Friday, September 11, 2015

The Awesomeness of Chivalry

CHIVALRY: The combination of qualities ideally expected of a knight, including courage, generosity, and courtesy.

Whenever I think of chivalry, I picture images of pretty knights in shining armor. In the recent Mission Impossible movie, there's a scene where Ethan Hunter is attempting to save a damsel in distress who has just betrayed him. She's being chased by bad guys on motorcycles. He goes after them to save her even though she doesn't want to be saved. To keep Ethan from chasing her, she suddenly steps into the road--he skids away and crashes. She's used his gallantry against him. Sometimes, chivalry sucks for guys.

Chivalry, rumor has it, began in the medieval era, when bored ladies decided to pretend that knights actually were gentlemen in shining armor--not murderous thugs, tucked into battered pieces of metal, who terrorized the countryside. Even if some of the ladies were wed, the knights were allowed to court them, receiving garters and such as party favors at tournaments or in exchange for a ballad/poem written to the object of their desire.  Yes. These brutes would have to recite a poem or sing something and not expect anything in return. The younger, idealistic men were supposed to not expect anything either, but I bet they did it just to get that little piece of lingerie to wear on their arm.

As the centuries passed, chivalry began to resemble something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon, and it was spiced with a just a pinch of chauvinism. It was fine when men opened doors, paid the entire dinner check, or flung their coats over puddles so a lady's shoes weren't ruined. But chivalry began to offend some women who decided it was quite demeaning when presented with an attitude of 'You poor, helpless thing.' Still, it was kind of nice.

Most writers, if they want to sketch a likable character, male or female, love the idea of chivalry, of courtesy and self-sacrifice. So, chivalry is not dead. At least it lives on in fiction.


  1. There was a code. I like the idea of that, even if they were not always very good men, they followed the code. LOL. Nice Post. Hope you are doing well. I have been busy saving my book!!!!!

    1. I agree. I love the notion of people trying to be gallant. I hope your book is doing well!