The Crown

“Scientia Potentia Est” the mighty words uttered by Sir Francis Bacon, centuries ago, firmly dictated that knowledge is power.

Indeed! But, strangely the adage sounds equally plausible when reversed. Power is Knowledge. A knowledge of your own character, your limitations, your strengths, your weaknesses and certainly your ability to change those weak points into your strong points.

Well, as I watched the first season of Netflix Originals The Crown, I can very well grasp the idiom in both ways. The series based on the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, is in effect, a study of human nature, politics and principles. Loosely based on the events of early 20th Century, rocking the British Empire and the World at large, the ten episodes of The Crown, bound me with its easy charm and powerful message.

Written and created by Peter Morgan, the series was released in Nov 2016 and is largely based on his film The Queen. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I am I awe of this series. It is supposed to last six seasons, and I am super excited to watch them all, as they come to fore.

So what exactly do I like about The Crown. Besides the obvious reason that it is a biographical drama or rather a historical fiction, which happens to be my preferred genre. I am absolutely smitten by the way human nature is explored in the series. Here, one can see the transformation of sensitive Lilibet into the soft spoken, democratic but firm Queen.

The series begins in 1947, with Elizabeth’s wedding to Prince Philip of Denmark and Greece. He is an outsider and the match is frowned upon by most of the Royal family. Yet, it is no secret that Elizabeth has a charming way to persuade others and can stick to her decisions.

And these inherent qualities of her are actually going to be her saviour in the reign, racked by controversies, evolutions, rebels and political instabilities. Forced to take up the mantle, on her father’s early death, in the initial days, Elizabeth is totally shaken out of her elements. She comes across as a lost, confused person, who can be controlled and maneuvered by increasingly deteriorating Churchill and her tight lipped Secretary Lascelles. She is also swayed by her husband’s, mother’s and sister’s opinions.

However, as the story progressed, her true character comes to the fore. She realizes that she would always be The Queen first and only later a woman, a sister, a daughter. The moment, she comes to believe in her power and conviction, her decisions become firmer, at times bitter yet very well thought of. As she chides Churchill for hiding his illness, persuades her husband to be an Olympian Ambassador, commands her sister to forget Peter Townsend, she instantly transforms into a Monarch, a kind hearted but the righteous one, who has to be obeyed by one and all.

It is very easy to confuse the Monarchy as an absolute power, yet at an individual level, a monarch is one of the most harried persons, bound to conventions and stricken by regulations. It came to fore when each of her decisions were weighed heavily in the balance of righteousness and religious sanction. She has to compromise on many occasions, and though initially she tries to win some of her arguments, by being diplomatic. In later days, she comes to realize that to govern people, a monarch has to forget about her personal choices and preferences and do only what is right for the people, the nation and of course to maintain political bearings.

All in all, the series is dominated by Queen Elizabeth and Claire Foy portrayed the role wonderfully well. Her calm composure, expressive eyes, thoughtful smiles, make her come alive as a graceful Loyalty, deserving all the admiration. But, more importantly, her fidgety hands, the evasive nodes and the deep gutted Ohs were what impressed me the most. Her body language spoke as much the pithy dialogues. And, she undoubtedly deserves all the applause.

But, The Crown is more than the story of Queen Elizabeth. It also has a fair share of Winston Churchill, the man of many faces, who refuses to let go of the power, despite severely restricting health issues. I was often reminded of Dorian Gray, while watching him. He appeared as narcissistic and as self evasive as was the famous character created by Oscar Wilde. The fact that he realizes his mistake, only after seeing a portraiture, just reasserted it down the line.

As you can see, I am absolutely smitten by The Crown. And I haven’t yet talked about the abdicated King Edward, restless Prince Phillip, lovestruck Princess Margaret, reticent yet strong Queen Mother and the formidable Queen Mary. Each one of them deserve a special place in history and contributed in making The Crown, what it is. An awesome representation of power, dominion and political struggle, both within and without.

A super impressive Netflix Original, The Crown is a must watch. Second season would most probably be released in November 2017. Let’s wait and watch


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