#ugh. love this
Now that we’ve talked about Merlin dressing Arthur, what do we think about the bathing situation? I do not believe that Merlin actually kneels by the tub with a sponge, though I know there’s a lot of fic where he does just that. I have to assume that the man who refuses to hug Merlin wouldn’t let him scrub him down. But we have seen Merlin prep a bath for him on at least one occasion. We all remember when Merlin magically heated the water and burned him lol. And I know that Merlin kind of does a lot of jobs that a single manservant wouldn’t realistically do but my biggest question here is: how does Merlin get rid of the bath water? It’s one thing to imagine poor Merlin hauling buckets of clean water all the way to Arthur’s room, but does that mean that he then has to fill buckets up with gray water and then haul them back down? Or throw them out the window? Or is there a team that he calls for that bustles up and drags the tub out lol? Or is there a special drainage system I’m unaware of? Any history experts out there willing to answer this very specific, niche question?
it's surprisingly very difficult to search up "how did medieval peasants get rid of bathwater" and get a straight answer. anyway, here's what i found.
oh and before i continue, yeah, i dont think he really "helped" arthur either. although perhaps it's worth mentioning that this site says:
If people could afford to have a private bath - and not many could - they would use a wooden tub that could also have a tent-like cloth on top of it.
which i found a lil interesting bc arthur didnt have the tent-like cloth thing. im just reading into it though bc 1)i doubt the writers really.. looked into it? and 2) he like. walks around shirtless all the time. and had no qualms walking in front of merlin naked, so. i dont think he'd be too concerned about having it? except like, i do think arthur was a lot more private when it came to other people (esp. other servants) in the castle so... maybe merlin did stay with him during his baths? if not actually scrub him down or anything, then at least to like. keep him company and make sure no one walked in? also to like, quickly get rid of the water, i suppose slkfjslfj idk. it should be noted that the site does say that servants did usually help their lords rinse and do all that fun stuff. they include this excerpt in John Russell's Book of Nature (idk what its about or why it has instructions for servants on how to bathe their lords but. idc enough to find out):
Have a basin full of hot fresh herbs and wash his body with a soft sponge, rinse him with fair warm rose-water, and throw it over him.
so. take that as you will. it should be noted that this was written in the fifteenth century and arthurian legend took place in the 6th-7th century though, i think. however, imo, thats not THAT big of a deal bc 1) the writers said they wanted the show to be "timeless" anyway, therefore meaning it could take place at any time and 2) i feel like maybe lords would be more reliant on servants the farther back you go?? idk though dont take my word for it on that last one.
maybe merlin just helped him sometimes when he was seriously hurt or something? idk. maybe it was a sentimental thing, like they make it in some fics...?
now, during the medieval times, specifically in paris (thats the place ive learned about, anyway, im not exactly sure about other places but... id assume they did this too), the streets were full of shit. now, you're thinking, what the fuck does that have to do with bathwater, but its sort of the same thing, isnt it? back then, people would empty their chamber pots (where all the shit was, in case u needed to know) by throwing the contents (the shit) out the window. i remember learning this in high school and wanting to puke. ANYWAY. according to this site, they even said a thoughtful "garde loo" to help people avoid getting shit on their head<3 how lovely.
anyway, that makes me think that like... maybe they did the same thing with the bathwater? i dont really see why not. i mean ok. the peasants weren't exactly able to have private baths (as stated above. they had to take PUBLIC BATHS JSKJSLKJ AND SHARE BATH WATER UGH YUCK IM GONNA VOMIT) (or bathe in the river but. anyway) so they werent the ones throwing bathwater out the window. but i meant it more conceptually. like in what if, generally, those who could have private baths did the same thing with their bathwater that they did with their shit. im not exactly sure on castle etiquette, so idk if throwing bathwater out the window is frowned upon or not but... technically ur theory on chucking it out the window could be plausible? (i mean. merlin more or less defenestrated aredian so i dont see why not, but anyway).
HOWEVER. in the same site, they also say this:
The plumbing system of Medieval castles was designed so that waste products would flow straight into the moat that surrounded the castle. These “Garderobes” extended outside of the walls of the castle and had a opening at the bottom that would empty into the moat.
so, perhaps bathwater disposal in medieval castles paralleled that of waste disposal in medieval castles, rather than paralleling the peasants' waste disposal? although, the above is assuming that there was a moat around the castle which... er... i dont think there was?? or at least... we never saw any moats??
the first time i saw it made me think of a bridge over a moat so. OH MY GOD I THINK I WAS RIGHT. on this website, where you can read about all the very interesting history of the pierrefonds castle that absolutely did NOT make me want to die, if you scroll down until "Visit of Pierrefonds" it says that:
The entrance to the castle is located in the weakest part of the rampart, protected by several juxtaposed defences: a portcullis, a drawbridge, moats and chatelets added by Viollet-le-Duc.
