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Every story in an European setting is going to need a Knight in Shining Armour to rescue Distressed Damsels and generally do heroic things. Unfortunately, knights don't come easy; this is the trope for how they're created.

Once upon a time, all that was needed was the dubbing, but it elaborated quickly. Expect a formal ceremony in a Standard Royal Court with masses of witnesses. In Real Life, these were highly religious events that involved the new knight having a night vigil (sleepless time with praying) in the chapel, ritualized bathing for cleansing, wearing certain colours (white for one) and a final blessings from The Church near the end. You'll see little of this of course. We don't have time for that.

The actual event could go for days, so this again is often shortened for time. Keep in mind however that the shortened version was also true since in the middle ages, nobles and rulers occasionally had to promote commoners and squires in mid-battle to replace fallen knights.

This is probably most well known in the public mind as the moment when a figure such as the true king, The High Queen or another knight taps the squire on the shoulders with the flat side of the blessed sword. Originally, any knight could make another. This power was slowly moved into the hands of great nobles, and then finally reserved to the sovereign himself. The more formal a court, the fewer people will have the authority. Women did not in Real Life have the authority to dub a knight (not being knights themselves) until the authority rested in royal hands.

The final act in the dubbing usually involves the new knight swearing his loyalty to The Kingdom. Oftentimes, when someone is knighted, the superior giving the knighting punches him or strikes some other kind of blow, the last such blow that the new knight is expected to take without some form of retribution. A variant of this may happen during the dubbing, when the person is hit with the flat of the sword almost hard enough to be winded or knocked over. You'll probably see this oddly; nevermind the ten hours of prayer, the lengthy sermon or any of the other traditions of chivalry. We still don't have time for that. Often followed by a tourney.

Subtrope of Initiation Ceremony. Related to Awesome Moment of Crowning, Standard Hero Reward. Tenuously related to White Knighting, where a person acts to achieve the glory of being seen as a knight-like figure, not because of any personal chivalry, but because of the personal benefits it will bring.

Examples of Knighting include:


Anime and Manga

  • Suzaku's knighting by Princess Euphemia is a much-hyped event in Code Geass.
    • His promotion to Knight of Seven, however, is... a bit more ad hoc.
      • His promotion to Knight of Zero is less ad hoc, but rather more unconventional. And entertaining. Yes, Suzaku gets knighted a lot.
        • Four times total, if you also include Cornelia's ad hoc knighting following her battle with Lelouch at the Viceroy's palace at the end of season 1. Although, that was more to give Suzaku her blessing and authority to catch Zero.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, after having rescued Princess Arika, she informally knighted Nagi while they were preparing for the epic final battle. He kneeled in respect, swore his loyalty and all that jazz. Cool scene considering he rarely ever acted seriously.
    • Prior to this, every time she had addressed him as "my knight," he'd protested that he was a mage, not a knight. Perhaps she got annoyed and decided this would shut him up...
  • In the third season of Zero no Tsukaima, Saito, having proven many times how valuable an asset to Tristain he is, is presented with a title of knighthood by Henrietta, formally making him a noble.
  • After an important battle in the Golden Age arc of Berserk, Griffith is knighted by the King of Midland.

Film

  • Uryens (comedy name) knights Arthur in Excalibur, with Excalibur, because he can't surrender to a mere squire. Arthur later knights Percival, hurriedly, in the same fashion.
  • In King Ralph, Ralph accidentally cuts the man he is knighting, nearly taking an ear off, because he is distracted. Later, after stepping down as king and being knighted himself, Ralph covers both of his ears while having the sword passed over him.
  • In The Court Jester, one of the most famous sequences has the lead character taking part in a grand formal ceremony with detail marches and chants. However, the King becomes impatient and orders the participants to speed it up. Suddenly, everyone goes into double time with every detail and Danny Kaye's character can't keep up.
    • His pants don't seem to be able to keep up either.
  • William receives his sword tap at the end of A Knight's Tale by the prince himself!
  • Kingdom of Heaven gives us Balian (Orlando Bloom) being knighted by his dying father Baron Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson, he seems to always die) and receiving a backhand slap to the face. Later in the movie, Balian does the same with every soldier defending Jerusalem (He only slaps the nearest one, else it could have got time consuming).
  • In the 1937 Armada film Fire Over England, Michael Ingolby (Laurence Olivier) is knighted by Elizabeth I (Flora Robson); in The Sea Hawk (1940), Francis-Drake-Expy Geoffrey Thorpe (Errol Flynn) is knighted by the same queen (and the same actress).
  • Bedivere is the first to be knighted by King Arthur on his journey, and the only one to be seen doing so, in Monty Python and The Holy Grail.
  • Cars 2 has Mater knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
  • In Braveheart, William Wallace gets knighted after the Battle of Stirling.
  • In Johnny English, the titular agent requests to be knighted at the end of the film, having thwarted the plans of the Big Bad.

