Year of the Woman - Reign

For those who don’t know, Reign is a drama that very loosely follows the life of Mary Queen of Scots. I’ll be honest with you: when a friend first recommended it to me, I was sceptical. Something that referred to Mary Queen of Scots as a ‘teen queen’ in its Netflix description did not fill […]

Catherine Maw
5th March 2018
Image Credit: YouTube

For those who don’t know, Reign is a drama that very loosely follows the life of Mary Queen of Scots. I’ll be honest with you: when a friend first recommended it to me, I was sceptical. Something that referred to Mary Queen of Scots as a ‘teen queen’ in its Netflix description did not fill me with a lot of hope. Of course, I was wrong to judge it so soon. Reign mixes a delicious amount of fantasy with history which makes it impossible to resist. Most importantly, it’s a show that celebrates the strength, resilience and solidarity between its female characters.

What differentiates Reign from other ‘historical’ drama is the prominence of its female characters. Aware of her tenuous position as a Scottish queen within the French royal court, Mary, played by the wonderful Adelaide Kane, uses her sharp intellect to assert her rightful place and exercise her own will. The beauty of it is, at its heart there is a sense of sisterhood. Mary is surrounded by her ladies in waiting: Kenna, Lola and Greer. All are equally intelligent, strong and passionate, and making their mark on the royal court. Each facing their individual challenges, sometimes with each other, they are always ready to support one another; a lesson, I think, we all could learn from.

While it claims to be based on history, it is worth mentioning that Laurie McCarthy and Stephanie Sengupta have taken a lot of creative liberties when creating this series. Reign is predominantly a work of fiction, based on some historical occurrences. Still, it doesn’t shy away from addressing pressing issues that women have dealt with throughout history and continue to face today. It allows these historical female characters to be advocates of their own freedom. In a sense, rewriting history with women at the forefront.

"What differentiates Reign from other ‘historical’ drama is the prominence of its female characters"

So, if you’re particular about historical accuracy, as I usually am, then you should be prepared. Some of the main characters didn’t actually exist. (Bash, I’m looking at you.) That is not to mention that the lavish costumes and accessories, which could have been plucked from a recent Oscar de la Renta collection, are wildly anachronistic.

Yet, this appears to be all part of its charm. Conscious of its own inaccuracies, it is a kind of fantasy that allows you to escape to another world of Gothic intrigue and mystery. It is both entertaining and thrilling in equal measures. There’s something wonderful about Reign that keeps me up at night… literally. It’s irresistible to watch ‘just one more episode’ as Netflix ticks over seamlessly onto the next.

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