Hi :) I saw this was entered to the Historical Headcannons challenge and I came to check it out. I though that they way you incorporated a witch to historical events was really brilliant. First I was thinking that this was just any story with a witch in it who is the lover of a royalty, but the end was really intriguing! I love the idea that the king’s madness would be deliberately caused by a potion to remove the last barrier to an unapproved marriage.
I don’t know much about the historical surroundings (I’m not form England), but I think you gave just enough details for anyone to enjoy this story.
Like I said, the beginning was too slow for me, I don’t exactly know what I was missing, but since you only showed us a confusion charm until the very end of the story it’s probably that I was missing more details of magic in those times. But them I guess Maria wasn’t using much magic in real life as she is known in history as a “normal” person. I’m wondering if the potion you describe was the essence of insanity. We do not have the ingredients for that in cannon, but I’m inclined to think that it is, and it’s such a great idea that Maria Fitzherbert invented it. Maybe she didn’t call it like that (I suspect since king George was called Mad, the potion would also be essence of madness), but someone renamed it later.
Other than this “more magic please :)” issue, I though that your story was a very enjoyable read, the text flew very well, and the story was easy to follow. I think it was a wise choice to pick one small moment in history and write about that instead of including a whole lot of storyline – this really worked well in a one-shot.
Hi Mel! I'm here to read and review the entries for my Historical Head Canons challenge.
I've been really intrigued about this piece since I saw the title of it, and the fact that you'd chosen to write about "Mad" King George. The title is a really clever play on words, and now that I've read the story I have a much better understanding of what you mean by it.
I loved the fact that you chose to take this moment and manage to explain so much of this period of history by incorporating the wizarding world into it. It was a fascinating take on this turbulent period for the British monarchy and I really wasn't expecting to see the ending that I did.
As far as the main premise of the challenge is concerned, you've met it brilliantly - I really love the way that you've combined British history and historical figures with the magical world here, and you've made it work so well. I think you got the balance just right between the magic and the history and I kind of want to accept this now as an official explanation for what happened to the monarchy during this period.
The opening was really mysterious - I didn't realise at first who the protagonist was, until the little clues which you included about being twice widowed and a Catholic. The fact that you made Maria Fitzherbert into a witch was so intriguing and really original, and I definitely enjoyed your characterisation of her and of George in this piece.
It was so interesting that George not only knew about Maria being a witch (and never once suspected that she might be enchanting him in some way? I'd be really interested to see a further story about this and their separation after their marriage has been discovered now), but that he was happy to exploit her powers for his own end. It made your characterisation of them both really unusual - they both seemed a lot more manipulative than I think they tend to be portrayed in the history books, and it was really fascinating to read.
I felt like the dialogue at the end, though there wasn't much of it, held a lot more depth than their surface words suggest. Since George is aware that Maria's a witch, he must be aware that she has the power to harm him and that he relies on her to achieve the Regency he desires, and Maria equally knows that she won't be accepted at all by the family or the British people, but that she also holds a lot of power because of her magic. It makes for a really interesting dynamic between the two characters and makes me wonder about their entire relationship - it works at the moment but I'd be really intrigued to see it later down the line.
The use of magic in this piece was done really well, too - I liked the fact that there wasn't a lot of it, and the characters weren't all overtly magical, but Maria used her magic when necessary. The Confundus charm was the only detail which initially made me realise that she was a witch, and I liked the description of the potion she had brewed, and the way that it could tie in to canon again (is Maria Fitzherbert the official creator of Essence of Insanity now?).
This was really cleverly written, and I found the way that you blended Muggle history and the magical world together really fascinating!
Oh, poor George.
I’m not entirely sure which one I’m talking about. I’ve been quite interested in the Georgian era recently (thanks mostly to the show Harlots showcasing all of their ridiculous fashions), so this was a nice little connection to my outside-of-fic interests! I love that you made Maria a witch, and one that was relatively untrained! That was a bit of a surprise, and I feel like she has a very interesting story outside of this little scene. She’s so compelling. Her lack of technical magical knowledge was so endearing, it does get old reading characters who can just do anything with magic without practicing it first. I also like the historical insinuation that her potion didn’t work quite as well as she thought it would, given that George wasn’t made regent until several years later.
I really do feel bad for both of the George’s here. I almost want to think of the younger George as a little bit sinister, plotting with Maria to get rid of his father so they can be married, but I just can’t seem to stick with that. He seems genuinely concerned with his father’s health and with the state of the country. Both of which are very legitimate things for him to be concerned about. He may be rushing the king’s incapacity a little with Maria’s potion, but it does sound like it was a necessary evil. Perhaps it was the perspective I was reading from.
And of course, the poor king! His story always makes me a little sad. I work with a lot of people who would, historically, be considered insane, so people with those types of issues always have a soft spot in my heart. I just want him to retire to a nice rocking chair and play with grandkids and let his son do all the hard work. (I just looked up if he had grandkids at this point, and I couldn’t get past his HUGE list of children! All from one woman!!! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat??!?!!!!)
Alright, I’ve rambled on enough here, I think, thank you for sharing such a fun story! I wish you luck in Sian’s challenge!