Thoughts on Versailles: the season three and series summary….

see url Three seasons of Versailles. Thirty episodes. Thirty reviews. If you read them all, you read something like 250000 words. That is a lot…. and to be honest, I never thought it would be that much. I did a little summary at the end of every season and that is what this is about, along with a bit of a series summary. Pretty much everything below this will be one huge spoiler, so read at your own risk. Here we go…  

Image of season three from the Instagram of @rrclarkie …starting with that I, after the soap opera that was season two, did not really look forward to season three. That even less so, after they made it known the Man in the Iron Mask will play a big role. I could not understand why they would do that, still can’t, when that story, in various versions, has been told over and over. So, I was hoping they would add a bit of a twist to it at least. My worst case scenario was it being a twin-brother… they made it even worse by making it their father. Which isn’t just total horse shit, but also rather insulting. The nice twist I hoped for did not happen, instead we had to endure a endlessly talking Cardinal throwing threats around, which got boring at the third time he did it.

accutane austin As nice twist I actually pictured something like Fouquet being Mask Man, condemned by Louis for knowing secrets of State. I’m not totally anti fiction in historical drama, but I am strongly against twisting and turning historical events and characters to fit them into some random story that could easily play in any other century. The thing is, all this fiction was not needed at all. Louis XIV’s reign is so very full of interesting stories and those interesting stories just got brief mentions for the sake of dramatizing with fiction. What about the Sacking of the Palatine? Why only mention that in one scene and be done with it? Why replace historical characters with fictional ones? To make the writing easier? Why is there the fictional Madame Agathe and not the actual la Voisin? Why not put little Fontange in and play with the idea that a jealous Montespan seeks her death? Why not have Marie Mancini seek asylum and put Louis in the strange situation where he has to deal with his first love again, for whom he wanted to give everything up years ago? I could go on…

propecia online uk Season one had a nice balance between history and fiction. They picked up some little known stories, like the black baby and the Rohan thing, added a bit here and there, and it was alright. I wanted to know what was about to happen next. There were some things I did not like, but I had hope it would improve with season two. Then season two came and the first two episodes were alright as well…. but then something happened. Instead of improvement, it just went down hill. They suddenly paid no attention anymore to things they paid attention to in the first season. Things they praised themselves for paying attention to. They started to take things from all over Louis reign and assigned characteristics of specific characters to others. Like they did to the Chevalier and Philippe in the first season. The actual history part of this supposedly historical drama, was either not there at all or too twisted. It got to the point were I did not want to know what would happen next anymore, because I thought whatever it is it will be stupid. With season three all of that just got worse. They did everything they could to introduce drama wherever they could, while not really caring if their drama actually makes sense or not. And that to a ridiculous degree. The most important thing when writing historical fiction is to make this fiction believable and fit the time. The hero can not do this or that, no matter how awesome the writer thinks it would be, if this action does not fit into his time. You have to take your story and fit it into the historical setting, not take the historical setting and bend it until it fits into your story.

get link The general story-line did not change one bit over all three seasons. It is always about the hero being confronted with plots that seek to destroy him. Sometimes they get close, but never close enough… the hero manages to overcome it all and rules supreme… then almost entirely forgets what happened the season before to jump into the circle again. The story drags on and on, splits into a thousand little side stories, but in the end nothing of it really matters or has any lasting consequences. The story between Louis and Philippe is the same too. Louis does his thing, Philippe gets pissed off, doubts his brother loves him and if they ever can by friends again, then they hug and all is well again… until next season, when the circle starts again. The same applies to Philippe and the Chevalier. They spent episode after episode with being passive aggressive, then snog and all is well. It is boring. It is disappointing. It makes me feel like all of it is lazy writing with an idea that worked once being recycled.

follow link To go into more dept regarding season three… at the end I was left with one big question. Namely: what was the point of it? Is there one at all? The story could have been told without Leopold and his niece, because what they wasted episodes on played no role later on. I guess the only point is that show Louis is a monster willed to kill little girls. There was no need to have the Queen be killed by poison. They could have simply killed her off how she really died and it would have made no difference. I often felt like characters were written into the story for the sake of giving them something to do. The return of Sophie, for example. Or the whole story of the Chevalier this season.

