Have you heard of the Netflix show The Crown?
It is a dramatization of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. I’m hooked. In love. I’m there. I adore it.
What I love is how well it demonstrates the complexity of her role as a constitutional monarch and one forced to reign in a time of unprecedented technological change, with unprecedented access to the average person, and as one so utterly isolated from the people she means to rule. It is absolute brilliance.
I, too, have a story with a monarchy. However, I live in the freedom states of ‘merica (USA), so my exposure to monarchy is, well, nonexistent.
The Crown has given me SO MANY IDEAS on how to develop the story I have, how to weave in monarchy as a major issue, and how to justify certain plot decisions I’ve made. It’s almost like this series is rewriting my book for me.
So, thanks Netflix. Seriously, I owe you one.
I think I’ve learned a couple things and I’d really like to share those with you.
- Everything is more complicated than it seems.
As peons with limited information, we can sometimes believe we know the right decisions for leaders to make. After all, we’re closer to the ground and can see things they can’t see.
On the flip side, they have A LOT more information that we do and honestly? Leaders aren’t paid to be close to the ground. Leaders are paid to have the highest view of a situation and have at least a minimal grasp of the complexities.
In a story, there MUST be some kind of this complexity. At least a lack of black and white simplicity. What I love about that is I can weave in a lot of grayness into the story, which lends interest and intrigue.
- The old guard may know many things, but so does the new.
A fascinating thing I see in The Crown is that the old, retired man is constantly called upon to help deal with situations, but the younger man who is clearly more attuned to the people outside Buckingham Castle is routinely dismissed or ignored, even as he ends up being right fairly often.
I can definitely see this happening in my story – whether it’s a complete dismissal of the old guard, even, or total rejection of the new and never changing – and I LOVE the possibilities contained within. People are gonna people and that’s the best thing about story.
- Beware those closest to you. They can cause the greatest harm.
The storyline between Elizabeth and her sister Margaret is wonderful because there is SO. MUCH. TENSION. Of everyone around Elizabeth, Margaret is able to do the most damage because Elizabeth loves her so very much. And it’s precisely this love that creates the tension between doing her job and loving her sister.
Similarly, all her closest aides create some major problems for her precisely because she trusts them so implicitly, and their disconnect with the outside world is so painfully palpable in the screw ups.
Great storytelling draws in the audience, no matter the story being told (and having a great soundtrack doesn’t hurt anything either). I am so excited about these new ideas floating around and can’t wait to start implementing them into the story.