5. Cooperation

Each one of us is walking our own road. We are born at specific times, in specific places, and our challenges are unique. As knights, understanding and respecting our distinctiveness is vital to our ability to harness our collective strength. The use of force may be necessary to protect in an emergency, but only justice, fairness, and cooperation can truly succeed in leading men. We must live and work together as brothers or perish together as fools.

6. Friendship

The quality of your life will, to a large extent, be decided by with whom you elect to spend your time.

7. Forgiveness

Those who cannot easily forgive will not collect many friends. Look for the best in others.

8. Honesty

A dishonest tongue and a dishonest mind waste time, and therefore waste our lives. We are here to grow and the truth is the water, the light, and the soil from which we rise. The armor of falsehood is subtly wrought out of the darkness and hides us not only from others but from our own soul.

9. Courage

Anything that gives light must endure burning.

10. Grace

Grace is the ability to accept change. Be open and supple; the brittle break.

11. Patience

There is no such thing as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A hurried mind is an addled mind; it cannot see clearly or hear precisely; it sees what it wants to see, or hears what it is afraid to hear, and misses much. A knight makes time his ally. There is a moment for action, and with a clear mind that moment is obvious.

12. Justice

There is only one thing for which a knight has no patience: injustice. Every true knight fights for human dignity at all times.

13. Generosity

You were born owning nothing and with nothing you will pass out of this life. Be frugal and you can be generous.

From Ethan Hawke’s Rules for a Knight a fictional (sort of) treatise on what it means to be a knight. Or, really, how to be good human being. This came out a few years ago and I passed it over but having read a bit more about it I’m now pretty keen to read it. I’ve got a bit of a reading backlog, though not for want of reading! I’m just not very good at adding books to the list at a slower rate than I read them.

I’m about two thirds of the way through Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant. I find the style a bit odd but I’m sticking with it though I’m scared of how it might end. One of my biggest fears is losing my memory and a major plot driver is that the Britons and Saxons are forgetting everything (for reasons I won’t reveal here). I’ve also had the Liveship Traders sitting on my shelves for far too long. The Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies are outstanding, some of my favourite fantasy novels, I’m keen to get back to that world. I’ve also got the first Wizard Scout book and the Haunting of Fabian Grey (thanks Signal Boost!), so… yeah. Lots to read.

Before we go, the last two rules:

19. Love

Love is the end goal. It is the music of our lives. There is no obstacle that enough love cannot move.

20. Death

Life is a long series of farewells; only the circumstances should surprise us. A knight concerns himself with gratitude for the life he has been given. He does not fear death, for the work one knight begins, others may finish.


A Dead Djinn in Cairo

Fatma el-Sha’arawi, special investigator with the Egyptian Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities, stood gazing through a pair of spectral goggles at the body slumped atop the mammoth divan.

A djinn.

A Dead Djinn in Cairo is a short story set in an alternate early 20th Century Egypt by P.Djeli Clark and well worth your time. (Kevin Hong’s beautiful illustration alone makes it worth a click at least.)

If you like djinn, ghul and dervish by way of swashbuckling fantasy I highly recommend The Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed, or if you prefer your genies as part of a real-life Cold War thriller then I would point you towards Declare by Tim Powers. Both great books.

Art Books Illustration

Pennington’s Dune


This is the cover my copy of Dune has (and it’s clearly the best) but I’ve never seen the covers Bruce Pennington did for the other books in the Dune series:


They’re so awesome!

More Dune covers…

Books Music

The Last of the Giants

Oh, I am the last of the giants,
My people are gone from the earth,
The last of the great mountain giants,
Who ruled all the world at my birth,
Oh, the small folk have stolen my forests,
They’ve stolen my rivers and hills,
And they’ve built a great wall through my valleys,
And fished all the fish from my rills
In stone halls they burn their great fires,
In stone halls they forge their sharp spears,
While I walk alone in the mountains,
With no true companion but tears
They hunt me with dogs in the daylight,
They hunt me with torches by night
Oh, I am the last of the giants,
So learn well the words of my song
For when I am gone all the singing will fade,
And the silence will last long and long

From A Storm of Swords.

