Whipping Boy – A good day to you all. I know it’s been a while and frankly, I have no excuse just that I have had a lingering sense of ennui that wasn’t helping me stay energized and focused on my blog but good news! that state has passed. So guys while I was reading Game of thrones’ a feast for crows, (Yes I actually read the book and no, I didn’t watch the series) I came across a scene where Cersei threatened to punish Pate, King Tommen’s whipping boy (previously King Joffery’s) if king Tommen didn’t adhere to her instructions. Well, Tommen was soft-hearted and tried to avoid incurring his mother’s wrath so as not to get Pate punished but sadly, Pate wasn’t always so lucky. This incited my curiosity on the whole whipping boy’s saga and I went ahead to research some more about it.
According to Wikipedia, “A whipping boy was, supposedly, a boy educated alongside a prince (or boy monarch) in early modern Europe, who received corporal punishment for the prince’s transgressions in his presence. The prince has not punished himself because his royal status exceeded that of his tutor however, seeing a friend punished would provide an equivalent motivation not to repeat the offense“.
Edward VI and his Whipping Boy” by Walter Sydney Stacey from his 1882 oil painting.
The use of whipping boys stemmed from the belief that the legitimate kings were appointed by God and answerable to God alone. Also, only the king could punish the Prince and most times, the king was to busy for such things hence the use of a whipping boy. This culture was practiced in medieval times and has been long abolished. In fact, there is a considerable argument that the whole whipping boy story is a myth and has never been practiced but one thing is agreed upon, if it happened, it was reserved only for royalty. It is also not clear whether the position was voluntary or not but some sources state that it was voluntary and a prestigious position.
Today, the term “whipping boy” now refers to the scapegoat, the sacrificial lamb, or a ‘loser’. Well, that is all I have on whipping boys so till next time guys.