Monday, October 24, 2011

The Bucket Tips Again

Anyone who is a major fan of Lord of the Rings (books and movies, for me) will probably quickly get what I'm talking about.

You see, there's this hobbit. His name is Pippin. (Well, actually it's Peregrin, but rarely do we remember that.) He's a Took, and that kind of counts against him. In The Fellowship of the Ring "curiosity kills the Pippin" (not literally) when he touches an arrow on an dwarf skeleton, causing the dwarf skeleton's head to fall off and down a well, followed by the dwarf skeleton body, followed by a bucket on a chain. It's generally customary in my family to yell: GRAB THE BUCKET PIPPIN GRAB THE BUCKET! because the ensuing racket brings the orcs down our beloved Fellowship.

But alas, he can't hear us, and he never grabs the bucket. (It's similar to the "THROW THE LETTER IN THE FIRE, MARIAN!" moment in the 1938 Robin Hood.) It's one of those movie moments where you always have a slight hope that the outcome will change, but it never does.

Noooo, not again!
I experience a similar feeling when reading about or listening to lectures on the Battle of Hastings.

I'll wait until you stop laughing to continue.

You see, I'm partial to Anglo-Saxons. This is probably long Robin Hood conditioning (maybe that's the real reason I never got into King Arthur...nah, I'm pretty sure it was the cutting-heads-in-half bit), but whatever the case, it exists.

There was a crisis of "who's next in line for the throne" when Edward the Confessor died in 1066. He was childless, and three people thought they deserved it. Without getting into the (confusing) reasons why all of these three people had claims, they were: Harold Godwinson (England), Harald HardrĂ¥da (Norway), and William the Conqueror (Normandy).

The winds in the English Channel prevented William of Normandy from setting sail when he meant to, so Harald of Norway reached England first--in the North. The Anglo-Saxon army met and defeated him in the Battle of Stamford Bridge. However, no sooner had they done that, than they discovered that William had landed in Southern England. They then had to rush pell-mell back across England to meet this new force. Partially because of their weakened state from the battle in the North, partially because of their trouble with the Norman cavalry, and probably partially because of other factors I can't remember off the top of my head, they were then defeated by the Normans in the Battle of Hastings.

William the Conqueror was crowned king on Christmas Day, 1066.

(If you want a good present for Nai, find one of those books that has full color prints of the Bayeux Tapestry.)
Which always leaves me a little depressed. I mean, it's not fair! Darn French Vikings.

You can continue laughing now.




P.S. I actually would really like to write a book set in 1066 at some point. From Anglo-Saxon vantage point, of course. I could pretend it's Robin's ancestor.

3 comments:

Sandy said...

I don't claim to be anywhere close to a history geek, but I can say with all honesty...

I get the very same feeling whenever I hear this story =P

Farjag said...

I totally agree! There is a really good historical fiction book by G.A. Henty called Wulf the Saxon which documents the years leading up the to Battle of Hastings, and I'm telling you, the only thing I don't like about that book is that the Normans win in the end! It's told from an Anglo-Saxon viewpoint (obviously), and presents in a very interesting way all of the politics and what not that went into the final play for power.

Nairam said...

@Sandy: Well, at least it isn't only me. :P

@Farjag: I've heard about that book several times; I just haven't gotten around to it. I didn't realize that was the time period, though. Maybe after I move I can get my hands on it!

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