I agree with this SFM! I’m really getting tired of the continuing portrayals of medieval women as either almost extreme tragic, pity-party victims or the other extreme cold, heartless, scheming bitches. I do think Isabel and Anne had more agency than some people (esp. historical novelists) think and they were in general, as morally ambiguous/grey as all other people in their time and even now. They were probably proud as especially they were raised by their father the Earl of Warwick, who was an ambitious, clever man and so it’s not hard to imagine that some of his more distinguished traits and mindsets could have passed on to his daughters. While I do think they were pawns in one way or another, a whole bunch of people were ‘pawns’ in their own ways especially in their youths but they would have had far more agency, power, and influence in their adulthood so I don’t think it’s correct to think of them as extremely weak, retiring pawns.
I stumbled on this while I was on the hunt for information for an upcoming post.
I feel that it needs a response, something to balance the books a little. I know, it’s an uphill battle – the view that poor Isobel and Anne were mere pawns (oh, and Doomed) is so entrenched that it’s going to take a miracle to shift it by so much as a millimetre.
Just to set the tone, here are some of the words used to described Warwick and/or his actions:
”political conniving”; “charismatic”; “self-centered”; “arrogant”; “man of moderate military skill”; “merciless”; “exploit”; “had no need to hold [his daughters] in esteem”; “hankering for supremacy and clout”; the only loyalty he held was to himself”; “enmesh in his pursuit for power”; “ego”; “narcissism”; “heedless”; “used his youngest daughter”; “spider web of intrigue”; “hopeless machinations”; “fanaticism for prestige and importance”.
Now for the…
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