Thoughts on Versailles, Episode Three

THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS, SO PLEASE REFRAIN FROM READING IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE EPISODE YET. IT IS LESS OF A REVIEW AND MORE OF STATEMENT OF WHAT I THINK OF THE EPISODE ALONG WITH SOME HISTORICAL FACTS AND WHATEVER CAUGHT MY ATTENTION AS YOU CAN READ HERE.

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Rohan (Alexis Michalik). Dashing and he has quite the hair, hasn’t he? He shows us a other side of Louis. The Man Louis, as mentioned in the previous scene, someone who is able to have friends to an extent. As King, one can never be sure if one is only flattered or if someone has genuine feelings of friendship for one, thus it is not the easiest task to find someone one can call a true friend. Louis XIV indeed had a handful of people who we would call his friends by our standards and he did know most of them since he was a boy. It was a small circle of people, very small. One of these friends was Louis de Lorraine, the brother of our Chevalier, whose knew Louis since their childhood and later took a position at court, one of the highest available, that allowed him to be in close contact with the King. This friendship would last until Louis’ dead in 1715 and there are anecdotes of both of them being carried around in the gardens of Versailles while chatting as both of them had reached a high ages. Louis de Lorraine was even allowed to sit in company of the King when both were alone, alone by Versailles standards. As I first saw Rohan, I had hopes it might be Louis de Lorraine… which would have been truly awesome… or not… I have seen all Episodes by now.

Talking of Lorraines, let’s move to our favourite Chevalier. I’m a sucker for anything Chevalier related and pretty much enjoyed that little exchange with Minette. It was very Chevalier. He had a bit of a spy network going on that always provided him with the latest gossip and pretty much everything Minette did, in order to slip it to Monsieur at the right moment. In fact even some of Minette’s Ladies-In-Waiting were part of that network, but mostly they weren’t even aware of it. He was that smart. Since Monsieur himself was pretty much never told anything of importance, the Chevalier made it his mission to provide him with informations and thus made himself of great importance to Monsieur. Louis says in Episode Two, there are things only a King can know, but the Chevalier managed get into possession of knowledge about these sort of things by different ways in order to tell them Monsieur, something that would get him quite into trouble in the early 1670’s as he passes a particularly interesting matter to Monsieur. We will get back to that in a following Episode. What irked me a bit, or rather irritated me, was the conversation previous to the Minette scene where we see Les Philippes together considering the going to war. Now, while it makes quite sense for the show Chevalier to refuse and stay in Versailles, the real Chevalier would have mounted a horse at once. He was an extraordinary good fighter.
Like I have mentioned in the previous Episode, I am not quite sure which war we are talking about. It technically should be the War of Devolution, but it looks a bit like a combination of War of Devolution and the Franco-Dutch war that followed. If we talk War of Devolution here, the Chevalier did indeed fight in it and not just once. He took part in many of the battles until an injury to the foot, some say inflicted by a grenade during a midnight stroll with Monsieur, bound him to bed, or rather Monsieur’s tent. It is one of my favourite Les Philippe stories and you can read more about it here.  In general, going to War for King and France was considered a great honor among the males of the noble families. Not everyone was good at the art of war or wielding a sword and some lacked interested in it completely, but it was still a great honor and one’s duty.

Let’s move to Prince Annaba, who might be the father of Episode One’s surprise judging by what we learn of the Queen having met him before and that little smile on her lips. He is rather handsome, is he not? I could not fail to notice that the construction works we see happening in the background as we see the Prince arrive, happen to be at the very same spot where renovation works are under way in Versailles right now. This goes into the category of random things that make me smile. On that note, let me add how very much I enjoy to see the Grand Salon of Vaux-le-Vicomte being shown so frequently as sort of reception room / salon for Versailles. It is one of my favourites and we see Prince Annaba and his entourage standing in exactly that room providing a rather exotic sight, before being separated from his bother, sound familiar, and forced to do a bit of waiting. What does Louis do in the meanwhile? Have a stroll and perform a bit of adultery, which Minette uses for a bit of complaining and a try on manipulation…
The next scene is great in it’s not so subtle subtleness. The Prince is led to meet the King, by the Queen, and we see the King seated in a magnificent room with his brother and sister-in-law at his side, close but not too close, and standing, while we have an empty chair for the Queen, that not so subtly tells us and the Prince “It is my wife.”. I wonder what Monsieur would think of that if he would have been aware that Louis just slept with his wife, before making the place of his own so clear to the Prince. By now we pretty much are sure that Louis knows something of a delicate nature and can suspect it might have something to do with the birth of his daughter. He uses it very smartly to irritate the Prince to a certain degree that inflicts a bit of suspiciousness, and respect, without him being quite aware what exactly is going on. He grows impatient and wants to get to business, trying to irritate himself by mentioning perhaps he should have gone to a different country if Louis is in no haste to secure a deal, but Louis doesn’t seem quite touched by it and insists on continuing his hospitality in order to subtly impress and put his opponent, the Prince, back on his toes. He isn’t talking with just some King after all, it is Louis le Grand.

