Realism in “Chansons de Geste” – Magic & Myth in the Legends of “Charlemagne” & “Roland the Valiant”

In my quest to paint a perfect image of medieval times for myself, I, with wide eyes, enter such chansons de geste, or “poems of courage,” as that of The Song of Roland and can’t help myself from identifying a few misconceptions about life in the Middle Ages.

stark realism in french chanson de geste poetic medieval legends.png

1902
England

Though they may be filled with fantastical magic and myths, these chansons de geste, taking place in the 9th century, portray a much more realistic picture of medieval times compared to the majority of today’s medieval fantasy fiction. In the epic poems of Charlemagne, you’ll find small groups of courageous knights valiantly defending breaches in their towers with their shields against hordes of javelin-throwing Saracens. Sieges last for months, and knights are careful to arm themselves rightly in real, historical armor. But despite all this awesome realism, authors love to boon their storytelling with another sort of awesomeness–the fantasy trope. Aye, the trope, a cliché or misconception added for entertainment’s sake, is even highly abundant in the French medieval epic poems of Charlemagne!

Here, after having studied Stories of Charlemagne and the Twelve Peers of France by Rev. A.J. Church, MA (Steeley & Co. 1902), the reference for this discussion, I’ll be examining 2 historical tropes that are misconceptions and 1 fascinating highly realistic thing Charlemagne’s knights did in epic romance that doesn’t appear often in today’s fantasy fiction.

Keep in mind I’ll be drawing my information from an English translation of medieval French poems. The author himself, A.J. Church, at the beginning of his preface, tells us, “I have endeavoured to tell in this volume the story of Charlemagne, the Charlemagne, it must be understood, not of history, but of Romance.”


 

But before we begin…

A bonus misconception to debunk!

Here is the cover of our aforementioned book of reference, Stories of Charlemagne and the Twelve Peers of France, printed in 1902:

charlemagne chanson de geste review and analysis.png

1902
England

Our book of Roland the Valiant boasts, “Many a blow did he deal to the enemy with his mighty spear, and when the spear was shivered in his hand, … he seized his good sword Durendal, and smote man after man to the ground (p. 266).”

Indeed, Charlemagne’s knights are often described as having spear, sword and shield, which makes sense considering those golden knights above, who are wearing 14th century armor, should realistically look similar to this 9th century illustration because, you know, Charlemagne died in the 9th century. Just look at that handsome Frenchman!

medieval armor from the 9th century

801-850
Paris, France

From this point on, the images I’ve used to illustrate my discoveries may lead to the same misconception shown above, so it’s a good thing you’re paying attention. Now let us begin!


 

Medieval Trope Misconception 1:

“SWORDS THAT CAN CUT THROUGH ANYTHING!”

Durendal, the trusty sword of Roland the Valiant, is the slayer of countless men, and let us not forget about Oliver, his companion, who wields the sword Hautclere. Aye, Hautclere must be made of the same Valyrian steel from A Game of Thrones, because, as our book says, “he (Oliver) drew the good sword from its scabbard, and smote a heathen knight, Justin of the Iron Valley. A mighty blow it was, cleaving the man in twain down to his saddle–aye, and the saddle itself with its adorning of gold and jewels, and the very backbone also of the steed whereon he rode, so that horse and man fell dead together on the plains. ‘Well done!’ cried Roland; ‘you are a true brother of mine. ‘Tis such strokes as this that makes the Emperor love us (p. 267).'”

medieval swords from legends and myths founded in reality

1399
Paris, France

Aye, the burnished sword of these courageous French warriors, often gilded, baring jewels and holy relics in their pommels, are not to be underestimated. Even Charlemagne himself bears such a sword, as described when “… he dismounted in great wrath, and ran at the giant, and smote him with Joyous so rudely that he fell to the ground nigh cut in twain (p. 219).” Though in some strange context cutting a giant nigh in twain may be plausible, this next quote, I insist, could never on this dear earth come close to being so: “As for the Admiral he escaped most narrowly; for as he leapt from a window Roland dealt a great blow at him with his sword, and the sword made a hole of a foot deep in the marble stone of the window (p. 184).”

