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Archer Archetype
aka: Archertype
The Archer is watching you...

See him riding 'cross the plain
See how everybody fears his name
He's working for the good in
The mountains and the wood
Protector of the lame
Straight arrow is his name
Spirit, "Straight Arrow"

The Archer is a skilled bowman. They're generally independent and used to working alone. This tends to make them practical, a little haughty or arrogant and not the best at following orders especially from those they don't respect. The archer is generally stealthy and graceful and tends to fight at a distance. As a result, they're often portrayed as vulnerable up close unless they switch to a different weapon for close combat.

The archer is most likely to be found in a wild setting and can share traits with the Cold Sniper, most notably an analytical and calculating nature. This archetype tends to be depicted as having a more slender build despite the great upper-body strength required to draw a powerful bow without mechanical assistance. The character is likely to also be The Chick, a Nature Hero, a Forest Ranger, and/or an Elf. This also has the benefit of keeping the delicate female safely out of the bone-crunching melee.

The Pinned to the Wall trope is a common enough tactic by this archetype in comics. Most notably, Hawkeye and Green Arrow.

For bows used in modern or scifi settings, see The Straight and Arrow Path. If the Archer Archetype has Improbable Aiming Skills, he may also be able to do a multishot. For added irony, check out No Arc in Archery. See also Annoying Arrows. May evoke comparisons to Robin Hood.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Quincies from Bleach set themselves up as being the opposites to the Shinigami in every way, and bear this out by being the only bow and arrow fighters in a series full to the brim with swords. Uryu Ishida (and his father Ryuken) also hits nearly every aspect of the Archer Archetype, being a tall, thin, aloof loner with a highly analytical fighting style. The Quincies normally favoring a ranged weapon despite being theoretically capable of creating any kind of weapon with reishi as demonstrated by the Vandenreich Quincies makes perfect sense when it's revealed that they have no resistance to Hollow attacks. The very essence of the Hollows is soul-consuming poison to the Quincies. Of course the Quincies would favor a means of destroying Hollows that doesn't require getting anywhere near them.
  • Rei/Sailor Mars of Sailor Moon gains a bow and arrow made of flames in the fourth season. She's a calm, mystical miko, rather than the typical temperamental fire warrior (in the manga at least, the anime makes her more Hot-Blooded), although she occasionally made bids for the leadership (losing out to The Fool, at that).
  • Rowen Of Strata (Tenkuu No Touma) is the archer of the Ronin Warriors/Yoroiden Samurai Troopers core team.
  • Gamaran has the Nakaizumi Ryuu (Hidden Spring School) which is composed by skilled archers. Their leader Arata went close to kill the titular character with his arrows. Another bow-wielding character is Ippi Shibano of the Muhou Ryu. While Arata represents the "good" traits related to archers (he's calm, really dedicated to his style, cool-headed and, unlike many archers, really muscular), Shibano is the "evil archer", a cowardly and cunning sniper who relies on surprise attacks and poisoned arrows.
  • Similar to the example above, Signum from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's is mainly a female swordsman, but for her strongest attack Sturmfalken she has to transform her Laevatine from a sword and sheath into a bow. Though, she uses this attack very rarely.
  • Kikyou from InuYasha is a good example. She travels alone and is a little cold. As an archer, she is portrayed as a perfect shot and can deal devastating damage with her sacred arrow, an arrow surrounded with spiritual power that is basically a nuke. She is a little on the slow side, however, and is much more powerful long ranged than close ranged.
    • On the other hand, Kagome, Kikyou's reincarnation, travels with a ton of close friends and is almost always portrayed as warm and inviting. She is initially a horrible shot and doesn't have anywhere near as much training or power compared to Kikyou, but the gap closes quite a bit near the end.
  • Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GO!GO! has Cure Aqua with her new finishing move Sapphire Arrow, summoning a water bow and a water arrow. In case you didn't know, Cure Aqua is stated to be the Cure of Intelligence and she's usually being both The Lancer AND The Smart Guy in the group, keeping her calm most of the time.
  • Cure Aqua's Expy Cure Beauty from Smile Pretty Cure! has the ice variant of this, which is also her strongest attack, called Beauty Blizzard Arrow. In civil, she practices Aikido and hits the bullseye most of the time. And like her predecessor, she's calm and analytical, considered as the 'brain' of the group.
  • Doki Doki Pretty Cure: Cure Hearts Mid-Season Upgrade finisher is a bow and arrow made out of pure love. It's the first time in Pretty Cure History that the protagonist uses one.
    • The group finishing move Lovely Force Arrow makes four of the five Cures into archers.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica plays this to both ends of the spectrum. Madoka wields a bow, and she's undoubtedly The Chick; she takes a long time to gain the courage to actually become a puella magi. But she was more heroic, and still used a bow, in the first timeline, before Homura started messing with things. Her bow is eventually passed on to Homura, who has more of a Cold Sniper personality.
  • Mizuki Kamurougi of Kagerou-Nostalgia is an icy, aloof Cold Sniper and crack shot with the Bow of Kamui who considers empathy to be a distraction, and relies on stealth to win fights.
  • Seira from Il Sole penetra le Illusioni hit pretty much every point listed except for the build. She's the strongest of the group, as she's the only one that really trains.
  • Ironically, some of the heroic spirits summoned to the Archer class in Fate/stay night are not archers in traditional sense. The most iconic Archers EMIYA and Gilgamesh are considered as Archers due to their abilities to spam weapons out of nowhere. Though, the former can use a bow if he wants, he prefers Dual Wielding with swords. However, the personality is in full effect, to the point that the signature skill of the Archer class is Independent Action.
  • Fuu Hououji of Magic Knight Rayearth. She's The Spock of the trio, analytical and calmer than Hikaru and Umi (who are more likely to jump into things or get pissed off). She's also in the archery club at school and borrows a bow and arrow from Presea. The "archer" part goes away after the Spring of Eterna, when they all get swords, but she retains the weapon in the Sega Saturn game.

