Thursday, July 1, 2010

Nest of Vipers

I have been reading the most interesting books by Sharon Kaye Penman. They are about the reign and family of  Henry II of England and his Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine.  My word! To have been such good monarchs, they were dreadful parents! These two produced eight children and I suppose the girls turned out okay since they didn't have much choice in the matter as they were married off and shipped out of the country before they were old enough to protest, but the boys! Whew! Talk about a nest of vipers! Lord God, Henry would have done better to have pinched their little hissing heads off at birth...except for the fact that he was only present for the birth of one of his children; Richard who later became "The Lionheart".

I guess that speaks volumes right there...the absent parent literally and figuratively.  The oldest son, William, died at age three, so like the girls, he didn't get much chance to act out. But the other four sure made up for it. Hal, Richard, Geoffrey, and John, the runt of the litter were in rebellion from the time they were teenagers. Not just your normal teen rebellious acts like getting a tattoo or taking up, we're talking taking castles, sacking towns, and generally trying to overthrow their father the king.  These were Teenagers!! And when they weren't fighting old dad, they were at each others' throats...with lances and swords no less.

It didn't sort itself out until all but one of them was dead. John was the only one still standing. He out lived them all so I guess you could say he "won". But in a family like that, it is difficult to see any winners.  So sad to read about people who had it all; beauty, wealth, talent, power and brains, and they squandered it all pulling each other apart instead of pulling together as a a family.

There is a lesson in there for us all. I'm just sayin'.


  1. Oh we absolutely have the same taste on books! Seriously.

  2. Can you imagine if they had drivers license. Drinking, driving, sacking, pileging, texting...

  3. Some people think that teens and young people are so crazy now. It was really scary back then.

  4. I read these histories and wonder how we made it. And the Romans were Worse! if you can imagin. Read Colleen McCullough's books starting with The First Man in Rome about Marius. Whew! Heartless back stabbing villans! of the first order.