In other occasions arms and armor are described quite realistically, as helmets are damaged and brains are left unharmed. However, for the sake of drama, of exaggerating the great strength of these valiant knights, this trope of inexorable sword blades for the most part still stands strong throughout The Song of Roland and other chansons, as countless helmets are cut in twain. This trope can be directly compared to much 20th century fantasy fiction, where heroes give their swords legendary names and cut through everything with ease.

No armor, even hardened steel breastplates, can possibly stop the hefty strikes of these fantastical swords. In reality, though, a sword could never slice a helmet in twain, could never stab through a breastplate; ’tis exactly why such weapons as the war hammer and mace became popular.

realism in medieval warfare compared to misconceptions in fantasy literature

1375-1400
Paris, France

Another noteworthy trope from the chansons that commonly appears in today’s fantasy fiction is that of the hero slaying scores of men effortlessly: “Thereupon he (Roland) charged at them (Saracens) with such fierceness that the hardiest of them turned to fly; yet they fled not so fast but that Roland killed twenty out of the thirty (p. 195).”


 

Medieval Trope Misconception 2:

“WHEN IN DOUBT, SWOON!”

There are numerous accounts of people swooning throughout the chansons. I’ll say that each swoon occurs for a respectable reason, like finding your son dead, and it’s possible that anyone can swoon unexpectedly at any time for swooning is a natural phenomenon, but with all that said it’s still impossible to ignore how exaggerated the swoons can be in the chansons, as the amount at which they occur would be hard to find in today’s fantasy fiction.

Read this quote from the story of Reynaud and tell me it does not remind you of so many romantic plays in premodern theater: “When the Lady Clare saw him (Reynaud) go she fell again into a swoon, and this so sore that her gentlewomen deemed that she was dead. When she revived she said, ‘O Reynaud, my lord, there was never husband so good as you (p. 105).'”

romance in medieval chansons and epic poems, exaggeration of emotion in literature

1380-1385
Milan, Italy

There could be a whole paper written on trying to prove if medieval people really swooned more frequently than us postmodern-ers, but it’s more likely that we’re dealing with an authentic medieval trope here. Sometimes in medieval stories the theatrical dramatization of emotions becomes so intense, people literally die of broken hearts, like when Queen Branimonde says, “… ‘O Sire, our people are vanquished, and the Emir is dead.’ When King Marsilas heard these words he turned him to the wall, and covered his face and wept. So great was his grief that his heart was broken in his breast, and he died (p. 312).”

theatrical intense dramatic eomtion and swooning in medieval epic peoms, literature and chansons de geste

1244-1254
Paris, France

In other occasions throughout the chansons, characters fall into swooning fits that last for hours, with intervals of brief consciousness, and it’s not uncommon to find a knight swooning on his horse, held in place only by the stirrups around his feet. For instance, our book says of Roland, “And again he swooned where he sat on his horse. But the stirrup held him up that he did not fall to the ground (p. 284).” For a dramatic performance during a certain epic scene of intense emotion, I, while writing my own medieval fantasy, might try to remember this historical trope.


 

Awesome Realism 1:

“THE POWER OF GOD, GLORY, HONOR & KING!”

Concerning the year 1098, during the Christian defense of Antioch in the First Crusade, when the Franks were hard-pressed under the leadership of Bohemond, Zoé Oldenbourg’s The Crusades describes, “When Peter Bartholomew emerged from the hole in the ground clutching the spearhead (Holy Lance) in his arms, all doubts were forgotten and everyone present, beginning with Raymond of Aguilers, … fell upon the poor relic, still caked with earth, and smothered it with tears and kisses (p. 109).”

