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George Boleyn has been portrayed in many historical novels, television shows and films. Even though most of these focus on his sister, Anne, George has had an important part in many of them. In the Showtime TV series The Tudors and Philippa Gregory’s novel The Other Boleyn Girl he has been portrayed in a negative manner and his character shown to commit incest and rape, while the idea that he might have been a homosexual has been used to further defame his character. The notion that he might be homosexual comes from late 20th and early 21st century interpretations of the poem “Viscount Rocheford”, written by George Cavendish in 1556-1558, by the historians Retha Warnicke and Alison Weir. While there is no viable proof in the historical record that George was a homosexual, contemporary authors of historical fiction have used the idea that he might have been so in their works of fiction. Because of Henry VIII’s Buggery Act of 1533, homosexuals during the Tudor era were cast to the margins of society and it is therefore important to reintroduce these figures in an unbiased manner. Nevertheless, the way George is portrayed in The Other Boleyn Girl and The Tudors contributes to the marginalization and vilification of homosexuals in historical fiction. Since The Other Boleyn Girl focuses more on the challenges that the female characters have to overcome, George’s life falls into the background and he becomes a secondary character. This is also the case in The Tudors, where the plots involving George revolve mostly around what George is doing to help Anne get the crown and keep it, as well as centering on his homosexual activity, which in turn does not get as much airtime as the heterosexual acts of others.
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