Study Guide

The Other Boleyn Girl Love

By Philippa Gregory

Love

Before she was a witch on American Horror Story, Tina Turner sang "What's Love Got to Do with It?" That phrase should be on the Boleyn coat of arms—which, if we designed it, would feature a monogrammed "B," a rose, and a bottle of poison or two.

In The Other Boleyn Girl, the Boleyns try to deny love, seeing it as a roadblock in their quest for their throne. They don't realize that denying love is like denying breathing, eating, or watching videos of Ariana Grande's musical impressions online. Anne seals away her heart to become the ruthless queen we all know and love (or love to hate), while Mary changes her life for love and lives happily ever after.

Questions About Love

  1. Does Mary love Henry VIII? Does Anne love him? Does anyone love him? Or does he only love himself?
  2. On the other hand, does Henry VIII love any of his mistresses? Does he love his wife, Katherine?
  3. How does love interfere with the Boleyn family's plans for power?
  4. Why does Mary love her second husband, William Stafford? What is different about him?

Chew on This

Anne comes closest to love with Henry Percy. When that love is denied her, she becomes a fierce woman who will stop at nothing because she has nothing to lose.

For her entire life, Mary is encouraged not to love. In the end, she gives up everything for love, and it ends up saving her life.