Wolf Hall Questions and Answers
by Hilary Mantel

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In Wolf Hall, how does Thomas Cromwell display an affinity for power and why does he decide to work under Cardinal Wolsey?

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Wolf Hall follows Thomas Cromwell and his growing power as adviser to Henry VIII. Cromwell is alone in the world, having lost his wife and family, and is consumed with his quest to rise in Henry's court.

The story deftly shows the political intrigue in the court of Henry VIII. In fact, Cromwell is portrayed as a pragmatic man whose quest for power is conducted with his eyes wide open. He understands the potential dangers in Henry’s court even while he aspires to attain a key role.

Specifically, Cromwell has seen what happens to others who fail the King. For example, despite significant political savvy, Cardinal Wolsey lost Henry’s good will. Cromwell...

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