The Archer

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The Archer is watching you...

See him riding 'cross the plain
See how everybody fears his name
He's working for the good in
The mountains and the wood
Protector of the lame

Straight arrow is his name
Spirit, "Straight Arrow"

Archers are often characterized as calm, self-possessed, and analytical. Since they are removed from the raging melee of close combat, they must keep their focus and not let adrenaline upset their aim. In High Fantasy, elves usually share these traits, and are nearly always depicted as excellent archers.

Due to the amount of concentration and practice needed, archers usually receive a fair amount of respect for their skills. In modern settings, an archer is often a part of an ancient and noble warrior tradition, forsaking the newfangled vulgarity of firearms.

If part of a fighting team, the archer is usually less physically strong and robust than their teammates because of the erroneous perception that archery relies more on grace than the brute strength required to hack and slash. In reality, the draw of most warbows can range from 60 to 150 lbs, requiring significant strength throughout the body (especially the upper body) to use effectively. This misconception often leads to The Chick getting stuck with a bow as a slightly more proactive take on the White Magician Girl. This also has the benefit of keeping the delicate female safely out of the bone-crunching melee.[1]

It is interesting how many traits of the archer have been transferred to the Cold Sniper in modern settings.

Loveable Rogue-type archers will usually have "Robin Hood" themed outfits, something like this. One of the themes recurring across several mythologies is the proper archer passing the challenge with a strong bow, while the uninitiated can't even string the weapon. To understand why this is prohibitive, remember that the strongest bows are recurved ones and see the first photo here—if a man who did it all his life needs an assistant to do these gymnastics right, what are the chances of anyone unskilled, alone, against an exceptionally strong shaft when it's slightly dried and twisted?

And for the record, one does not "fire" a bow unless it's a sci-fi version that shoots energy bolts. One "looses," "shoots," or "lets fly."

Contrast the hilarious randomness of the Trick Arrow. If The Archer has Improbable Aiming Skills, he may also be able to do a Multishot. For added irony, check out No Arc in Archery. See also Annoying Arrows. Sometimes overlaps with the Forest Ranger.

Nor to be confused with Captain Jonathan Archer, Cate Archer, Sean Archer, Archer, Sterling Archer, The Archers, or Servant Archer.

Examples of The Archer include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Ishidas from Bleach (Uryuu and his father Ryuuken) are the only characters to use a bow and arrow while the vast majority of other characters have a BFS.
    • It's also a Justified Trope: In a series chock-full of melee weapons, they are ranged and highly analytical fighters in part by necessity. Because they cannot separate from their physical bodies like the Shinigami, the Quincies must be much more careful about taking damage in battle.
      • They also have seele scheiders, chain-saw-like arrows that can be wielded like swords if need be.
  • Fuu Houiji in Magic Knight Rayearth, before the Magic Knights' weapons were all upgraded to identical swords. She was already a trained archer before the series started.
  • Rei/Sailor Mars of Sailor Moon gains a bow and arrow made of flames in the fourth season. She's a calm, mystical Miko, rather than the typical temperamental fire warrior (in the manga at least, the anime makes her more Hot-Blooded), although she occasionally made bids for the leadership (losing out to The Fool, at that).
  • Mew Mint from Tokyo Mew Mew has a tiny bow and arrow covered in hearts. In the manga, it was an undetailed longbow, but this was changed out to its anime counterpart later on, along with the other weapons, because Ikumi Mia liked them better. Minto is a dainty Ojou with a surprising Fan Girl side, and Mew Mint fights mostly from the air, so it fits either way.
  • In xxxHolic, Doumeki Shizuka lives in a Shinto shrine and is a star of the school archery team. Not too surprisingly, he turns out to have the power to exorcise evil spirits with his bow.
  • Fai from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle very rarely carries a weapon; pretty much the only time we see him do so is in Yama country, where he appears as a highly competent horseback archer. This is probably what led to him being depicted in uncounted fanart (and official splash pages) carrying some sort of firearm. Actually, the only people in the series to even handle guns are Kurogane (in Jade) and Sakura (in Tokyo.) Odds are even if he'd even know how to use a gun.
  • Koihime Musou's Kouchuu, being a Hot Shounen Mom Expy of Huang Zhong, comes with a bow and can shoot a straight arrow that stuns birds by purposely missing their head. And no, those enormous melons of hers do not hinder her bow skills.
  • Subverted in Saint Seiya, where Saggitarious Aiolos's Gold Cloth has bow and arrows as a part of it but he does not use them. Pegasus Seiya, the main character, does get to use the bow.
    • The Sagitta Silver Saint (as in, the Arrow constellation as opposed to Sagittarius' Archer constellation) can shoot golden arrows made of Cosmo... and includes a more solid one that hits poor Athena directly in the chest. The entirety of the Twelve Houses segment of the Sanctuary Arc is then spent reaching the top of Sanctuary before the arrow reaches her heart.
  • Chikane Himemiya of Kannazuki no Miko is part of the archery club and is pretty handy with a bow, but when she wants to use it, she's against someone supernatural that her bows almost had no effect. When she corrupts Souma's mech, it suddenly gains a bow.
  • Daimon of Mx0 fits this trope to a T.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, as a young nation England is represented in some sketches as an archer. Justified Trope because of the Robin Hood myth and the famous medieval English archers.
  • Juna Ariyoshi, from Earth Maiden Arjuna, practices archery even before becoming the Avatar of Time.
  • Kikyou, her sister Kaede, and later Kagome Higurashi from Inuyasha.
  • Gokudera Hayato from Katekyo Hitman Reborn uses his Flame Arrow that turns into a bow that shoots powerful Dying Will Flames when merging his Flame Arrow and Cambio Forma Box Weapon Uri. It is also said that the first Generation Storm Vongola Guardian used a bow given to him by the Primo himself when the situation turned serious.
  • Yukari from Ai Kora is on the school's archery team, but it doesn't really come up.
  • When the eponymous character of Madoka Magica becomes a Magical Girl, she uses bow and arrow. Homura uses a similar weapon in concept art, but not in-series.
    • It turned out that in the end, Homura does use the bow from Madoka.
  • Aoi from Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel can materialize a bow that she uses for her finisher, Angel Arrow. It starts off as one arrow, and multiplies into several arrows that fly at the target.
  • Rowen Of Strata (Tenkuu No Touma) is the archer of the Ronin Warriors/Yoroiden Samurai Troopers core team.
  • Gamaran has the Nakaizumi Ryuu (Hidden Spring School) which is composed by skilled archers. Their leader Arata went close to kill the titular character with his arrows.
  • Tomite from Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden uses a bow and arrow set made of ice.