Folklore

  • Robin Hood is knighted by King Richard after the events of many versions of the legend.
    • In the versions where he isn't, it's usually because he was already "Sir Robin of Locksley" (or even "Robert, Earl of Huntingdon") before the story started, so he just gets his title back.

Literature

  • In CS Lewis's Narnia books
  • Sir Apropos of Nothing - guess who?
  • In Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest, when Prince Rupert returns to King Charles, the king immediately knights the soldier who accompanied him. (He first asks him to swear loyalty to the throne -- and then explains it's just part of the ceremony and not a doubt of his loyalty.)
  • When the protagonist is knighted in Tamora Pierce's Lioness Rampant series, it's a significant event so we do get to see the vigil and the rest of the formal ceremony.
    • The same goes for Kel in the Protector of the Small quartet.
    • This one is particularly interesting as the vigil is expressly depicted as hazardous to the knight-to-be's mental health and even has the potential to be outright lethal depending on the nature of the participant. To elaborate, the vigil involves making the knight-to-be spend a period of time locked in a chamber with what amounts to a slightly tame Eldritch Abomination that mentally tortures the prospective knight, often by confronting him with his worse fears and the darker parts of his nature. If said knight-to-be proves not to be a good person, the result can be serious mental scarring or even a karmic death. Even genuinely good knights generally come away from the ordeal with a certain degree of PTSD.
  • Christopher Stasheff's A Wizard in Chaos has the 'any knight can make another' with Magnus Gallowglass, the son of two noble lines, but without any official title other than the knightly 'sir', granting it to the companion who has traveled with him throughout his last three adventures. Also includes the extra 'final punch' option.
    • In Stasheff's His Majesty's Wizard, the protagonist undergoes the full ritual, with vigil, bath, and an examination on the laws of chivalry; finally he receives his sword tap from the Emperor in the Mountain. He does not have to take a punch, however.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire uses a bit of both. After one major battle it's mentioned that so many people were knighted as a result it took ages for the three available knights of the Praetorian Guard to dub them all, and that those knights had stood vigil in roughspun robes at the church the whole night and then walked barefoot to the palace, leaving most if not all with bleeding feet (but they all still stood proudly). However, "any knight can make a knight", and the ritual of anointing a would-be knight with seven oils by a priest is just a formality. There's also a band of Robin Hood types, led by a knight who uses this rule to promote his entire army, though few actually use the honorific of "ser" outside the band.
  • In the Discworld book Jingo Sam Vimes' status as a knight becomes very important, as it enables him to create his own military unit out of Watch members in a time of crisis. When a noble opposes his status he counters each argument, most notably the claim that a knight must spend the night watching his armor. It goes a bit like this.

 Vimes: A man doesn't watch his armor around here he's got none left in the morning.

Rust: In prayer.

Vimes: Oh, yes. Not a night has gone by without me thinking, "Ye gods, I hope I get out of this alive."

  • In Don Quixote, this is parodied the title character insists that an innkeeper (who he thinks is a castellan) knight him after he has watched his armor in the castle chapel -- that is, in the stable of the inn. (See also under Theatre.) This shows that Don Quixote could be mad, but he knows exactly how the ceremony must be.
  • The appointment of Dominion Lords in The Sovereign Stone trilogy is largely drawn from this. New elements would probably be the magic armor and the gods descending from heaven personally appoint them.
  • The Honorverse has shown two short form knighting on screen, once for Honor herself at the end of Honor of the Queen and again for Aivars Terekhov in Storm From the Shadows.
  • At the end of In The Hand Of The Goddess of the Tortall Universe Alanna recives her knighthood status but not until after her whole Ordeal of Knighthood.

