg 946 []
  2. A good explanation of the Tyrell family legend can be found in Audrey, Williamson. The Mystery of The Princes Sutton 1981 []
Olga Hughes

Olga runs the online magazine Nerdalicious with her partner C.S. Hughes. Nerdalicious is the best source of Game of Thrones and other pop culture news, including books, film, sci-fi and medieval history.

25 Comments

  • Reply July 3, 2014

    Watcher on the Couch

    Your article is food for thought, Olga. I’ve remarked (on other threads and on other sites) that Shakespeare was writing during the reign of Elizabeth I (first) [and that lady was the grand-daughter of Henry Tudor later Henry VII (seventh)]. Given the amount of power a British sovereign had at that time it would hardly have been prudent to have written a play saying mean things about the sovereign’s grand-father, from whom the said sovereign gained her right to rule.

    Getting back to GoT, at the end of Series 2, I was ready for Theon to get his come-uppance. What he did to the farmer’s boys was terrible but Ramsay is hardly entitled the person to take the moral high ground, but then Ramsay (both book and TV) does not think like a normal person and in Series 3 (hadn’t read any of the ASOIAF books then), after he had been ill-treated I found that I felt sorry for Theon which I never thought would happen. (I also felt sorry for post-hand Jaime in Season 3 after having thought he was going to be one of my “love to hate” characters for the duration).

    You are right it is hard to know what happened to the Princes in the Tower. All we know is that they disappeared from history and I tend to think the worst, but believe me, I would love to be wrong and to think they escaped. There are some people who still question that the skeleton found in the car-park in Leicester last year has been substantively proven to be that of Richard III. By the way I have put the words in brackets after the Roman numerals just in case anybody visiting the site was not taught them at school. To be honest, I’m okay with 1 to 10 in Roman numerals but when the numbers get very high I have to think twice

    • Olga Hughes
      Reply July 3, 2014

      Olga Hughes

      Realistically you can question the actual scientific proof that the remains found in Leicester are Richard III’s, it is very difficult to prove beyond all doubt when they are that ancient. However all the archaeological evidence backs it up. Before the BBC ran out of Richard III news and published their recent article, Terry Breverton discussed it in his traditionalist biography of Richard last year. All the scientists he quoted also said that the archaeological evidence pointed towards it being Richard.
      The remains of the children in Westminster have never been proven to be the boys, nor will they be any time soon. I don’t think after Queen Elizabeth passes on Charles will give his permission for exhumations to start on anyone. They likely get other requests, Henry VIII being a recent one.

      There are various interpretations on their possible survival – we’ve just had a lengthy discussion over at Nerdalicious about it. But in the end the most compelling point, for me, is that everyone who knew what would have happened to them kept silent. Everyone.

      • Reply September 4, 2014

        Simeon Hockley

        Hey Olga,
        I love this site, especially the articles comparing the characters to their historical counterparts. However, I just wanted to add that the skeleton that was found in the car park is indeed, without doubt, Richard III’s. It is something that I took a great interest in, being a historian studying at the university of Leicester, and having had the good fortune to actually meet and have a conversation with the genealogist whom discovered him, it is undoubtedly him. All the evidence points towards it and there are no real weak links when all the evidence is viewed together. I personally like to think that at least on of the princes escaped, and I strongly suspect that Richard of Shrewsbury didn’t even make it to the tower, since i find it hard to believe that Elizabeth Woodville, being the women that she was, would willingly give up her second son and heir given what had already happened to his brother.

        As for Theon, I am very torn by him. Essentially, I feel that his biggest issue is that, given the situation regarding his upbringing, he is incredibly unprepared for the harsh political world of war. In this aspect, he is quite reminiscent of Richards brother George, Duke of Clarence.

        • Olga Hughes
          Reply September 4, 2014

          Olga Hughes

          Thanks for reading Simeon. David Baldwin has a great book on Richard of Shrewsbury and Richard Plantagenet ‘Lost Prince’ (if you haven’t read it already) and if you enjoy adventurous theories.