Having extreme faith in a god, in upholding honor, plays more of role in many medieval wars than gold itself. It’s extremely difficult for postmodern people to understand how the belief in God and saints can effect your actions on a medieval battlefield. Zoé Oldenbourg continues, “The discovery of this dubious relic (Holy Lance) probably aroused more enthusiasm among the rank and file of the Crusaders than the invention of a new nuclear device … would cause in our own day (p. 109).”

god glory and honor in medieval warfare and piety in the middle ages

1400-1425
Paris, France

I’ve been slowly watching History’s new TV series Knightfall and though I laugh at its unrealistic sword-fighting choreography I appreciate its insight into piety among Crusading knights. The love for serving a god has just as much to do with war in medieval times as the making of arms and armor. This stark realism is rarely portrayed in today’s fantasy fiction because it’s hard for us to comprehend. However, the medieval poets of France understood it all too well, which is why in The Song of Roland you can try to understand what a knight fighting for God and the honor of his king might look like.

religious influence on war in medieval times

1400-1425
France

While bleeding to death as the last man alive after a brutal battle in Spain against the heathen, Roland “… made a loud confession of his sins, stretching his hand to the heaven. ‘Forgive me, Lord,’ he cried, ‘my sins, little and great, all that I have committed since the day of my birth to this hour in which I am stricken to death.’ So he prayed; and, as he lay, he thought of many things, of the countries which he had conquered, and of his dear Fatherland France, and of his kinsfolk, and of the good King Charles (p. 296).”

If believing in a god won’t have power over you on the battlefield, than fearing the scrutiny of your overlord certainly will, as vassals and knights go to war merely to uphold their honor by fulfilling an oath of allegiance. This is another concept so hard for today’s writers to understand, the relationship between a vassal and an overlord, as bloody wars suddenly end because one man swore allegiance to another. A realistic example of this is shown in the story of Reynaud.

When Charlemagne wished to end a conflict, he said to his messenger, “Go now to Reynaud and say to him, ‘The King gives you peace on these conditions. You shall go in pilgrim’s garb to the Holy Land, and on foot, begging your bread. You shall leave me your horse Bayard. On the other hand, I will restore your brothers all their lands (p.104).'” The conditions are accepted and Reynaud goes on to fulfill his oath with much honor, for the love of his brothers who will be saved.

oaths pledge of allegience in romantic literature

1300-1325
Saint-Omer, France

For some men, having given a pledge of service to another man means a lifetime of bondage, and they do it right willingly because the greatest shame in all the world would be to lose all honor, because there is glory in honor, glory in serving your lord for the victory of your armies. But this honor dwells in the relationships between nobles, between vassals and overlords, not your typical men, and we must always remember that honor doesn’t dwell in every noble or knight. Sometimes swearing an oath of allegiance is merely a way to save one’s own life only to wreak vengeance on a later date. Clearly, while reading of deception and betrayal throughout the Middle Ages, remembering the honorless use of the longbow, we should never rely on honor alone to keep a man loyal, unless, of course, the man in question is a true man of ideal chivalry like our friend Roland the Valiant, whom so many other knights in later centuries looked up to as a model of perfection.

Mountjoy! Mountjoy!


And there we have it. Please thank Manuscript Miniatures for supplying so many medieval images to the public!

If this subject of realism in literature intrigues you, consider following my newsletter by clicking here:  http://eepurl.com/caJpnH. This year I’ll be beginning the Medieval Studies program at University of Victoria because there’re still so many questions to ask about what life in the Middle Ages was really like.

Until next time, happy daydreaming!

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Who Decides What Becomes Literature? Understanding Literary Fantasy (from an outright amateur’s perspective)

If a masterpiece of artful and amazing prose on the human experience never reaches the public eye, is never praised by academics, never sells a single copy, is it still literature?

