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Hair appears to have great symbolism in the Six Duchies. I am thinking of the custom of shaving a particular portion of the skull as a sign of bereavement and, of course, the "warrior's tail".

But what does a warrior's tail look like, exactly? Is it just a simple pony tail or a topknot? Are the sides shaved? What happens if you go bald - are you prevented from being a warrior (perhaps you are then considered to be too old)?
I had in mind that a warrior's tail was simply a pony tail - but I may be wrong!
It doesn't seem super practical to me on the face of it - really short hair would surely be better - but I suppose haircuts weren't things that necessarily happened all that often so maybe a pony tail was the easiest way to keep it out of the way with zero maintenance.
A shame it's about the most unflattering hairstyle I can think of though!

I think if you go bald you don't have to worry then! No idea what the six duchies thinks though (whether there is some cultural significance to having enough hair to tie it back). It would make sort of sense that if you get to a certain age you are too old to be a warrior - too bad for those guys who go bald in their 20's!
(Jun-11-2010, 12:29 PM (UTC))Nuytsia Wrote: [ -> ]A shame it's about the most unflattering hairstyle I can think of though!
So, not only am I a boring Englishman but I have an unflattering hairstyle Wink Never mind, I also wear a scruffy beard and glasses. In my opinion, being a scientist gives me every right to look like a geek!

It is funny though. The pony tail is certainly not something that I associate with warfare. It would be difficult to fit under a helmet. When I think of warriors, I tend to think of close-cropped hair, long flowing hair or perhaps braids.
OH MAN foot in my mouth now!!!!!!!!!! Sorry I don't recall you having a pony tail in your pic at all???? I must admit I was more thinking of myself with a pony tail first and foremost!
Hey I'm not even game to show my hair so what can I say!

As to fitting it under a helmet, I think maybe if it was fastened quite low down? And assuming they have thin hair?
As Nuytsia said pretty sure its just a simple pony tail. Though from what I've gathered its normally not that long. I really dont have any clue in what exactly it means or how the "warriors tail" originated but I know in Japan, when the samurai were popular. The warriors tail meant alot to them. And getting it cut off was almost like them loosing a life or a part of them. Sorta the ultimate shame.(Though I could be making this all up, just something I remember XD)

As for going bald I doubt it'd matter to much. At least in Buckkeep. There it seems a warriors tale is more something that they.. choose? to have. From what I remember fitz styled his hair that way after his first proper battle or kill? But he didn't always style it that way when fighting.

Actually I'd honestly say its just a good way to keep your hair out of your eyes when you dont want to get a hair cut XD
(Jun-11-2010, 01:29 PM (UTC))Nuytsia Wrote: [ -> ]OH MAN foot in my mouth now!!!!!!!!!! Sorry I don't recall you having a pony tail in your pic at all????
No worries Smiling I have a pony tail in the picture but it is cunningly hidden behind my head.
(Jun-11-2010, 01:36 PM (UTC))Liquid Ice Wrote: [ -> ]Actually I'd honestly say its just a good way to keep your hair out of your eyes when you dont want to get a hair cut XD
You are probably right. It is pretty obligatory if you have long hair and work in a lab too.

Interesting comparison with Japanese samurai. Didn't they braid their hair rather than wearing it in a simple tail?
Great thread!

(Jun-11-2010, 01:18 PM (UTC))maulkin Wrote: [ -> ]So, not only am I a boring Englishman but I have an unflattering hairstyle Wink Never mind, I also wear a scruffy beard and glasses.

Oh, so funny Big Grin !!!

I also had a ponytail bound with a leather thong in mind for the warrior's tail as I was under the impression that many historical armies made this style mandatory for their soldiers, so as to keep it out of an enemy's reach? Some even advocated the shaving of the front of the head for this same purpose?

Like Liquid Ice, I have also heard/read that hair was extremely important to the samurai or some other group, though I'm not sure if it was the samurai or possibly even a Chinese group prior to or during the Qing Dynasty (or at other times in Chinese history...why, oh why, am I thinking of a movie Jackie Chan was in P ?!). At some time, at least, a tail from the head of a warrior was the ultimate prize or war trophy to his enemy (like taking a scalp was important to other groups). It was also a source of humiliation to the warrior.

I'm not sure if the samurai also shaved or cut their hair to outwardly display mourning at all (as those in the Six Duchies do) but, at some stage in history, I'm fairly sure that they did begin to shave their hair to allow for increased comfort while wearing a helmet? This makes me wonder if long hair was, in fact, more important to a Chinese male than a samurai. I am making guesses with all of this though and have no real idea Big Grin !!! Didn't knights tend to cut their hair for mourning?

A samurai also seems to have worn his hair in many different styles, with even the topknot itself worn in various fashions depending on the period eg as just a tail or queued and folded etc.

I think it was after Verity advised him to that Fitz finally wore his hair in a warrior's tail? Verity was with him via the Skill at the time and Fitz was unsure as to what to do with his jaw-length hair as it was annoying him. Verity went on to tell Fitz to tie it back as he'd earned the right to. This would be similar to the practice of a knight usually having longer hair than a squire, to show status/position?

To my way of thinking, a sailor's queue (as worn by Althea etc) differed to a warrior's tail in that it was like a greased braid or pigtail?

As for baldness, well, that's just plain interesting (!!) and not something I've ever thought about with regard to the status of a warrior! I agree with Liquid Ice in that I'm not sure it would matter in Buck or elsewhere in the Six Duchies. As far as I know, aside from the old man in Moonseye, Chade and Shrewd are the oldest of the males mentioned and I can't remember anything regarding their hair...will have to go back and have a dig!
(Jun-10-2010, 09:24 AM (UTC))maulkin Wrote: [ -> ]But what does a warrior's tail look like, exactly? Is it just a simple pony tail or a topknot? Are the sides shaved?

Have added it to my subject bar but, just in case...***TAWNY MAN SPOILERS BELOW***


Since my husband refused to read any further than the first couple of chapters of 'Fool's Errand', I have been reading it to him at every available opportunity, to try and get him so interested in events that he will just have to continue on...!

With this in mind, I have just gone back over the section where Fitz had pulled out Verity's sword in preparation for his return to Buckkeep. Hap had told Fitz he would also need to cut his long hair but, instead, Fitz "pulled it to the back of my head and fastened it into a warrior's tail". In this there is definitely no mention of shaving or other prior preparation etc. Even with Hap's limited experience in life, he still knew that this style was worn only by those within the military.
from what i recall, different trades were sometimes marked by their hairstyles.

i don't remember exactly what it is, but scribes had their own hairstyle or means of identification.

i always taken the warrior's tail to be a regular pony tail. this is particularly reinforced to me as i used to play mmorpgs and world of warcraft had a charatcer choice which is exactly like a pony tail on a muscular frame.
(Jul-20-2010, 05:56 AM (UTC))Bink Wrote: [ -> ]from what i recall, different trades were sometimes marked by their hairstyles.

i don't remember exactly what it is, but scribes had their own hairstyle or means of identification.

Yes, I recall when Lord Golden was going to cut Tom Badgerlock's hair into a servant's cut but couldn't bring himself to do it, and instead retied it in a warrior's tail. I'm not sure if this was due to his caring of Tom's appearance for his own sake (he liked how Tom looked) or if it would become an important factor in the story/role-play...as it was, it was not long after that incident that Tom came back to Lord Golden with his new 'terms of employment', so to speak eg that he was to be a bodyguard as well as a valet etc.