          I’m glad you met John Ashdown-Hill, he’s a lovely man. Jamie’s got an interview with him on his book on Clarence, and we’ve both done some Clarence/Theon comparisons – if you click on the Theon tag above you can have a look. I think a lot of the parallels between Theon and George are strong but I think they were on some very different situations.
          Both nineteen, I think Theon is nineteen? George actually had a far more sheltered upbringing than his brother Richard. It’s very strange that he was not given the responsibility of his own household at a younger age, I do think Edward let him down in some respects.

          • September 4, 2014

            Simeon Hockley

            Thank you, I will certainly look it up!
            I must confess, I haven’t actually met John Ashdown-Hill, although now you mention it I will attempt to arrange a meeting with him. I feel i could learn a lot. I was in fact talking about Dr Turi King.

            With regards to Clarence and Theon, you are completely right. I think that there are clearly some distinct similarities between them and yet there are some stark (pun intended!) differences. George is indeed a strange and complex case, and one that is fascinating to study. Both he and theon share many character traits, beyond the obvious betrayal. I think that perhaps the reason that Edward didn’t advance his brother was that he was never sure of where his loyalties were. Indeed Elizabeth Woodville may well have had a role in furthering the mistrust. They were however, raised in household environments. On the subject of game of thrones characters matching up to historical characters, it occurred to me that Brandon and Rickard Stark (Neds father and brother) are reflective of Richard, George and Edwards father, Richard, Duke of York? I wasn’t sure if that thought had been raised before?

          • Olga Hughes
            September 4, 2014

            Olga Hughes

            There wasn’t suspicion regarding George (that I am aware of) before he threw his lot in with Warwick. Edward wanted to use George’s marriage to his own advantage, not surprising, but for a man of nineteen to remain unmarried in those times is quite unusual. He did the same thing to Margaret actually. Later we could say Edward *remained* suspicious of George, but not from when he was a lad of eleven.

            Warwick didn’t only kill Elizabeth’s father, he killed Edward’s father-in-law who was in Edward’s inner circle. Richard Woodville had a place on Edward’s council before he became his father-in-law so even if the two men were not good friends they knew each other well. I think it is fair to say that perhaps Edward had his own feelings on the matter, along with his wife’s. But I don’t think the Woodvilles were responsible for George’s downfall, no matter how much pressure Elizabeth may have placed on Edward. There were probably a good many peers in Edward’s ear. Vergil wrote that Edward complained not one person stepped forward to speak for George during his imprisonment.

            The Duke of York and Rickard Stark is an interesting idea, I’ll ask Jamie what she thinks. I think you can draw a connection between the death of Rickard and Brandon and the death of Richard and Edmund Earl of Rutland. However I think Brandon might have more shades of Edward IV, particularly being the heir, a womaniser and a great knight. I don’t think there’s much detail on Edmund’s life at all, that’s a very sad tale too.

          • September 4, 2014

            Jamie Adair

            @Simeon Hockley, Olga – I can’t reply below your comment because this website template only supports comments 3 (?) levels deep. I’ve been really interested in Clarence for years. In fact, I find his life and fate as mysteriously intriguing as the Princes in the Tower.

            re: “On the subject of game of thrones characters matching up to historical characters, it occurred to me that Brandon and Rickard Stark (Neds father and brother) are reflective of Richard, George and Edwards father, Richard, Duke of York? I wasn’t sure if that thought had been raised before?”

            This is quite an interesting theory and certainly possible. I think GRRM repeats certain patterns over and over again. E.g., the Princes in the Tower appear as a motif at least four times (when Bran meets his “downfall” from/in a Tower when Jaime pushes him, when Tyrion is falsely accused (like R3) of killing two Princes in the Tower: Bran & Joffrey, when Tyrion is trapped in the skycell (he is a prince in a tower) and when Jaime helps him escape from the dungeon – it is like the theory the princes escape, etc. etc.

