Friday, 7 April 2006

Huzzah! It's the Brother Cadfael drinking game

Huzzah! It's the Brother Cadfael drinking game!

Tonight we are playing the Brother Cadfael drinking game, guaranteed to provide hours (depending on your stamina) of Benedictine-inspired swilling of drink. If you've never read the Cadfael books by Ellis Peters, I can't recommend them highly enough. The eponymous tonsured character is a 12th-century Hercule Poirot, the herbalist at the abbey at Shrewsbury (a real-life place; the author lived her life nearby). Like Jessica in Murder She Wrote, people just keep dropping dead whenever he's around, and he must use his keen knowledge of human nature to find the guilty parties. This he does, accompanied by a host of characters ranging from the snooty Prior Robert to the stern but righteous Sheriff, Hugh Beringer, to Cadfael's own bumbling assistant Oswin, with a wide range of damsels in various states of distress and a bit of romance in the air.

However, as books are difficult to turn into drinking games, this one is intended for viewers of the BBC adaptations of the novels starring Derek Jacobi. These are also good, but much of the dialogue and production is, well, a bit formulaic and Renfairesque. So Sarah and Paige came up with the following rules — I like to think I helped in some small way, but even if not, I am happy to share these rules with you, dear reader, so that the tales of Cadfael may find a home in your own inebriated hearts. Some of the rules may not make sense until you've read the books and/or seen an episode or two, but we've been able to indoctrinate newcomers before. The next could be you. So without further ado:

Drink when you see...

· any shot of a wizened crone or grizzled old man
— drink twice for an unnecessary close-up of said crone or old man
— drink twice if they are trying to sell unguents, ointments, or tinctures of any kind
· any time pigs are being driven through a town or crowd shot
· any shot of minstrels, maypole dancers, or people ‘making merry’ in a medievally way
· any close-up of an infirmity, deformity, oozing sore, or recently inflicted wound
· any time someone is called a whore, harlot, strumpet or doxy (or the like)
· any time a serving wench or maid is over-the-top Renaissance Fayre wenchy
· any time a monk is tormented (e.g., having nightmares, telling people he is unclean, etc.)
· any time an unsavory character has bad teeth or is unnecessarily dirty
· any time someone flares their nostrils to emphasize a dramatic point
· any time the sergeant warden storms in to wrongly arrest someone
· any time a character exhibits a facial expression that could be construed as a puzzled "huzzah?"
· any time angry villagers are wielding torches and muttering or repetitively shouting
· any time an extra is nodding meaningfully in the background during the exposition or a pivotal confrontation scene
· any time someone says something seemingly straightforward in a completely nasty tone
· any time Cadfael dispenses or offers someone his poppy juice
· dead guy ass shot; drink twice if he is either drowned or really fat
· unnecessary medieval prop shot (falcons count!)
· impossible lighting: a scene’s light is far stronger, from a different angle, or of a different colour than could possibly be provided by the three candles in the background
· any time there’s a Gregorian chant played over a scene that clearly does not have monks chanting in it (e.g., outside, in a stable, etc.)
· any time Prior Robert is pissy or acts doubtful of Cadfael’s deductions or cunning plan
· any time Prior Robert gets overruled by Abbot Rudolphus
· any time Abbot Rudolphus puts Cadfael in charge
· any time Brother Jerome slinks about slinkily or horribly overacts
· any time Brother Oswyn drops something or falls asleep
· any comment about how Brother Cadfael is a ‘rare Benedictine’; anytime he does something (e.g., fighting well, getting the dirty jokes) to cause others to question his past
· any time Cadfael tastes something that he probably shouldn’t
· any time Cadfael just happens to be walking past or into a scene that is a major plot point
· any time Cadfael or Sister Magdalene tell someone it’s wrong to break the monastic rules right before they break them or encourage their listeners to do so
· any sexual innuendo that nobody gets except for Cadfael or Sister Magdalene
· any time Cadfael acts like a bitch
· any time Hugh makes a comment about how Brother Cadfael knows something he isn’t telling
· any time that Hugh and Cadfael have a bitch fight
· any time Hugh burns someone (not including Cadfael)
· Cadfael’s moment of epiphany - he repeats a phrase dramatically as music swells
· any time Cadfael says something like ‘We may already be too late!’
· any time there is an explanatory flashback while a character is telling their tale
— drink twice if the flashback doesn’t match the narration because they’re lying
· any time Cadfael explains the mystery to a crowd while someone asks questions (usually Hugh)
· any time Cadfael gives a listener a valuable life lesson after the case is solved

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