A balmy, mid-July afternoon with clear skies and only a few buzzing insects to break the silence. That is, until a roar annihilated the idyllic surroundings, as ten battle-hungry warriors charged forwards to meet equal numbers mounting a small hill. Just like a scene from Braveheart. Only these warriors were six years old, wearing school uniforms instead of kilts and had no face paint, unless you count what was smeared across their cheeks from a previous art lesson, as they wiped snotty noses!
This isn’t another ‘day in the life of a primary school teacher’ post because I wasn’t a teacher back then. No, I was one of the six year olds, re-enacting the 1066 Battle of Hastings and I had been given the very important task of killing King Harold!
I ran atop the hill, poised with my imaginary weapon, spotted the King amid his army of three First Years and prepared to unleash my fury. Right arm pulled back, left arm pointing to the sky, I let go of the invisible arrow that sailed across the field on the sounds of my war-cry, finding its target in the eyeball of a small boy. His Oscar worthy death drop signified I was victorious and we all rushed to reset the scene and rehearse again.
This. Was. Awesome.
Fad Number #56 – ARCHERY
We were due to perform the battle for the rest of the school as an end of term assembly. So far, despite allowing us to be especially violent towards each other by today’s classroom standards, we hadn’t been allowed props – probably best to minimise the carnage even if it was delivered by blows from cardboard swords! But I was soon to be given a mock bow and arrow and I loved it. It looked incredibly cool. I looked incredibly cool. How could I fail to impress?
I’ll tell you how.
It was time for the dress rehearsal. We took our places and waited for the teacher to yell, ‘Action!’. Leaping into position, now with a ‘real’ weapon to wield, I pulled back with my right hand, as I’d done in each previous run-through and…let go with my left. Bow and arrow down.
Try again. Pointing the foam arrow to the sky, I waited expectantly to see it soar defiantly over the others, as I’d pictured so many times in my head. Nothing. Except some giggles and an exasperated sigh from my teacher. The arrow laid miserably at my feet.
I don’t know why I was surprised. I have still to this day never even mastered the skill of flicking an elastic band from my fingers. My brain just doesn’t engage in the correct pattern for some reason!
So, knowing this story and my general, clumsy ineptness, when we got the opportunity to have archery lessons whilst in Ireland, S naturally believed he could take all the glory…
Hell no! My previous failures have never dampened my belief that I could one day rival every full-blooded silvan in an arrow firing contest and I can be competitive to a fault. I was determined to beat him.
And that I did. Just. But it was bloody hard! Gone were my misguided imaginings of leaping around trees, reloading swiftly to dispatch my enemies from a secret hiding place. The video may prove I was precisely on target, but if you look closely, it also shows me getting my wobble on, having a quiver in all the wrong places, as I try to maintain steadiness in order to aim.
I’m definitely more Katniss NEVERdeen. I mean, I can’t even plait a fishtail…
So, in honour of the final installment of The Hunger Games opening this weekend, here’s my tribute to those more worthy of brandishing a crossbow or similar.
In reverse order:
Yes, even a bottle of peach-flavoured alcohol is more likely to have a better strike rate than I am when it comes to firing! Can’t say I’m that huge a fan of this as a tipple, preferring straight up vodka, but perhaps it would imbue me with subliminal strength if I consumed it prior to bracing.
Don’t come within a 1 mile radius though. Just in case.
Alright, he’s not strictly an archer but he is kickass in an animated way. Advisory – this is an adult cartoon with boobs, bums, swearing and a lot of inappropriate behaviour and un-political correctness. But it’s hilarious!
Sterling Archer is an international spy, able to rival the likes of James Bond. He’s also very self-absorbed and pretty dumb much of the time. But his strike rate is high, as long as we’re talking about securing women, fast cars and alcoholic beverages!
Ooh, so far down on the list I hear you say? Well, yes.
Okay, so he’s the original star of notching feathers to send them sailing into the the ether but I also think he’s had his time with my affections. Back in the day, I was all about Kevin Costner’s mullet and watching the accuracy of an arrow split, despite that fox, Mary-Elizabeth Maidmariontonio, trying to send him off course with her breathing.
But other incarnations of the fabled hero have never floated my boat. Except perhaps Disney’s. You have to love Disney.
Ah, Orlando Bloom. How I only love your face when your hair is bleached and flowing and you’re jumping aboard elephants to fight orcs.
Hobbits were cute but Legolas won my heart in LoTR. I wanted to be an elf, skipping about nimbly with my quiver stocked, ready to fight side by side with this ethereal wonder. He was fast, mysterious and had an other-worldly, pale-faced glow before any angst ridden teen vampire turned up on the scene.
On the rare occasion that we play D&D, my chosen race and class is a rogue elf, in honour of my aspirations to be a silvan warrior. My clothing would blend me in with the surroundings, and I’d fire from a concealed spot among the leaves. Archery is so much easier when you only have to roll a D12 to fire…
In joint third place…
I have a bit of a thing for Jeremy Renner. Yes, there’s a running theme here in what constitutes my ranking for archers. Being the huge fan of Marvel that I am, I couldn’t leave him out but I am more in love with the on-screen, leather-clad portrayal rather than the purple masked man from the comics.
He’s quiet, brooding and pretty lethal which makes him far more entertaining to me than the likes of Thor. I realise I’ve also just described the Hulk… Stealthy. The Hulk’s not stealthy.
Anyway, he’s a definite hero in my book but as much as I love him, he’ll never replace my crush on Tony Stark. Just saying.
I’ll begin by saying I’ve never read the books but I love the films. And, (probably like most of humanity) I have a massive girl crush on Jennifer Lawrence. I guess being the wielder of flaming arrows should shove her to the top of the list, but well, she’s just a bit moody to make my number one spot.
Sure, she’s been through a traumatic experience and is being used as a pawn in a weird political game so doesn’t have much to smile about. But maybe I only want my men to be angsty. Plus, how anyone’s hair can look that amazing whilst fighting to the death is beyond me. Yes, I’m jealous. Who knew twisting two bits of hair rather than three would be more difficult?! Still, I do love the little Mockingjay!
And in first place…
DARYL – The Walking Dead
Fit. That is all.
S moaned at my choice as he said he’s not a true archer due to using a crossbow. But have you seen how he uses it? He can virtually dance with the thing and still hit his prey. So cool.
Okay, he may have reached the point of needing a haircut and a bath, but there’s something enticingly endearing about his griminess. In fact, if I had to pick sides, Andrew ‘Rick’ Lincoln wouldn’t get a look in. So if the show writers ever decide it’s time for Boondock down, I’ll refuse to tune in!
Who are your favourite archers of all time? I’d love to know in the comments. Until then, thanks for reading and may the odds be ever in your favour…
Image Credits: My own plus The Guardian, Wikipedia, pinknews.co.uk and Screenrant.