He starts out as circus-master and lapdog to justify his presence at Versailles, because Philippe does not want him anymore. Without Philippe, he must be in dire need of money, so he tries to hit on some chick. Chick plays with him. He eventually falls in love with her, but oh… they can not be happy because she is a Protestant… blah blah. In the end, Philippe is impressed enough to want him back. Like at the end of season two. All will be well. The Duchesse is forgotten, as if nothing of it really mattered from the start on…. because it did not matter one bit from the start on. It was just to give him something to do, while Philippe was otherwise occupied, so hey… why not make him go down on a woman for a change, otherwise he would only have five minutes screen time the entire season. Don’t get me wrong, I would have said the very same if it had been a Protestant Duc. Philippe and Philippe snog at the end to give the #MonChevy brigade their hoped for awww moment, which feels like a lame attempt to save a fucked up story and give the fans what they want.

I had the same feeling with our shoe maker Guillaume, who, after forsaking shop and family, is made noble and has nothing else to do anymore but to sit around. With nothing to do, there is no reason for him to be in the last episodes. But alas, time has been spent on him and he must have something to do. So, he becomes the new Fabien, although he totally lacks qualification and is basically just some random dude. Yet, the life of King is trusted into the hands of this former shoe maker, who happened to have fought in a battle once or twice, but has no clue about police work. You don’t need a degree in history to question that. In the end, because it must end somehow, both Guillaume and his sister Jeanne get shot in order to conclude their story and not leave another open thread. As for Fabien…. what is one supposed to say about that?

Let’s look at Louis and what the actual fuck was what I thought most of the time regarding him. It is being painted in a totally fucked up way that has little do who the actual King. Was that a case of ‘how far can be go before people hate him?’ kind of thing? Let’s turn him into a totalitarian tyrant that kills little girls and his father, while don’t giving a shit about his people because he’s too busy pondering how he can get under Maintenon’s skirts and if God feels alright about him. That is just ridiculous. His general behaviour has more to do with Adolf Hitler than Louis XIV. Show Louis rules a fascist regime in which he is the dictator, the Protestants are declared a source of evil which plans to ruin him, so he locks them up and has them killed, with Maintenon whispering to him a la Joseph Goebbels and Louvois does a Heinrich Himmler. Louis XIV was an absolutist bumhole at times, but to portray this glorious King in such a way is absolutely impertinent. It insults him and everything that he achieved.

The thing that I am most disappointed about is that they had the means to do it right. Money not just to make the set and outfits look good, but money to tell a good story. There had the chance to make things right, you know. They had the chance to tell Philippe’s story, a man who has been portrait as a perverted good-for-nothing, and tell it how it really was. Instead we get an extremely broody violent guy, who is desperate for his brother’s love, but doesn’t give a fart about his family. They had the chance to portray his relationship with the Chevalier in a less insulting way. Not as something based on the need of money, but affection. Something with reasonable up and downs of a relationship set in the world of 17th century France, where men were still hanged for loving other men. But they took those two and fucked them completely up to the point where they share nothing but the names with the actual people. For the sake of drama. To get some females to gasp in shock here and there or be outraged about some naked flesh. That’s insulting to them and insulting to every person who invested time to study their lives.

There is just such a blatant disregard for history in this show. It could be set in Westeros before the Targaryens took over, if the names of the characters and the general setting would have slightly been altered. Yet isn’t it the duty of historical drama to tell people about history in a world were less and less people read and a lot receive their education via tv screens? Isn’t it the duty of something that calls itself a high-class production to put effort into the story? Aren’t things like that meant to wake interest for what is shown? To inspire them to get deeper into it?

And isn’t it just entirely disappointing to find out that basically nothing happened as it was shown? That your favourite characters weren’t actually at all like they were portrayed in the show? That the story has fan-fiction quality? Now I know there are some who do not actually care about all of that and probably think I should keep my mouth shut, but there are tons who do care about that. There are people who looked things up. People who travelled to the places. They should not feel like the writers considered them to be stupid. And for those who have studied history, it should not feel like a task to watch this show. We should not have a reason to complain every five minutes. A high-class production should amaze us.

It does not need to be a documentary, where every little thing is researched to perfection, but it should make sense, shouldn’t it? I remember how at the start of season one people from the show said they not just aim to entertain but also to educate…. what happened to that?

All in all, Versailles looks very good. The sets are amazing. They outfits are amazing. The actors are amazing and the kindest people in the world. The story repeats itself and lacks more with every season. I would watch the first season again. I do not want to watch the second season again. There is no way I would watch the third season again. Versailles, as palace, deserves better. Louis XIV and his court deserve better. The viewers deserve better. The people who worked on the show, who put so much effort into building those awesome sets, deserve better.

