Some time ago, my 6 year old, Elias, and I patiently pieced together a castle made of little wooden bricks that I sliced up from an old pallet. My son's joy over having his own unique castle was palpable. On one altercation with another child on the playground, my son pointed to his shirt, which had "King Elias" printed on it (a gift from an eccentric uncle), and stated reverently, "I'm a king!" To which the assumed subject responded, "No you're not! You're just a kid in a shirt!" Undaunted, he climbed to the top of a playground structure some time later and cried out, "Repent!" I'm not sure what kind of king he envisioned himself to be, but I decided that each of my children would eventually get their own castle when they were old enough to place a detailed order, if for no other reason than to prevent any one child from assuming lordship over his other sibilings.
Fast forward several years and I am now currently in the process of finishing the last of 3 castles. Each of these builds embodies the personalities and interests of the offspring for whom they represent. To be clear, they are the results of their detailed requests inspired by their own fancy. And yet, I must concede that they could have been influenced by a ridiculous set of stories I had been telling them for years about falling through metaphysical portholes into medieval lands where each had their own kingdom, castle, dragons, in-house wizard and token bad guy to give them some trouble. Though some of the blame for their wild fancy could land on me, it should also be noted that I would never have concocted such outlandandish and irreverent tales had I not had children. They drove me to it.
But without further ado, here are the 3 castles constructed so far:
My firstborn's requirements were ambitious but acceptable. It had to be built to fit his growing collection of PLAYMOBIL® knights, have a trap door leading to a prison, a throne room, a hidden treasure chamber, a wall of unglued bricks that could be knocked down, openings over the front gate whereby rocks could be dropped on ill-intentioned visitors and a portcullis with a drawbridge.
So, one large bottle of wood glue and hundreds of little bricks later, King Elias can now protect his kingdom from the antics of the Evil Monologuer and his minions.
My daughter grew quite fond of her brother's castle and entertained her PLAYMOBIL® princesses there during more peaceable times, though she lamented the lack of rooms for proper entertainment of her distinguished guests.
And so when she was of age, we thought it proper to plan out a castle for her with all the amenities that she deemed appropriate. She wanted less attention placed on battlements, parapets and the like, and more on the interior: chambers for the nobility, guest accomodations, squire's hall, stables and workshop, a generous balcony/throne area, a great hall for entertainment, chapel, etc. I gently reminded her that this is a toy, and that some of these rooms are simply going to have to be multipurpose.
Forged from the cliffs of the southern mountains by the breath of dragons (namely Carl, Dwaine and Marty), this imposing sentinel of vitrified stone stands as a bastion of peace and tranquility for the kingdom below, and strikes fear into the hearts of those who plot evil against the revered king and his loyal subjects, etcetera, etcetera.
My youngest's ambitious demands, inspired to some degree by an irreverent bedtime storyline, required some unique design considerations: foreboding tooth-shaped merlons, sloping walls, round towers, hidden rooms, a trap door leading to an underground slide, a mountain-cliff setting. Also, a courtyard for lounging dragons, a doorbell, and a lazy river moat with inflatable crocodiles for relaxing on during times of peace, and for intimidation when under attack from the likes of Lord Nero and his evil sorcerer, Bob.
Precious little is square on this castle so it was the most challenging build.
This one is still under construction. The main structure is complete, but it'll get a coat of paint in the spring.