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Archer Archetype

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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"

Archers are skilled bowmen. 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. Archers are generally stealthy and graceful and tend 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.

Archers are 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 note . These characters are 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 tactic for this archetype in comics — e.g. for Hawkeye or Green Arrow.

Ironically, the nature of of your typical bow meant that, historically, archers were actually big, strong, and powerful, as a bow often required both a great deal of strength and extensive conditioning to use properly. In fact, most archers could be very effective in melee, and the main reason they didn't prove as effective in close combat was because they didn't have the money to afford the heavy armor or the lifetime of combat training that an elite warrior aristocracy could manage.

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. (Though if he robs the rich to give to the poor, that's a different trope.)


Not to be confused with the comedy show Archer.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: The Quincies are modelled on the Teutonic Knights but favour archery over anything else. Ichigo's foil, Uryuu, is a tall, thin, aloof Quincy with a highly analytical fighting style, as is his father, who is the foil of Ichigo's father. The Vandenreich has adapted the Teutonic Knight themes to Nazi themes, militarised and now use any suitable weapon, but they still retain their archer natures; all their weapons can fire arrows, even if they're swords. Hollow Taint is a soul-poison to Quincies; ranged attacks are therefore a life-saving necessity for 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.
  • Chilchuck of Delicious in Dungeon served as the Touden Party's archer until he lost his bow when they were emergency warped out of the dungeon. For a large portion of the series, he uses a knife instead. But shortly after Izutsumi joins the party, they return to where they had initially reached and Chilchuck gets his bow back.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Toyohisa notes in Drifters that while elves in are hopeless when using a sword, they are, to an elf, natural born bowmen. The elves themselves note it as an innate skill they practiced as children before they were subjugated by the Orte Empire.
  • Yue from Cardcaptor Sakura shoots arrows made out of pure energy, and has a very cold personality, at least initially. His alter-ego, Yukito is also accomplished in archery, but has none of the associated cold or callous personality.
  • 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.
  • Kaguya from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is the star member of the school's archery club and is definitely cold and calculating (initially, anyways). That said, she subverts the "weak at close range" stereotype, as the muscle she built up from constantly using a bow led to her victory during the Student Council's arm wrestling tournament (along with having a black belt in both akido and judo).
  • One of the original Nega Nebulous's members from Accel World is Ardor Maiden, who's primarily red avatar is an archer styled after a miko. Her special powers all work to enhance her accuracy and damage.
  • The serious Ojou Erika from Pokémon Adventures is an archer.

  • The second Green Arrow and the second Speedy (Mia Dearden) in The DCU are both calm and level-headed (their predecessors, Oliver Queen and Roy Harper being more of charming rogues).
    • Emiko Queen is Oliver's half-sister introduced in the New 52 continuity and serves as the second Red Arrow. She is an exceptional archer whose Improbable Aiming Skills are attributed to instantly calculate wind, angle, speed and distance during archery and combat. She also fits the archetype of being insufferably egotistical.
  • Marvel Comics has a number of archer characters as well:
    • Clint Barton (The first Hawkeye) fits the analytical and not following orders well parts of this trope but actually averts the calm, levelheadedness by being a constant joker and often the team Heart for the Avengers.
    • Kate Bishop (the Hawkeye from Young Avengers) is 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.
  • In Sunnyville Stories, Roy, one of the two Weasel brothers, uses a bow and arrows when engaging in banditry.
  • Legends of Baldur's Gate: Shandie, who uses a shortbow and hits a dragon in the eye with it.
  • This is a common occupation in Red Sonja's world. Notable examples include Haron the Quick, twins Ayla and Nias, and Sonja herself.
  • The rebellious Robyn Hood has trouble following orders, and even trouble asking for help. As a result she tends to operate as a lone wolf character.
  • Wonder Woman: Artemis comes off as cold and aloof, especially in her introductory chapters before she'd befriended Diana, and is a very independent character who will rebel against authority she hasn't chosen herself. Unlike the usual archetype fighting her up close is more of a disadvantage for whoever was dumb enough to try, she's an expert warrior among expert warriors and that giant axe she lugs around isn't just for show.

