I’m taking a bit of a break from what seems to be my recent trend in self-empowerment posts. While I was at the beach recently, I also went to a show of Medieval Times, and I’m fixing to speak on that because 1) It’s amazing, 2) Everyone should know about it, and 3) I can.
So if you don’t know what Medieval Times is or have never been to a show, let me illuminate the issue for you: Medieval Times is a dinner show where you sit around a big arena while you watch a version of a medieval tournament with knights on horseback, jousting, swordplay, trained horses, etc. You also eat as if you were in the Medieval Ages, which means no silverware. I realize as soon as I say Medieval Times, some people’s eyes glaze over with visions of painful versions of LARPing– I’ve seen said glazing happen myself. But I thumb my nose at such naysayers.
The shows vary according to location and when you go see them– they have to mix it up to keep it fresh, clearly. The show I went to consisted of a dinner with half a chicken (yes, half of a whole chicken), the best spare rib I’ve ever eaten, and some other things that my carnivore’s brain remembers less well since they were not straight-up meat. The show itself had trained horses performing a number of tricks (if you’ve ever heard of the Lipizzaner stallions, picture that), as well as an actual falconer and trained falcon hunting down his prey in the arena.
Retrieved from blog.visitnorthumberland.com
Then of course there was the actual tournament. We started off with some spear-throwing at targets, then some ring-catching on horseback (which means the knights ran their horses full-speed, their lances down, and tried to catch a teeny tiny ring on the end of their lances as they sped past). And then the jousting and sword fighting– on horseback and on foot. During all of which you are expected to cheer for the knight whose section you’re sitting in and boo all his opponents.
If you’re still not sold, then you’re missing out, but such is your right. But aside from championing Medieval Times and the need for everyone to go see a show, I do want to talk a little bit about chivalry because MEDIEVAL TIMES.
First off, I’m not advocating a return to the 11th century or the Dark Ages or anything like that. There were plenty of terrible things that thank goodness we don’t have to put up with any more. But as I screamed myself hoarse (I’m nothing if not an enthusiastic fan), I asked myself why this show appealed to me so much. Number one, swords.
Number two, (if I’m being honest), is that there’s something about it that’s like a UFC fight– lots of skills needed to make it good, violent, and appealing– only with swords, lances, axes, and flails.
Number three, it’s about honor and respect. *eye rolls from some* I know, I know, a bunch of men fighting each other with swords and shields, “the violence inherent in the system,” “strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords,” lobbed scimitars, and anything/everything else from Monty Python and the Holy Grail may not sound like much of a basis for honor and respect. There was plenty not worthy of respect or admiration in the Middle Ages. But guess what. You could say the exact same thing about today’s world. There’s something to be said for the ideal of a man’s word being his pledge, for the ideal of the stronger or more well-advantaged taking care of the weaker or less privileged (I mean here individually, not governmentally – but that’s another post), for there being a code. And by code, I don’t mean figuratively. I mean literally, the code of the five chivalric virtues: friendship, generosity, chastity, courtesy, and piety. Clearly, this is all incredibly idealized, but it’s also from a time when such things were held up as a paragon of behavior and not as subjects of mockery and ridicule.
Sir Galahad: The Quest of the Holy Grail by Arthur Hughes
Number four, it appeals to me because it hearkens back to when we were all kids and let our imaginations run wild. I saw little boys running around Medieval Times with wooden swords and shields, fighting imagined monsters; I saw little girls throughout the audience who were named Queens of the Tournament by their respective knights and giggled and blushed down to their tiptoes. There’s something here that appeals to us on a fundamental level, and I say this without distinction to gender– we want to be heroes, slay dragons, be the princess, kill the bad guy, do the rescuing and also be rescued, be loved and valued and part of something that goes beyond just us. Is it too much of a stretch to say all this just from watching a little girl get crowned the Queen of Love and Beauty at the tournament? Perhaps, but I don’t think so.
The Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton
So, today’s life lessons from Medieval Times:
1) You’re gonna get beat. Nobody wins everything all the time. Welcome to life.
2) When you do get beat or miss the mark, the worst thing you can do is just stop.
3) A man being chivalrous towards a woman doesn’t mean he doesn’t think the woman can do something (i.e., open a door). It’s a sign of respect, and a woman accepting such an action is to return that respect.
4) Don’t believe anyone who tells you dragons don’t exist. They’re wrong.
5) Don’t believe anyone who tells you dragons can’t be beaten. Again, wrong.
Well, perhaps this was more self-empowerment of sorts. Shocking. That’s all for today.
-Hannah the First, self-proclaimed Queen of Love and Beauty
Retrieved from the Texarkana Entertainment Blog