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Bill Gates to be Knighted 1116

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-thought-you-had-to-at-least-be-british dept.
gexen writes "According to an article in the Telegraph Bill Gates is going to be knighted by the Queen of England for "services to the global enterprise." She's just handing them out like candy these days!"
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Bill Gates to be Knighted

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  • by Zardus (464755) <yans@yancomm.net> on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:14AM (#8080713) Homepage Journal
    I refuse to kneel before Gates! Fight the Aristocracy!
    • by flyneye (84093) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:44AM (#8080906) Homepage
      hopefully the old gal will trip,slip or just outright for the fun of it lop off his head with the sword she knights him with.

    • by surprise_audit (575743) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:54AM (#8080979)
      I refuse to kneel before Gates! Fight the Aristocracy!
      I think (hope!) you may be missing the point. When a person is knighted, the ruling monarch touches that person on each shoulder with a sword, while saying the traditional words.

      OK, so think about it - if Bill accepts the knighthood, he'll be letting her Majesty get within inches of his neck with about 3 feet of sharp steel... When you add in the fact that she's 78 years old this year, we can hope that she might just "slip" and join the dots with a straight line...

      • EULA (Score:5, Funny)

        by xixax (44677) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:27PM (#8084772)
        When a person is knighted, the ruling monarch touches that person on each shoulder with a sword, while saying the traditional words.
        "By accepting this offer, you accept the terms and conditions enclosed..."

        Xix.

    • Re:Aristocracy!! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Amadodd (620353) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @05:04PM (#8082853)
      Gordon Brown put him up for this award, not the aristocracy. The article says it best: "On the eve of Hutton and the university fees vote, this is Brown saying, 'Look at all my powerful friends'," said a Downing Street adviser.

      For those of you that are not familiar with British politics: There is this guy Tony who is in charge. Then there is this guy Gordon who wants to be in charge. Gordon and Tony agreed that Tony will be in charge for a while and then Gordon will get a turn. It is increasingly looking as if Tony is screwing Gordon out of his turn. Time is running out for Gordon because, since their party has screwed the British public and treated them like serfs for two terms, their party probably only has one term left in government - maybe. And since they have screwed up so royally Gordon will probably be dead next time their party gets put in charge again. So Gordon only has one term to possibly lead the government. So he has started screwing Tony. He has built an empire around his ministry and just about every other part of government now reports in some way to his department. He is the one that holds the country's purse strings. Every chance he gets he usurps the authority of Tony. Tony on the other hand is increasingly looking like a deer caught in the headlights. This honouring of Gates is just another kick in the groin at a time when Tony is already holding his guts to stop them from spilling. Gordon is playing low and dirty on this one.

      British politics beats any soap hands down. I am sure it is the same in many other countries. Pity then that it affects real lives.

    • Hateraid for all. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by OwP_Fabricated (717195) <fabricated&gmail,com> on Sunday January 25, 2004 @06:02PM (#8083119) Homepage
      Jesus, you'd think that Bill Gates spent his days stomping on puppies and biting the heads off of kittens with all this burning hatred for the man. Seriously, fuck you people. The guy donated 26 billion dollars to malaria research. That's a good thing, regardless of your groupthink. Does it instantly make Bill Gates a good guy? Of course not. Does it make him deserving of Knighthood? I'd certainly say so. I'd say in the grand scheme of things the lives his donated money will save goes far beyond the bullshit of the software business and your sad personal worlds where Gates is hiding outside your window waiting to steal your computer and rape your mom. Grow up.
  • by michaelhood (667393) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:15AM (#8080717)
    charged with keeping the Kingdom secure. ;) FP?
  • Arise! (Score:5, Funny)

    by AtariAmarok (451306) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:16AM (#8080721)
    I knight thee!

    Arise, Sir Plenty of Bugs, Sir Mega of Lomaniac, sir Screen of Blue, Sir Embrace of Extend, Sir 640 of K....
  • by MajorDick (735308) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:17AM (#8080729)
    I forget what its called but Bill Gates cannot be "Knighted" with full title as he is not a british subject , its kinda like being knighted "lite"
  • by usermilk (149572) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:17AM (#8080730)
    Don't you need to be British to become a knight?
    • by Quboid (11402) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:19AM (#8080741) Homepage
      Don't you need to be British to become a knight?

      No, but you need to be a Commonwealth "Citizen" for it to give you the right to use the title "Sir".
  • pfft (Score:5, Funny)

    by the_unknown_soldier (675161) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:18AM (#8080736)
    Satan is getting knighted tomorow.
  • by Nadsat (652200) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:19AM (#8080740) Homepage
    Knighthood is just like awarding the Hollywood Star. They should display icons of all the knights down the Thames.

