Rename (alt titles 7/24): The Archer

Total posts: [211]
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This proposal grow out from the YKTT Ws for BowWoman and TomboysKnowArchery.

During the discussion it became clear that archery can imply a lot more than is encompassed by The Archer (eg, such a notable archer as Artemis fits poorly to the trope) and various types of splits were discussed, but most of them were deemed as unpractical, even if they often had some level of tropability.

My proposal is that The Archer is changed into a supertrope, with four subtropes:

If we are to map a number of well-known archers onto this we get (very roughly, and with a few wild-assed guesses from me):

  • Susan Pevensie, Legolas - capable and elegant
  • Robin Hood, Katniss Everdeen - capable and independent
  • Hawkeye (in The Avengers) - capable and vulnerable (very interesting combination!)
  • Artemis - elegant and independent
  • Paris of Troy - elegant and vulnerable

The independent-vulnerable combo is possible, but I know of only one such example, and that was temporary (Birgitte in The Wheel of Time, she later evolved to the "default" capable-independent type).

Every archer as a well-rounded character is likely to have all of the elements present, the idea is to figure out the one or two that fits the best to the character as shown in the work.

But how workable would such a split be, and how could we best set it up in practice? An alternative would be to make six subtropes, each one corresponding to a combination (the last one being independent-vulnerable - not sure I can think of any example). That might be simpler to handle.
In the YKTTW discussion, I suggested clarifying/modifying the four a bit:

Specifically, I thought "independent" need some clarification (it could mean either independently able or rebellious) and "capable" is too broad (literally every weapon has users that are skilled and deadly).
Yes, the four vectors could probably need some clarifying (I think calling them tropes might give the wrong impression), but I think the key is that they are not meant to function by themselves but together.

The four vectors can be combined in six different ways, and I identified decent examples of five of them (with a possible example for the sixth combination, capable-vulnerable, which I suspect might be unstable and likely to evolve to one of the other combinations).

The capable vector is a bit of a special supporting case, which probably increases if elegance or independence increase. Self-reliant or rebellious to me feels like two sides of the same coin, and one depending very much on external factors. I prefer using the underlying independent there.
4 shimaspawn4th Jul 2012 09:43:42 AM from Here and Now , Relationship Status: In your bunk
There's no reason to split up a functioning trope into a bunch of confusing subtropes. Especially not ones that almost never exist independently of one another.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
But Person Who Uses Bow isn't a trope, is it?

If the archer is a set character type - calm, self-possessed and analytical, part of an ancient and noble warrior tradition, less physically strong and robust than their teammates, as the current description states - that's certainly a trope, but The Archer currently allows anyone who uses a bow whether they follow that pattern or not.
Actually... a person who uses a bow is a trope isn't it?

I mean, it's not like saying people sit on chairs. Not everyone uses a bow.
7 shimaspawn4th Jul 2012 10:02:41 AM from Here and Now , Relationship Status: In your bunk
[up][up] No, The Archer does not just allow anyone who uses a bow. Tropers who are bad at reading trope descriptions list everyone with a bow.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
If the trope doesn't include all archers, shouldn't we call it something besides "The Archer"?

For starters, is this limited to fighters, as the laconic says? Then we should remove examples like the girl in Brave, which would otherwise seem necessary. Is this limited to skilled archers, also as the laconic says, but as the description omits (because really, how often do you see an unskilled archer?) Is this limited to elegant characters, or self-possessed ones, so should it exclude rough, rugged types?

edited 4th Jul '12 10:40:21 AM by Routerie

9 shimaspawn4th Jul 2012 10:26:21 AM from Here and Now , Relationship Status: In your bunk
There's a difference between the archetype of the archer, and anyone who uses a bow at some point. Just because you use a bow a few times does not make you an archer.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
Fine, but what is the archetype of the archer? Can we put that in the title, or the laconic, or in the definition ( - "are often characterized as" suggests that some examples of The Archer are not). As it is, it's really hard for readers to tell whether Susan from Narnia an example, or whether Hawkeye from the Avengers is, or whether the princess from Brave is. They're all archers, that's for certain.
First, The Archer as a trope name gives no indication that it concerns itself with a particular type of archer. Blaming tropers not reading trope description is to duck this problem - the trope name should give some hint of the direction which the description will explore.

