A few weeks ago a good friend of mine and fellow linguist visited and I got to show him my subtitles for Kazama-hen. John is one of my friends who always has a very interesting perspective on things and ever since he let it known to me that he was watching Hakuouki (I still refuse to claim credit–you did that to yourself Mister) we’ve had many discussions about the series and it’s characters–especially Kazama, since he seems to really enjoy our grumpy Demon Leader of the West. I asked him to write up his opinion on Kazama based on what he’s seen but since he axed his own Tumblr he’s given me the permission to post it on mine.
Disclaimer: This is not my own opinion and while I agree with much of it, this was not written by me. Also, it’s just an opinion so just keep that in mind when you read. If you don’t like it, maybe just agree to disagree and leave it at that. I’m not looking to post this to start a debate but I just find different insights on Kazama interesting, especially since he’s not my favorite of the romanceable characters.
In a lot of ways, Kazama is the Mister Darcy of Hakuouki. Not nearly as perfect a representation of that character type as Hijikata (who might as well have been played by Colin Firth), but he definitely has his moments. Kazama is arrogant and prideful, but his arrogance comes more from nurture and his aristocratic upbringing, I think, than any sort of in-born inclination towards being an ass. I feel like the guy would have some real capacity and potential to be a solidly heroic figure, if the storyline gave him that chance.
But there’re still several times where he acts like a massive ass, and that’s where my conflict with him comes in.
Favorite Head Canon: OMG, this is a huge one. I always spend ridiculous amounts of time on head canons. I can’t help it.
As you may know, in real life, Mary Boleyn wrote to Thomas Cromwell in early 1535 to beg him to intercede on her behalf with the queen. Mary was banished from court for being pregnant and unmarried in the fall of 1534, an especially difficult time to be with child, given that Anne was having real troubles in that arena. There will always be speculations as to the father, but even Hilary Mantel wouldn’t have gone so far as to say T-Crom was Mary’s baby daddy. She implies that it is the king and that is why Anne is so enraged. (And it would be a delicious AU to have T-Crom as the dad, but that’s not my head canon.) In the deleted scene, the scriptwriters even paraphrase the text of Mary’s letter in the dialog.
Mary had sercretly wed William Stafford (the guy in the almost-kiss in the garden scene). Mantel shows Stafford as a patsy, the guy that Mary roped into her bed, so that he would think he was the father. He wasn’t rich, but he was honest (and gullible, too if this plan worked on him) and he was better than nobody. Stafford had some land in Essex which is where they lived until Mary’s death only a few years after her sister’s. No one knows what killed Mary, but it was possibly her newly-found poverty or ill-health or a combo of both.
My headcanon is that Cromwell, having received the letter during the time of More’s trial, puts off dealing with it for a few months. Knowing he won’t get very far with convincing Mary’s family to take her back and wanting to have has little to do with them as possible, given his plan of revenge on them, he decides not to approach the King or her family. But he still feels sorry for her and also feels he owes her a debt of some gratitude for her early assistance with Anne. He feels she’s been ill-used by the King and he decides to give her money from his own pocket. He keeps the letter secret and goes out to Essex himself after More’s execution. He expects to meet with William Stafford, and give him the money, planning to tell the man, that the king had always planned to make sure he was looked after and that Stafford must take the money without thanking the King, since they were going behind Anne’s back.
Stafford is away from home and he finds Mary alone with her maid. The child, a son, is in the care of a nurse maid in the local village. The house is a shambles, falling apart, the garden over run with weeds, the woods rife with poachers. The couple are existing on food gifts which they got from the groom’s family after the wedding. These supplies have nearly run out and winter will be there eventually. Cromwell, being ever practical and helpful spends the afternoon whipping the place into shape, writing down orders for this or that to be done, concocting schemes for Stafford to improve his land, and increase his rent as well as providing the name of the King’s shipbuilders to buy some of their spare timber. He buys a massive feast at the local Inn and she eats the first decent meal she’s had in months. Things are looking upuntil Mary brings up the subject of her family. Cromwell confesses that he did not take the matter up with themand is vague as to why. She seems dejected and he realizes that she is more hurt about being cut out of the family, than he imagined. She seems reluctant to discuss her marriage which she’d spoken so grandly about in her letter. She is vague about why he’s away from home so often. He gets the sense that things are not great between William and Mary and he begins to worry about leaving a large quantity of money in William’s trust. Mary teases him about Jane, and he denies any attachment, but gets the feeling that is on to him. He gives Mary the money and insists that she must take it for herself and keep it for a rainy day.
He leaves, telling her that she must not write to the King to thank him, because this was done behind her sister’s back. He rides home, wondering why he didn’t tell Mary that the money came from his own pocket. His thoughts turn to More and the execution and he wonders if saintly behavior is wearing off on him. He is starting to feel poorly on the ride home, and when he arrives he collapses into a fever.
Least Favorite Female Character:
Well, Lady Rochford is certainly the most unpleasant, but I’m just glad to see her getting some screen time. Plus bonus points for her for the “It’s like baiting a field mouse” comment she made to Jane. I like Jane, I really do, but she’s so NICE, it must just be impossible for the likes of the Infamous Lady R.
No, what I really want to bitch about is this Catharine of Aragon. I’m a big fan you see and I’m bummed that she doesn’t get more screen time. Also she’s always kind of out of sorts and not that regal in Wolf Hall. I always think of Catharine as the epitome of class, someone who had to eat shit for breakfast, and did it with a dignity most of us couldn’t manage. Maria Doyle Kennedy in The Tudors is probably my Ideal Catharine, and if they ever do a film of the Constant Princess, I’d want her to play C, again.