Who decides what is literature and what isn’t? Elitist assholes or literary experts? If you wish to skim through this blog post, I’ve bolded the juicy bits for your convenience. If you wish to read normally, please keep in mind that by “literature” I don’t simply mean “literate material,” but Merriam-Webster’s 3rd definition: “writings in prose or verse; especially writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest.” Continue reading

A List of Historical Military Terms (60+ Rare Words)

Welcome! Military words like danegeld and scutage have been reserved for an upcoming list about medieval laws and crimes. Similarly words like centenar, turcopole and mameluke, aside from a few favorite titles, have been saved for an upcoming list about medieval titles and peerages. Likewise for your patience words like portcullis, trebuchet, loophole and other obvious terms have been excluded. Also, terms like cri de coeur and coup de grâce which are brilliant for military applications have been reserved for a separate list about English terms that are clearly not English. I should also mention that words like caliver and baselard, not to mention many pieces of armor, have of course been reserved for future lists about ancient, medieval and renaissance arms and armor. Again, seafaring terms, castle terms and HEMA terms have all been for the most part excluded for the aforementioned reason. At last, enjoy!

  1. Semaphore – noun – a system or apparatus for sending visual messages according to a code.
  2. Pele – noun – a faced outbuilding used as a beacon watchtower, born on the border of Scotland and England.
  3. Burgus – noun – a fencible tower with outwork, born on the routes and frontiers of Rome.
  4. Outremer – noun – meaning “overseas,” similar to ultima thule, the land taken by Franks in the First Crusade including Antioch and Jerusalem.
  5. Extreme unction – noun – in the medieval Roman Catholic Church, the extreme unction was the very last anointment given to the sick and dying. Some may not consider this word to be military but if you’re gravely ill in your pavilion during campaign then calling the chaplain to perform your extreme unction may be the only thing on the surgeon’s mind, especially if he is in your will.
  6. Equitator – noun – equestrian, vedette, genetour, dragoon, hobelar, verderer, cavalier, caballero, cuirassier, hussar, cowboy or, simply put, rider. To open a page with over forty synonyms for “horse” click here.
  7. Auxilia – noun – help, assistance; can be used to mean auxiliaries, condottieres.
  8. Casemate – noun – a room in the wall of a fortress with embrasures for shooting guns and missiles at attackers.
  9. Dromedary – noun – perhaps the “racehorse” or “courser” of the desert; a one-humped camel trained for riding and racing.
  10. Mantelet – noun – an arrow-proof screen for besiegers in their attempt to mount an offensive, sometimes mounted on wheels.
  11. Sutler – noun – a civilian provisioner who followed an army and lived in its camps to set up shop and trade with its well-paid soldiers.
  12. Vinea – noun – a house-like structure on wheels to protect besiegers in their attempt to take a wall or batter a gate.
  13. Ordnance – noun – cannon; pieces of artillery. Side note: I plan to do a whole post on cannon alone for their are countless words to put here like pot-de-fer, crakys, culverin, falconet, etc.
  14. Overture – noun – a proposal to the enemy; a tactical liaison; for example, “let us send an envoy with an overture for peace!”
  15. Caesura – noun – an armistice, ceasefire, truce, lull, break or brief interruption.
  16. Abase – verb – to lower in position; a perfect word to use when describing a joust or a group of charging men; for example, “he embraced the quintain and abased his lance.”
  17. Commark – noun – the frontier of a country.
  18. Serry – verb – to press together in ranks; for example, “the serried shield-wall advanced.”
  19. Fosse – noun – a narrow trench around a motte or other fortification; moat.
  20. Cantonment – noun – a military garrison or camp beyond the frontier of its own country; similar to billet or barrack.
  21. Panoply – noun – cap-a-pie, harness, battledress, coat-armor.
  22. Right marker – noun – the warrior given the honor of standing on the right side of a formation where everyone is holding their shield left-handed, therefore making his job hard for no shield is at his right to share the blows.
  23. Breastwork – noun – chest-high trenches or dugouts as part of a frontal defense, used commonly in the heyday of rudimentary lead balls.
  24. Reveille – noun – an alarum or tocsin, especially by a bugle or drum at night to wake a sleeping camp or garrison during a surprise attack.
  25. Chanfron – noun – a horse’s helmet, as part of a horse’s “barding” or armor. Side note: I could list every piece of horse armor here but that too will one day have its own post.
  26. Conroi – noun – a group of five to ten knights who trained and fought together.
  27. Batter – noun – a gradual slope in a defensive wall, like that of a redan or bastion, to aid in the deflection of artillery.