I could go on and on and on, but shall end this now. I thank you all for reading my ramblings and your support.

Like I said, maybe someone will do another show featuring Louis XIV and his court, in which case we will probably see us again for some reviewing. In the meantime, hit the comment section and let me know what you think about it all.

9 thoughts on “Thoughts on Versailles: the season three and series summary….

  1. Season 1 finished me. I knew, going in, it had a high probability of being a wreck, but I never expected the Titanic.

    The absolute disregard for the real people they slandered with this mess made me angry. Consider, for a moment, the violence done to the character of Marie-Therese. To begin with, would it spoil some vast, eternal plan to portray her as the soft blonde she was, instead of a statuesque bitch? She adored Louis, was bad at cards, devout. She was never whored out to anyone, no matter the cause. The mere thought of such a role would both horrify and disgust her. Yet here she is, sleeping with anything that isn’t her husband.

    Because Marie-Therese was so meek, her role was filled, essentially, by the various mistresses. Yet they’re virtually indistinguishable from each other, while La Valliere comes and goes so fast she might as well not have been included.

    What they did to Louis and Philippe is criminal. For God’s sake, was there no one around who ever even looked at pictures of them? These smart, good looking,talented men are reduced to screaming maniacs.
    I feared we’d get Louis Hitler, and I’m not happy that I was right. And Philippe–wow. He should be mercurial, yes, but stabbing someone’s eye?

    They wanted ‘Game of Thrones–Versailles’ edition, and they even screwed that up with their bizarre characters and storylines. On this forum I said that they made up stories because no one would believe the real ones, and I still feel that way.

    As for the look–the sets were OK, the costumes ranged from OK to bad. Where’s the jewels, the sparkle, the shine? Everyone and everything looked alike. We know the court was there, so why is everything so sparse? Where is everyone? I know there’s period re-enactors in Europe. Why not take a page from Hollywood and invite them to the party? In fact, the Alan Rickman film ‘A Little Chaos’ did just that, calling on Baroque dance groups to fill out the set.

    I’m more angry than anything at how they squandered money, time and goodwill on this garbage. may they rot in Hell.

  2. You said a lot of bitter words, but all are true. “Versailles” is my greatest TV love. I will always feel shivers while listening to the opening song, and the cast will always be this perfectly chosen one. But the objects of our feelings break our hearts sometimes. This is such a case.
    Season 1 was longly prepared and carefully consulted. Costumes, set design, locations, music, and above all, the actors have captivated me from the first scene. And this has not changed until the very end. But the backbone of every movie/series/play is the script. And this is the main reason for my broken heart.

    I think “Versailles” is a victim of its own success. After the first season, the historical truth and credibility of the characters were gradually abandoned. Someone decided the Hollywood way of telling stories will be better. Less European, more global. But more action, more plot twists, bastards and the sovereigns with murderous inclinations didn’t give us the new “Game of Thrones”. Since season 2 “Versailles” sadly became more like “Once Upon A Time”. I feel the same trick has been used. They took some historical figures (famous heroes of fairy tales in the OUAT case) and changed their behaviour & character as much as they could. I have the impression that each season was written by a different team of writers (in fact, Alex Vlahos confirmed this in his interview for myFanbase), and none of them saw the effects of their predecessors’ work. Besides, I am not a fan of strict adaptations of history textbooks, but there are certain limits. For example, I can not imagine the BBC series about Elizabeth I, in which Elizabeth discovers she is in fact the daughter of Anne Boleyn and some friendly handsome courtier, she has no right to the throne, but with the help of frauds and murders she manages to deceive everyone including historians. Well, we all know that TV producers rule the world and history, but…. Would anyone take this plot seriously? Personally, I am surprised that Canal+ (producer from France after all!) has agreed for such interference in their national history… :-/

    At this point, I should add that I guess why the BBC turned away from “Inside Versailles”. They just figured out that explaining what is true and what is fiction in season 3 will last longer than the actual episode. Just kidding, but it is a bitter joke.

    In “Versailles” you can see so many beautiful places, wonderful actors, so much work and heart of the cast & crew were put in every single shot… and there are also, sadly, many wasted chances to tell us this fascinating story in more true & believable way.