    Fan Works 
  • Armani Dove of the Broken Bow series, to an extent. Fitting, since he is the son of the goddess of the hunt.
  • Minor character Nyvan, the bowman who (unknowingly) tries to kill George (George is a peregrine falcon at the time) and later tries to ambush John and Ringo while they're hiding near the jump gate in Boidan Valley. Although he never gets any dialogue of his own, he's quite the talkative ignoramus when he's not actually stalking anything, according to George, Theecat, and Chana (his cousin).
  • Forum of Thrones:
    • Janae is a prime example for this. Even outside of the battlefield, she is hardly the most emotional person, but in a fight, she gets even colder, acting simply by logic and with ruthless precision.
    • Also, Willfred's uncle, Roger Hill. He is far more friendly than Janae, but when in battle, he is just as calculating as she is.
  • In high-fantasy X-Men fanwork "The Order Of X", Jean Grey is specialized in archery, using her telepathy to stop the enemy and her telekinesis to ensure her shots never miss and even set her arrows on fire.

    Film — Animated 
  • Merida (from Brave) uses her excellent archery techniques to bring Mor'du down.

    Film — Live Action 
  • 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.
  • Assassin's Creed (2016): Aguilar uses a bow and arrow during his and Maria's escape from the Templars. Callum naturally acquires Aguilar's bow skills through the Bleeding Effect and makes full use of them during the breakout after acquiring Connor's bow. Both of them are suitably coolheaded and focused as per the trope.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen relies on her bow to hunt, survive, and lead. She 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.
  • 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 (though the Extended Editions also showed him with long knives). 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.
  • Gwyn in Princess of Thieves. Scarcely surprising given she is the daughter of Robin Hood. Independent, stealthy, graceful, a Nature Hero and The Chick.
  • Rambo is fond of using a bow for its stealthy qualities, but he's not above using explosive warheads when shit needs to get blow'd up. He will use whatever weapon is available that is most appropriate to the situation.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • C. S. Lewis's The 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.
  • 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.
  • Dragon Queen: Sajag shoots a deer as his Establishing Character Moment.
  • In his child-rearing treatise Émile, ou de l'éducation, 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.
  • Katniss is definitely this in The Hunger Games. She's 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.
  • Princess Anghara, aka Indigo, from Indigo specializes in the crossbow and conforms to the arrogance (in her past as a princess), slender build and isolation (her only true companion is her wolf and she is set apart from others by being cursed with immortality, until she defeats all the demons she released).
  • The Iron Teeth web serial features the grizzled old ranger Saeter. He hunts the forest for both food and monsters using his trusty bow. Blacknail the hobgoblin also learns to use a bow from him.
  • 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.
  • Mahabharata: Arjuna and Karna. (And those two are only the really big shots.)
  • While Alec Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments, is also formidable in hand-to-hand combat, he really stands out most when using a bow. He is even able to knock the knife out of the hand of an Endarkened that was holding it to Consul Jia Penhallow's throat, without hurting Jia.
    • After Simon becomes a shadowhunter, that's his weapon of choice. Even when he was still a mundane he destroyed a window with his bow and arrow, so that the sunlight could burn a demon-prince.
    • Mark Blackthorn from the sequel The Dark Artifices often uses bows and arrows in combat. In his time in the fairy kingdom, he became a very skilled shooter.
  • Robert Lynn Asprin's humorous fantasy novel Myth Conceptions features Ajax, an elderly example of this trope who hails from the dimension whose inhabitants "invented archery".
  • 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.
  • The whole ranger corps in Ranger's Apprentice.
  • As with the TV show example below, there are a few of these in A Song of Ice and Fire: most notably Anguy the Archer who wins the champion's purse in the Tourney of the Hand for archery and proves that it was no fluke during his later adventures with the Brotherood Without Banners. He's not alone, though, as Theon Greyjoy is also a crack shot - another thing that separates him from his former kin in the Iron Islands, as they have far too much Testosterone Poisoning to ever be proud of someone who kills at range.
  • 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.
  • 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 Húrin). 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 Túrin without alerting the orcs, after silently sniping the wolf guards one by one in the dark.
    • Though Tolkien archers don't necessarily fall into the graceful and slender part. Legolas was described in one of letters as "barrel chested", a historically accurate look.
  • Tortall Universe:
