Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hungarian folktales on Westeros

Going to a Game of Thrones themed library event with an SCA group to tell a Hungarian folktale definitely punched out all the remaining holes on my Nerd Card.
Not that I'm complaining.

We were invited to the Way Public Library in Perrysburg to do an SCA demo, and bring some medieval shinies and goodies to show off. I also volunteered to tell a story, and I was especially looking forward to it because it was an adults-only event (duh).
Got to give it to the organizers: The setup was pretty amazing. There was a table of books on Game of Thrones as well as its medieval inspirations, and another table for snacks. This latter one was a treat: Lemon cakes, bread and salt, a horse's heart made out of red jello, ice-blue punch, and little bowls with candy matching some of the major houses. For example, House Martell had a bowl full of gummy eyeballs. (Too soon?)
We set up our tables to display arts and crafts, as well as armor and weaponry. One end of the room was for presentations; on the other end there was a whiteboard where you could match the Houses' words with their sigils, or pin a braid on Khal Drogo. All in all, it was a nice setup for a themed event.

The librarians also earned brownie points in my eyes when, before the start of the event, they closed all the doors and started playing the Rains of Castamere.
(We all very quickly located the exists)

As for the entertainment: First there was a presentation about international relations theory, and how it relates to Game of Thrones. The professor who did it even ventured to guess what is going to happen in upcoming seasons/books. I didn't agree with all he said (that's the beauty of fandom) but there were some really interesting predictions. We'll see if he was right when we get there.
After the presentation, there was a hair-braiding demo done by ladies from a local salon; they made some very impressive braids on their model in almost no time at all. With that done, it was time for some storytelling.
I have been pondering what to tell in my 20 minutes; the choice was between a Hungarian folktale (to represent nomadic shamanistic cultures - let's face it, if we are anywhere on the map of Westeros, we are the Dothraki)  and the saga of Herraud and Bosi (for the little princess raising a dragon). I briefly even considered telling both of them in drastically shortened versions; but once I took the stage, the story took on its own life, and I went with it. I ended up telling a spot-on 20 minute version of the Son of the White Horse. I haven't told this story in ages, and I was not only happy to dust it off again, but also enjoyed seeing the audience's reactions. As well known as the tale is in Hungary (we pretty much all grow up with it), it is definitely a trip for foreigners. The audience was great, and followed through all the way.
Once again, the meeting of pop culture and traditional storytelling was a very enjoyable one. I wish I had gigs like this more often.

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