Thursday, 11 July 2013

On Being a Court Herald

One of my favourite activities in the SCA is acting as a court herald, whether a small Baronial court with maybe ten people, or a Royal court for Their Majesties and two hundred of their populace.

The main part of the work as court herald is fairly simple. You're the loudspeaker system, so that the Crown doesn't have to strain their voice all the time. You're the schedule-keeper, so that the Crown doesn't have to hide behind paper to check things every time. And finally, you're there to add some pomp and fanciness to court.

There are occasions when court needs a little less pomp, and a little more pump, to keep the populace engaged. In situations like these, I urge you... If there must be comedy, the herald should play the straight man.

There can be complexities when acting as court herald, which is where a good herald can show their skill to make things flow smoothly. And flow is the operative word: Court should flow from one item to the next, without great pauses to let the populace feel bored in.

If someone is far from court when they're called in? Perhaps move to the next item, and get back to it. If someone brings up extra business as you're trying to close court? Too late, perhaps next time.

In all of this, however, remember that the Crown are the centre of attention, not the herald (no matter how much it feels like it sometimes). If the Crown want to wait for someone, or allow last-minute business, or even engage in some light capering? It's their show.

If you would like a more in-depth look at the life of a court herald, please see Court in the Act, an article I wrote which was published on the Florilegium.

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