The game we play

18 Feb 2014 by gebhard, 4 Comments »

Image4A short number of events after His Majesty won Crown, I was at an event where I bumped into a old friend. As we chatted, the Prince walked by.  I bowed, and I gave a look to my friend to do the same.

After the Prince had passed, my friend said to me “I don’t bow. It’s not the game I play”.

I thought on that awhile.

Many elements shouldn’t be aired openly, for only a fool entangles themselves with the affairs of Kings, but I will make an example to give some idea of the complex and difficult decisions that must be made to keep the Kingdom running.

Let’s look at one situation, and I’m completely making this up, so be warned. If any of the items or names sound familiar, it is purely a coincidence. 

Let’s pretend for a moment, you’re King or Queen. You are at “Super Fun A&S” event.  It’s a premiere A&S event for your Kingdom. The Royalty gets the honor of picking the winner of the A&S contest.  This will also make him or her your Kingdom A&S champion.

Ragnar has entered period mutton Pye made from a sheep raised in his yard, which he hand fed and sang to. The added spice he also grew in his yard, because the proper period spices can’t be bought. Even the wheat used in the crust was also grown by him. Every bit of it he made into a delicious pye, so there could be no doubt he is the most dedicated and thus the most deserving of this award.

Ragnar2 has hand made a replica boat. The trees are the were imported from Sweden as saplings so they could grow over 20 years into the proper trees, to be cut down and carved with a hand axe, also made by him from iron ingots. Every period method exactly reproduced so he could prove to be the most dedicated, and thus the most deserving of this award.

Ragnar3 has reproduction jewelry made from actual gold and silver. Nearly a year has been spent carving, casting and researching these not to mention the thousands of dollars in precious metals he’s worked many hours of overtime mundanely to afford this project to prove he is the most dedicated, and thus the most deserving of this award.

Which Ragnar is your choice? How will you tell the other two that they will not be going home with the prize they have sought for so long? Who will take their place on the dais in front of the entire kingdom, and who will go home empty handed?

It’s not easy choice.  

Every day and each event is filled with such decisions that need to be made.

I try much harder these days to bow to royalty of any sort, even past royalty. I’ve seen a handful of the hard decisions that have to be made.  I know that there were endless phone calls, emails, text and facebook messages for every one of them.

This only covers a easy example of prizes.  Imagine other topics like policy changes, negotiating for allies,  new peers and peerages, insurance issues, society law changes, and the list continues.

Imagine all of the people with understandably strong feelings about the changes to the game they love needing to vent, talk, debate and communicate and then all the stress of dealing with these intense people and situations, sometimes culminating in feeling like the villain for the unpopular choices that needed to be made.

Perhaps bowing (or a courtesy) is not a sign of subservience, but rather of respect. While it may be part of the performance we play,  it’s a easy way for each of us to say “Thank you” for Their time and personal energy to make “the game I play” worth playing.




The top image was taken by: Patresha GenRose Roehre

Image3 Image1 Image2

Finding images of people bowing  was oddly difficult. I asked for help these are additional images I was given.

If you have such a image please feel to post it.

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  1. Sunny says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I have brought my mother to events, and we have had this same issue, her not bowing to anyone, and me bowing to everyone deserving of the respect. But it has something I have recently become too casual with, as I become closer friends with those that wear crowns and coronets. It is something that I am working to correct.

  2. Isobel says:

    I really like that you have addressed this. I think it is very important for people to realize that the decisions the Royalty make are not easy.

  3. Phaedra says:

    Good way to put it, it’s more about respect for me as well, than it is subservience.

  4. Donal Mac Ruiseart says:

    I have had kings tell me not to bow when I came up to talk to them one to one.

    “You don’t have to do that, Donal. That’s just for Court.”

    But . . .that IS the game I play. It always has been.

    When I became a Pelican, I had several other Pelicans and Laurels tell me I needn’t address them as Master, Mistress, or Dame, because I was on a par with them. Myself, I feel that we Peers ought to set the example of addressing people by their titles. After all, SCA titles are earned, one way or another.

    I wonder if there’s any research I could do to find out how knights addressed each other back in the day. Of course, there would be a lot of contexts, based on time and location . . . .

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