The two most lushly and lovingly described parts of the book are apposite - the playing out of the battle of Agincourt, and the resounding loving of Owen Tydier (as the author. calls him) and Cathryn (as Owen calls her). The other parts of the narrative appeared to swirl around these two poles, with many foreshadowings and stepbacks.
Henry V is totally and painfully anal, the symbolic also real, visceral pain that comes with glory. Katherine of Valois seems to have walked through life almost numb in response to the abuse done her by her parents, a mad king about to shatter and a queen of great appetite and indulged will.
Henry VI, 'Little Harry', the focus of an intensely dysfunctional extended family, seemed to reach for his mother as she receded continually into her wished-to-be corner of the world where she could pursue conjugal bliss with one Owen Tudor, of gloried Welsh descent, though a clerk of the wardrobe. She wished to see her son continually but was impeded by Henry's uncle Gloucester, seen here as licentiously evil, and conjugally joined with the supposed witch Eleanor Cobham.
Owen's Welshness is encompassed by the earth and sky and the harp of a bard and the protection of a woman. She is Hywelis, who to me represents Wales, as Owen's connection with her is his unknown talisman. The story has an epic completeness, pulled from the mess of historical fact, and drawn from mystic mountains and rain soaked battlefields.
Their union bore sons, and thus was the seed of the Tudor dynasty. And then the rest, they say, is history.
The end of Owen and Katherine's story found me weeping, a sure sign of its power.
(pictured: the wedding of Henry V and Katherine of Valois at Troyes)