    We need to create a rewards system that rewards not celebrities but progressives. The Martyr Award or the like. Give it a sexy title... and *poof* suddenly being a progressive is hip.
    • Re:Hollywood Star (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BoldAC (735721) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:42AM (#8080897)
      Actually many Hollywood and sports stars have refused knighthood.

      Peter Alliss, golf professional
      Frank Auerbach, artist
      Francis Bacon, artist
      J. G. Ballard, author
      Alan Bennett
      Isaiah Berlin
      Honor Blackman, Bond girl and actress in The Avengers
      David Bowie, artist and actor
      Kenneth Branagh, actor and director
      Jim Broadbent
      John Cleese, comedian
      John Cole
      Roald Dahl, author
      Bernie Ecclestone, owner of Formula One
      Albert Finney, actor
      Michael Frayn
      Dawn French, comedienne
      Lucian Freud
      Robert Graves
      Graham Greene, author
      Lenny Henry
      Alfred Hitchcock, director
      David Hockney
      Trevor Howard
      Aldous Huxley, author
      Anish Kapoor
      Philip Larkin
      Richard Lambert
      Nigella Lawson, cook
      John le Carre, author
      John Lennon, artist
      Doris Lessing, author
      Ken Loach, director
      L. S. Lowry
      Barry McGuigan, boxer
      George Melly
      Helen Mirren, actress
      Harold Pinter, playwright
      Anthony Powell
      J. B. Priestley
      Vanessa Redgrave, actress
      Jennifer Saunders, comedienne
      Alastair Sim
      Claire Tomalin
      Polly Toynbee
      Evelyn Waugh
      Rachel Whiteread
      Benjamin Zephaniah, poet
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_who_ have_declined_a_British_honour

      No Sir! Stars who refused honors--CNN Article [cnn.com]
  • by PatrickThomson (712694) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:20AM (#8080748)
    This is just an excuse to get a sharp object hear his neck...
  • by hillct (230132) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:21AM (#8080758) Homepage Journal
    I knight thee for thy geek prowass, in spite of thy buggy insecure software, in spite of thy pending antitrust litigation, I knight thee for thy introduction of technology which will allow geeks around the world to stream Monty Python sketches over the web and share them with their geek brethren, in spite of the fact that you stole the concepts behind it from your competitors and insisted on including crippling and inherently broken DRM.

    -- The Queen Mother
  • by Space cowboy (13680) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:25AM (#8080783) Journal
    After all, it's not the Queen's fault - she gets told who's to be knighted by the PM, although it seems this time the Chancellor has stuck his oar in...

    I always did think Labour were too damn close to WBG the III. At least he doesn't get to call himself 'Sir', not being British...

    Simon
  • by PetoskeyGuy (648788) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:25AM (#8080787)
    If I were Bill Gates, I would not accept invitations to kneel before someone with a sword.
  • Knighthoods and other decorations have very often been sold to the highest bidder one way or another. It's not even particularly offensive, but a good way of paying for the monarchy. I'd rather that Bill gets a knighthood by paying for it in cash than for making large contributions to the political party in charge, which is the other way it happens.

    "All hail to Sir Borg^h^h^h^hBill!"
  • by James Lewis (641198) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:27AM (#8080798)
    If Yasser Arafat can win the Nobel Peace Prize Bill Gates can be knighted. All signs that the apocalypse is at hand.
  • by peterprior (319967) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:30AM (#8080812)
    We are the knights who say......
  • What I picture (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Now15 (9715) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:30AM (#8080817) Homepage
    When I read this article, I get a mental image of Bill Gates thinking how awesome it would be to be officially titled "Sir Bill Gates". I then picture him dialling the extension for his publicity department and asking them to "get on it right away".

    There are probably hundreds of people in the IT industry more worthy of knighthood than Gates... think of people like Wozniack, Torvalds, Stallman, Page... guys who made REAL advances in computer science without greed as a primary motivator.
  • by way2trivial (601132) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:34AM (#8080845) Homepage Journal
    Know a little about the constition, it's dangerous, and a "dangerous 'know little' population" is what the government doesn't want--debate.

    The constitition says in part "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State. "

    does this mean congress has to vote on it? or already has?
    for me to succeed, it doesn't matter if MY point of view is right or wrong, there must just be reasoned replies.

  • by Faust7 (314817) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:36AM (#8080858) Homepage
    ...instead of the flaming and crude jokes that I know are going to happen anyway, is a serious discussion of exactly what Bill Gates has done to earn an honor of this magnitude.

