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Echo of the Past documents my journey in rediscovering my roots after my last computer was destroyed and I lost the 10,000 names on my family tree.

I'm an ethnic mutt. My background is varied and the world is small; it's likely that my research will help somebody, somewhere, so please feel free to use me as a source if need be.

Feedback is more than welcome, and I read any and all comments I get. I'm also up for trading links. If you're interested, email me at: PrettySiren@gmail.com with "link request" as the subject line. (Genealogy and history sites/blogs only please.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Tudors and The Bells: Is it Fair to Take Liberties with Historical People's Lives for the Sake of Entertainment?

Has anyone ever watched The Tudors? 'Cause I have been lately. And I got to say, the show, entertainment-wise, is phenomenal. As for the historical accuracy, some things are very spot-on, such as their portrayal of Sir Thomas More in the early part of the first season. I can't testify to later portrayals of his character, as that's as far as I've gotten in the series. But the rest? Some inaccurate stuff is bothering me, such as the melding of Margaret and Mary Tudor (called Margaret on the show, the king's sister).

This annoys me greatly, because I'm a direct descendant of Margaret Tudor. She and Mary were separate people and it was Mary who married Brandon, not Margaret. And Mary wasn't the queen of Portugal, but the queen of France. (She was married to Francis' father, Louis. Margaret, in fact, was married to the Scottish king.) Furthermore, Margaret/Mary didn't kill her husband.

I understand that for the sake of entertainment, it's almost completely impossible not to take some liberties. But at what price? Is it fair to slander someone who's too dead to defend themselves?

Take my relation, John Bell, for instance. In the movie, An American Haunting, he's portrayed as an incestuous daughter-raper. If he was a daughter-raper, I would know about it, being a rather close relation. To go further still, his wife Lucy, in the extend/unrated version (whatever, I'm not sure, so don't quote me -- it could've been in the main film shown in theaters, but I don't remember it) is shown to have killed him. This did not happen. No one knows exactly what killed him, but I'm certain it wasn't his wife. There was a lot of interest in the Bells at the time. If she had done it, she would've been caught and prosecuted.

Again, is it fair to label John Bell a daughter-raper and Lucy Bell a murderess when they, like Margaret Tudor, are too dead to defend themselves? Those who think it's fine to do so would probably use the argument that it's all in good fun, for entertainment purposes, but what's the price? After all, these people have real, living relatives and descendants. Is it fair to tarnish our family -- my family -- like this? Remember: the majority of people watching this show and this movie thoroughly think that what they are watching are accurate portrayals of what really happened. Is it fair to purport ridiculous things for the sake of good viewing?

Don't get me wrong. I absolutely enjoy The Tudors and An American Haunting. I think the storytelling, acting, and direction is phenomenal. I enjoy it even more when I remember it's all in good fun. But still, there's always that nagging voice in the back of my mind that can't help but be offended when faced with made-up events that put my relatives in a less-than-stellar light.

1 comment:

Norman Rogers said...

I have the first two seasons, and they're just sitting there. I know that, once I crack them open, I'll be addicted. I'm just trying to stave off the inevitable...