Haft’s Guide to Etiquette: Bowing and Scraping

In which there is a discussion of general obsequiousness

So you’ve mastered the various forms of address, but for the life of you you aren’t sure what do you when royalty or nobility enters a room?  Here’s a handy guide to help:

bowingThe King

Kneeling:  You may take the knee before the king, but only in rare, formal circumstances (like declaring fealty or returning from exile, as in Haft’s case).

In most other circumstances, if the king gives you his attention, a guard should bow low.  If he does not give you his attention, you should blend into the wall and be invisible.    Guards aren’t meant to be noticed by royalty or nobility.

A similarly low bow is appropriate if you are approached by Prince Cor or Corin.

Lords, Ladies and Knights

For a lord, lady, or knight, a guard should usually bow when addressed.  Otherwise, again, stand quietly.

If a knight is friendly with a guard, such as Sir Darrin seems to be with certain guardsmen, a nod may suffice if the guard is addressed, particularly in private.

Foreign Royalty

A guard should bow low when addressed, otherwise blend into the wall as usual.  (This would be the courtesy shown Edmund or Lucy or, alas, Prince Roshan.)

The Bubble Principle

When you are in a large, open area, such as the Outer Ward of Anvard, it is not always necessary to bow to a noble in the ward, unless they are near you or address someone in your group.  The same is true of King Lune, but his “bubble” is larger, and it is also polite to cease your own conversations when he enters an area.  (Paraphrased from Antheia)


Most of these forms of courtesy would apply to any commoner being addressed by nobility or royalty.

A woman who is wearing a dress will offer a curtsey rather than a bow to the nobility, or curtsey deeply to royalty.  A female guard in uniform would offer a bow.

When not in uniform, a guard should react as any other commoner, rising from his seat when nobility or royalty enters a room, and bowing.

Additional Information on Bowing and Scraping at the NarniaMuck Forum


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