King Henry II
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Quotes for
King Henry II (Character)
from The Lion in Winter (1968)

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The Lion in Winter (1968)
Henry II: Now hear me, boy...
Philip II: I am a king - I am no man's "boy"!
Henry II: A king? Because you put your ass on purple cushions?

Eleanor: You don't dare go!
Henry II: Say that again at noon, you'll say it to my horse's ass! Lamb, I'll be rid of you by Easter: you can count your reign in days!

Henry II: The sky is pocked with stars. What eyes the wise men must have had to see a new one in so many.

Henry II: I marvel at you after all these years. Still like a democratic drawbridge: going down for everybody.
Eleanor: At my age there's not much traffic anymore.

Henry II: Oh God, but I do love being king!

Henry II: My life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. Henry Fitz-Empress, first Plantagenet, a king at twenty-one, the ablest soldier of an able time. He led men well, he cared for justice when he could and ruled, for thirty years, a state as great as Charlemagne's. He married out of love, a woman out of legend. Not in Alexandria, or Rome, or Camelot has there been such a queen. She bore him many children. But no sons. King Henry had no sons. He had three whiskered things but he disowned them.
Henry II: [to his sons] You're not mine! We're not connected! I deny you! None of you will get my crown, I leave you nothing and I wish you plague! May all your children breach and die!
Henry II: [storms out the corridor, turns and looks back] My Boys are gone.
Henry II: [he starts unsteadily down the corridor] I've lost my boys.
Henry II: [he stops, glares towards the Deity] You dare to damn me, do You? Well, I damn you back.
Henry II: [like a biblical figure, shaking his fist to the sky] GODDAMN YOU!
Henry II: [moving blindly down the corridor again] My boys are gone. I've lost my boys. Oh, Jesus, all my boys...
[collapses, weeping on the stairs]

Henry II: I want to reach a settlement. I left you with too little earlier,
Philip II: Yes, nothing is too little.

Eleanor: [after Henry tells Eleanor he wants their marriage annulled] Out Eleanor... in Alais. Why?
Henry II: A new wife, wife, will bear me sons.
Eleanor: That is the single thing of which I would have thought you had enough.

Henry II: [Henry brings candles into the dungeon] What we do in dungeons needs the shades of day. I stole the candles from the chapel. Jesus won't begrudge them and the chaplain works for me.

Henry II: We're in the cellar and you're going back to prison and my life is wasted and we've lost each other... and you're smiling.
Eleanor: It's the way I register despair. There's everything in life but hope.
Henry II: We're both alive... and for all I know that's what hope is.

Henry II: We're off to Rome to see the Pope.
Princess Alais: He's excommunicated you again?
Henry II: No, he's going to set me free.

Henry II: When I bellow, bellow back.

Henry II: When the king is off his ass, nobody sleeps!

Henry II: Where's a priest? Somebody fetch me a priest! YOU! Fetch me a bishop!

Henry II: I've snapped and plotted all my life. There's no other way to be alive, king, and fifty all at once.

Henry II: I found out the way your mind works and the kind of man you are. I know your plans and expectations - you've burbled every bit of strategy you've got. I know exactly what you will do, and exactly what you won't, and I've told you exactly nothing. To these aged eyes, boy, that's what winning looks like!

Henry II: I'm villifying you for God's sake - pay attention!

Eleanor: And when you die, which is regrettable but necessary, what will happen to frail Alais and her pruny prince? You can't think Richard's going to wait for your grotesque to grow.
Henry II: You wouldn't let him do a thing like that.
Eleanor: Let him? I'd push him through the nursery door.
Henry II: You're not that cruel.
Eleanor: Don't fret. We'll wait until you're dead to do it.
Henry II: Eleanor, what do you want?
Eleanor: Just what you want, a king for a son. You can make more, I can't. You think I want to disappear? One son is all I've got, and you can blot him out and call me cruel? For these ten years you've lived with everything I've lost, and loved another woman through it all, and I am cruel? I could peel you like a pear and God himself would call it justice!

Henry II: Well, I'm off.
Eleanor: To Rome?
Henry II: That's where they keep the Pope!

