marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

courtesy and ceremony

A grand question of world-building:  how much ceremony do they stand on?   What are their standards of courtesy?

Does a new knight get whapped on the shoulder by a sword by any old knight, and that's it?  Or does he go through a ceremony lasting more than a day?  Or does nothing  happen at all?  He's a knight by dint of slinging steel on the battlefield?  (There's a reason why the medieval Latin term for knight was solely and simply miles.)  I suspect that my hero's in the high ceremony one, because I want to use his vigil for introducing the villains of the piece, or at least their magical flunkies. (Depends on how smart I make them, whether they are the villains or the flunkies.  0:)

Which probably says something about the court over all.  I can probably ensure that they don't engage in fancy dances about offering your superiors precedence and graciously refusing precedence offered by inferiors so that it can take half an hour to get out of church.  (There was a lot of variation even in the same era if you went between countries.)  However, it's not going to be Beowulf, with a single guard and a door warden, and a great  hall where everyone gathers, and a lot of them sleep.  By the High Middle Ages, the English had elaborate ordering for even their noble courts, and the high ranking nobles were instructed not to eat in the hall for their dignity; the French were less elaborate, but had a sharp delineation between the nobles and them commoners.

Much depends on how much of a country bumpkin I want the character to appear as, and how much time I want to have them waste on courtesies, since I will have to at least suggest the length of time to the reader.
Tags: characterization, story time, world-building: courtesy, world-building: festivities, world-building: nobility, world-building: royalty

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