Comics[edit | hide]

  • Archers in The DCU come in a wide variety of flavors. Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) and Speedy (or Arsenal or Red Arrow or whatever they're calling him now) are both charming rogues, while the second Green Arrow is (usually) a cooler head. The crossbow-wielding Huntress is an Anti-Hero. Speedy II (Mia Dearden) is a more typical calm, level-headed example.
  • Marvel Comics has a number of archer characters as well:
    • Hawkeye is an arrogant ace. He notably averts the "lower strength" trope, observing in at least one unarmed brawl how all the years of archery have paid off in terms of upper body strength and on another occasion disparaging a villain who's gotten his hands on his bow and can't even draw the string back far enough to use it.
    • Kate Bishop (the Hawkeye from Young Avengers) is a more typical example of a calm, level-headed archer.
  • Strongbow (obviously) and Nightfall in Elf Quest, both of whom are fairly bold and not particularly weak.
  • In Marvel's G.I. Joe series, Storm Shadow is considered the greatest archer, even using it back when he was a GI in the Vietnam War. This is the one martial art where even Snake-Eyes could not equal or surpass him. Like most ninja in that series, he is enigmatic, aloof, self-assured, and rather irreverent at times. Zartan is the second-best archer, though he used various sonic detection devices to hit distant targets blindly.
  • Sin City
    • Miho likes to take this route every now and then.
    • There was also the unknown archer featured in the one-shot Just Another Saturday Night.
  • Sonya Savage from Danger Girl: Revolver.


Films -- Live Action[edit | hide]

