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Knight & page, Vampire & thrall, and More: Archetypical Inspiration for Power Exchange

During the Master/slave Conference 2019, I met people in a variety of dynamics, all under the wide umbrella of Master/slave. While walking through the hotel, I met a woman and her companions. The woman had a strong presence and was dressed to the nines with a beautiful vintage updo and gown. Her companions, a man and a woman, both wore button-up shirts and slacks. After speaking with them, I discovered that this woman was Queen to her companions, her devoted knights.

Many years earlier, I was exposed to the word ‘archetype’ in a college-level psychology class, but I was familiar with archetypes before I had a word for them. For example, think of a thief. What are they wearing? What personality traits do they have? How do they move through a room? What motivates them? In this context, archetypes are characters that recur so often in movies and other storytelling that the word itself provokes detailed imagery in the reader’s mind. 

In Lee Harrington’s Sacred Kink, the chapter on ritual discusses archetypes that may inspire kink practices: “Perhaps you are drawn to roles inspired by literature or history such as Gorean/Kajira, Vampire/Thrall, Muse/Artist, or Lady/Knight/Vassal….[N]o matter the archetype chosen (if any is chosen at all), it is what one does with that archetype that matters.” Lee goes on to elaborate on ways that different archetypes can create unique rituals that shape a relationship. 

Let’s consider two relationships. Both are nominally Master/slave relationships, yet one is based on the roles of a Knight and his page, while the other is a Vampire and her thrall.

A Knight/page relationship might be very values-based. For example, feedback on the page’s demeanor may include aspects of representing the honor of his Knight while in public. Rituals may include actual or symbolic armor, swords, shields, or other items of close or mounted combat. If service is an aspect of the relationship, it might be framed as a training regime. The main goal of relationships may be mentorship in exchange for service, as with the idealized Knight.

In contrast, a Vampire/thrall relationship may be very hedonistic and focused on energy transfer from the thrall to the Vampire. Rituals could integrate actual or symbolic bloodletting, biting, or hypnotism. There also might be aspects of animals related to vampirism involved, such as bats and hounds. From a higher level, the purpose of the relationship could be sacrifice and devotion in the name of the Vampire’s pleasure.

Again, these are both Master/slave relationships, yet having an archetypical foundation provides so much imagery that the participants and their community can play with!

When I started talking with a friend about archetypes, they asked if there was a comprehensive list. Barring that, at least someplace to begin. I couldn’t find anything to that effect, so I decided to write down every archetype I could think of that might be useful as the foundation of a power exchange relationship. I’ve decided to keep them separate because they could be paired together in many ways. 

Before I start on the list though, I want to speak a little about a related project of mine. The Kinky Butler is focused on exploring and integrating the butler archetype in kinky service. If this archetype discussion has interested you, I ask that you read the landing page of the website and see what you think.

Archetypes for Higher Hierarchical Relationships

Abbess/Abbot

Agent

Alien

Alpha

Angel

Animal

Archbishop

Artisan

Artist

Authority

Babysitter

Bad Boy

Bard

Beast

Benefactor

Big Brother/Big Sister/Big Sibling

Boss

Brat-tamer

Bully

Captain

Captor

Caregiver

Celebrity

Chef

Chief

Chosen One

Christ Figure

Coach

Commanding Officer

Controller

Corrupter

Craftsman/Crafter

Creator

Creature

Criminal

Cult Leader

Dad/Mom

Daddy/Mommy

Dark Lord

Deacon

Demon

Designer

Devil

Disciplinarian

Doctor

Dog

Dollmaker

Dragon

Druid/Druidess

Elder

Empath

Engineer

Executive

Executor

Fairy

Father/Mother

Femme Fatale

Gardener

God/Goddess/Deity

Governess

Guardian

Guide

Guide

Guru

Handler

Healer

Hero/Heroine

Husband/Wife/Spouse

Invader

Jailer

Jock

Judge

Killer

King/Queen/Monarch

Knight

Leader

Legend

Lich

Lord/Lady/Noble

Mad Scientist

Madam

Madman

Magician

Manager

Master of the House/Mistress of the House

Matron

Mentor

Messiah

Mindfucker

Minister

Monster

Muscle

Nurturer

Owner

Patriarch/Matriarch

Patron

Pet

Pimp

Pope

Predator

President

Priest/Priestess

Prince/Princess

Principal

Professor

Puppeteer

Puppy

Rabbi

Rider

Ringleader

Sage

Saint

Satan

Savior

Seducer/Seductress

Sensei

Shadow

Shapeshifter

Sheikh

Sheriff

Slasher

Soldier

Sorcerer

Spoiled Boy/Spoiled Girl/Spoiler Child

Stepfather/Stepmother/Stepparent

Succubus/Incubus

Sultan

Superior

Supervisor

Tamer

Teacher

Thief

Toymaker

Trainer

Trickster

Tyrant

Uncle/Aunt

Vampire/Vampiress

Villain

Warlock

Warrior

Werewolf

Witch

Wizard

Wolf

Wrangler

Yogi

Zookeeper

Archetypes for Lower Hierarchical Relationships

Advisor

Angel

Animal

Apprentice

Artist

Assistant

Athlete

Babyboy/Babygirl/Baby

Beta

Bimbo

Bloodbag

Bodyguard

Boy/Girl/Kid

Brat

Butler

Captive

Caretaker

Cat

Chosen One

Clown

Creation

Criminal

Crony

Cult Follower

Cult Victim

Dancer

Demigod

Demon

Deputy

Devil

Devote

Dog

Doll

Employee

Enabler

Executor

Experiment

Fan

Femme Fatale

First Mate

Fixer

Flower

Follower

Footman

Freakshow

Head of Staff

Henchmen

Horse

Innocent

Jester

Joker

King’s Guard

Knight

Lady-in-waiting

Little Brother/Little Sister/Little Sibling

Major Domo

Manservant

Monk/Nun

Muse

Nurse

Omega

Page

Patient

Performer

Permissive Daddy/Permissive Mommy/Permissive Parent

Pirate

Plushie

Prey

Priest/Priestess

Prince/Princess

Prized Possession

Property

Pup

Robot

Sacrifice

Saint

Seductress

Servant

Sidekick

Slut

Soldier

Squire

Student

Stuffed Animal

Tamer

Thrall

Toy

Trainee

Vice President

Victim

Warrior

Whore

Wolf

Worshipper

Youngin’

Youngling

Roles for Roughly Equal Hierarchical Relationships

Accomplice

Aid

Ally

Associate

Brother/Sister/Sibling

Buddy

Co-conspirator

Companion

Compatriot

Comrade

Equal

Husband/Wife/Spouse

Mate

Neighbor

Packmate

Partner

Partner-in-crime

Peer

Playmate

Rival

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