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If you’re not caught up on Game Of Thrones, you should probably know this article contains minor spoilers. More importantly, it represents an activity that’s not catching up on Game Of Thrones. So, get your head out of your ass, fire up HBO Go and get to work getting caught up. Seriously, last chance this article contains minor spoilers. Good? Great. Then let’s go.
Remember the end of this week’s Game Of Thrones episode in which Tyrion Lannister demanded a trial by combat? If you saw it, I’m sure you remember it because it was quite possibly one of the most badass things ever to happen on television. Well, it turns out that same scene actually unfolded in real life in a court room in Europe back in 2002. 60-year-old Leon Humphreys, an out of work auto mechanic, was hauled in for refusing to pay a small fine for not telling the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency that he was no longer using his Suzuki motorcycle. The judge likely assumed he would pay the increased fine and court costs when he showed up, but instead, he demanded a trial by combat.
According to The Telegraph, Humphreys cited European Human Rights Legislations to argue he was within his rights to fight a DVLA clerk with “samurai swords, Ghurka knives or heavy hammers”. Apparently, he saw it as the only “reasonable” way to settle a disagreement like this and was more than willing to let the bureau pick any of the bureau’s employees. Here’s a portion of his exact quote…
"I (am) willing to fight a champion put up by the DVLA, but it would (be) a fight to the death."
His offer was, of course, refused. He was ordered to five times the amount of the original fine or about $300. No doubt he didn’t find the court’s decision to be the most honorable thing in the world, but since this happened twelve years ago and no one in the local area has written any follow-up stories, it’s probably safe to assume he eventually paid the damn money and moved on.
For those who don’t know, a trial by combat was a way people solved differences in Europe throughout the Middle Ages. The accused would either fight himself or appoint a champion, and it was widely assumed God or fate or whoever wouldn’t allow a guilty person to claim victory. The practice slowly died out in the 1500s because some more cautious types weren’t comfortable with citizens hacking off each other’s limbs over missing chickens.
Pop Blend’s sincerest well-wishes go out to Leon Humphreys, wherever he might be these days. He would be 72-years-old, but something tells me he would still be willing to defend his family’s honor or his property with “heavy hammers” if it ever came to that.