  • Abigail Whistler of Blade: Trinity.
  • In Musa (a.k.a. The Warrior), Jin-lip, the veteran sergeant of the envoy, uses a bow to deadly effect. Jin-lip is the most competent member of the envoy and its de facto leader. He subverts an archer's typical behavior in one scene where he inspires his unit to attack by being the first one to charge toward the enemy, loosing arrows all the way.
  • Legolas in The Lord of the Rings has an incredible rate of fire with his arrows.
  • Susan in Prince Caspian is able to hit a specific cone in a pine at more than thirty paces. When shooting at the Telmarin cavalrymen, each arrow hits and disables or kills.
  • John J. Rambo uses a bow in various occasions (with and without shirt). His bow (or rather an imitation thereof) can also be bought somewhere on the internet.
  • Gwyn in Princess of Thieves. Scarcely surprising given she is the daughter of Robin Hood.
  • Hawkeye again in The Avengers movie. Lampshaded when Tony Stark grabs him to fly him on top of a building, telling him to "clench up, Legolas."
  • One of the mercenaries in Ironclad
  • Rutger Hauer's charactet in Sam Peckinpah's final film The Osterman Weekend uses bows a crossbows in his house against the enemies, as immortalized on the cover.
  • Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games is a masterful archer who uses the skill to hunt and survive to feed her family, and then uses those skills to survive in, fight and win The Hunger Games.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Susan Pevensie, and later her little sister Lucy, of CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia used bows in battle, in contrast to their brothers, who used swords. Later when Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole turned up, Eustace was trained with a sword and Jill got a bow and arrows.
    • Note that in The Silver Chair Jill got a dagger while Eustace got the bow and arrows; she got her own archery set only in The Last Battle. Same goes to Lucy, who originally received a dagger too and only became an archer after growing into Queen Lucy the Valiant; Susan got to use her bow and arrows since the very beginning, although Father Christmas told her and Lucy that "battles are ugly when women fight" (Queen Lucy at least seems to disregard this, since she fights in the climactic battle in The Horse and His Boy).
  • Thomas of Hookton, an very skilled archer in the army of Edward III, is the main character of The Grail Quest series by Bernard Cornwell. He's basically Sharpe with a bow and arrow instead of a rifle, but isn't particularly good with a sword.
  • Robin Hood is a legendary archer. One of the most famous scenes involves him beating a rival's bull's eye shot by splitting the arrow down the middle with his own shot, winning the competition (in fact, people into archery still refer to this kind of shot as "Robin Hooding" an arrow). Even though that's really the same shot, not a better one.
    • It's actually a better shot. Robin Hood splits the arrow exactly in the middle, something MythBusters tried doing repeatedly, even creating machines to do such, but could never make it.
    • And the point was that he split his own arrow, thereby hitting the bullseye twice; in contrast to his opponent who hit the bullseye on his first shot and then merely very close to it on his second.
  • JRR Tolkien's Middle-earth stories feature a few examples of prominent archers, though they are never characterized as weaker or delicate:
    • Beleg (Quenta Silmarillion) favors his bow and is an excellent archer, but also quite skilled in close combat as well.
    • Legolas (Lord of the Rings) wields a bow as his primary weapon, with a long knife for close combat, during the quest of the Fellowship of the Ring. His archery skills in the PJ films are boosted to ridiculous over-the-top feats.
    • Bard the Bowman (The Hobbit) is a rare example of the dragon-slaying hero using a bow.
    • Hobbits in general. None of the main characters, but hobbit snipers are the backbone of the resistance to "Sharkey's" regime in the Shire, and in the appendices it is said that they sent archers to help the King of Arthedain against the Witch-Kingdom of Angmar. Bilbo never uses a bow in The Hobbit but he certainly has excellent hand-eye coordination when he has to throw rocks.
  • Yeoman from the Wild Cards novels.
  • Talia in Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series fights (when she has to) with a bow and a knife. All Heralds are required to learn archery, in part because there's a secret Herald code language that can be written on the arrows.
  • Thomas of Hookton in Bernard Cornwell's Grail Quest is an unusual example. He is skilled as an archer and incompetent with a sword, but he is also physically stronger than most everyone else in the books. Also, while cunning, he's hardly analytical or introspective.
  • Both Huang Zhong and Xiahou Yuan in the Chinese classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms are known for their archery skills.
  • The archer Lelldorin in Belgariad is a prodigious bowman, but hot-headed and impetuous rather than cool and analytical.
  • Squint from The Malazan Book of the Fallen is correct to life in being described as a very heavy-built man with extremely powerful arm muscles.
  • Stark from The House of Night. Blessed with Suck because he hits whatever he's thinking about, even if it's not his target, even if it's nowhere near his line of sight. For example, he hits his mentor during a competition by accidentally thinking about him. Oops. He's also unable to quit doing archery altogether.
  • Catti-brie, of R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt books, was for a long time the group's specialist archer. She actually wasn't as skilled an archer as Drizzt was, but she had one helluva magic bow. She conforms to the archer stereotypes by being the group's moral center of sorts.
  • Daffyd Ap Hywel, the Welsh archer from Gordon R. Dickson's Dragon Knight novels. Daffyd's bow has a 200 pound draw, and he is fully aware that he's pretty much the best around. An incident is mentioned when some nobleman thought it would be fun to force one lone bowman against three fully-armored knights on horseback. Pretty Little Headshots ensued.
  • Birgitte Silverbow from The Wheel of Time series. A literally legendary shot that is bound to the Wheel and the Horn of Valere until she ends up being "spun out" into real time by an angry Forsaken for saving Nynaeve. She has the cold analytical traits described here in spades, to such a high degree that others linked to her mind can sense her supreme focus in tense situations, and compare it to "a drawn bow aimed at the target."
  • Centaurs from the Harry Potter series are well-known for their archery skills, along with some other things.
  • The army of Grand Fenwick in The Mouse That Roared.
  • Woodcrafters in the Codex Alera series tend to favor bows, since their abilities give them Improbable Aiming Skills. The most dangerous woodcrafters are those who also possess talent at earthcrafting, as this grants them Super Strength, allowing them to heft and use bows of such power that they're basically walking ballistae that can thread shots between links of chainmail. Amusingly, the two most prominent ones are a study in the opposite personality sides of this trope: Bernard, Supporting Leader and general great guy, and Fidelias, who is... well. Rather different.
  • In Percy Jackson and The Olympians, the children of Apollo as well as the Huntresses of Artemis use bows as their primary weapons, and are a great shot with them.
  • Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, as well as her hunting partner Gale Hawthorne.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Anguy the Archer is the most specialized archer of the series. Theon Greyjoy, Jalabhar Xho and Aggo are also notable for their skill with the bow.
  • While most warriors in the Tortall Universe are trained in the bow, the character who most exemplifies this trope is Daine, whose Improbable Aiming Skills make her the best archer in the series. It helps that her father is a minor god of the hunt.
    • In Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen, Sarai is portrayed as headstrong and careless, and uses a sword, while Dove is quiet and clever, and uses a bow and arrow.
  • Quantum Gravity: Zal fits this trope very well, being cool, calm, and calculating, as well as rather ruthless...when he's in a fight. When he isn't, expect him to be active, free, and quite a bit more easygoing. Aaaand possibly high.
  • In Robert E. Howard's "Queen of the Black Coast," Conan the Barbarian, uncharacteristically, makes heavy use of the bow, both to inflict casualties among the crew of the Tigress while aboard Tito's ship, and to kill the transformed minions of the winged monster that murdered Belit. Conan mentions that he learned archery among the Hyrkanians and that it's not his idea of a man's weapon.
  • This is the specialty of the Mackenzies, and most especially the Aylward family, in the Emberverse, due to the first Aylward being a hobbyist bowmaker and archer and just happening to show up in the Pacific Northwest just before the Change. Multiple crowning moments come at the behest of some enemy learning the lesson of Agincourt.
  • Tadaos Kolpinksi of The Cross Time Engineer series by Leo Frankowski only matches the typical version of The Archer in that he has an extremely phleghmatic personality in general life due to years as a boatman. Otherwise, he's quite hot-blooded and prone to excess.
  • Though archery seems to be a common skill in the series, Renn from The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness is the standout, having practised it for so long that her bow is almost a Companion Cube to her.
  • Felicity in The Gemma Doyle Trilogy is hotheaded, impulsive, tempestuous, and in all other ways completely the opposite of the usual calm archer personality. Does this mean she can't put an arrow between your eyes if she feels like it? Heavens, no.
  • Kevin Crossley-Holland's Arthur books retell the King Arthur stories with a sensitive teenage boy, who is much better at archery than swordfighting, wrestling or any of the skills he's supposed to have as a knight-to-be.
  • In Time Scout, Khynan prefers a Welsh longbow, being a Welsh longbowman. Skeeter prefers the Mongolian recurve of his youth.
  • Dawn Drummond-Clayton from the Bunduki novels by J. T. Edson. Bunduki himself is also an expert with the bow, but is more likely to get into melee combat than Dawn.
  • Shogun has Toda Buntaro, who shows himself able to shoot his longbow with perfect accuracy while sitting down (more impressive than it sounds) against a target he can't actually see (there's a Japanese paper wall between him and the target). One character also remembers that at an archery competition Buntaro scored six bullseyes on a target 200 paces away, and fired so quickly that the sixth arrow had been loosed before the first had hit the target. Note that this book is a work of realistic historical fiction, and is a well-researched representation of samurai life and culture, so presumably these Improbable Aiming Skills were actually shown by certain real-life samurai!


