Friday Favorites: Non-Gun Weapons in Fiction

By: Christopher Bartlett

When most people think of a personal weapon in a movie, television show, or book, it is usually a gun or some type of laser weapon. Today, though, we will look at those that don’t fall in that category.

The most common after the gun/laser is probably the longsword/broadsword/bastard sword. We see it most commonly with King Arthur and his men and then with William Wallace in the movie Braveheart. Though it is probably best done in Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. It isn’t that the blades are more powerful, but they have more lore behind them, giving them and the characters they are associated with more depth.

Although Robin Hood began the fame of the bow and arrow, and even though it is also used in Redwall, the most iconic use of it has to be in The Hunger Games series by Susan Collins. After all, it gives us history of the main character, Katniss, as well as being a rallying symbol for the future throughout the trilogy.

Granted, neither have the amount of power as our next weapon of choice, which is the lightsaber. Most only know of this weapon from the Star Wars universe, but it makes an appearance in Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, but not giving any spoilers. It does, however, make more of an impact there than in the Star Wars universe in my opinion. And, let’s face it, the lightsaber is just a cool weapon in general.

An equally cool weapon first seen in movies, before books at all, must be Indiana Jones’ whip. Used both as a means of escape along with being used as a weapon. Even when you can hear the kid yelling, “Dr. Jones, Dr. Jones!!” Trust me, that volume level will leave your ears ringing. Well if you have any after falling into a plane propeller while it is operating.

Most readers have probably seen the Katana while reading about or watching the day walker from Blade. While Blade has made the weapon cooler and more sophisticated, it was a Scottish immortal who made it iconic first in The Highlander. On top of using it in a more original way than fighting vampires and the evil undead. Also, who wouldn’t kill for a pure pearl white handle like Duncan and Connor McCloud have.

I am sure pirates in either Redwall or Pirates Of The Caribbean would that is for sure. Even if they already wield one of the weapons here with the cutlass. I must call this one a draw since, even though Pirates Of The Caribbean made them look extremely cool, the sea rats who wield them in Redwall wouldn’t be as iconic without them.

Yet, neither would want to be up to mischief and have the bad fortune of running into The Forgotten Realms’ Drizzt Do-Urden, who made the scimitars part of his iconic legacy. As well as showing that even when one comes from a place that is known only for evil, they can do great things in the name of good. Drizzt is R. A. Salvatore’s iconic character and fights as masterfully as he is written, which is in such a way that the words escape me at the moment.

Though, Drizzt is not too fond of wizards, whom are the most commonly seen characters wielding our next weapon, the staff/want. Harry Potter makes the wand seem like an everyday thing while also being used for battling. Much as the staff is used in The Lord Of The Rings. Yet, it is only in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files that we see both get their own distinct styles, uses, and personality. And Dresden looks like a more imposing figure much like a young Dumbledore probably did once.

Our last item of the night comes from The Uncanny X-Men, and I know most think it is Wolverine’s claws. As cool as they are for this list, I ranked Gambit’s exploding cards higher, which can also be used as throwing knives with no charge if he so chooses to. Not someone you want to try and make play 52 card pick up.

All these weapons have one thing in common: they made a character iconic. It reminds us that, no matter what genre we are writing, make sure we are giving the characters things that would fit them as well as make them bigger than they already are. Just imagine what your favorite fantasy or action hero would be without their signature weapon or what that weapon would be like in the hands of someone else.

*Tips his hat, which looks vaguely worn and familiar before walking out the door into a room filled with polished metal and wood*.                                                  

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