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Bow Woman
Female warrior using a bow
Needs Examples Description Needs Help Tropeworthy? Already have?

(permanent link) added: 2012-07-01 15:41:45 sponsor: kjnoren (last reply: 2013-04-25 02:44:36)

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Sponsor's note: This YKTTW will not be launched. It currently serves as a starting point for a general reworking of The Archer.

This is split off from the Tomboys Know Archery YKTTW. Rolling Updates. Will need Bow Women redirect.

Trope description

Want an Action Girl in the story, but not too much of an action girl? Enter the Bow Woman.

The bow seems like a more graceful and elegant weapon than the sword or the spear, and it keeps the user safely away from the enemy and having to get her hands dirty -- and it opens the possibility of having The Hero rescue the bowwoman if the enemy manages to get close.

In fictional contexts where warfare is expected, this is one of the more common weapons for women to be trained at. In other environments, wanting to learn to use a bow is one way to show that a woman is a Spirited Young Lady or Tomboy, especially if the people around her disapproves.

While technically all women using bows will fit into this trope, the use of it has changed in modern times. The perceived need for action girls or The Chick in stories, while still keeping them secondary to the men, is part of what drives the current usage. Thus mythological characters like Artemis or the Amazons do not fit very well into the modern use of the trope.

Subtrope of The Archer and a part of Guys Smash, Girls Shoot. Often an Action Girl, but as noted this is often a way to put limits on "action" and emphasise "girl". One of the common variations of a Lady of War.

Examples:

Anime and Manga:
  • Madoka (and later Homura) from Madoka Magica
  • Kagome and Kikyo in Inuyasha
  • InuYasha's Kikyo is both a miko and a textbook Lady of War example of this trope. Her skill with the bow is remarked upon early in the series, and shown frequently throughout.

Film
  • In the 2004 film King Arthur, a very sexy Guinevere wields a bow.
  • In Brave, Merida is rarely seen without her bow, much to the dismay of her mother, who doesn't approve of ladies having weapons.

Literature
  • Birgitte Silverbow in The Wheel of Time. She subverts the usual form of trope, since she is a skilled fighter with most weapons and a capable leader.
  • In the Hunger Games series, Katniss is skilled with a bow, and is terrified of appearing weak.
  • In ChroniclesOfNarnia, Susan fights with a bow, while the boys use melee weapons.
  • In the Tortall Universe Thayet uses a bow (or crossbow). In Lioness Rampant, this is contrasted with her bodyguard, Burri, who also uses other weapons. Daine is also deadly with a bow. However, the contrast here is more a case of her being a commoner, and therefore not using a sword like Alanna.

Live Action Television
  • In the first episode of Game of Thrones, Arya shows Bran up at a archery. Though she later switches to swordplay, this serves as a very early indication of her rebellious spirit.

Mythology
  • The Amazons of Classical Mythology probably used bows, and were probably mounted archers. However, it's quite likely that they used other weapons as well. The myths about them cutting away their right breast is likely just myths, however.
  • Artemis is another inspiration, though her domains were nature, hunting, maidens, and childbirth. The real Lady of War in the Greek pantheon was Athena.

Video Games
  • In Diablo the Rogue used bows, while the Amazon primarily uses bows, crossbows and javelins. Their Diablo III counterpart, the Demon Hunter, primarily uses bows, crossbows and hand crossbows.
  • Shana in Legend of Dragoon is the most traditionally feminine member of the party (of the other female characters, Rose uses a sword and Miranda uses a hammer). After spending the beginning of the game as a Distressed Damsel she arms herself with a bow to show she does have some Action Girl credentials.
  • Briggid in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War is trained in the use of a bow for war, and was raised by the leader of a band of pirates.
  • Rosa of Final Fantasy IV.
  • The Night Elf Archer from War Craft III.

Western Animation
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