    What I mean is an examination from an alternative viewpoint, not for the sake of making a favorable impression of Microsoft -- but as an academic exercise.

    I'm well aware that Microsoft, especially on this forum, is seen as one of the most evil entities to ever exist. With that in mind, I'm going to rush right into Godwin's Law and make the following comparison with Hitler's Germany: In just a few years, Hitler managed to transform Germany from an highly agricultural, economically decrepit country into a modern, industrial, profitable one. This was all before the Holocaust, and during that period, he enjoyed immense public support.

    Now examine Microsoft. They are a convicted monopolist, and continue to enjoy unparalleled control over the domestic software (and to an extent, hardware) market. But what has arisen from this that would lead their chairman to be considered for an honorary knighthood? Thrust aside the seething hate for a second and just look. What accomplishments have arisen? Computers running software whose price/performance [tpc.org] is fantastic? One of the easiest-to-develop-for video game consoles ever? Highly capable web servers that run some of the busiest sites--Dell.com, Nasdaq.com, MSNBC.com? Software conformity (and all the positives and negatives that result)?

    As I said, this is intended to be an exercise, not a trumpeting endorsement, in the interests of shedding new light on this piece of news.
    • by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:43AM (#8080901) Homepage Journal
      exactly what Bill Gates has done to earn an honor of this magnitude.

      Giving loads of money to good causes always helps.
    • by Richard W.M. Jones (591125) <[gro.aixenna] [ta] [hcir]> on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:49AM (#8080947) Homepage

      ...instead of the flaming and crude jokes that I know are going to happen anyway, is a serious discussion of exactly what Bill Gates has done to earn an honor of this magnitude.

      Well, he has given away a very substantial amount of money to worthy causes through his and his wife's foundation.

      Is this a good thing? Of course. Sort of. Where did the money come from? Basically from a sort of involuntary tax extracted from millions upon millions of PC users around the world. So it's good that the money is going to a good cause, just bad that progress and innovation had to be retarded to make that happen.

      The real reason why he's getting a knighthood, however, has nothing to do with his gifts to good causes. It's a powerplay between the Prime Minister Mr. Blair and his Chancellor Gordon Brown. Mr. Blair is in serious political trouble at the moment, what with the 45 minute claim, the missing WMDs, the ongoing situation in Iraq and various political issues at home (tuition fees for Universities). By coincidence, Mr. Brown who fancies being PM one day is having all his friends in business over for a conference - flexing his muscles and making it known that he has "important" friends too. By all accounts Mr. Blair didn't even know about this conference until 2 weeks ago!

      I'm a director of an entrepreneurial company in the UK (well, I like to think so anyway :-) and we tried to get to go to this conference, but we're firmly not invited. It's only for those "innovators" in big business, see. This makes me quite bitter because big business only accounts for about 20% of the UK economy, making them fairly irrelevant as far as growth and innovation are concerned.

      Rich.

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @03:11PM (#8082339)


      What accomplishments have arisen? Computers running software whose price/performance is fantastic? One of the easiest-to-develop-for video game consoles ever? Highly capable web servers that run some of the busiest sites--Dell.com, Nasdaq.com, MSNBC.com? Software conformity (and all the positives and negatives that result)?

      Forget this list. Like a lot of "you owe Microsoft" style posts, it consists of accomplishments that are debatable either because their accuracy or whether they really stand out above their competition.

      Microsoft's (as both a separate entity and alter-ego to Bill Gates) real contribution is in its history. Once again, Microsoft advocates often miss the mark by starting their list with "Internet for the masses" or the beginnings of Windows (with both points being dubious). It goes further back than that.

      Microsoft's biggest contribution to computing is being a conduit for the process of making computer hardware a commodity. Kind of an odd turn of events since they were entirely a software company at this point. And likely more accidental than planned.

      At this point in history, microcomputers were coming in to their own. They were no longer toys for hobbyists but rather important business tools. It hadn't taken long for IBM to notice that a market they had resoundingly ignored was quickly growing. IBM backpedaled and rushed out their own entry - the IBM PC. It was such a success in the business market that soon became a defacto standard. It might be worth pointing out that in IBM's rush to market, their IBM-PC product was heavily dependent on off-the-shelf components and and a licensed operating system from a small outfit based in New Mexico.

      Enter Compaq. Compaq was the first to produce a legal IBM-PC clone in their Compaq Portable product (although not the first clone to market or first "portable" computer). This was done through a meticulous and expensive reverse engineering process. This was a necessary step since the hardware involved was available but the underpinnings of the IBM-PC, its BIOS, was not. The investment paid off - Compaq had a fully functional clone which launched the company to becoming one of computing's major players.

