Wolf Hall – Episode 5 Review

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (book cover)

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (book cover)

This episode begins where the last episode left off, with the royal progress arriving at Wolf Hall. A long disputed theory is that Henry ‘noticed’ Jane Seymour at Wolf Hall. Recently most historians have concluded that he probably did not meet Jane at Wolf Hall and was not alone as many portray him, Anne Boleyn would have been with him. He probably noticed Jane around late 1535/early 1536. Anyway, Henry does notice her in this episode and we see her confiding in Cromwell about him. She is advised by others not to let him do anything to her person and, if he does, to appeal to his piety.

One event that has never been shown before is the death of Anne’s dog. He fell from a window and she is devastated, but also because she sees it as a bad sign. She thinks it is foreseeing her fall. She then mentions Lady Mary and the Seymours. She is clearly starting to get paranoid and so Cromwell says for her to be quiet and wait until her next child is born. Jane Seymour is only a distraction.

Katherine of Aragon dies in this episode and Anne is physically relieved, falling down to her knees at the news. Later on, Henry shows Princess Elizabeth around and boasts about how she is looking forward to seeing her brother. Anne and Henry are both dressed in yellow, a sign of their happiness and joy, and joyful music is also playing throughout. Then, on the day of her funeral, there is a fire in Anne’s chambers. She says how she is not harmed and that it was just an unattended candle.

Henry VIII shows off Elizabeth

Henry VIII shows off Elizabeth

The timeline seems a little out in this one. It is a shame as it isn’t too hard to follow and doesn’t need to be changed for dramatic effect. For some reason, they have Katherine of Aragon’s funeral before Henry’s jousting accident and Anne’s miscarriage/stillbirth. We know that Katherine of Aragon died and then Henry had his jousting accident, she had her funeral and Anne lost the baby. The funeral wasn’t first. When Henry has his accident, most presume him dead. Somehow, Cromwell is the one to save him.

Henry is said to be dead

Henry is said to be dead

Anne then loses the boy. Henry is told that is has the appearance of a boy but is visibly distressed, questioning why she said ‘appearance’ and saying that he sees ‘God will not give me male children’. It then moves to Jane and she is seen receiving a purse of money, then we hear that she kissed a letter from him and sent both back. There are rumours that he may discard Anne.

Henry after Anne Boleyn's miscarriage

Henry after Anne Boleyn’s miscarriage

After an argument with Cromwell and reconciliation, Henry finally decides to get rid of Anne. He asks him to find reasons to investigate her, secretly. He says perhaps she was with Henry Percy or because of him and her sister Mary.

Rating: 3.5/5

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