Created By: ForgottenJedi on June 20, 2013 Last Edited By: ForgottenJedi on August 6, 2013
Troped

The Squire

A knight in training

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Trope
The squire is a knight's loyal servant, carrying out all his needs, including shining his armor, sharpening his sword, taking care of his horse, carrying his banner, and many other duties. The squire is often a lord or another knight's son who has been sent to learn to be a knight himself. This servitude lasts years as the squire learns all he can from the knight and ends with the squire being knighted.

Sometimes the squire will be far braver or a better fighter than the knight he is serving and ends up saving their life. They can also be treacherous, selling out their lord in exchange for wealth or an earlier knighthood from a rival. The squire could also be suffering under an incompetent or evil knight and may be looking for a change, or they might be just as incompetent or evil as their master.

Compare with Knight, Knave and Squire, in which the squire is part of a trio. Related to The Apprentice.

Note: In England from the late 17th century to the early 20th century, squire was also a title given to the leader of a village or the lord of a the largest manor in the village. They were sometimes referred to as "the squire" of the village. This trope concerns itself only with squires who are in training to become knights.

Examples

Animated Films
  • In The Sword in the Stone Wart spends time as Sir Kay's squire before pulling the sword from the stone. In fact, Squire is the highest rank Wart can attain since as far as anyone knows he is not of knight-class birth.

Comic Books
  • The third Black Knight from the Marvel Universe, Dane Whitman, ends up having two different squires:
    • In The Avengers it's Sean Dolan, a young Irish orphan he saves from falling off a cliff. He spends time training the young man in swordsmanship, but the entire thing goes south when Sean draws the Ebony Blade to defend Whitman's family castle and is transformed by the sword's curse into the evil supervillain Bloodwraith.
    • In Captain Britain & MI13 he ends up meeting Faiza Hussain, a civilian doctor that he saves from a Skrull attack on the UK. She eventually gains healing powers and the right to wield Excalibur and becomes a superhero in her own right, but is still content to call herself his squire (and girlfriend).

Film
  • Padawans in Star Wars are essentially squires under a different name, training to become Jedi Knights.

Literature
  • Don Quixote has Sancho Panza, whom he ropes into being his squire via promises of receiving some of Quixote's lands and wealth, and by convincing the simple Panza that his delusions are real.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, squires are all over the place, serving both lords and knights. They are often extremely young, with some of the youngest being around 10 years old, although there are some older ones as well. Some knights have more than one squire as well, due to their high status.
    • Podrick Payne, Tyrion Lannister's squire, is one of the more notable ones, having Undying Loyalty to his lord and being a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, saving Tyrion's life from Ser Mandon Moore of the Kingsguard during the Battle of Blackwater Bay.
    • Lancel and Tyrek Lannister are squires for King Robert Baratheon. Lancel is hilariously incompetent until he helps kill Robert at the behest of his cousin Queen Cersei by giving him extra strong wine repeatedly on a hunting trip so that he mistimes a spear thrust at a boar and ends up gutted. Lancel ends up knighted for this service.
    • Jaime Lannister made a name for himself while still just a squire, winning his first tournament at 13 and being knighted at 15.
    • Josmyn Peckledon is one of Jamie's squires, and makes a name for himself at the Battle of Blackwater by killing two knights, wounding another, and capturing two more.
    • Jamie has two other squires as well due to his position as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard: Lewys Piper becomes his squire after most of the Riverlords submit to the Lannisters. Hoster Blackwood becomes a squire/hostage to Jamie after House Blackwood surrenders to the Lannisters.
    • Devan Seaworth and Bryen Farring are squires to Stannis Baratheon. Bryen dies during Stannis' march to Winterfell due to the cold, while Devan is left behind at the Wall to serve Melisandre.
    • Olyvar Frey becomes Robb Stark's squire after he becomes arranged to marry one of Lord Walder Frey's daughters/granddaughters. Even after Robb breaks the marriage pact, Olyvar wants to stay with Robb, but is forced to leave by his relatives.
    • Rollam Westerling replaces Olyvar as Robb's squire after Robb marries Rollam's older sister Jeyne.
    • Ser Barristan Selmy begins training a couple dozen squires in Meereen, all of whom used to be slaves in the city that were freed when Daenerys took the city. He ends up knighting a couple near the end of A Dance with Dragons.
  • In book 3 of the Protector of the Small quartet, aptly titled Squire, Kel is a squire to Lord Raoul of Goldenlake. As squire she serves him, while he teaches her jousting and how to command.
    • In addition to Kel, all of the pages must serve as a squire for four years before they can try for knighthood.
  • Kurik is Sparhawk's squire in The Elenium. In that setting, it's an archaic position, so he's the only character with that particular title. Because he has a working class background and has held a lot of jobs, he has a practical and worldly approach to mundane problems, which most of the knights can't match. He's also stated to be as good a fighter as any of them, but has never been knighted because of his class prejudices.
  • In the Deryni novels by Katherine Kurtz, squires are prevalent, and all nobly-born candidates for knighthood serve in this capacity. Prince Nigel Haldane oversees the training of pages and squires in the royal household, including his own sons and the Torenthi prince Liam-Lajos Furstán. Liam actually asks to maintain his squire's status until he returns to Torenth in King Kelson's Bride.
  • Paul Harding's short story, "The Confession of Brother Athelstan" centers on a knight's death at a tournament joust that proves suspicious. Among those under suspicion are the two knights' squires, one who wants to be a priest and the other has a gambling problem.

