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Hear Me Out: Why I’ll be Watching CW’s Reign

Hear Me Out: Why I’ll be Watching CW’s Reign
  • On October 17, 2013

I know, I know.  A period drama on the CW?  Sounds like a horrible idea that will be (or should be) cancelled immediately.  But I will be watching and I am not even the slightest bit ashamed.  First, if you are for some reason unfamiliar with a show that hasn’t premiered yet, here is the trailer.

So what we have is Mary, Queen of Scots and her early years struggling to choose between the Dauphin (heir) of France, Francis (HA! Francis of France) and a fictional bastard named Bash (it IS the CW and ridiculous names are required).  But let’s place Mary in historical context, shall we?

But first, a family tree made out of post its:


Mary, Queen of Scots within the other bit of historical fiction from that era, The Tudors

Mary, Queen of Scots was the granddaughter of James V of Scotland and Margaret Tudor.  Margaret Tudor was Henry VIII’s sister, which makes Mary, Queen of Scots (Or as I like to call her, MQS) the second cousin of Elizabeth I.  If you watched The Tudors,  you’ll remember Henry’s sister Margaret.  Remember how she got sent to marry the elderly king of Portugal and then she killed him?  And then she married Superman?  And then showed up in Miami and like to blow things up?  While all that kind of happened (well that last one might have been Burn Notice), but it was really Henry’s other sister Mary.  Margaret’s story wasn’t actually in the show, poor gal.  Margaret married the Scottish King because royal children not destined for the throne of their home country are only good for marriage alliances with other powers of the day.

But through her grandmother, MQS has a legit claim to the English throne when Henry VIII’s only Catholic child (Mary I) dies.  See, Henry VIII’s penis decided to start Protestantism in England.  OK, it is a little more complicated than that but anyway, Henry’s reign saw a religious reformation.  There was all the hemming and hawing from the Pope and poor old Cardinal Wolesy couldn’t get Henry his divorce from Catharine of Aragon so he could marry Margaery Tyrell Anne Boleyn. But then his daughter Mary (Or Bloody Mary as she would be called) took power and as a staunch Catholic, all hell broke loose.  Then SHE died and protestant Elizabeth I took power.  By this time, there had been decades where people just do not know what to call themselves.  If they are Catholic, they get killed. If they are Protestant, they get killed.  I mean, I would just be like “Hey I believe is God, is that cool?” and called it a day.  So protestant Elizabeth takes power and she’s all “Hey guys, everyone just be cool.  Don’t be crazy and we’ll all figure this shit out.”  Most people were like, “Yeah, can’t we just maybe not kill each other?”  Some, however, didn’t want a Protestant Queen (they honestly probably didn’t want a queen at all, but all the Tudor kids had problems with producing males).  So who is a Catholic that has a claim to the throne?  Why, Mary, Queen of Scots!

This didn’t really work out for MQS.  There were several plots to assassinate Elizabeth and put Mary on the throne, but Elizabeth had been through a lot too.  Chello- her mom was Anne Boleyn and she spent her childhood with her father constantly changing his mind if he claimed her or not.  Can you imagine?  One day, you are a Princess, the next you are a bastard.  Oh, and you are three years old when this happens.  So Elizabeth was all “OH HELL NO” and put MQS in prison.  There is some evidence Mary was involved in one plot but it was mostly people just acting in her name without her permission.   MQS was in prison 20 years before Elizabeth finally executed her.  Cue Debbie Downer wah wahhhhhs.  But there is some good news.  Mary’s son, James becomes King of England and Scotland upon Elizabeth’s death so…yay?

But MQS had a lot going on before trying to claim the English Throne

Mary came into the world just as her father, King James VI went out of it.  She was only a few days old when he died and left her Queen.  As is the case with most infant monarchs, the country was run by regents until she was old enough.  Think Game of Thrones- If Joffrey had been a bit younger when Robert died, Cercei (or rather, Tywin and probably Jamie) would rule in his place until he was old enough.  Marriage negotiations for Mary began immediately, which is such a weird job.  “Hey, how about your baby and my baby get married in 10-15 years?”  Henry VIII wanted her to marry his son, Edward.  Charles II of France wanted her to marry his son Francis. [SPOILER ALERT 500 YEARS LATER] Since the French were Catholics, they won!  Hurray!  So little 5-year-old (!) Mary was sent to France to be raised in court as the future Queen Consort of France.  She and Francis were married with Mary was 16 and lived happily never after.  They were only married for about 2 years before he died.  That’s honestly like spending your whole life being raised by wolves only to be discovered by humans.  All your life plans just went right out the window.

The show will apparently follow this relationship between Mary and Francis.  And because it’s the CW, they have to throw in another dude to make a love triangle.  Who will she pick?!  I mean, they honestly could have made it another real life monarch or nobleman, but that would be too hard.  And this whole thing is basically history fan fiction anyway.

And now, the burning question on everyone’s mind…Yes, there will be sex

I think what most of us think about when we think of fan fiction is all the sex and violence.  And apparently, Reign is no different.  The Tudors, being on Showtime did not shy away from showing all the raunchiness that came with Henry VIII’s sexual appetite.  Though Reign is on the CW, it apparently doesn’t much shy away from sex either.  I have to say ‘much’ because they recently had to trim down a masturbation scene.  But that they still have a masturbation scene is my point.  Also beheadings so yay violence!

Reign premieres on the CW Thursday and I’m looking forward to every cheesy, soapy minute of it.

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