Nenia Campbell's Reviews > The Red Queen

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
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Aug 07, 14

bookshelves: tudors-and-plantagenets
Read from August 06 to 09, 2012

Red Queen features one of the bitchiest, sanctimonious, self absorbed, and narcissistic characters I have EVER encountered in literature . The winner of the Righteous Bitch award is Margaret Beaufort, Plantagenet and progenitor of the Tudors.



Originally
I felt sorry for her. I mean, here's this girl who lives in a fantasy
land and has somehow convinced herself that she's destined to be the
next Joan of Arc, or at the very least a saint, and then her mother
foists her off - at twelve - to be the wife of some middle-aged noble whose sexual encounters run along the lines of Wham! Bam! Heir me, Ma'am! .
She has a very awful and painful experience with childbirth, and finds
out that her mother has given her midwives explicit directions to save the life of her son rather than hers , if it comes to that.


Oprah does not approve.

Then
Margaret's husband, Edmund, dies, and she ends up marrying this other
dude, Henry Stafford, who's quite a bit nicer than her other husband . .
. except for the fact that he's a filthy opportunist! And he doesn't
like fighting in war! What a pussy! How dare he value his own life and
the life of his family over his country! What an awful man! The way she
treated her husband was quite revolting. She was always nagging him to
go into battle, and pressing him for descriptions when he was quite
obviously traumatized. She resents him for being cowardly and old, and
it is at this point that her naivete stops being endearing and starts
making her sound like a five-year-old throwing a temper tantrum in a
nursery.



To make matters worse, Margaret starts obsessing over Elizabeth Woodville and Edward of York ,
the current holders of the throne. Originally, her child was next in
line, but the throne was seized by another family in battle. She
alternates between calling Elizabeth a whore and a witch, basically
asking, "Why don't you just ride off on your broomstick then, bitch?",
resenting her for being pretty and shapely, and bitching that "she isn't
even that pretty, anyway! And she's dumber than me and not as blessed
by God as I am." (Seriously.)



Margaret
calls the both of them traitors, and spends much of her time in church
praying for their deaths. THEN, after the death of her second husband,
she starts speculating that maybe she would like to marry Edward after all, if only so her son could be queen and she could sign her name Margaret R. (for Regina)
on letters and bits of stationery. She points out that she would be a
better wife because she doesn't care about his looks (although he is very
attractive), though the thought of him naked makes her shudder in
disgust because she imagines that he must demand all sorts of crude and
perverted acts in the bedroom, the foul traitor! Still, she wants to
marry him even though she hates him, and resents Elizabeth (WITCH!
WITCH!) for being alive.



Margaret
also spends a lot of her time praying for the death of their young son,
because apparently that is an equal crime tantamount to depriving her
son of the throne. There are pages and pages of this hate, and it is
rather akin to reading the diary of a teenage girl. I just got so sick
and tired of the stupid narrator because she is such a bitch, and it's
no small wonder her husbands both died - they probably offed themselves
to avoid her vitriolic nagging.

Also, it's kind of ironic that
Margaret claims to be so blessed by the grace of God, and a direct
recipient of His ear, because if you know anything about Catholic dogma,
you'd know that Margaret actually embodies many aspects of the seven deadly sins .

Greed: I'm not happy being a lady, I want to be QUEEN OF ENGLAND!

Sloth: My
husbands should fight for me, because I'm a lady and therefore
incapable of lifting a finger, let alone a sword! For the same reasons,
nursemaids shall feed and look after my son for me, and scholars shall
provide the education and discipline!


Wrath: I'm going to pray that God will smite the people I hate! Whooppee!

Envy: I'd be a much better queen/wife/lay than that Elizabeth Woodville slutfacewhore. God, I wish I were queen instead of her!

