Things Reign Taught Me About Mary Queen of Scots


Last night, the CW premiered Reign, which — originally titled Gossip Girl: Old Timey France — follows a teenage Mary Queen of Scots as she is moved from a quiet convent in the country and thrown into the sexy and devious world of 16th century French court.

Reign — or Mary Teen of Scots as we’ve been calling it ’round the office — is making a lot of people angry with its historical inaccuracy. In real life, Mary was only 15 when she was brought to court to marry Francis, the sickly, 14-year-old Dauphin of France, and he died only two years later. In Reign, Francis is fighting fit, handsome and has an equally hot (and entirely fictional) half brother named Sebastian. Perfect for a love triangle, infuriating for history nerds.

As Robert Bianco wrote in USA Today:

It may be too much to hope that CW would help educate our children, but we could at least ask the network to avoid making them stupid. That risk of a generational dumbing-down assumes, of course, that any of those children actually slog their way through this ludicrously written, dully cast, anachronistic blunder…

Oh, whatever. You can learn LOTS of historical facts watching Reign, chief among them:

1. Everyone in the 16th century dressed like they were at Coachella.

Who knew that Mary Teen of Scots and her ladies-in-waiting were such big fans of the hipster halo?

Or that they all ordered all their gowns from a 1999 Delia’s catalogue?

2. Nostradamus looked like this:

Instead of this.

3. Everyone in France spoke with an English accent.

…except for Mary Queen of Scots whose accent is oddly fleeting.

4. They listened to a lot of indie music.

And the parties of French Court were just like prom!

5. People were always publicly jerking off in castle corridors.

This one might actually be true.

(Worth noting that it’s kind of cool to see a young woman giving herself pleasure on primetime television, especially seeing as masturbation is still considered pretty — and stupidly — taboo for teen girls.)

Final takeaway? Reign is not very good and not very historically accurate, but is still thoroughly enjoyable. Shhh. It’ll go down easier if you stop fighting it.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin