#atozchallenge J is for Jousting


by Lillian Csernica on April 11, 2019

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I worked at the first Medieval Times dinner theater in the United States. It was in Buena Park, which is famous as the home of some Hollywood-based companies. The big draw of Medieval Times is having your dinner while watching two knights on horseback engage in a jousting match with real lances.

I managed a crafts booth at the Agoura Renaissance Faire for a jeweler. My boss managed to get a spot in the Gift Shop, which was out in the small courtyard ringed by the stables. Yes, my shop was in a converted horse stall.

Oh, the stories I could tell about what went on while I worked there. The Head of Security was a fascinating fellow with a military background. Each of the knights had tales to tell. The owner was a gentleman from Spain. I loved this place for the same reason I love international airports. You just never knew who might show up from one night to the next. We had a lot of celebrities come to see the show, actors and sports stars and other Big Names.

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Working at Medieval Times did cause me cognitive dissonance as a writer. The production designer must have done some reading on what an actual joust looked like in terms of arena design, how the horses were caparisoned, and what the armor looked like, along with the lances. Other than that, historical accuracy went out the window. It was all down to whatever looked good and sold souvenirs.

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This is an occupational hazard when you write historical novels. I strive for historical accuracy, I really do. There have been times when somebody in an editorial position has pointed out to me that I occasionally get carried away with realism at the expense of story. The first time I wrote a medieval novel, that involved six different languages. Why? I had everybody speaking the language he or she would have spoken at that time:

My agent told me I’d better stick to French, Spanish, and English.

If you’d like to get a look at the jousting match, there’s one episode of Cake Boss where Buddy takes his family to Medieval Times. He made a cake for a special occasion being celebrated during the tournament, and the cake alone is impressive.

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6 Comments

Filed under #atozchallenge, Blog challenges, Family, Fiction, Food, historical fiction, history, Lillian Csernica, research, romance, travel, Writing

6 responses to “#atozchallenge J is for Jousting

  1. Authenticity vs. accuracy is sometimes such a blurred line. We want to get it right, but we don’t want to lose the reader.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the jousting match at Medieval Times. Gonna have to check out that cake. Also, like your alphabet blog idea! Brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Had dinner at the Medieval Times once, when I was in the SCA and went in costume. The ‘errors’ did stand out to me and my confreres, but I found that sufficient wine made up for that! Likewise good-looking waiters in hosiery. Still, accuracy matters. Why do we read historical fiction? So we can live somewhere/somewhen else for a while that actually existed. Otherwise, we read fantasy. But even there, accuracy about the real things makes the rest of it so much more believable. And then there’s alternate history, where you have to get the real history right to make it work at all.

    Like

  4. For me it’s geographical inaccuracy. But that happens more in movies, I think. Iowa doesn’t have giant cliffs. Waves would never be that huge in a small sea surrounded by islands and peninsulas.

    After AtoZ, I’ll have to check out your books. I’ve enjoyed historical fiction in the past. Happy AtoZ!
    Doesn’t Speak Klingon

    Liked by 1 person

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