I am slowly but surely chipping away at all the things I’ve been tagged at – there is still an enormous backlog, but I am getting there! I might actually write a couple of extra posts in the next few weeks to get caught up, but I’m not making any promises… After all, I thought I might use this week’s freedom from exams to be productive, too, but what did I do? I lounged around in bed, watched a ton of terrible shows on Netflix, practiced so much violin that my fingertips are about as callused as they’ve ever been, and read lots of books, none of which were required reading 😊 Well, okay, one of them was a beta read, so I guess it’s kind of required, but still: I did all of this for fun!
Seriously, I am living the life 😎 Too bad university starts again a week from now (it was postponed due to Covid-19)… I could use a few more weeks like this 😁 I had almost forgotten how great it is to have loads of time to do whatever I want!
Anyway, Line from First Line Reader tagged me to do the Medieval Queens Book Tag almost two months ago – see, I’m not kidding about the being behind on tags part 😅 – so I thought it was high time I did this. Especially since these questions look absolutely amazing! Which fantasy nerd isn’t obsessed with medieval British queens? So thank you so much to Jess from Jessticulates for coming up with this, and to Line, for tagging me!!! And guys – if you haven’t checked out Line’s blog yet, go do it! It’s one of my absolute favorites 😊
But, without further ado, let’s get into the questions!
Empress Matilda (1102-1167)
After her father, Henry I, died naming her his heir, Matilda’s cousin, Stephen, subsequently took the throne for himself. Matilda never stopped fighting for what was rightfully hers. Though she would never be named Queen of England in her own right, she was able to convince Stephen to name her son, the future Henry II, his successor over his own children.
Choose a book with a protagonist who stands their ground.
She was prickly and proud, used to ordering people around and getting her own way. She was smart and opinionated – she could talk the tail off a dog. But she was fiercely kindhearted – she’d cross the street to give a coin to a beggar, and always backed the underdog in any fight. She shed tears over Mam and Mari – though she’d never even met them.
She demanded a lot – but demanded even more from herself.The Exiled Queen, p. 478
I’m gonna go with Raisa from Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms Series for this one. Because who doesn’t love a princess who takes her fate into her own hands, runs away from an arranged marriage, cares about getting to the bottom of things, and doesn’t blindly trust her power-hungry advisors? Headstrong describes Raisa ana‘Marianna to a T, and I love her for it 😊
Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204)
Before she married Henry II and became Queen of England in 1152, Eleanor was Queen of France as the wife of Louis VII. She sought an annulment from her marriage to Louis, and he eventually agreed because 15 years of marriage had produced no sons, only for Eleanor to go on to have eight children with Henry—five of whom were sons. Ouch!
Choose a book or series in which the heroine has more than one romantic relationship.
“I don’t want a man’s touch!” Alanna shouted. Horrified, she put out her hands in a gesture of apology. “I’m sorry. I meant no disrespect. I just want to be a warrior maiden and go on adventures.”In the Hand of the Goddess, p. 14
I know I won’t shut about this series, but that’s because I love it so much that I want everyone to read it! Alanna would have been a great choice for the first question, too, but she does also have more than one romantic relationship and discovers so much about herself in the process. And while twelve-year-old me was initially a little upset about her choice, 24-year-old, more experienced me gets it completely and totally ships it. Honestly, I’m a little jealous!
Eleanor of Castile (1241-1290)
A keen patron of literature and a successful businesswoman in her own right, Eleanor was Edward I’s first wife. He was so heartbroken when she died that he erected the Eleanor Crosses, twelve stone crosses marking the places where her body rested overnight on its journey from Lincolnshire, where she died, to her burial place in London. Three of the crosses still survive today.
Choose a bittersweet book.
There was nothing I could do to fix this, or make it better. So I just nodded and pulled my chair a little closer to my dad’s. And together, we watched the sky lighten and transform, as another day began.Second Chance Summer, p. 396
Second Chance Summer is actually one of the very few books that has ever made me cry, so obviously I had to use it here 😉 It’s the definition of bittersweet, following a family who spends one last vacation at their lake house after the father has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. This one is definitely a tearjerker, but it also has so many cute, hilarious and adorable moments!
