Family devotion is played out in Gregory's novel especially in terms of the three main characters, Mary, Anne, and George Boleyn. They are siblings who are tied together through a combination of social and familial pressures and expectations. But there is also a form of love that exists in this relationship, especially in regards to Mary and George, whose emotions for one another are vividly expressed. Mary, who is often criticized in this novel for being emotionally soft, sees the world through love. She loves her sister Anne, for example, no matter how harshly Anne treats her. Even when Anne betrays her sister by stealing Henry, Mary forgives her. Mary will not allow Henry to come between her and her sister, no matter what.
George also is soft hearted. And one of the softest places in his heart is for his sister Anne. Anne can do nothing wrong, in George's eyes. His devotion to her may well have led to his death.
Family devotion is also demonstrated in the way that the three Boleyn siblings do whatever their parents ask of them. They sacrifice their personal desires for the good of the family. Mary marries her first husband at the age of twelve because her parents have ordered her to do so. Then she leaves him a year later and goes to bed with the king in order that her family might be given greater titles, money, and power. When Mary is pregnant, and the family is concerned that the king's interest in Mary might wane because she can no longer go to bed with him, the Howard-Boleyns throw Anne at the king to distract him for seeking a young woman from the family's arch rivals. Anne is all too eager to do this, not for her family, though, but rather for her own personal gain.
In contrast to the manipulation of power and family devotion is real love and natural emotions. Mary is torn between what she has been led to believe is her duty to family and the emotions that stir inside her. She was just beginning to love her...
(The entire section is 506 words.)