Pride: God
has blessed me with His special favor because I am so fucking awesome.
My son should be king, and I should be the dowager queen, and I am a
special, unique, beautiful snowflake and if you do not do as I command, I
shall pray to God for bad things to happen to you. YAY ME


Margaret Beaufort: Holy Bitch, or Wholly Bitch? You decide.

1 star.

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Reading Progress

08/06/2012 page 23
6.0% ""They had to pack my bodice with linens to give the impression of breasts." I'm glad child brides no longer exist in the western world."
08/09/2012 page 200
52.0% "THIS BITCH.
"

Comments (showing 1-31 of 31) (31 new)

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message 1: by Jan (new) - rated it 1 star

Jan oh I do so agree with every word you have written !!!


Asia Cruz lol I agree I couldn't believe that bitch after God she was annoying TOO annoying! enjoyed the white queen much more!


Nenia Campbell Thanks Jan and Asia! I'm so glad I wasn't the only one! I liked the White Queen a lot more too; I was shocked that this one was so bad by comparison.


message 4: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Vickers The saddest part? The character is depicted with unusual accuracy. She actually was that awful in real life.


Nenia Campbell Oh dear. That's the cherry on the poop-pie, that is.


Hannah Devorah Wholly bitch! Was I ever so glad to finish this book! I liked The White Queen and The Lady of the Rivers much better.


message 7: by Samantha (new) - added it

Samantha Loewen I'm confused about why you rated the book to have one star... All of your points are about the story itself (which, as much as possible, is based on a true story) - do you simply dislike the story? Because that's not the same thing as saying the book itself is bad. If Ms. Gregory wanted to portray this character as true to life, and if this character was actually that way in real life... then the book actually did a very good job - even if you hated the story...


Nenia Campbell Samantha wrote: "I'm confused about why you rated the book to have one star... All of your points are about the story itself (which, as much as possible, is based on a true story) - do you simply dislike the story?..."

To me the story and the book are one and the same. I cannot enjoy a book if I absolutely loathe the protagonist. It is like being friends with someone you hate as an individual. So not possible - at least not for me. Some people can do both! I am not one of those. Hope that clears up your confusion. (:


message 9: by Samantha (new) - added it

Samantha Loewen Yes, I had to think a little more about it, and realized it eventually on my own. I realize that just because I will rate a book high because it's well written - even if I don't like it - obviously doesn't mean everyone will do that. I want to believe that this book is 'good' because I love her other books, so I was just trying to decifer if maybe I would like it also... and maybe I will. :)


message 10: by Nenia (new) - rated it 1 star

Nenia Campbell Samantha wrote: "Yes, I had to think a little more about it, and realized it eventually on my own. I realize that just because I will rate a book high because it's well written - even if I don't like it - obviously..."

(:


Pauline Midwinter I usually enjoy the historical accuracy in Gregory's books but found it wore me down in this one. I kept forgetting who was who and who was on whose side!


message 12: by Nenia (new) - rated it 1 star

Nenia Campbell That was definitely an issue for me too, but I guess I forgot to mention that in lieu of my annoyance for the protagonist loll. (:


Stacy I haven't even finished this yet ( page 200) and I'm forcing myself at this point. She is such a dislikable character!!!! I love stories about the Tudors and enjoy Gregory's novels but am having a hard time getting through this!


message 14: by Nenia (new) - rated it 1 star

Nenia Campbell Stacy wrote: "I haven't even finished this yet ( page 200) and I'm forcing myself at this point. She is such a dislikable character!!!! I love stories about the Tudors and enjoy Gregory's novels but am having a ..."

Why not DNF? I mean if it's that unpleasant...you could be reading MUCH better books!


Angela Blair I hated this character so much! I agree with every word you just said.


message 16: by Nenia (new) - rated it 1 star

Nenia Campbell Angela wrote: "I hated this character so much! I agree with every word you just said."

