aella_irene: (prague: angel)
[personal profile] aella_irene
I went to see [personal profile] ankaret this weekend. She greeted me with "I started watching a bonkers documentary on the Stuarts, and ten minutes in, I thought "I need to subject Aella to this."

So she did. Seven minutes in, we decided a liveblog was required.

We are seven minutes in. So far, we have concluded that:
1) Many of Mary Queen of Scots’ peculiarities can be explained by alien abduction,
2) There is a conspiracy of evil horses going on, and there has been for some time. ([personal profile] ankaret: “When he said ‘my horse, my horse, my kingdom for a horse’ what he meant was ‘I’ve lost the horse vote and now I’m doomed!’")

Also, Claire Jackson has located a portrait of James I which looks unreasonably like James McAvoy. This is an improvement of the picture of him as a child in which he looked like a Grey.


[personal profile] ankaret: “Oh no. He was a Scottish king. He used Scottish words. The horses are suspicious.”

Those who wanted to know what James was like as King had something to judge other than his clothes or his accent…

*camera is paying far more attention to the lights than to Claire Jackson*

[personal profile] ankaret: “His interior decorating? Are they about to reveal that Anne of Denmark was secretly Kirstie Allsop? Is this where Mary II got her passion for redecorating?”

[personal profile] aella_irene: “…I would have judged his taste in boyfriends, personally.”

Advice between a father and his son

[personal profile] ankaret “Secretly, it’s advice between a father and his horse.”

A philosopher king, from which his subjects would have nothing to fear

[personal profile] aella_irene: Unless they were witches.

The tyrant rules illegally…is insecure and violent

[personal profile] ankaret: So, like Charles I then.

James I did not object to religious extremism. It was his raison d’etre.

“First to fully confront the religious tensions brought about by the Protestant reformation!”


Some Protestant fanatics would openly challenge James’ authority.

[personal profile] ankaret: People had been challenging his authority since he was born! His guardians used to lock him in a cupboard!...why is there a suspicious wheelchair?”

The reformation brought the Scots one political gift…England.

[personal profile] ankaret and [personal profile] aella_irene: *inarticulate strangling noises*

“If you are able to decode it, the ceiling here in the Royal Apartments at Stirling Castle explains why James VI and I had a right to the English throne”

[personal profile] ankaret: “They intermarried a few generations ago. It’s not the Da Vinci Code!”

Just before this, we had watched a Horrible Histories where a po-faced researcher explained to a King that he was of royal blood. THIS IS A BIT LIKE THAT.

[personal profile] aella_irene: “The horses… you think they could secretly be Scottish unicorns?... you realise we’re only eleven minutes in to this?”

[personal profile] ankaret: “She’s going to explain the occult secret of how the Tudors are related to the Stuarts. Ssh.”

She did.

“Unique descent from both Tudor and Stuart blood.”

[personal profile] aella_irene and [personal profile] ankaret: Unique?

The Stuart bloodline went from strength to strength…

[personal profile] aella_irene: “James V’s first wife died of TB. His second wife provided two sons, who died as babies, and a girl, and when he was told about the girl, he said ‘it came wi’ a lass, and will gang wi’ a lass’, and then died of sheer annoyance. THIS IS NOT GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH.”

[personal profile] ankaret: “There were a lot of bastards hanging around!”

THE EVIL HORSES HAVE INFILTRATED THE CORONATION. [personal profile] ankaret: No, wait, not the coronation, the Grand Entry.

[personal profile] aella_irene: Also, at the start of his reign, they weren’t searching the cellars for gunpowder yet.

James’s family, the Stuarts, would be the country’s only rightful rulers

[personal profile] ankaret: “And yet as soon as she says that, the horses come into shot!”

We watch the State Opening of Parliament. More evil horses appear.

“James was a propagandist, a novelty after decades of taciturn Tudor rule.”

ELIZABETH I. End of her reign was a complete and utter disaster, but by God, she’s Gloriana!

“Surely it made sense that one island should be one country.”

[personal profile] aella_irene: Tell that to Cyprus!

[personal profile] ankaret: Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea!”


[personal profile] ankaret: England, my dear wife and child…he wrote letters to his boyfriends addressing them as ‘my dear child and wife!’

(At this point, we broke for lunch. While at lunch, we concluded that the horses were in the pay of Bess of Hardwick. We then returned, fortified with ratafia.)

The MPs set up a commission!

[personal profile] ankaret: “That’s a lot of bicycles. Do you reckon the real war is bicycles versus horses?”

Point to Dr Jackson for being sarky about the equality of England and Scotland on flags!

“You conquerers, they as conquered”

[personal profile] aella_irene: That must have gone down well.

“But still the Parliament refused…”

CUT TO ominous shot of horses.

“Ireland was different”


“England’s kings and queens had a troubled past in Ireland.”

[personal profile] ankaret: “NO SHIT!”

“…they hoped things might be different under James”

[personal profile] ankaret: “Lots of people hoped things might be different under James. Including the Catholics, and look how that turned out!”


The earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel dramatically took flight… it would dramatically change the course of history.

[personal profile] ankaret: We should have set up a count for how many times she says ‘dramatically’

[personal profile] aella_irene: I’m surprised the locals didn’t drown her in the harbour when they heard the crap she was spouting.

James set up a scheme to send loyal citizens from his other two kingdoms to live in Ireland…

[personal profile] aella_irene: UH-HUH. We should probably also set up a count whenever we are driven to more alcohol.