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Any Robin Hood adaption will probably have this, the latest BBC version even had a character named 'Archer'.
  • Inara Serra of Firefly. Her case is little unique regarding the trope; her bow really does take more grace than strength, as it has a high-powered motor to accelerate the arrows it shoots in order to put them on par with the bullets everyone else is using.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Faith, of all people, employs bow and arrow twice. Her usage of a modern compound bow mirrors Buffy's preference for medieval crossbows.
  • Power Rangers has the first two Pink Rangers, who are both definitely The Chick, as archers.
  • Ikenami Ryuunosuke from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger uses the Water Arrow for his personal weapon. On the other hand, his personality...
  • Arrows have been the murder weapon of choice in some cases in the CSI Verse. This resulted in one particular case in CSI: Miami, where as part of an experiment, Calleigh was shooting a competition bow. In tight black trousers, a top with transparent sleeves and a black bodice sort-of-thing. Ms. Duquesne owns a lab coat, but you never see her testing weapons with it on. Author Appeal anyone? Lindsay Monroe, although in not quite the same outfit, also did something similar in CSI New York.
  • Kuuga (Rising) Pegasus
  • Beau and Luke Duke are under probation, and are not allowed to carry firearms. So, they defend themselves with bows and arrows—including explosive arrows.
  • In 30 Rock Pete was previously on an Olympic archery team. It doesn't come up that often, as the ability to shoot arrows is infrequently useful to producing a sketch comedy.
  • I'm Bing Bong the archer. I'm an archer, and such.


Myths & Religion[edit | hide]

