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YMMV / The White Queen

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: This applies to just about every major character in the series, since all them are biased from their own point of view. Those who naturally think of themselves as being in the right are seen as wrong from the perspective of others, and vice versa. People that are regarded as conniving or treacherous will almost always have their motivations and beliefs explored in scenes that are focused on them.
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  • Americans Hate Tingle: Amanda Hale, who played Margaret Beaufort, received critical acclaim in Britain, but her performance was hated by American critics.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: How the miniseries is marketed in the United States, although the BBC did create a trailer entitled "There's a New Edward in Town" which advertised Edward IV's sexiness. The Starz telecast is notably Hotter and Sexier with more sex scenes and more nudity. Although it lacks strong support from critics, the show does have a fan base that likes it on its own merits.
  • Broken Base: Is the TV adaption good or bad? Boy, the debate will never end. The critics were not impressed by the first episode and historians pointed out the glaring historical inaccuracies. The show itself paled compared to Game of Thrones and The Tudors. While the writing was criticized for its inconsistencies and plot holes, the acting was praised.
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  • Creator's Pet: Elizabeth Woodville. Not all the fans agree with Philippa Gregory that she is a sympathetic heroine.
  • Critical Dissonance: The show received negative reviews from the critics in the UK and the US, but the ratings were fairly solid.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Rape, abandonment by parents, being bullied or humiliated, being cheated on... and the list goes on and on. However, when all of these applied to almost every female character, then the audience finds it rather repetitive and overly dramatic.
  • Designated Hero: Elizabeth Woodville as the protagonist. Despite the producers' intention to portray her as a heroine, some viewers found it impossible to root for a witch whose spells harm others (such as the storm she conjured which killed Isabel's first child).
  • Die for Our Ship: Elizabeth of York gets a lot of hatedom from fans of Anne and Richard.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Richard of Gloucester is a glorified extra in the first four episodes and a secondary character in Episode 5, but when he does finally come to the forefront, he's a scene-stealer. Most critics and fans have praised Aneurin Barnard's memorable performance as one of the highlights of this miniseries, including those who find the show's quality to be uneven.
  • Estrogen Brigade: Max Irons, Aneurin Barnard, David Oakes and Ben Lamb are all extremely gorgeous in period costumes (and without them!).
  • Expy: The arc of Neville sisters is quite similar to the arc of Boleyn sisters in The Tudors series The Other Boleyn Girl.
  • Fridge Horror: In Episode 2, Elizabeth's kid sister Catherine is married to a very sulky Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Because both parties are just small children, Henry's anger at his kid wife is quite funny and cute. It becomes a lot less so when you realise that historically, Henry Stafford harboured a lifelong resentment about the marriage, and as soon as Edward IV died, he immediately joined Richard's camp against the Woodvilles. He was even one of the suspects in the murder of the Princes in the Tower.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The lyrics of Horrible Histories' Richard III song fit quite perfectly with Aneurin Barnard's sympathetic interpretation of the character, and this crossover parody proves it. The most hilarious moment is seeing a close-up of his endearing Pretty Boy face while hearing the verse, "This is me, sweet Richard, do I look like a baddie?"
  • Hollywood Homely: Faye Marsay, who plays Anne Neville, may not be the classic beauty some of the other women are, but she's still cute as a button. Margaret of Anjou explicitly calls her plain-looking, and when Richard makes clear his intention to marry her, George assumes that he's after her fortune, because he can't possibly be attracted to her.
  • Imaginary Love Triangle: Really YMMV with Richard III, Anne Neville, and Elizabeth of York in Episode 10 of the BBC version. Richard told Anne that it was all just a charade to keep York men on his side against Henry Tudor. Anne herself was convinced that Richard no longer cares for her and she was not needed, while Elizabeth of York believed that Richard loved her for real. Whether he did is made somewhat more ambiguous by the inclusion of Elizabeth Woodville's magic as a factor. This is averted in the Starz edition, though, where Richard admits to his niece that he did fall in love with her the night before the Battle of Bosworth.
  • It's Not Supposed to Win Oscars: YMMV. The costume design, acting, and genre of the show do make it an Oscar Bait. Yet, the poor writing and overacting applies more to this trope. Interestingly, the show did garner award nominations in the US including Golden Globes and Emmys, but did not in Britain.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Margaret Beaufort. She's portrayed as cold, calculating, self-absorbed, and treacherous, but if you consider her horrible childhood under the rule of an equally cold and cruel mother, and how she was repeatedly raped by her much older husband at age twelve, and had to go through childbirth at age thirteen, it's hardly a surprise that she turned out the way she did. Not to mention the fact that every single person in her life (save her second husband) bullied her for being passionate about praying and studying.
