Wolf Hall Questions and Answers
by Hilary Mantel

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In Wolf Hall, what was Thomas Cromwell's main job nearing the middle/end of the book in service to the crown?

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The role of Thomas Cromwell in this breathtaking novel moves from being lawyer and aide to Cardinal Wolsey to becoming a minister in the court of Henry VIII and acting as a trusted confidant of the king. It is to Cromwell that Henry increasingly goes whenever he wants something, trusting that Cromwell will be able to achieve it. Whether it is a divorce from his first wife or the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the break from Rome, Cromwell becomes Henry's troubleshooter in the way that he is able to make a reality Henry's wishes. Note for example what Cahpuys says to Cromwell on the day of Queen Anne's coronation, that Cromwell has had to fight to achieve:

Well, you have succeeded where the cardinal failed, Hnery has what he wants at last. I say to my master, who is capable of looking at these things impartially, it is a pity from Henry's point of view that he did not take up Cromwell years ago. His affairs would have gone on much better.

It is Cromwell's success in this role and the trust position he has with King Henry VIII that makes him so feared and hated by those around him, as they recognise that he not only has the ear of the King but also he has the capability, intelligence and skill to achieve Henry's wishes. It is this that makes Cromwell such a fascinating figure.

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