Hilary Mantel wrote two books about Henry VIII’s Chancellor, Thomas Cromwell, the man who masterminded England’s split from Rome—and there’s a third on the way.
The break with Rome was done from necessity. England needed an heir if it was not to plunge into civil war, and Katherine of Aragon, Henry’s Queen, reached menopause without producing a male heir.
So that’s the background. It wasn’t that Henry got bored with Katharine and wanted a new bed partner, or that he was so randy he couldn’t keep it in his pants, or rather, trunks.
The two paragraphs above describe the most notable (for vastly different reasons) differences between Wolf Hall and The Tudors.
The Tudors was a festival of rumpy-pumpy, and any similarity to actual events was coincidental. It was one-dimensional and fun, the actors fully aware they were acting in frothy nonsense.
Wolf Hall is rich, multi-dimensional, rich with meaning and historical authenticity. There’s no reason why a viewer can’t enjoy both versions, but if you come to Wolf Hall expecting another The Tudors or Reign, then you’re going to be disappointed. Watch it, sink into it, and let it happen.