            I tend to think of Ned as being somewhat like Richard of York. But, come to think of it Rickard = Richard also fits. The pattern of Richard of York’s death (very indirectly) at the hand’s of a mad king(‘s forces) at the same time as his son Edmund repeats itself with Rickard and Brandon being killed by the mad King Aerys.

            This is a great observation — thanks for sharing it!!

  • Reply July 3, 2014

    Watcher on the Couch

    Edit: “entitled the person to take moral high ground” does not make sense in my post above. I should have said something like “Ramsay is not such a paragon of virtue that he can take the moral high ground”. While I’m here, I found the TV torturing of Theon hard going and sometimes put my hand in front of my face then; whereas the book torturing is revealed in retrospect and the “most unkindest cut of all” is implied rather than stated flat out. It’s true though that bad as the chasing of the girl by Ramsay and his dogs was on TV, the book version of what Ramsay does with girls is worse. TV Ramsay is better looking too.

    • Olga Hughes
      Reply July 3, 2014

      Olga Hughes

      TV-Ramsay is far too good looking for the character I think. The problem is there that it can elicit a little more sympathy when the character is in certain situations. Iwan plays him very well too, and (rather unfortunately) has much boyish charm.
      In some cases you might start to feel a little sympathetic that he is illegitimate and Roose wont recognise him as his son legally. Of course this is not a terrible thing but then I am not sure if they are going to tell us in the series what we know about Ramsay in the book and what he would do to secure his position – can’t post spoilers of course.

  • Reply July 3, 2014

    Jun

    Excellent analysis, Olga! Poor Theon. I am still shocked that I pity him, too.

    • Olga Hughes
      Reply July 3, 2014

      Olga Hughes

      I think George has kept him around for a reason. You know at one of his talks last year someone asked him who he would prefer as a son, Theon or Joffrey and he looked either uncomfortable or annoyed (I couldn’t quite tell). But he didn’t answer directly either. I just don’t think he is supposed to be a straightforward villain, although I know I would really enjoy it if he redeemed himself by killing Ramsay.

      • Reply July 4, 2014

        Jun

        I think it’s unlikely that Theon will get the chance to kill Ramsay, as Martin never does anything in a straightforward way. Without giving out any spoilers for Book 5, Theon’s story line fits into the overarching themes of identity and slavery, ie, “Who am I, really?” and “Why should one person do another’s bidding?”

        • Olga Hughes
          Reply July 4, 2014

          Olga Hughes

          Oh yes I admit is is wishful thinking on my part 🙂

  • Reply July 4, 2014

    Martine

    This is incredibly interesting and brilliantly written Olga, as always.
    When it comes to the Shakespeare ‘portrayal’ of Richard III, I’m always drawn to the contemporary issues around the time of his writing. I’m just adding in speculation here and have no authority on this subject, but Shakespeare wrote this within a period of a particular turbulence and intrigue- the issue of the succession of the English throne, post Elizabeth the 1st. Obviously Elizabeth was alive and ruling at the time of the play’s writing- which is believed to be around 1592- but she was almost 60 years of age and had reigned for 33 years.
    Not to digress too far into Tudor history here, or to delve into the byzantine moves involved in the succession issue, but one of the key figures in the matter of who would succeed the childless Tudor monarch was Elizabeth’s chief minister, Robert Cecil ( son of William Cecil, who’d also been the stalwart of Elizabeth ).

    Robert Cecil was a man who suffered from Kyphosis- a condition known as a ‘hunchback’.

    This condition is completely distinct from Scoliosis, which we know to be Richard III’s actual physical condition and one which would probably not have been known or visible to many. I thoroughly dislike the term ‘hunchback’- but that is how English subjects who had seen or heard of Robert Cecil would have referred to him. Robert Cecil was highly unpopular with some of the factions in the ageing Elizabeth’s court. Cecil, using his vast spy network, was in secret negotiations with James VI of Scotland over the English crown. There was also an increase in the repression and interrogation of Catholic subjects during this time. It is an oft repeated rumour that Shakespeare himself had strong Catholic sympathies.