    • Daine from The Immortals plays with it. Though normally The Heart and Friend to All Living Things, in battle she can be cool and collected. She also can hit a moving target in the dark. Justified as, like her Wild Magic, she gets this from her divine father.
    • In the first book of the Trickster's Duet, 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.
  • Subverted and played straight in Wander. Wander is stoic and standoffish and prefers to use a crossbow, whereas the much friendlier and more personable Dagger's weapon of choice is a hunting bow. However, they both use guns when in active combat situations where stealth isn't necessary.
  • 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."
  • Ness "Grey", 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 being hanged (long story) and a truce was signed, he went MIA. Later became a hitman and teamed up 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 5 Dark Overlords out of 6note . 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 and wind are always accounted for, arrows are in short supply and heavy...
  • The Ur-Example is Rama from the Hindu epic ''Ramayana.
  • Dafydd from The Dragon Knight series. The draw strength on his bow is between 150-200lbs. The arrows can puncture the armor of the era, 1350's. He can also kill a target up to half an English mile ways, along with four others, keeping them from raising the alarm. He is also good in a melee if need be. Then there's his wife, Danielle, who is a decent archer in her own right, along with the outlaws in the band that her father, Giles o'the Wold, is the leader of.
  • Washio Sumi Is A Hero: Washio is a patriotic Ojou who likes being traditionally Japanese. She's also an Aloof Dark-Haired Girl. Her weapon as a Magical Girl is a bow.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Theon is shown to be an excellent one in Season 1.
    • Joffrey is obsessed with crossbows and actually has impressive aim.
    • Anguy can angle a shot to come straight down on a target only a few feet in front of him.
    • Ramsay Snow is shown to be this in "Walk of Punishment", when he quickly shoots all of the guards about to rape Theon, and is a composed and cold individual. His hunting partner Myranda is also shown to be very competent with a bow in "The Lion and the Rose" and it later appears to be her weapon of choice. In "Battle of the Bastards," the only weapon Ramsay uses is his bow.
    • Meera Reed wields a bow and knives instead of her trident from the books, though one dead White Walker speaks to her skill with a throwing spear, which is a bit closer in spirit.
    • Bronn fills this spot in "Blackwater", and is as good as you'd expect.
  • Revolution: Charlie Matheson starts out as this with a crossbow. However, she has mostly stopped using it in favour of guns around episode 10.
  • Arrow: The show's protagonist, Oliver Queen, is skilled with the bow, and is cold and ruthless in his vigilante guise the hood. He starts to play that part down as he tries to become less a vigilante and more an actual hero as the show progresses. While his preferred means is taking out enemies with arrows, if things get too close his bow can also double as a melee weapon. As the show goes on, more and more archers appear, largely due to Oliver's influence or as counters to him, including Speedy (his sister), Arsenal, the Dark Archer, Talia al Ghul, Prometheus, and Dark Arrow (Oliver's Evil Doppelgänger and Fuhrer of Earth-X).
  • Recycled In Space with Action Girl Dayna Mellanby of Blake's 7. Female, graceful, and rather cocky in comparison to the world-weary Anti Heroes she teams up with, Dayna is even shown using a bow and arrow in her introductory episode, because she enjoys the challenge of mastering the Good Old Ways.
  • Kingdom Adventure: Napps is one of Magistrate Pitts' guards, and is a capable enough archer to drive away Reagle, The Prince's eagle-friend.

  • Classical Mythology:
    • Artemis and her Roman counterpart Diana. 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. The constellation Orion immediately dims when Scorpio shows itself - he's fleeing from the creature.
    • Teucer, also from Greek mythology. He was reputed to be the finest Achaean archer in the army besieging Troy. He loosed shaft after shaft whilst hiding behind his brother Ajax's shield. The gods themselves had to intervene in order to nerf Teucer's effectiveness, with Apollo sending some of his arrows off course and Zeus breaking his bow.
  • Houyi from Chinese Mythology. This dude was essentially a combo of Hercules and Robin Hood on steroids. He was able to take out nine Suns with arrows. And would have taken out the tenth and final Sun if it weren't for the Emperor reminding him that we still need at least one sun to survive.
  • Robin Hood himself is of course legendarily good with a bow, and an important Trope Codifier for his Improbable Aiming Skills. He makes archery cool. Notably, the feat of Splitting the Arrow is associated with him (though a bit Newer Than They Think) to the point that it's known among real archers as "Robin Hooding".
  • William Tell, a folk hero known as a crossbow fighter in the Swiss La Résistance. The story goes that he was forced to shoot an apple off his son's head as a Cool and Unusual Punishment for refusing to bow to Albrecht Gessler's hat. He succeeds on the first try, then reveals that he had a second crossbow bolt ready to shoot Gessler if he had hit his son. The feat itself is now known (do you see a pattern emerging here?) as William Telling.

