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This Pennsic was busy, hot, crazy and generally a lot of fun. But the moment that will probably stick with me most was one I was just a spectator for.

We were in the New New Woods this year; I heard a fair amount of grumbling about how dense and hilly they were, but they frankly reminded me a lot of the Old Old Woods. (Back in the day, I was a scout for the Barony-in-Exile of Branswatch, AKA the Filthy Greenshirts, so I have fond memories of woods battles.) I was hanging around the resurrection point for the second half of the Woods Battle -- we had a couple of sendings-to-vigil to do, so I needed to be around to herald.

Every 20 minutes or so, one or t'other of Their Majesties would get killed and sent back to the res point, deliver a rousing speech to the troops and plunge back into the fray. These did nothing but get bigger and more dramatic, urging the troops into one more push. (In the end, we won decisively, after one final push to get everyone back to the line and stop the Midrealm advance.)

And the result was closer to *living* a Shakespeare play than I've ever seen before. I was the audience, almost able to hear Henry's Chorus explaining the battle to me, apologizing for the fact that the battle was too large, too grand to show on this small stage. But the playwright substituted these moments, these invocations into battle, the stakes transmuted into speech, the few warriors visible to me representing the larger body off-stage doing the real work.

It's no surprise that Marguerite could give such great speeches, but it was also the moment when it seemed that Edward truly found his voice, letting his passion for the fight come through to the crowd. And the result sent a real chill through me. The SCA has rare moments where everything feels just a bit realer, where the membrane of time and circumstance between us and the periods we recreate becomes thin. This was the closest I've felt in some years...

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I am regretful to have not been there. Their Majesties are impressive and magnetic when they're just being themselves. To hear them go full-on Royal in a battle...yeah.

We have a really amazing King and Queen right now.

I'm reminded, not only of Henry V ("...will count their manhoods cheap they were not here....") but also, seriously, of the openings of i Sebastiani performances. I am one of the Unlucky People, unblessed that I was not there to experience this, and doomed to eternal regret [*].

It's a primary job of the royalty to help us pierce that veil between the fantasy and the reality. Has any of our royalty, ever, been better at that than King Edward and Queen Marguerite?

[*] Yet Hope springs eternal, and it's called Edward II. Just sayin' %^).

I'm all for Edward II but preferably not this winter. (Having just been OES Grand Family for two consecutive terms, I know how it wears on one.) Next summer would suit me fine, although there's that line of Dukes trying for Pennsic XL.

Yaas, speculation hath it that the lists for the upcoming Crown Tourney are going to be very deep. Like Marianas Trench deep. Should be fun to watch, and I really hope someone does a Bettors' Guide this go-round.

I'm keeping my Marguerite favor handy for the next time.

It's funny that the meme seems to be "these royalty give speeches just like Henry V". I have heard it mentioned on a number of occasions, and of all the comparisons that could be made that's the one everyone uses. I guess Henry is the very definition of a rousing speech maker to many of us.

I still have a very personal relationship with that text, so I don't think of it as being that similar. There were some good rousing words, to be sure, but I wouldn't have said they reminded me of Henry, probably because I'm more keenly aware of the peculiarities of Henry's circumstances and the rhetoric he uses. Once more unto the breach is certainly the most apt comparison, but the tone, to me, still sounded fairly different.

I only heard their speeches from Pennsic, though, and I'm told that earlier ones were more Shakespearean. If only a scribe had chased Marguerite around the whole reign in case she suddenly gave a speech...

To be fair, I'm talking less about specifics of words, and much more about circumstances. It was the passion of the speeches, and the sense of the real invocation of battle. That's just not something one sees often in the Society: we tend to be too modest about treating the game as a game, not reaching through that to the realities we're trying to recreate. And Shakespeare is simply the obvious metaphor to reach for, for me-the-audience...

Saw something I never saw before this Pennsic too. Midnightish, heading back home, and there was this procession of people in white robes, with candles, doing some sort of masque thing. Chanting quietly, beautifully, and doing some sort of dumb show with a person in stag horns, and others with bows.

Really surreal, and very magical.

Not the Abbot's Bromley Horn Dance? I've seen that done at Pennsic, at just-after-twilight, silently or almost so. Very eerie, in a very cool way.

it seemed that Edward truly found his voice, letting his passion for the fight come through to the crowd. And the result sent a real chill through me.


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