Oct 30, 2014
The winter of our discontent made glorious summer
On 1 November 1461, Richard Plantagenet, more famously known by his later alias of Richard III of England, was granted the dukedom of Gloucester. In honor of the five hundred and fifty-third anniversary of this momentous, earth-shattering occasion happening in two days, this post is dedicated to Richard III! Rock on, Richard!! White boars forever!!! Of course, since this is ostensibly a figure skating blog, I will endeavor to rope figure skating in here somehow.
But first, a backgrounder on Richard III before we proceed. Though unfairly maligned for centuries by Tudor propagandists such as Shakespeare, the reputation of Richard III has undergone extensive rehabilitation during recent years, no doubt helped by revisionist historiography and the tireless efforts of hard-working Ricardians. The surest sign of Richard III's reputational rehabilitation is evidenced by the evolution of his fictional portrayal through time: Richard III went from being portrayed as an ugly, physically-deformed and unscrupulous antagonist in Shakespeare's play Richard III to the misunderstood, brooding heartthrob played by Aneurin Barnard in the recent television series The White Queen. Anyway, Richard III's reputation has suffered for centuries due for three reasons:
1) Seizing the throne from his nephew Edward V after his brother Edward IV died
2) Widespread suspicion that he was involved in the mysterious disappearances of his nephews Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York
3) Having his throne seized by right of conquest from Henry Tudor (AKA Henry VII) and the Tudors needing to justify their reigns by demonizing Richard III
But all that is water under the bridge now. In honor of Richard III, let's go through the figure skating world and evaluate how its denizens are inspired by/carrying out his honorable legacy:
0/10 - 100% Lancastrian
Richard III was inaccurately portrayed by Tudor sycophants such as William "Obviously fictional" Shakespeare as being hunch-backed and "little of stature." However, based on analyses of Richard III's newly re-discovered corpse in Leicester, Richard III was certainly not a hunchback and his scoliosis was not severe enough to be visible when Richard III was clothed. However, Elena Radionova, with her hunched shoulders, poor posture and small form, is clearly trying to revive the Tudor propaganda of Richard III as being hideously deformed with her skating. She is thus clearly of the anti-Ricardian bent, and deserves 0/10 Ricardian points.
4/10 - Plebian Plantagenet
With his penchant for using the music of star-crossed lovers in his long programs, Yuzuru Hanyu is clearly channeling the doomed love between Richard III and his wife Anne Neville. Mr. Hanyu's penchant for landing difficult jump combinations and inserting quadruple jumps in his programs despite their abysmal competitive success rate also evokes a distinctly Ricardian ambition--brave, yet often futile. However, Mr. Hanyu is deduced 6 Ricardian points for wearing his Romeo and Juleit 2.0 costume out in public: Richard III would never garb himself in something so undignified.
8/10 - Roaring Ricardian
Maxim Trankov's life trajectory closely resembles that of Richard III. Similar to how Richard III had to suffer years of insolence from various disgruntled Lancastrians and all those pesky Woodvilles, Mr. Trankov suffered from years of oppression at the hands of Oleg Vasiliev and Maria Mukhortova. However, both Richard III and Mr. Trankov were able to overcome the bonds of persecution and rise like the Tower of London over the Thames: Richard III became King of England, while Maxim Trankov became Olympic and World Champion. It is yet unclear whether Mr. Trankov will meet his very own Bosworth, but hopefully he will be able to avoid the ignominious fate Richard III suffered. Plus, Mr. Trankov even looks like Richard III, if you squint your eyes, turn your head at a certain angle, and take a shot of Everclear.