A legal and sociological analysis of “Two Knights and Maidens”

I recently listened to the Crash Test Dummies album God Shuffled His Feet again and since then, the song “Two Knights and Maidens” has been stuck in my head. It’s a strange song because it’s one of those songs where you don’t realize what it’s about until you actually pay attention to the lyrics, and then when you do, you are left gobsmacked. This song is about ostensible rape and murder. 😕


The song talks of two knights and maidens who go for walks together in the garden. The knights keep bugging the maidens to “love them together” in the garden so that they can watch each other. This clearly means that they’re trying to pressure them into having group-sex (not necessarily a foursome, just sex together).

The maidens however don’t want to engage in group-sex with the knights, so they drug them. The knights drink the “potions” and hallucinate. The maidens keep drugging them, so when they somehow come into contact with tigers from outside the garden, they think they’re just more hallucinations and end up getting eaten (while the maidens watch).

Those maidens are super guilty of premeditated murder.

Legal implications

First of all, they cannot argue self-defense because they were not in imminent danger, especially since they continued to go for walks with the knights. The song doesn’t give any indication that the maidens actually succumbed to the knights’ pressure, so clearly they were able to reject their advances, yet kept going for walks with them, so it could be argued that they weren’t being forced or threatened. Therefore, their response was not commensurate and much more than required.

The most damning part however is the premeditation. There are two verses in which the maidens drug the knights. This means they drugged the knights at least twice, in order to get the knights accustomed to hallucinating so that when they are exposed to the tigers, they don’t freak out and instead, just laugh it off as another hallucination. This demonstrates premeditation which would get them a first-degree murder charge.

Societal connections

For the sake of balance, let’s try to view the case from the opposing side and try to form a defense for the maidens. The song is ostensibly not about actual medieval knights and maidens, they’re just metaphors. The song is about bad relationships and domestic rape and abuse. The “knights” are just bad partners who control their women and pressure them to do things they don’t like. There are plenty of cases of women staying with abusive partners, so this could explain why they didn’t just leave. And of course, if they were actually medieval knights and maidens, then it’s all the worse because many knights were very bad and did whatever they wanted, including raping lots of women and girls.


That said, the domestic abuse explanation doesn’t counter the fact that they don’t seem to have actually been forced to do anything and indeed were able to to rebuff their advances on multiple occasions. If a guy kept asking a girl out, then she turned around and shot him in the face, she wouldn’t likely get off on self-defense. And of course, the premeditation definitely can’t be waived off by claiming they were domestic abuse victims since self-defense laws require imminent danger. On top of all that, the tigers were outside the garden, so the maidens had to actually let them in, which is an active action rather than a passive one like getting the knights drunk then standing by while they go swimming and drown.

Final verdict

The maidens are guilty. They’re sentenced to being eaten by dragons. 🐉

“Two Knights and Maidens” lyrics:
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