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YMMV / Henry IV, Part 1

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Falstaff a sad, old, cowardly man looking at the Crown Prince as a meal ticket, or is he an indefatigable mound of life and bombast who genuinely loves his Hal like a son? Is Hal a defiant, young hedonist living out the last flames of irresponsible youth before the weight of the crown comes crashing down on him, or is he a cold, calculating politician using the denizens of Eastcheap to craft his public image so he can appear so much finer in his reformation? Do Hal and Falstaff even really like each other? There are so many ways to play both characters. Compare the scene where Hal and Falstaff practice Hal's future encounter with his father the king in the 2012 BBC production and the 2010 Globe Theatre production.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Sir John Falstaff, who instantly became the play's most beloved character, and remains a perennial favorite among Shakespeare lovers all the way up until the present day. He was so popular that Shakespeare gave him the starring role in another play, The Merry Wives of Windsor. Indeed, the Bard himself may have had a certain special fondness for the old knight — he has more lines of dialogue than any other of his characters aside from Hamlet.
    • Hotspur as well. It's easy to forget, but there was a time where every stage actor wanted to play him, rather than Falstaff.
    • Especially after the Hollow Crown production, Poins has become this for Parts 1 and 2, owing much to his close relationship with Hal.
  • Evil Is Cool: Maybe not quite "evil," but Douglas is a Blood Knight who fights against Hal and his father. However, his Villainous Valor and skill with a sword mean that, with a good actor and a good fight choreographer, he is just so much fun to watch.
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  • First Installment Wins: This was a better received play than Part 2, both back then and today.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The starling is mentioned just once in passing as part of a joke, and nowhere else in any of the Bard’s plays. So you’d expect no one to think anything of it. Unfortunately, the bird is not native to America, and in the 19th century a group of American Shakespeare fanatics imported a mating pair of starlings and set them loose in Central Park, so that every species of bird mentioned in Shakespeare would have a presence in the New World. It worked too well, the population skyrocketing due to a lack of natural predators, while driving out native species from their habitat, wrecking the ecosystem, and generally being pests. Environmentalists and birdwatchers alike wind up wishing the Shakespeare had chosen any other songbird for Hotspur’s line.
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  • Growing the Beard: The Henry IV plays are widely considered when Shakespeare became Shakespeare.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: As much of the page attests, just here for Falstaff.


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