Sep 13 2017 12:30pm

5 Things You Might Not Have Guessed About Highland Warriors

Laird of Darkness by Eliza Knight

Today we're thrilled to welcome Eliza Knight (Laird of Darkness) to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Like any good historical romance author, Eliza has done a lot of research on Scotland and our beloved Highlanders. She's here today to discuss all of the most surprising fun facts she learned about Highlanders in her research. Thanks, Eliza!

Being a history nerd, doing research for my books is a lot of fun. I often get sucked down paths that don’t have anything to do with my story. Along the way, I’ve found a few fun things you might not have guessed about Highland warriors.

1. The Scots fought for hundreds of years against the English, but maybe it wasn't such common knowledge that clans would often switch sides. Or perhaps, you might have known that but thought it was only for money or land. The MacDougall Clan, which my latest series is based on, ended up switching sides during a battle, because of a vendetta. The chief of the MacDougall Clan at the time was married to a relative of a the English king's “choice” for the Scots throne (his puppet). The “puppet” was murdered in a church by Robert the Bruce. My clan was appalled that Bruce would do such a thing, violating sanctuary, but didn't take into consideration that Bruce did this partly to avenge his wife, daughter, sisters and a countess who helped crown him, after they were taken from a church and held hostage, two of them hung in cages outside castles (his sister and the countess)... It was so brutal back then! In my latest book, the son of the chief who switched sides, wants to bring his clan back onto what he considers the right side—that of the Bruce. 

2. Kilts weren’t called kilts until the 1700’s. Before that, they were referred to as belted plaids. On the same note, tartans. In fact, specific colors in tartans weren’t a common thing until much later than the medieval period as well. Most plaids were neutral tones of brown and green.

3. Most warriors would fight in their shirts only (which did reach mid-thigh), removing their plaids before charging into battle.

4.  Their national animal is a unicorn—to this day. This means unicorns must exist, right? Scotland is steeped in myth and lore, so it’s no wonder their national animal would be such a majestic creature.

5. Even the Vikings were weary of Highlanders. When they set sale to plunder they were warned that the natives were dangerous, their weather was deadly and their language incomprehensible. The trip, they were told, was worth it, if they were willing to risk their head! In the first book in my MacDougall series, I had my hero fight a Viking horde J It didn’t work out so well for the northern invaders!I think this one is the most surprising for me is the Vikings. I mean, come on—Vikings! They are terrifying! It just makes me swoon all the more that a Highlander could be even fiercer and protect of what was his.

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall… Researching for my books, and then living history through my characters is pretty much like time-travel, don’t you think? The amazing thing about exploring history, beyond the rabbit-hole fun, is that I always find golden nuggets of record that mesh well with my plot, enhancing the storyline and bringing it all to life. I get to add a sense of realism to the characters and their stories, which I think makes the adventures I pen all the more appealing. Well, that and hot Highland heroes.

So, what did you think? Did you know them all? Have a few surprises?

Thanks so much for letting me share some fun facts with you all! Happy Kilt Reading!


Learn more about or order a copy of Laird of Darkness by Eliza Knight, available now:

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Eliza Knight is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty sizzling historical, time-travel and contemporary romance novels. Under the name E. Knight, she pens rip-your- heart-out historical fiction. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain with her own knight in shining armor, three princesses, and two very naughty puppies.



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