Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 3 Reading Group Questons for The Plantagenet Prelude

Lucy asks:

5. Discuss the relationship with her uncle...What do you think was more controversial back then: The relationship being incestual- or that she was cheating on her husband?

Arleigh asks:

6. The Pope is more or less a statesman rather than a churchman. Discuss his various decisions related to Eleanor's divorce proceedings.


  1. 5. I think, during that time, the worst crime was adultery. It was very common for family members to get a dispensation from the Pope to marry... usually cousins, but I'm sure there were even closer ties than that at times. Of course, now, it's the other way around. Adultery is common and not exactly a 'crime' though I think people use it to get better terms in a divorce... but incest is most definitely a crime. Plus we now know what disorders and such it causes to have blood ties. They always wondered why royal children rarely thrived like commoner's children.

    6. The Pope placated whomever had the upper hand, politically. He was placed in a position to do what was right, but how many times did he consider right and wrong? No, it was always in an attempt to please the most powerful ruler at the time. Luckily for Eleanor, she chose Henry or else she may not have been granted dispensation to marry him (or perhaps unluckily, since they ended up enemies).

  2. Yeah, I wonder how it never dawned on them that such close blood relations can cause deformities..The incest thing was not a problem if they got married, it seems- still it's way too close when it's the uncle. And in her case, weren't they hiding it?- But then again,the adultery part, like you say was worse.

    About the Pope, to think how much power they had- and now some people think so lowly of them and insignificant. I don't recall much about Eleanore's divorxce proceedings (I should check back...All I remember is Henry making it soo difficult for her.

  3. Lucy, I think they didn't have an scientific beliefs... everything depended on God and the Saints. If a child was born with defects, it was because God willed it. They just didn't have any technology for any other line of reasoning. This is one reason I like books that keep the characters in tune with the religious ways of their era. There just weren't many people who didn't fear God. Imagine living in a world that was dark at night except for fires and where the elements pretty much took over everything. It makes one feel insignificant. It's no wonder people turned to religion to have some sort of power looking out for them.

    Now that was long and off topic... lol

    And the incident with the Pope I was referring to was with Louis and Eleanor. He was not allowing it on their way home from the crusade, but after she had the 2nd daughter and then met Henry, because Henry was so powerful, the Pope let her have the divorce.

    In Revolt of the Eaglets Henry seeks a divorce from Eleanor, but his ministers are against it because he would lose Aquitaine. So he chose to imprison her for 16 years.

  4. Ok...I just re-read my comments and they just didn't make sense..and the reason being: I keep referring to Henry where it should say Louis! In reference to the prior questions and this one as well! There's no way Henry was a wimp- and I meant that Louis was making it difficult for Eleanore and that they were totally different- oh goodness, if we're going to be discussing than maybe I should consider taking notes as I read... People reading this must think I was reading a totally different book-lol!

  5. It's okay Lucy. It gets confusing, which is why I am reading so many different author's takes on Eleanor (plus 3 non-fiction). Besides that, how many people are reading this? I get the feeling it's just you and me ;)