Sunday, June 14, 2009

Question from Elizabeth W. - Henry's rape of Anne in "The Other Boelyn Girl"

Looking for a little clarity for an assignment... After viewing the newest version of Philipa Gregory's movie version of "The Other Boleyn Girl" I was struck by the the scene that depicted King Henry raping Anne Bolyen, is this at all historically accurate (I cannot recall the book mentioning this, although it could have) is there any informtion on this issue? I am in my 30's and am writing a paper for my undergrad. History class, assigned to watch the film and pull fact from fiction. Please excuse all errors! Thank you for your time.

[Note - for other threads related to this book and film, just put "Other Boleyn Girl" into the search box to the left, since there has already been a lot of discussion on it]

13 comments:

Vanessa said...

I don't think this is historically accurate. There are no other mentions of Henry ever raping Anne in any sources.Hope that helps!

Liz said...

As far as I can remember, thought it has been awhile since I've read the book, the rape isn't even in the book.

The movie version is very different from the book. The book is entirely from Mary Boelyn's point of view and doesn't depict anything that Mary herself doesn't see or hear.

Rachael W said...

I think that the Other Boleyn Girl rape scene was blatantly pilfered from the 'Henry VIII' TV drama starring Ray Winstone and Helena Bonham Carter.

In my opinion, this sort of violent action is highly out of sync with Henry's bahviour - he saw himself as a chivalrous knight and was respectful of women. Anne's virginity was such a prize to him that I think it's next to impossible that he should take it in such a violent way. The writers who have included the rape scenes have, I think, fundamentally misunderstood Henry's character.

Rachael W said...

I think that the Other Boleyn Girl rape scene was blatantly pilfered from the 'Henry VIII' TV drama starring Ray Winstone and Helena Bonham Carter.

In my opinion, this sort of violent action is highly out of sync with Henry's behaviour - he saw himself as a chivalrous knight and was respectful of women. Anne's virginity was such a prize to him that I think it's next to impossible that he should take it in such a violent way. The writers who have included the rape scenes have, I think, fundamentally misunderstood Henry's character.

Luv said...

There is no reports of Henry VIII ever raping Anne,and it wasn't known to be a part of his character to do so. However, even if Henry VIII did rape Anne, it would have gone unreported, since Anne was betrothed to Henry VIII . In that Era it wasn't consider rape if the person who was rape was a wife, or a girlfriend. However, I have seen a rape scene in other pbs shows about Henry VIII. I think the reason why some writers add a rape scene is to show the underline evilness of a character,and to show how bad the women were treated in that time period. Plus, a lot of history writers are still puzzle that Anne would give in to Henry VIII without the benefit of marriage, when she had keep him at arm length for so long. why would she risk having her baby being born a bastard?

Elizabeth S. said...

If that scene wasn't in the film, I would concider buying it.

Henry was a romantic, and he was gentle with women. The idea that he would force himself on women is ridiculous.

Gareth Russell said...

Well, Elizabeth S., I wouldn't go too far with the word "gentle." He did murder two of them, threatened to murder another one, refused to say farewell to another after a life of twenty years together and used the murder of wife number two as a distinctly unchivalrous way in which to prevent wifey number three from voicing any opinions of her own.

In terms of pulling facts from "The Other Boleyn Girl," good luck! It might be as quick to say - that there were in fact people who once upon a time lived called Henry VIII, Mary Boleyn-Carey-Stafford, Anne Boleyn and George, viscount Rochford. And that characters with these names also appear in "The Other Boleyn Girl." That seems about the end of the similarities with history, I'm sorry to say.

Gareth Russell said...

Oh, and people are right about the rape scene being absconded from the PBS/ITV1 biopic "Henry VIII" with Ray Winstone and Helena Bonham-Carter. The two productions were both written by the same man, Peter Morgan, and there's a fair amount of cross-over on occasions. Although in the PBS/ITV show, the rape occurs several years into their marriage and is a sign of its irretrievable breakdown, whereas in "The Other Boleyn Girl" it happens before the wedding Mass. Despite being written by the same person, the two shows' contrasting portrayals of Anne Boleyn are significantly different - in "Henry VIII," she is shown as being articulate, independent, clever and occasionally sentimental. In "The Other Boleyn Girl," shrill, manipulative, amoral and ruthlessly self-obsessed.

Anonymous said...

The movie depicts Henry the way he acted, I believe the movie defines him as a very overbearing man because of all his lovers however Anne knew what she was doing thus the rape scene is kinda showing us that even if you get what you've deceived others to get then it only backfires on you.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what you've done. Rape isn't because something you did is "backfiring." Rape is something that happens when the rapist is a sick bastard.

Candace said...

An old thread, but just wanted to add a few points. As Gareth said, he was hardly "gentle"... but then again, in his day, he was actually quite a popular king, and to the end of his life, remained so. It's only in recent years that Henry has become known as a bloated, obese, wife-beheading tyrant, but the thing to remember in order to understand his character is that if you didn't anger him, he could be very charming and loving, but when you incurred his wrath, the consequences could be and often were devastating. He often was, or believed he was, still the greatest, most handsome and chivalrous prince in Christendom, and it showed in his behavior.

I do agree that he never would have raped Anne Boleyn, or at least before they were married; Henry often did monstrous things, but always had some sort of "moral" justification for his actions, i.e. he claimed that his marriage to Katherine of Aragon was "accursed" and angering his God, and he was justified therefore in annulling it and bastardizing Mary; he believed that God had shown his disfavor on his marriage to Anne in her final miscarriage and therefore, he was justified in getting rid of her as well, etc. He wouldn't have been able to justify forcing himself on her before they were married, because it wasn't what a chivalrous knight would do. After they were married is a different story, because a husband owned his wife and had complete and utter control over her (something that would be the downfall of their marriage later on).

Lori Stevens said...

Middle names weren't used in England until the 18th or 19th centuries, although on the Continent they were starting to be used in the Elizabethan era. I just researched this for my Faire character, a paid companion to a noble woman in the Queens court.

Lori Stevens said...

Oh and FYI, don't use 'The Other Boleyn Girl' or 'The Tudors' for research on either the history of Henry VIII or the clothing of the day. They weren't going for accuracy in either production. The costumes in 'Wolf Hall' were the worst of all! The French hoods all appeared to have shrunk in the wash!!! The sets were actual historical buildings which make the costumes look all the more awful!!!