Live Action TV

  • In Doctor Who episode "Tooth and Claw" The Doctor and Rose are knighted as "Sir Doctor of TARDIS" and "Dame Rose of The Powell Estate" by Queen Vicky. However you don't need place names when you're knighted.
    • In the original series story arc The Crusade, the Doctor's companion Ian Chesterton is knighted as "Sir Ian of Jaffa" (Jaffa being where the knighting took place) by King Richard the Lion Heart.
  • In Merlin, Uther is seen knighting some men. Then Emilia Fox shows up.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Worf's reward for helping Gowron at the beginning of the Klingon Civil War to finally have his discommendation revoked in a simple formal ceremony.
  • On The Odd Couple a princess/queen one of the titular couple was romancing was allowed to give out x number of knighthoods a year, but they didn't mean anything since she was an in-name-only leader of her country. She used her last one of the year to knight a homeless man.
  • Parodied in a short Morecambe and Wise sketch when Ernie received a knighthood from the Queen and, as she tapped him with the sword, it pulled off his wig.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "A Late Delivery From Avalon," King Arthur knights G'Kar as the first of a new Round Table after the ambassador takes his side against a gang of thugs.

Theater

  • Parodied in the song "Knight of the Woeful Countenance" in Man Of La Mancha, the musical adaptation of Don Quixote. The title character insists that an innkeeper (who he thinks is a king) knights him.

Video Games

  • Frog/Glenn gets knighted in the ending cinema of Chrono Trigger. And his theme is playing throughout this, making it even more awesome.
  • Elincia knights Ike in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance.
    • Pelleas appoints Micaiah as General of the Daein Army in Radiant Dawn, but the ceremony (and the result) is much the same.
  • The PC of Neverwinter Nights 2 is hastily knighted to avoid being extradited to a Kangaroo Court. Notable in that the vigil is actually shown, though most of the other steps are skipped. The PC is attacked during this time, naturally.
  • At the end of Mitsumete Knight, the Asian (aka the player character) gets knighted by the King of the country he fought for as a mercenary, in recompense for winning the war. The Knight Title he gets depends of his Level and number of Medals : from highest title to lowest, there's Holy Knight, Silver Knight, White Knight, Black Knight, Red Knight, Purple Knight, Blue Knight, and Semi-Knight.
  • Mass Effect 1 has the Spectre induction ceremony, complete with rousing music and stirring speeches.

Web Comics

  • In Exiern King Urtica decides to dispense with the ceremony, and simply to declare Tiffany a knight of the realm. He also decides to dispense with any threats of poisoning if she refuses too, isn't that nice of him.

Western Animation

  • Parodied in the Bugs Bunny cartoon Rabbit Hood. Bugs has conned the Sheriff of Nottingham into thinking he's the king, and that Bugs is going to knight him.

 Bugs: Arise, Sir Loin of Beef! *strikes Sheriff over the head with his sceptre* Arise, Earl (oil) of Cloves! *strike* Arise, Duke of Brittingham! *strike* Arise, Baron of Munchhausen! *strike* Arise, Essence of Myrrh! *strike* Milk of Magnesia *strike* Quarter of Ten *strike*

Sheriff: (dazed, slurred) You're too kind, your majesty.

Bugs: (to audience) Got lots of stamina!

  • In the third movie, Shrek knights some unlucky dude with rather messy results (he didn't train the sword-tapping-shoulder part enough).
  • In Star Wars: Clone Wars, Anakin was knighted by Yoda and the Jedi Council.
  • There were two knightings in Gargoyles. Princess Katherine used a dagger to dub Tom "Guardian of the Eggs". King Arthur used Excaliber to knight Griff.
  • Krusty the Clown was nearly knighted by the Queen of England herself... but then he got a call about the problems with Kamp Krusty.
  • Princess Celestia does the typical shoulder-tap to Twilight with her horn before she and her friends run off to retrieve the Elements from Discord in the second season opener.
  • A variation in Adventure Time when the Nice King (the Ice King) makes Finn and Jake his "nice knights".

Real Life

  • Sean Connery showed up for his knighting in full Scottish regalia (i.e., a kilt). (Not unusual for a Scot, but still notable enough to warrant a mention on this wiki.)
  • Stephen Colbert was knighted by the Queen of Jordan...with Anduril.
  • Terry Pratchett, upon hearing that he would be awarded a knighthood, decided that a knight ought to have a sword, and made his own... out of meteoric iron.
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