Generally in our troupe we take off some of December- this year all of December so we could do other things and everyone seems to have enjoyed the time off. But in addition to developing new historical sword demonstrations I also enjoyed a lot of media input thanks to Netflix and my digital TBR pile (as well as a physical one)

The series Monarchy
This was well-researched and some folk may find it a bit dry. But it was solid, had that dry British humor and some Historical tidbits we hadn’t heard before. I agree with some reviewers about it skewing away from some of the sexual issues and bawdy bits but I think anyone over 12 would be able to watch it as they skim over certain things with language parents will understand but you might have to explain later to the kids. (Note: also on Netflix)
Marco Polo on Netflix
Do not listen to Rotten Tomatoes, this is a fairly high-end epic series. If you remember some, like Shogun and others, this is *much* better and employs some terrific Chinese actors who deserve more screen time. Joan Chen has been a favorite for a long time and she and Benedict Wong pretty much make all the other actors superfluous every time they are on screen. Although the series revolves around Marco Polo, he is one of the least interesting characters. Sure we had some historical quibbles (Weren’t BOTH sides using cannon at this point in history? Wasn’t the Empress Dowager more politically active?…well you get the idea) But if you wanted to give someone a leaping off point to be interested in global culture this is a good start.
If you wanted to read something similar there is the Conqueror Series by Conn Iggulden, and LOTS of fiction thrown in to make the characters relatable. Some instances read similarly but the costume, culture and POV is pretty well-done. I can’t speak to how well the historical timeline runs and the author admits he leaves out some of the darker aspects to keep it somewhat enjoyable.
On youtube, can’t say enough nice things about Anglophenia on YouTube, head over there right now. Views and tidbits about British Culture and language. The accents episode is endearing.
The Art of Combat has been reissued via Amazon UK, sadly, not here in the US
And a shout-out to our friend Jessica Finley and her Medieval wrestling book. She founded the Great Plains Fechtschule, ran another academy in VA and is now starting a Historical European Martial Arts group in Canton, GA -if you are in that area-recommended.

I read and watched a lot more but it would only relate to what we do tangentally (history, swords, fire)

However I will leave you with a fun recommendation of this book: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride which , if nothing else, absolutely hits home when they discuss that lovely swordfight that had to be extended last minute…

Hope you take a look at some of these, and as always, I’ll be uploading anything we find interesting to our Facebook page.