Making The Archer into a supertrope will make it much easier to find and fix bad examples.

Second, I think it's a problem if some of the most well-known examples of fits poorly to the description. Artemis doesn't fit into the trope description at all - she's extremely passionate.

Third, The Archer already lists two subtypes of archers already: the main one in the beginning, and then the Loveable Rogue type, though the latter isn't explored at all beyond a reference to Robin Hood.

Fourth, there is quite a bit of need to be able to explore the use of bows by women, as evidenced in the two YKTT Ws. There is no room to do this in the current trope, but my proposal would make this possible.
12 TuefelHundenIV4th Jul 2012 12:11:37 PM from Wandering , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
It is not ducking any problem. Any editor is expected to read the description before they add an example. You can not and should not rely on the name alone. Fixing the bad examples is pretty easy. We zap em or fix em and cite the description and bingo easy.

The Archer describes a particularly skilled bowman instead of a any special divisions. The divisions simply don't make any sense.

It would make more sense to create a general Archery Super Trope instead and list any new examples under that then to dissect this one.

edited 4th Jul '12 12:16:26 PM by TuefelHundenIV

"Who watches the watchmen?"
Even "skilled bowman" is more narrow than the trope's current name. But the description suggests other traits as well. Are those part of the trope or not?
14 TuefelHundenIV4th Jul 2012 12:35:59 PM from Wandering , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
It describes a broad range of skilled bowman in fiction that all fit nicely under this trope as it exists. A number of these bowman also fall under other character types. Those other character types can exist without having them also be The Archer. Same for The Archer.

The Archer works just fine as a name. It describes what the characters literally are, Archers. But we label the trope The Archer is like indicating someone specific or special. A Archer would be any smuck with a bow firing arrows. The Archer your pointing out someone specific. Followed by a short read through of the description it works fine.

"Who watches the watchmen?"
I don't see how it works just fine. It is not clear. It is broader than the trope. We don't have pages called The Doctor, The Priest, The Foreigner, The Soldier or The Reporter - all are archetypes, all far more clear than "The Archer," yet each has multiple archetypes, and many examples in the profession do not follow the archetype, so we identify the tropes using narrow definitions and narrow names.

edited 4th Jul '12 1:13:55 PM by Routerie

edited 4th Jul '12 1:28:20 PM by abk0100

17 TuefelHundenIV4th Jul 2012 03:28:25 PM from Wandering , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
It is perfectly clear. If someone can't figure out what it refers to they should probably be doing something other then editing or reading a wiki. The trope is reasonably broad and so is the name. The write up blurb also does an excellent job of describing what one would expect from any character type called The Archer. I doubt many people are confusing this with mooks or redshirts armed with a bow. There is nothing even reasonably worth changing for this trope.

edited 4th Jul '12 3:29:19 PM by TuefelHundenIV

"Who watches the watchmen?"
You keep saying it's clear, but you offer nothing to support that. Why wouldn't someone think "The Archer" is simply a trope about archers? Why wouldn't someone assume Brave, The Hunger Games and The Anvengers offer examples? When else do we name tropes "The Noun" when we actually mean "The Adjective Noun."
19 TuefelHundenIV4th Jul 2012 03:56:28 PM from Wandering , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
How about the title. The Archer. It is not rocket science to figure out it is about someone with a bow and arrow you could even include anyone using a crossbow with minimal fuss. None of you have shown how it is too broad. We also have the nice handy description. Last I checked tropes don't ride on title alone and I see nothing broken with this trope.

If an editor is too lazy to read the description, they don't need to be editing it is really that simple.

edited 4th Jul '12 3:59:22 PM by TuefelHundenIV

"Who watches the watchmen?"
I must have been unclear.