    Add in the already established Tudor propaganda used against the House of York and Richard III in particular, in order to establish their own ‘legitimacy’ as a dynasty. Tinge this with a strong possibility that Shakespeare’s had his own ‘hidden; political message about Robert Cecil, and the Royal succession. We then have the background and ingredients for one of the most perfect character assassinations of all time. It’s an interesting point to speculate on who was it really aimed against.
    As that old, old saying goes, history is written by the victors ………… and those with a political agenda.

    • Olga Hughes
      Reply July 4, 2014

      Olga Hughes

      Thank you Martine, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I fully agree with the Cecil theory, and like you not in the Oxfordian Shakespeare sense either. It is very likely that Shakespeare was using Richard III as an allegorical figure. I think one of the strongest indications of this is the (judicial) murder of George Duke of Clarence being assigned to Richard rather than Edward IV and the exaggeration of his physical deformities. Some of this may have been tact of course, Elizabeth like her father was proud of her York ancestry and the play shows Edward in a better light. But everyone would have known, or it was at least chronicled, what actually happened. And no one made much comment on Richard’s scoliosis in his lifetime. I wrote an article touching on this recently, Edward VI may also have suffered from scoliosis and in Leanda de Lisle’s book Tudor she writes that she thinks it may have been hereditary. And Mary Grey, Jane Grey’s youngest sister suffered from actual kyphosis, and there are contemporary nasty comments about her appearance.
      Some of my readers took this to mean that the Tudor’s tried to ‘hide’ Edward’s condition but in my opinion in indicates that scoliosis may have been, comparatively, as common as it is now, and no-one commented on it because it was not particularly unusual. The only reason we have a record of it in Edward VI’s case is a letter from one of the Imperial ambassador’s describing the symptoms and how he thought the compression of the lungs was worsening Edward’s condition as he was dying.

  • Reply July 4, 2014

    Watcher on the Couch

    Martine and Olga. I have to be honest and say I had never thought about Shakespeare’s portrayal of Richard III as being a coded depiction of an other person besides Richard. I had (as stated in my earlier post) thought it might be a case of acting in a manner similar to the Scots children’s song “Ye cannae throw your granny off a bus” which goes (Martine you probably know this better than me as you lived in Scotland for a time):- “Oh ye cannae throw your granny off a bus [twice] Oh ye cannae throw your granny, ‘Cause she’s your mammy’s mammy, Oh ye cannae throw your granny off a bus” e.g. Good old Bill could hardly say “My Queen, your grand-papa usurped the throne……………..” But there is much logic in both your posts.

    Nobody can foretell the future in real life (though one can speculate on a likely outcome for events) but I would not be surprised if the present Queen has “a good innings” regarding her life span, like her mother who lived to be over 100 so who knows when Charles will become king. I think Olga is right when she states he is unlikely to let anybody get their maulers on “them bones”.

    • Reply July 4, 2014

      Jun

      I have always thought along the same line. Shakespeare was very aware of the party line, as most writers did. Political censorship was strict and paranoid (perhaps rightly so given the conflicts), and he was not known for subversive tendencies. Christopher Marlowe was arrested for his writing and later was stabbed to death.

    • Reply July 4, 2014

      Martine

      Hi Olga- I truly did enjoy it! I absolutely love ‘Nerdalicious – the site and the articles are always fantastic- and it’s great when you guest here, too.
      Thank you for that! I do tend to lean a little towards an ‘Oxfordian’ tendency, but I shan’t digress. 🙂 Yes, I agree with you. I genuinely feel that there’s a lot in an ‘allegorical’ take on Shakespeare’s R III.
      I was also fascinated by what you say here and have said in earlier articles about the various physical conditions of individuals in both the Plantagenet and Tudor lines.

