Study Guide

The Other Boleyn Girl Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

Spring 1522

  • Mary's older sister, Anne, returns from France, where she was being educated in French ways—making French braids, French bread, French fries, etc.
  • Anne will join Mary as a lady in waiting to the queen, Katherine of Aragon.
  • Anne impresses the queen with her beauty and manners, but she talks about her behind her royal back, calling her old and ugly.
  • As a new member of the court, Anne dines with the king and queen. Her brother, George, is also a member of the court, along with Mary's husband, William Carey.
  • After dinner, it's time for dancing.
  • The king sweeps Mary up into a dance. Meanwhile, Anne watches jealously as Mary and the king dance. She watches them whip. She watches them nae nae.
  • As members of the court, the Boleyns are there to entertain the king and queen and keep them happy.
  • The Boleyns also gossip about the royals all the freaking time, wondering what the royal family will do if Katherine doesn't give Henry a male heir.
  • Henry had an affair with a woman named Bessie Blount, who bore him a son, but the Boleyns can't picture "a bastard on the throne" (2.119).
  • At a costume party, Mary dances with a masked man who flirts with her pretty hardcore. Who is this masked man? The Lone Ranger? Zorro? Deadpool?
  • No, it's Henry VIII, it is.
  • Mary faints when the king takes off his mask and reveals his identity, and the king catches her. Later, they dine. The king sits next to the queen, but he can't take his eyes off Mary.
  • The queen dismisses Mary from the table, saying that since she fainted at the dance, so perhaps she should go to her room and take a nap. #byefelicia
  • Over the next few weeks, the king continues getting his flirt on with Mary.
  • Mary is upset because she knows the queen is not happy to see her husband macking on another woman.
  • But Mary's family encourages her to seduce the king. Perhaps she can be the one to give him a male heir.
  • Mary doesn't want to betray the queen or her husband, but her father and uncle force her to do their bidding. As a woman, Mary has no say in the matter.
  • The more Mary flirts with the king—and he flirts back—the more she starts to fall in love with the royal man.
  • One afternoon, Mary finds herself very close to the king during a jousting event.
  • The king wonders aloud if Mary's playing a game, put up to flirting with him by her family.
  • "It's no game to me" (2.385), she tells him.
  • The king assures Mary nothing bad will happen to her if she becomes his mistress. "You will be my mistress, you will be my little queen" (2.390).
  • Mary is shocked that her seduction is succeeding. She gives the king a scarf as a token to keep with him, and he tucks it into his jousting breastplate.
  • The king jousts against the Duke of Suffolk and knocks the duke clean off his horse.
  • After the joust, the king's squire removes his armor, and Mary's scarf flutters to the ground.
  • "I think this must be yours" (2.459), Katherine says to Mary, disdainfully, returning her little scrap of fabric.
  • Henry is cranky at dinner. He hurts the duke badly, and he wonders what may have happened if he were the one who had been hurt, injured before siring a male heir.
  • The queen tells Henry she is glad he is safe. "As long as you are well and happy, and as long as you come home at the end of it all; why should I complain?" (2.470).
  • Translated by Anne to Mary, this means that Katherine has given permission to Henry to take Mary as his mistress.
  • After dinner, Mary goes on a horseback ride with the king. He asks how her day was, and she expresses she was hurt that he dropped her scarf and did not notice.
  • The king snaps at Mary for nagging him. "You are not my mistress, madam, nor my wife" (2.495).
  • Later, Mary's family is furious with her for ruining their plot to get her into the king's bed.
  • Anne suggests they send Mary away to the family home in Hever, a farming community.
  • So off Mary goes, exiled from court to be a farm girl. It's like the beginning of Stardew Valley.
  • Mary initially misses the hustle and bustle of the court, but she soon grows to love the country. She imagines what life would be like as a country landlord.
  • One night, Mary commiserates with one of the farmers on the land. He reminds her, "You are a Howard and I am a nobody" (2.601).
  • Mary tells the guy she's a Howard woman, which means she could likely end up being a nobody.
  • But Mary might actually like being a nobody. It means fewer paparazzi following her around, that's for sure.

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