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King or King {insert name}

  1. King

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  2. King Midas

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  1. TheOracleOfAllGreatPlaces

    TheOracleOfAllGreatPlaces New Member

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    Addressing a King in a first person fantasy

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by TheOracleOfAllGreatPlaces, Apr 6, 2017.

    So I've been writing for awhile on a high school level and it seems to be good according to my friends that I have shared my writings to.
    I am writing a medieval fantasy story and it is told mainly through the perspective of a peasant turned knight. It is all in first person and I try to make it as realistic as possible because realism makes things better (in my opinion).
    At the beginning of paragraphs I address nobles as 'Lord' and 'Sir' then I continue on with their name. Although, the King I actually don't know how I address him, sometimes I address him as 'King Terry' then change to only calling 'The King', I do the same with the royal family and I'm not sure if I should continue calling King after mentioning his name once at the start of a chapter.
    So I ask anyone thats reading this to please help me, would it better if I address the King as 'King Terry' once in a chapter or every paragraph like with the other nobility. (The story is multi-perspective so sometimes I can refer to the King by first name)
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you mean "address" or "refer to"?

    "Address":

    I dropped to one knee. "Thank you, Your Majesty."

    "Address" would be a question of the etiquette of your fictional culture.

    "Refer to":

    The King was at the front of the room, singing "Rudolph" at the top of his lungs.

    For referring to the king, I think that a plausible strategy is using his name once and then just saying "the King" from then until you reach a point where there might be confusion. I think that's the strategy that you're describing?
     
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  3. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forms_of_address_in_the_United_Kingdom

    Bear in mind that "Your Majesty" only became the way to address the king during the reign of Henry VIII - prior to that it had been "Your Grace", which is where GRRMartin picked it up from.

    Referring to your peasant turned knight (that's a fantasy right there - it didn't happen in real mediaeval life), there's a scene in GoT where Arya Stark gives herself away by addressing Tywin Lannister as "My Lord". He picks her up, pointing out that only another noble would say that; a genuine servant-girl would say "M'Lord/M'lud".

    ETA: When referring to the king in third person, using "The king" should be sufficient, unless you need to distinguish between King Henry VIII of England and King Francois I of France, when you obviously need to name them.
     
  4. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributing Member

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    @TheOracleOfAllGreatPlaces
    I think what you're struggling with is avoiding repetition.

    But first, bear in mind what @ChickenFreak said: you're referring to the king, not addressing him.

    With this in mind, what you want to do is avoid repetition. If you're posing this question you're on to something already. Try to change the ways you mention the king as much as possible. Avoid repeating "the king, the king", use synonyms like sovereign or monarch (whatever works best), refer to him as "he" when possible. Remember that a more distant character (to the king) would still refer to him as King Terry the first time this character speaks of him. But be carefully about referring to him by his name Terry if you're writing through the perspective of the knight in the first person. A knight wouldn't refer to him as Terry unless they were intimate. The queen and his immediate family might, but how do you change that point of view so quickly?
    This is one of those questions that would need a sample for someone to look at.
     
  5. TheOracleOfAllGreatPlaces

    TheOracleOfAllGreatPlaces New Member

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    Thanks to everyone for responding

    @Rosacrvx I am trying to avoid repetition, but I think the method I have is working. I was only interested if other people were opposed to what I have already been doing

    @ChickenFreak I mean "refer to", I think I'm okay for addressing nobility. But I am still a learner of writing and medieval history so I could always do with more advice and knowledge. And you are correct about the strategy I was describing, I usually only refer to him as 'King Terry' at the beginning of chapters.

    @Shadowfax The thing about Arya from GoT I have taken into consideration and during the protagonist's time of being a peasant I have referred to nobles as "milord/milady" and when he he is knighted he refers to nobles as "my lord/my lady". I'm not sure if that was how they spoke but it does add that distinction between the castes of the feudal society
     
  6. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    My point about Arya was not that milord/My lord was the way that your rank allowed you to speak, but that she had been raised to say it My lord, and couldn't dumb it down when she found herself in a more menial position...so your peasant turned knight will carry on using milord, even when he's knighted.