    • Duchess Cecily; she is nothing but icy towards Elizabeth, and she openly regards George as her favorite son and tries to explain away his obvious treachery. But you cannot help but feel sorry for her while she's groveling to Edward to spare George's life, and then weeping at the latter's death. She later passionately urges Richard to press for his claim to the throne, at the potential cost of her grandsons.
  • Love to Hate: The Earl of Warwick. He uses his daughters as pawns to gain power in court and married Anne to the sadistic Prince Edward of Lancaster. At the same time, he is one of the well-liked characters from the show, probably because he's played by James Frain.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Richard, to a certain extent. Although more loyal and honest than George, he's fully capable of being cruel and strategically manipulative.
    • Also Lord Stanley, who's famous for always being on the winning side. Always.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Misaimed Fandom: The series is supposed to show strong side of women in the Wars of the Roses and that they are courageous heroines. And yet, viewers ended up criticizing the presentation of the three female protagonists. Elizabeth Woodville doesn't have much Character Development; Anne Neville became a cruel Lady Macbeth; and Margaret Beaufort is fanatic and insane at best.
  • Nightmare Fuel: How George is executed, by being drowned in wine with muffled screaming and lots of close-ups of him struggling. It's a disturbing way to die.
  • Obvious Judas: George. Even if you haven't read the book, just look at him smile; you know he can't be trusted (David Oakes has really cornered the market on playing Medieval and Renaissance scumbags).
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: In addition to the historical inaccuracies, many viewers loathed the pairing of Richard III and Elizabeth of York in Episode 10. Their sex scene in the Starz broadcast generated a lot of squick among those who don't want to watch an uncle and a niece be physically intimate.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: "Richanne" for Richard/Anne.
  • Protagonist Title Fallacy: From the name and much of the promotional material, you might think this series was focused on Elizabeth Woodville. While this series is an adaptation of its namesake book, it also incorporates The Red Queen (Margaret Beaufort) and The Kingmaker's Daughter (Anne Neville). Elizabeth seems to spend more of the series hiding in sanctuary than actually reigning as queen, and the second half of the series (especially after Edward IV's death) sees the other protagonists (including her own daughter, Elizabeth of York) getting far more action on screen.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Fans of Game of Thrones will see King Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman) instead of the young Richard Grey.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: The show and the novels are supposed to be about women in the Wars of the Roses and their overlooked and forgotten roles and impact on history. However, most parts of the show and novels are about romance.
  • Strangled by the Red String: In the Starz telecast, Richard III and Elizabeth of York are meant to be head-over-heels in love, but they hardly interact onscreen (we see them dancing more than speaking to each other), so their romance is poorly developed.
  • Strawman Has a Point: The series wants to present the characters who accuse Elizabeth and Jacquetta of witchcraft as irrational paranoiacs who are nuts to believe that such a thing exists, and at the same time, also depicts the Queen and her mother as actual witches, with very real supernatural powers. George and Isabel seem to be portrayed as being irrational when they accuse the Queen of using magic to summon the storm that killed their son, except that in the show she did exactly that! So even though the producers clearly want us to have no sympathy for George, and a great deal for Elizabeth, who is after all the main protagonist, the fact is that George and the other characters who label her as a witch are completely correct in at least most of their accusations against Elizabeth (with even the false ones more excusable because of this).
    • The sequel series of The White Princess averts this a little; Elizabeth Woodville says that she has no idea as to whether she actually does have magic or whether it was all bollocks and she and her mother got very fucking lucky with their timing!
  • Tear Jerker: Richard's death at the Battle of Bosworth. He's fighting for his life and gets rushed by several Tudor soldiers simultaneously while Brackenbury is screaming for someone to get the King a horse. Then they are both eventually overwhelmed. The manner in which it was filmed and the melancholic music enhance the tragedy of Richard's downfall.
  • Toy Ship: Anne and Richard, of course. Some fan fiction authors like to explore how they first met when they were kids and why a mutual crush had formed between them.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Elizabeth Woodville is supposed to give an impression of a brave heroine who has to deal with many enemies to save herself and her family, but some in the audience do not sympathize with her or her cause.
  • War Ship: Applies to many couples. Justified for the time period, for marriages are made to form alliances with former enemies.
  • The Woobie: Anne and Isabel.


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