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition supplement Unearthed Arcana. Characters in the Cavalier subclass started off at level 0 and -1500 Experience Points and acted as a retainer (squire) of another Cavalier of 4th level or higher. After the new cavalier earned enough Experience Points to reach 4th level they would become a full fledged cavalier and could acquire retainers of their own.
  • In Chaosium's Pendragon boys could become squires to a knight. They would serve the knight and learn how to be knights, and if they were good enough they could earn knighthood.

Video Games
  • Squires are mentioned a few times in Dragon Age:
    • King Calenhad Theirin, the founder of Fereldan, was only a squire when he won his first battle and the lords began swearing to serve him.
    • Nathaniel Howe served for eight years as a squire in the Free Marches, and was thus not in Fereldan during the events of Dragon Age: Origins.
  • In Help The Hero you play as Percy, a beleaguered Hypercompetent Sidekick squire to the idiot hero, who only wins battles because Percy carefully manages his equipment for him.

Web Comics
  • Elan from Order Of The Stick is shown working as a squire to a paladin, Sir Francois, in prequel On The Origin of PCs. Francois, however, ditches Elan when Elan's incompetence leads to them getting robbed while they sleep at an inn.


Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • June 20, 2013
    Marz1200
    • In book 3 of the Protector of the Small quartet, aptly titled Squire, Kel is a squire to Lord Raoul of Goldenlake. As squire she serves him, while he teaches her jousting and how to command.
      • In addition to Kel, all of the pages must serve as a squire for four years before they can try for knighthood.
  • June 20, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    The knighting the Squire part might be Sidekick Graduations Stick. Also, can you make a trope for Knaves?
  • June 20, 2013
    Generality
    Kurik is Sparhawk's squire in The Elenium. In that setting, it's an archaic position, so he's the only character with that particular title. Because he has a working class background and has held a lot of jobs, he has a practical and worldly approach to mundane problems, which most of the knights can't match. He's also stated to be as good a fighter as any of them, but has never been knighted because of his class prejudices.
  • June 20, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In The Sword In The Stone Wart spends time as Sir Kay's squire before pulling the sword from the stone. In fact, Squire is the highest rank Wart can attain since as far as anyone knows he is not of knight-class birth.
  • July 12, 2013
    DAN004
  • July 13, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons 1st Edition supplement Unearthed Arcana. Characters in the Cavalier subclass started off at level 0 and -1500 Experience Points and acted as a retainer (squire) of another Cavalier of 4th level or higher. After the new cavalier earned enough Experience Points to reach 4th level they would become a full fledged cavalier and could acquire retainers of their own.
    • In Chaosium's Pendragon boys could become squires to a knight. They would serve the knight and learn how to be knights, and if they were good enough they could earn knighthood.
  • July 13, 2013
    Mizuchi
    Guy from Ironclad.
  • July 13, 2013
    Astaroth
    ^ Zero Context Example, please give more details.

