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- ereini0n - One never needs take back words one hasn't said.The book starts on a leisurely summer progress, hunting and dinners at friendly mannors.
But still, there are buisiness to attend to - a constant threat of war that hangs about England from Spain, from France, the not yet applied Bull of Excommunication from the bishop of Rome, religious matters, the reformation, closing of small monastic houses, laws in Parliament.
Everything starts and ends in Wolf Hall. The story loops in on itself. Is it an end? Or a beginning?
Jane Seymour: "`We talk about who is in love with the queen. Who writes her verses." and "If you want to know our secrets, ask Mark" and the story of Edgar the Peacable. But that is for later...
Cromwell never saw Henry fall in love with Anne, so it takes him a while to recognize the feeling, but Jane is a novelty to the king - willing to listen, doesn't interrupt him while he's speaking, willing to be guided by him, to be intimidated. Jane is afraid of the king. But among her family, or with Cromwell, she has a wicked sense of humour other people mistake for stupidity. She is careful, guarded. If she thinks that she will open her mouth and the wrong thing comes out, she'll keep it closed. Thomas More talked himself to death. So did Smeaton and Norris. One never needs take back words one hasn't said.
Cromwell's past comes to life in this book - a soldier, a street urchin, a young accountant. It seems young Thomas deserved everything his father dished out - every beating, every bit of violence. Running away was the best thing he ever did, it made a man out of him. Mark Smeaton, George Boleyn, they should have run away too.
Cromwell is always in company - he talks with Anne, with Katherine, with Chapuys, with Henry, he finds words for them all, but he is always alone - no friends, no wife, no one he can completely bear his heart to, spill all his troubles and be absolved, understood.
When Katherine dies, Anne throws a party. The king is happy - who wouldn't be, when the millstone dragging him down is gone forever?
When the king first started insinuating his marriage may not be lawful, Cromwell tried to shrug it off both their shoulders. But after the accident in the tilt yard, he starts looking closer at the enemies of the Boleyns, trying to make them his friends. Lady Mary may be the future. Not in the hands of Papists, but his.
Unlike Brereton and Weston, Cromwell cannot be in two places at once. He is not there when the king dies that time. Not at first. He is not there when Anne miscarries her own life. It is the other Cromwell who brings the king Smeaton's confession. He is elsewhere when Norris is arrested. But he is there for everything else.
Every other conversation Cromwell has now is about how Anne needs to go. A Spanish marriage, a French marriage, a Seymour, anyone with a working womb will do, but Anne needs to go. So if you think Cromwell has no real friends, like he admits, Anne has even less. Insinuations, jokes, right accusations trail her like a dog with rabies - loyal, but you'd much rather do without.
Forget 'wolf hall'. You know where you stand with wolves, they are the same kind of animal. But this here Tudor court is like a menagerie - there are wolves, lions, hyenas, snakes, dogs and fluffy rabbits. And above them all - a falcon. Proud and royal, unattainable, that sits still on your fist just long enough to give you hope, then flies away out of reach. That rose too high, flew too near the sun, burned its wings and crashed down on the ground. There was scarcely enough time to blink.
But, as Mantel puts it so eloquently, everyone will claim to have been there, everyone will claim to have seen.
Yes, the accused caused offence against the king's person. Most importantly, they caused offence against the cardinal. And, perhaps the most important of all, they are continually causing offence against Thomas Cromwell, personal as well as professional (so do Norfolk and Suffolk, but they are beyond reproach and beyond his grasp).
It's like something out of "The Matrix" - they keep firing at Cromwell, but those bullets hang in the air. And then he drops his hand and the bullets fly back at the shooters, gathering speed.
Forget late night interrogations, gaols, racks and torturers with bloody hands. There won't be any.
Forget the trials, the scaffolds, the executioners French. They will happen, but no to him, Thomas Cromwell.
You want terror? Terror is standing your ground, as in a tilt yard he's never set foot on, while your king comes charging at full speed at you, his lance trained on your heart, shouting and accusing. "Horse can fail. Boys can fail. Nerve can fail." But there is no horse, no boys, just him and he must stand there, take it, and think "perhaps I have said 'If I were king' one time too many. Perhaps I should do whatever it takes to provide the king's happiness. Perhaps it is time for Jane Seymour. Perhaps it is time to act".
Cromwell's abillity to fit everywhere, to be able to talk to anyone, has never served him better than during his talks with the accused and the witnesses. It didn't work on More. It didn't work on Norris. Not so with the desperate and the weak - he masterfully gets out of them words. Words he needs. Words one doesn't even know one plans to let lose until those words are out there, celebrating their freedom with Cromwell.
Remember Thomas More? "If I could trust you only to put food in my mouth - but you will put words into it." Well, there's no need. You want only the truth you can use? Talk only to those who can provide it.
Has there ever been a writer like Hilary Mantel? You think you've seen every literary trick but have you ever seen them sneak up on you unawares?
Smeaton has confessed first, and the other four condemned men (and Weston's family) are each a (still) living example of one of the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.
Mantel keeps weaving analogies into her tale, little stories that on the surface may seem irrelevant but offcourse they are not so. They enhance the text, they unravel it. Inside each story is another story. "Beneath every history, another history".
When in 'Wolf Hall' there was an uncountable cast, this book is more compact, in characters as well as events. The most interesting of all, the old families, Cromwell's newest allies, are only ever mentioned thus. In 'Wolf Hall' they were just there, like flower and water and eggs, ready to be made into bread. Here they lie on Cromwell's table like so many wafers. Perhaps when he finally bites into them, they'll turn into flesh. But that is for the future...
This book is like a summer progress.The weather is lovely, the sun is shining and everything is fine. But then clouds gather and it rains and nobody wants to be caught outside. But appearances can decieve - it is mid-May when the traitors are executed. It's not a fortnight since they became such.
My heart broke for Anne, in the end. She was lively and clever, cunning and ambitious. But, as my favourite Shakesperean character, Richard duke of York, said "Women are soft, mild, pitiful and flexible; Thou stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless".
Anne overreached, overspoke, overschemed. She forgot that though a queen, still a woman.
Cromwell makes the same mistake, sometimes. He forgets that though Master Secretary, and other many titles, he's still only a blacksmith's son. The king has schooled him otherwise. But will he remember the lesson?
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- New Connexion Journal - Create your own windows of opportunityWell-known bestselling author Gregg Braden merges his scientific background as a former computer scientist with his beliefs and research. Fractal Time explains his method of using events in the past to predict similar conditions in the future. The universe is not random, but operates in recognizable patterns. With the mystical December 21, 2012 date looming ever closer, Braden explains the Mayan calendar and that this upcoming date is merely the end of a cycle which is 5,125 years long. He presents traditions and predictions from indigenous cultures around the globe and across history, and they all point to this cycle end-date. Braden asserts that life on Earth presents windows of opportunities based on these fractal patterns. People can then exercise their free will and either go with the flow or consciously change the patterns.
-- Alice R. Berntson, New Connexion Journal