For all French readers, la critique sanglante en français est déja faite ici , et c’est très drôle !
Mary Stuart, Mary of Guise’s only daughter, is still very popular today – and a figure so far from her historic self that comparison isn’t reasonable. But let’s try to get some of this stuff right.
The new TV serie Reign from CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television transformes Francis, who is a four-year old child when Mary Queen of Scots comes to France in 1548, into the « French king’s dashing son, Prince Francis » who « has a history with a lady of the court and his own point of view on the wisdom of an alliance with Scotland« . Quite precocious, this young Frenchy – but these days, one needs sex on TV, and so the boy becomes a young men. The mariage contract between the two children, which was signed before Mary Stewart left Scotland at the age of five (in real history), is not signed yet in Reign. Now here comes « Francis’ handsome, roguish half brother, who has a history of his own ─ despite his illegitimate birth, Bash is his father’s favorite« . I have never heard of this one, and I dare say Bash is not a very French name. They could at least have opted for Henry or Louis. And houzza ! Here she comes, the evil Italian queen Catherine de’ Medici and her freak magician friend Nostradamus, who tells her that the horrible young witch from Scotland will cost her son Francis his life. What does she do, being a bloodthirsty monster ? « Catherine is determined to save her son, no matter how many others have to pay with their lives« . Yeah, kill ’em all.
There is more gore : conspiracy, sabotage, dark forces, ghosts, shrouded figures and – évidemment – buckets of blood and grouse human sacrifices in dark French woods. Mary Queen of Scots’ four Maries become her ladies-in-waiting Greer, Kenna, Lola and Aylee – again, four names so completely French, or Scottish. It is no surprise that many of the young actresses and actors come straight out of The Tudors, like Torrance Coombs (Bash) and Alan Van Sprang, and others like Anna Popplewell from genetically modified phantasy movies such as The Chronicles of Narnia : The Voyage of the Dawn Tread.
The funniest moment came when I watched one of the trailers, and a blond youngster in vaguely medieval robes (Toby Regbo as prince Francis) adresses Mary Stuart submissively with a « Your Grace », and she interrupting him : « Please call me Mary. » How touching, the simplicity of human relations viewed by American TV. But wasn’t Mary supposed to be a queen? Never mind, Reign‘s Mary Stuart is as queenlike as Peter Jackson’s Thorin Oakenshield is a dwarf.