Archery is not the most well-known sport: the competitions at the Olympics (or your local range) don’t draw in as big a crowd as, I don’t know, football. Or soccer, or tennis, or what have you. Still, it’s pretty popular!
Lots of people would love the chance to try their hand at archery, and many think of the sport as the epitome of cool. There’s a certain indescribable something that really makes everyone admire that guy (or gal) hitting the bull’s eye from far, far away, with nothing but their own hands, body, and an ancestral weapon. It’s definitely badass.
Now, our ideas and perceptions about things such as sports don’t materialize out of thin air; they have to come from somewhere. And, in our day and age, that somewhere is popular culture. TV shows, bestselling books, movies… these all make up the feelings and level of cool factor we associate with different sports.
The popular love of archery, then, is quite heavily influenced by those characters we see deftly handling a bow and arrows in the most popular stories and movies. So, have a little inspiration: here is the movie-famous archers Top 10!
#10 – Cupid
Granted, there isn’t (yet) a well-known film actually starring Cupid, but he is present as a minor character in lots of movies, shows, books, comics, and other popular media. So who is this arrow-aiming kid?
Originally the Greek-derived Roman god of desire and passion, Cupid was one crafty fellow. The son of Venus, goddess of love, he would aim his arrows at unsuspecting victims and make them fall in love (often with tragic or at least mildly inconvenient endings). So, the next time you feel irrationally attracted to someone, you know who to blame!
#9 – Susan Pevensie
The Narnia books and films are well-beloved by folks of all ages. They make you dive (literally!) into a parallel world where centaurs, talking animals, and beautiful but evil witches with rad white dreads are all real.
One of the leads of the films, Susan Pevensie (played by Anna Popplewell) is a typical 50’s teenage sweetheart who gets thrown into a world at war. She quickly adapts and becomes known as an awesome archer who can never miss. She fires red-plumed arrows using a traditional recurve.
#8 – Merida
Disney princesses used to be a stereotype of feminine quiet beauty and vulnerability. Not Merida, though! This wild-haired Scottish princess exudes badassery even as she beats all her suitors in an archery competition, defies traditional gender roles, and turns her mother to and back from scary-bear-shape.
#7 – Robin Hood
Few names are as ubiquitous as “Robin Hood” when it comes to people’s associations with archery. This hero is portrayed in an insane number of movies, the latest being Robin Hood (ha!), starring Russell Crowe.
This famous archer is a traditional figure present in many legends. He is believed to have been a strong popular leader who used his remarkable woodcraft and archery skills to defend the common people from the abuses of the powerful. You go, Robin!
#6 – Lara Croft
Adventurousness, physical allure, and mad archery skills: Lara Croft has it all. This character was played by Angelina Jolie in a super successful film series and then became the focus of a videogame.
It’s in the videogame that Lara Croft acquires a bow and arrows to better, ehem, relieve ancient tombs from their contents and face evil foes. The weapon she fires can alternate between a longbow, a recurve, or a modern compound.
#5 – Katniss Everdeen
In dystopian Capitol State, Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) must enter the super-scary, almost-deadly-for-all-participants reality show The hunger games, which is meant to keep the population terrified and distracted at the same time.
Katniss goes on to use the savagely precise archery skills she acquired while illegally hunting to support her family to destabilize the social order, lead a rebellion, and ultimately depose an unjust government. The actress actually went through extensive shooting training and has a pretty good technique, if you ask me!
#4 – Daryl Dixon
The Walking Dead depicts a very different kind of dystopian society: one where most of the people are very dead, and very, very dangerous.
In order to survive, drifter Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) uses his intuition, agility, aggression and his remarkably accurate archery technique to hunt and kill menacing zombies. The character shifts between using a Stryker Strykezone 380 and a Horton Scout HD 125 between seasons.
#3 – Hawkeye
Who hasn’t been fascinated, even obsessed, by the success and heroic allure of the Avenger Squad? These guys are always busy saving the worlds from one threat or other.
Both in the comics and in the movie series, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is one of the most beloved characters. Even without special superhero powers, Hawkeye is a match for anyone. He’s an excellent archer with world-class skills and can stalk, fire, and fight like no one’s business. He shoots both a compound and a recurve bow.
#2 – Ygritte
Though we admit that we know nothing about what life North of the Wall was really like, we can all agree that Game of Thrones’ Ygritte (portrayed by Rose Leslie) is an exceptional markswoman and soldier.
She’s the best at survival skills and can even fire three arrows into her love interest, Jon Snow, when he betrays her. She’s wise, strong, great at one-liners, and we definitely miss her.
#1 – Legolas
Bow and arrows? Who said Legolas? Played by pose-striking, blond-mane-swishing Orlando Bloom, this Lord of the Rings character is what everyone thinks of when you say “archery”.
The son of an Elven King, Legolas is a bit aloof but can hold his own in any fight. He’s basically immortal. And we all love his interactions with his dwarven frenemy, Gimli, that devolve into an entertaining orc-killing competition. The scene in which Legolas fires arrow after arrow at the enemy while skating down some stairs on a stolen shield will forever live in archer’s memories.
Who was the movie archer that first got you interested in the sport? Merida or Legolas? Who among these awesome is the most badass? We might never know! What we do know is that they, although fictional, inspire lots of us to perfect our skills every day and, because of that, we love them all.