Eleanor: What would you have me do? Give out? Give up? Give in?
Henry II: Give me a little peace.
Eleanor: A little? Why so modest? How about eternal peace? Now there's a thought.

Henry II: I haven't kept the Great Bitch in the keep for ten years out of passionate attachment.

Henry II: The Vexin's mine.
Philip II: By what authority?
Henry II: It's got my troops all over it; that makes it mine.

Henry II: The day those stout hearts band together is the day that pigs get wings.
Eleanor: There'll be pork in the treetops come morning.

Eleanor: Henry's bed is Henry's province. He can people it with sheep for all I care, which on occasion he has done.
Henry II: Rosamund's been dead for seven years...
Eleanor: ...two months and eighteen days. I never liked her much.
Henry II: You count the days?
Eleanor: I made the numbers up.

Henry II: More Brandy wine? They were boiling it in Ireland before the snakes left!

Henry II: I'm 50 now. Good God, boy, I'm the oldest man I know! I've got a decade on the pope!

Eleanor: How dear of you to let me out of jail.
Henry II: It's only for the holidays.

Henry II: I want no women in my life.
Princess Alais: You're tired.
Henry II: I could have conquered Europe - all of it - but I had women in my life.

Eleanor: Henry.
Henry II: Madam.
Eleanor: Did you ever love me?
Henry II: No.
Eleanor: Good. That will make this pleasanter.

Eleanor: And that's to be the king.
Prince Geoffrey: And I'm to be his Chancellor. Has he told you? John will rule the country, while I run it. That is to say he gets to spend the taxes that I raise.
Eleanor: How nice for you.
Prince Geoffrey: It's not as nice as being king.
Henry II: We've made you Duke of Brittany, is that so little?
Prince Geoffrey: No one ever thinks of crown and mentions Geoff, why is that?
Henry II: Isn't being chancellor power enough?
Prince Geoffrey: It's not the power I feel deprived of; it's the mention I miss. There's no affection for me here; you wouldn't think I'd want that, would you?

Eleanor: Henry?
Henry II: Hmmm?
Eleanor: I have a confession.
Henry II: Yes?
Eleanor: I don't much like our children!

Henry II: Well, what shall we hang... the holly, or each other?

Henry II: Who's to say it's monstrous? I'm the King. I call it just. Therefore, I, Henry, by the Grace of God King of the English, Lord of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, Count of Anjou, Brittany, Poitou and Normandy, Maine, Gascony, and Aquitaine, do sentence you to death. Done this Christmas Day at Chinon in God's year eleven eighty-three.

Henry II: My finest angle. It's on all the coins.

[first lines]
Henry II: Come for me!

[last lines]
Henry II: I hope we never die.
Eleanor: So do I.
Henry II: Do you think there's any chance of it?

Eleanor: I adored you. I still do.
Henry II: Of all the lies you've told, that is the most terrible.
Eleanor: I know. That's why I've saved it up until now.

Henry II: It's heavy... Oh Eleanor, you've brought me my tombstone! You spoil me!

Henry II: What is this? I'm not mouldering. My paint's not peeling off. I'm good for years.
Eleanor: How many years? Suppose I hold you back for one. I can. It's possible. Suppose your first son dies, ours did. It's possible. Suppose you're daughtered next, we were. That too is possible. How old is daddy then? What kind of spindly, ricket-ridden, milky, wizened, dim-eyed, gammy-handed, limpy line of things will you beget?

Henry II: In my time I've known contessas, milkmaids, courtesans and novices, whores, gypsies, jades, and little boys, but nowhere in God's western world have I found anyone to love but you.

Philip II: A king like you has policy prepared on everything. well, what's the official line on sodomy? How stands the Crown on boys who do with boys?
Henry II: Richard finds his way into so many legends; let's hear yours and see how it compares.
Philip II: Well, he found me first when I was 15. We were hunting; it was nearly dark; my horse fell; I was thrown. I woke to Richard touching me. He asked me if I loved him: 'Philip, do you love me?' And I told him yes. Do you know why I told him yes? So that one day I could tell you all about it. You cannot imagine what that 'yes' cost. Imagine snuggling to a chancred whore, and bending back your lips into something like a smile saying, 'Yes, I love you, and I find you...
Philip II: ...beautiful.' I don't know how I did it.

