The Tudors: A Study in the Dynamics of Power


Dear Disciples,

“The Tudors” portrays the dynamics of power in human societies with great subtlety. Though Henry the IV is not subtle in his exercise of his authority. Episodes of “The Tudors” portray Dominant and submissive relationship in nearly every scene. Medieval vassals maneuver the court to put themselves in the King’s good graces, the source of all power in His kingdom. The show is a portrayal of the power dynamics that existed in medieval Europe’s Lord and vassal system. Though the vernacular used by the show to to describe this relationship is of “Lord and servant”, the absolute power invested in the King makes the power dynamics indistinguishable from that of “Master and slave”.

Just as the King within His domain can exercise His power without any resistance, so can a Master exercise His power over His slave without any resistance, a Dominant over His female submissive without any resistance.


This absolute exercise of power is a display of His Majesty. And His Majesty must be displayed. Episode of “The Tudors” are nothing if not various displays of the King’s Majesty.

His Majesty is portrayed in the acting of John Rhys, the royal language used by the character, and The Tudors costumes. In the portrayal of the King John Rhys clearly displays the psychology, behavior, and mannerisms of a man used to exercising absolute power and control. A man used to making fortunes, ending lives, elevating, humiliating, and doing whatever he dam well pleases.  This is interesting as a study in total power exchange. His Majesty is in a Dominant and submissive relationship with every subject in His realm. He is the Dom. They are His submissives.

The Royal language used by the character uses the vocabulary of a man conditioned with the habit of exercising power and authority, and the grammar of a well educated mind used to speaking freely with eloquence.

The Tudors costumes are also a very refined anthropological study in the role played by clothing to communicate status in human societies.

The dress and jewelry of the King clearly communicates high status. His crown makes His status supreme and infinitely above that of all others in His domain.

Conversely the utter lack of an jewels on the person of any of the characters clearly marks him as common man, with no noble  It is easy to see why when we wish to to exaggerate the low status of a slave in relation to her Master, we humiliate her with a sub collar.

Needless to say that The Tudors costumes were very well done.

As you progress through the episode of “The Tudors”, with the realization that the King is a Dom simply displaying His Majesty, you begin to gain profound lesson after profound lesson in the dynamics of power. The entire course of the show taken in “The Tudors” season 1 is of a Master (the king) using His slave (Wosley) to serve Him in His affairs. Wosley (the slave) pleases the King (the Master) with his service. Which the King rewards by elevating and maintaining the status of Wosley status above that of his other slaves. When Wosley repeatedly fails to please the Kind with news of an annulment, the King removes Wosley from His favor. Earning the King’s displeasure ultimately results in Wosley taking his own life. This process of reward and punishment, the alternating display of Mercy and Majesty, the giving of hope and striking of fear, all to communicate a Dom’s pleasure or displeasure is the process of slave training. Granted the consequences of the King’s slave training is life and death. The consequences of your training must be less dramatic, though art lies in having them feel like life and death. This process is also known as conditioning behavior, or operant conditioning.

Living a Dominant and submissive lifestyle is very possible, given that 25 million times a month a woman sits down on a computer and googles, “How do I find a dom?”. The only thing holding you from being a Dom to the millions of submissive women in the planet is your understanding and comfort with the dynamics of power. “The Tudors” is one of the best resources available for you to study these dynamics.

Understanding how the decisions of a king changes the course of history, will allow you to understand the power of your own decisions. I suggest you immediately find and watch “The Tudors” online. In the future we will be posting “The Tudors” episode guide with a commentary and exegesis on each episode.

A study done by Kate Haworth at the University of Knottingham entitled, “The Dynamics of Power and Resistance in Police Interview Discourse.” found that within the context of a police interview the conversational dynamics of power were significantly affected by the institutional status of participants, the discursive role assigned to them by the context of the police interview, and their relative knowledge of the subject under discussion. An analysis of four well defined discursive features and the interplay between them revealed that power and control is always under negotiation. The source of power is always open to challenge and resistance. It was also shown that Dominance is not always advantageous in the production of certain outcomes, or in the attainment of certain purposes. For example being in the dominance position of “Police” was not alway advantageous to achieve the goals of a Police interview. You can read the entire study here.


Syed Jillal Ali

P.S. A King must be Merciful, but he should also freely display His Majesty.

P.P.S. Here is video on the King frame by Alexander from RSD. 

P.P.P.S. I recently watched this analysis of how the Tudors historically consolidates and exercises there power. Entitled “The Structures of Power” by Professor Wrightson. I really enjoyed it.

P.P.P.P.S. Check out the official site of “The Tudors” at

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