I’ve been exhausted by a battle speech. See, there’s this kingdom…
You probably thought this post was going to be about a girl, didn’t you?? Fooled you! :P (Ignoring the fact that the entire story focuses on a ‘girl’ and the way this kingdom is affected by her coming to it.) I just put that line as the post title because it was in my head. Hehehe.
Anyway, I took this kingdom and I attacked it with another kingdom. (Pause for devious chuckle.) Now they have to go to war. Or maybe war is too catastrophic a term. But there will be battles. People will be killed, have been killed. Men with weapons are assembled. There’s just one thing that was missing… the rousing pre-battle speech.
To be fair to myself, it isn’t missing anymore. I did write it. I’m just doubting it right now. I mean, come on. I’ve never had to start a war! I’ve never had to rally the troops! The closest thing to that in my experience has been getting a group of little ones to tear themselves away from one of those activity tables in the doctor’s office in order to get checkups. Which is not an easy feat, but still not quite the same as a battle speech. So I need to perfect this speech. When I gain enough courage to look at it again.
With a friend’s reminders of some epic battle speeches, and my own memory of the best in movies, I did my research beforehand. The best speeches I remember are from Lord of the Rings, Henry V, Braveheart, Gladiator…etc.
Regardless of my struggles to spit out something inspiring, this is incredibly fun research, and I have come across several great speeches from history and other points of interest.
Henry V St. Crispin’s Day Speech
If it doesn’t make you want to swoosh a sword around, I don’t know what will.
This speech given by Colonel Tim Collins 20 miles from the Iraqi border in March of 2003 is absolutely amazing:
Read it HERE. <—Click it. Read it. It gave me shivers. The good kind that make you want to do something grand and self-sacrificing. Makes me proud to be… um… part Irish. :)
5:25 of this video
I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realms: to which, rather than any dishonor should grow by me, I myself will take up arms; I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, by your forwardness, that you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble and worthy subject; not doubting by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and by your valor in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people. -Elizabeth I
Alexander – Battle of Gaugamela
2:00 for the speech to start
I also found this, which didn’t help me write a single word, but it was somehow greatly humorous as well as inspiring. :P
Here are some notes I took down from all this speech browsing in an effort to perfect my fictional battle rally.
- Address them by name.
Make it more personal. Like Bilbo’s farewell speech in FOTR when he lists off the Boffins, Boldgers, Bracegirdles…etc, the speech-giver should make it clear that he knows those he’s addressing. “YOU! Hey YOU! I’m talking to YOU! FIIIIIIGHT WITH MEEEE!”
- Give them a cause.
These men might die. Some of them will. I don’t believe “Grab your weapons; let’s have a brawl!” is going to work. Considering that my army is on the defensive, I’m putting their cause down as protection of fellow countrymen, the preservation of livelihood and ultimate safety of their city.
- Give them glory.
What’s in it for them? I guess this sometimes goes along with the cause, but maybe there should be a bonus reason. Like names being immortalized in history. Or, the fact that bakers, butchers, merchants… they’re all soldiers now as they take up swords together under the king’s banner. That’s a kind of equalizer, right? Let’s hope it sounds good when I read it back to myself.
- Put down the opposition.
Once the attention is got, the men itching for action, and the reward made clear, slam the enemy. Explain why our side is WINNING and the other is simply not.
- Stop making comparisons.
I’m never going to write like Tolkien or Shakespeare! GUH! So I should stop trying to and just write like Beth. Right?
It’s done. I wrote it and now I fell completely spent. I had no idea writing a battle speech could be so emotionally draining. I have the ultimate respect for all those who ever rallied the troops with a rousing speech. There should be a medal for grand speeches!
God bless and goodnight.
P.S. If you’re in agony because that song is now in your head, you might as well listen to it. So here.
A giiirl worth fiiighting fooooor!!
Got that out of my system. Now it’s bedtime fo’ realz.