so I have made The Shittiest Gif Known To Man to illustrate a rant. IT IS THE WORST GIF, UGH, I AM ANNOYED AT MYSELF, but I needed to make it and then it DIDN’T WORK OUT but idgaf because this is a thing that NEEDS TO BE SAID.
I saw someone earlier say something along the lines of ‘omg that hug from the old guy at the end was super awkward, like voldemort hugging draco lolol’
NO IT WAS NOT AWKWARD
I have a lot of feelings about westmoreland, okay, because westmoreland has been QUIETLY WATCHING hal’s entire journey. he is THERE for ‘I have seen riot and dishonor stain the brow of my young Harry’ and ‘call mine Percy….his, Plantagenet’ of Henry IV. he’s THERE for ‘I will redeem all this on Percy’s head!’; for ‘I will try fortune with him in a single fight!’; for Hal’s victory over Hotspur. he is IN THE ROOM for Hal’s last conversation with his father and watches the dying king crown his wayward son. he sees Henry V turn away falstaff and accept the Lord Chief Justice. he watches the war in france as it progresses—the speech at harfleur, the tired uncertainty of the young king, the dying men—and he has just heard harry say ‘but if it be a sin to covet honor, i am the most offending soul alive.’
this man is the last father figure harry has. this man has watched him grow from a seemingly unredeemable eastcheap drunk to a daring and effective king. with this hug, he is wordlessly saying, ‘i am proud of you. your father would have been proud of you. you have done well.’
there is nothing at all awkward about this hug.
I would say it’s a little awkward, but not in the Voldemort/Draco sense.
It’s awkward because no one touches the King without his explicit permission. The King is not someone you shake hands with, he is not someone you high-five, and for most people, he is not someone you give a spontaenous victory hug to. The King is ordained by God, etc. etc. no touchy the King.
However, considering that the English were not supposed to survive this fight and yet emerged victorious, and for all the reasons poins pointed out above, Westmoreland is a little overcome by this and breaks protocol in a big way. I sincerely doubt Henry V has been touched so intimately since he left Eastcheap. Furthermore, Westmoreland knows protocol like nobody’s business, and even as his better judgment is leaving him in favor of “hug Hal now! because we survived! and he’s grown so much! and oh God my emotions!” he’s probably having a moment in his head of “oh shit did I just hug the King? BACKPEDAL! BACKPEDAL!”
So, yeah, it’s awkward, but in a way that makes it that much more meaningful.
YEP THAT, THAT’S WHAT I MEANT, FLAWLESS COMMENTARY
that just makes it even better
now i have this urge to go through the entire hollow crown and take notes on every time someone touches a king
also remembering henry iv’s absolute refusal to let westmoreland help him walk/stand/etc
YOU GUYS ARE SO AWESOME. I love that when I’m away from the Internet for more than five minutes I know I’ll come back to delicious commentary. And I’m going to jump in to say that this relates to one of my absolute favorite acting choices in the whole series, which is when Henry IV advances on Hal and snatches the crown off his head in the stolen crown scene. Hiddleston’s body language is extraordinary in that moment. Because Hal leans forward and raises his hands in entreaty as Henry advances, but he doesn’t actually touch Henry by volition. Some contact occurs because of Henry’s aggression, but Hal (who is literally trapped by the throne, the crown, and the king, MAYBE WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT THAT AT SOME POINT, TOO) clearly retreats as far as he is physically able because you do not touch the king.
It’s only after Hal has made his case (Accusing it, I put it on my head, / To try with it, as with an enemy / That had before my face murder’d my father) and Henry has accepted his reasoning (O my son, / God put it in thy mind to take it hence, / That thou mightst win the more thy father’s love, / Pleading so wisely in excuse of it!) in terms that explicitly prioritize their father/son relationship over the crown itself that Hal touches Henry as any other son might touch their dying father, offering comfort and support.
(AAAAAARGH THAT PART MADE ME SOB LIKE A BABY AND NOW I’M GETTING ALL TEARY-EYED AGAIN. IT SAYS SO MUCH ABOUT HOW HAL AND HENRY AND HOW COMPLETELY THE ISSUE OF KINGSHIP AND SUCCESSION DEFINED THEIR FATHER/SON RELATIONSHIP. BRB WEEPING FOREVER, NEVER GONNA BE OVER THE HOLLOW CROWN, ETC.)
Just like this moment, it’s an amazing wordless testament to the power of the crown, and how much you can convey in choosing when the characters respect the protocol associated with it and when they are moved to ignore it. So, yeah, long story short: this part made me cry, too. It’s beautiful because the awkwardness arises from emotions too powerful to be constrained by manners.