Caelum Oleae (moved to

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More, Sir Thomas More and my old ignorance

I remembered when I was an undergraduate, I did not understand Utopia. I thought it is boring and dry and unrealistic. Maybe it was partly because the word 'utopia' had been used so frequently and so wrongly.

Though until now, I still have not quite finish Utopia in English and in Latin, I think I should be able and have more confident to say what it is about, well, at least, partly.

I remembered I told some Renaissance fellows at the end of my first year study here that the more I read about Sir Thomas More, the more I admire him.

I knew, of course I knew, he was once a persecutor of the Protestants in Henry VIII's ealry reign. I knew, yes I knew, some modern feminists criticize him of 'imposing' and pressing his daughters to learn Latin beyone their willingness. And I knew he also wrote some elegy and verse dedicated to the royalties as many other courtiers do. He was a political man, but even more, he is a religious man.

But he is a great man for he did not change under the threat of death, for he provided education to his daughter and encouraged them not to give it up even after they were married, for he kept a household where many scholars depended upon.

And his thoughts, of course, and his humanism.

Jeremy Northam's Thomas More in The Tudors is wonderfully done. We have a Thomas More was a good friend with Henry VIII when the king was young, a Thomas More who burned Protestants and their books, a Thomas More who tried to keep his fatherly dignity but had to admit frankly that he was short of money after reign his job as the Chancellor, a Thomas More who confessed his courage for death but fear of torture, and more Thomas More.

Michael Hirst finally shows his talent in Season 2. There were too many sex in Season 1 (well, still a lot in Season 2, but it is much more marginalized). Claudia said she likes Season 1 better, but I prefer Season 2, where Hirst weaves so many historical details nicely; some parts are even seamless. And of course, let me remind you and myself, it is still fictional in many parts.

I almost bursted into tears at the scene of Thomas More's beheading in The Tudors, and Hirst shows Henry VIII's grief, and later his regrets, of More's death wonderfully, saving the king's image and explaining the unnecessary necessity of More's death.

For research, and more for personal interest, I read Thomas More's final letters with his daughter, Margaret More Roper, his most beloved daughter, who also retrieved her father's beheaded head from the brided guard. As More claimed at his death, he is the king's loyal and obedient servant, but God's first. And I must say, the hierarchy is God, King, and his family. But he is a very admirable father.

(Jeremy Northam's previous role well known (at least to me) is the poet Randolph Henry Ash in Possession.)

As I am watching the TV series, I am trying to pay more attention and to distinguish what is unhistorical and what is plausible and what is rumored and what is proved by evidence. However, in anyway, the second season is more well done than the first.