    Comics 
  • Archers in The DCU come in a wide variety of flavors. Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) and Speedy (or Arsenal or Red Arrow or whatever they're calling him now) are both charming rogues, while the second Green Arrow is (usually) a cooler head. The crossbow-wielding Huntress is an Anti-Hero. Speedy II (Mia Dearden) is a more typical calm, level-headed example.
  • Marvel Comics has a number of archer characters as well:
    • Hawkeye is an arrogant ace. He notably averts the "lower strength" trope, observing in at least one unarmed brawl how all the years of archery have paid off in terms of upper body strength and on another occasion disparaging a villain who's gotten his hands on his bow (which has a -force (1,100 newtons) draw weight) and can't even draw the string back far enough to use it.
    • Kate Bishop (the Hawkeye from Young Avengers) is a more typical example of a calm, level-headed archer.
    • Oxbow, of the First Line in Marvel: The Lost Generation, is a fairly huge subversion of the norm; he's tall, super strong, easily angered, and not much of a braggart.
  • Strongbow (obviously) and Nightfall in ElfQuest, both of whom are fairly bold and not particularly weak.
  • In Marvel's G.I. Joe series, Storm Shadow is considered the greatest archer, even using it back when he was a GI in the Vietnam War. This is the one martial art where even Snake-Eyes could not equal or surpass him. Like most ninja in that series, he is enigmatic, aloof, self-assured, and rather irreverent at times. Zartan is the second-best archer, though he used various sonic detection devices to hit distant targets blindly. http://obsessionarchery.blogspot.com/2013/02/archery-terms.html
  • In Sunnyville Stories, Roy, one of the two Weasel brothers, uses a bow and arrows when engaging in banditry.

