Neville and the War of the Roses


Time Turners
I know too little about English/British history, but I was reading a new book my DH bought me about castles and came across some stuff on Richard Neville. How about the story of the War of the Roses?

What's All This Stuff About Flowers?

The name comes from the badges of arms worn by the two factions. The symbol of the House of York is a white rose. The symbol of the House of Lancaster is a red rose. The servants of each house wore emblems with these flowers on their liveries (servant uniforms). The actual phrase "War of the Roses" doesn't appear until Shakespeare's time, but Shakespeare does make use of this flower imagery at the end of Henry VI: Part Three and in Richard III.

But there's something interesting about Richard Neville (recognize that name from anywhere???) -- he's considered the "kingmaker".

The Battle of Barnet was fought in a heavy mist, on Easter Sunday 14th April 1471. Due to a misalignment of the opposing armies, all became confusion. The centre of the battle (as depicted here) was fought at close quarters, a mass of struggling knights and men at arms with comrade fighting comrade, their vision of the battle obscured by mist. The Yorkist's under the leadership of King Edward IV triumphed, leaving the Lancastrians with hopes dashed. Their champion and leader, the great Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick 'The King Maker' lay dead, cut down while struggling to regain his charger. In the painting Edward IV charges toward the banner of Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter, while in the foreground soldiers of the Houses of York and Lancaster hack and slash at each other in terrified butchery.
BOLD by me.

The war of the Roses (also called the war of the two Roses) is a very important period for the British culture and history. It has been a turning point in the history of the United Kingdom : a very large part of the aristocracy was killed (some noble families even disappeared) and the royal dynasty changed. It has also been a vast source of inspiration for English authors, such as Shakespeare.

Notice that it talks about how so many noble families (could be read "pureblood" as they often married each other to keep the royal blood pure) died off from this particular war.

So, the history of the war of the two Roses is really propitious to literary narration : you have a Queen with a strong personality (Marguerite), a mad King, traitors, multiple reversal of situation, ... But the myth is different from the reality : what is disappointing is that the version of Shakespeare is a bit far from the reality whereas it needed not to be thrilling. For instance, Richard III was not the ‘‘nice’’ King of Shakespeare’s play. However we must not forget that he could not question the foundation of the Tudor dynasty ands its legitimity !

So queen with a strong personality, a mad king, traitors, and multiple reversals of situation (read, Snape).

Why was he (Richard Neville) important?
Alright!!! Soap box time. Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, was not known as the kingmaker for nothing. Shakespeare called him the "proud setter up and puller down of kings." He is often considered the most powerful baron to have ever lived and I would go so far as to argue that there could have been no Wars of the Roses without his involvement. He was considered a hero by the commoners due to his effectiveness on the sea and in Calais. It has been argued that he wasn't so much the last of the great barons as the first of the great statesmen. He was a man of boundless ambition and boundless energy to make things happen. He set the political groundwork in the first years of Edward's reign that remain in effect until Oliver Cromwell. Most argue that he then betrayed Edward to claim more power for himself. I argue the opposite; that Edward betrayed his cousin in order to claim more power for himself. In the mid 1460s Edward began to exercize royal power in his own right after leaving it in Warwick's hands for so long. However, he did not claim his power as a king might, but instead did so in a underhanded manner. He allowed Warwick to make wedding plans for him never telling anyone that he had already secretly married....He allowed Warwick to make alliances with France while he secretly made ties to Burgundy....he advanced one of Warwick's brother in rank, but in so doing effectively ended his landed influence....He removed power from another of Warwick's brothers while that brother was ill in bed. The whole of Edward's actions in the mid to late 1460s seemed to be designed for the sole purpose of weakening and humiliating the man who had helped give him the throne. I would argue that Warwick had little choice but go to war with Edward. And this he did, capturing and imprisoning Edward at Warwick castle (meanwhile holding Henry VI captive as well. Warwick is the only man in history to hold 2 Kings of England captive at the same time). When he was forced to free Edward, he fled to France and allied himself with the Lancastrians. He then returned to England and chased Edward out of the country, placing Henry back on the throne. Edward returned with Burgunian assistance and finally defeated and killed Warwick at Barnet (though I've argued and continue to argue that Barnet was decided by luck alone and no great generalship of Edward's). So Warwick was pretty important.
hallimei-I'm not very familiar w/War of the Roses, but this definately seems like something Jo could have drawn inspiration from:D . The red and the white roses(and black) are very reminiscent of Lewis Carroll, and Shakespeare whom I feel she obviously has much respect for and probably borrowed some ideas from. Your Warwick seems vaguely familiar but I don't think I've heard the name connected to Richard Neville-that is very interesting..this Warwick sounds an awful lot like our Severus doesn't he-you certainly get the feeling that he's pulling the strings so to speak. I wonder if she's giving us a clue in relating Snape to Neville, I usually get a bit stumped on that one(at least w/o giving free reign to some pretty wild theories:D ) I'll have to give this some thought and do some research...this is kind of unrelated, but I wonder who did the painting of Edward the IV? Also-after attempting to wade through Shakespeare w/my daughter, I have recalled why I blocked alot of it out of my head:eek: If there are any Shakespeare afficiondo's who recall his Henry VI-Act Three of Richard III please chime in!
I did some poking around on the internet, and I found that Longbottm is actually something she borrowed from Tolkien. It's a region of the shire where they grow pipe-weed. The longbottom leaf is a specific type of Hobbit tabacco.

So is this a tribute to LOR or will Neville go up in smoke?
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