All right, it's been an awful long time since I've tried a guest blog, so I'm going to give a quick run-down on the concept once again: My first time through this blog, I would occasionally let other people blog for a day in my place. Those were my guest bloggers. However, very few of my guests felt comfortable blogging for some reason, so this time through I made GB more of a writing exercise/gimmick. Instead of having other real people blog for me, I am inviting a character from one of my plays, books, or story ideas to share their thoughts with the world. In other words, it's a chance for me to explore these characters by writing in their voice about things that are important to them. Or, as is often the case with blogging, things that aren't terribly important but happen to be passing through their minds anyway. (I have yet to decide if this is a cool idea or a lame idea)
As such, please keep in mind that any opinions expressed by a Guest Blogger do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the FOMW writing or editorial staff. Also, if you're planning to point out the fallacy of how some of these people have access to a computer or the Internet in their time or place in history, well, calm down and quit thinking so hard.
Today's guest blogger is a young lady named Brindolynn Englehart. Brindolynn lives in a small village on the edge of the Tirrabar Valley. She lives with her father, the town's bladesmith, and her twelve-year-old cousin Gab. And I can't think of anything more to say by way of introduction, so I'll just turn it over to Brin now.
Here's a phrase I've never really understood: "her knight in shining armor."
I understand the phrase in the sense that I know what a knight in shining armor is, despite the fact that no such man has passed through our village in my lifetime. It's an image that has survived adventure stories and similar tales that have existed long before there were any villages in Tirrabar. I also understand that the phrase is often used in a romantic context, when a young lady (around my age, perhaps a bit older) finds her own personal hero, the man who will ride into her life and save her from...something or other (it's never quite clear in most instances) before taking her off into a lifetime of wedded bliss.
On second thought, perhaps it's not accurate to say I've never understood the phrase. Perhaps I ought rather to say I'm not sure why the knight with his lovely, polished, unscathed armor has ever been an attractive image to young women through the ages. Please don't misunderstand me. I've a friend at school who often tries to convince me that I ought to remain unmarried my entire adult life, that I need no man to make my life complete, that I would be happier without one at any rate. I know there are girls who share this opinion. Believe me, I am not one of these girls. In fact, my friend's father is not the greatest of men, and I suspect that's where her bias against all things romantic stems from. My father is a wonderful man, and I know I shall be lucky to marry anyone who is half the man that he is. (Sorry, gentlemen, but my father has set the standard fairly high)
I also have no resistance to the "knight" idea. Who doesn't want to be married to a hero? Besides, in a town that is in a constant state of conflict with our nearest neighbors and is located next to a forest filled with Dark Creatures, it's a bit impractical to ally yourself with a coward for life. Poets use such lovely language, but I'd find their company to be woefully inadequate should a goblin wander its way into the village. (Not that that happens often, but still) I like to think that I can take care of myself--one of the perks of being the bladesmith's daughter is that most of the time I have spent with my father through the years has involved weaponry to some degree--but I admit it's also nice to imagine a match in which I don't have to. When I love, I want to feel safe with the man, as I'm fairly certain all women do.
My chief complaint with the phrase in question is the condition of the man's armor. Why is it shining? I understand that the picture may be more pleasing to the eye if the hero returns gleaming in the sunlight. Ever since I've been a little girl, however, I've always been bothered by the idea of a knight in pristine condition. Hasn't the man found anything better to do with his time than polish his armor?
There is very little metal armor in Desderan. We have no true knights and we have no visitors. Even the merchants have stopped coming through for some reason. Most likely alarmed by the reputation of the Dark Forest, I suppose. And admittedly, "Dark Forest" doesn't sound all that inviting, does it? Our village is protected by the Defense Corps, and the men in the corps wear heavy leather clothing for protection. While actual violent conflict, either with Ivallian troublemakers or creatures of the forest, is rare, these men are constantly training to become more able defenders and protectors for when they are needed. I've seen them return from training sessions, I've watched them spar in swordplay tournaments put on for the amusement of the village. The mere practice of battle often leaves these men--many of them boys my age--scuffed and bruised, and their leather armor takes quite the beating. They do their best to mend and clean it, of course, but one look at a Corpsman and you can tell immediately that he has had at least a taste of battle.
What, then, is to be said of our gallant knight in neat, clean, new outerwear. Why isn't he at least a little bit dirty? Has he found no reason to use the sword at his side? Has he found no monsters to fight? No homeland to defend? I know enough of the world to know that fighting men are always in need virtually everywhere. Has he simply found no cause that he has deemed worthy of his attention? How then do I know that he will fight for my cause should the situation arise? Does the knight wish me to be impressed with the state of his protective wear? How do I know he will be able to handle anything that threatens me if he has never found an opportunity to tangle with a dragon capable of denting his ornamented breastplate?
When my "knight" arrives, I expect to find him a bit battered and bruised. I expect his armor to be tarnished and his weapon well-used. I will hear of the victories he has won, and he will not be afraid to tell of the times he has been the vanquished, for they will have all served to make him a stronger warrior. I will know that he will fight for me--no, rather he will fight with me--not because he says he will but because his actions have shown that he will. I will not fall for any man because he looks impressive but because he is impressive.
After all, if I must be cast as the princess in this metaphor, I see no reason why I should expect anything less. And if ever I find do myself locked in a castle and guarded by a beast like the heroines in the stories of our youth, and if a knight should come riding to my rescue in his gleaming, flawless armor, I would probably tell him to turn around and send someone else. I'll wait around a bit longer for my own knight. The one who comes with dents, chips, and bruises that I can be proud of.