  28. Treasurehouse – noun – a building for safeguarding treasure, typically kept on strict watch, used by conquistadors.
  29. Stronghouse – noun – a fortified house; similar to a keep yet more so to a manse.
  30. Gabion – noun – a basket full of earth used in excess by besiegers for filling moats.
  31. Picquet – noun – a group of sentries outside a garrison to prevent a surprise attack.
  32. Cordon – noun – a line or circle of soldiers preventing egression.
  33. Revetment – noun – the foundation of an outwork wall or curtain wall, whether it be sandbags, masonry, etc.
  34. Flotilla – noun – an armada; a swathe of men-of-war.
  35. Flotsam – noun – floating wreckage.
  36. Mirador – noun – a tower, window, balcony or other vantage point constructed to command an extensive view.
  37. Contravallation – noun – whereas circumvallation is an inside wall to keep besiegers safe from sallies and escape attempts, a contravallation is a wall that keeps the besiegers safe from outside relieving forces, used by Caesar in Gaul.
  38. Postilion – noun – a rider who guides a horse-drawn coach that doesn’t have a coachman by riding abreast to the horses.
  39. Enfilade – verb – to fire or shoot down the length of a ship or formation; to rake the line.
  40. Defilade – verb – to defend while behind cover and invisible to the enemy.
  41. Harl – the Scottish synonym for roughcast which is the type of plaster put on the outside of some buildings and fortifications.
  42. Appel – verb + noun – a tap or partial step of the foot as a feint; a feigned step to confuse an opponent in a fight; a word in league with vor, nach and other infighting terms which I would endlessly list here if I wasn’t going to dedicate a whole post to them.
  43. Equerry – noun – a wrangler, ostler, hostler; specifically an officer in charge of a stable at a noble household.
  44. Bivouac – verb + noun – a camp without defenses or cover, used very briefly.
  45. Caracole – noun – of cavalry with lances, a timed and organized half turn to the left or right as part of a flanking charge against a formation of footmen.
  46. Casque – noun – archaic for helm or helmet.
  47. Redan – noun – a renaissance battlement similar to the bastion projecting from a curtain wall or bulwark, shaped like the tip of an arrowhead.
  48. Daff – verb – to thrust aside; rebut; for example, “the reserve of cavalry daffed the assault as expected.”
  49. Abscond – verb – to secretly leave a place in haste; for example if you knew a great army would arrive at your little bastide in the morning you might abscond in the night to prevent capture.
  50. Leaguer – verb – to besiege; to beleaguer; to reduce, wage attrition.
  51. Laager – verb + noun – to form a baggage train into a defensive circle; a temporary defensive position consisting of this.
  52. Gonfalon – noun – a banner hanging from a crossbar, emblazoning a device. The men who sometimes carried them on cavalcade, the standard-bearers, are called gonfaloniers.
  53. Fusillade – noun – a salvo, sometimes cannonade; specifically a rapid discharge of fusils or fuzees which are flintlock rifles similar to the arquebus or hackbut; hence fusilier, arquebusier and hackbutter.
  54. Convalescence – noun – time spent recovering.
  55. Chivvy – verb – to miff with perpetual petty attacks.
  56. Commissariat – noun – a system for victualing a campaigning army, a crucial system as learned by Napoleon in Russia.
  57. Fyrd – noun – the militia of an Anglo-Saxon shire, mustered during war or rebellion.
  58. Muster roll – noun – an official list of all personnel in a unit or company; similar to roster.
  59. Pons – noun – a temporary bridge over a body of water supported by pontoons.
  60. Echelon – noun – a slantwise battle array of troops or military equipage where multiple formations are overstepping each other.
  61. Salient – noun – a bulge in a frontline or formation; specifically a fensible projection in a landscape where two armies are wreaking war.
  62. Marque – noun – a letter of marque; a license granted to a privateer allowing authority to plunder enemy sailing vessels.
  63. Chevauchée – noun – a method of razing villages to draw the enemy out of their castles and cities, famously used by the Edwards in France.
  64. Bridgehead – noun – a powerful position procured by an army in enemy territory allowing further advancement.
  65. Runegate – noun – a runaway, routing soldier or vagabond.
  66. Schiltron – noun – a dense shield-wall protecting anti-cavalry pikemen, used effectively by the Scottish against the English until cavalry once again became a last resort on the battlefield, replaced by longbow arrows. No matter though. The schiltron was replaced with more will-o’-the-wisp tactics.
  67. Schweinskopf – noun – a military formation for footmen used by medieval Germans, translating into “boar’s head” because one large arrow-shaped column would be flanked by two smaller ears or salients. Likewise the svinfylking or “swine array” was used by vikings.