Henry II: Geoffrey: There's a masterpiece. He isn't flesh: he's a device. He's wheels and gears. And Johnny: Was his latest treason your idea? I've caught him lying, and I've said, 'he's young.' I've found him cheating, and I've said, 'he's just a boy.' I've watched him steal and whore and whip his servants, and he's not a child; he's the man we made him.
Eleanor: Don't share John with me. He's your accomplishment.
Henry II: And Richard's yours. How could you send him off to deal with Philip?
Eleanor: I was tired. I was busy. They were friends.
Henry II: Eleanor, he was the best, and from the cradle on you cradled him. I never had a chance.

Henry II: There's no sense asking if the air is good if there's nothing else to breathe.

Eleanor: I adored you.
Henry II: Never!
Eleanor: I still do.

Henry II: I have an offer for you, my dear.
Eleanor: A deal? A deal? I give the richest province on the continent to John for what? You tell me, mastermind, for what?
Henry II: Your freedom.
Eleanor: [softly] Oh.
Henry II: Once Johnny gets the Aquitaine, you're free, I'll let you out. Think. On the loose in London, winters in Provence, impromptu trips to visit Richard anywhere he's killing people. All that for a signature.

Henry II: How was your crossing? Did the Channel part for you?
Eleanor: It went flat when I told it to. I didn't think to ask for more.

Prince Geoffrey: You don't think of me much.
Henry II: Much? I don't think of you at all

Prince Geoffrey: You don't think much of me.
Henry II: Much? I don't think of you at all.

Becket (1964)
Thomas a Becket: God rest his soul.
King Henry II: He will, He will. He'll be much more use to God than he ever was to me.

Thomas a Becket: Honor is a private matter within; it's an idea, and every man has his own version of it.
King Henry II: How gracefully you tell your king to mind his own business.

Empress Matilda: Oh, if I were a man!
King Henry II: Thank God, madam, He gave you breasts! An asset from which I derived not the slightest benefit.

King Henry II: Am I the strongest or am I not?
Thomas a Becket: You are today, but one must never drive one's enemy to despair; it makes him strong. Gentleness is better politics, it saps virility. A good occupational force must never crush. It must corrupt.

King Henry II: Don't be nervous, Bishop. I'm not asking for absolution. I've something far worse than a sin on my conscience: a mistake.

King Henry II: Let us drink, gentlemen. Let us drink, till we roll under the table in vomit and oblivion.

King Henry II: Have you any idea how much trouble I took to make you noble?
Thomas a Becket: I think so; I recall, you pointed a finger and said, "Thomas Becket, you are noble." The Queen and your mother became very agitated.

Thomas a Becket: England is a ship. The king is captain of the ship.
King Henry II: That's neat. I like that.

King Henry II: Your body, madam, was a desert that duty forced me to wander in alone. But you have never been a wife to me!

King Henry II: He's read books, you know, it's amazing. He's drunk and wenched his way through London but he's thinking all the time.

King Henry II: So what in most people is morality, in you it's just an exercise in... what's the word?
Thomas a Becket: Aesthetics.
King Henry II: Yes, that's the word. Always "aesthetics."

King Henry II: There. That's the Great Seal of England. Don't lose it; without the seal, there's no more England, and we'll all have to pack up and go back to Normandy.

King Henry II: I'm suddenly very intelligent. It probably comes from making love to that French girl last night.

King Henry II: Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?

King Henry II: [laughing in both amusement and anger] It's funny! It's too funny! Becket is the only intelligent man in my kingdom, and he's against me!

King Henry II: Are you mad? You're Chancellor of England; you're mine!
Thomas a Becket: I am also the Archbishop, and you have introduced me to deeper obligations.

Thomas a Becket: Tonight you can do me the honor of christening my forks.
King Henry II: Forks?
Thomas a Becket: Yes, from Florence. New little invention. It's for pronging meat and carrying it to the mouth. It saves you dirtying your fingers.
King Henry II: But then you dirty the fork.
Thomas a Becket: Yes, but it's washable.
King Henry II: So are your fingers. I don't see the point.

