October 23, 2008

Gruesome Game


"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.


I agree, that is too much.

Posted by: Jennifer at October 23, 2008 03:28 PM

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".

Posted by: Robbo at October 23, 2008 04:03 PM

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.

Posted by: Patricia at October 25, 2008 10:46 AM

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!

Posted by: NBS at October 26, 2008 08:21 PM

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]

Posted by: skinnydan at October 27, 2008 08:19 AM