  • In modern fiction, archer usually appear as support characters, while the protagonists almost always are swordsmen. In ancient times, the bow was an extremely prestigious weapon more than fit for real heroes:
    • Several Greek gods, goddesses, and heroes were renowned for their skill with a bow, among them:
      • Artemis, virgin goddess of the hunt.
      • Apollo, Artemis's twin brother and god of the sun.
      • Eros, more commonly known by his Roman name, Cupid.
      • Heracles.
      • King Odysseus, notable in that he proved who he was by being the only man able to string and let fly with a trick shot from his enormous bow, sometimes believed to be based on the Asian composite bow.
      • Prince Paris of Troy, despite being mocked for using a "cowardly" weapon because of the lack of direct melee effects of swords and maces. Some sources even claim he killed Achilles with a poisoned arrow, directed by his protector Apollo into the one place the Styx didn't touch him.
      • Philoctetes. Who actually offed Paris with HIS poison arrows, which he inherited from Heracles.
      • Teucer, who spent a good bit of the Trojan war sniping from behind big brother Ajax's massive shield.
      • The Amazons were a race of such. Amazon literally means "without breast," as some stories say that they would cut off a breast to prevent it from interfering with their archery. However, Amazons are never depicted as single-breasted in any historical art.
    • Archery enjoyed particular respect in India, which is reflected in mythology and even the Vedas. Upaveda dedicated to the warfare issues is named Dhanur-veda, "the Veda of the bow."
      • In the Ramayana, Rama broke a bow that no other, even gods, had been able to wield.
      • In the Mahabharata, Arjuna, who is the closest it has to a main character, is an archer. It also has mentions of full-metal arrows used, beheadings and cutting down things like banners with arrows, and so on. Virtually every named warrior's Weapon of Choice is mentioned, but the two most prominent heroes (bitter rivals, demigods and in fact half-brothers) Arjuna and Karna are both great bowmen, so the Great Battle's crucial moment is a shoot-out.
      • There's also another "if you guys are so cool, string and shoot this one" story. Contest for the hand of Princess, no less. The nature of the competition deserves a mention: shooting the eye of a golden fish attached to the top of a tall pole while aiming by the reflection in a pool of water. Only these two are able to do it, but Karna was Moses in the Bulrushes, so Arjuna got the girl. This disqualification ultimately pushed prospective the most dangerous warrior of all mortals onto the "wrong" side of the main conflict.
    • The Chinese legend of Hou-Yi, a master archer who shoots down nine suns in the sky, leaving one to be enjoyed by humanity.
  • Hayk, the legendary patriarch of the Armenians, was depicted as an archer who took down the tyrannical Assyrian titan Bel with his arrow and liberated the Armenians from Bel's rule. The ancient Armenians referred to the constellation Orion as Hayk.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Dungeons & Dragons,
    • The iconic ranger, Soveliss, is an elf who specialized in the longbow.
    • Riverwind the Plainsman, a stoic human Noble Savage from the Dragonlance setting, uses a longbow.
    • Fighters in the earlier editions could use bows as well as melee weapons, before they got repurposed as a straight-up melee class and the ranged role was handed off to the ranger.
  • Feng Shui has two dedicated archer archetypes:
    • The Archer from Thorns of the Lotus, basically a Killer with a bow.
    • The Guiding Hand Archer from Blood of the Valiant, who has the special schtick of channeling chi through his arrows, allowing certain fu powers to be used with a bow.
  • Earthdawn naturally has a discipline for this, embodying the mentality and many of the tropes described at the top of the page.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Princess Zelda often takes up a magic bow alongside Link. Her Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. Brawl has her using the Light arrows to attack.
    • The sword may be his main weapon but Link is also a talented archer. The bow and arrow are essential tools in many puzzles, battles, and mini-games throughout the series.
  • Leliana in Dragon Age is set up to be the most powerful archer in the party, and is a sweet, kind, and forgiving sort. Awakening has Nathaniel Howe, who even has an Ancestral Weapon for a unique weapon.
    • The sequel has DLC character Sebastian Vael as the archer (like Nathaniel, one of his weapons belonged to a family member). Varric also uses a... one of it's kind Crossbow.
  • Curiously, the only character in Neverwinter Nights 2 who specializes in using a bow (besides possibly the PC) is most definitely not the kind of person you would want as your team's moral center.
    • You actually get a similar situation in Mask of the Betrayer, though your only archery-capable party member is more irresponsible than actually evil.
  • In Neverwinter Nights Hordes of the Underdark, the most effective archers in your party are the Neutral Good drow dedicated to making up for the evils she has committed and the kobold Spoony Bard whose loyalty is unquestionable.
  • In Resident Evil 4, the Ax Crazy muscleman Jack Krauser uses a bow, probably due to being a pastiche of Rambo.
    • In Resident Evil 5, Sheva has an unlockable alternate outfit called Tribal Sheva that uses a longbow as its signature weapon.
  • The Seeker bloodline of Bloodline Champions is this in addition to Elemental Powers.
  • Questor the Elf in Gauntlet (1985 video game). Also, the unnamed Archer (who looks a lot like a female elf) in Gauntlet Legends.
  • Mary/Maki Sonomura from Persona, and Yukari Takeba in Persona 3. Takeba also subverts/lampshades the typical stereotypes of an archer in one of her Sunday Social Link advancements. Choosing the comment, "You look like a hero," in the conversation causes her to comment on the arm strength needed to effectively use a bow, and then berate you for implying she looks like an Amazon).
  • Archer of Fate/stay night actually doesn't use his bow that much and seems to prefer his dual swords or even his exploding shooting swords.
    • Given that the Archer of the previous war was Gilgamesh, it seems like 'Archer' in that world simply means 'primarily ranged fighter'. And while he's no slouch hand-to-hand, Archer's main trick is his ranged attack.
    • Fate/EXTRA, in addition to the original Fate/stay night Archer, finally has a Servant Archer that actually uses a bow - in this case Robin Hood himself.
    • Though it's not to say that he can't shoot a bow. In the main game Archer shows off his bowmanship several times, and the sequel Hollow Ataraxia at one point explores what would happen if Archer just decided to snipe the entire war from afar. It takes Shirou hundreds of repetitions through the Groundhog Day Loop to beat him.
