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There are many famous archers in the world of fiction, but which one’s the best? With archers appearing in Movies/Tv, Games and Novels, there are a lot to choose from.
Last week the Arrow mid-season break finished, I was about 4 episodes behind so I invited a couple of friends round for a catch-up evening. It was not until Mike brought up that there were not many well-known fictional archers, he must have had too many beers as I thought there were plenty.
It was not until he challenged me to name some, that my mind went blank but I was sure there was a lot. By the end of the evening, we’d manage to list 17 archers names that we thought were pretty famous, not bad work after a few beers.
Here is our list of fictional archers that we feel are pretty famous, let me know in the comments below if there are more I can tell Mike about.
The Top 17 Famous Fictional Archers
Robin Hood is a legendary character that originally came from England, said to be from the Late Middle Ages (15th Century). There have been many programs and films to feature Robin Hood, showing him as a highly skilled archer and swordsmen. Many versions had shown him returning from the Crusades to land that was taken away from him by the Sheriff of Nottingham. He joined forces with his Merry Men and his lover Maid Marian to try and stop the Sheriff from helping prince John take the throne from under King Richard.
One of the most famous scenes from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was when Robin (played by Kevin Costner) shot an arrow at a tree and then shot another straight into it. Now in archery, this has even been given the name a “Robin Hood”, something that more advanced archers want to avoid due to the cost of some arrows.
Since the 1900’s there have been 77 appearances of Robin Hood on Tv or in the Moves, thus securing him the number of one spot of the most famous archer.
What bow does he use: Longbow and Saracen bow
Green Arrow is a comic book archer, who had to learn his skills whilst stranded on a desert island. This was before finding a way back to right the wrongs of his father and to protect his city. The first comic that featured Oliver Queen was published in 1941, continuing to be a fan favorite. Oliver Queen also hit our screens in Smallville when Justin Hartley portrayed the Green Arrow and more recently Stephen Amell has donned the hood for the Arrow series. The only thing we need now is a film, which I would love!
Stephen Amell has done an incredible job bringing Oliver Queen to live, he actually incorporated Archery into his workout routine and actually does a very good job. He does get professional training and has been said to practice over the weekends, some of the shots are naturally CGI but the form looks pretty solid.
You cannot have a list of famous archers, without the Green Arrow appearing in it!
What Bows Does He Use: Longbow, Recurve bow, and Compound Bow
When we think about famous archers, one of the first I think about is Legolas from Lord Of The Rings. He is probably one of the most well-known fictional archers and I do think he has probably shot more arrows on screen than any other in the list. He spends a lot of the third film counting how many enemies he has shot, competing against Gimli
A lot of the shooting was naturally done with CGI and your typical target archer would not do the kind of shooting that is done. This type is more for those that are interested in instinctive archery.
What Bows Does He Use: Longbow
Hawkeye is a character from Marvel Comics who is a member of the Avengers, in the recent movies he is portrayed by Jeremy Renner and has been accepted with mixed reviews. I personally think he is an excellent actor and even though initial his archery was criticized, I do think this has improved over the last few installments of the Avengers.
Hawkeye unlike many of the Avengers doesn’t actually have any special powers, excels at combat especially the bow. He wears a back quiver which features many “trick/weaponized arrows”
One thing that cannot be distributed is the amount of exposure he has brought to the sport, earning him a deserved spot in this list.
What bow does he use: Recurve Bow
It is fair to say that Katniss Everdeen helped to get archery onto the big screen and helped to encourage more young people into the sport. Katniss is a fictional character and the main focal point in the Hunger Games trilogy.
In the Hunger Games, people are chosen from each district and must survive against other districts. It is actually her sister Primrose that was chosen but Katniss took her place and eventually not only won but became the symbol of a revolution.
She learned her skills with a bow by hunting and even though she is self-taught, she becomes very skilled. Jennifer Lawrence who plays Katniss did get trained by an Olympic archer and you can tell. Yes, there are areas of improvement but overall she had excellent posture, a good anchor and the release/follow through was very good.
What Bows Does She Use: Longbow and Recurve
Perhaps not who you would think when we talk about archers that are famous or well-known, but when you think Cupid you do automatically think about bow and arrow. Cupid is a mythological god and son of Mars the god of war and Venus the goddess of love.
He carries a bow and arrow, which it is said when shot with one of his arrows you fall in love. This is why he is known as the god of desire, love, and attraction. Now in terms of his archery skill, you would hope he was pretty decent or he might end up hitting the wrong person!
Princess Merida is the main character from the animated movie Brave, created by Disney Pixar. You might be thinking how could an animated character be a famous archer? The artists actually did an incredible job and you can tell they spoke to actual archers to get the stance correct, the draw, the anchor point, and even the release. You clearly see Princess Merida, release the string from her fingers instead of just plucking the bowstring.
Below is a great video, showcasing her archery skills and why even though she is a fictional archer – she is very good!
If you like your horror TV series then no doubt you have heard of the walking dead! Daryl Dixon is a fictional character from that and even though he may not be considered as a famous archer, he is certainly well-known by fans of the show.
There is a zombie outbreak and Daryl uses his skills in hunting, tracking, and navigation to keep himself safe from the zombies as well as the remaining survivors. Some would argue that he is not actually classed as an archer since he uses a crossbow, but I do think he deserves a mention.
What Bows Does He Use: Crossbow
I am spent a lot of my younger adult life enjoying World of Warcraft, joining the series just after the release. I originally started out as a warrior and my main still is, however, I really enjoy playing a hunter so I can use a bow. Although back when I first started, I’m sure I remember warriors being able to use them and arrows actually ran out!