Isabella of France (1295-1358)
Often known as the ‘She-Wolf of France’, Isabella was Edward II’s wife. Unfortunately for Edward, he wasn’t particularly good at being king, and Isabella soon grew tired of his (possibly homosexual) relationship with his favorite, Hugh Despenser. After she began an affair with English nobleman Roger Mortimer while on a diplomatic mission to France, the pair returned to England with an army and she deposed Edward and acted as regent until their son, the future Edward III, came of age.
Choose a book where the romance overtook the plot.
He loved me. He really loved me. And I loved him. In spite of everything that should have kept us apart – our castes, our mistakes, the world around us – we were supposed to be together.The One, p. 300
I’m not gonna lie – I was absolutely obsessed with The Selection Series in my teenage years, and to this day, I still like returning to it when I want a nice, fluffy read to cheer me up. That being said, though, I still think there were a ton of wasted opportunities in this series. The whole rebel plotline was never properly fleshed out, it was only exploited to create more drama in the Aspen-America-Maxon love triangle. And since I love me some good political fantasy or dystopia, this always really disappointed me! These books are great fun, but they could have been so much more if the non-romantic subplots had been fleshed out just a little bit further!
Philippa of Hainault (1310/15-1369)
Queen of England as the wife of Edward III, Philippa was beloved by the English people for her compassion and kindness. The Queen’s College, Oxford, founded in 1341, is named in her honor.
Choose a book set at a university.
[E]very evening there was some big meeting where you sat on the floor and learned that you were now a little fish in a big sea, and were urged to view this circumstance as an exhilarating challenge rather than a source of anxiety. I tried not to give too much weight to the thing about the fish, but after a while it started to get me down anyway. It was hard to feel cheerful when someone kept telling you you were a little fish in a big sea.The Idiot, p. 9
The Idiot is a story set at Harvard University, and oh my gosh, it hits home so hard that I actually had a really hard time reading it. It seemed to be pointing out exactly what kinds of things I was doing wrong in my own life, and reading it during the time of my great-2019-personal-crisis maybe wasn’t the best idea. Still, this story has really stuck with me over the past year, and I really want to go back to it and see what I think when returning to it with a happier mindset. It’s definitely a well written story, and I love the way Selin Karadağ, the protagonist, narrates it. She has this completely dry, sarcastic sense of humor that I totally vibe with!
Joan of Navarre (1368-1437)
Joan was Henry IV’s second wife. Six years after his death, Joan was accused of attempting to poison her stepson, Henry V, through witchcraft and was imprisoned for four years until he ordered her release, just six weeks before he suddenly died.
Choose a book about witches.
In fairy-tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks.
But this is not a fairy-tale.The Witches, p. 7
The Witches might be my favorite Roald Dahl book – either that or Matilda. My parents had to read it to me over and over again when I was little, which just goes to show their amazingness. After all, some people might be disturbed by their five-year-old requesting to hear such gruesomeness on repeat, but they never batted an eye and enjoyed it right along with me! Anyway, if you haven’t read this one yet, I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy – it’s the perfect spooky Halloween read, no matter what age you are!
So yeah, that was it for this week! Thanks again, Line, for tagging me – this is definitely one of the most educational tags I’ve ever done, and I had so much fun with it! I hope you guys also enjoyed reading my answers and maybe found a few recommendations that sounded interesting 😉
To keep the medieval queen spirit alive, I tag the following people (whose blogs I highly recommend you go check out):
- Abby @ Beyond the Read
- Allison @ Universe Within Pages
- Carl @ The Pine-Scented Chronicles
- Nehal @ Books and Words
- Nicole @ Nicole’s Book Thoughts
- YOU, if you made it all the way to the end and felt inspired by these questions
Don’t feel pressured to do this if you don’t want to, though! I totally get if you have a lot on your plate right now or if tags aren’t really your thing 😉
Anyway, I hope you had fun reading! Let me know your answers to some of these questions down in the comments! Have you read any of the books I mentioned here? I’d love to hear your thoughts!