Charles David "Gabriel" Lazaroo (c81) wrote in blackaddicans,
Charles David "Gabriel" Lazaroo

A post that was made out of too much free time

The following is the result of pondering too much over rather trivial matters surrounding the secret world histroy potrayed throughout the BlackAdders.


FIrst up: The Melancholy of Edmund Blackadder the Third

(the title of this section is a reference. Look it up yourself)

It should not be surprising to note that, with the sole exceltpion of the very first series, the comedy is never told in a chronological fashion, as historical events are not the pure focus of the series (as otherwise opposed in the very first Blackadder). Thus, discrepancies do occur, like the arrival of the Americans late into the war before the aerial bombardment in the fourth season, or, as better illustrated, the whole of Blackadder III, where the war against Napoleon turns up before Robespierre's National Convention, whereas anyone with some understanding of   French Histroy would know that not only the reverse happened, the period of the reverse is quite distant.

However, noting that the chronological order is way off, I wonder if the series can be viewed in a pseudo-chronological order. To explain, while specific dates are not outrightly given, references are made to actual events that occured at specific times during the Era of the Enlightenment. Samuel Johnson worked on the dictionary sometime before the French Revolution, a reference is made to the period of the National Convention, considered to be the most bloody period of the whole Revolution, and the enar end of the Napoleonic wars referenced in the famous battle at Trafalgar.

Thus, the following order could be followed:

Episode 2 : Samuel Johnson completes his dictionary in 1755, and Baldrick burns it. Actually, Baldrick burns Edmund's magnum opus, "Edmund: a Butler's tale"

Episode 3: 1792-1795... the bloodiest period of the French Revolution as the National Convetion, under the jurisdiction of Robespierre, sends thousands for the chop. The Scarlet Pimpernel (fictituos character in reality) is also mentioned.... though his fictituous nature could be due to the fact that Edmund killed him with poison.

Episode 4: Napoleon's rise of power as detailed in the newspaper. Another advertisment in same newspaper mentions the need for a 'baby-minder to bring Pitt the Younger' to Parliament, indicating that the younger Pitt was still in infancy. There is an increase of anarchy in England, spaned out of the revolutions of America and France.

Episode 1: Pitt the younger is now a young adolescent (at least 13), and the Napoleonic wars have also begun.

Episode 6: The climax. Things come to a crescendo as plans for the Battle of Trafalgar of 1805 are discussed, and Edmund Blackadder assumes the title of Prince Regent, though under disguise, thus emoving the incompetent prince.

There are, however, discrepancies. Even in this format, it should be noted that Episode 4 has two problems; the first is that the increase in anarchy could also be seen as a precursor to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, and Stephenson did not build the famous 'Rocket' until 1829. Furthermore, due to the nature of Episode 5 (no actual historical events were mentioned), episode 5 can be freely inserted anywhere between episodes 2, 3 and 4, but cannot be the last episode due to its nature. Bearing this in mind, Edmund describes himself as a 'young man in the (Prince's) service" though, assuming the order is correct, he is already quite old.

 Nevertheless, the episode format outlined above does work in the sense that it showcases the motives and ambitions of BlackAdder. The first episode, being episode 2, sets the seeds for his plans when Edmund, dissatsfied with lfie as a butler, and seeking to pursue greatness within his boundaries, writes his magnum opus. All this is dashed when his dogsbody burns his copy. As such, due to the actions of the foolish Baldrick, Edmund will forever be rude and violent to the git. The episodes 3 and 4 are told in sequence, as both detail the transition of France from the Revolution to Napoleon's early days. Here, Edmund grws increasingly dissatsfied with the Prince. Upon the second last episode (Episode 1), Edmund finally sees his chance to gain some form of power, more than just a butler. This is, however, foiled once more by Baldrick, and the Prince, who mistakenly enobles him. The final episodes sees a dissatsfied Blackadder the beginning, bothered by his failures in the past, finally getting his rewards upon being able to assume the role, though udner the disguise, as Prince.

