[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index][Search Archives]

Re: Knights What's Required

Poster: Hggerald <Hggerald@aol.com>

My lady and all other good gentles who may read this,
Fair warning -- I am about to rant and I have been on heavy-duty narcotic
painkillers for a week.  The specific prowess requirements for knighthood have
never been set in stone, nor should they for good reasons.  I once knew a
knight who said that any knight candidate to be worthy of the accolade should
be able to beat him when he was having a good day.  He defined having a good
day as a day when he did not lose.  I am not currently fighting as well as I
might wish and most knight candidates should be able to beat me handily, yet
this says little as to whether they are worthy for knighthood.  The rule of
thumb I have always used is the 50/50 rule.  If someone defeats half the
knights half the time then they are probably strong enough.  Now there are
caveats.  It's half the "active" chivalry and by defeat I mean win honorably
and skillfully.  I think if you look closely at the knights recognized in the
last five years you will find several whose prowess was undeniable and others
who were not nearly as strong.  Prowess alone does not make a knight.  The
Chivalry (and the other peerages) does look for honor, honesty, courtesy and
other virtue when discussing candidates.  (I also look for a clue about the
midddle ages, but that's me.)  In the twenty years I have been a knight, the
question of standardizing and codifying the requirements for knighthood (and
other peerages) has come up time and again.  There needs to be flexibility.
The Society eestablishes what it considers praiseworthy by rewarding certain
virtues, skills, and behaviors; these change over the years.  There are peer
candidates whose behavior outshines the brightest and whose service or
artistic accomplishments or prowess just reaches the point where peers feel
justified in recommending them for elevation.  This happens.  The opposite is
true as well.  There are peerage candidates whose behavior is acceptable but
their service, art, or prowess is undeniably great.  Many problems in
selecting new peers arise where the skill is great and the behavior not or
vice versa.  From one point of view the whole awards thing is ridiculous.  As
a good friend of mine remarked after I was knighted, "why are you so excited
over $1.50 of costume jewelry?"  As an overblessed recipient of the system, it
is hard for me to be completely objective, but I think the orders and honors
create many of the good things about the Society.  Giving people high
standards to shoot for has often made people of my acquaintance achieve high
standards they would never have otherwise.  Is the system perfect?  Hell, no.
Are people recognized who should not be?  Hell, yes.  Is this the norm?  Hell,
no.  One thing that people who are involved in the Society often lose sight of
is that even the most active person only sees people for a few hours on a few
weekends in settings that are not always conducive to excellence.  So our
judgements are always difficult by nature.  This is why it so often takes more
time than seems reasonable for a favorable decision to be made.  There was
some discussion earlier about whether you had to win Crown to get knighted.  I
was not knighted when I won my first crown in October '77.   I was twenty-four
and like many guys in the Society shy and socially awkward.  I also had what
we now call "hot unbelted syndrome" where when you get good you suddenly are
standing at the end of more bouts than you really should be.  The Chivalry of
the East was probably right not to have knighted me.  Was I pissed?  Did I
feel misused and abused?  You bet.  Was I right to feel that way?  Maybe.  The
first person on this coast to be knighted because he won a Crown Tourney was
Aonghais Dubh.  For decades after, the East routinely refused to knight
unbelted Princes because of this precedent.  
Duke Gyrth 
Knight, Laurel, Pelican
PS: By the way, Your Majesty, I fear I must disagree with you.  I have always
maintained that anyone who desires it enough and works hard enough can fight
well enough to be considered for knighthood, even Her Majesty (or is that
especially Her Majesty.)  Granted it is more difficult for some groups with
particular physical attributes to be knighted, but I know lady knights, a one-
legged knight, very short knights, and even real fat knights.
List Archives, FAQ, FTP:  http://merryrose.atlantia.sca.org/
            Submissions:  atlantia@atlantia.sca.org
        Admin. requests:  majordomo@atlantia.sca.org