Reading Henry IV

Warning: English nerd content ahead.

I’ve been quite fond of Shakespeare since high school. Freshman year I watched Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V and then read the play for extra credit. I loved it so much I choose to read it again the year we studied British literature, along with Taming of the Shrew (my mother’s choice) and As You Like It (recommended by a teacher).

Since homeschoolers can pick their own curriculum and my mom hated reading Shakespeare’s tragedies when she was in school, I didn’t get a hold of those until college. There, I discovered Hamlet was almost as good as Henry. Almost, but not quite. When I took a Shakespeare class where the professor included Henry V on his syllabus I was in literature nerd heaven.henriad

The only strange thing (to me at least) about this whole Henry obsession is that it took me so long to read Henry IV, Part One and Henry IV, Part Two. In these plays, the character I knew as noble King Henry V is the riotous Prince Hal. I did put them on my Classics Club book list, but I probably wouldn’t have read these plays for another year or so if I hadn’t decided on a futuristic/sci-fie re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Henriad for my NaNoWriMo novel (click here to learn more). I’d seen them, though, in BBC’s The Hollow Crown.

This brilliant adaptation is remarkably faithful to both Part One and Part Two (it leaves out more scenes and changes a few parts of Henry V, but that play’s not the topic of our post today). I enjoyed reading the Henry IV plays, in part because of associating the on-paper scenes with what I’d seen in The Hollow Crown. Here’s a small clip of Tom Hiddleston as Henry, but you should really check out the series and watch it for yourself.

For reading Part One, I picked up a copy without annotations or notes. I was rather pleased with myself that I didn’t feel like I needed them. This is also the play I enjoyed most. It feature a more straight-forward and active story line, and more scenes with Prince Hal. I tend to prefer Shakespeare’s main plots and noble characters to the sub-plots and more comedic characters, and that held true for these history plays.

Part Two follows the Henrys less and I’m glad I had a Folger edition to read for that. There were whole sections of Falstaff’s speeches that left me puzzled (the notes made me feel better, though — apparently scholars can’t figure out some of his lines either). You need this play to get from Part 1 to Henry V, but it’s my least favorite of the three.

Whether or not you already love Shakespeare, I’d recommend starting with The Hollow Crown if you’re interested in these plays. They’re really meant to be seen and heard more than read. I suspect the man who begged pardon of his 17th century audience for daring “On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth / So great an object” as Henry’s life would approve of the scope film provides for storytelling (Henry V, 1.1.11-12).


Click here to get a copy of Henry IV Part One, here for Part Two, and here for The Hollow Crown. Please note that these are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase.

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Becoming “Noble Harry”

Check out this article I wrote for Femnista’s Shakespeare issue (and perhaps a few of their other articles while you’re at it)! It’s always a pleasure to write for and read this online magazine/blog.

I have no trouble answering the question, “What’s your favorite Shakespeare play?” (though it sadly isn’t asked very often). My answer has been Henry V since I first read it in high school. I grew up immersed in classical tales of adventure and heroism–stories by Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne, legends about Robin Hood and King Arthur. In that context, my affection for Henry V comes as no surprise.

“Noble Harry,” as Shakespeare dubs the character, is the quintessential heroic figure. He’s a man of action, a brilliant soldier, a king committed to justice only where he cannot show mercy, a believer in God’s sovereignty, and a romantic figure in his wooing of Kathrine. Shakespeare is far too talented a storyteller to leave even his heroic figures one-dimensional, though. There’s much more to Henry’s character than being a perfect king.

Continue Reading: Becoming “Noble Harry”

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Searching For Balance

I’ve been rather preoccupied with the idea of Balance lately, both in the world around me and internally. A lack of balance frustrates me so much and yet many people seem to gravitate toward polarities rather than searching for middle ground.

Searching For Balance | marissabaker.wordpress.com
scales credit: StockMonkeys.com

Let’s look at Christianity for a quick example. I’m not sure if this is the case in your churches, but in the groups I attend the question of Sacred Names comes up every once in a while. One the one hand, you have people who only use the Hebrew names like Yahweh and Yeshua and claim others “have rejected the name of their God.” I’ve even heard of people who won’t talk with other Christians unless they can pronounce the sacred names “correctly” (which varies depending on who you talk with). Then on the other hand, you have people who say Sacred Namers have fallen into “a satanic doctrine that leads people into idolatry.”

It just seems so ridiculous to me. To the first claim, if God wanted us all speaking Hebrew He wouldn’t have confused the languages at the tower of Babel. Read more

Fictional MBTI – Loki (INFJ)

My first Fictional MBTI post was about Loki, and though it wasn’t the most complete or polished post it quickly became the most active in terms of comments. Even now, over a year and a half later, people are still posting new insights and observations on Loki’s character. And when the latest comments are more in-depth than the original post, it’s time for an update.

