When I write an episode I begin by looking at what has happened in the past, then at what will come in the future, and only after that do I allow myself to focus on what is occurring for this episode.
I do this because I want to know the context of these events. The sources that have survived don’t often give us the Why, or even the How. They’re all about what and when… and that’s not the real meat of history. If you want to know what people were actually experiencing, you need to know what they had already gone through, and why they were making the decisions that they made. This will become easier as we move forward in time – we will eventually have diaries and personal letters and detailed accounts of political meetings. But even now – if you look close you can see a bigger picture. We can get – at least a little bit – to the why and the how.