  • Though Lina from Riviera: The Promised Land uses bows as her primary weapon, she's whimsical, spontaneous, and childish, not to mention immature, whiny and selfish. Fia the fencer and Serene the scythe-and-claw girl come far closer to typical personality.
  • Elves are naturally known for this in the Warcraft Universe, particularly the more feral Night Elves. The Priestess of the Moon in particular from Warcraft III (and the Dark Ranger, an undead High Elf) put their bowstrings to very good use on fleshy opposing armies. Class is a bigger variable than race in World of Warcraft. Though bows are available to a number of classes, only Hunters possess the skills and talents necessary to make them into effective weapons. Good Hunters also embody the analytical traits described here—not only does their long-range position and lack of flashy effects (compared the nukers like mages and warlocks) give them a much better vantage point of a pitched battle, but they are masters of battlefield control with aggro management skills like Distracting Shot and Feign Death, the ability to set traps, and being able to act in two places at once by commanding their pet.
    • Lady Sylvanas Windrunner, Banshee Queen of the Forsaken, is regarded as one of the four best archers on Azeroth. She, her two High Elf sisters, and the Night Elf Shandris Feathermoon are considered to be equal with the bow and the best four archers on Azeroth.
    • The Naga Lady Vashj is also a superb archer, though more magically focused than most Archers.
  • Every faction except for the Drakes in Battle for Wesnoth possesses archers. The human archers start out as level 0 woodsmen which advance into either Bowmen (stronger, but slower shooting Lawful units used by the Loyalists) or Poachers (Chaotic units with better terrain defense, used by the Knalgans), and both eventually advance to become strong hybrid units, with the Poacher line branching into the mobility-enhanced Ranger and marksmanship-enhanced Huntman, and the Bowman becoming the Master Bowman pictured above, who is essentially The Same but More. The Orcs' archers are frailer but are significantly more versatile with both normal and incendiary arrows, and upgrade into crossbows upon leveling. Their fire arrows make them uniquely capable of killing skeletons and Woses, which normal archers have a difficult time damaging. The Undead archers are similar in performance to human Bowmen, but with all the strengths and weaknesses of their skeletal nature, and also advance into forms which are essentially The Same but More. Finally, the Elves are naturally very strong at archery, with their archers having a chance of getting the 'dextrous' trait to increase bow damage and being able to either gain limited stealth and strong sword skills upon advancing into their own kind of ranger (Avengers), or gaining significant offensive prowess and marksmanship ability to become rapid-fire snipers (Sharpshooters), at the cost of sucking in melee. The actual race of Dwarves has no archers, preferring to use ambiguously-firearm-wielding Thunderers or hiring human Poachers, while the Drakes just use their fire breath.
  • The archers/snipers and nomads/nomadic troopers/rangers in Fire Emblem.
    • Dark Dragon Sword of Light and others: Gordin and his brother Raian, Tomas, Norne, Sedgar, Robert, Beck.
    • Genealogy of the Holy War: Midayle, Bridget, Jamuka; Bridget's son Faval, Edin's son Lester, and their respective expies Asaello and Dimna.; Bridget's evil younger brother Andorey and his son and expy Scorpio; Ulir of the Twelve Crusaders (whose descendants are the Royal House of Jungby, where Bridget and Andorey and the aforementioned kids are a part of.
    • Thracia 776: Tanya, Ronan, Robert and Selphina.
    • Sword of Seals: Wolt, Dorothy, Sue, Shin, Klein, Dayan. And Hanon the Horse Archer.
    • Blazing Sword: Wil, Rath, Rebecca, Louise, Lyn (as Blade Lord), either Bartre or Dorcas (if promoted to Warriors). In the enemy side: Uhai the Soaring Hawk, Denning the Morph.
    • Seima no Kouseki: Neimi, Innes, Innes's father King Hayden, Gerik (if promoted into Ranger), Ross and Garcia (if promoted to Warriors). In the enemy side: Beran and Aias.
    • Path of Radiance: Shinon, Rolf, Astrid. Any of the paldins minus Titania are able to learn bows, as well as Boyd when he promotes.
      • Radiant Dawn: All those listed from 9 plus Leonardo, Oscar and Geoffrey promoted. Boyd and Nolan can only use crossbows and not regular ones.
  • In the Final Fantasy series, the big advantage of bows is inflicting the same damage from a "back row" position as from the "front row". Good for the Squishy Wizard. Not so good if a Ranger doesn't know what he's doing in Final Fantasy XI, as the monster can easily walk over to the back line after too much aggro and destroy the back line, although other back-line damage dealers could do the same, as well.
    • Rosa's best weapons in Final Fantasy IV are bows. Originally, in most version of Final Fantasy IV, several characters could equip bows, but Rosa was the most dedicated archer. In the DS version, Rosa becomes the only party member who can equip bows and arrows no longer run out.
    • In Final Fantasy II, Maria begins with a bow.
    • The default weapon of Final Fantasy XII's Fran is a bow, and her personality fits this trope as a level-headed member of the party - provided there's no Mist around.
  • Archers are fairly common in the Tales (series).
  • The mecha Angelg from Super Robot Wars. Its pilot Lamia Loveless also fits the typical "calm, self-possessed, analytical" personality.
  • Also the Valzacard from W when it does it's Exa Nova Shot, which, being a Combining Mecha made of two battleships, uses a Humongous Mecha for a bow.
  • A full list of archer characters from the Suikoden series would be too exhaustive to list here. Sticking only to archers that are depicted as calm under fire, we have Kirkis, Quincy, Rubi, Teresa Wisemail, Kinnison, Jacques, Roland, Ted, Flare, and Frederica. There are many more due to the fact that the series has so many characters.
  • Phoebe from Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, after she gives you her Cat's Claw, becomes a combination of this and Black Magician Girl.
  • The Rogue from Diablo and the Amazon from Diablo II.
  • Inahime from Samurai Warriors.
  • Due to the fact that in Baldur's Gate the longbow actually has a high strength requirement, the beefiest warriors are typically the archer of the group. Minsc, the team's Large Ham Dim-witted Berserker Ranger, the second strongest party member available in the series, can use bows to great effect, especially because his lack of shield makes it easier to swap between weapons.
  • Amongst the old school BG characters, we also have Kivan the elven ranger, a very typical example of this trope. Mazzy Fentan, the halfling pseudo-Paladin and shortbow specialist, is another perfect psychological match.
  • In Dynasty Warriors 6, Sun Shang Xiang and Yue Ying become these (although in DW6: Empires and Strikeforce Yue Ying uses a forearm-mounted crossbow with a blade attached). In previous games, Huang Zhong and Xiahou Yuan use swords and clubs, respectively, but would use their bow in some of their charge attacks.