      However, Compaq's success would have been questionable if it wasn't for Microsoft. The reason to go through this tedious reverse engineering was to create a machine that functioned just like an IBM-PC. The BIOS was one piece. The operating system was another. But unlike previous microcomputer products, the OS was not owned by the manufacturer. Compaq licensed the same OS, Microsoft's DOS, that ran on the IBM-PC.

      I find it hard to believe that Bill Gates foresaw this turn of events. It is very likely that he simply saw software as being as important as hardware, that the microcomputer would take off, and that getting a portion of each IBM sale would lead to more profit than an outright buyout of DOS. Or maybe Bill reflected on their success with BASIC and did, in fact, see a day when their OS could be licensed in the same manner.

      In any case, Compaq was the first of many. More clones came to market. This challenged IBM's product and lead to a situation where the "IBM-PC" became a compatibility standard as much as an available product. Clone companies continued to compete on price and features as the "IBM-PC" market shifted away from IBM's proprietary product to a commodity.

      And Microsoft collected a fee for each "IBM-PC" sold.

      There are a couple interesting points worth stressing here.

      IBM began this process, albeit unintentionally, by relying on off-the-shelf parts that any other manufacturer could also purchase. IBM then attempted to protect their product with proprietary firmware. There are some echos of this behavior in today's computing environment.

      Microsoft rode the wave of the hardware market becoming a commodity. Whether this was luck or not might be open to some debate but they

  • Sour grapes! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cuteface (450372) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:37AM (#8080860) Homepage
    Ok, so the English Queen is giving an honorary title to the man most disliked by Linux fanatics and for that she is said to be giving out titles like candies. Grow up!

    I may not like the way Microsoft does think (somewhat arrogant) but give credit where it's due. Mr Gates' contributions in my mind are as follows:

    1) Making IT not just for the geeks and the super rich but making it affordable for hundreds of millions of IT illiterates to learn how to use a PC. (I agree Macintosh and others were better but point 2 is the reason why MS succeeded).

    2) Standardizing the way GUI applications work so that ordinary folks can get productivity out of them instead of endless tweaking and fumbling. (of course, sometimes it crashes and those @#$%^*!! words start flowing)

    3) Bill is a philanthropist and a marvellous example compared to many other rich folks.

    Let's be rationale, we may not like some aspects of a company or a person but don't throw out the good parts. That is character murder and a sign of immaturity on our part.

  • by AgTiger (458268) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:49AM (#8080945) Homepage
    "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."

    Here, read it for yourself: Constitution for the United States of America [constitution.org].

    There are just so many ways to look at this (specifically where Bill Gates is concerned), that this could keep constitutional lawyers happy for years.

    He's in a position of profit and trust, but is it Under the States? Is geographic location, making that much money, and having your software so deeply enshrined in so many State governments enough to make that connection? Note: Office does not specifically say POLITICAL office...

    Oh yeah, HUGE can of worms.

  • Hitler was Time Magazine's Man of the Year once.

    Like someone else said previously, Yasser Arafat has a Nobel Peace Prize.

    Milli Vanilli once had a Grammy.

    George W. Bush has made a mockery of the US Presidency.
  • by VoidEngineer (633446) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:55AM (#8080988)
    So, does anybody know if Gates is going to be a Knight Commander or a Knight Grand Cross? And if he's going to get the Knight Grand Cross, did somebody have to die in order to free up a spot?

    From Wikipedia.org [wikipedia.org]:
    "The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry within the British honours system and was established in 1917. The motto of the Order is For God and the Empire.


    The order has five grades, the top two of which are knightly (post-nominals in parantheses):

    Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE)
    Knight/Dame Commander of Order of the British Empire (KBE/DBE)
    Commander of Order of the British Empire (CBE)
    Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
    Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)


    There is an related British Empire Medal (BEM) which is no longer awarded in the United Kingdom, but is still awarded by some Commonwealth countries.

    The Order is limited to 120 Knights and Dames Grand Cross, 845 Knights and Dames Commanders, and 8960 Commanders. Also, no more than 858 Officers and 1464 Members may be appointed per year. "
  • Whoa... (Score:5, Funny)

    by FrostedWheat (172733) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @10:56AM (#8080996)
    Linux helping Windows boot faster, Spirit on the way to working again, Opportunity successfully landing and now Bill Gates being Knighted. At this rate Beagle 2 will come back to life, Duke Nukem Forever will get a release date and this story won't be duped!