     Fanfiction 

    Films — Animation 
  • Prince Ashitaka, the protagonist of Princess Mononoke is a skilled swordsman and hand-to-hand fighter but his REALLY badass feats are performed with his bow. He's a calculating fighter, but subverts the trope thanks to his messianic hero complex.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Abigail Whistler of Blade: Trinity.
  • In Musa (a.k.a. The Warrior), Jin-lip, the veteran sergeant of the envoy, uses a bow to deadly effect. Jin-lip is the most competent member of the envoy and its de facto leader. He subverts an archer's typical behavior in one scene where he inspires his unit to attack by being the first one to charge toward the enemy, loosing arrows all the way.
  • Legolas in The Lord of the Rings has an incredible rate of fire with his arrows, and even uses the point-blank. This is even an exaggeration of his skill over his depiction in the books. Like all elves in the films he's elegant, graceful, and a bit snooty.
  • Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games is a masterful archer who relies on her bow to hunt, survive, and lead. Katniss has strong and independent survivalist instincts due to her difficult past and is good at thinking outside the box. She is not socially adept and has a hard time making friends due to the emotional strain on her life which has made her hard and cold. She is usually very logical.
  • Gwyn in Princess of Thieves. Scarcely surprising given she is the daughter of Robin Hood. Independent, stealthy, graceful, a Nature Hero and The Chick.
  • Nam-Yi from Arrow: The Ultimate Weapon can actually bend the trajectory of his shots. He's also a hell of a shot with a throwing knife.
  • Harada from The Wolverine is quite a Cold Sniper, especially when it comes to defending Mariko, as well as his squadron of Black Clan ninjas.

    Literature 
  • C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia:
    • Susan Pevensie is a graceful, elegant, ladylike kind of archer. Her bow was a gift from Father Christmas, and she became a famously skilled as Queen. One of the ways the Pevensies prove their identities to Trumpkin in Prince Caspian is by Susan beating him in a target-shooting contest. However, though quite effective in battle, Susan hates to fight.
    • In contrast, Lucy only trained in archery after growing into Queen Lucy the Valiant, but is a "tomboy" who fights alongside the men. For example, she joins the climactic battle in The Horse and His Boy, where Corin explains to Shasta that as a Queen she can do whatever she wants, whether or not she's female.
  • Catti-brie, of R.A. Salvatore's The Legend of Drizzt books, was for a long time the group's specialist archer. She actually wasn't as skilled an archer as Drizzt was, but she had one helluva magic bow. She conforms to the archer stereotypes by being the group's moral center of sorts.
  • Birgitte Silverbow from The Wheel of Time series. A literally legendary shot that is bound to the Wheel and the Horn of Valere until she ends up being "spun out" into real time by an angry Forsaken for saving Nynaeve. She has the cold analytical traits described here in spades, to such a high degree that others linked to her mind can sense her supreme focus in tense situations, and compare it to "a drawn bow aimed at the target."
  • Woodcrafters in the Codex Alera series tend to favor bows, since their abilities give them Improbable Aiming Skills. The most dangerous woodcrafters are those who also possess talent at earthcrafting, as this grants them Super Strength, allowing them to heft and use bows of such power that they're basically walking ballistae that can thread shots between links of chainmail. Amusingly, the two most prominent ones are a study in the opposite personality sides of this trope: Bernard, Supporting Leader and general great guy, and Fidelias, who is... well. Rather different.
  • In the first Daughter of the Lioness, Sarai is headstrong and careless and uses a sword, while Dove is quiet and clever and uses a bow and arrow. Dove is the one to kill Bronau at the end of Trickster's Choice and is much better suited to be the titular Queen.
  • Quantum Gravity: Zal fits this trope very well, being cool, calm, and calculating, as well as rather ruthless...when he's in a fight. When he isn't, expect him to be active, free, and quite a bit more easygoing. Aaaand possibly high.
  • In his child-rearing treatise ╔mile, ou de l'Úducation, 18th-century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau notes that some professions are useful but dishonourable, requiring personality traits that are "odious and incompatible with humanity." He cites three examples: archers, spies and executioners.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth stories feature far fewer stereotypical elvish archers than some copycat fantasy. The only character who fits the Archer Archetype is Beleg Strongbow (The Silmarillion, The Children of H˙rin). He's a famous Grey Elven archer and border-ranger captain, and quite capable of taking care of himself alone in the wilderness. His training in woodcraft is excellent, and he demonstrates his stealth several times, such as sneaking up on the outlaw band and tracking them through the wild. Later he sneaks into the orc camp and rescues T˙rin without alerting the orcs, after silently sniping the wolf guards one by one in the dark.
  • The whole ranger corps in Ranger's Apprentice.
  • Mahabharata: Arjuna (nope, that does NOT mean archer) and Karna. (And those two are only the really big shots.)
  • The Tale of Hōgen, a Japanese historical epic, credits an otherwise obscure samurai named Minamoto no Tametomo with superhuman feats of archery made possible by his enormous stature and abnormally long bow arm.
  • Dawn Drummond-Clayton from the Bunduki novels by J.T. Edson. Bunduki himself is also an expert with the bow, but is more likely to get into melee combat than Dawn, and Dawn is definitely the more analytical of the two.
  • Ness, the major narrator of Wind And Sparks cycle by Alexey Pehov. Stealth Expert and borderline Cold Sniper. Joined the army, fought against genocidal elves, first as a regular archer, then assassinating leaders far from the battle zone. Grew increasingly jaded, ended up murdering an officer for selling supplies to enemies then saying he did it for money. After he avoided hanging (long story) and a truce was signed, he went MIA. Later became a hitman in team with an outlaw sorceress, the only love of his life. By the start of the first novel they've spent seven years on the run after a particularly resonant murder. Through the cycle he participates in killing 4 Dark Overlords out of 6. Though some survive. Unlike many examples Ness stays dangerous in melee and even unarmed. Another thing of note is the realism with which archery is depicted: bowstrings don't like water, bows shouldn't stay strung too long, bows require significant strength, elevation should be estimated, arrows are in short supply and heavy...

