Wednesday, July 20, 2022


A couple of weeks ago I brought you an exclusive list of all the period set shows we can expect to arrive to us this Autumn, and beside Lord of the Rings
The series will start September 11th on Starz
series The Rings of Power, THE SERPENT QUEEN is probably our most anticipated one. Starz has now given us first lavish photos from this new
Samantha Morton plays Catherine de Medici herself
eight part historical series in which Samantha Morton plays one of the most frightening queens of all times - Catherine de Medici of France! We can only
Charles Dance is the pope, Catherine's uncle
hope that the show will be better than their last dramas about famous queens - the godawful Spanish Princess and painfully almost atrociously dull Becoming Elizabeth
Scheming and cunning, Catherine de Medici was one of the most powerful women in the world. After becoming an orphaned teenager from the famous ruling family of Medici and then marrying into the 16th century
Liv Hill is a rather strange choice for young Catherine
French court she is expected to bring a hefty dowry and produce many heirs, but Catherine discovers her husband is already in love with another woman and then, her dowry remains unpaid and she learns she is unable to conceive. But with intelligence and determination, she keeps her marriage alive,
Diane de Poitiers is strangely ugly in the series for some reason
mastering the bloodsport of the monarchy and ruling France for 50 years. In THE SERPENT QUEEN, Catherine tells her story through flashbacks, defending her actions and imparting lessons she's learned to her new servant, Rahima (Sennia Nanua). When her uncle Pope Clement (Charles Dance)
Mary Queen of Scots and her ladies in waiting
brokers her marriage and a geopolitical alliance with France, but she learns on her wedding night that her husband is in love with Diane de Poitiers (Ludivine Sagnier), a stunningly beautiful lady-in-waiting who is twice the king-to-be's age. Catherine is thrust into a world where she must learn quickly who she can trust and seek to outmaneuver anyone who underestimates her.
Ludivine Sagnier is the strangest choice for Diane de Poitiers
The rest of the cast includes Liv Hill as the younger version of Catherine, Antonia Clarke as Catherine's daughter in law Mary Queen of Scots, whom Catherine sent back to Scotland after her son Francis (George Jacques) died and she officially became regent in her own right on behalf of her 10-year-old son Charles IX. She then ruled France for three years by herself until Charles
Liv Hill as the rather unattractive and dull young Catherine
reached his maturity. After Charles died in 1574, Catherine also played a key role in the reign of her third son, Henry III. He outlived her by just seven months. She was generally despised in history seen as enemy by both Catholics and Hugenots and scary to common folks who were afraid of her love for all things occult - her pet astrologer was famous Nostradamus.

Raza Jaffrey will appear as Duke Francois Guise,the leader of Catholics. Colm Meaney is Catherine's husband king of France. Enzo Cilenti will play Ruggieri, the magician  and soothsayer! Barry Atsma will be famous Montmorency, who cares about the greater good of the society he serves as its
Senia Nanua is Catherine's servant Rahima
foremost military leader. Nicholas Burns portrays Antoine de Bourbon, the rival of Catherine's Valois family. Danny Kirrane is Louis de Bourbon, his stronger willed and more intelligent brother! Memet Ali Alabora will appear as Sultan Suleiman! Adam Garcia will probably be Nostradamus but that is just my guess.


  1. They better do good because the material; is extremely appetizing. It would be montruous if they end up with something like Becoming Elizabeth. it's an enlarged version of Diane de Poitiers' plot but from a different perspective. I happen to like Catherine perhaps because she was so deftly portrayed by Megan Fellowes in Reign. But I liked her since i read a historical novel on her, Madame Serpent by Jean Plaidy. where she as depicted as a victim.

    1. I like the concept of her explaining and justifying why she did certain things because it means they might not depict her fully as evil and you and I know other sides of her from the novels we read. I read Ivo Lucati's novel on her which also puts a more realistic light on her and trashes Dumas who hated her very much LOL She really was in an awful situation, hated by both sides, humiliated by the situation at court where Diane was even the head of her household and responsible for the upbringing of her kids.

    2. I knew it. I felt they were juggling figures, but what matters is not how many clients Netflix loses or wins but the money they lose in the process. More Americans and Canadians are going to think twice about having to pay extra for a mediocre, expensive uncomfortable, and with commercial cuts service like Netflix
      Oh, poor Dumas, one of my 20 favorite authors. I was hoping for a revival since they found out his mother was Black.
      I discovered Madame Medici through one of the ten best books I’ve read in my life: Stendhal’s Le Rouge et le Noir and got into Marguerite de Valois and of course her mother. Prior to that all I knew was that she was Nostradamus’patroness and the copy of a painting that hung on the hall of my school. It represented Queen Catherine departing from early mass and running into corpses left by the Massacre of St. Bartholomew Night. My interest in Queen Margot led me to Dumas who described Catherine as the quintessential manipulative mother. I even read Brantome. I thought a contemporary would be more objective and truthful. He hated her too. Then I run into the Plaidy novel and got to understand all the fears and humiliation Catherine endured even before marrying Henri, so I am looking forward to both these series.

