In honour of our exciting new replica weaponry collection - including famed pieces from Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and the Legend of Zelda - we thought the time was ripe for a spotlight on magical arsenals and the mighty menacing weapons found within them.
While the worlds of myth and legend are full of wonder and delight, they don't come without an element of danger, too. Most of our favourite epic heroes and heroines have a battle to face, and often that battle involves a weapon of some kind, be it a gleaming blade, formidable hammer or swift arrow.
Mythical weapons can become characters themselves - extensions of our favourite fantasy figures and symbols of their triumphs. We trade in ornamental weapons only here at Dragonspace - intended for collectors rather than fighters - but we love exploring the stories behind some of the famed weapons of mythical lore, the battles they've faced and the enemies they've felled.
Ah, the mighty sword. Along with magical wands, swords are perhaps the most recognisable fantasy weapons. One of Britain's greatest legends - King Arthur and his Camelot adventures - starts with the magnificent sword Excalibur. Excalibur is linked with the rightful sovereignty of Great Britain, and when Arthur successfully pulls the sword from the stone, he claims his destined place on the throne. Also believed to have magical abilities, Excalibur is a symbol of destiny, greatness and unexpected power.
The importance of swords stretches further than Western myth, of course. Katanas were the elegant curved swords of the Japanese samurai, often featured in Japanese myths and stories. In a galaxy far far away, Jedis wield glowing lightsabers, and various swords serve as Link's primary weapon in the Legend of Zelda video games.
But swords don't always have to be big to be powerful. Just take a look at Sting, the Elvish-crafted sword owned by Bilbo and then Frodo in Tolkien's Middle-earth tales - a perfect fit for small but mighty hobbits, with the added bonus of glowing blue in the presence of orcs and goblins. Similar in size and power is Needle, in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series (a.k.a Game of Thrones), owned by Arya Stark - a thin yet effective weapon. The beauty of swords is that they suit their wielders, a true companion moreso than a just a weapon.
For those with a keen eye and elegant precision, a bow and arrow is the weapon of choice. Capable of felling foes from a distance, famous fantasy archers are known for being graceful and on-point, though just as dangerous as their sword-wielding friends.
Continuing with our Tolkien homage, one of literature's most famed archers is Legolas Greenleaf the Elf, whose skills with a bow and arrow befit his elegant elfin strength. Then there's Robin Hood of forest lore, the hero who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, and traditionally shot with a longbow. In more recent times, we have Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy, whose lethal archery abilities came from her hunting survival skills and turned into a symbol for the 'small' rising up from a far distance to defeat the 'big'. In superhero legend, Hawkeye and the Green Arrow are formidable archers, and let's not forget Cupid, the classical god of desire and love who shoots destined lovers with magical arrows.
Doubling as both tools and weapons, axes and hammers are valuable assets to any mythical arsenal. In many high fantasy worlds, the 'dwarf' figures - sturdy mountain-dwellers - often wield axes. These weapons are not only powerful in combat, but relevant to the dwarf's background as a labourer and miner. An axe can hack into mountainsides for precious jewels just as well as they can cut down an enemy in battle.
In Norse mythology, dwarves also forged perhaps the world's most recognisable hammer - Mjölnir, most commonly known as Thor's hammer. Thor's hammer is believed to never fail in battle, and to never miss its mark when thrown. It was also said that only Thor could pick Mjölnir up, perhaps inspiring the King Arthur and Excalibur legend. The hammer is now a popular symbol in Norse lore, symbolising power and strength, and is often featured in jewelry and decor. The Finnish thunder god Ukko also had a hammer named Ukonvasara, with which he created lightning.
Halfway between the sword and the arrow we have the spear - a large pointed weapon used in both close combat and at a distance. Soldiers of Ancient Rome favoured spears known as 'pilums', a javelin of roughly two metres long with a wooden handle and pointed tip. In other myths and legends, figures such as Karthikeya (the Hindu god of war), Lugh (the Irish warrior hero) and Honda Tadakatsu (the Japanese samurai) wielded powerful spears.
Similar to the spear is the trident, a sharp three-pronged staff associated with the gods of the sea - Poseidon in Greek mythology, and Neptune in Roman. In the old stories, these tridents are magical weapons that can create water and live animals from nothing, strike resistant surfaces, and ward off foes. The three-pronged element is said to represent the three properties of water: liquidity, fecundity and drinkability.
And now that we've covered the offensive, what about the defensive? Well-crafted armour is a staple of many famous fantasy figures' trademark costumes, and is responsible for saving their lives so that they go on to brave further adventures! From Zeus's famous shield Aegis, to Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak, Beowulf's mail shirt to Thor's iron gloves, Bilbo's mithril chainmail to Skyrim helmets, protective gear is often just as impressive as a clanging sword or whizzing arrow.
Full suits of armour are icons in themselves, often adorning old buildings and preserved castles in modern-day for a medieval feel. In fact, much of our fantasy armour and weaponry owes a great debt to the real-life craftsmanship of medieval times, an era that fantasy writers and artists pull much inspiration from.
If you're now excited to start your own magical arsenal (ornamental only!), then check out our stunning sword collection, as well as our other fantasy-related giftware that evokes images of daring quests and brave battles. We hope the mythical and historical symbolism alone provides you with power and inspiration!
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