Yes, the title "The Archer" suggests that it's about someone with a bow and arrow. That is not this trope (that is not a trope at all). The trope is about a type of fighter whose bow use paints him as analytical and self-possessed though physically weak. So the hotheaded character who happens to use a bow needn't be an example, not would the giant troll that uses a crossbow, nor would the ex-Olympic archer, or lists of archery options in RP Gs, or notes on Genghis Khan's cavalry.

Yes, the description offers more than the title alone does, but it currently just lists traits commonly associated with archers rather than stating "this trope is about this kind of character." And no matter how exhaustive the description, titles must still be clear.

edited 4th Jul '12 4:13:35 PM by Routerie

21 TuefelHundenIV4th Jul 2012 04:32:57 PM from Wandering , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
Let me poke a hole in your arguement.

Archers are often characterized as calm, self-possessed, and analytical.

For your benefit I emphasized a key word in the description. Often. This means this is usually how it is done. That does not mean always. You could list hot headed archers if you wanted to. There is nothing on this page that would exclude them.

This little qualifier gives the trope more flexibility then say putting the word always in it or even just removing often.

If this were writen
Archers are characterized as calm, self-possessed, and analytical.
I would agree. But it is not. I find the claims of the trope being narrow or stiff to be an exaggeration.

This trope covers Elves.

In High Fantasy, elves usually share these traits, and are nearly always depicted as excellent archers.

Female archer characters.

The Chick getting stuck with a bow as a slightly more proactive take on the White Magician Girl. This also has the benefit of keeping the delicate female safely out of the bone-crunching melee.

Archers being conferred some respect for their skill.

Due to the amount of concentration and practice needed, archers usually receive a fair amount of respect for their skills.

Archers in a Modern setting

In modern settings, an archer is often a part of an ancient and noble warrior tradition, forsaking the newfangled vulgarity of firearms.

Archers as the loveable rogue. Robin Hood Expies abound even in comic books with characters like The Green Arrow.

Loveable Rogue-type archers will usually have "Robin Hood" themed outfits, something like this◊.

A mention of archers in mythology.

One of the themes recurring across several mythologies is the proper archer passing the challenge with a strong bow, while the uninitiated can't even string the weapon. To understand why this is prohibitive, remember that the strongest bows are recurved ones and see the first photo here if a man who did it all his life needs an assistant to do these gymnastics right, what are the chances of anyone unskilled, alone, against an exceptionally strong shaft when it's slightly dried and twisted?

Crossbowmen would fit nicely. William Tell comes to mind.

The Real Life Examples especially the mongols fit nicely.

I am not seeing how this trope is "narrow"

If I were to change anything it would be the bit about the Cold Sniper and the statement that you can't "fire a bow".

The bits and pieces could probably use some touch up and maybe some rewording in general. I am not seeing a need at all for a rewrite, rename, or repurpose of this trope.
"Who watches the watchmen?"
I never said the page is narrow! It is anything but narrow! It is BROAD, which is the problem!

"People who are archers" is not a trope. "Characters who follow X specific character type" is. If the page allows us to list any kind of archer, that is its shortcoming and we must fix that.
23 TBeholder4th Jul 2012 04:49:53 PM from chthonic safety
Our future is a madhouse
Abit cluttered, aye.

But your own post is the best argument against your division, since 5 of 5 examples fit in more than one category.
...And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense - R.W.Wood
[up]I noticed that too. I don't mind subtropes, but not necessarily those ones.
Earlier, we discussed splitting into two tropes - Elegant Archer and Rugged Archer. Elegant for those ladies and elves whose bows show them as graceful. Rugged for those who shoot things in the forest to live of off, or tomboys who use archery as a hobby.

Alternative Titles: The Archer
24th Jul '12 5:17:19 AM
Vote up names you like, vote down names you don't. Whether or not the title will actually be changed is determined with a different kind of crowner (the Single Proposition crowner). This one just collects and ranks alternative titles.
At issue:

Total posts: 211
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