The Bellowing Breeze
THL Njall Olaf Hagerson
The Art of Field Heraldry: Ceremony
As I write this month’s article, it is September and the big news is the Olympic games being held in the Shire of Agaricus, Principality of Lochac, in the Kingdom of the West. Now, if I were His Royal Majesty, I’m sure I could write something witty, tying the history of the Olympics to the Current Middle Ages. However, I’m not half so witty. So, the best I can do is comment on the ceremony of the games.
As I was watching the track and field events, I was struck with how alike the SCA and the Olympics are. In the heats for the 100-meter sprint, each runner was standing in the their lane behind the blocks. Behind the voiceover from the TV commentator, I could just hear the in-stadium announcer. He was announcing the lane assignments to the crowd. As he called each runner, they would step forward and give the crowd a little wave. This was done all the way through to the finals. This isn’t too much different from what we do. In the Olympics, they announce the athletes because there are so many from so many different countries. We announce our fighters, because there are so many armors that look so alike.
Beyond just announcing each fight, there is more to the ceremony of SCA field heraldry. In the SCA, we try to be more then just another athletic club. That’s one reason for the some of the pageantry at SCA events. At the Olympics, one athlete swears an oath for all the other athletes at the very beginning of the games. In the SCA we promise to be at our best in each combat via our salutes. To me, it is the honor of our fighters that set us apart from other athletes, more then any other thing.
To enhance the feeling of that honor, we have a style of heraldic ceremony that embraces it. This is true for every combat of every list. In addition, the finals for Crown lists, as well as Queen’s Champion in both heavy weapons and rapier, each have a unique ceremony. The purpose of those ceremonies is to tell the populace about the fighters that have made it that far as well as to remind all parties of the honor that is on the line. In addition these ceremonies remind the fighters of the duty owed by the victor to the populace in the case of Crown and to the Queen in the case of Queen’s Champion.
Shortly it will be time for Queen’s Champion Tourney again. And, I will need to add ceremonies for light weapons and boffers to those for the heavy and rapier Queen’s Champions. In addition, I would like to see each regional herald take some time and write a unique ceremony for the finals of your regional championships. In this way we can do even more to bring a unique and special feel to the SCA that isn’t found in any other competitive sporting field.
As well after mentioning the upcoming Queen’s Champion Tourney, I would like to add a plea for more field heralds. The number of heralds that came forward to help at Crown Tourney pleasantly surprised me. I want to thank you one and all. However, the real work is coming just around the corner. At the last Queen’s Champion there were four lists with four fields each, for sixteen total fields. In order to make sure that all the heralds get time off to rest their voices, we would need 32 working field heralds for the first few rounds. So please come out and volunteer your voice to your Kingdom and your new Queen.