  • Jemjammer has Aelfgifu the ranger, who is more closed off than the other women in the party on account of being raised with minimal human contact.

    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.
  • Legend of the Five Rings has the Tsuruchi family of the Mantis Clan. Formerly the Wasp Minor Clan, they were drawn into the alliance of Minor Clans by Yoritomo during the Clan War that was eventually formed into the Mantis, when the leader of the clan snapped his katana in half in fealty. Since then, the Tsuruchi have focused on mastery of the bow over all other martial pursuits, though most of them still retain the katana and wakizashi that are symbols of the samurai caste. They most often work as bounty hunters, either alone, or in small groups.
  • In the Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game, Longbowman is a class unto itself. In a nod to how difficult the longbow is to learn, only the Longbowman and the Ranger can use one, with the former being the one to get Improbable Aiming Skills.

    Video Games 
  • The Thief stealth game series.
    • Master thief protagonist Garrett specialises in using his bow and arrows as both a tool and weapon. Mechanical or magical arrows with specialised abilities are a standard part of his arsenal. Depending on a player's shooting skill, they can be used to manipulate the surrounding environment in favour of better sneaking conditions (e.g. water arrows put out sources of light based on open fires, moss arrows cushion loud tiled floors, etc.). Though Garrett also carries ordinary arrows for self-defence or potential sniping, and has a sword or a dagger for a sidearm, he's much more skilled at being sneaky than fighting others. Hence the games deemphasize melee combat and ranged combat and encourage sneaking and clever gadget usage (including trick arrow shooting with the bow). In the original trilogy, the bow is an ordinary but powerful wooden short bow, with an attached sight forged from steel. In the 2014 reboot, the reboot's version of Garrett uses more of a modern compound bow, albeit with 19th century stylings.
    • Despite the series' many fantasy steampunk elements, handheld guns don't seem to have been invented yet in the setting, so all ranged guard NPCs also fall under this trope, being uniformly archers or crossbowmen.
  • The video game version of Brave (for PlayStation 3) had Merida (a "Plucky Princess" with a heart of gold) becoming a badass tough-as-nails archer (soon after Queen Elinor was transformed into a bear by a witch). The Energy Bow, capable of wiping out a few enemies with a single blow, if the player holds down a button correctly (depending on which element).
  • Onmyōji: This is Subverted in the case of Hiromasa who has a muscular build as well as a hot-headed challenge-loving personality, but is played straight with Hakurō.
  • 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.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, the Bosmer (Wood Elves) are hailed as the best archers in all of Tamriel, with some sources stating that they are the inventors of the bow. By the age of 14, all Bosmer children are expected to be proficient enough with a bow to join hunting parties. Their very best archers are known as "Jaqspurs," able to snatch an arrow, draw their bow, and fire in one continuous motion. They are also known to make composite horn bows which are said to be some of the best in Tamriel. Both the Aldmeri Dominion and the Septim Empire have employed the Bosmer as specialist archer troops. Guides for the games recommend the Bosmer as the ideal race for those seeking to play as archer characters.
  • In Fate/stay night and its spinoffs, Servants summoned under the Archer class have strong ranged weapons and the "Independent Action" ability, making them somewhat difficult to control but allowing them to survive for long periods without Mana. However, neither of the most iconic Archers in the series are remotely typical members of their class. The Archer of the Fifth Holy Grail War (aka EMIYA) is a Dual Wielding Master Swordsman who approaches problems in a very detached and analytical fashion, and uses a bow as a backup weapon but mainly to shoot exploding swords instead of arrows. Gilgamesh, meanwhile, lets his Powers Do the Fighting - his "ranged weapons" consist of simply opening the door of his treasure vault and sitting back as enemies are mowed down by a Storm of Blades, and his extremely high rank in Independent Action comes from his incredible arrogance.
  • 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.
