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When thinking about England*'s Hour of Greatest Need, I started considering previous Hours of Apparently Insufficient Need.  It must be admitted though, that my knowledge of anything that happened during the period between about 1485 and 1900 is pretty appalling, so I thought I'd ask for suggestions.

I thought of :
- The Viking Invasions
- The Norman Conquest
- Stephen v Matilda
-  The Wars of the Roses
- The Spanish Armada (but then dismissed that as a scary thing that basically just got blown away)
- The English Civil War
- 1916 (although if you argued that this is a lot more than England's, Britain's, or even the UK's Hour, I'd have to concede the point)
- Dunkirk

Then it occurred to me that we actually have a gadget that is supposed to specifically indicate Hours of Need just down the road at Buckland Abbey, so I looked up Drake's Drum to see what times of national emergency it had seen fit to signal.  But it seems to be a most erratic indicator, drumming for things like Lord Nelson being given the Freedom of  Plymouth, which doesn't really seem like an emergency, even in Plymouth.

Incidentally, there's an excellent list on Wikipedia of Sleeping Kings** In Mountains.   I knew there were quite a few of them, but I hadn't previously realised quite what a superb range of sleeping heroes was available in the event of emergency.

* I'm not being too picky about national definitions here, although I think 'Albion's Hour of Greatest Need' definitely has more of a ring to it than 'United Kingdom Maximum Necessity Moment' or similar.

**Although not all of them are kings.

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
ladyofastolat
13th Sep, 2015 14:35 (UTC)
I've always assumed it's a bit like that awesome single-use scroll or potion you pick up in an RPG - the one that you never dare use, no matter how tough the battle, in case the next battle is harder. Invariably, you reach the end of the game with the scroll or potion still in your backpack, untouched. I expect the Sleeping Heroes were counting on this, and knew that they could safely say, "Don't worry, I'll come and help you in your direst need," secure in the knowledge that nobody would ever dare call in the favour. A bit like keeping a dinner service "for best" - although with the added complication of "best" having to be decided by politicians.

If the Sleeping Heroes were seriously planning on coming along to help, they'd have set up some sort of rota system by which each one handled a different crisis, ideally one well-suited to their skill set. Drake could handle Dunkirk, perhaps, but a Sleeping King would be a better fit for something like the Anarchy or the Wars of the Roses, when he could come in sweep away all the bickering claimants and assume the throne himself.
bunn
13th Sep, 2015 16:00 (UTC)
I'm now wondering if there should be a Hero Bank of heroes cross-referenced by skillset. Wellinghall seems to feel a cricket one is required, for example.
ladyofastolat
13th Sep, 2015 16:08 (UTC)
That's a very good idea. Also a checklist for each hero listing his own personal definition of an Hour of Need. It would be quite embarrassing to carefully select your cricket-playing, seafaring, pure-at-heart warlord, only for him to say, "You call that an Hour of Need? Pah! That's only a Mild Difficulty. I'm going back to bed!"
bunn
13th Sep, 2015 16:18 (UTC)
I've just thought of one completely obvious omission from the List of Sleeping Heroes : James Bond.

James Bond HAS to be an on-call Sleeping Hero with particularly low standards of Hour of Need. This explains a lot!
ladyofastolat
13th Sep, 2015 21:16 (UTC)
In which case, I think he misread the job description, and for "Sleeping Hero" read "Sleeping-Around Hero." :-D
anna_wing
14th Sep, 2015 09:22 (UTC)
There also needs to be some sort of indemnity arrangement, to be signed by those invoking the hero's assistance, to cover ancillary damage and unexpected side-effects.
bunn
14th Sep, 2015 18:39 (UTC)
It's only safest *nods sagely*
boggyb
13th Sep, 2015 23:16 (UTC)
I've always assumed it's a bit like that awesome single-use scroll or potion you pick up in an RPG - the one that you never dare use, no matter how tough the battle, in case the next battle is harder.