I referenced no other list while making this list, which has helped to improve my own memory. All words here were found slowly over time by reading history and historical fiction. Historical fiction, despite my love for fantasy, satiates my predilections like no other genre except, of course, litHEMA.

a list of medieval military words

This list will be updated whenever I come across more related words so if you check back here later it may be weightier and prithee leave a comment if you know a word that could be added! If you would like to learn more about my trick for growing one’s vocabulary check this out: How To Triple Your Vocab In A Year!

The “real” Second Renaissance: Revival, Progress and Cooperative Nationalism

Millennials are no longer making the same unethical and environmentally-damaging mistakes made by our predecessors in the Industrial Revolution. Thinkers, noticing this change, like to call our current conditioning “post-modern.” They are right to do so because history is never static. She is contently and constantly on the move. We cannot be modern forever. The word, for me at least, conjures images of World War I and II. But on the other hand, “The Second Renaissance,” when uttered, augurs images of green energy and nations working together.

I have so much hope for the future!

the second renaissance in the 21st century

To make this idea of being passed modern, being in the beginnings of a wide-spread renaissance more understandable for everyone I feel obliged to speak of a phenomenon that since the fall of the Roman Empire has only happened once before: a vast cultural revival due to a vast discovery of precious, old knowledge.

Brief side note: There’s an article on the Huffington Post website about the rise of nationalism in Europe and America. But bear with me here. I’m talking about the revival of national histories. Call it geographical-culturalism if you will. Forget all the secondary and extremist definitions. Nationalism here simply means the conscious awareness that you are part of a nation.

To strengthen the assertion of a “second vast revival” I will, in ambiguous ways, be answering these questions: What changes mark the beginning of the First Renaissance? How do these changes compare to our current situation in the 21st century?

The ending of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance together mark a blurry line, but it’s safe to say these two categories of time merge for roughly one- or two-hundred years. For understanding the differences between these times and ours it’s important to note some things here: People in the Early Middle Ages had no idea they were “being medieval.” Japan, a very educated society, had to learn she was “becoming modern.” And Petrarca, the voice of the Renaissance in 14th century Italy, spoke of a moving forward for the better because being medieval was similar to being barbaric.

Today we are very much moving forward, away from barbarism and modernism. For some people it may not seem like it but really we’re on a planet revolving around in space and we can’t stop ourselves from moving forward. If you are alive and reading this then you are experiencing or are studying the beginnings of the age of the digital coin, the first days of the internet, and together we’re watching a generation of humans be born into a world where their parents are highly distracted by floods of information.

Like Petrarca when he rediscovered and studied ancient writings in the Late Middle Ages, the parents of today are exploring and discovering writings on places like Reddit and universities where people with interests are discussing interesting things.

