While not the most adventurous of list items, I’ve always been morbidly curious of Medieval Times and had never been. Seemed like one of those cultural institutions that you only visit if family comes to town and you need to play tourist. Like Ripley’s Believe it or Not or the Hollywood Wax Museum (which I’ve only been to because family came to visit while we lived in Hollywood). Sylvia’s parents were in town so the time was right.
List Item: Go to Medieval Times
Step one: nearly an hour and a half sitting in traffic. The problem with venturing south to Orange County on a weekday evening is that millions of people are heading the same direction on the same roads. This is a drive one would normally avoid at all costs. Even using Waze and taking circuitous routes through towns like Vernon (random mind-blowing fact about Vernon #1: Vernon was the location of the final battle of the Mexican-American War. One causality from each side. Random mind-blowing fact about Vernon #2: it was named after a dirt road.), this was an extremely slow journey. In-auspicious start to an adventure.
My friend, Erich, gave the best advice when talking about how to enjoy yourself at shows like this. He’s been to Medieval Times several… times. He’s also been to the similarly staged pirate themed show next door. His advice was simple enough: get belligerently into it.
Shit was about to get REAL.
I told Ruby that we were going to cheer-on our champion like our lives depended on it. I also told her that our lives might very well depend on it. The audience gets split into six different colored sections and each color has a “Champion” knight who represents that section. We got the green section. The Green Knight was our guy! Scream it from the rooftops… GREEN!!!
True to her word, Ruby shrieked at every possible moment. She said it would be, “death day for my ears”. We went nuts whenever the Green Knight did anything. But during the first competition, where each knight uses a lance to pierce and collect small rings while speeding by on their horse, our boy green was the only one to miss one target. When the support beams were raised into the rafters, the one lone ring mocked us for the rest of the night.
The show itself was made all the better by our devotion. The falcon show was genuinely incredible. Seeing a bird of prey swoop around that close-up is difficult to watch without attentive awe. Dinosaurs. The horses with their various prances and jumps were beautiful (though we all recoiled a bit when we saw a trainer snapping with a short whip to ‘encourage’ a horse hopping on this hind legs to continue. That kind of sucks, actually).
The forced comedy of the show is as hokey as you’d expect. The stage fighting was formulaic and the food was terrible, but it’s all in good fun and in the interest of getting you to buy stuff. Flashing LED axe? Yup. Plastic necklace made-up of knight armor that lights-up in different colors? Indeed. Strong drinks in souvenir gobblers? Yes, please. How about a flag with your champion’s colors? OK. Just take my wallet already.
I’m sad to report that the Green Knight didn’t win the championship. In fact, the Green Knight was kind of a dick. He turned on the king, which I’m generally for, but his motivation came out of nowhere and felt ham-fisted from a literary reversal standpoint. I feel used for having supported him for what must have been years. It felt like years.
When all was said and done, it lasted twenty minutes longer than I wanted it to, but I’m glad we went. If for no other reason than to have done it. Thanks for the memories, Medieval Times. Three days later and I’ve forgotten them already.
Difficulty: None. I guess you need to live near one of the 10 location in the world where there’s a Medieval Times.
- Engage! – It would be very easy to focus on the obvious that the place is designed to separate you from your money, but Erich’s advice can translate to many experiences: get belligerently into it.
- Be careful who you support – Blind allegiance is dangerous as we’ve seen throughout history as despots and egomaniacal politicians have corrupted the populaces of many a society. Such was my support of the Green Knight. For this, I am ashamed.