Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gruesome Game

Princes1.jpg


"Hey kids! Remember those two princes that Richard III had murdered? Remember the staircase in the White Tower where their bodies were found? Let's play a game about it!"

That's not a conversation we've had recently in our house, although my kids probably do remember the two princes and the staircase where their bodies were found centuries after the fact. However, I was flipping through the Story of the World Activity Book and noticed that one of their activities for the chapter on "The War for the English Throne" is a "Princes in the Tower Game."

I know from experience that coming up with exciting ways to fix the stories of history in kids' minds can be a challenge, but I want no part of playing this grisly little game. Two young boys were murdered. That's hardly the stuff of children's play and I'm a bit disgusted.

5 comments:

Jennifer said...

I agree, that is too much.

Robbo said...

The gels all have a morbid fascination with those poor princes. While they don't play any games on the subject, their forensic discussions sometimes make me think I'm in a scene from "CSI: Tower of London".

Patricia said...

I simply haven't been able to persuade myself to call at the Tower and probably won't. The intense tragedies caused by malicious use of power is something that I recoiled from as a child learning about English history and I've never quite gotten over that.
About people who make up games like this for children, I wonder: were they out of their minds? Or do they just really not care very much about children? Just IMHO, of course, but there's something beyond callous about making a game out of this.

NBS said...

How bad is it that I now think I have failed as a parent because my daughter doesn't know ANYTHING about the poor princes in the tower? Granted, she's only 6 months old. But I just feel like the pressure is on!

skinnydan said...

I dunno - politics & life are messy sometimes. Rulers do a lot of objectively bad things to preserve power and maintain control. Richard's perspective was to treat the Princes as a threat, and he did what a medieval ruler would do to handle a threat.
Bear in mind as well that by the time a kid was 13 in the Middle Ages he really wasn't a child any more. The average kid had no formal schooling, and probably would have a job or apprenticeship by that point, and be expected to pull their own weight. It's not unusual for kids to be treated in art as mini-adults, which is basically how they were viewed.
I agree there's a point at which it's a bit macabre to make a game of it, but I've seen textbooks that give all of English history a paragraph (1 stinkin' line for Magna Carta? Boors.) I'm glad enough to see anything mentioned. [/medieval history ABD]

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