During a siege, knights would host tournaments (in this case, probably jousts) to amuse themselves, and sometimes they’d even invite some of the besieged knights to join them. Sieges were boring and jousts were amusing. By the later middle ages, very few knights died in jousts, so the risks were small and the excitement factor was high.
Okay, who knew that? I know I didn’t. Moreover, why don’t historical novelists feature some of these tournaments? Personally, I see loads of potential for tension between enemies if they’re out jousting with each other, or even between romantic leads if the hero’s life is suddenly in danger, and the author could kill off characters from something much more exciting than dysentery.
Sound good to anyone else?
If you know an author who does have tournaments in depth besides Elizabeth Chadwick and Sharon Kay Penman, leave me a comment! I’d love to read fictionalized tournaments, I think it would help me grasp this a little better. I have plenty of academic work on the subject already.
Also, am I the only person out there who would just love to try on actual medieval armor? It could be a replica, but I want to know what it really felt like. I’ll skip riding a warhorse though. The one time I did ride an actual horse and not a pony, I was terrified and the horse acted up on purpose because it mysteriously knew, and I would not like to repeat that experience!