The Crown: Balancing Family and Calling Is a Royal Pain

The Netflix series focuses on the pressure around the monarch’s marriage.
I recall sitting with my mother in my childhood living room and watching Diana Spencer—about to be Princess Diana—walk slowly down the aisle toward the altar and her prince. The year was 1981, and despite my tender age, the princess fantasy did not take hold. Nor did I become a “royals watcher”… at least not until Netflix released its Queen Elizabeth II bio series, The Crown, earlier this month.

Why the change of heart? Maybe it was the promise of seeing Elizabeth, now the longest-reigning monarch in British history, as a young woman. Maybe it was the heady feminist air as the series debuted, just days before the US—it seemed—might elect its first female president. For others, maybe a love for British period dramas is enough to pull them in.

Since I’ve been aware of the royal family, of course, but not particularly interested before, the effect of the series has been something like moving a piece of furniture in your grandparents’ house only to find that behind that bookcase, the wallpaper you’d taken for granted your whole upbringing had at one time been far more bold and colorful than you’d ever realized. It’s enough to make you question the assumptions you’ve made about what sort of stories the walls would tell if they could talk.

The Crown attempts to tell those almost forgotten bits of the queen’s life that transpired before she ascended the throne and took on a relentlessly public life for the next 64 years. It begins with her marriage to Prince Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947 and is chiefly concerned with Elizabeth’s life during her 20s, including her coronation at a mere 25 years old and finding her footing with Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

The Crown brings into focus how much the story of Elizabeth’s transition into leadership is also the story of refining her marriage. Much like the images of gold being poured out and cast into a new shape that accompany the opening credits, the union of Elizabeth and Philip is remade in dramatic fashion. […]

Read the rest online 

originally published at ChristianityToday.com December 2, 2016.

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Sleepy Hollow’s Katrina Crane and the Temptation of Many Moms

It’s been a few weeks so I don’t feel that I’m giving away much by talking about   recent developments with the ever-corset-clad Katrina Crane on Fox’s Sleepy Hollow.  (But if you’re behind a few weeks, stop here and come back later.)

On the face of them, Katrina’s relational dilemmas were unique.  By season they went something like:

How to navigate a marriage marked by passion that could not be suppressed (initially unraveling engagements and life-long friendships and later bridging the after-life) but that was forged in a certain amount of deceit? (Leaving out the whole being witch thing was sort of a biggie.)

After a 200-year interruption during which she suffered in purgatory but has now returned to our realm unaged, how to rebuild a family with her husband, himself 200 years dead, entombed, but arisen unaged, and her son Jeremy, who was buried alive as a young man only to be unearthed showing fewer than his 200 years–but only marginally so?

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Jeremy Crane, age indeterminate (played by John Noble, age 66)

 

And then something like, how to be true to herself as the mother of one of the Four Horsemen, the wife of a Revolutionary and Apocalyptic Warrior, and a witch recently introduced to how (dum, dum, dum) Blood Magic juices her powers?

Yup.  Her ahistorically purply red hair and preference for wearing corsets not even the tip of the iceberg, Katrina has seemed a rather peculiar gal.

But though the glowing ashes of her magical corpse disintegrated in a breeze, the final act of Katrina Crane’s demise told an altogether ordinary story. Continue reading Sleepy Hollow’s Katrina Crane and the Temptation of Many Moms

What ‘The Americans’ can teach us about marriage

Thanks to the folks at Rare for carrying my essay on FX’s The Americans and faithfulness in marriage. From pilot to season finale, Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings gave us a lot to chew on…