In the World of Warcraft, the most famous archer would be Sylvanas Windrunner, who founded and leads the Forsaken faction. She is a member of the Horde but was originally a part of the high elves of Silvermoon, until you were murdered by Arthas Menethil. He didn’t however just murder her but ripped her soul out and made her a Banshee. Once she recovered your body, she vowed to get her revenge.
What Bows Does She Use: Longbow (Although very fantasy in design)
Susan Pevensie is one of the main characters from the fictional world of Narnia, first seen in the book and film The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. She plays one of four children that left London during the war and went to the house of Professor Digory Kirke (Who also appeared in earlier books).
Here they discover the wardrobe that transports them to Narnia, where they soon battle against the evil witch with Aslan. Susan is known as one of the Queens of Narnia and is given a horn and a bow to help fight the dark forces. The arrows are said to never miss their intended target, I wish I had a few of them!
Even though she would not be considered a famous archer herself, the story of Narnia is well-known and therefore earns her a spot on the list.
What Bows Does She Use: Recurve Bow
Malcolm Merlyn is a fictional supervillain who also goes by the name of Dark Archer or Merlyn the Magician. He is the Green Arrows Arch Nemesis but also takes on other heroes such as Batman.
In more recent years he was portrayed by John Barrowman in the hit series Arrow. Malcolm is friends with the Queens and is set up early on in the first series as the one that caused Oliver to be stranded on the deserted island and his father to kill himself.
He became obsessed with becoming unstoppable when his wife was robbed and killed. He lost himself and was soon found by Ra’s al Ghul, leader of the League of Assassins. Later Oliver Queen passes the mantle of Ra’s Al Ghul to Malcolm. Now he is supposedly dead but as a body has not been found, it keeps it open for him to return.
What Bow Does He Use: Compound Bow
Link is the main character from the well-known Legend of Zelda series of games and even though he is often pictured with a sword, the bow does make an appearance in most of the games.
He uses the bow to be able to shoot enemies from a distance, the most common bow in the series is the “Hero’s Bow”. Initially Link was only able to shoot standard arrows, however, he was soon able to start shooting fire and ice arrows.
Even though archery doesn’t make a big part of the Legend of Zelda series, it does give us the opportunity to use a bow and arrow in what can only be described as a great series of games.
What Bows Does He Use: Longbow, Recurve, Compound
One of the first 3D films I saw was Avatar and even now it’s considered one of the most famous films and is in fact still a record holder for the most gross profit generated. Neytiri is the princess of the Na’vi Omaticaya Clan, these are tall blue humanoids from the planet Pandora. It is her role to teach Jake about the ways of the Na’vi and the world of Pandora.
Jake is a human and interacts with the Na’vi through an engineered Na’vi bodies known as an avatar. Na’vi uses a longbow and also teaches Jake how to use one, this makes sense as they are an incredibly strong race which would allow them to draw back more poundage.
What bow does she use: Longbow
Abigail Whistler was a sidekick to blade in the third film of the Trilogy, alongside Wesley Snipes and Ryan Reynolds. In the film, Dracula has been resurrected and Abigail is a member of a group known as the Nightstalkers, it’s their mission to destroy Dracula and as many other vamps along the way.
Naturally, you don’t want to get too close to a vampire, which is possibly one reason why Abigail favors a bow. She actually shoots using a single cam compound bow, which makes sense as she can walk around better with it being fully drawn due to the let-off.
What bow does she use: Compound bow
Hanzo is a character from the popular game Overwatch, giving people the opportunity to play the game as a skilled archer. Hanzo was the eldest son to the Shimada family, a clan of assassins. He took control of this clan when his father passed, his younger brother was unruly and did not want to help rule the empire.
Due to this Hanzo attempted to kill his brother which broke his heart and made him no longer wish to follow the Shimada clan. The clan exiled him and continued to send assassins to kill him, although they failed.
Since then he has vowed to only ever use his bow and doing so has become a master archer. Being able to shoot with different abilities such as sonic arrow allowing him to track enemies or the storm arrows ability, allowing him to shoot multiple arrows at his target.
What Bows Does He Use: Altered Recurve
Will Treaty (The Ranger’s Apprentice)
Will Treaty is a fictional character in the Ranger’s Apprentice novels, which consists of an impressive 12 books. I have worked my way through all of them and have to say the character development and story really is gripping. The author John Flanagan actually goes into some initial detail on describing Will correctly Nocking an arrow, getting the release right etc.
Will is an apprentice in the ranger corps, a secret organization of Rangers that answer to the king and look after selections of the kingdom. Through the books, Will goes on a number of adventures and uses his skills as an archer to protect his friends, as well as his Kingdom.
The bow of choice for the Rangers is the longbow but there was one book that Will had to go in disguise and therefore used a takedown recurve bow.
Artemis is a fictional character found in a number of DC comics, she has been portrayed in several different ways both as a superhero and a supervillain. She does also go by the name of Tigress and is the daughter of villains Paul Brooks and Crusher Crock.
With her superhuman fighting skills, she is also an incredibly skilled marksman. Her weapon of choice is a crossbow. Perhaps not the most famous archery in the fictional world of comics, but worth mentioning.
What Bow Does She Use: Crossbow
So after a few beers, I think we put together a pretty decent list of famous archers from fiction. I hope you have liked the list if you think I have missed any Id love for you to mention them in the comments below.
Adam has been enjoying the sport of archery since 2010, intially getting the bug for it whilst on holiday and trying it out in an activity center. Since his very first eperiance of holding a bow and arrow, he fell in love with it and can now be found at the range or in the great outdoors as often as possible.
His main go to bow type is a recurve but he loves shooting from compounds as well. Adam created The Archery Guide as a way to help others get into this great activity and to share his knowledge/experiences.