    Live-Action TV 
  • Revolution: Charlie Matheson starts out as this with a crossbow. However, she has mostly stopped using it in favour of guns around episode 10.

    Mythology 
  • Artemis and her Roman counterpart Diana from Classical Mythology. She is the goddess of the moon and hunting, often depicted as standing on top of a mountain and shooting arrows at whoever she felt like.
    • Also, Orion, a fellow hunter and possibly the only man she respected. According to the most popular version, he either hunted with her and came close to winning her heart, but earned the enmity of Gaea when he threatened to hunt every beast on Earth, and was killed by a giant scorpion sent by the Earth Goddess. Upon Artemis' request, Zeus placed Orion in the heavens as a constellation, who also bestowed the same honor upon the scorpion (as a memorial to the hero's death), where it was known as Scorpio from then on.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Earthdawn naturally has a discipline for this, embodying the mentality and many of the tropes described at the top of the page.
    • Interestingly, the essay on Archer discipline was in-universe written by a textbook example of such archetype - to such an extent that the crossbow-wielding archers said to be more down-to-earth complained in the marigins to Stop Being Stereotypical!
  • Dungeons & Dragons has the Ranger, a subclass of fighter originally, but it became its own class in 2e. They eventually acquired a measure of magical ability, gaining the power to cast some divine spells. In 3e, there was also the Scout, perhaps a straighter version of this trope.

