I have seen the whole series Wolf Hall via BBC.
I entirely agree with Charles Krauthammer at WaPo:
“Wolf Hall,” the Man Booker Prize-winning historical novel about the court of Henry VIII — and most dramatically, the conflict between Thomas Cromwell and Sir Thomas More — is now a TV series (presented on PBS). It is maddeningly good.
Maddening because its history is tendentiously distorted, yet the drama is so brilliantly conceived and executed that you almost don’t care. Faced with an imaginative creation of such brooding, gripping, mordant intensity, you find yourself ready to pay for it in historical inaccuracy.
And “Wolf Hall’s” revisionism is breathtaking. It inverts the conventional view of the saintly More being undone by the corrupt, amoral, serpentine Cromwell, the king’s chief minister. This is fiction as polemic. Author Hilary Mantel, an ex- and anti-Catholic (“the Catholic Church is not an institution for respectable people”), has set out to rehabilitate Cromwell and defenestrate More, most especially the More of Robert Bolt’s beautiful and hagiographic “A Man for All Seasons.”
Who’s right? Neither fully, though “Wolf Hall’s” depiction of More as little more than a cruel heretic-burning hypocrite is particularly provocative, if not perverse. To be sure, More worship is somewhat overdrawn, as even the late Cardinal Francis George warned at a 2012 convocation of bishops.More had his flaws. He may have been a man for all seasons, but he was also a man of his times. And in those times of merciless contention between Rome and the Reformation, the pursuit and savage persecution of heresy were the norm.
Indeed, when Cromwell achieved power, he persecuted Catholics with a zeal and thoroughness that surpassed even More’s persecution of Protestants. “Wolf Hall’s” depiction of Cromwell as a man of great sensitivity and deep feeling is, therefore, even harder to credit. He was cruel and cunning, quite monstrous both in pursuit of personal power and wealth, and in serving the whims and wishes of his royal master.
Read the rest there.
And, let it be said, Henry VIII was a monster.