  • In Dynasty Tactics, Shang Xiang's unit is an Archer-class unit.
  • MOMO from the Xenosaga series replaces her wand for a bow in the second and third games. In the second game, she's the most powerful fighter, especially against foes weak against Ether/Pierce—as a finisher, she can deal damage comparable to the Game Breaker Erde Kaiser Fury, and in the third, she has access to one of her cyborg friend's abilities, which is many times more powerful than the attack it's based off of. Granted, she's a Realian, but she's an observational-type, which is supposed to be relegated to the rear guard. She also only has the appearance of a teenage girl. No-one really seems to notice or care that she's plugging enemies with damage a little beyond their own scope.
  • Sarara of Magical Battle Arena, who uses a mechanical bow that fires energy arrows and can be charged to release a massive beam. The bow also comes equipped with a dozen Attack Drones for Beam Spam purposes.
  • The Archery powerset in City of Heroes utilises a customisable bow and various types of arrows. On some Archetypes it can be paired with the Trick Arrow powerset.
    • Let's not forget the original archer of the series, Manticore, who is an Expy of Green Arrow with a bit of Hawkeye thrown in.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Firion(el) uses a bow and arrow for his damaging move. And when it comes to his bursts, his arrow is made up of the tons of weapons he carried.
  • Marcel and Beatrix in Jeanne D'Arc, along with scores and scores of enemy archers. Despite its fragility and lack of Counter Attacks, this weapon-class can be considered a Game Breaker due to its Cure Shot, Meteor Shot, and Sky Dart ability stones.
  • Reimi Saionji of Star Ocean: The Last Hope uses a high-tech bow. True to form, she is extremely calm and level headed, even taking over as the leader of the group during Edge's Heroic BSOD. Her restraint usually only fails her during Edge's Accidental Pervert moments.
  • Maori of Arcana Heart shoots a magic arrow for one of her supers. Additionally, if you have enough extra charges in your Charge Meter and you're quick enough at inputting the additional commands, Maori could call down all of her sisters to power-up the magic arrow for obscene levels of damage.
  • Team Fortress 2 has an unlockable weapon for the resident Cold Sniper. What is it? A bow.
  • Trine's resident thief, Zoya, is equipped with a bow that when properly upgraded, is Game Breaker in combat. She initially plays the personality part straight, but becomes more talkative as the game goes on, especially when the main party visits the forest.
  • Luminous Arc got Theo, Alph's brother. He's your archer character despite not showing the usual personality traits, being young, cheerful and love eggs. Once he gains his dragon arm, he can use it in close combat.
  • Luminous Arc 2's Rina is your cheerful archer and close friend of Roland.
  • Fero in The Reconstruction is the only character who uses a bow, and as such has the greatest attack range (although his standard melee attack has the range of the other characters, who all are short range fighters. Does he stab people with his arrows?). He also fits the "calm, analytical" personality type that often goes along with this.
  • Tempest in Lunar: Silver Star Story.
  • The Hunter class from Ghouls vs. Humans (and he's the protagonist in the earlier The Ghoul's Forest 3). He's sort of Born in the Wrong Century, as he prefers to use medieval weaponry and armor despite living in what looks like modern times. He has a couple of magical arrows - Arrows on Fire, ice arrows, lightning arrows - and is also something of a sorcerer, as he can fire flames, ice and thunders from his hand.
  • While he is incredibly bad at using his blessed sword, Wander from Shadow of the Colossus appears to be a well-trained bowman.
  • Hans in Shining Force, as well as Sniper-type enemies.
  • Morgan from Tears to Tiara is the player's primary archer for a lot of the game, but she doesn't fit the personality type at all, being a very energetic Big Eater.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Serah, the first game's Damsel in Distress, takes up arms with a sword that doubles as a bow.
  • Last Scenario has an archer as the hero, complete with the sort of Chronic Hero Syndrome more often seen in sword-users. (Gameplay-wise, he focuses on speed.)
  • In Skyrim, most players will want to become somewhat skilled in Archery, since it's one of the only ways to force a Dragon to land. As for NPCs, only the Master level trainer fits the personality type. The Expert level trainer, Aela the Huntress, is a Hot Blooded warrior woman and Werewolf, and the Journeyman level trainer is a civilian Nice Guy.
  • Celestine of Magna Carta 2 alternates between using shortbows and aroma bottles. Her personality is atypical of the trope though, what with her being a Ms. Fanservice Genki Girl.
  • * Minecraft has skeletons that shoot you with a bow and arrow and are usually very accurate no matter what elevation they are on. You can use a bow and arrow yourself to be an archer and fire arrows with different speeds and trajectory.
  • Ranmaru is the archer in Sengoku Basara. He is a Horrible Judge of Character.
    • Tsuruhime in Sengoku Basara 3 is Ranmaru's perky, sparkly, love-struck miko replacement who figure skates on a boat. She's got great speed and range and that's about it. She is also a Horrible Judge of Character.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • The Order of the Stick has Haley Starshine
  • Janet Llanwellyn in Gunnerkrigg Court—calm, no-nonsense, refined. Elevated herself to one of the coolest characters in the comic with Mad Science and dragonslayers through her "fancy shooting"—that is, a Robin Hood class trick. Note the use of a protective bracer and Mongolian draw -- a good idea for an archer so young with the bow pull strong enough to do that. Among the Founders' generation, Steadman—who (Word of Tom [dead link]) combined normal training and magic abilities. Whether Janet's Improbable Aiming Skills are of the same nature is unknown.
  • The Dreamland Chronicles: Nastajia
  • Wayfarer's Moon: Iri, who is a half-elf.
  • Julie, the protagonist from Our Little Adventure uses a bow as her weapon of choice and since gaining two levels since the comic started, she's gotten quite good with it.
  • Homestuck: Subverted by Equius, who's so strong he just ends up breaking the bow and instead fights with his fists and sometimes with the broken bow. Later played straight with Gamzee.
  • Wayward Sons: Temis, the crew's tracking officer, has taken to using a bow and arrow.
  • Two characters from Ears for Elves fit this, with varying degrees of success.
    • Tanna aspires to be as good as Luero (the very first pages of the comic are her practising shooting), but isn't very good yet — though she believes herself to be. She doesn't have the calmness often associated with being an archer, which might contribute to this.
    • Luero, however, is well known for his great archery and tracking skills, and can use a bow at close and long range.