    What a week!
  • I would say (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andih8u (639841) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @11:00AM (#8081018)
    that Bill Gates has done more for the world than, say, Mick Jagger or Elton John. He runs both an incredibly successful company and gives away gobs of money to charities.

    Hated? Yes. Undeserving? No.

    • Malaria Research (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Brown Line (542536) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @11:39AM (#8081206)
      Like many posting here, I would dance around the flames if Microsoft were to crash and burn. That being said, the money that Gates has contributed to research for a malaria vaccine - probably the world's most pressing health problem, and one that is shamefully underfunded by our government - could potentially save the lives of millions. And the money he's donated to charter schools across the country (including the one at which my brother teaches) is offering real educational opportunity to many poor kids who otherwise would be stuck in shitty public schools.

      No, if a withered narcissist like Mick Jagger can be knighted, Gates certainly deserves the honor. It's a shame, though, that the British are honoring him when, frankly, he deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It galls me to write this, but it's the truth.

  • by ProppaT (557551) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @11:20AM (#8081108) Homepage
    I bet all Gates' friends back at the D&D will never believe this.

    "Sir Bill Gates, level 15th Paladin...a true warrior for the people if I do say so myself" - Bill Gates
  • by WerewolfOfVulcan (320426) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @11:29AM (#8081150)
    ...use a lightsabre instead.

    "I knight thee in the name of... ZZZWURTCH ... oh dear..."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 25, 2004 @11:40AM (#8081218)
    A good result of this: Bill Gates will not be allowed to run for president of the US. (Presidents of the US may not have British noble status)
  • by big-magic (695949) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @11:52AM (#8081288)

    Remember that not only is Bill Gates the self-made, richest man in the world, but he is also one of the top philanthropist of all times due to the charitable gifts of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has already given away billions. So, it's not too surprising that he is knighted. I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner.

    I'm definitely not a Microsoft fan (I'm a Unix admin). But give the guy some slack. I think some people take this anti-Microsoft thing too personally.

  • by mormop (415983) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @01:35PM (#8081821)
    So far, most of the comments have overlooked the most important bit of the original article.

    For all you folks over the pond, a bit of recent UK political history starts here:

    The person who nominated Gates for this award is Gordon Brown, currently the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Brown and Blair have a love hate relationship based on the fact that Brown believes he was stitched up by Blair over the Labour party leadership prior to Labour's victory in the 1997 election.

    This animosity is kept quite on the whole because no government in the UK will dare to show a division of support for its leader as it's a great turn off for the voters as several Tory opposition leaders have found over the last 8+ years.

    Blair is in a very vulnerable position for the first time in years as the shit is heading for the fan re: Iraq and Brown sees this as a good time to position himself for the take over if Blair goes down. The entrepeneurs conference Brown has set up is basically (as the article suggests) a "look how important I am and how powerful my friends are" day. Incidentally, the conference's most notable claim to fame is the lack of speakers who have started the business they currently run.

    Personally, I find the concept of being lectured on entrepeneurship by people who have taken on the CEO post at a multinational or run their own predatory destroyer of start-ups, small businesses and competitors insulting in the extreme and hope Brown fall flay on his face despite my intense dislike for Blair.

    I don't know whether there's a mechanism for objecting to honours in the UK but if anyone does, now may be the time to speak up.
  • The "anti-christ"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greygent (523713) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @01:54PM (#8081911) Homepage
    So Bill Gates is being knighted and the media is aghast. This whole situation can be remedied quickly. When you donate $26 freakin' billion dollars for charitable causes, like Mr. Gates has, you may complain.

    26... billion... dollars...

    That's WELL over half of his liquid worth, and it nears 3/4 of his liquid wealth, which is currently sitting somewhere near $40-42 billion. And he's the "anti-christ"?
  • Appropriate (Score:4, Funny)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @01:58PM (#8081933) Homepage
    OBE has long been interpreted as "Other Bloke's Effort". This is an area where Bill excells.
  • by dfn5 (524972) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @04:01PM (#8082592) Journal
    Aren't Knights supposed to be lawful good?

  • geez. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Da_Monk (88392) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @04:24PM (#8082686)
    To everyone saying the standards of knighthood have fallen:
    the main standard for modern knighthood is CHARITY. to maintain a knighthood you have donate a huge percentage of your time and money to charitable causes.
    Bill has given over 20 billion dollars to charity. He is among the highest individual contributors to aids charities.
    disliking the software is one thing, but slamming him getting a knighthood like this is just lame. STFU.
  • by Black Art (3335) on Sunday January 25, 2004 @04:47PM (#8082767)
    Maybe she just wants the opertunity to get a sword near his neck.

    "I dub thee... Blue scream of death!" *WHACK*

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