If you’ve never read any Arthurian Legend, and if you’ve got an appreciation for World Wrestling Entertainment, the Tournament of Kings would be pretty great. Having read quite a few books on Arthur and his court, and not really digging on WWE, it was awesome.
N and I were prepared to have a nice night in. We’d decided against the Tournament mostly because we were running a little short on cash prior to her getting paid – and there seems to be a hiccup in that direction – and because the guy at the desk told us it would have been $150. My boss, the incredible Dave Bryenton, insisted we go, using money he’d given us for purchases for the store if need be. Turns out, we didn’t really need it, because the guy at the box office desk was a total sweetness and gave us the Staying at the Excalibur Discount because we seemed sweet. He even tried to get us some seats together through the Talk to My Boss pointer. While we weren’t able to sit next to one another, he was still awesome.
So Dave, Kevin, you guys rock. Horses, you suck, and you are not allowed to eat my flesh.
So we sit down, me on the stairs, N at her seat, me on the stairs beside her until the food gets delivered. I was seated next to two lovely ladies, one of whom was on her fourth go at the Tournament, and one who was there for the first time. Both were pretty great, and we chatted for a bit while we waited for the tournament to start. I let them know about my phobia, and they were even sweet enough to check in on me when the action started.
Merlin came out and made some announcements, introduced Arthur, and then introduced us to some crowd participation stuff. Then our “kings” came out. Ours was Ireland, as we were seated in the green section of the stands. One of the more entertaining aspects of the Tournament was that England was not represented anywhere. N and I chalked this up to American independence issues. It’s interesting to note that the Tsar of Russia was also a douchebag. A hold-over from the Cold War? Maybe. I dunno. Regardless, Ireland was a hot Maori dude, and easily the most personable of the fellows. We cheered as loud as we could while he was competing, and he returned the favour by being awesome and interacting with us freely and charismatically. He kind of reminded me of one of the store’s Magic guys. N didn’t see it.
The first bit was a song and dance bit during which some Gypsy Whores came out and danced seductively for the kings, and it was ridiculous and racially insensitive and weirdly fun. The the evil Dragon King (Mordred) came out and made some threats, and then we started the tournament itself. There was a race, there was a bashing of heads on sticks, and a joust. Out of all of them, the jousting itself was the most interesting to me; it was so fast. Faster than I have ever thought it would be. They filed up on the ranks, and then BLAM! Crazy action! Shit exploding! People falling off of horses (shudder)! Sword fights!
The sword fights were easily the most WWE part of the whole thing. Clearly choreographed and performed by people who know every move. It’s quick-paced and practiced and professional. It’s also clearly fake, and that’s part of the charm. Much like the action in WWE, the awesome isn’t the fight itself, the awesome is in the athleticism and the scale of the things they’re doing. Every move may be already planned and practiced, but those moves aren’t easy to do, and to perform them is clearly difficult and requires years of training. These guys are incredible stunt people, and they do some amazing work.
The mythology on show is utterly ridiculous. Did you know that King Arthur had a son named Christopher? I sure didn’t. And Mordred apparently has a bunch of dragons or something. And those dragons are dudes in ridiculous rubber suits. Also, Arthur apparently had dominion over France and Hungary and Ireland and Russia… And Britain only as long as it isn’t called Britain. They called it Albion, which is cute.
The food was also pretty decent. A small roast chicken, some potatoes, and a McDonalds apple pie. Woot!
I don’t have any game stuff for this entry yet. Give me a day or two and I’ll come up with something.