Books Design Humanities

Royal Badges

This is from my copy of A Handbook of English Heraldry (11th edition, published 1914) by Charles Boutell: “a concise list of the more important of the Badges that have been borne by the Sovereigns and Princes of England”.

William Rufus: A Flower of five foils.
Henry I.: A Flower of eight foils.
Stephen: A Flower of seven foils: a Sagittarius.
Henry II.: The Planta-genista: an Escarbuncle: a Sword and Olive-Branch.
Richard I.: A Star of thirteen rays and a Crescent: a Star issuing from a Crescent: a Mailed Arm grasping a broken Lance, with the Motto—”Christo Duce.”
John and Henry III: A Star issuing from a Crescent.
Edward I.: An heraldic Rose or, stalked ppr.
Edward II.: A Castle of Castile
Edward III.: A Fleur de Lys: a Sword: a Falcon: a Gryphon: the Stock of a Tree: Rays issuing from a Cloud.
Richard II.: A White Hart lodged: the Stock of a Tree: A White Falcon: the Sun in splendour: the Sun clouded
Henry IV.: The Cypher SS: a crowned Eagle: an Eagle displayed: a White Swan: A Red Rose: a Columbine Flower: A Fox’s Tail: a crowned Panther: the Stock of a Tree: a Crescent. His Queen, Joan of Navarre: An Ermine, or Gennet.
Henry V.: A Fire-beacon: a White Swan gorged and chained: a chained Antelope
Henry VI.: Two Ostrich Feathers in Saltire: a chained Antelope: a Panther
Edward IV.: A White Rose en Soleil: a White Wolf and White Lion: a White Hart: a Black Dragon and Black Bull: a Falcon and Fetter-lock: the Sun in splendour
Henry VII.: A Rose of York and Lancaster, a Portcullis and a Fleur de lys, all of them crowned: a Red Dragon: a White Greyhound: a Hawthorn Bush and Crown, with the cypher H.R.
Henry VIII.: The same, without the Hawthorn Bush, and with a White Cock His Queens: Catherine of Aragon—A Rose, Pomegranate, and Sheaf of Arrows. Anne Boleyn—A Crowned Falcon, holding a Sceptre. Jane Seymour—A Phoenix rising from a Castle, between Two Tudor Roses. Catherine Parr—A Maiden’s Head crowned, rising from a large Tudor Rose.
Edward VI.: A Tudor Rose: the Sun in Splendour.
Mary: A Tudor Rose impaling a Pomegranate— also impaling a Sheaf of Arrows, ensigned with a Crown, and surrounded with rays: a Pomegranate.
Elizabeth: A Tudor Rose with the motto, “Rosa sine Spinâ” (a Rose without a Thorn): a Crowned Falcon and Sceptre. She used as her own motto—”Semper Eadem” (Always the same).
James I.: A Thistle: a Thistle and Rose dimidated and crowned,. No. 308, with the motto—”Beati Pacifici” (Blessed are the peacemakers).
Charles I., Charles II., James II.: The same badge as James I., without his motto.
Anne: A Rose-branch and a Thistle growing from on branch

Some notes on the list:

  • Or (when in italics) is the heraldic term for gold rather than the conjunction, so a Rose or, stalked ppr is a golden rose with a purple stalk (ppr is shorthard for purpure)
  • The Planta-genista of Henry II is the broom, and gives the Plantagenets their name. An Escarbuncle is like an eight-spoked cross (it looks a bit like a cartwheel without the wheel)
  • Plenty of pub names: White Hart, Sun in Splendour, Spread Eagle (an Eagle Displayed), Red Dragon
  • Impaled and dimidated both mean that the badge is split into two halves with one image on each side. When impaled each half shows the full badge scaled to fit the space; then dimidated the image is cropped, as if two complete badges were taken, sliced in two then stuck together. This can lead to some pretty funny arms (looking at you Prochowice).
  • Even if your Tudor history is rusty you should be able to figure out which of Henry’s wives bore which of his children.
  • A Badge is similar to, but distinct from a Coat of Arms or a Crest. Generally a Badge resembles a single charge and may be borne by itself (Arms must appear on a shield or lozenge, a Crest on a coronet). A good local example would be the Bear and Ragged Staff of the Beauchamps and Nevilles
Books TV

Mr Wednesday