Aliénor - Episode 10: Impuissance

Look at me, Henry! I have borne you sons, heirs to your kingdom that I built for you. You are nothing without me! And yet, you flaunt her as though she were your queen. You are a disgrace of a man. I may have loved you once, once when you were young Count Henry and I your Countess…now I see nothing but a fool of a man.” 

“And yet I married a woman out of love, a woman of legend but now, I see nothing but a myth.” 

The episode is set in 1174, Eleanor and Henry have been married for 23 years and she has recently been imprisoned for what will become 16 years. Henry has been flaunting his mistress, Rosamund Clifford (whom he began his liaison with in 1173). Around this time he contemplates a divorce from Eleanor, thus flaunting Rosamund in a attempt to provoke Eleanor into seeking an annulment, and who refuses to do so. This episode explores Eleanor and Henry’s relationship more deeply, examining the scars they have left one another with.

Ja Nus Hons Pris
Richard the Lionheart
Ja Nus Hons Pris

In the late spring of 1193, Richard I composed a song. It was a ballad of melancholy and abandonment, of frustration and homesickness. The haunting melody accompanied lyrics written in Occitan. It is known, after its first line, as ‘Ja nus hons pris’. It is a song that would survive more than eight centuries.

The lyrics of the two most famous verses are:

Ja nus hons pris ne dira sa raison

adroitement, se dolantement non;

Mes par confort puet il fere chancon.

Moult ai amis, mes povre sont li don;

honte en avront, se por ma reancon

sui ces deus yvers pris.

Ce sevent bien mi homme et mi baron,

Englois, Normant, Poitevin et Gascon,

que je n’avoie si povre compaignon,

cui je laissasse por avoir en prixon.

Je nei di pas por nule retracon,

mes encor suit ge pris.


No man imprisoned tells his story

rightfully, as if he were not sorrowful;

but for comfort he can write a song.

I have many friends, but poor are their gifts;

shame on them, if for my ransom

I must be two winters imprisoned.

It is well known by my men and my barons,

English, Norman, Poitevin and Gascon,

that I do not have the poorest companion

whom I would leave to remain in prison.

I don’t say this for their reproach,

but still, I am imprisoned

Dan Jones‘The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England’

550-year-old hand-written book is signed by Richard III and contains his personal motto. The signed book is one of only 13 of Richard III’s books that is known to still exist. It is especially valuable as he has signed it ‘R Gloucester’ as he was only the Duke of Gloucester as a young man. Above his signature in the book he wrote the words 'Tant le desieree’, which means 'So much desired’.

“ Her [Elizabeth Woodville] devotion to Edward was obvious and she had fulfilled her role impeccably. Her beauty had not occasioned any scandal….and those who had feared the worst in those now far-off days of the 1460s had learned to respect, and admire, a lady who had proved herself to be everything an English Queen should be. ” - “Elizabeth Woodville: Mother of the Princes in the Tower” by David Baldwin

Women of the War of the Roses (Left to Right)

Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England (1430 - 1482) 

Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Countess Rivers (1415 - 1472)

Margaret Beauchamp of Bletsoe, Lady Welles (1410 - 1482)

Anne Beauchamp, 16th Countess of Warwick (1426 - 1492)

Elizabeth Woodville, Queen of England (1437 - 1492) 

Cecily Neville, Duchess of York (1415 - 1495) 

Isabel Neville, Duchess of Clarence (1451 - 1476)

Anne Neville, Queen of England (1456 - 1485) 

Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby (1443 - 1509) 

Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury (1473 - 1541) 

Elizabeth of York, Queen of England (1466 - 1503) 

Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy (1446 - 1503) 

things my shakespeare professor said over the past semester

“toni morrison did not develop the career she has because she spent her time in drug-fueled orgies.” EDIT: my friend reminded me that our prof said orgies, not threesomes, and that the following sentence was “no, she spent her time at her desk producing very fine novels.”

(about acting in shakespeare) “this is not the golden globes or whatever, if you’re not white, you can still participate.”

“many important things are discovered on the way to the restroom.”

(what sonnets mean) “please sleep with me”, “i wish i could be with you so we could get it on, but you’re far away and we can’t so all i can send you is a dumb poem”

“juliet is a very smart chick.”

