Weapon Of Choice: Five Iconic Fantasy Weapons

ARTWORK by chic2view from 123RF.com

Don’t be shocked by the tone of my voice,
Check out my new weapon, my weapon of choice

I’m not the only person who immediately thinks of those lyrics and that video, right? As a general rule of thumb, voice and dance aren’t the usual weapons of choice in fantasy (although there’s a fantastic list idea if this turns up next May). The usual weapons of choice are, well, weapons. Big, fuck-off shiny ones. Ones that look like they could skin a crocodile. Yes, I do have the 90s on my mind right now.

What I also have on my mind are famous fantasy weapons. Iconic, some might say. Let’s get cracking.

1. Snaga, the Sender (Drenai Cycle by David Gemmell)

Up first we have an axe. Fantasy loves a good axe, because nothing screams “well-balanced and reasonable individual” like a really big axe. Maybe nobody knew this better than David Gemmell, because he gave his most famous creation, Druss, a really big axe. It had “Snaga, the Sender, the blades of no return” inscribed on the haft, it had (for a while) a demon in the blade, and it had a body count equal to Arnie’s entire filmography. All in all, a fitting start to this list.

2. Bernard’s Bow (Codex Alera by Jim Butcher)

Artist unknown, found on imgur

Raging psychopaths Reasonable human beings use an axe. People who’d like to stay a long way away from people with axes with use a bow. Also handy for finding dinner in ye dayes of yore. Archers tend to be more famous than their bows in fantasy, so I went for Bernard’s bow as it’s ridiculously powerful due to him using magic strength when he uses it. I get the impression it’s a bit like having a portable ballista (see also: Sergeant Detritus in Pratchett). The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it’s pretty darn impressive in the books.

3. Lightning (Tortall Series by Tamora Pierce)

I don’t think I have to explain what a sword is. You are fantasy readers after all, and the genre spoils us for choice here. After some thought, I went for Alanna’s sword Lightning, in its many appearances in Tamora Pierce’s books. And I feel totally justified in that given the sweet art I found for it. Makes me want to pick the books up again. Anyway, it’s a magical sword gifted by the gods – what more do you need to know?

4. The Ashandarei (Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan)

Spears are a great way to win a lot of fights in a hurry. Reach is great like that. Most fantasy authors seem inclined to ignore that, but not Robert Jordan. There’s quite a few spears in his series, but the most famous belongs to Mat Cauthon. Technically more of a polearm, he’s very good with this power-forged weapon, on which is written: “Thus is our treaty written; thus is agreement made.
Thought is the arrow of time; memory never fades.
What was asked is given. The price is paid.”

Nice. And the price was so cheap…

5. Fire (The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang)

Yes, yes, I know. I was talking about physical weapons. But the greatest weapon in fantasy is, and probably always be, magic, and not just in terms of in universe power. Magic creates extra dimensions and moments of wonder in stories. It is the stuff of which this genre is woven. Rin’s use of fire in Kuang’s debut is just one of many, many examples of how this plays out. You wouldn’t want to be the poor dude lying there, but it looks amazing.

There we go. My five weapons of choice. Let me know your thoughts below!

3 thoughts on “Weapon Of Choice: Five Iconic Fantasy Weapons

  1. I felt like an idiot reading that whole sequence with Mat and the angry snake people, I frankly had no idea what was going on then he was hung up…. And gained a spear

    Liked by 1 person

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