While there are many forms of historical fiction, one of the set-ups that people return to time and time again is that of a more medieval era. Princesses, dragons, references to Arthurian legend; on a surface level, what’s not to like? With the way this era has been romanticized, de-romanticized, and romanticized again, it almost feels natural to be drawn to it, and one of the biggest sources of the romanticization is, of course, knights and the chivalry that comes with them. Knights fighting for their beliefs! Knights, protecting the people they care about! These already make a strong case for me to give a shit about a story about knights, but today’s web crush added one more ingredient to make itself positively irresistible: lady knights who love other lady knights.
It was long ago that I came across The Order of Belfry on my dashboard, and I hate to admit how long it took me to jump into writer Barbara Perez and artist MJ Barros’s world (stuff came up, all right?). Times are tumultuous, and tensions between the kingdoms of Cervidae and Rosoideae have at long last exploded into war. The heir of Cervidae’s throne, Samuel Rotvel, has fallen in battle and his brother Hans has been taken prisoner by Rosoideae’s forces, leaving their sister Idina impatient for the opportunity to rescue him. Despite their father’s insistence that a rescue effort must be planned, Idina sneaks out one night into Rosoideae territory—in her brother’s armor no less—to rescue Hans on her own. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t go well. Idina is left with a scar on her face and the rebukes of her father fresh in her ears as she’s sent away to Belfry. The secluded area is touted as a respite for the royal family in times of strife, and immediately Idina is thinking of the best way to get out of there. However, upon standing up for one of the other women at Belfry, Idina is invited to join Belfry’s secret order of lady knights. Assured of Hans’s rescue by her and the knights’ hands with or without her parents’ approval, Idina quickly accepts, starting her journey to become a proper knight.
Immediately, one of the most reassuring aspects of this comic is the diversity within in its main cast. So many of the Belfry knights are women of color, and it’s really just wonderful to see that. Though I am a little disappointed that most of the women at Belfry are stereotypically thin and beautiful, since there’s only one chapter so far I have hope for future characters. (Like, one overweight character would be cool. Just saying.) Beyond that, Perez and Barros waste no time showing that the friendships and romance between the women of the cast are going to take main stage. The champion of Cervidae’s Queen Cassandra is a woman, and though their interactions have been short, you can infer the respect and friendship between them. Not to mention that Belfry’s initiation was basically the epitome of women protecting women, so the sisterhood between the knights is inevitably going to develop into an intensely strong bond.
On the romance side of things, though Belfry’s Grand Master is in a romance with one of the other knights, I do have to wonder about the The Order of Belfry’s in-universe views on same-gender relationships. Currently, Idina believes she was saved from the rescuing Hans fiasco by a male knight. When she discovers it was actually a woman, is she going to accept that she isn’t straight? Will it cause problems for this potential heir of Cervidae? I’m interested in seeing how that plays out.
As I stated earlier, The Order of Belfry has only just started its second chapter, so now is as good a time as any to get started. If any of this sounds like something you may be interested, be sure to check it out here on Taptastic, follow along on the comic’s Tumblr page, or even lend them a monetary hand on Patreon!