|Unauthenticated portrait of Eleanor of Aquitaine, a prominent figure in the House of Plantagenet|
|Tomb effigy of Eleanor of Aquitaine (there are no authenticated portraits in existence)|
House of Plantagenet
In the turbulent period that is the Middle Ages, I have always been fascinated with the House of Plantagenet. For the uninitiated, this royal house produced famous historical figures such as Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart. My preoccupation with them was cemented when I discovered the historical fiction of that period written by Sharon Kay Penman. While technically, the Welsh Princes trilogy - 'Here Be Dragons', 'The Reckoning' and 'Falls the Shadow' - dealt mainly with the medieval princes of Gwynedd i.e. the Welsh princes, the books did touch upon events of that era.
|Sharon Kay Penman's Welsh Princes Trilogy, her War of the Roses book and her take on Richard the Lionheart|
Chronologically, Ms Sharon's Plantagenet series comprising 'When Christ and his Saints Slept' (rather than any religious connotations, I believe the title was referring to the period which was deemed as a time of great wretchedness), 'Time and Chance', 'Devil's Brood' and 'Lionheart' continued from events of the first trilogy. The final book in the timeline is "The Sunne in Splendour", which deals with the end of the War of the Roses and King Richard III (whose bones were discovered a few months ago). To me, her books are real page turners but for some reason or other, I never got to finish the Plantagenet series. With some time on my hands now, I hope to embark on a massive reading binge to re-read all her books from the beginning and finally complete those I had not read.
|Sharon Kay Penman's original Plantagenet trilogy which later became a four-book-series with "Lionheart"|
Although the period when the House of Plantagenet reigned supreme is the one that most fascinates me, there are also other royal houses that pique my interest, most notably the House of Tudor which gave rise to characters such as King Henry VIII (and his many wives) as well as Elizabeth I.
|Books touching on the House of Tudor|
Then there is the realm of fantasy, especially those that use the Middle Ages as a setting. Warhammer has a couple of books of that nature, most notably the ones on Bretonnia by Anthony Reynolds, which incidentally wrote the W40K Word Bearers trilogy which I enjoyed. I haven't even begun reading both the Warhammer books which I got on sale many moons ago.
But perhaps most famous of all is the Game of Thrones books written by George R.R. Martin. It has been said the War of the Roses had a hand in inspiring his writing. Currently, I am only at the second book of the series and loving every page. Unfortunately for me, it sucked to accidentally find out about two major characters' death before I even started but I guess I was asking for it by Googling for some background info prior to reading the books. For example, 'The King Can Do As He Likes' promo poster was a real spoiler. I have yet to see the TV series as I do not want any further spoilers.
All in all, these books have gotten me excited about working on medieval/fantasy painting projects. So I guess I will be looking at some Warhammer and Dark Sword miniatures to feed my addiction. That and perhaps some other finely detailed miniatures which I will cover in a future blog.