Created By: Salda007 on January 24, 2012 Last Edited By: Salda007 on February 4, 2012
Troped

Arrowgram

When a note or message is delivered via bow and arrow. (was Arrow Mail)

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Rolling Updates

"Message for you, sir!"
--Concorde, Lancelot's servant, on the receiving end.

You're on one side of a medieval or fantasy battle or castle siege, and you want to deliver a message to someone on the opposing side. How to do it? Write your note on a scrap of paper, tie it to an arrow shaft, and have a friendly archer send it on its way. Bonus points if you hit an enemy mook on the receiving end.

If the note is wrapped around a brick or rock instead, and then tossed through a convenient window, it's Window Pain.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • This was used in Episode 14 of the Little Lulu anime, but with a toy arrow, no less.
  • This is used sometimes in Ranma 1/2. One episode has Ranma deliver a note to Tsubasa in this manner to ask him on a date; unaware that Tsubasa was a boy! And, in the Waterproof Soap episode, Shampoo also sends a forged letter from "Akane" to Ryoga in the same fashion.

Comics

Literature

  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth has two sets of characters living in treehouses for a brief period of time, unable to go to the ground or hear each other over the din of the zombies. The only means of communication is by arrow and letter (and given one of the communicating character's poor aim, this isn't so easy).
  • At the beginning of the Lord Darcy novel A Study in Sorcery by Michael Kurland, a company of English soldiers are escorting a group of Native Americans through the lands of another tribe with whom they have a bad history. The chief of the local tribe sends a message arrow into the tent of the head soldier, warning him that they plan to attack and giving him a chance to withdraw his men. (History being somewhat different in this series, the messages is written in formal English on mass-produced notepaper with a printed letterhead.)
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld - novel: Making Money. Moist von Lipwig receives a message by black arrow with impeccable italic enamelling in white down the side: The Guild of Assassins. Where style counts.

Film

Tabletop RPG

  • Sidereals in Exalted have a charm that lets them explicitly shoot messages (among other things).

Television

  • Kung Fu: "Besieged Part Two: Cannon at the Gate." The Mole communicates with the besiegers via flaming arrow - the flame is so they can see where the arrow is headed and go pick it up after it lands.
  • A 1950s episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood in which Robin (Richard Greene) sends a message via a flaming arrow. When someone asks, in lieu of the audience, if the message won't get burned up too, he replies that it'll slide to the back of the shaft in flight.
  • The Count does this in Young Dracula, tying a note proclaiming a blood fued to a flaming arrow and shooting it at the Branaghs. However, the burn damage the note sustains causes half the message to be unreadable and Graham Branagh thinks it's a note asking him to examine Dracula's drains. Hilarity Ensues.

Video Games

Web Comics

Web Original

  • This happens twice with a flaming arrow in the Sentai parody "Rolling Bomber Special".

Western Animation

  • An episode of George of the Jungle sees George receive an arrow with a note, saying (after a list of demands) "...this is your last warning." George says he never even got a first warning. George receives a second arrow: "Correction: this is your first warning."
  • The Daffy Duck short "The Scarlet Pumpernickel" has this as part of the swashbuckler film Daffy pitches to J.L Warner.
  • in the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, Leonardo gets an invitation from Oroku Saki this way. giving this quote:
"It's not your regular mail, I guess Mikey would call it 'Air Mail'"
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • January 24, 2012
    Salda007
    I put this up while I was thinking about it during a break at work, so I don't have time to do any proper formatting. Will expand on it and clean it up later, if someone else doesn't get to it first. Cheers!
  • January 24, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Not to be confused with mail armor made out of arrows. ;-)
  • January 24, 2012
    Ryuuma
    • Called "Arrowgram" in Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams. Specifically, Munenori shot 500 of these messages to mount Hiei (where Soki was resting after being defeated by Hideyoshi).
    • In Shinobido you receive your mail with arrows at the end of each "day"/Mission.

    Ps: You should put the examples with the point before, like the ones here.

  • January 24, 2012
    Psychobabble6
    Literature
    • The Forest of Hands and Teeth has two sets of characters living in treehouses for a brief period of time, unable to go to the ground or hear each other over the din of the zombies. The only means of communication is by arrow and letter (and given one of the communicating character's poor aim, this isn't so easy).
  • January 24, 2012
    CaveCat
    Anime and Manga
    • This was used in Episode 14 of the Little Lulu anime, but with a toy arrow, no less.

