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Buzz Book Club: The Other Boleyn Girl, Final Section

Buzz Book Club: The End of The Other Boleyn Girl

Welcome back, members of the Buzz Book Club! Now that I've finished Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl, I'm excited to chat about it in its entirety. This is a fun time to wrap everything up as the movie opens this weekend as well.

Over the past several weeks I've suggested chapters to complete and posited questions to prompt discussion in the comments section. Last week's assignment was to finish the book! Of course, that means I'm going to announce the next book, so stay tuned for that.

After the jump you'll find some discussion topics that struck me as I finished the book. Also, if you're just joining and want to catch up, you can find all of our discussions thus far here.

Ready to discuss the conclusion of The Other Boleyn Girl? Just


  1. We learn more in the final section about the decline of the court and the lengths to which Anne is willing to go to produce a son. Did any of the developments in the final section shock you?
  2. How historically accurate do you think this book is? Did you get the sense Philippa Gregory took some major liberties or does it seem like this is pretty factual?
  3. What's one question you'd like to ask the author?
  4. Did you all feel like there was too much or too little detail? On one hand, I think the book could have used some editing down. On the other hand, I found there to be so much ambiguity from our narrator, Mary, that I actually craved more information despite the length.
  5. Now that you've read the entire book, what would be a good subtitle for it?
  6. How do you feel about the movie version of this book, opening today? Are you glad they made it into a movie, or would you have preferred Hollywood not mess with the novel? Do you want to see the movie, having read the book? Or do you not want to see the movie, having read the book?
Join The Conversation
mareepossa mareepossa 9 years
Finished the book right in time for the movie release. My thought? I have to concur with snapsh0t's comment. 2hrs was not enough to do justice to the book!!! A mini-series would have been way better. Not to spoil it for anyone, but I give the movie a D and the book an A+.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
haleymarie - I oversimplified to make my point without having to write a book myself, but you understand what I was trying to say. I'd be interested to read that letter by Mary Boleyn! I wonder if it's on the internet somewhere...
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
Great questions, Buzz. Truthfully, I am looking forward to seeing the movie. I expect that the movie will be visually attractive; since the history has already been fictionalized if the movie diverges from the book nothing will be lost. It's a good story and should be a good, but probably not great, film. I'm a sucker for period pieces, so I expect to enjoy this one. Gregory set the stage well for the decline and corruption that marked the end of the book. George was reckless, Anne was desperate, and the court so undignified that decline and chaos were certain. Like you, Buzz, I was disappointed by the lack of detail in some of the final scenes. In her haste to get the story wrapped up, Gregory seems to lose some of the rich detail from the earlier sections so that the ending actually does seem rushed. In all, by deliberately spinning the narrative away from the conventional history that provides the framework for the story, Gregory successfully recaptures the essence of the court and of the Tudor era. She combines creative fiction with historical fact to recreate the contrast between those who are enmeshed in court life and those who live "normal" lives in the cities and countryside. She also provides great insight into the motivations of her characters; in the end, Mary's plea that "[They} did nothing more than that was ordered" and expected explains the trap that the sisters were in from the start. I really enjoyed reading the book and participating in the Book Club. Can't wait to read the next selection.
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
snapsh0t — I'm glad you benefited from the book club, too! I also needed the kick in the butt to finish the book before the movie came out. ;) And I completely agree about the movie, by the way — a miniseries would have been better. I think they tried to cram way too much into one 2-hour film. But more on that later!
snapsh0t snapsh0t 9 years
1. I'm not really shocked to see how far Anne would go - she did so many ludicrous things before, and this was another crazy move by her. I was still shocked to see her give birth to a "monster", but in hindsight, it seems in line with the other things she had done. 2. She most likely took the bare facts and painted in the rest to make more entertaining and dramatic. She probably took a lot of "myths" for truth an whatnot, so I don't think the book's terribly accurate. It is pretty damn entertaining, though, so she did her job. It's historical fiction for a reason.. 3. I'd like to ask her what she thought of the casting for the movie. I'm interested to see how she pictured the characters in her mind, and if the actors match up at all. 4. It's more realistic to have little detail, since Mary can't be everywhere. I think it did well in protraying the story from her perspective, and gave a unique look to a more or less well-known story. If it gave too much detail, it'd seem so unrealistic, as if Mary had the luck to be at the right place at the right time, every time. I prefer it the way it is, by far. 5. I think the line on the back of the book about "two sisters competing for the love of a king" was a little misleading, since Mary conceded Henry to Anne pretty easily early on. The story was about so much more than that. If I were to write one myself, I'd probably give it something along the lines of, "Discover The Greatest Price of the Greatest Ambition". At least, something more tragic rather than making it sound like two girls lusting after one man the entire story. 5. I *just* saw the movie, and was looking forward to it. I won't get into too much detail on my thoughts here - I'll wait for your movie review post to do that. I think with the size of the book - around 660 pages - a miniseries might have done it more justice. It's just too much detail for a 2 hour movie to do it complete justice. I still enjoyed it though, and I LOVED the book! Thanks Buzz for giving me the incentive to actually finish the book before the movie came out. I really needed the kick in the butt to finish it so quickly. :)