    There is #SaveVersaillesSeries campaign in social media. Tbh, I have a big dilemma. I support the action because I want to see these actors and places again. But I’m afraid that Netflix, Starz or anyone else who would take over the production of the show will not bear the cost of this venture. I do not want season 4 to be “Versailles” without the palace & gardens of Versailles (and Vaux-le-Vicomte), filmed somewhere in the studio with the blue box and screenwriters borrowed from “Reign”. I would love to give “Versailles” another chance, but ONLY with the original showrunners & writers, a proper budget and the set located in France.
    Also, the series is titled “Versailles”, not “Louis XIV” or “The Bourbons”. The palace has tons of interesting stories connected with this place through the last three centuries. Someone says Louis XIV was boring in his late years? Let’s show the world what happened outside King Louis’ bedroom. There is still more than 300 another chambers… 😉

    P.S. It was a true pleasure to read your reviews. I, as a reader, thank you for your time, knowledge and patience for us.

    1. I’m quite disappointed with Canal + tbh. They did so much high quality stuff, including history, that in my mind their productions had gained the reputation of being a must-watch. That changed after Versailles.

  3. Thank you for the reviews and the summary, I obviously agree with you about the whole show and especially about season 3.
    I only have to desagree when you praise the “amazing” sets and outfits of this show. I actually never found them amazing, from the start. I thin they are average and slightly kitsch. As someone pointed out, here where are the people in “Versailles”? where is the lavish court of Louis XIV? where are music, ballets, theatre? Where are the gentlemen, the ladies, the thousands people who made Versailles alive? In season 1 sets and outfits were already average and not always accurate, in season 2 they became poor (I remember Montespan basically wearing the same outfit for the whole season), in season 3…well, did someone really care?
    I mean, if we pick up any random scene from movies such as “Vatel” or “Le Roi danse”, or French tv-movies like “L’allée du Roi”, the whole “Versailles” series pales in comparison. The only thing I find excellent in “Versailles” is the cast choice for Philippe d’Orléans and Louis XIV (although in season 3 they were less brillant IMO, but maybe it was that ridicolous script). The two actors would have deserved a far better production.
    As for a possible season 4 (which will never happen I guess) I think that, without a French production, it would be impossible to use the palace of Versailles as set.
    And, like you, I’m surprised that CanalPlus allowed such a shameful butchering of French history.

    1. I like the sets they built, they don’t look too bad, but you can totally notice whenever they filmed in actual historical setting. The atmosphere is completely different then.
      As for the outfits, I like them too and I have seen worse, but I also have to agree with you on saying they could have put more effort in. I find it utterly ridiculous that the Emperor’s niece wears the very same gown in every episode.

      Not every courtier could afford a whole collection of outfits, because they were quite expensive, but it is stupid and lacks effort to put the high ranking important people in the same 3 outfits. They could have done it like people did back in the days, alter them with ribbons, scarfs and so on. It’s not the first production set in that time either, so surely there are still costumes about that were used for different movies and which might fit. Or re-enactors to help out. The whole mourning thing is especially lazy. Nobody is dressed proper, everyone wears what they always wear, just that they covered it with a bit of dark fabric. It’s lazy. Especially when I think of other series, where everyone wears the perfect outdoor outfits or whatnot for just one scene. Here they could have used them for the whole episode.

      I dunno why the females always wear the same hairstyles, some of them not even fashionable during the time, either. There is a lack of fluffy bouncing curls

      1. The lack of bouncing courls pisses me more than you could guess. I adore the wearstyle of those times and I can’t explain to myself why on the earth we never saw any of it. This drives me nuts.
        Another weird thing is the lack of company for kings and princes. We don’t need to be professional historians to know that kings and princes were always followed by three-four people at least, in almost every moment of their day (and night). I remember in “The Tudors” series, which was not perfect, this detail was always there and I appreciated it very much. In “Versailles” kings an princes walk alone everywhere: there’s a weird scene which still hunts my nights, in season 1 (end of ep. 9 if I remember well) at a royal feast where Henriette-Anne walks in totally alone, like a common “femme de chambre”. And Elisabeth-Charlotte, doesn’t she have any servant ladies? why is she always alone? and Monsieur’s gentlemen, where are they? and the king, is there only little dog Bontemps (I hated him in season 3) to attend on him, apart from some random guards? And apparently Bontemps also provides the security service, leads musqueeters, attends the King’s meetings with ministers, emperors and cardinals…a very busy man indeed LOL. And Philippe de Lorraine, who is supposed to be a prince or at least a high rank noble, where does he live when he’s not with Monsieur? in some slum in Versailles? doesn’t he have any servants at all? And I could go on but this would get really boring. And I’m still mourning for poor Marie Louise, who apparently left France totally ALONE with her bags, after being exposed to cardinal Leto and guests like a virgin cow (such insult to a royal princess would have been enough for a war between Spain and France).
        Oh, come on. Given their budget, they could have put some more effort. But of course, I’ve seen worse as well.

