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The Most Likely Reason The Serpent Queen Focuses So Much On Dark Magic

The Starz series "The Serpent Queen" was created by Justin Haythe, best known as the screenplay writer of "Revolutionary Road." Critics and fans have already been drawn into the world of the infamous Catherine de' Medici, the Queen of France from 1547 until 1559 and the mother and confidante to three future French kings. But after the bloody St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre — six days after Catherine's Catholic daughter Margaret married the Huguenot King of Navarre — rumors of Catherine's part in the killings tarnished her reputation to the point that she became known as one of the most duplicitous women of history (per Britannica).

There have been many depictions of Queen Catherine as a villain, a schemer who plotted and poisoned her enemies and supposed friends, all in the name of advancing power for herself and her family. "The Serpent Queen" gives viewers a new perspective, a tale of her life told by Catherine herself. "The show explores black magic and her relationship towards that," Liv Hill, who plays a young Catherine, told TV Insider. It turns out there is a specific reason "The Serpent Queen" decided to focus so much on Catherine's connection to dark magic.

Catherine's interest in magic has rarely been explored

"Playing the scenes, I remember the director telling me, 'You totally believe you have these special powers, that I am special,'" Liv Hill told TV Insider. "Had she not believed she was special in some way, her self-esteem would've been so low. That is, for me, definitely what kept her alive and resilient and brave." Samantha Morton, who plays an older Catherine de' Medici, has a different take on her character's involvement in magic. "When we look at films like 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves' and the Grimm Fairy Tales, the magic mirror is taken from Catherine," she told The Upcoming. "She had a mirror she would look into and ask questions, and she was basically like, talking to herself. It was like her inner thoughts, like meditation, almost."

In an anonymous pamphlet published in 1576, titled "Marvellous Discourse on the Life, Actions and Deportment of Catherine de Médicis, Queen Mother,” the author claims that "through the wave of her wand and bewitching potions she had changed us into wild beasts and torn out our humanity" (via University of Cambridge Digital Libary). Catherine had even asked Nostradamus to make astrology charts for her children in 1555 (via History.com). While Catherine has been portrayed as devious time and again, her interest in magic and astrology has rarely been explored.

While the cast and crew of "The Serpent Queen" have been tight-lipped to avoid spoilers, there's been no secret that Catherine is often associated with black magic, so it should be fun to see how the show deals with that material.