Of Knights, Outlaws, and Legos
“Can I be an outlaw today? I just love living in the forest!” “Hmm… but I wanted to be an outlaw, and they took over the castle.” “You can’t have the outlaws and the castle!” “Why don’t you build a castle with the red and yellow blocks? It’ll be the colors of your knights. My guys will have this ugly grey one.” (why did I fall for that??)
“The outlaws have to have brown horses, how else can they hide in the shrubs?” “But my knight took your outlaw’s horse!” “well, my guy took your other knights’ horses.” “Remember though? Those horses are black and white and will be seen a mile away!” “How far is a mile again?”
We had elaborate castle/knight set-ups. Lots of horses, lots of bows and arrows, swords, and our Legos sets even had carts, treasure, and a dungeon (hidden inside a tree-house, how cool was that?!). We would play with these sets for days: my younger sister, older brother, and me. It’s the kind of play that could only evolve over time, lots of it, spent together. Elaborating on the previous days’ rules, fine-tuning our game, deepening our communication skills:
- A spear can be thrown the exact distance from your pinky to your thumb.
- A bow and arrow can go twice as far,
- unless you’re shooting downhill, in which case it can go three times the distance from your pinky to your thumb.
- You can see the distance from shoulder to your hand, but only during the day. During the night you can see from your pinky to your thumb.
And the list went on. I didn’t realize until adulthood that this was completely unfair towards us younger sisters. My brother is 3 years older than I am, and so his bow and arrows could shoot much farther than mine!
The only exposure we’d had to knights was not through commercial interests or reading books. Living in Europe, our annual vacations always included at least one old castle. These castles, and the displays within some of them, fueled our imaginations for years.
I leave you with this commercial from my childhood. And a big shout-out to my mom for allowing us such time for unstructured play, and even letting us keep it set up for multiple days. I’m sure there was lots of fighting and lots of little Lego pieces strewn about. But she saw the more important things. Thanks mom.