King Henry II: Here's my royal foot up your royal buttocks!

King Henry II: [isolating one of his brawling sons from the rest] Which one are you?
Prince Henry: Henry the Third.
King Henry II: NOT YET, SIR!

King Henry II: Do you ever think?
Baron: Never, sire! A gentleman has better things to do!
[Henry and the four barons giggle drunkenly]

Thomas a Becket: We must manage the church. One can always come to a sensible little arrangement with God.
King Henry II: Becket, you are a monster.
Thomas a Becket: You flatter me, My Lord.

Thomas a Becket: Yes, we have soldiers disguised in the crowd to encourage enthusiasm.
King Henry II: Why must you destroy all my illusions?
Thomas a Becket: Because you should have none, My Prince.

King Henry II: The die is cast, Thomas, make the most of it. And if I know you, I'm sure you will.

Thomas a Becket: [bleeding from a cut on his hand from an attacking peasant] My horse bit me.
King Henry II: Hahaha! It's too funny! My lord here makes us all look silly at the jousts with his fancy horsemanship, he goes to his saddlebags, and gets bitten like a groom. You look quite shaken, little Saxon. Funny, I can't bear the thought of you in pain. All this, just to get me a drink?

Thomas a Becket: [returning the Lord Chancellor's ring] Forgive me.
King Henry II: You give the lions of England back to me like a little boy who doesn't want to play anymore. I would have gone to war with all England's might behind me, and even against England's interests, to defend you, Thomas. I would have given away my life laughingly for you. Only I loved you and you didn't love me. That's the difference.

King Henry II: [plotting Becket's arrest] Oh, Thomas!
Bishop Folliot: You love him, don't you? You still love him! That imposter - that Saxon guttersnipe, that mitred hog!
King Henry II: Hold your tongue, priest! All I confided to you was my hate, not my love. For England's sake you'll help me get rid of him. But don't ever insult him to my face!

[first lines]
King Henry II: Well, Thomas Becket. Are you satisfied? Here I am, stripped, kneeling at your tomb, while those treacherous Saxon monks of yours are getting ready to thrash me. Me - with my delicate skin. I bet you'd never have done the same for me. But - I suppose I have to do this penance and make my peace with you. Hmm. What a strange end to our story. How cold it was when we last met - on the shores of France. Funny, it's nearly always been cold - except at the beginning, when we were friends. We did have a few - fine summer evenings with the girls. Did you love Gwendolen, Archbishop? Did you hate me the night I took her from you, shouting "I am the king"? Perhaps that's what you could never forgive me for. Look at them lurking there, gloating. Oh, Thomas, I'm ashamed of this whole silly masquerade. All right, so I've come here to make my peace with their Saxon hero because I need them now, those Saxon peasants of yours. Now I will call them my sons, as you wanted me to. You taught me that, too. You taught me everything. Those were the happy times. You remember, at the peep of dawn, when as usual we'd been drinking and wenching in the town. You were even better at that than I was.

[last lines]
King Henry II: Is the honor of God washed clean enough? Are you satisfied now, Thomas?

King Henry II: I can do nothing. I'm as useless as a woman.

King Henry II: [after a peasant is too intimidated to reply to his question] Odd the number of dumb people I meet when I set foot out of my palace, I rule over a kingdom of mutes.

King Henry II: [Henry is doing public penance for Becket's death] The honour of God, gentlemen, is a very good thing, and all things considered one gains by having it on one's side. Thomas Becket, our friend, always used to say so...

King Henry II: [Thomas comes to Henry's bedchamber to find the King nursing a hangover] French wine. I had a little too much last night.
Thomas a Becket: It's their major contribution to civilization.
King Henry II: Here's another.
[he pulls back the blankets to reveal a naked young woman]

The Lion in Winter (2003) (TV)
King Henry II: Now listen to me boy...
Philip: [holds up a finger to stop him] I am a king, I am no man's boy!

"The Devil's Crown: A Rose, a Thorn (#1.3)" (1978)
Henry II: Let me plant another devil-child in your belly!