We understand that there has been a great deal of concern expressed over the "canceling" of Great Court at Pennsic this year. We wish to clarify this situation. The Crowns of the Known World on Friday night shall process and gather on the great stage of the barn as they always have. Each Crown will address the populace with words of their own. The Midrealm and the East will announce the winners of the War and acknowledge the victors of the various Champions' Battles and Archery Mass Shoots. We expect court to last at least one hour. The only portion that will be missing will be each kingdom giving awards to their individual kingdom populace.
Over the years, as Great Court has gotten longer and longer (we are now 17 kingdoms), less and less of the populace has stayed for the entire court. This has especially been true of Eastern Court, as we are either the second to last court or the last court to be held. Last year, by the time we held court, there were more Easterners attending us, than Eastern audience members. Both Darius and I have been around for many years (combined we have been in the SCA for 30+ years) and have seen the progression at Great Court. We were very sad when Duke Ronald and Mistress Danabren were cheated out of a true greeting and presentation of their awards. After consultation with several previous war royals, both in kingdom and out of kingdom, and consultation with Prince Pieter of the Midrealm (who had also spoken with several more Royal Peers) the mutual decision was to maintain the pageantry, beauty and symbol of friendship but make it a ceremony where all are willing and able to attend. We understand that four hours (the length of last year's Great Court) is a long time to sit in the barn for many people. Last year several kingdoms either did not attend or left prior to the end because of the length of time involved. However, this year, the response from Allied kingdoms has been positive. They are much more willing to stay for a one hour ceremony than a four hour one. We believe that the populace will receive a much better show with all royals in attendance and a much shorter ceremony. We are not eliminating this Great Tradition, but making it one that is much more focused on the true purpose, the acknowledgment of the deep abiding friendships that exist between Us and the rest of the Known World.
In Service to the East,
Darius and Roxane
Editor's Note: Related story at http://scatoday.net/story.php?search_id=N-20030116-175623-0003