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Tear Jerker / The Tudors

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  • Thomas More's execution. Particularly when Henry lets out a Skyward Scream realising he made a mistake.
    • Before that, there's the moment after his trial when he's being led away, and his daughter fights to get to him and manages to embrace and kiss him one last time before being pushed back.
  • Jane Seymour's death shortly after giving birth to Prince Edward. Henry spends the whole of the next episode in a Heroic BSoD with only his snarky fool for company.
  • Cromwell's death. He may have been a Manipulative Bastard , but that doesn't stop his deliberately botched execution from being heart rending.
    • Making it worse is his son having to watch, powerless and sobbing, while his father suffers an agonizing death. Only he can't watch; he can't bear to after the first stroke.
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    • If you're prone to being moved by injustice, remember that Cromwell did everything Henry ordered to the best of his abilities. He simply used the fact that the King rarely (if ever) gave him specific orders and trusted in Cromwell's ability to get a favorable outcome. If you break it down, Cromwell was executed because Henry didn't like how his grand-scale choices effected him personally — especially the Reformation, though that was unclear given that the show didn't touch the fact that Henry was basically Catholic his whole life while Cromwell was a Lutheran sympathizer.
  • Cardinal Wolsey's suicide in the first series finale, after being reduced to nothing and making a truly tear-jerking final prayer.
  • Lady Mary crying in her chambers after Katherine Howard tells her that she's only jealous of her because she's younger and married, while she'll probably become an old maid. Talk about adding insult to the injury.
    • Leads to Irony; Mary only truly became disliked and hated after the burnings and her marriage — if she HAD stayed an old maid and never married, then people wouldn't have rebelled (due to disliking Philip) and the burnings wouldn't have been so bad and she would have been liked.
  • The respective lead up to, and executions, of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. To elaborate:
    • Anne is abandoned by her callous father and has to see her beloved brother and her friends go to the block before her — which is pretty heart breaking in itself, especially when one man's been so badly tortured they have to lay him down on the block because he's physically incapable of moving on his own — and breaks down sobbing and gasping for breath. Then her own execution is delayed, drawing her torment out and nearly bringing her to breaking point — but she thankfully musters up more than enough courage and dignity to make her final speech. Then it's drawn out some more, allowing her fear to take hold again as she repeats her prayer. And, when her head finally parts company from her body in a strange but beautiful Gory Discretion Shot, there's a flashback to when she was young and being carried by her father. All scored with the most beautiful and tragic song, 'Jerusalem'.
      • Anne remembering her childhood.
      • Thomas Cromwell's remorse. Unlike Henry, who clearly seems unrepentant of what he did, Cromwell's guilt stricken by the fact that Anne and the others were executed on trumped up charges, and he breaks down while trying to pray.
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    • With Katherine, first there's the simultaneously gorgeous and harrowing 'Execution Ballet', which cuts between Katherine dancing in her prison and Culpepper and Dereham being executed. At least for Culpepper it's quick; Dereham gets the 'hung, drawn and quartered' treatment. It doesn't help that there's a voiceover from Katherine reading out a love letter to Culpepper and a confession about Dereham. Then Katherine goes to her own execution, and has to watch Jane Rochford die before her — but, despite wetting herself, she too manages to pluck up her courage and make a graceful farewell, marveling at how beautiful life is.
      • Another subtle tearjerker adds to the dance scene: Katherine has always loved to dance, and is shown doing so at least once an episode. In one scene, she is shown messing about in a dancing lesson, refusing to take it seriously. During the 'Execution Ballet', she is dancing that same dance with more grace and dignity than she has ever displayed as queen, showing that she has finally been forced to grow up.
  • Charles Brandon's conversation with the ghost of Thomas Darcy at Pontefract Castle.
  • Catherine of Aragon's entire story. Scorned by the man she's loved and been married to for twenty years, betrayed by the one lady-in-waiting she thought she could trust, separated from her only surviving child, having miscarried or lost in infancy half a dozen babies over the years — damn, it's really hard to have sympathy for Henry when you look at Catherine.
    • Especially during the scene where Henry tells Catherine that their marriage is over and that she should find somewhere else to live. The proud and dignified woman collapses and screams in anguish.
  • Katherine Howard really, truly loved Thomas Culpepper — just before she's executed, she states to the people watching that she'll die a queen, but she'd rather have died as his wife — so it's all the more painful that he was totally unworthy of that love, psychopathic rapist that he was.
  • Both of Anne Boleyn's miscarriages are terribly tragic (after the first, her father asks her "What did you do to kill the baby?") but the second is especially heartbreaking. It's quite graphic in nature, and while Henry was somewhat sorry for her after the first, he fully blames her for this one and simply says "When you are up, I will speak with you". When she protests that seeing him with Jane Seymour (not to mention the fact that she was shocked by his near-death incident before that) contributed to the situation, she says "The love I bear you is so great — it broke my heart to see you loved others." It's even more devastating when you know that this is something the actual Anne Boleyn said to Henry VIII following her final miscarriage. Not only is this even the final part of Anne's downfall — she's also suffering something physically and emotionally traumatic for any woman, particularly one who wanted her baby.
  • Bishop Fisher's execution. He faces death with dignity, but realises at the moment of time he is terrified of dying and asks those present for their help. They all shout out blessings to him to ease his passing.
  • The unfortunate fate of Robert Aske, who was a key figure in the Yorkshire Pilgrimage of Grace against Cromwell's demolition derby on churches. Aske had Undying Loyalty to both Henry and the church, and trusted the words of the king and Charles for forgiveness. However, when the rebels rose up again without Aske's consent, the poor fella pays the price and becomes a broken man.
  • Brandon's subsequent guilt which he carried for betraying his vow of honour towards the rebel, promising them fairness and to rebuild the monasteries dismantled by Thomas Cromwell. In the fourth season, he is visited by the ghost of Lord Darcy, one of the rebel leaders, and breaks down in tears when coming to terms with his dishonour.
  • Henry trying to heal Brandon in the finale. You can tell on some level he knows this isn't going to work, but he is willing it to work because otherwise it means losing the one person who's stood by him all this time. It hits all the harder when you know the history — that the friendship between those men is literally is the longest relationship of Henry's life. He and Brandon were friends even before Prince Arthur died, when Henry was only a second son. One of the few times it's still possible to feel genuine sympathy for Henry.
  • Mary being told that Eustuce Chapuys, the Spanish Ambassador and practically the only person who cared about her throughout her entire life, has died. It marks the point where she begins to slip towards her inevitable fate as 'Bloody Mary'.
  • Poor little Elizabeth (who was two years old when her mother was executed and she was bastardized) overhearing Lady Bryan talk about how happiness isn't found at the Tudor Court.
  • In the finale, Henry is confronted by the ghosts of the late mothers of Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward. Even though Henry deserves every word that they have to say to him, the tearful reaction shows that deep down he knows he messed up on some level and now must face what he's done.


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