(a few vague threats) “oh, i laugh, but people cried.” “i will cut you.” “when i am sardonic, you will feel bad.”

(about the histories) “it’s mentally easy if you see it all as game of thrones.”

“the plantagenets were no longer in charge, which was good, because they were bitches.”

(about richard III being obsessed with anne) “i’m not just some horny dude that wants to sleep with you, it’s just that you’re so hot that i had to mow down everyone else in my way to get to you.”

“what’s the fun of throwing a party if you don’t not invite people?”

“you fuck with my kids, your kids are going in a pie.”

“the people who are in love [in comedies] are usually young, dumb, and boring.”

“comedies begin in shit places- if the play opens and the sky is falling, you’re in a comedy.”

(about ephesus in the comedy of errors) “everyone’s a witch here, let’s just bail.”

“henry VIII breaks with the roman church and fucking destroys every monastery in sight.”

“henry V started off as a party-going, panty-chasing loser.”

(about hamlet’s entrance in I.ii) “it’s always fun to arrive late to the party, it does imply that you have a fascinating social life.”

“conspiracies are erotic.”

“art, am i right?”


From Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Reigns of Richard III and Henry VII, Henry VII’s emissary to Pope Innocent VIII in 1485; 

“The beauty and chastity of this lady are indeed so great neither Lucretia nor Diana herself were ever more beautiful or more chaste. So great is her virtue, and her character so fine, that she certainly seems to have been preserved by divine will from the time of her birth right up until today to be consort and queen. “

me: I must understand the medieval History of England.

*some books and documentaries later*

me: …plenty of Kings indeed…

me: *a bit doubtful* So let’s systematize:

me: *quite doubtful and sweating* Just need to add the respective names and dates and it will be great…


Aliénor - Episode 2: Bordeaux 

“Eleanor, I beseech you! Make peace with my Lady mother and-”

“No! Louis, I am first and foremost your wife. I will honour the duty that God has bestowed upon me as such but I am Queen of the Franks, as I am a daughter of Aquitaine and I will not break to fit the mould that your mother dictates to me. I would rather drown in the Garonne, than bend to her dull will.” 

The episode begins 25 July 1137,  Eleanor of Aquitaine marries the devout Prince Louis in Bordeaux and they are immediately enthroned as Duke and Duchess of Aquitaine. However, their tour of the provinces are interrupted  in August 1137 by the news that Prince Louis father, Louis VI, has died. The couple are anointed and crowned King and Queen of the Franks on Christmas Day, 1137 both still teenagers. The episode also delves into the tense relationship Eleanor has with the northeners of her kingdom, who disapprove of her high-spirited nature, particularly Prince Louis’ mother, Adelaide of Maurienne and Bernard of Clairvaux. 


history meme (plantagenet edition) →  5 women (1/5), Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122  – 1 April 1204) was a Queen consort of France and England. As a member of the Ramnulfids (“House of Poitiers”) rulers in southwestern France, she was one of the most powerful and wealthiest women in western Europe during the High Middle Ages. She inherited the Duchy of Aquitaine from her father, William X, in 1137 and, by successive marriages, became Queen of France (1137–1152) and then of England (1154–1189). 

Eleanor sought an annulment to her marriage to Louis VII, but her request was rejected by Pope Eugene III. However, after the birth of her second daughter Alix, Louis agreed to an annulment, as fifteen years of marriage had not produced a son. The marriage was annulled on 11 March 1152 and their daughters were declared legitimate with custody awarded to Louis, while Eleanor’s lands were restored to her. As soon as the annulment was granted, Eleanor became engaged to the Duke of Normandy, who became King Henry II of England in 1154, and were married eight weeks later in 1152.

Over the next thirteen years, she bore Henry eight children: five sons, three of whom would become kings; and three daughters. However, Henry and Eleanor eventually became estranged. Henry imprisoned her in 1173 for supporting their son Henry’s revolt against him. She was not released until 6 July 1189, when Henry died and their second son, Richard the Lionheart, ascended the throne. Now Queen dowager, Eleanor acted as regent while Richard went on the Third Crusade; on his return Richard was captured and held prisoner. Eleanor lived well into the reign of her youngest son, John. She outlived all her children except for John and Eleanor.