All that being said, another key thing to note is that Episode 2 cn also be seen, not only as the first episode, but also as the last episode. This will be explained below.


The Memetics of the BlackAdders

Another trivial matter, it should be noted that the postions of each character in this series is based upon the actions of their predecessors.

It is a general rule of thumb that Edmund Blackadder, with each generation, becomes smarter, but at the same time, loses his status. The first Blackadder is a Prince of the realm, but is a bumbling idiot in the way of Mr. Bean (though this, perhaps, was the original intention of the show). Although subsequent Blackadders have reversed this, it should be noted that the second Blackadder was still considered something of an idiot (unlike the fourth blackadder, the second blackadder couldn't recognise that 'Bob' was a girl). 

A possible explanation for this is that each Blackadder is brought to a lower status on the part of a malevolent figure in the predecssors past, and as such, each Blackadder becomes servant to the descendat of such a figure. The first Blackadder had all mention of his name removed by Henry Tudor, and the subsequent Blackadder was a noble in the service of Queen Elizabeth 1.... a descendant, of Henry Tudor. When the German Prince Ludwig kills Elizabeth and her court(including Blackadder), BlackAdder III becomes servant to the descendat of this German Yob: Prince George. Sometimes, even simple mistakes can lead to a lower status... the choice of Ebeneezer BlackAdder to having a go at Queen Victoria meant that his son/relative, BlackAdder the Fourth, would be of no more status than a gentleman (most of the officers of World War 1 were gentlemen) 

Another thing of interest that has noting to do with this topic but shall mention for the fun of it is lineage.  To begin with, Edmund Blackadder II's father did not look like him, just as Edmund Blackadder 1 was the bastard son of a german queen and a scottish lord. Ebeneezer Blackadder looked like the other Blackadders, but had a personality vastly differing from the other Blackadders, in being far nicer. With this in mind, Blackadder II described his father as having 'spent all his money on woman and mlodramatics'. Also, Charles the FIrst was played by Stephen Fry, indicating that he was a descendant of Lord Melchett, though this may not be canon (Charles II, Charles 1's son, did survive as ascend the throne)  And lastly, while Blackaddicus, the progenitor of the Blackadders portrayed in Back & Forth, seems to display an exception to the rule, it should be noted that he was fighting against the scots, and there is a possibility that he may have ended up with a Scottish woman (thus explaining Edmund's lineage through the Scots, into Edmund Blackadder 1) This mingling may also explain the appearance of a pure Scot Blackadder: McAdder in the third season.

Perhaps the best theory to explain all this is that Edmund's rise and fall in power throughout the ages is sinusoidal. He is of low rank but hig intelligence under Blackaddicus... a complete git or a prince a thousand years later, and somewhat smarter but still of lank five hundred years later. Indeed, if this is to be followed, than the reign of the descendants of Blackadder, triple husbandoid to Queen Aspyhxia, in the far far future, may end up more idiotic than a sea slug.

Endnote: I want to add that Episode 2 of Season 3, which begins with Prince George rising out of his slumber, and calling for Edmund's name, could be seen as the Pricne awakening from a horrible nightmare of sorts. Thus, it can be assumed that, in contrast to the above order I outlined in the previous section, EPisode 2 may actually be the last episode. If this were the case... than it's all possible: Prince George dreams of being shot by the Duke of Wellington,a nd the life and times of Edmund Blackadder, detailed throughout the series, all goes to the fireplace. This, in turn, may explain Ebeneezer Blackadder's status as a lowly gentleman, as his predecessor fell into disregard thanks to the idicoy of Baldrick.


Note: Memetics is a play on the word 'meme' devised by Richard Dawkins, who is friend to Douglas Adams, who, in turn, is friend to Rowan Atkinson. This may have nothing to do with Blackadder. Though, then again, Blackadder may have a selfish gene in his genome.


Lastly, the above is not so much a poor attempt to be funny as it is a mindless rambling on something trivial that nobody would really want to pay attention to. However, I felt that the thought should be noted down. Again, it's just an opinion.

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic