Agincourt Gamebook progress

I’ve decided that I really need to grind out the content for the Agincourt gamebook as swiftly as possible to keep up the momentum – more sweat and less prevarication and distraction from things like blogging is required!!

I found when I put together www.marklord.info over the weekend, that I was able to get this done by just concentrating on it. The fact that I had started to publish some web-pages and wanted to get everything as tidy as possible online as soon as possible really helped. I think it doesn’t look half bad now, apart from the annoying GoDaddy advertising!
I hope to take the same approach with the Agincourt gamebook, get the html together soon and start getting it online. Then I can turn to the fun part of sending it out to people and promoting it. 

Narrator of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose

I once reviewed Eco’s Baudalino for another blog and found its attempt at postmodern humour. I think Eco does much better when he’s being more serious, and there’s no better example of that than his classic medieval mystery story The Name of the Rose. I have recently started reading this again for my own research – see the Roger Draper project. I found it interesting how he uses a narrator who was actually present during the events to tell the story. This has a number of advantages, the character of the narrator is emotionally involved in the story and can give a vivid description of what happens, while also allowing the reader to get an insight into the medieval mind. However, by making the narrator a minor character and not one of the principles, it allows Eco to provide commentary on characters such as William of Baskerville and maintain some mystery about their thoughts and motives. As a reader therefore our respect for William’s deductions are enhanced. A bit like the way Conan Doyle used Watson to narrate the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Something worth bearing in mind perhaps for my own Roger Draper book. Who would be the narrator though – the bungline Roger, who is baffled by the intuition and deduction of his lowly sidekick Jake? Could be…

Chivalry, prisoners and the code of medieval warfare

… before the rise of infantry armies in the 14c. I was reading an article by Clifford Rogers on revolutions in Medieval warfare, and I found a few statistics here quite illuminating. This was part of my research for the Agincourt gamebook, but this musing might come in useful perhaps at a later date. 

The gist of it is that the chivalric code in a way did hold good for limiting and ‘civilising’ the dangers of violence in the High Middle Ages – say between 11c and 13c. The statistics quoted show that casulties tended to get higher as armies became more infantry based and more professional. While the main part of armies were the chivalric knight, casulties were lower. Instead once defeated a knight would surrender and their surrender would be accepted. However, as armies later became more based on common infantry soldiers the value of prisoners declined – no fat ransoms could be gained, thus fewer prisoners were taken and battles became bloodier.
Did this have anything to do with a chivalric code, or was it more to do with greed (the taking of high-ranking prisoners being a way to make money)? Its tempting to think that the chivalry of the courtly romances wasn’t all illusion. Were the High Middle Ages a time that was less bloody and ruthless than our ‘civilised’ modern world, where slaughter is an industry?