War of the Roses Historical Fiction Annoyances

Jun 2015
493
The Former British Empire
So, I don't know if you know, but I have a huge passion about the War of the Roses. Naturally, I'd like to read historical fiction about the time period. But for some reason, I keep noticing these trends in historical fiction about the War of the Roses that kind of make me annoyed. So, here they are:

1.) Either Richard III us evil, and Elizabeth Woodville is an angel (*cough* Susan Higginbotham *cough*), or Elizabeth Woodville is evil (you can expand this to the Woodvilles in general), and Richard III is angel. There seems to be no middle ground. Personally, I've never seen why you can't like them both. But neither of them were perfect. Show both of them with all their flaws, but make neither of them monsters by any stretch of the imagination. If I had to pick, I like Richard better, but still...

2.) I am a HUGE Ricardian, but sometimes, to build up Richard III, they tear down Edward IV a little (whom I also like A LOT). These same overenthusiastic Ricardians (who are not all Ricardians, mind you, by a long shot) are usually the group who believe that Edward IV is a bastard and/or that the pre-contract is true. I believe neither of these things. I'm fine with disagreeing, but I feel like people say these things just to make Richard look better. You can redeem and like Richard without having to do that.

3.) If you're going to get into the Princes, give us your theory. Tell us what you think happened. Don't skirt around it. I've seen this on a couple books. Same if you go into Perkin Warbeck. Don't leave us wondering. Was he real or not? If you're too chicken to go into it; stop before the reigns of either Richard III or Henry VII.

4.) I love the Yorkists. I do. Truly. With all my heart. I will support their cause until the end of my days. But sometimes I need a break. So, explore other aspects of the conflict. Go earlier: what about the era of Richard II and Henry IV? Stuff like that. Branch out. Look for some other minor players and try their point if view. That sort of thing.

I realize that this section refers to historical fiction on movies and .T.V., but I'm probably referring to mostly books, though both t the sane time. I've seen people have rant reviews in this section, and this is kind of like that, so yeah, and I couldn't think of anywhere ele to put it.

Anyway, what do you guys think? Do you agree? Have any others you'd like to add?

I'd be okay if people used this thread to do thus same rant about historical fiction about their area of expertise the sane way I did :)
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,650
Ontario, Canada
Well I never watched the Tudors but I did watch the White Queen. I thought Richard III and Elizabeth were pretty balanced in that.
 

History Chick

Ad Honorem
Jun 2010
3,336
Colorado Springs (PA at heart)
So, I don't know if you know, but I have a huge passion about the War of the Roses. Naturally, I'd like to read historical fiction about the time period. But for some reason, I keep noticing these trends in historical fiction about the War of the Roses that kind of make me annoyed. So, here they are:

1.) Either Richard III us evil, and Elizabeth Woodville is an angel (*cough* Susan Higginbotham *cough*), or Elizabeth Woodville is evil (you can expand this to the Woodvilles in general), and Richard III is angel. There seems to be no middle ground. Personally, I've never seen why you can't like them both. But neither of them were perfect. Show both of them with all their flaws, but make neither of them monsters by any stretch of the imagination. If I had to pick, I like Richard better, but still...
Well, most stories need an antagonist and writing complex, multi-dimensional characters is not easy, so many authors, especially those who jumped onto the Wars of the Roses bandwagon immediately following the Tudors bandwagon, wind up taking a very black and white approach. This is not exclusive to fiction about the Wars of the Roses, or to historical fiction. One-dimensional, black and white, perfect vs evil characters are just a sign of inferior writing. I feel this way about Philippa Gregory - her characters are either perfect, or evil. If she tries for something more multi-dimensional than that, it usually misses the mark - either it just doesn't make sense, or the character is just not relatable.

I like Sharon Kay Penman because she's not like this. Her protagonists are flawed, and her antagonists can be sympathetic, without it all being conflicting or unrelatable. I haven't read her novels on the Wars of the Roses, but I did read the one on The Anarchy, and she portrayed both sides as both flawed and sympathetic.
 

paranoid marvin

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,359
uk
All of those characters were people of their time; neither good nor evil, just trying to survive.

It was like a real life Game of Thrones - when you play the game, you either succeed or you die. Unfortunately the Woodvilles tried to use the innocent Princes in their game, and they paid the price; but I have no doubt that if Richard hadn't done away with them, they would have seen his head on a spike.
 

jackydee

Ad Honorem
Jan 2013
4,569
Brigadoon
Dies anybody know any Wotr fiction that doesn't do any of these things?

Not War of the Roses but if you haven't already then please give Hillary Mantel a read. Her series of novels on Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII are magnificent examples of historical fiction.