(...Copyright © French Moments Ltd unless otherwise stated. Read more at https://frenchmoments.eu/pierrefonds/.) (THEY ADDED THE LAST PART THEMSELVES DONT KILL ME OK I DONT WANT TO GET SUED SO IM KEEPING IT IN)
so?? there is a moat??? i think??? (btw, in case you're curious, it was "added" by viollet-le-duc (which i keep reading as du lac skfjslkj) bc the castle was actually destroyed and then rebuilt. however, seeing that this isnt actually pierrefonds in MERLIN (pierrefonds wasnt even built at that point) thats not technically important). which means that it's perfectly plausible that merlin could have just. emptied the dirty bathwater with the chamber pot contents into the garderobes which in turn dumped them into the moat. (or maybe he did just haul all the water back downstairs and dump it into the grass i dunno).
as for if he had like, help or something? i dont know? the first website talks about how it's a bunch of servants readying the bath, but as you said... merlin did seem to do a lot of things on his own.
maybe he just used magic though, lol. what you said abt him burning arthur made me think of like. what if he just evaporated all the water while no one was looking? this is probably not the case bc in 1.11 gaius talks about how merlin specifically EMPTIES his own bathwater (which is why they had tea to drink during the whole unicorn fiasco) so im guessing he'd do so as well with arthurs. especially considering it would be more dangerous to use magic on arthurs. although, if he did have to lug a lot of water throughout the castle... perhaps his laziness would've won over his survival instincts like mine probably would. i guess we'll never know?
unless there ARE history nerds that would like to set me straight and put me in my place???
(also i should say: i have absolutely no clue how credible these resources are, so. yeah)
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2, 4, 28 and 33 for the ask game?
2. what would you name your future kids?
i have absolutely no idea. I’d like to have children one day, but the names would depend on my partner as well, of course, and her ethnicity and culture and preferences. but I think I’d prefer names that are on one hand kind of unique but also not prone to ridicule, you know? because I know exactly how cruel and mocking kids and society can get just by hearing a name. i’d like easy names, maybe not too long, but also something meaningful and something that I’d feel you could identify with on a deeper level… also personally am a huge fan of unisex / neutral names. but that doesn’t mean it’d have to be one. also maybe i’d like to give my kids middle names. I can’t even give a proper reason for it except that i like having a middle name and that I was graced by two names i both like and can identify with also on a singular level. i don’t really care with which one i am addressed. and that maybe that could give my kids a chance to easily choose one name over the other if they totally dislike one of the names.
4. what are you looking forward to?
OHMYGOSH that’s so easy to answer. holidays away in august. (fully vaccinated ofc and I am staying in my home country to do so). booked the first train ride yesterday so the deal is sealed and i am genuinely so excited i feel like a child - i haven’t had a chance to take a ‘proper’ holiday since a four-day alps roadtrip in 2017 and haven’t seen the actual seaside since the year before doing my a-levels. also it’s going to be a solo trip (except for the long trainride up north where I’m gonna meet @shakespearerants AHHHHH I’m so excited and happy about that!!!) so I can do everything the way I want and not feel stressed about trying to compromise with anyone!
28. i’ll love you if…
… you have a certain set of baseline morals, believe in ‘Human dignity shall be inviolable’, believe in the truth of science and understand the concept of proper discussion and exchange of opinions.
I'll love you if you are genuine. If you are honest to me - even if negative feelings are involved - but still have the capability to empathise with the world around you.
i don’t even know what else to say here because that’s such a complex question to answer and would differ from person to person. but i think one thing that is extremely important to me for every sort of relationship, platonic, romantic, sexual, is that you communicate, voice if something is wrong, are able to speak up and set your boundaries clearly and don’t leave me hanging for weeks or months. nothing is more horrible for me than trying to guess what’s wrong, what to do, while knowing, feeling that something is wrong. nothing is more horrible for me than to be ignored or ghosted, or feel like I am all-out taken for granted, that i carry all the weight and emotional labour in a relationship, and that I am not (anymore) worthy of truth or trust - and don’t even get to know why. nothing is more horrible than having your words twisted around in your mouth and speaking against a wall. nothing is more horrible than having to play a game of guesses and interpreting details and small words and signs and smoke signals. that is something that is an imperative for me, and my sanity: healthy communication from both sides. I’ll love and adore you for that. I don’t expect that you reveal all your deepest secrets and scars and any details to me. i am not owed anything, but i expect that you tell me what you want, or need, and clear lines when there is a problem, even in the shortest of words. i want to love you with all i have, I’d better and change my own behaviour to not disappoint, I want to do right by you, but I need you to tell me. maybe even more for your own mental health than my own.
33. something you want to learn
SO MUCH. there is so much to learn. there is an endless well of things i want to learn.
but here some examples of importance (not having to do with my post-grad or if only tangentially): LINDY HOP / dancing in gen, the violin, the guitar, coding in python (because being able to code is like integral to be a scientist esp in biosciences / life science these days BUT also because I really want to be able to code!!!!!!!!), drawing traditionally with more different techniques and something else than hair and human profiles, better singing, languages (so many of them but esp scots gaelic). also i want to get better with plants. you know, i can keep a batch of highly sensitive cells alive for a week but not a plant. ugh. priorities, right?
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