When I skimmed through the WordPress Reader not long ago I discovered the WriteTheWhite-Blog and I have to say that I have read far too little of what is posted on there. But when she published a post called Are You Going to Read This Post? – Conflict I was naturally inclined to do just that in a “Don’t push the big red button”- or “Don’t think of a blue elephant”-kind of way (the latter is by the way the translated title of a book about thought processes).
And it proved to be an interesting read about why we include conflict in a story and a little activity that I’d like to cover in this post. Apart from it being an interesting topic (a Knight with issues) did I spent so much time recently to watch, read, think and write about the BBC Series Merlin that the idea of writing/thinking about a Knight just clicked with me.
But let’s have a look at the activity:
> – Gregor is a character that is very hard headed, but kind. He is very rash, but brave. He’s a knight, but one of the hardest things for him to do is ask for help-he just won’t do it. Think about some things that could happen to Sir Gregor in order to loosen him up to the idea of accepting help? Here’s a hint: Think about what pride is.
My first thought, when I read this activity was that I would have never thought of this behaviour because of pride. I’m not sure if this is due to my own disability to ask others on occasion, but I read self-consciousness into those few sentences. Of course pride is also a huge factor in inquiring things from other people, but also the view you have on yourself.
With doubt in your own abilities come many problems and asking a simple question becomes the most complicated thing in the world.
You do not wish to bother anyone with your questions, because on the one hand you think what you ask is stupid and you should know the answer already. On the other hand you think that the people you ask have way more important things to do than answer your (stupid) questions or lend you a hand.
Of course Knights are usually not known for being insecure, but it could happen, if regardless of it they are still capable and acknowledged fighters…
In conclusion this activity can be looked at from two different angles:
- Sir Gregor – The Proud Knight
- Sir Gregor – The Insecure Knight
I guess I’ll have a go at both…
Though regardless of the angle something quite drastic would need to happen for them to change their attitude towards asking for help. Because simply put: Overcoming something like that is not easy and will take a lot of time.
The Proud Knight
As the hint went into the direction of pride I will start with this one.
For a Knight to overcome his pride he has to learn humiliation and the only way I can currently think of how that could happen would to throw him into a situation where he had to rely on others to do something he can’t do.
Like for example an outpost duty in a farming village, where he is granted land. This land however is large enough that it could be used for farming, so he would not need to buy everything he needed from the villagers or in the market place.
As a proud and wealthy Knight he could just hire people and wouldn’t need to care about it. But what if he had a tight budget and wouldn’t be able to hire servants and buy fresh nutrients regularly and would need to grow them for himself?
So his hard-headedness and rash nature would cause him to start farming his land when he is not on duty or is not needed otherwise. But being a noble-born Knight he has no idea what he is actually doing. The villagers see his struggle, but as his station is way above theirs they do not dare to speak out, give him tips or offer help.
But what if one villager would be brave enough to walk up to the Knight and show him how he has to do something to get it right?
It would change the Knight.
Of course at first he’d be furious. A villager showing him, the proud Knight, how to do something! How dare he! But then – thanks to his kindness and hopefully existing reasoning skills – he would realize that the villagers advise was useful and helped him to actually grow something on his fields. Even slower and with more freely offered advise from the villager the Knight would then become used to the villagers presence and might even find himself conversing with him. And from there it wont take long for him to turn the conversations into a direction where he includes small questions in everyday conversation, so the other wouldn’t notice and he would get his answers. Much later when he is used to the villager and their conversations are frequent and long, he might even walk up to him and directly ask him how to do something. Maybe even with a joke that the proud Knight does not know a thing about farming.
Or when the villager is busy with his own grains the proud Knight might become a tiny bit insecure about his inquiries, but that’ll be covered later. 😉
An alternative to this would be an injured Knight that wouldn’t let a healer help him.
‘Tis but a Scratch’ as the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (which is by the way called “The Knights of the Coconut“/“Die Ritter der Kokosnuß” in German) so nicely put it when he lost his first arm.
A proud and stubborn Knight would not want to be healed, he would walk with the wound until he bled to death or a healer forced himself unto him. Either way he would be pretty screwed if his pride overtook his sense of survival. A proud Knight that is also smart might acknowledge the fact that he indeed needed some help to be useful again and grateful when it was granted.
And I am certain there are way more variations of this.
The Insecure Knight
This Knight is a different shoe altogether. He might not even think he deserves his title in the first place. A lot of time and persuasion would be necessary for him to form enough courage to ask, but as with the other Knight: If someone walked up to him when he struggled with a task and offered help and/or advise, he would slowly open up to that person, his kindness maybe playing largely into this.
There always are certain people you feel more comfortable asking, those people mostly don’t judge your questions and are more interested in simply answering them. People like this are the ones the Insecure Knight will confine in and turn towards if he needs advice.
Other people that barely answer the Knight’s questions and make him wait and feel like he is getting in their way will slow the trust process immensely. In his hard-headed and rash mind he will start thinking that the helpful Knights are just too kind to tell him off and will start asking them less. Making it worse to ask other Knights as well.
This Knight doesn’t have it as easy as the other one.
Here the described traits will backfire and if more unhelpful Knights cross his path than helpful ones, he will never truly come around with asking others for help and just work in his little bubble trying to find as many answers as possible before turning to someone else.
Furthermore a Knight like this – and the other one as well I suppose – would not just try to do everything on his own, but overwork himself in the process and that would kind of be the worst outcome of the whole situation.
The Important Lesson
Even though you – as the Knight – are the one to make the final step in asking someone, be it through overcoming your pride or your anxieties, it also greatly depends on the people that offer or decline their help.
But regardless of that one has to understand that one can not know or do everything and that there are moments where we just need the help – be it in form of knowledge or doings – of another person.
P.S. Sorry for not actually using the name in the descriptions of the Knights…