    3. I know that painting, I actually used it in one of the previous posts when I was announcing this series. When it comes to historical novels, they say that the most realistic ones are those in which writers use archives from Venice as they were the least biased, apparently, than any other European power who either supported Catholics, Pope, Protestants or something else.
      Queen Margot is very popular here among the readers especially after the Virna Lisi, Adjani, Vincent Peres movie for which our Goran Bregovic wrote the most amazing music including Elohim with Ofra Haza. It is considered one of the best soundtracks of all times and one of the first ones to use our atmospheric folk music in a Western historical movie. Later on they started using Bulgarian voices too, you probably remember the amazing music in Virgin Queen mini series especially the famous Virgin Queen, Godbreathed and Gloriana songs. Then 300 stole our folk song Zaidi Zaidi and turned it into A Message for the Queen song and the rest is history. I also love what Natascha Atlas did with Kingdom of Heaven soundtrack. And Maya Tzarovska with Josh Groban in Troy's Remember.

    4. Gattocito. I had forgotten Virna Lisi played Catherine in La Reine Margot. I loved that movie. Thank you for the music data. I didn’t know so many Serbian composers were involved in film soundtracks. I don’t remember the picture but I sought the post from April last year, and yes it is that painting. Do you know the author? All I now is that it’s a XIX c painting.

    5. She did and in a way that still makes me scared of her LOL She had a shaved forehead in it, creepy! And we also had Vincent Peres very much nekkid in it with his willy constantly out and peaking.
      The painting is from Édouard Debat-Ponsan, 1880!

    6. Thank you for the name of the painting. The fact that Claude and Elizabeth (who died in childbirth) lived happy lives tells you that it was best to stay away from Mamam Serpent.
      Apparently, broad translucent foreheads were considered a sign of beauty in the XVI c, at least among royalty and aristocracy. They used to pluck their hair to make their foreheads more prominent. And not only in France. I went to a play about Elizabeth Tudor in Mexico and the leading lady had to shave her forehead to make her character more authentic.
      To think that when I was eight, I had the brilliant idea to stick my chewing gum on my hairline and they had to shave all my forehead and higher to get rid of it. I looked quite ugly.

    7. I think that Reign ruined Claude for me, she was so irritating in the series, especially towards my boo Leith!
      Oy, there are simple ways for removing gum from one's hair LOL One of them involves ice cubes.
      When I was little teachers would stick the gum in our hair if they caught a pupil chewing it in class.

    8. I hated Claude with a passion. I hated her more than I hated Mary’s dopey ladies-in-waiting. Besides why call her Claude? She was Marguerite all along. I hated Claude so much that I didn’t want to watch Sanditon, because Rose Williams was in it.
      They tried everything, ice cubes, they doused my hair with paraffin, etc. Finally, my mother got tired and borrowed Dad’s electric shaver.
      What horrid teachers you had, Gattocito! I used to go around my classroom, garbage basket in hand, collecting gum from my girls.

    9. She was a character we did not need in Reign especially played by Rose. I loved Craig Parker and Jonathan Keltz most in that show.

      Old Yugoslavia was like UK when it comes to raising kids and schools LOL I had a Hungarian teacher who would smack our heads into the desk and that was primary school, so younger than ten LOL We were also sent to stand in the corner looking into the wall for misbehaving, something unimaginable now, but it worked then. Now you get fired if you smack a brat who attacks you. The best thing then was that parents always believed teachers and respected them, something we do not, sadly, have today. Now they think their brats are always right.

    10. I don’t believe in ritual corporal punishment (my mother beat us even when we were grown up, but then she was unstable) especially in schools. When I was a little girl, they were systemic and most common in British school. I went to an elementary school run by and Englishwoman, but she was very progressive. By the time I came to America, beatings were forbidden here. However, in my Jewish high school, we were told to stand on the corner if we were naughty. It was awful because it always provoked a giggling fit in the culprit.
      Reign was chaos, madness, made no sense, but it was my guilty pleasure, I liked how characters evolved. I used to hate Mary, but I ended up loving her. My favorite character was Catherine. And I adored Narcisse, they made such a power couple.
      Today kids…I don’t want to start there because it makes me sound old and bitter. One major problem is that so many of them have mental problems, Asperger, autism, Tourette, attention deficit, eating disorders, you name it) and they are tossed together with kids that pass for normal and with a teacher that is supposed to know and cater to their needs. No wonder teachers are leaving their profession in masse.

