I think the Renaissance Faire may be many different things to many different people. Which is great! But it’s definitely not a living history sort of event, and is most certainly a modern affair. I’m still not sure why Deadpool was there, but I’m not so much of a stickler that I particularly care. We were just there to drink some mead, eat a turkey leg, and watch some knights hit each other with swords. Also, I threw a couple axes at a log, and qualified for the axe-throwing tournament! But alas, we could not stay quite long enough for me to become a competitive axe-thrower, so I must be content to merely wonder “What if?”
Throughout our day at the event, I couldn’t help but keep thinking how much my twelve year-old self would have loved to attend just such a gathering. There were swords at every turn, dragon things everywhere, and whimsical heraldry throughout. Had I been exposed to the Faire Life at such a formative age, perhaps I’d be on a whole other life trajectory, fletching arrows and hand-making English longbows, and engaging in debates about which arrowheads could pierce what armor at how many paces. It’s an intriguing world that exists at the intersection of nerd interests and historical technicality that I would’ve found very appealing.
I still find it intriguing, although I think my temperament has become far less interested in the minutiae of fact. I’ve still got that desire for accuracy, of course, but I also recognize that if I spend too much energy trying to research and figure out what sort of metallurgical techniques were in use in 13th century Frankfurt, I’d never actually get anything accomplished. That was definitely an urge I had to fight throughout my work on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner— I had to be satisfied with simply drawing “a ship”, rather than a specific ship, with each and every line and sail accounted for. Had I bothered to draw every rope that one would have actually seen on the deck of a sailing vessel, each ship scene would have 1) taken forever to draw, and 2) been really, really visually cluttered. At a certain point, I recognized that it was just more important to draw the story than make a precise simulation of life at sea.
So, keep the Bacon Jalapeño Poppers on the menu, Renaissance Faire! If people want accuracy, they should head to the library. I say just relax, and enjoy the sight of watching barefoot pirates trade Magic: The Gathering cards with shirtless barbarians.