Yeah, she was pretty bitchy, huh? :P


Sabrina Brilliant review. Much better than how I glossed over my review so not to use the word bitch but basically she was. :) I just couldn't like this woman at all.


message 18: by Nenia (new) - rated it 1 star

Nenia Campbell Sabrina wrote: "Brilliant review. Much better than how I glossed over my review so not to use the word bitch but basically she was. :) I just couldn't like this woman at all."

Hehe. You're the better person, then. But yes, I couldn't stand her either. It's so nice knowing I'm not the only one disappointed by this book! :D


Sabrina Nenia wrote: "

Hehe. You're the beter person, then. But yes, I couldn't stand her either. It's so nice knowing I'm not the only one disappointed by this book! :D "


Haha! Not normally. :D Yes very disappointing book. I just couldn't sympathise with her and felt like if I had met her in real life I probably would have strangled her!!!


Kristen Tietz I feel this rating is unfair, it is a beautifully written book! I hate the character as well but it gives you an understanding of why she is the way she is. Religion was thought of quite differently back then (seeing as kings could rape and kill and commit adultery) but they were ordained by the church! I was able to look past my hatred of Margaret and focus on my love of the interest and writing when I was reading this book.


message 21: by Nenia (new) - rated it 1 star

Nenia Campbell Kristen wrote: "I feel this rating is unfair, it is a beautifully written book! I hate the character as well but it gives you an understanding of why she is the way she is. Religion was thought of quite differentl..."

One person's five-star review is another person's one-star review. How does subjectivity equal unfairness?


Teshai I like getting into the devious crazy mind of this chick..she really thought her God would murder for her!! Days on your knees praying without food or water would turn anyone into a nut job.


message 23: by Nenia (new) - rated it 1 star

Nenia Campbell And lack of sleep! Let's not forget lack of sleep!


message 24: by Beth (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth I thought the book was wonderfully written. Margaret was a nasty character but portrayed quite accurately. If this were a work of fiction not based on historical events, I couldn't get into it. But seeing a portrayal of people that changed the course of history is interesting, to say the least. I loved this book.


message 25: by Nenia (new) - rated it 1 star

Nenia Campbell Well, I'm sure the author is grateful for your readership.


Michelle I love Margaret Beaufort... she was nuts and ended up doing what she plotted for decades. I find her highly entertaining... the relationships she had with the 2nd and 3rd husband were comical. Sure pretty Queens are fun to read (and write) about but I prefer the nutjobs.


message 27: by Nenia (new) - rated it 1 star

Nenia Campbell I usually like reading about dysfunctional queens, but I guess I couldn't stand the preachy tone this was written in.


message 28: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Margaret was an awful person and character. She is so devout that it became extremely irritating. So much so that anytime she said a religious word I think my head skipped over it. However I did think this was a great book, simply because it ties in the others and parallels the white queen for the majority of it. It's always interesting to see another point of view. During the white queen I thought Margaret sounded stuck up. But then as I was reading the red queen I thought Elizabeth sounded like a wimp, who yes, relies on vanity for everything.


Katie.g I severely disliked Margarets character too both in the book and the TV series The White Queen.


message 30: by Rachel72 (new)

Rachel72 I think your review is way more entertaining than the book!

Poor maligned Margaret Beaufort - at least she's in good company with Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn and other historical women whom authors such as Gregory have trashed. I think a lot of the bad press she's received comes from the fact that she was an extremely strong woman. She gets portrayed as the devil incarnate by the more obsessive self-described Ricardians (I actually saw a comment on Facebook from someone who wished she'd died in childbirth and her son Henry with her - what a repulsive thing to wish on someone!), but the reality was far more complex and I'm sure that her reputation as a horrible, nasty piece of work is undeserved.


Marlie Absolutely agree with your review! I just kept saying, "What a self-righteous biiiiitch!" Despite being well written, I felt like reading this book was a burden that I had to bear. I usually am all for the nutty characters, but this one was just too, TOO much! However, I do believe that Gregory did draw an historically accurate depiction of Margaret. That girl cray.


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