Coming Attractions: Wolf Hall, Turn, Appomattox, Ford’s Theater, and Richard III

It has been awhile since I posted, for various real-world reasons. For now, suffice it to say that I’ve been sick, I’ve had family events to deal with, and I’ve been focusing more on writing fiction than on blogging.

I’m here today to check in and to say what’s on my official History Nerd Calendar.

First stop, the reburial of Richard III’s remain at Leicester Cathedral. If you aren’t aware, you either haven’t been paying attention or you aren’t a history nerd–or both–but a few years ago, RIchard III’s skeleton was found under a parking lot (or “car park”) in Leicester. He was killed in battle in 1485, and it was assumed that his remains were lost forever. In an astounding twist of fate, the skeleton was found on the very first day of the archaeological dig at the site of the former Grayfriars Friary. Later testing confirmed that the bones were Richard’s and gave some interesting details about his life. Now that everything’s been learned that can be learned, the bones will be respectfully buried on March 26.

Next stop is the US premiere of Wolf Hall, the miniseries adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s fantastic books about Thomas Cromwell (who helped Henry VIII divorce Katherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn). It begins April 5th on PBS. I loved the books–Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies–that it was based on. I adore Mantel’s intelligent treatment of an overdone topic, and the depth of Cromwell’s character in particular. It’s a nice trick to make us sympathize with a guy who was at best one heck of an opportunist.

Last stop, Appomattox and Ford’s Theater. The two places are (relatively) close together both geographically and in the timing of the important events that occurred there. On April 9, 1865, General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. Five days later, President Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theater, as the North was still celebrating the end of the war (he was shot April 14 and died the next morning). I plan to go to the commemorations of both events. The all-night vigil at Ford’s Theater might be a bit rich for my blood, but I plan to be there early the morning of April 15th when the bells toll at 7:22, the moment President Lincoln passed away. And I plan to drive out to Appomattox (I’ve never been before) for some of the historical festivities.

I should note that these are only the officially sanctioned events. I’m also going to spend a few days in Savannah, Georgia, and the surrounding area. As I’ve mentioned on this blog, I wrote a novel set there, and I will finally get to visit the place itself.

ETA: I forgot to add a bit about AMC’s Revolutionary War spy-themed show, TURN. Its second season kicks off Monday, April 13. The first season was good–solid, well-made, visually pretty, historically earnest–but sadly a bit plodding until the very end. It looks like the second season will be a bit quicker-paced. And luckily, it’s no longer on at the same time as Game of Thrones since it’s been moved to Monday nights!

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