Today’s article in our series on the Kingdom’s Virtual Queen’s Prize Tourney is about an fascinating entry called Torture as Display, made by artisan Maggie Rue. As we do not have the ability to converse with our entrants face to face, the Virtual Queen’s Prize Tourney now offers the opportunity to drool over images and read the documentation right there on the Kingdom Ministry of Arts & Sciences website – even to leave feedback! And to learn a little more about the artisan and their thoughts behind their entry, the organizers decided to broaden our traditional entry of object and documentation with personal interviews.
Could you tell me a little about you, your persona.
Generally, as Rue, I am a “go-to” person behind the counter of an apothecary: a “Mr. Smith or Johnson”, in game terms. People come to me, ask a few questions, and I procure what they need. While my entry would not be something I would use, I would likely be very familiar with the items in question as well as the officials in charge of the prison, the actual guardsmen and torturers, and I would know whose hands to grease in the event of influencing a verdict. In the event of poisonings and treatments, I might even be asked by the officials themselves for items, as seen in documentations by the medieval Venetian Council of Ten. So, I would definitely know of such things and would be doing my best not to be IN one of them.
What inspired you to make your entry?
I had this great idea for the Ice Dragon Pentathlon to create an interactive display where people could actually turn the wheel of a rack and hear the snap of the cords in the shoulders and thighs of my cloth victims. Same with the scolds’ bridle and the strappado, etc. I wanted to do a miniature because I couldn’t imagine bringing in a full-sized rack up to Ice Dragon (maybe for a local event). I was working on the cordial when I read a passage in one of the torture books about applying cordials until a victim was revived, so thought it would be awesome to incorporate it as well. The cordial is waiting until the end of the epidemic to be sampled, but Master Madoc was able to check it out before the pandemic began in full, so he would need to be contacted to see how successful I was. As for the subject matter, I’ve been wanting to do a focus on the strangeness of the torture culture that seemed to be such a public phenomena in period, and learn more about the people behind the designs.
What is your intention with your entry?
I’d like to display the pieces as learning tools, maybe work with metal to create a larger display with manacles, a metal scold’s bridle, keys…. I could see making parts of this as part of an event (a jailbreak scenario) that could incorporate heavy armored combat, rapiers, and even archery….
Did the entry throw up any unexpected issues?
There were problems getting everything into an online format because I am so tech-inept. References—I suck at them. I started having an issue sewing the scold’s bridle together with my hands and elbow getting strained; the elbow is still injured. The rack was too small for the doll so the joints didn’t snap in the end… etc.
Did you learn something specific, something you would do differently, or would recommend others to do again?
I learned a lot actually. I appreciate the gruesome, but the technicalities of how these items were created and, really, the amount of effort some people put into making torture devices is mind-boggling. There’s a lot more information to be gathered: how different regions altered the same design, how government officials manipulated the word of the law, etc. Certainly there’s room for improvement on what I did.
What motivated you to enter the Virtual Queen’s Prize Tourney?
I knew it was nearly completed and I luckily found a few moments to put it together. I think, though not pretty, it is an important, fascinating aspect that should be shared for those who are interested. When we all get back together, I look forward having a display at certain places where people can satisfy their morbidity, should they have some, in a safe, non-threatening manner.
Thank you, Maggie Rue, for sharing your wonderful work with our Kingdom’s artisans and populace!
If you would like to see Maggie Rue’s entry, follow this link. And if you liked her work, have a question to ask, or a tip to share – please leave your comments with her entry! You can “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of the entry’s page. We have until Æthelmearc Æcademy on July the 11th, when Her Majesty will announce the winners in Virtual Court, to peruse, enjoy and interact with the entrants. Make use of the opportunity, if you can!