    Similar point in GoT is Sir Davos Seaforth, the onion knight; he's common as muck, and he never forgets it just because he's been knighted.
     
  7. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributing Member

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    @TheOracleOfAllGreatPlaces
    I was confused when you said it's written in the first person. I'm assuming that this first person is acting as narrator and distant enough to refer to the king in different ways. (The king's lover, for instance, would not realistically refer to him as King Terry, in the first person. It would be Terry.) That was my confusion but now I think I know what you're doing. If the first person is distant enough, I see nothing wrong with it.
     
  8. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Active Member

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    Just bear in mind, when you address him as "King Terry" the "k" is capitalized, but when you address him as simply "the king" it's lowercase because its not a proper noun at that point. When you say "the King" with a capital letter, it brings to (my mind, at least) Elvis.
    "the King" - implies "King" is a name or nickname.
    "the king" - refers to the man by his title or position.
    "King Terry" - "king" here is part of his name, so it is capitalized.


    The only exception to this rule I've seen was when I was in the (US) Army, and they insisted on capitalizing "Soldier" no matter how it was used. So annoying.
    But interestingly, the US Marines do it. You wouldn't say "He was a marine", you'd say, "He was a Marine."
    Going off on a tangent here. Sorry.
    TL/DR- Friendly reminder to watch your use of proper/improper nouns.
     
  9. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Contributing Member

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    If I were king I'd insist all my lovers call me King Homer in bed. Come to think of it, I do that now....
     
  10. TheOracleOfAllGreatPlaces

    TheOracleOfAllGreatPlaces New Member

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    I'm not too sure if this would be a good example. It is mid chapter and it is before the protagonist was knighted so he is still a common footsoldier in the army.

    @Stormsong07 that thing about the Marines, I have something like that in the story where there is a special branch of knights called 'Red Knights', I'm not sure if I should keep them capitalised or not

    “I have reason to believe that the rebels that attacked were reinforcements, possibly led by Lord Zeller Bloodborn,” I saw the king’s smile fade away. He pressed his back against the throne and I saw his face turn sour as he thought silently. The lady turned to the king and she reached out and touched his arm,

    “Are you sure it was Lord Zeller?”

    “I’m going off what I have heard about him,” The king looked to the lady and he placed a hand over her’s. The king climbed up to his feet and he began walking towards me. I lowered my head to the king as he walked closer to me,

    I am still writing at a high-school level so I still have much to learn and any advice would be much appreciated
     
  11. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is exactly what our Workshop is for, post a piece of your writing there and you'll get a lot of feedback on most aspects. :)

    Now, try to keep this thread to the topic of "how to refer to a king", and not full-blown feedback (even though it can be hard to resist :rolleyes:). ;)
     
  12. Mr Cookie

    Mr Cookie Member

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    I'd definitely go for just 'the King'. If he's the only king in the room, everyone knows who you're talking about. Minimise unnecessary words.
     
  13. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Shh. The safeword is Swiss Fish Salad. :D Contributor

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    Well how informal.
    My king could work.
    Your majesty or highness would be more formal.
    But if you are going call him King or King Midas,
    why not just abandon King all together.

    "Midas and I are gonna grab a pint down at the pub later."
    So you have to decide just how far you want to throw respectability out the window.:supergrin:
    It is not the same as addressing others with titles of lesser status.
     
  14. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributing Member

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    @TheOracleOfAllGreatPlaces
    I think you're doing it right. One of the limitations of the first person, in my opinion, is that you have to realistically stick to the way of referring to the character which is more normal to the narrator. Hence, repetition can't be avoided. Mom is Mom, Dad is Dad, the king is the king. It would be awkward if a first person narrator would start using synonymous for the sake of composition. I was thinking of a third person narrator when I suggested it.
     

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