Discussion: Richard III Honored Before Being Reburied 530 Years After His Death

Discussion for article #234582

When you read a little about Richard III he wasn’t half as bad as Shakespeare made him out to be. He did kill the two little boys in the tower but he spared their mother and sisters. Other than that he was a reasonably enlightened noble of his age. He invented bail and tried to administer justice evenhandedly. Mostly he was brave in battle to the point of being foolhardy. He could have won the battle by hanging back and letting his superior numbers crush the Tudors, but decided to personally lead a brave but ultimately foolish cavalry charge. He almost got to Henry but just couldn’t make the last few feet. He is the last King of England to see combat as King.

The victor writes history and in this case the Tudors had the greatest writer of all time as their propagandist.

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I love this news story and the fact that DNA helped identity Richard’s bones. In 1951, Josephine Tey wrote a detective novel, The Daughter of Time, which presented the case for restoring Richard’s reputation. Perhaps, even, he did not kill the two little boys. Glad his bones will rest in honor after all these centuries.

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Hard for me to concede, because to this Shakes-bot his Richard will always be my Richard. But that seems to be a pretty solid case. Nevertheless, I can’t resist:

(Wow, MGM got any YouTube scenes taken down; but Criterion at least has the trailer, above. Watch especially from around :30 to 1:18, newbies, and see the most hideously seductive villain in [theatrical] history…)

No doubt Richard III is the most hideously seductive villain in theatrical history. That is what you get when the best playwright in history writes the part. Just remember who Shakespeare had to impress–the Tudors.


Have you seen the Richard as 1930s fascist version with Ian McKellen? It’s positively hypnotic.

Oh, yes, it’s that rare “concept” adaptation that works perfectly, mesmerizing and harrowing and true to the source. I picked the Olivier because it’s the classic representation (though it actually omits a major female character, for which I can’t quite forgive him). And I must say that as much as I love McKellen and the film, his Lady Anne scene can’t hold a candle to Olivier’s, where you (or at least I) can really believe he’s gotten her. But both are genuinely great in very different ways, and great examples of how vivid and immediate something people think of as dead can be. Also of how little humans have changed over the centuries; but that’s another subject…