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Film / Reclaiming the Blade

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Reclaiming the Blade is a 2009 documentary on both the fictional depictions and realities of European swordsmanship throughout the ages. It features John Rhys-Davies as the narrator and includes contributions from the likes of Bob Anderson, Viggo Mortensen and Peter Jackson.

The documentary has two main sections:

  • The depiction of swordsmanship in pop culture, such as on stage, in film and at Renaissance Fairs.
  • Modern efforts at reconstructing the true martial arts of the appropriate eras.

Dispersed within the production is information pertaining to Eastern martial arts and swordsmithing at relevant points.

One of the most important aspects of this production is the way it compares Troperiffic fiction to Real Life. As such, trope examples below will often apply to both reality and fiction, although contributors are encouraged to give an explanation for both.


Sadly, this documentary is not well known and European swordsmanship remains immensely obscure.

This documentary includes examples of:

  • BFS: The standard sword for many Medieval and Renaissance knights was the longsword, a two-handed weapon that totaled four feet in length, with the blade accounting for three of those. Even larger were the specialised Renaissance two-handers, a favourite of German mercenaries. These could be up to six feet long. The kinds of swords described enjoy the bulk of attention in this documentary.
  • Blade Lock: Extremely common in fiction and not entirely uncommon in real swordfighting, although real techniques for dealing with them were fast and brutal.
    • Real Life provides a more literal version of the trope. Many swords had mechanisms that could literally lock an enemy's blade, but by far the most simple and least expected was to lock an enemy's blade between your own blade and your crossguard. This way, neither blade could move side-to-side, only back and forth. Usually this is to be done when your sword points towards your adversary while theirs is angled a little out.
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  • Cool Sword: Truth in Television
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: Not in reality, but this is the general reaction to the skill and finesse involved in European swordsmanship.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Averted.
  • Laser Blade: Star Wars is touched upon.
  • Master Swordsman: Includes many examples, both fictional and real.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Inevitable, given general attitudes and misconceptions concerning European swordsmanship.
  • Reforged Blade: Andúril, Flame of the West. Also includes reconstructed blades.
    • On a metaphorical level, the point of the documentary.
  • Sword Almighty: The documentary's general attitude towards swords as close combat weapons, although it doesn't even begin to pretend that a sword is as militarily effective as a gun.
  • Sword Fight
  • Sword Limbo: Exaggerated in fiction, but can be employed in reality.
  • Sword Plant
  • Sword Pointing


How well does it match the trope?

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