I've noticed myself doing this in many game. Take Metroid Prime: normally I'm very stingy with missiles, because unlike the various beam weapons missiles do use ammunition and your starting capacity is tiny. On one playthrough however I was determined to get 100% completion and ended up collecting a lot of missile expansions earlier rather than later. It becomes a rather different game when you have 200 missiles instead of 20 and start spamming missile combos at everything (like the wavebuster combo - which chews through missiles at a ferocious rate, but deals equally ferocious amounts of damage to anything in front of you).
wellinghall
13th Sep, 2015 15:49 (UTC)
28/29 August, 1882
bunn
13th Sep, 2015 15:57 (UTC)
I wonder if that list of sleeping kings is missing a mention of Donald Bradman...? :-D
wellinghall
14th Sep, 2015 06:33 (UTC)
There have certainly been times this summer when A
wellinghall
14th Sep, 2015 06:34 (UTC)
Gah, my phone keeps interrupting LJ comments part-way through! As I meant to say - there have certainly been times when Australia would have liked his help this summer.
ladyofastolat
13th Sep, 2015 16:20 (UTC)
I'm not being too picky about national definitions here

It suddenly occurs to me that maybe we should be picky about national definitions. Maybe that's why nobody's woken up yet. "I will return when this land is in danger!" they say, but new waves of invaders come along, and national boundaries change, and country names evolve, and "this land" as he knew it ceases to exist, so the magic is void.

It's like asking a genie for a wish: you have to be super-careful with the wording, or the whole thing falls apart.
Has any Sleeping Hero actually said, "I will return when this land, or the spiritual successor of this land, or a land whose inhabitants (or at least quite a lot of them) have DNA that shows them to be descended from my people, or an entirely new country that includes all or most of this land, is in danger?" If they did, they might have been waking up in droves for centuries.
bunn
13th Sep, 2015 20:02 (UTC)
But how does this affect Heroes like Glyndwr and Boabdil, who were really rather unsuccessful Heroes, and wandered off going 'Back in a tick!' leaving the Land behind?

I think Wales is Wales is Cymru, but if Glyn Dwr didn't manage to evict the English in 1406, he really can't argue he hasn't had ample opportunity to try again...
ladyofastolat
13th Sep, 2015 21:22 (UTC)
Perhaps these aren't true Sleeping Heroes, merely unsuccessful heroes who co-opted the whole Sleeping Hero mythos to excuse their failures. "I haven't really failed! I... er, am just popping out for a moment, and I'll return soon to bring you victory!" they say, before sloping off with the firm intention of never ever coming back again.
marycatelli
13th Sep, 2015 19:46 (UTC)
Just because the drum will do it in the hour of need doesn't mean it won't do it at other times.
bunn
13th Sep, 2015 19:57 (UTC)
Yes indeed, but it does make it a less than reliable indicator on its own! Hmm, the drum is going again. Is England in peril, or has someone else been given the Freedom of Plymouth? :-D

sorry, et remove aberrant apostrophe :-D

Edited at 2015-09-13 19:57 (UTC)
ladyofastolat
13th Sep, 2015 21:13 (UTC)
It does seem that the drum should have two different sounds. DOOM DOOM! for danger, and a happy rat-a-tat-tat for "Wahey! Someone's been given the Freedom of Plymouth." It would help prevent embarrassing misunderstanding.

And now I'm suddenly wondering if the Drums in the Deep were actually sounding in happy because someone had been granted the Freedom of Moria, but were tragically misinterpreted as being menacing.
bunn
14th Sep, 2015 18:38 (UTC)
I'm thinking the Freedom of Plymouth one should go 'rat ratatatat tat... tat tat!' :-D

Not sure a side drum *can* go 'doom' can it? I think that might be more of a kettle drum thing.
bunn
14th Sep, 2015 18:43 (UTC)
... which has reminded me of the line about 'did you meet the Beater of the Drums' which every. single. time. gives me a mental image of the Balrog jamming away on his drum-kit.

... you know I just looked that up in google images, and despite the fact that this appears to be a 100% genuine example of the Music of the Damned, there isn't a single image of a balrog playing the drums.

Internet? I am disappoint.
ladyofastolat
14th Sep, 2015 20:37 (UTC)
Perhaps 10,000 people have had the idea, and, inspired and delighted, have picked up pen and paper... only to pause, suddenly realising that if they ever posted it on the internet, they'd get 2 comments on their awesome artwork, and 1057 arguing about their decision to portray the drumming balrog with (or without) wings. So they all lay their pens aside, and turn to drawing something less controversial.
bunn
14th Sep, 2015 20:43 (UTC)
I blame you for the fact that I just went to find out if drumming balrog *porn* exists.

It appears that it doesn't. Rule 34 is broken.

I am staggered. The whole wings thing clearly has alarmingly far-reaching consequences.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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