Growing up, fairytales are filled with the stereotype of a "knight in shining armor". It's one of those many things you accept as a child and never question. It is only when I was playing HerInteractive's Nancy Drew games #24 The Captive Curse. A traveling storyteller, Renata, says to Nancy that people should not want a "knight in shining armor" because he never helped anyone otherwise his armor would be dirty and dented. It seems such an obvious thing once someone says it and I wonder why that phrase has survived for so long.
A knight comes to mind, one who is by far not in shining armor and that is Miguel Cervantes's Don Quixote. Don Quixote is a man who created stories and lived them. He is famous for charging a giant with his lance extended when, in fact, the giant was only a windmill. I love the portrayal of Don Quixote by Scott Bakula in the television series "Quantum Leap"(Season 2). In it, Bakula sings as Don Quixote the song "Medley from Man of La Mancha" and says he is "a knight with his banners all bravely unfurled / [Who] [n]ow hurls down his gauntlet to thee." He is a man willing to risk his life, even if the danger is in his mind, and to fight evil. At the end, he is "[o]ne man, scorned and covered with scars / [Who] [s]till strove, with his last ounce of courage / To reach the unreachable stars." He is a man without armor "willing to march into Hell for a Heavenly cause." Now, that is a knight I want.