Henry’s Dagger

The Reviews

By  S. H. Pearson

The crowned Christian heads of Europe must be rolling over in their sepulchres at Showtime’s tacky drama, The Tudors.  Based on the life and times of King Henry VIII, this soft-porn series appears as both entertainment and threat.  Starring beauteous Jonathan Rhys Meyers,  the soufflé of vulgarity, blasphemy and atrocity is passed off as English history to those who do not read a lot.  And as a dangling dagger to American political dissidents.

In a thinly veiled allegory, we are shown what happens to recalcitrant subjects.  Heads go rolling as the Church of St. Peter is toppled from an arbitrary wave of Henry’s sceptre.  The House is divided.  People are pitted against each other as either “loyal to the royal” or to their long-standing Faith.  Spies and informants are rewarded for betraying their neighbors.  The King’s legal advisor and close confidant, Sir Thomas More, is offered as an example of what happens to men who choose God over the head of State. 

To accommodate Henry’s zest for life, a wrecking ball is taken to the Catholic Church of his lands.  The seeds of discord are sown in a divided kingdom.  Children swing from rafters and heads are mounted on pikes.  People are burned and beheaded right and left.  Chaos and terrorism rule the day with signature twang.  Blood-crazed mobs in uniform march to the orders of regime like the Bolshevik Revolution.  Then the blood-lust takes on a momentum of its own not unlike the French Revolution.  “Out of chaos — order.”  Ring a bell?

Henry’s court is a Babylon.  Women are proffered, cheapened and had like biscuits.  Casual sex and brassy whoredom are presented as chic not just among the low-brow folks, but clean to the Queen.  One copulating couple makes a comment to rock the foundation of St. Mark’s Cathedral.  No doubt,  the express aim of such a script.  Riddled with symbols of sacrilege and blasphemy, this burlesque was written to strike wounds deep into the hearts of both Catholics and Protestants.

Not to be confused with Henry’s day, the message of the series seems to say —  that Christianity is going out of style.  Taking the place of it is a store-front social club.  To borrow Michael Hoffman’s term, a “churchianity” in place of Christianity.  And anyone who does not hop on the band-wagon of the new pseudo church will have his head cut off.  Not a complicated plot.  Plenty of nudity and sex guarantees that it will be watched.  And watched a lot. 

There is much riding on Jonathan’s looks and garish costume jewelry.  The actor’s beauty must be the hoped for saving grace of this insult to Christendom, Britannia, England’s Royal House, The Church of Saint Peter the Rock, and any Christian who ever called Jesus of Nazareth his Saviour.  This mockery spits upon the Cross.  It is no mystery who the script writers have to be.

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