      • Olga Hughes
        Reply July 4, 2014

        Olga Hughes

        Aha! An Oxfordian. I personally think it is blatantly obvious that it is a satire, the first time I saw The Tragedy of Richard III that is what I assumed it was and basically it left no particular impression of the actual Richard III on me.
        And thanks so much for the compliments, it’s lovely to hear them.

    • Olga Hughes
      Reply July 4, 2014

      Olga Hughes

      Watcher – in the end even if they do test them there is no way to find out who murdered them is there? I don’t think there is much point to be honest, I am perfectly comfortable assuming they are not the remains of the boys. The archaeological evidence is not sound, even if Thomas More said they were buried under the stairs he also said they were then dug up and taken elsewhere and buried secretly. They have found other remains on Tower grounds when they drained the moat if I recall correctly. It might be a coincidence but ten feet down in the 17th century is far too deep for a hasty burial in the middle of the night. Look how close Richard’s remains were to the surface when they found him.
      There’s quite a bit online on the Cecil theory Watcher, definitely worth a read.

  • Reply July 4, 2014

    Martine

    @Watcher- I think that particular ‘Granny’ is unlikely to concede an INCH of space on her ‘bus’ – let alone be thrown off it, and is certainly providing ‘no room at the inn’ when it comes to Westminster Abbey or St. George’s Chapel for any former monarchs.
    I did rather chuckle at seeing Her Maj pictured next to the Iron Throne last week on her visit to the GoT set.

    @Jun- oh yes, Shakespeare knew all too well how to butter his bread and save his head. As for Kit Marlowe- he preferred to play far more dangerous games. Hence his eye watering demise in a Deptford tavern. More perhaps to do with his undercover activities than his writing, though.

    On an unrelated note ( but connected with espionage in the Elizabethan court) I always find it amusing that Dr John Dee always referred to himself under the secret codename ‘007’ when dealing or corresponding with Elizabeth 1st.

  • Reply July 4, 2014

    WATCHER ON THE COUCH

    That info about Dr Dee is interesting, Martine. Did Ian Fleming know this and choose James Bond’s number accordingly?

    I quite like the radio and sometimes listen to Radio 4 Extra’s crime dramas. There are some ‘oldie goldies’ like Paul Temple. Dated, but I like them. There was a series not long ago about Kit Marlowe and his undercover work (fictional and not pretending to be anything else). Back in the day one of my English teachers said she reckoned Marlowe might have become as renowned as Shakespeare, had he lived longer. Strangely, by the association of ideas I thought of Dennis Spicer, a gifted ventriloquist from my youth, (says she revealing how long she’s been on the planet) who was a great hit at the 1964 Royal Command Performance but died in a road traffic accident aged 28 not long afterwards. According to what I found on Google one of his dummies was played by the actor who later played R2D2 in “Star Wars” but haven’t been able to establish if that’s true or not. (Apparently the story of the old kids’ TV cartoon “Captain Pugwash” having two characters called Seaman Stains and Master Bates is quite false). That was off-topic but D Spicer was another case of a talented person dying before his time – like Kit Marlowe. Thinking of Radio 4 Extra, Anton Lessor (Qyburn) sometimes pops up as ancient Roman detective Marcus Didius Falco there – playing a much nicer character than Qyburn.

  • Reply July 10, 2014

    Martine

    What a fascinating almost ‘stream of consciousness’ post, Watcher!
    I like the tale of the ventriloquist’s dummy- spouting the words of the one who is really producing the language. There may be lots of Shakespearian alternative theorists positively rubbing their hands with glee at that image……(wink)

  • […] the latest installment of  the Princes in the Tower series. It picks up on a theme in an article Olga Hughes wrote that discusses how Martin plays with the idea of the princes' missing […]

  • […] the latest installment of  the Princes in the Tower series. It picks up on a theme in an article Olga Hughes wrote that discusses how Martin plays with the idea of the princes' missing […]

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