Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What makes archery so cool?

I’ve noticed an interesting trend this year in movies. It seems that in a few of the big blockbusters they’ve had an archer running around shooting arrows into things, namely Katness Everdeen from Hunger Games, Hawkeye from Avengers and Princess Merida from Brave. Speaking as an archer myself, I want to delve a bit into why this ancient activity looks so cool on screen, and why we squeal every time we see a bow drawn.
First off, unlike guns and knives, archery requires skill to bring someone down. Say what you will, but a child can’t pick up daddy’s bow and hurt too many people. This comes up a bit in Hunger Games when one of the tributes tries firing at Katness with no luck, but this is especially illustrated in Brave during the suitor competition (This isn’t a spoiler, since this whole scene was a trailer for the film. Check it out! The suitors, despite being “mighty warriors”, can’t get a bullseye to save their lives, and the one guy who does almost does it by accident. Princess Merida then shows up, spouts I think everyone’s favorite line from that movie “I’ll be shooting for me own hand!”, rips her dress, and systematically schools each suitor. She goes so far as to split the one bullseye’s shot in half with her own arrow! It’s a cool scene, and shows how bad to the bone she is, despite being a princess. I want to see Belle or Aurora try that!
Second, arrows are so much more useful than bullets. A bullet is good for putting holes in stuff. That’s it. Hawkeye and his fancy quiver (For those who don’t know, a quiver is where one stores arrows) could do repelling lines, smoke bombs, explosives, and a bunch of other little gadgets handy to get across long distances. And need we forget Legolas in Fellowship of the Ring, where he actually stabbed a charging Uruk Hai with an arrow in his hand before notching it and taking down another. It’s pretty tricky to take out two opponents with one bullet.
Third and final argument: A fully drawn bow just looks so chill. Anyone can pick up a gun, but not everyone can look cool doing it, but when an  archer has sights set on a target, it’s over. Game over man. Even wusses like Young Link, or people who normally aren’t supposed to look dangerous like Inara look scary with a bow. Even though it was a needless cameo and he didn’t do anything, most people remember Hawkeye’s debut in Thor just because someone was willing to shoot the God of Thunder with an arrow. And let’s be honest here, if it wasn’t for the bow, would it be just impossible to tell the difference between Arwen and Legolas?
Archery is a great hobby to take up, and even though I haven’t loosed an arrow in years, I still think fondly of when I did. It’s a skill that takes an afternoon to learn and a lifetime to master and is so worth it, because when you’re standing with a full draw on your target, for just an instant you feel like you can take on the world.
Then you let go, miss the target, swear, and try again.


  1. It's the skill and deadliness involved. I've taken an archery class, and it's more difficult than it looks!

  2. This makes me want to take up Archery just for fun!