Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Medieval Times


Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth. ~Charles Kingsley

Amidst all the work we did on our vacation last week, I fasted on Tuesday instead of Wednesday so that we could enjoy this one indulgence: Medieval Times. What could be more fitting for my Princess and her love of horses and sword fighting as well as a preference for eating with her hands?

Medieval Times was conceived in Spain in 1973. Ten years later the first one on American soil debuted in Florida. Even with the phalanx of other tourist attractions surrounding Disney World, the castle was well situated with its battlements quite visible aside a busy highway. We went to that one with my little ten year old brother in its first years. Each castle is quite different, as you can see here.

Locating the one in Georgia, we were surprised to find it in such an unlikely place as a mall, but its outside turrets were unmistakable, even so. Although it is an expensive evening, we cut the costs considerably with special offers when we purchased the tickets online.

We arrived early and asked for the Green Knight, simply because we liked the color with the dragon emblem. We walked about and enjoyed the ambiance as more people arrived.

We met the Master Falconer, Lady Aerial, named so from a bird of prey's nest, or aerie. The falcon she is holding in this picture was full grown but young and still being trained. The falcon to perform the show that night was to be another older and well trained bird. I am not overly fond of birds in general, especially not as pets, but I definitely had a soft spot for birds of prey. The falcon's performance was spectacular to watch as he flew away and dove towards the Master Falconer in figure eights several times in the arena. It dove right over us, so fast it could barely be seen and continued until finally it was allowed the morsel it sought.

After looking at all the items for sale, the Princess decided on a light up sword instead of the pretty things a princess would wear. Then it just came down to waiting for the doors to open so we could be seated. Of course, with that much time on our hands and having a new sword, things were bound to happen.

By the way, one of the reasons I wrestle the camera from my husband is that my wild antics are even more embarrassing. Being behind the camera, keeps me busy and provides the illusion of decorum.

Everyone addressed us as my lord, milady, and princess. (How did they know?) Once seated at long tables, which are more like bars, tiered for the ease of viewing the arena, our serving wench began bringing us our food and drink, but no utensils, as is the custom. The meal was tasty and plenty with drinks the only offered choice and then only two, but there is a vegetarian alternative for the meal.


The show begins revealing a dreadful plot. Not everyone is happy within the kingdom, as is usually the case when we study history. Tensions rise as the tournament goes on. One of the six knights is probably going to make a play against the throne, but who? Well, it is a tale to be experienced, so there will be no spoilers here, although I have learned that every five years or so, the plot changes.

Occasionally, the knights toss two carnations separately out to ladies in the crowd and my Princess is the second one of the evening to get a flower from our Green Knight.

Although just acting, the tournament is not just child's play. In this picture, I just happened to capture sparks flying from the metal swords clashing.

Even though well rehearsed at their roles, things are not always predictable in a show, especially when horses are partakers. One of the horses was a bit vexed while the knights were lined up on their mounts and after it pranced a bit, it turned sharply dumping its rider. The White and Black Knight landed on his side in the sand and walked out in obvious pain. It was some time before he returned with a substitute horse to finish the show, suggesting he more likely had the wind knocked out of him than a serious injury. Such are the risks of being a knight.

A hierarchy exists behind the scenes as well. The head knight is in charge of the three-hour-a-day training of man and beast in jousting, sword fighting, riding, and everything in the show as well as scheduling and paperwork. All knights start out as squires in the stables cleaning up after the horses. In training to be a knight, a squire also learns the various aspects of the show, including riding and weapons use. Squires may be promoted to knights in three to six months and new knights spend plenty of time as squires in the shows. It takes about one to three years before a squire/knight can master all the aspects of a show.

Need I say that it was a very enjoyable evening?

~ Thank you, my Lord, for playful moments. ~

2 comments:

  1. Wow! I think Ditz would love something like this. I felt like I was there watching with you. How thrilling. I am a tad envious. I wonder if we get these things?

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  2. Do you have medieval fairs? They in various areas here, usually held in the spring. I actually like them more. They can have jousting, real life battling chess games, a variety of staged shows, street performers, lots of vendors, hair braiding, and various foods. I actually met a woman who runs the one for the Atlanta area, a homeschooler. I heard my first bowed psaltery at one medieval fair in Florida and wanted one for nearly twenty years before I got one, which I rarely play. I know people who really get into these things. They have their own costumes and such. I saw a few "guests" in costume at Medieval Times.

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.