Quick note: my typing for Loki is wholly based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not on the comics or on Norse mythology. Loki is a controversial figure to type (as those 40 commends on the last post can attest), and his instability further complicates things. Also, I suspect Tom Hiddleston is an NF type, which would color his depiction of Loki.Fictional MBTI - Loki (INFJ) | marissabaker.wordpress.com

INFJ Overview

The letters “INFJ” stand for Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeling and Judging. This means INFJs lead with a function called Introverted Intuition (called “Perspectives” in the Personality Hacker system). Introverted Intuition is a perceiving function that takes in and processes information, and is particularly interested in things that can’t be directly experienced. Intuition is great at pattern recognition and extrapolating future possibilities, and I’ve never seen anyone argue Loki is not an Intuitive. Read more

More Favorite Quotes

More Favorite Quotes from marissabaker.wordpress.comI was hoping to write a somewhat lengthy post today, but found I ran out of time to finish it. I didn’t want to just skip posting today, though, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite quotes which were not yet listed on my Quotes page. These are all one’s I came across for the first time on Pinterest. I’d read several of Hans Christian Anderson’s writings before, however, and he is an author I like.

“Every person’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers” — Hans Christian Anderson

This next quote is by Kurt Vonnegut, and I’m afraid I must confess I’ve never read any of his books. I like this quote, though, so I’ve included it here.

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” — Kurt Vonnegut

I was determined not to become a Tom Hiddleston fan and join the ranks of the crazy Loki fangirls. Then I started reading quotes from him (like these two), seeing interviews, and learning about his work helping children. I can admire a guy who likes kids, respects women, values humility, and describes his apartment as wall-to-wall bookshelves.

More Favorite Quotes from marissabaker.wordpress.com

“Stay hungry; stay young; stay foolish; stay curious. And, above all, stay humble because just when you think you’ve got all the answers, is the moment when some bitter twist of fate in the universe will remind you that you very much don’t” — Tom Hiddleston.

“This generation has lost the true meaning of romance. There are so many songs that disrespect women. You can’t treat the woman you love as a piece of meat. You should treat your love like a princess. Give her love songs, something with real meaning. Maybe I’m old fashioned but to respect the woman you love should be a priority” — Tom Hiddleston

Fictional MBTI — Loki

Update: Click here for a newer post about Loki with a more complete type analysis.

Over the past couple weeks, without even looking for them, I’ve stumbled upon two blogs talking about Myers-Briggs types for fictional characters. One is a Tumbler called MBTI in Fiction. The other is a blog titled A Little Bit of Personality, with a series of posts analyzing heroic archetypes.

I’ve been intrigued by the characters each of these writers choose to type as INFJs. Neither of these writer’s are INFJs themselves (the writer from “MBTI in Fiction” is an ENTJ and the writer of “A Little Bit of Personality” is an ENTP), and it’s interesting to see who non-INFJs think are INFJs. I don’t always agree with them, but it’s interesting.

Loki

Fictional INFJs -- Loki. marissabaker.wordpress.comThis was the first post I saw from MBTI in Fiction. My initial reaction was, “There’s no way Loki and I have the same personality type.” But I agree that he’s an introvert, and I don’t think he’s logical or grounded enough to be either an S or a T type, so that leaves us with INFJ or INFP. (Some people type him as an INTJ Mastermind, but he seems to rely on Extroverted Feeling more than Extroverted Thinking as a function).

Both INFJs and INFPs feel everything very deeply and trust their intuition. However, INFPs tend to keep their emotions to themselves, though feelings will inform all their actions. Outwardly, they appear “receptive and non-judgmental.” INFJs prefer to approach the world through Introverted Intuition (Ni), followed by Extroverted Feeling (Fe). They are the rarest type, often question their sanity,  rely strongly on their intuitions about people, and tend to talk about their feelings. Dr. A.J. Drenth’s profile includes this descriptions, which I think sounds a lot like Loki (as played by Tom Hiddleston in The Avengers):

INFJs are far less serious inwardly than they may appear outwardly. Their inner world is well described as playful, imaginative, colorful, mischievous, and daring. Characterized by Perceiving rather than Judging, it is far less controlled and regulated than that of INFPs. INFJs love playing with ideas, perspectives, theories, images, symbols, and metaphors.

Another reason I’ve been won-over to typing Loki as an INFJ is because of the description of INFJ villains on A Little Bit of Personality’s page. It really does sound like Loki, and the last line hits a little too close to home for me to brush this analysis off as written by someone who just doesn’t understand INFJs.

When turned to villainy, the INFJ is *creepy*! There isn’t really any other word for it. Dark Paladins are the best of manipulators because they are incredibly intuitive about people and can apply their mild-manneredness to going under the radar as long as they need to, manipulating others who would never suspect them. Because they are so good at this and *know* it, pure-hearted INFJ’s often wonder if they are secretly evil and manipulative at heart, like one day they’ll wake up and realize they were bad all along.

Future Posts?

I was planning on covering several characters, but after I started writing Loki I decided one would be enough for a single post. Maybe I’ll write more at some other time, if anyone is interested. Are there any characters you’ve been thinking are INFJs? Would you be interested in me typing non-INFJ characters?

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