Created By: Kinkajou on May 6, 2011

Javelin Throw

Spears meant for throwing.

Name Space:
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Page Type:
Trope
A common weapon to use is the spear; it has existed since ancient times. One use for it is in close quarters combat, while another one is as a projectile. Although proving to be less accurate than guided projectiles when thrown by itself, it was a reliable weapon with or without the use of a spear thrower.

Contrast with Blade on a Stick, where spears are used as close combat weapons. May cause being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.


Video Games

  • Skirmishers in Age of Empires II, and they tend to fulfill an anti-archer role. The Turma and the Peltast from Age of Mythology is in the same vein.
  • Javelineers and Elite Javelineers from Rise of Nations.
  • Spore featured these as weapons, alongside axes.
  • Troll Headhunters and Berserkers in Warcraft III.
  • Features in the Fire Emblem games.
  • Although under normal circumstances Freya uses her spears as a close combat weapon, her Jump skill makes her throw down her spear before landing. In Trance she throws multiple spears while staying in the air.

Real Life

  • A very common weapon in antiquity, especially among Hellenistic cultures. Philip II of Macedon and his more famous son Alexander the Great's effective use of peltasts alongside the Macedonian phalanx and shock cavalry, forming a fearsome combined arms approach, may have inspired this.
  • Of course, the Romans used these effectively, combining the use of their pila (singular: pilum) with the gladius to provide a deadly infantry force.
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • May 6, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In the Earths Children series Neandertals use spears for stabbing, while Cro Magnons have developed the thrown spear. Ayla invents a spear thrower, which greatly increases the distance of a thrown spear.
  • May 6, 2011
    Duncan
    Used as part of the College Olympics in Revenge Of The Nerds.
  • May 6, 2011
    jaytee
    As written, Not A Trope. Tropes like this are not just a technical description of the weapon and how it is used, you need to describe how the choice of a particular weapon affects the works it appears in.

    Similarly, the mere appearance of the weapon does not make it an example of the trope. For instance, near as I can tell, the Revenge Of The Nerds example and the Earths Children examples have nothing to do with each other.
  • May 6, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Don't know, I honestly think it could be interesting enough if developed....

  • May 6, 2011
    Ryuuma
    How about making it more about people using Javelins as Weapon Of Choice hence making it similar to the other examples and more tropeable?

    • Literature: the Peloi in the Elenium use javelins while mounted in combat.
  • May 6, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^Oh, most definitely. I don't think it should be discarded or anything. But the way it's worded right now it isn't a trope. Ryuuma is on the right track, we should be focused on the context of how the weapon is used, not on the weapon itself. What does the use of the weapon imply about the character using it? What does it imply about the work itself?

    There's something tropeable here, we just need to bring it to the surface, then trim any examples that don't fit. The mere appearance of a spear/javelin shouldn't be enough to qualify it as this trope.
  • May 6, 2011
    Ryuuma
    How about this, jaytee: Rename the Trope "Spear Chucker (I remember that from the Mash'' movie)/or something similar and re-arrange it as suggested?

    Ps: Does using a spear with one hand (in a knife-like motion) counts, or must be thrown?
  • May 6, 2011
    jaytee
    Yeah, I think that sounds like a great start. Spear Chucker is actually a pretty good name too, in my humble opinion.
  • May 6, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Thanks. If Kinkajou approves, I shall re-edit this trope.

  • May 6, 2011
    KZN02
    Laconic: Blade On A Stick + Throwing Your Sword Always Works

    Fire Emblem: the Javelin, Short Spear, and Spear weapons
  • May 6, 2011
    Kinkajou
    Yeah, I've a mind to overhaul the title, seeing that as it is it isn't very tropey.

    And KZN's Laconic description is better.
  • May 7, 2011
    Kinkajou
  • May 7, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    How about we call this Javelin Tosser, as a pun on the name of the event "Javelin Toss"?
  • May 7, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Can we put "Javelin Tosser" as main title and "Spear Chucker" as alt. Title?

    note: Does this trope include only spears which are tossed or also spears hold in one hand and used in a knife-like fashion?
  • May 7, 2011
    Arivne
    In the U.S., "spear chucker" is a highly negative racial slur for someone of African descent, so we might not want to use it.

    For example, there was a Saturday Night Live skit where Chevy Chase gave Richard Pryor a word association test. The offensive phrase occurs here.
  • May 7, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Ooops!! Argh... sorry, I really didn't knew that one, forgive me. Ok, Javelin Tosser then. Again, Sorry :(
  • May 7, 2011
    Kinkajou
  • May 7, 2011
    Kinkajou

    If you accept the "knife mode" spear (see ^^^^ above):

    • In Titan Quest all the spears are hold like javelins, even the heaviest ones.

  • May 7, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^^^I'm from US and I had never heard that before. Glad I never said it out loud.
  • May 8, 2011
    Kinkajou

    • Sranul from Shadowkeep fights with javelins, and thanks to his Kangaroo-like form he can toss them from a great heigth while jumping.
  • May 8, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • Wonder Woman (1974). The renegade Amazon Ahnjayla uses her javelin throwing skills to trick George into losing a couple of sucker bets. When Wonder Woman shows up riding the burro Ahnjayla tries to skewer her with a javelin but Wonder Woman catches it and throws it back. Watch it here.

    Live Action TV
    • Kung Fu
      • The opening sequence includes Kwai Chang Caine dodging and striking aside spears being thrown at him by other monks. Watch it here.
      • The pilot episode. After the Royal Nephew shoots and mortally wounds Master Po, he hides behind his chair to reload. Kwai Chang Caine kills him by throwing a guard's spear through the chair.
  • May 8, 2011
    Ryuuma
    I have a couple of questions for Kinkajou: Does this trope extend to:
    • 1): Normal Polearms used as throwing weapons (even if, in reality, they're not really fit for this)
    • 2): A Javelin made out of energy/magic/elements, hence not physical.
  • May 16, 2011
    Kinkajou
    Basically the gist is that it covers spears and spear-like weapons that are thrown, rather than used as polearms. So yes, even polearms used as projectiles fall under this.

  • May 16, 2011
    Damr1990
    On Fate Stay Night, Servant Lancer( real identiry Chuculain, see Irish mythology above) uses his Noble fantasm this way on his battle vs Archer,
  • May 16, 2011
    Koveras
    Javelins are extremely popular with the Qunari in Dragon Age II.
  • May 17, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Ask permission to Kinkajou for editing this trope, adding the examples and re-writing the description and text.
  • May 17, 2011
    Kinkajou
    I'll let anyone update this before I get the requisite number of hats for now, then.
  • May 18, 2011
    Riddlewizard
    The Redwall series of books has a twist on this. The otters (it makes sense when you read the books) are sling and javelin specialists. The twist is when one enemy got thrown into the air to wind up landing on them, the story earlier said that the points were in the ground, but when it says the character lands on them, it offers up this bit of Squick- "Otter javelins are pointed on both ends!"

  • May 18, 2011
    jaytee
    I added a hat, but the description is at the bare minimum.

    I would add some lines describing character traits of the characters that use spears, some practical reasons one might use a spear.... anything to make this more tropey and less "a list of any character that tosses anything long and pointy."
  • May 18, 2011
    Darthcaliber
    In the GI JOE cartoon this was Lady Jaye's weapon of choice
  • May 19, 2011
    Ryuuma
    What's wrong with this page!? I've tried to edit it about three or four times, and yet it doesn't appear? What's going on?
  • May 19, 2011
    dotchan
    One of the weapons you can get in Secret Of Mana, separate from the Spear.
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