    Video Games 
  • Elves are naturally known for this in the Warcraft Universe, particularly the more feral Night Elves. The Priestess of the Moon in particular from Warcraft III (and the Dark Ranger, an undead High Elf) put their bowstrings to very good use on fleshy opposing armies. Class is a bigger variable than race in World of Warcraft. Though bows are available to a number of classes, only Hunters possess the skills and talents necessary to make them into effective weapons. Good Hunters also embody the analytical traits described here — not only does their long-range position and lack of flashy effects (compared the nukers like mages and warlocks) give them a much better vantage point of a pitched battle, but they are masters of battlefield control with aggro management skills like Distracting Shot and Feign Death, the ability to set traps, and being able to act in two places at once by commanding their pet.
    • Lady Sylvanas Windrunner, Banshee Queen of the Forsaken, is regarded as one of the four best archers on Azeroth. She, her two High Elf sisters, and the Night Elf Shandris Feathermoon are considered to be equal with the bow and the best four archers on Azeroth.
    • The Naga Lady Vashj is also a superb archer, though more magically focused than most Archers.
  • Trine's resident thief, Zoya, is equipped with a bow that when properly upgraded, is Game Breaker in combat. She initially plays the personality part straight, but becomes more talkative as the game goes on, especially when the main party visits the forest.
  • Lamia Loveless in Super Robot Wars Advance is a calm, analytical, calculating android excelling in robot piloting, and her stats usually gears more on the ranged stat. Therefore, her main mecha, Angelg, also comes equipped with a bow, and the majority of its ultimate attacks are from its bow (Illusion Arrow & Phantom Phoenix). Though occasionally subverted that due to a bug developed in her latter stages, she could end up very hyperactive and loud unlike most of the archetypes here, but usually reverts back to her usual calm, analytical, calculating type.
  • Wood Elves, or Bosmer, are also quite known for their archery skills in The Elder Scrolls games, such that many guides to creating an archer in Skyrim will recommend them as the race of preference for those seeking to create one.
  • The Fire Emblem series features bow-users as a staple class, with some of them falling into this trope more than others:
    • Sacred Stones: Prince Innes is a noted strategist who operates an intelligence network and hits all of the Jerk tropes—"aloof" is the nicest you'll get out of him, unless you're Vanessa or Syrene. One optional dialogue has Eirika telling him off for not staying in the back like he's supposed to.
  • Dragon Age II has Varric and Sebastian, both calm and level-headed archers who subvert the trope slightly in that Varric is a smooth-talking urbanite and Sebastian possesses a stubborn vengeful streak.
  • Baldur's Gate gives us Kivan, an elven ranger. He's so stoic and badass that Rob Paulsen, his VA, even does a Dirty Harry impression when delivering Kivan's lines.
  • There are a lot of ranged characters in Suikoden III but Roland and Jacques fit the trope to a tee. Both start with a rune that allows for a powerful ranged attack and both are deadly marksmen who keep themselves to themselves and say very little.
  • Ashe from League of Legends is deadly with her bow, and has a serene and calm disposition. She can even launch a hugeass arrow that travels all the way to the edge of the arena and her play style, as a Marksman, is more about staying behind the lines and pelting her enemies with frozen arrows.
    • Ezreal is technically a mage but, like Asche, plays as a quintessential Marksman character. He uses his magic gauntlet to create enchanted arrows, similar to a Quincy, which is appropriate, considering his original character design was a carbon copy of Bleach's Uryu Ishida.
    • Varus is a very straight example. Before becoming cursed Varus was a stoic and disciplined warrior and considered his kingdom's greatest archer. Post-curse he retains his aloof personality and gains a demonic energy bow.
  • Ashe's predecessor in Defense Of The Ancients, Traxex the Drow Ranger, also counts. As a marksman, she's about pelting the enemies with her frozen arrow and keeping them away for maximum result (thanks to her Ultimate, Marksmanship, which grants her bonus agility to increase damage, just as long as there's no enemy heroes around her). In Dota 2, Traxex displays a cold but precise personality befitting her archer nature (unlike some like her Foil, Lyralei/Windranger)

    Web Original 
  • Worm features Shadow Stalker - a Nominal Hero who can phase in and and out to pass through solid objects. She uses a bow to hunt her targets and she prefers to work alone.
  • One of Gavin Free's personas is champion UK archer "MARK NUTT"! Yes, his name must be shouted.

    Western Animation 

Sniper Scope SwaySniper IndexCamera Sniper
Annoying ArrowsWeapons and Wielding TropesArrow Catch
Battle for WesnothImageSource/Video GamesBayonetta
Arboreal AbodeAdded Alliterative AppealArchived Army

alternative title(s): Straight Arrow; The Archer; Archertype
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