The Archer- His Progression into the Modern Day.

As part of WUHstry’s out of the comfort zone month, I bring to you a post which is, as it says on my tin, out of my comfort zone. Recently I have noticed that the archer as a character has seemed to come back into fashion, becoming more and more popular. In so many films and TV series now, there are famous archers. Oliver Queen in Arrow, Katniss Everdeen in the big film and book franchise The Hunger Games, Hawkeye in the Avengers and the film Thor, Legolas in Lord of the Rings. Even the modern-day adaptations of Robin Hood with Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner highlight that the archer is no longer out of fashion. It is intriguing how a role which many had forgotten and deemed pointless with the introduction of guns has now come into fashion. The roles of the Green Arrow and Hawkeye highlight that even in a world of modern weaponry, the Archer is still a skilful and effective role.

Image of a bow and arrow from the film: The Hunger Games

In the past, the bow and arrow was one of the most useful weapons to have. It served many uses, for hunting, for killing, for archery and to teach patience and skill. It was an extremely important weapon and had been replaced with the introduction of guns and other more effective weapons which can damage more people. But how has a weapon from the Upper Paleolithic (late stone ages to you and me) been able to catch the attention of people worldwide in the modern-day and age, and the characters brought to us through fiction and film. This post will explore some of my favourite characters in modern works which have contributed to keeping the magic alive.

Oliver Queen Arrow/The Hood/The Vigilante/The Green Arrow:

Image of Stephen Amell as DC’s Green Arrow in the 2012-present series of Arrow

My name is Oliver Queen. For five years I was stranded on an island with only one goal – survive. Now I will fulfill my father’s dying wish – to use the list of names he left me and bring down those who are poisoning my city. To do this, I must become someone else. I must become something else.

A haunting statement which has greeted us since 2012, the CW/Warner Bros series Arrow based upon the DC comics character the Green Arrow is one of the most popular archers in the modern-day media. It excellently portrays the role of the Archer as one who whilst being shipwrecked on an island has to learn the skill of archery in order to survive. It is the first time that the Green Arrow character has been the centre stage, and it puts emphasis on the importance of the archer in the modern-day. In Arrow, the bow and arrow is an awful lot more effective than the gun, and the role of the Arrow puts further emphasis on this: fighting crime in his home, Starling City against criminals and warlords that have failed his city and put a threat to humanity. By having an ordinary bow and then an array of arrows which can provide different uses, some which act as microphones to capture criminals confessions, some which provide explosions which can clear debris, and of course the usual arrow heads which put fear into the enemy. The Arrow does not falter in a world where he is outnumbered, and his archery skill highlight jut how far the archer has come through time. His different techniques poured fear into the enemy, and the character itself will surely have made archery more cool and make people sign up to do it.

Katniss Everdeen:

Image of Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games portraying Katniss Everdeen

Katniss in the big film franchise The Hunger Games, is a film about how each district from the 12 in the world provide 2 tributes, a boy and a girl, to take part in The Hunger Games tournament. Lawrence’s character is the main one in the trilogy, and experienced in foraging, hunting, wildlife and survival techniques. The weapon of choice for this character is the bow and arrow against the other tributes, showing that the role of the archer is one of skill and knowledge, something highlighted through her ability to win the games. Although this franchise is set in a different type of world, it has made the archer an exciting role, one which many will want to follow. The fact that the archery techniques helped Katniss to win the games highlights just how useful a bow and arrow still is.

Hawkeye- Clint Barton

Image of Hawkeye from the film the Avengers

Hawkeye provides further evidence of how the archer can be interpreted and still be effective in the Modern Day. Although in the Marvel Cinematic universe Hawkeye is overshadowed by some much better heroes :Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow. Yet he still manages to make archery a very useful exciting skill and doesn’t allow himself to be shooed away from a fight. Though he may not be the centre of attention, his quiver holds an exciting array of technology and arrows. He highlights how the archer can be brought into the modern-day, making use of technology to make the shot of an arrow a lot more effective.

Legolas- The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books and Films

Image of Orlando Bloom playing Legolas

Different to the other free, the character of Legolas in the J RR Tolkien Trilogy: The Lord of the Rings, is one of the original cool archers. Though he may not be in a modern setting, rather in Middle Earth helping to aid Frodo to the darkness of Mordor and Mount Doom to destroy the all-powerful ring. What puts Legolas apart from the ones already mentioned is he uses only the bow and arrow, although occasionally donning a white knife. There is no technology needed, and he relies on merely his skill and accuracy to allow him to be such an integral part of The Fellowship. No matter how many Orcs or trolls he came across, he would be able to put them all down through his amazing archery. As a child the character of Legolas really made archery something that you wanted to do, and was an archer you felt you could really look up to.

And the best till last, perhaps one of the most famous legendary Archers that we all know and love:

Robin Hood, in Disney Form and Human, played by Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe

Disney’s Take on Robin Hood

Kevin Costner in the 1991 film version

Russell Crowe in the lead in the 2010 version

And finally, the one archer who is possibly the most famous in the world – Robin Hood. The man who famously stole from the rich to give to the poor, Robin Hood portrayed in Disney form and through Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe made old school archery look a walk in the park, something fun that everybody can enjoy. His well-known green hood and his band of merry men, Robin Hood is archery really. Everybody knows the story of how he fights for Maid Marion against the evil sheriff Of Nottingham and Prince John, and has been played by so many different actors over the years. But Robert whether he be myth or a fake, has for years proven to the world why the bow and arrow will never die. He managed to save his love, and had fun at the same time, in some cases stopping the French from invading, in others stopping the sheriff from using alien robots to use up all the gold and wealth to make a spaceship. In the story of Robin Hood there is an icon that will live on forever and give the bow and arrow meaning.

Thank you for reading my post, I hope you have enjoyed learning on how influential the bow and arrow has become in modern media, and if you have I hope you enjoy furthering your knowledge.


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