For the first time ever in human history, people are translating and sharing rediscovered medieval writings, much like Petrarca did for rediscovered ancient writings in the early days of print publishing.

Some minor notes to throw: Just recently, people in Britain were awfully excited to get the Bayeux Tapestry back. And Britain is just one nation. Without the concept of nations, or geographical-cultures, could people in Renaissance France ever hope to get some Frankish artifact back onto mother soil? Speaking of nations, Japan, India, Korea, China, Russia, Mexico, Jamaica, Israel, Palestine, Egypt and many other “modern” nations separate from Europe are likewise becoming more interested in their own pasts because lost information about them is being revealed for the first time in centuries.

Nationalism for many people is a derogatory word because of some lunatic-fringes. This is why I decided to categorize a related phenomenon–“cooperative nationalism.” Nations have been at daggers drawn countless times throughout history, some still are today, but in Canadian universities young people are still being open about their national backgrounds, even Israelis and Palestinians, and, as they’re learning about all the horrible things their nations did to each other in the past, they’re also digging into the fascinating culture each nation has to offer. I call this cooperative nationalism because, not only are students sharing insightful truths around campus and on Reddit, nations themselves are increasingly finding ways to work together and cooperate.

bringing history to life

A vast moving forward. But it’s not all change. A lot of it’s revival. A second renaissance if you will. A resurrection of history

For I see harbors where people are giving tours on ships that were built to replicate real medieval ships. On screens and tablets I see people watching longsword tournaments instead of modern football. In popular culture I see castles and cartoon samurai. Welcome to the Second Renaissance where digital currencies can be discovered in mathematical equations, where answers to ancient questions are being shared in vast quantities and where people are harnessing the wind once more instead of burning coal.

I leave you to enjoy this spectacular time in history.

For you are no longer modern.

Yuk, modern is so drab.

 

 

Medieval Mythbusters: 9 YouTube Channels To Make You Never Look At Medieval Fantasy The Same Way Again

There are hundreds of wonderful channels on YouTube devoted to history and medieval studies. You’ll see the channels here have earned their followers rightly for your academic pleasure. Even though these channels and many others have been branded together as “The Community of the Sword,” each one is very unique. Some channels provide a more in-depth look at traditional fantasy compared to historical reality by commentating on popular movies. Others ignore modern popular culture and teach HEMA and medieval armor at highly professional levels. For your convenience and mine I’ve simply taken the liberty of giving each one a reward.


#1.

Roland Warzecha

Highly Interesting Sword Techniques 


#2.

Scholagladiatoria

World’s Best Sword Debater


#3.

Lindybeige

Best Thought-provoking Rambles and History Lessons


#4.

Skallagrim

Extremely Interesting Medieval Weapon Reviews and Testing


#5.

ThegnThrand

Whoppingly Insightful Medieval Weapon Testing


#6.

Shadiversity

Best Production Quality and Analyses of Misconceptions in Medieval Fantasy 


#7.

Knyght Errant

Best In-depth Analyses of Real Medieval Armor


#8.

Pursuing the Knightly Arts

Most Knowledgeable Armored HEMA Lessons


#9.

Blood and Iron HEMA

Best In-depth Unarmored HEMA Lessons

 

I hope this list served you well. Expect a part 2 because there are hundreds of others worth mentioning.

Happy daydreaming.

Fantasy’s Everlasting Quality: A Service You Can’t Get Anywhere Else

Like any artform fantasy is susceptible to change. Think of 60s rock-and-roll and compare it to modern rock, 90s cartoons compared to cartoons today. Just like how music is changing due to technology, fantasy is changing due to a flux of information on the internet. Continue reading

Magical Realism plus Medieval Fantasy equals what? Historical Fiction with Magic or something totally new?

It’s common for people to confuse magical realism with fantasy, but what, I ask, after understanding their differences, would they look like combined? Combined, would it simply be medieval historical fiction with some magic thrown in or would we be dealing with a whole new genre? You may find my conclusion very interesting. Continue reading