The Plantation is described rather as if it were an Outward Bound trip for keen young Englishmen and Lowland Scots.

“The land was also used by the native Irish people.”

[personal profile] aella_irene: “No, REALLY?


“In the darkest, most impenetrable part of the Gaelic North…”

[personal profile] ankaret: *has no words*

[personal profile] aella_irene: *is downing ratafia like a soused Regency matron*

James brings in the Livery Companies as investors. Gentleman from The Honourable The Irish Society; “There were a lot of attractions and some of them may even have been true.

[personal profile] ankaret, personally, believes that James had misunderstood the meaning of the word livery and was trying to get the horses on side.

[personal profile] aella_irene: “You know, I’m reading a book on the Hapsburgs. They are a brief refuge of sanity compared to this, and I’m at the bit where Leopold is marrying his niece.”

“James had planted an idea. An idea…of loyalty.”

[personal profile] aella_irene: They HAD Loyalty! It just wasn’t to him!”

The Country was full of optimism.

[personal profile] ankaret: “Yep. So much optimism, in the run up to the gunpowder plot.”

“Henry doing lots of doodles with his fountain pen.”

[personal profile] aella_irene: Um.

[personal profile] ankaret: “Right. Henry, Prince of Wales and time traveller!”

Claire Jackson is AMAZED that someone gave Henry some armour, and says that we now know what he would have looked like.

[personal profile] ankaret: “He’d have looked like a fourteen year old in some armour.”

[personal profile] aella_irene: *refills glass*

Portrait of teenage Henry

[personal profile] ankaret: “Well, now he looks worryingly like Orlando Bloom.”

[personal profile] aella_irene: “Maybe he’ll punch Justin Bieber. That’s what the armour’s for.”

Henry declines and dies despite split pigeons being applied to his feet.(OMINOUS AXE FALLS UPON PIGEON) [personal profile] aella_irene tells an affecting anecdote of how his little brother, the future Charles I, attempted to cheer him by giving him a statue of a horse that had recently arrived from Italy.

[personal profile] ankaret: “A HORSE, HUH?”

35 minutes in, and someone has finally mentioned Anne of Denmark. As ‘Anna’, but oh well.

Footage of the skeleton of a child with rickets. Baby Charles was put in leg irons to help him walk, and nearly had the tendons under his tongue cut to cure his stammer. How could he possibly be King in an age of rhetoric if he couldn’t speak properly?

[personal profile] ankaret: “So, totally unlike his father, then. What with the reports of James’s tongue being too big for his mouth and all.”

[personal profile] aella_irene: “At least we’re more than half way through! Nearly three-quarters!”

[personal profile] ankaret: LOOK OF WORDLESS DESPAIR

[personal profile] aella_irene: supplies self with more ratafia.

*footage of royal weddings, including horses, and Fergie*

When parliament convened to debate the marriage of Charles to the Spanish Infanta and her Hapsburg jaw, where was James? At Newmarket.

[personal profile] ankaret: HORSES!!

They’re trying to make Charles look imposing. It isn’t working.

James and Charles are hatching a daring plan for Charles to go to Spain. CUT TO HORSE.

Over footage of a horse slowly chewing some hay: “Charles readied his sword, put on a false beard, and set off for Spain in disguise.”

[personal profile] aella_irene: “A false beard would totally fool everyone. It worked in Allo Allo!”

“You didn’t just drop in on the Habsburgs”

[personal profile] aella_irene: “Fair”




Ominous focus on El Escorial.

“Felipe ruled with the help of a small group of advisors, without the help of Parliament.”

[personal profile] ankaret: Citation needed.

[personal profile] aella_irene: Somewhere, my A-Level history teacher is crying, and doesn’t know why. Sorry, Miss.

In a field of ominous cows, Charles agrees to all the Spanish demands and then promptly reneges on them. Pan up a portrait of Charles. If he didn’t return from Spain with a bride, what did he return with?

[personal profile] ankaret: “New clothes sense, apparently.”


[personal profile] aella_irene: “Philip was ruling five countries at once, each with a separate Cortes. He didn’t have one or even three parliaments to deal with. He had five!”(Note: [personal profile] aella_irene is drunk, and is trying to remember A-Level history.)

“As a Spanish Emperor..”

[personal profile] aella_irene: “No! He was a King, the Austrian branches got the Empire. This is basic!”

[personal profile] ankaret: You know, earlier today I dressed my kitten up as a bee, and that made more sense than this.”



The Scots are discombobulated by Charles’s ‘ceremonial style’

[personal profile] ankaret: “Why is his ceremonial style illustrated by a lingering shot of sporrans?”


“Charles was an instinctive authoritarian.”

[personal profile] aella_irene: “Well, that’s one way of putting ‘wilful git’.”



Pause as [personal profile] aella_irene’s cursor disappears.

[personal profile] ankaret: “Even the cursor wants nothing to do with this.”

Gbhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh says Sherlock, [personal profile] ankaret’s kitten.

[personal profile] ankaret: “And that still makes more sense than this show.”


*pause as [personal profile] ankaret tries to convince [personal profile] aella_irene that she just has one kitten, and [personal profile] aella_irene is just very drunk*

[personal profile] ankaret: “Does this lady have a raging crush on James VI and I, or what?”

We’re back at the ominous horses of Berwick.

“The Three kingdoms had been united in their loyalty to their king—“

Tell that to the Earls of Tyrconnel and Tyrone, sez [personal profile] ankaret.

[personal profile] ankaret: Next time: the Sealed Knot.
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