    I suggest a bluelink to Hyper Competent Sidekick over the part of the description which says 'far braver or a better fighter than the knight'
  • July 13, 2013
    ArkadyDarell
    Comic Books
    • The third Black Knight from the Marvel Universe, Dane Whitman, ends up having two different squires:
      • In The Avengers it's Sean Dolan, a young Irish orphan he saves from falling off a cliff. He spends time training the young man in swordsmanship, but the entire thing goes south when Sean draws the Ebony Blade to defend Whitman's family castle and is transformed by the sword's curse into the evil supervillain Bloodwraith.
      • In Captain Britain & MI13 he ends up meeting Faiza Hussain, a civilian doctor that he saves from a Skrull attack on the UK. She eventually gains healing powers and the right to wield Excalibur and becomes a superhero in her own right, but is still content to call herself his squire (and girlfriend).

    Literature
    • Don Quixote has Sancho Panza, whom he ropes into being his squire via promises of receiving some of Quixote's lands and wealth, and by convincing the simple Panza that his delusions are real.

    Video Game
  • July 15, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    • In the Deryni novels by Katherine Kurtz, squires are prevalent, and all nobly-born candidates for knighthood serve in this capacity. Prince Nigel Haldane oversees the training of pages and squires in the royal household, including his own sons and the Torenthi prince Liam-Lajos Furstán. Liam actually asks to maintain his squire's status until he returns to Torenth in King Kelson's Bride.
  • July 15, 2013
    jatay3
    In The Regency the term "squire" meant "minor noble". Oddly enough it would have been closer to what knighthood originally meant(a caste of warriors given small estates for military service).
  • July 15, 2013
    DAN004
    Does this count?
    • In One Piece, Coby and Helmeppo started in the Marines as chore boys. Then Vice Admiral Garp took them under his tutelage, and their life starts getting harder since then. By the time we see them again in story (i.e after their cover stories are over) they've become middle-ranked Marine officers.
  • July 16, 2013
    Stratadrake
    It would be preferable if we can avoid some Spell My Trope With A The here.
  • July 16, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ But really, it is appropriate...
  • July 16, 2013
    ForgottenJedi
    ^^^I don't think it counts. This trope is looking for the actual use of the term squire or a fantasy counterpart that means the same thing, and that sounds more like The Apprentice.

    ^^Would simply calling the trope "Squire" work? I would prefer keeping the "the" though.
  • July 17, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    • Paul Harding's short story, "The Confession of Brother Athelstan" centers on a knight's death at a tournament joust that proves suspicious. Among those under suspicion are the two knights' squires, one who wants to be a priest and the other has a gambling problem.
  • July 17, 2013
    DAN004
    @Forgotten Jedi: Okay I see.
  • July 17, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    @ ForgottenJedi I'm with you on the need for the definite article in the title. Since "Squire" was a title for minor gentry in England even before The Regency Period (remember Squire Western and Squire Allworthy from The History Of Tom Jones A Foundling?) Of course, the two might be related; if so, there should be some mention/clarification in the description.
  • July 21, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    ^ A bit of digging shows that "esquire" and "squire" are cognates (they derive from the same source word). I haven't yet found that a knight's assistant/dogsbody got political power the same way that knights did (under the feudal system), but it still seems possible. Anyone else know for sure?
  • July 21, 2013
    Melkior
    I've uploaded a potential page image for you. It's Max from the webcomic By The Book.

    Possible caption: In the previous two panels, the young squire was blubbering like a little girl because he just found out his master is safe. A couple of panels later, his master is blubbering like a little girl because his squire is safe.


  • August 1, 2013
    DAN004
    Launch plz.
  • August 1, 2013
    Astaroth
    • Elan from Order Of The Stick is shown working as a squire to a paladin, Sir Francois, in prequel On The Origin of PCs. Francois, however, ditches Elan when Elan's incompetence leads to them getting robbed while they sleep at an inn.
  • August 1, 2013
    ArkadyDarell
    Another possible image:


  • August 1, 2013
    DaibhidC
    • The sidekick of the Knight (the British representative in the Batmen of All Nations) is called the Squire. Currently, the second Squire has become the third Knight.
  • August 1, 2013
    acrobox
    Star Wars: Jedi Knight's will take on graduates of the academy to be their 'Padawan' learner.
  • August 1, 2013
    Goldfritha
    It would probably to a good idea to either cut the bit about being a Chivalric Romance trope or actually include some romances where the knight does have a squire. My knowledge is somewhat cursory, but those I am familiar with more often have the lone knight. (Unsurprisingly if the character doesn't play a role in the story.)
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=gupy1vuqx8e281rp2jxkykyb&trope=TheSquire