Western Animation[edit | hide]


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The English longbow is famous for being a particularly advanced weapon that set England apart from other European nations and granted it notable advantages in warfare. English subjects were required to own and train with longbows regularly, while most other nations felt that archery was beneath them. Many historians argued for decades that the stories of English Longbowmen routinely using bows with draw weights of 180-200 pounds were massive exagerations because modern professional archers rarely do more than 80 pounds. Howard Hill, quite famous in his day, proved them wrong by using a bow with a 190 pound draw in his sixties. Just to understand how powerful this is, most people have trouble drawing 40 pounds. King Edward I, who popularized longbows, once said something to the effect of, "If you want a great bowman, start with his grandfather."
    • From the point of manufacturing, the longbow is actually extremely simple, to the point of being almost primitive. It's just a curved piece of wood, but made from the perfect type of wood and in an optimal shape. It's incredible effectiveness comes from the lifelong training of the user, which was so extensive that you can easily recognise the skeletons of professional archers by looking at the shape their bones have grown.
      • More to the point you can recognise lonbow archers because they are cripples. The human skeleton is not able to withstand and sustain the forces that using a longbow puts on it and is trying to grow additional bone structures to support it. Unfortunatly that is both painful and crippling to the person.
  • Genoese crossbowmen were famous in the Middle Ages for their effectiveness, and were often hired out as mercenaries for other nations. However, they suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Crecy. Ultimately the French knights cut their way through the Genoese formation to get to the fighting. And then the English longbowmen slaughtered them because they had charged their own people instead of the enemy.
  • Genghis Khan's rapid conquest of the then-known world is partially attributed to his army's speed and accuracy when loosing arrows while riding on horseback. Six out of ten men in the cavalry were horse archers, all using Mongol bows (which have a draw of about 160 pounds).
  • The old Hungarian army (before converting to Christianity) also consisted mostly of horse archers with similar bows. Their predominant strategy was feigning retreat to get the enemy knights chase them (and thus break their formation) then showered them with arrows shot backwards.
  • Shooting while riding backwards is called the "Parthian shot" after the guys who first made it famous, the Parthians (from what is now north-eastern Iran). What made them even more awesome is that they did they same thing as the Hungarians except their saddles had no stirrups. Yep. No stirrups, full gallop, guiding their horses with nothing but leg pressure and shooting arrows behind you. That's Badass.
  • The samurai of Japan were mounted archers before they were swordsmen. The discipline of kyuudo is the remnant of this; it's still recognizable as horseback archery by the shape of the bow and way the bow is drawn down from overhead rather than back from the front (so that the horse doesn't get in the way.)
  • Jack Churchill was a British officer in World War II who carried a longbow instead of a rifle, as well as a claymore (the one-handed sword, not the explosive). As a result, he was the only person in WWII to get a kill with a bow and arrow of any type.
  1. However, it should be noted that arm strength is far less important than back and shoulder strength when it comes to drawing a bow. Since archers wouldn't have the huge arm muscles melee fighters would have (but would have ripped backs and shoulders), this is probably where the image of the "graceful archer" arises from.