    Film
    • In Small Soldiers, the Commando Elite send Alan and the Gorgonites an arrow with a video tape of Christy telling Alan to surrender the Gorgonites or else the Commando Elite will kill her.
  • January 24, 2012
    randomsurfer
    George Of The Jungle: As George and Ape are hanging around one day an arrow comes with a note, demanding [something, I forget]. It says "this is your last warning." George says he never even got a first warning. Another arrow is shot. "Correction: this is your first warning."
  • January 25, 2012
    kouta
    Sidereals in Exalted have a charm that lets them explicitly shoot messages (among other things).
  • January 25, 2012
    PaulA
    • At the beginning of the Lord Darcy novel A Study in Sorcery by Michael Kurland, a company of English soldiers are escorting a group of Native Americans through the lands of another tribe with whom they have a bad history. The chief of the local tribe sends a message arrow into the tent of the head soldier, warning him that they plan to attack and giving him a chance to withdraw his men. (History being somewhat different in this series, the messages is written in formal English on mass-produced notepaper with a printed letterhead.)
  • January 25, 2012
    Ryuuma
    • Trivial but curious Real Life fact: There's a japanese word that specifically means "Message sent with an arrow". Probably it was really popular.
  • January 25, 2012
    X2X
    Does it just have to be just arrows, or can there be variants with other projectile weapons? For example, in the Xbox Ninja Gaiden, Ayane sends Ryu advice through kunai scrolls.
  • January 25, 2012
    GuyIncog
    If we're including non-arrow examples, The Simpsons has an episode in which Mayor Quimby is electrocuted by what he thought was a nonfunctioning electric chair. Lisa launches a model rocket with a message that gets Mr. Burns to cut the power.
  • January 25, 2012
    LeeM
    IIRC there was a 1950s episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood in which Robin (Richard Greene) sends a message via a flaming arrow. When someone asks, in lieu of the audience, if the message won't get burned up too, he replies that it'll slide to the back of the shaft in flight.
  • January 27, 2012
    randomsurfer
    "Brick with a message" is currently part of Window Pain, including the page image.

    • Kung Fu: "Besieged Part Two: Cannon at the Gate." The Mole communicates with the besiegers via flaming arrow - the flame is so they can see where the arrow is headed and go pick it up after it lands.
  • January 30, 2012
    Salda007
    Oooh, thanks for the examples, people! I'll try and get them shuffled into the main post tonight. Not sure about non-arrow examples just yet. Thoughts?

    Ryuuma - I dig "Arrowgram"; maybe use that for the trope name (with Trope Namer credit to Onimusha, of course).

    randomsurfer - thanks for the "Window Pain" link!
  • January 31, 2012
    Chabal2
  • January 31, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    The Daffy Duck short "The Scarlet Pumpernickel" has this as part of the swashbuckler film Daffy pitches to J.L Warner.
  • January 31, 2012
    Synchronicity
    Webcomics
  • January 31, 2012
    CptSqweky
    This happens twice with a flaming arrow in the Sentai parody "Rolling Bomber Special".
  • January 31, 2012
    foxley
    The Count does this in Young Dracula, tying a note proclaiming a blood fued to a flaming arrow and shooting it at the Branaghs. However, the burn damage the note sustains causes half the message to be unreadable and Graham Branagh thinks it's a note asking him to examine Dracula's drains. Hilarity Ensues.
  • January 31, 2012
    CaveCat
    ^You misspelled "Hilarity".
  • January 31, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    Another non-arrow example happens in the film After the Thin Man, when a stone with a note attached flies through the Charles' kitchen window. Hilarity Ensues when their dog Asta grabs the note in his jaws and is pursued through the house.
  • February 1, 2012
    AgProv
    Terry Pratchett's Discworld - novel: Making Money. Moist von Lipwig receives a message by black arrow with impeccable italic enamelling in white down the side: The Guild of Assassins. Where style counts.
  • February 1, 2012
    Salda007
    Whew! Thanks for all the examples, people! I moved most of the ones given into the main post, but I think this should stick with arrow-only examples. The rock or brick ones are pretty well-incorporated into Window Pain already, and I honestly don't feel like trying to pull those out, so I just added the clarification line instead.

    Ryuuma - I'd love to include your Real Life example, but do you happen to know the actual word in question? (or does anyone else?)
  • February 2, 2012
    foxley
    Young Dracula goes in Television, not Film.
  • February 2, 2012
    MiinU

    Anime and Manga

    • This is used sometimes in Ranma 1/2. One episode has Ranma deliver a note to Tsubasa in this manner to ask him on a date; unaware that Tsubasa was a boy! And, in the Waterproof Soap episode, Ranma also sends a forged letter from "Akane" to Ryoga in the same fashion.
  • February 3, 2012
    Salda007
    Thanks for catching that, foxley; I think I was thinking of Young Frankenstein, instead.

    Miin U - added!
  • February 3, 2012
    MiinU
    Slight correction to the Ranma 1/2 example: rewatched the Waterproof Soap episode, it was Shampoo who forged and sent the note to Ryoga.
  • February 3, 2012
    acrobox
    in the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, Leonardo gets an invitation from Oroku Saki this way. giving this quote: "It's not your regular mail, I guess Mikey would call it 'Air Mail'"
  • February 3, 2012
    foxley
    Do thrown knives with messages stuck on them count?
  • February 3, 2012
    noitsnot
    I know this happened in an episode of iCarly.
  • February 4, 2012
    Salda007
    @Miin U - Correction made!

    @acrobox - Added! Thx!

    @noitsnot - can you elaborate/expand that? I know squat about iCarly.

    @X 2 X, Guy Incog, foxyley - I think we want to limit this to arrows, for now. If there seems to be no other home for them, maybe we'll fold them in later (under a "Variants" header, maybe?) It looks like Window Pain already called dibs on bricks and rocks, though.

    Everyone - It's up to four hats already, and I haven't given it mine yet. Unless there's anything glaringly wrong, I'm going to post this tomorrow. Last call!
  • February 4, 2012
    Telcontar
    This example needs rephrasing.

    Comics:
    • Wizard of Id: Robbing Hood shoots an arrowgram with a string attatched through a window in the castle, where it lands in a roast chicken. The message reads "Thanks for the chicken" and said chicken is promptly whisked back out through the window, using the string attatched to the arrow.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=lfn0tfd6gfecdh8axhj5ix7j