In The Lion in Winter, Henry II has a very interesting relationship with each of his three children. Geoffrey, John, and Richard are all unique and all have varying relationships with their father, the king. The way Henry interacts with them also changes widely depending on which of his children he is involved with at the moment.
Henry’s relationship with John is of the loving kind. Henry seems to believe that John can do no wrong, and treats him thusly. John on the other hand, does not think much of his father, as is revealed later in the film. He finds him controlling and perhaps a little smothering. It probably does not help their relationship that Henry is sleeping (often) with John’s fiancé. That said, John and Henry seem to understand each other far more than the other children do, for whatever reason, and I highly doubt that John, even while trying to kill his father, would really want his father dead, even though he wants the throne more than his father because it would open the door for Richard to easily take the throne.
Richard’s interaction with his father is far less loving than that of John’s. Richard was raised by his mother, whom Henry loathes. This partially explains why Henry does not think much of his eldest son and would rather have John succeed him to the throne, even though Richard would undoubtedly rule better than John. This however is not a very good reason to deny Richard the throne, but when Henry found out that Richard had been engaged in sodomy with King Phillip of France when they were younger. When Henry found this out his image of Richard was destroyed, and he went from not liking Richard, to detesting him. It didn’t help that Richard was quite open to using his military strength to gain the throne if he did not receive it legitimately.
I find Henry’s relationship with Geoffrey the most interesting of the three, if only because there really isn’t one. Henry neither likes nor dislikes Geoffrey. Geoffrey, being the...
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