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Out of Nowhere by Patrick LeClerc.
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mark211Best stories about Knights in Armour?2015-08-23 00:12:32
mark211Yesterday (22 August) marked 530 years since Richard III of the House York fought - and famously lost - to Henry VII of House Lancaster. While that, of course, is history it still brings to mind stirring images of gleaming armour and streaming pennants (incidentally, for anyone interested in fiction in a more or less Medieval setting, I highly recommend watching this video from the Cluny Museum of the Middle Ages in France which gives a fascinating insight into how knights actually moved and fought - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hlIUrd7d1Q).2015-08-23 00:25:31
mark211So what are the best stories about Knights in Armour in your opinion? What is it that makes them so compelling for you?2015-08-23 00:26:15
IronspiderThis is a little spooky, as I'm just about to re-read Richard Monaco's Parsival series. It's a version of the Arthurian Grail stories, and across three books (Parsival, Grail War and Final Quest) features various battles, some between 'Knights in Shining Armour' - though the armour quickly tarnishes with all the blood flying about. I don't know how realistic Monaco's combat scenes are, but having watched the video mentioned above, I won't criticise too quickly.2015-08-25 05:10:51
mark211Thanks for the tip on that Monaco series which I have to confess I'd never heard of before. Glad you liked that video too - I love that kind of thing and find it fascinating. For example, who knew that a sword could be used as a kind of spear, sliding the blade through both hands and into the visor of your opponent (ouch!) as well as a hacking/slashing/stabbing weapon? And the sight of a knight in full armour doing a ninja roll while another runs up a ladder and down the other side ... makes perfect sense of course, as it would be a bit useless to have armour that you couldn't really move about in, but even so.2015-08-25 10:00:58
IronspiderI have a friend who does Medieval re-enactment, and over time his outfit evolved from just layers of chainmail through to full plate armour over quilted padding. We did chat about fighting techniques and he'd mentioned using a sword by gripping the blade and pushing it through the eye-slit or between joints in the armour plates. He also explained about knights 'wrestling', when a disadvantaged knight (maybe he'd lost his sword) would grapple with his opponent to prevent the latter from bringing any force to his blows or getting a clear attack on a weak spot. I'd never imagined fully armoured men being so nimble.2015-08-26 00:06:09
r.tornelloConnecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.2015-08-28 04:56:45
mark211I see you ad I raise you - when Robert Baratheon takes his armoured knights and smashes his way through the undisciplined rabble of wildlings just as Jon Snow's command over the Wall is on the verge of being overwhelmed. It's described as a wall of iron just ploughing through them. Pretty scary.2015-08-28 12:53:48
r.tornelloI have a question, what is so glamorous about a culture that in reality spent most of their time hacking each other to death in fake combat as some form of "honor"? Gunpowder put an end to that. And if you want re-enactment, make sure you don't bathe, your women are treated like chattel, you have no sewer systems and death is all around. make it real as in Monty Python's Holy Grail scene in bring out your dead.

The armor was designed to defend against stronger weapons, just like the difference in the need to upgrade WWII Sherman tank to today's M1A and reactive armor.What will put an end to that? EMP weapons, laser weapons or who knows what's cooking inside the weapons labs of today. I don't but I do know it's got to be something.

I just don't see it as anything to glorify. It's clank, rust and weight and senseless killing in the name of god,king and honor. Phooey. Not to much different than today. We just do it a whole lot better,no? RT RT

2015-08-29 05:16:04
mark211"I have a question, what is so glamorous about ..." etc. It's a good question, but one I think can be answered by other questions of the same sort - What is so glamorous about an F-15 or an A10 Thunderbolt? (Even if such aircraft are not glamorous to you personally, they are to large numbers of people, women and men alike) Why do the engineering and precision that go into a Glock or a Sig-Sauer handgun (or whichever handgun you consider to be a 'Rolls Royce' of firearms) excite the imagination of so many? It's not just the case that these latter weapon systems that so much more sophisticated. 2015-08-29 08:31:58
mark211The second point, still answering the question "what is so glamorous about ..." etc., is the Chivalric code. OK, you can call busllhit on that one (as you appear to do above), but there is something impressive about that ideal just as there is something impressive about the samurai Bushido. I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, a common trope was to exoticise Japan with talk of codes and honour and Bushido and samurai and all the rest of it to the extent that it was heavily implied that the West lacked such things in our own history - nonsense! European knights had just as elaborate a moral code as any the Japanese had, and they also had martial arts manuals and various techniques of warfare that were passed on and learned. The sophistication of the weaponry and armour forged for them was different yet equal to anything the Japanese produced. This is not to suggest that the Japanese lacked sophistication, far from it, but just that their European equivalents were not mud-dwelling brutes bashing each other senseless with sharp metal clubs.2015-08-29 08:36:58
rtWhere did I question the training? Where did I bring the Japanese or even the Chinese culture into this? We are speaking strictly here of the West, and you seem to have added the glory of this code of honor. I wouls suggest reading GOD'S CRUCIBLE, Islam and the Making of Europe 570-1215, by David Lewis isbn 978-0-393-06472

And yes I will agree, there is something about engineering precision that is beautiful in its own right, even if its directed aim is the death of another person or civilization.

I have a 16th century wakazachi. It is and was a close in killing tool. It raises the hair on my back when I unsheath it, really. But the workmanship is astounding. I have a FWB 93 target pistol. It's a beautiful precision tool, and I have a one-off precision bolt action rifle that will easily put a bullet in the same hole at 200 yards. But that is not the subject of this commentary.

So to answer your original question I would have to state, MONTY PYTHON's The Holy Grail is the best story, truer to the reality of the times than anything else.

2015-08-29 10:10:03
mark211"Where did I question the training? Where did I bring the Japanese or even the Chinese culture into this?" You didn't, of course, but to be fair that doesn't mean that I can't include such things in my own response back to you (apologies if that irked you some). I'm not knocking your choice of Monty Python (something about the siege scene and the cows being fired over the battlements especially), but I still feel part of the thrill is in exactly what you describe when you unsheath your wakazachi. But that's just me anyway.2015-08-29 12:29:57
r.tornellonot at all irked. Yup you did bring it up in your Bushido sentence and the follow on. I just responded to that.

No biggie.

thinking of the cow scene: When Genghis couldn't subdue a fortified city he asked that the inhabitants send out their animals, as in cats and dogs as some sort of tribute and he would leave them to be. They did but instead,the great Kahn lit them on fire upon which they attempted to escape, snuck in through cracks in the fortress and burned the city down, where upon Genghis then did what he set out to do. History of The Mongol Invasions by I don't remember or have the book handy but pretty interesting

2015-08-29 18:52:25

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