What Is a Knight?

What is a knight? Most of us picture a man clad in heavy armor, similar to this:

Knights

But, as with many things, our general perception doesn’t encapsulate the entire truth.

I did a bit of research on historical knights so I’d know what they were and could borrow from reality and legend to create the knights in my own work.

In reality, a knight was usually a mounted soldier serving under a feudal lord in Europe. The concept of what a knight was would come to mean men, usually of noble birth (but not required), who would be apprenticed as first a page and then a squire.

During this apprenticeship, they were taught all of the skills necessary to be a skilled fighter, as well as religion, reading and writing, and social decorum. They’d then be given the military rank of knight and be bound to the code of chivalry.

This code of chivalry was enacted partially to control behavior. Because history has taught us how well behaved soldiers can be. See also, Vikings.

vikings
They’d terrorized much of Europe, so yeah, chivalry had its reasons.

Unlike many other titles (duke, baron, etc.), knighthood was not hereditary. It was given to a person by a sovereign because of personal merit or service. This means that it was easier for men who were good at being soldiers to move up in rank. It also meant you never had a six-year-old knight. Unlike some kings. And helped reduce the crazy, unlike in kings.

Knights were an important part of feudal system established by Charlemagne. Under this system, the king owned all of the land, and he granted fiefs to various lords in return for loyalty, protection and service.

In order to provide this protection, the knight class was created. Many knights were professional warriors, and the lord they served paid them for the services, and provided food, lodging, armor, weapons and horses.

Knighthood was a way for a man to advance in a society that offered few other means. As it also wasn’t an inherited position, it was a way for a younger son of a lord to advance himself. Knights could make fortunes from their service, and they could be granted land from the king and become a lord in their own right.

While many of us think of Knights of the Round Table when we think of knights.

kingarthur.jpg
Okay, maybe not this King Arthur.

In reality, knights were experienced mounted soldiers. They were also supposed to have a firm grounding in religion, among other things, but the reality was knights were about as religious as any other general order of soldiers.

Stories of knights have been told for a very long time. I think it somewhat relates to the legends of King Arthur, but I also think seeing men riding in armor on horseback left a strong impression. It was story worthy.

 

How about you? What do you think of when you think of knights? Maybe Sir Lancelot or Sir Galahad from King Arthur’s court? Ser Bronn from Game of Thrones? Sir El Cid of Spain? Or maybe you think of something all together different?

Book Review: The Goblin King by Shona Husk

 

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

When I first picked this up, I was expecting a more fantasy setting. It’s set partially in our world and partially in the Shadowlands, but the Shadowlands are not fleshed out very well. Sort of a shadowy place filled with Goblins, and while it says all Goblins were once human, it is not entirely clear to me how they get to the Shadowlands or how they go about hoarding gold while there.

Disappointed that this wasn’t more fantasy, but overall, an okay read. Just don’t think too deeply.

The story has an interesting premise. A king and his most loyal men are cursed by a druid who believes his king sold out their people to the Romans. The Goblin King must break the curse before he loses his soul and becomes a true Goblin.

Overall, think Beauty and the Beast, but the Beast is a Goblin King who has always been a good man rather than having to be taught that by being a Beast.

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Pros

  1. I enjoyed the fact that cursing someone has ramifications for the person casting the curse. The druid is dragged to the Shadowlands with the Goblin King when he casts the curse, his own soul tied up in it.
  2. The steamy scenes are decent. I list this in the pros as doing this wrong will make me put a book down fast. They weren’t the kind I’ll go back and reread, but they were decent.
  3. While there is emotional manipulation and suggestion of rape, there is no physical abuse or actual rape. Thank god. This is a romance novel, and frankly, if either of those appears in a romance novel, it is all but impossible to keep me reading.
  4. Not the biggest fan of the heroine, but she does grow a spine by the end.
  5. There is a Happily Ever After Ending

 

Cons

  1. The backstory is a bit incoherent and could have helped make the story a lot richer.
    • Was not entirely clear as to why the druid would give the Roman soldiers that he despised control over the curse so that they could force the Goblin King to kill his own men.
    • Was never sure why the druid thought the king had betrayed his people.
    • Never understood why the druid didn’t feel remorse and try to atone. They know very shortly after the curse that the Goblin King did not betray his people. As the druid is the Goblin King’s antagonist, better understanding him would help a lot
  2. The story goes on too long. Not because there isn’t a good plot, but because everything in the plot is so easily dealt with.
    • The evil fiancée – goes away because of a bad dream and a bump on the head? Really? Most of this happens offstage.
    • The blackmail paperwork – the Goblin King simply takes it from the evil fiancée’s office. And it all happens offstage. (I am still not certain why she thought she was implicated in fraud simply for setting up the company used to commit fraud. Especially as her job was to help lots of people set up companies for her law office. You’d think, growing up with a powerful and influential lawyer as a father, she’d have contacted a really good lawyer as she can clearly afford it and gotten help. You know, rather than agreeing to marry a cheating, manipulative snake.)
  3. Her involvement in the blackmail – once ex-fiancée’s scheme comes to light, the heroine is free and clear ASAP. No suspicions, no ramifications. Ummm, and so she stayed for 5 years with an abusive man why?!?
  4. The evil druid – there is really no fight. I had expected something epic.
  5. The Wild Ride – I expected something to come of it. Perhaps with the ex-fiancée, perhaps with the curse. It is a non-event.

 

While I love the fact none of the plot points dragged on, making things a little tougher on the characters would have allowed a resolution to the story shortly after the horrible fiancée and the druid were dealt with. Once these two were both taken care of, I was surprised I still had 1/4 or so of the book to go. All the main points of conflict, except the curse, had been resolved.

This remaining 1/4 is a lot of characters being sad while they no longer have any avenues to find a cure. Would have much rather let the main plot take longer (and maybe a bit more to the steamy scenes) with a resolution shortly after what I had expected to be a climactic final battle.

I mean, after Gaston falls to his death, you’re not looking at another 20 minutes of Belle and Beast bemoaning how there is no cure for him while they hang around and do nothing other than wait for him die.