Let’s divert from Louis being glorious and sunny for a moment to have a look at the Montcourt and Duc de Cassel situation.
Cassel was introduced to us as a pretty much independent rich noble, someone all others in the area look up to, someone all others in the area might take as example when it comes to submitting or the lack of submitting to Louis, some who Louis needs to have at his court in order for the rest to follow, someone who doesn’t quite agree with Louis plan. Now, after Montcourt’s disgrace, he is joined by him, or rather Montcourt takes refuge there. What we see there is the teaming up of people against the King for selfish reasons just as Louis wants them at his court for selfish reasons. One thing Louis learned from the Fronde was that nobles should not be given too much power or free time. In the time before the Fronde every noble pretty much lived on their own estates, had their own people to back them, had their own guards and troops, their own ambitions, which thus made them very dangerous should there be things they disagree on with those that are in charge of the Kingdom. They could simply team up and send an army to Paris…. the very same happened during the Fronde. Louis was a child as this happened and swore to himself that something like this won’t happen again. What we have seen so far in the three Episodes is him acting out exactly that. He tries to find a way to keep those mighty nobles off their estates and to fill their minds with things that have nothing to do with politics, and most important to make them dependable on him, just him. Cassel, like many others, does not like that one bit of course and seeks ways to ruin Louis’ plans. It gives me a bit of a Game of Thrones feeling at times how they associate him with the North, rough and unruly, he certainly looks it, while the South seems to be ready to submit, as we learn in during Louis’ garden stroll. He mentions how a medal shall be created to celebrate the event, and inspire others to do likewise along with an article in the Gazette, while Cassel and his band of robbers continue to terrorize the roads to Versailles. Why? To get Louis to give up all that Versailles nonsense and to keep others from going there. They are quite successful in case of the previously mentioned noble family from the south.

Daydreaming Louis. This scene tickled my history senses and made me smile. Thumbs up. What we see is petit Louis being joined in his bedroom by a rather ugly lady, Madame de Beauvais, and she shows us and him more than anyone of us would like to see. The poor boy, you might think. This lady was in fact chosen and sent by Louis mother to teach him what one does in bed with a woman. Louis’ father wasn’t too educated himself in that matter and perhaps Anne intended to spare the future Queen a bit of trouble. You can read more about it here.

Let’s talk some Monsieur. Yay. Like I am a sucker of anything Chevalier related, I am one for everything Monsieur related…. and doesn’t he look handsome there?
We see him and Minette, in a casual atmosphere that quickly becomes more tense, something quite typical for them…. and what a hypocrite she is. Last Episode we have seen her suggest that it wouldn’t be too bad if her husband would not return from war and now she says to him please come back. I do not like her.

Back to Louis and how sweet it is that he has one of the portraits painted of him and Philippe as children in his bedroom. You might notice how Louis is dressed in boys garments, while Philippe seems to wear what seems to be a dress. As we said in the last Thoughts on Versailles, this was perfectly normal for boys until they reached a certain age. In the meanwhile Monsieur has decided to quicken his departure by taking the blessings for it. Although Louis had agreed to Philippe riding to war, we have seem him sort of delaying it, while a rather eager and undoubtedly just as nervous Philippe would rather leave now than tomorrow. Louis finally gives his blessing as well and Philippe returns it with handing out some blessing himself, for Louis to run to Minette. What a little cute ball of rage he is.

My personal highlight is the next scene and its sass.

“If someone I adore fucks someone else without my express consent, is it not right and just for parity to be restored that I fuck someone of my own choosing? I tried to ask Bishop Bossuet on the issue but he was most unforthcoming.” 

We have the Chevalier promenading with Beatrice and Sophie and reflecting on important questions of life. This line is so very Chevalier and I can not help but think it is totally something he would have said when, for example, trying to find a justification to annoy Philippe by sleeping with someone else. He did that frequently.

We didn’t really talk much of Beatrice and Sophie yet, but shall do so now.

All we know so far is Beatrice being in some way related to the Chevalier and Sophie being her daughter. As many women of the time, Beatrice is quite desperate to shove her daughter into the direction of the King in hopes he might find himself under her skirts, and thus might look favourably upon the family. There were quite a few who did the same with their sons and Monsieur, by the way. Sophie isn’t too thrilled by it and doesn’t quite understand why her mother acts like she does. She seems to enjoy court life and seems to have quite a thing for a young handsome worker, who quite seems to like her as well.

There is something odd about Beatrice, something that makes me kind of doubt she is what she pretends to be, especially when she talks of the Chevalier.

There is one more thing in the episode I would like to talk about, Louis taking the Prince to the monastery after having the old Frondeur killed in the woods, giving of the message of ‘You can’t hide from your crimes.’ and undoubtedly creating the effect Louis had desire it to have on the Prince that is now King, as we learn in the Monastery. Do I see a little sadness in the eyes of Louis as the contract is signed? The Now King Prince and his brother seem so close, compared to Louis and Philippe and it quite looks like Louis might doubting one or two decisions he had made in his life concerning his brother… which brings us to Monsieur on the battlefield and more talk of war in the next Episode.

Merci beaucoup.

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