Shakespeare was once called the Bard of Avon: a storyteller that yielded us arguably the greatest words of all time, and added some 2,000 words to the English language we know today. He crafted tales of tragedy, romance, and drama like the 16th century world had never seen. He gave us the honest truth that love and position isn’t always what we think. His memory lives in history as a bard, of “a poet, traditionally one reciting epics and associated with a particular oral tradition” as defined by Merriam-Webster.
So there comes a time in our life when everyone needs a bard.
No, I’m not talking about a famous playwright, or a traveling minstrel, who follows the hero with pen and paper, or lute and flute. Even if he chronicles the hero’s every move and mood, akin to Gilbert of Glockenspur from Dragonheart. I’m talking about your support class that strums a song of inspiration, or creativity, or strength. Yet, when the battle gets thick, they aren’t afraid to pull dagger or bow and come to your aid. Like the iconic Bard in The Hobbit, he isn’t afraid to shoot down a dragon should the need arise.
Let’s get old school for a second. Maybe you’ve played a table-top game or two, or even just seen it portrayed on hit shows like Stranger Things. Your bard, he (or she!), is a member of the party that hides behind the danger and gives the group the will to carry on. An ancient drummer-boy who sings the songs of encouragement when an army loses its will to carry on.
He’s Mr. Tumnus from Chronicles of Narnia, a conflicted character with a good heart, yet betrays Lucy Pevensie to the White Witch. Mr. Tumnus is the bard we don’t like, the one who seems to support us but ends up stabbing us in the back for his own devices. But Lucy’s bard is not all he seems; she is his connection to the world of Narnia, a story-teller, a pipe-player. And in the end, he is the strength she needs to defeat the White Witch.
Bards don’t always come in the form of a faun, sometimes they have their own agenda, and like Tyrion Lannister, they always fight for their version of good in the world, even if people can’t see that. They love with all their heart, they fight for passions and coins, and sometimes they just exist to show us what a different place the world can be.
Whether you are a writer, a parent, a teacher, a doctor, even a cashier — no matter what your walk in life, everyone needs a bard. Modern day bards doesn’t regale our tales, but they do sing us songs of Bruno Mars to cheer us up, use funny Scottish accents to make our day brighter, and in some cases, give us the honest, often brutal, truth of our situation. Like the infamous Bard of Avon, they give us the truths we often need to see the world as it really is.
May we find them, may we celebrate them, may we be them.
Who’s your bard?
Other blog posts: