Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Knightly Virtues

Several of the Knights of Numenor. Photo © Ellie Apland
Knighthood in Belegarth has a staggering variety of interpretations across its population. Each individual line of knights has its own requirements and values, and so the meaning continues to become increasingly diluted over time. This has lead to many bitter arguments about the "right" way to do things and if Knighthood even has any value beyond feeding a few egos.

Despite that, there are several knights who are almost universally lauded for their service and bearing. This leads me to believe that at the core there is a set of values which we generally agree are "good" or "knightly".

In light of that, I've decided to do a quick write-up of what traits I, personally, look for in the knights I respect. No one matches all of these perfectly, of course, but that's why I find this sort of list so interesting.


A knight should be a leader in word and deed. He seeks out problems and solves them with the help of others in a timely fashion. He is a voice of experience and guidance among his peers.

Pitfall of this virtue: Passivity
Someone showing leadership does not need to be told where to help out. A knight who only addresses issues when they are brought directly to his attention does not show leadership, even if he agree to assist with the problem afterwards.

Martial Mastery

A knight should be aware of all aspects of fighting. Although he will not be the best, or even great at every style, he should be knowledgeable enough to instruct others mindfully. Above all, he should always be aware of why he does what he does.

Pitfall of this virtue: Fixation
It is easy for someone to become entrenched in their strongest skills and focus solely on those, effectively barring the breadth of their knolwedge. A knight who only understands a small subset of styles that he uses every day has avoided becoming a complete master.


A knight should be giving of himself to his peers and his realm. Whether it be time, money, or skills, he should occasionally be willing to sacrifice for the good of others. If he sees a Belegrim in need, he is ready to step in however necessary.

Pitfall of this virtue: Permisiveness
Although being generous is a virtue, letting others take advantage of your kindness is not. A knight who allows others to rely on him to great excess does not show true generosity, as it creates a culture of devaluing service and personal growth.


A knight should seek to constantly better the world around him. When social or political conflicts arise, he should seek to solve them in a positive manner that best aids his peers, putting aside his personal gripes. He should also actively teach others, building them up to become the best they can.

Pitfall of this virtue: Explanation over Action
Many who try to be constructive fall short by merely assessing and explaining a situation but never attempting to resolve it. A knight who gives generic instruction to others instead of actively shaping the situation to the positive has failed at being constructive.


A knight should be welcoming to all he meets. He is a face that represents the best Belegarth has to offer, and should wear that responsibility proudly. Others should regularly seek him out because they know he will be reasonable and considerate.

Pitfall of this virtue: Tolerance Alone
Having listened to the same complaints and questions for many years, it becomes easy to simply tolerate those around you. A knight who will accept the approach of others, but does not inspire confidence and trust in them, has not mastered the art of congeniality.


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