haleymarie haleymarie 9 years
Oh yeah - I second the suggestion to read The Boleyn Inheritance And PG said that she was happy with the cast, and that Scarlett Johansson took her role very seriously and basically destroyed her copy of the book with notes and questions about Mary's moods.
haleymarie haleymarie 9 years
I actually got to meet Philippa Gregory at a book signing on Monday in Dallas. She gave a lot of extra information about Anne and Mary, and spends years researching these novels. She takes liberties with their personalities, but not so much what happened as the moderator suggests. There are lots of surviving letters, pamplets and other sources that offer accounts of what was going on that the time. We even know what days Queen Katherine and her ladies were at specific residences. So contrary to the previous commenter, there is lots more known than the fact that there was a Queen Anne who lost her head. However, there are lots of facts that we will never know (like whether Anne or Mary was the older sister - PG thinks Anne was because of references to her in letters from the French court and the fact that she was betrothed before Mary even if it fell through). Obviously, the author had to choose whether some accusations were true or not and fill in some gaps with imagination. One interesting thing I learned on Monday - there is only one surviving letter written by Mary Boleyn. It was to Thomas Cromwell, and in it she justifies her marriage to William Stafford being a love match by saying that she'd rather be married to him than crowned Queen. Back then that was crazy talk!
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
1.) It was pure chaos in the end! It must've been strange to be a part of a court that was always so fun and merry and watch it transition into a place with so much paranoia and death. The most shocking part to me was when Anne birthed the "monster baby" and that the King went as far as to hire a 'witch detective.' 2.) I don't think it was factual, but really, not much was known about the circumstances of the events or the personalities of the people involved. The only things that we really know for sure are that there was a King Henry VIII, he did marry and behead a Queen Anne after divorcing his first Queen Catherine and that Mary was his mistress. But beyond that, it's uncertain. Philippa sort of chose which rumors she wanted to make 'truth' in her book. I'm fine with that though - what else can you do in this situation? 3.) The question I'd like to ask Philippa is more of a personal question... I know she has said that Mary is her own personal hero. I guess I'm curious why and if that statement is related to something she herself has gone through. 4.) As far as the details go, I'm not sure. I never really developed a strong connection with Mary's character and I can't explain why. Also, I felt a little disconnect with William Carey and his part - I would've liked it if she explored that relationship a bit more. Otherwise, I thought there was sufficient details to keep the story flowing. Wish I could think of a subtitle, but not feeling so creative at the moment. :( 5.) Having read the book, I'm glad they're making a movie of it and do want to see it. As much as I enjoyed it, it's not one of those books that I consider so amazing that it's sacred and shouldn't be touched by Hollywood. It was a good page-turning story and that has the potential to make an equally interesting movie. I hope Natalie will make Anne a little bit more sympathetic though, because I was bothered by how one-sided Anne's character was in the book.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Jessi, her other books are just as marvelous. ESPECIALLY the boleyn inheritance
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
1) I wasnt shocked at what lengths anne was willing to go to, to provide an Heir. Desperation causes women to do desperate things, They think its a means to an end, and rationalize thier decisions based on "whatever i have to do, i will do" 2)Gregorys novels are researched well, but she takes lots of liberties in regards to characterization and historical issues. We know, and history knows barely anything about mary boleyn, Gregory just takes the bare bones and fills them in with yummy yummy flesh. 3)I would love to ask phillipa what her favorite character is, in all her books what is the one voice that she loved giving life to? 4)I think there is just enough detail actually. Gregory grew up in england surrounded by this history, these figures, the surroundings. there are countless biographies out there detailing these peoples lives. Why go into details when you dont have to. 5)Subtitle for this book: "elizabeth, the fetus stage" 6) i am not going to see the movie, i will wait for DVD.
JessiShaye JessiShaye 9 years
I can't wait to see it. This has been one of my favorite books for some time now. I don't think I'm thrilled with who they casted for the Anne and Mary roles but we'll see. I don't want to judge yet. To me, the story seemed very believable. After watching Showtimes Tudors - based on the life of Henry VIII and his wives- I believe that these story lines while not perfectly historically accurate, have some truth to them. The plot lines are so similar and I know Tudors has such an extensive crew that adheres to historical fact as much as possible. Obviously dialogue and things of that nature will never be fact but the story lines might have some merit to them. Greatest book. I am scared to pick up another Gregory novel as I am scared nothing will compare to The Other Boleyn Girl.
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