        1. That’s why I was always counting guards! lol I swear whenever a royal went somewhere, the first thing I did was to count guards. It is ridiculous for Philippe to ride somewhere alone or just with one guard. Never minding that he did not like riding that much. And yes, there is a lack of ladies-in-waiting and gentlemen. The King was hardly ever alone. Every high ranking lady had their ladies and maids accompaning them. The men had their male compagnions and servants. Monsieur was always surrounded by a horde of people wherever he went.

          Yet here, Versailles seems to mean the royal apartment, consisting of bedroom and council chamber, a handful of other bedrooms and like 2 salons, a chapel and a staircase. The background for garden scenes are the same 3 locations. The same 20 faces are in the salons every time. I found that especially repeative in the last season. Also with all the horseback riding scenes.

          Then you have the Queen of France wanting to travel all the way from France to Spain with one lady, 4 guards and a suitcase in which not even a scarf would fit. They have probably never seen a proper clothing chest for long travels before. She would take half her household including furniture with her. Not just one small handbag. There would be carriage after carriage followed by wagons loaded with their belongings. A handful of guards can’t do much either when the carriage gets attacked. Meanwhile, Bontemps runs basically the whole palace himself. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him cook meals as well.

  4. Dearest Aurora,
    I fully agree with you and can’t possibly add something, that you haven’t said yet. And you say it better than I can anyway.
    I love Versailles, but only after- some episodes into series1 – realising and getting to the terms with it not being a historical series but just another Downton Abbey. It just so happens that some of the characters carry names, that we know from history, but that’s just coincidence.
    In fact, I was devastated to find out that the man in the iron mask wasn’t Maggie Smith, who had been locked away by a viciously jealous Bitchenon, got rescued by her devoted gay fans Phil and Phil and restored to her rightfull place in the household of fag-hag Liselotte, where she resumes her daily lessons “One-Liners that will make you history” to Le Chevalier a.k.a. Barbie-Phil.

    Just one thing, would you happen to know who ran the beauty clinic at Versailles. Their resident plastic surgeon deserves a medal d’honneur. It’s amazing how nobody in the whole palace ages one single bit.
    They get thrown into prisons, where they are half eaten by rats, only to make a glorious re-entry with nothing but a scratch on their face, that then mysteriously disappears by the next scene. Monsieur Plastique worked wonders. Also our beloved Athénais, totally addicted to her wine and love potions, didn’t show any traces of years of substance abuse and looked just as stunning when she got dumped by Louis as on the day he first bumped into her! Mind, she was a sensational woman, who managed to bare Louis seven children without ever looking (or being) pregnant. Eat that, Angeline Jolie!

  5. I watched the first two series of “Versailles” and agree that it was a very “loose” adaptation of real history (not that I’m an expert but I learned some mainland European history (as opposed to just British history) when I was at school and some things didn’t ring true. I don’t know whether to watch season 3 or not. I’d liked a couple of daytime British TV shows Alex Vlahos had been in (“The Indian Doctor” and “Privates” – as in the lowest British army rank) and he played the grown-up version of Mordred in BBC’s “Merlin” (which was a family friendly show). I know he has the looks but I thought he was a solid actor even without the looks. I hadn’t heard (or if I had I didn’t recognise them) of most of the other actors there and I found them to be competent or even better, so I’m sorry to hear season 3 strayed so far from fact. I liked Canal +’s “Engrenages” (in the UK it was given the title “Spiral” but it was shown in French with English subtitles). I think if I were a teacher and were giving Canal+ a comment I would put “Could have done better”.

    A bit off topic but there is a very strange conspiracy theory doing the rounds whereby its believers think that any reasonably successful person in public life has to have started off as the opposite gender to that in which they present. I stumbled over this odd video – I’m not sure whether the lady who uploaded it is trying to say that AV is a clone or started off as a woman or both – as I say it’s very strange. Is any fairly soft-featured man going to be accused of being transgender now?

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