    11. Reign had such huge amount of gorgeous hunks. Mostly Canadian and they are the prettiest. Dan Jeannotte who played the Scottish brother of Mary now plays Captain Kirk;s brother in Star Trek Strange New Worlds and it is such a delight watching him again.

  2. For sure the one for the fans of historical series. The one who plays young Catherine looks like a middle-aged woman...

    1. It is a very strange casting choice. I imagine they wanted to stay realistic as Catherine really was not a beautiful but mediocre looking woman, but what I do not understand is the casting for Diane de Poitiers who was known as extremely beautiful and yet they cast this weird looking actress who is, let us be honest, exquisitely fugly. How the hell would someone like that be a royal seductress???

  3. The costumes and sets here look so realistic. Hopefully the storyline and acting match. I'm curious how someone keeps a marriage alive with intelligence when you don't have love or children to bond you?

    1. The sets are from Czech Republic where the show was shot, it is not real Paris, sadly. They did have kids later on, many actually, a whorish daughter and three mostly stupid sons LOL

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    3. Oy, I remembered only those that were with her in France, forgot about the rest of her brood. I still believe Margot was a slut, but sluttiness is not always a bad thing in my book LOL

  4. For Jax: Although old (they were written in the 50s) I would recommend The Italian Woman, Madame Serpent and Queen Jezebel by Jean Plaidy. You can find the trilogy in Amazon or order them at your library. Stay away from Dumas who turns her into a villain, and Reign that is plain fantasy.
    I haven’t read the Leonie Frieda biography that has inspired this Starz series, but she claims it is based on private correspondence of Catherine and her family.
    On how the marriage endured. In those days royalty marriages were political alliances, they lasted as long as the alliance existed. During those first ten years of marriage, there were many attempts to get rid of barren Catherine. in fact, once he had to go on her knees in front of her father-in-law (King Francis) begging him to send her away since she was barren (her husband had an illegitimate daughter so the problem was in her). Francois took pity on her because he liked her a lot
    I love how Dezmond summarizes Catherine’s offspring. “a whorish daughter…stupid sons” LOL In truth, Catherine had ten children. She stopped after the birth of twins that almost killed her. It had the doctors warning again further pregnancies. Seven of her children reached adult age which was a record in her day, but all of them had physical or mental problems. Francois was so feeble that he couldn’t consummate his marriage to Mary Stuart. He died at sixteen of an ear infection. His bother Charles had serious mental issues he died of tuberculosis at age 23. Henry was like the healthiest. He was gay that didn’t stop him from marrying, having a daughter, and ruling both Poland and France. He was murdered by a religious fanatic.
    The youngest one known as “Ercule” was the only one that I could have called dopey, one of his silliest mistakes was his arrogant courtship of Queen Elizabeth I.
    Indeed, one could say Margot was whorish although MeTooers would call it a patriarchal misogynist label. She had lovers before and after her marriage to an oversexed husband. She was barren like her mother. My favorites are Catherine’s other daughters, from whom we still have people around like The Royal House of Spain and The Royal House of Italy that can claim to descend from Madame Serpent. Elizabeth was the favorite wife of King Philip of Spain, and Claude, despite being hunchbacked and lame, had an incredibly happy and fecund marriage with the Duke of Lorraine.

    1. Very interesting! I'll have to look up the four books that you recommended and the one that Dezzy recommends as well. I always get the best book recommendations on this page. :)

  5. I really do love the costumes, though I think I would hate to have to wear one of those big dresses all day long. I imagine they must have been awful smelly after a few hours wear. They look so heavy and the fabric not breathable.

    1. Dahlink, back in the days, people did not wash their clothes... those gowns were never washed, just the undergarments. Gowns were just dusted off and they probably reeked to high hell and back. Poorer people would have only one garment to wear so they would wear it for decades, sometimes even leaving it to their kids. Nasty smells were a regular thing in the past, kinda like with pets today and their smelly bunks. Ladies often pooped under their garments wearing appropriate boxes for the job, so that reeked as well, not to mention their bad breath from rotten teeth and lack of deodorants to cover up sweat. It was just natural to stink which is why I always get secretly shocked when some gent in some historical movie starts a cunnilingus on some lady.... I mean it must have reeked like rotten eggs down there without bathing and all those skirts....

    2. I know how unclean they were back then. I was reading that even in castles, they would just lift their skirts and poop on the stairs or the floor. Then again, I don't know why I find that shocking. Walking around San Francisco, it seems that people still defecate wherever they feel like it. I imagine the people back then smelled like our big city homeless population today.

    3. They pooped through the window right on the heads of passers by or through a hole in the floor and servants had to circle around the palace and collect the poop when it falls down. Ladies in waiting would wipe your royal bum and not any lady, but the most priviledged one. Henry VII even jerked into a pot held by his boy paiges who slept by his bed and held it up when he wanted to pee or come LOL I'm sure sometimes he even used their bums when he felt like it.