    • Prince Takumi of Hoshido from Fire Emblem Fates is also very skilled at strategy and noted to be quite smart outside of it as well. He also takes the longest out of the royals to warm up to the player character (should they not outright betray him and his family that is..) and is quite distrustful and cynical in general. He can be very sweet to the few people who have earned his trust though, and secretly wishes he could be more sociable.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Shamir starts out as a Sniper, the promoted form of the Archer class. Although she's nominally a Knight of Seiros, as a former mercenary she treats her position in the organization as just another job and doesn't let her personal feelings get in the way.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Leliana in Origins, who is both the nicest character in the game and staggeringly powerful when leveled up correctly.
    • Nathaniel in the Awakening expansion - he's one of the more stoic party members, has a very dry sense of humour, most of his companion gifts are practical items and he supports some of the more pragmatic story decisions.
    • Dragon Age II has Varric (although he uses a custom crossbow named Bianca) 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.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition has Varric returning from II, but also gives us Sera, who is both female and an elf, but beyond that is a brash, rough-speaking, boorish, uncouth prankster who belongs to the Friends of Red Jenny, a loosely-defined group from previous games that Inquisition rejiggers into Fantasy Anonymous
  • 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.
    • Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear adds another archer, Schael Corwin, who contrasts with Kivan in that she's a patriotism-driven city guard rather than a solitary, nature-ish ranger type.
  • 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.
  • League of Legends:
    • Ashe 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 Ashe, 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: All-Stars, 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).
  • Mortal Kombat X has Kung Jin, who was added to the game specifically because the devs were interested in making an archer character and seized the opportunity when they realized Kung Lao needed a relative in the story. Kung Jin can also enchant his arrows to shoot different elements, like Fire in one of his variations.
    • Before Kung Jin, there was Nightwolf who could manifest a bow and arrow out of spirit energy. He did not rely solely on the bow and arrow however, and also used a tomahawk and could call down lightning on his enemies. In contrast to the arrogant and impulsive Kung Jin, Nightwolf was depicted as wise and level-headed.
  • Overwatch has Hanzo, born from a clan of Japanese assassins. He is skilled with a bow, and can summon a pair of spirit dragons as his ultimate ability.
  • The summon "Piercing Gaze" in Ballpoint Universe Infinite is a giant archer that fires dozens of energy arrows in quick succession.
  • Arisa of Shadowverse happens to be this, in addition, some of the Forestcraft cards are archers themselves.
  • Titan Souls has the player character as one, only armed with a bow and arrow and nothing else.
  • Lara Croft in the reboot of Tomb Raider primarily uses a bow, as opposed to her predecessor who preferred Guns Akimbo.
  • Just like in its origin series, Fate EXTRA also has Servants of the Archer class. One of them is playable and is exactly like Stay Night's Archer ( EMIYA) but has a different backstory. And the enemy Archer, who plays this trope straight, isn't just any Archer, he's the original Archer. They have something in common though.
  • Achaka from King's Quest (2015) is as straight an example as they come. He's confident, agile, a bit of a loner (at first) and a master at landing impossible shots with his powerful longbow. Graham provides a Subversion, as he violates most common archer characterisations - he's not graceful or haughty, he's clumsy, insecure and a bit of a goofy dork, though Achaka takes him under his wing and he becomes a very good archer by the end of the first chapter.
  • In Gems of War, Atlanta is a skilled archer, enough so that her special attack is appropriately called Rain of Arrows. She contrasts with the centaurs of the area, who hunt things (including her) with other weapons.
  • The Archer class from Pirates Vikings and Knights uses both a longbow and a crossbow, is weak up close, but an absolute Knightmare to fight at a distance. He is also an arrogant, hoity-toity show-off, who quickly turns into a whimpering coward when things take a turn for the worse.
  • Decidueye, which was introduced in Pokémon Sun and Moon, is able to use one of its wings and vines as a bow and its own feathers as arrows.
  • While neither are shown actually using bows and arrows onscreen, Revali and Teba still fit the attributes of this in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. They're both slender Rito men who are skilled in archery, prefer to work alone (Revali because of his narcissism, Teba because he's simply stubborn), and are initially disdainful of Link.
  • Comprehensively averted in Darkest Dungeon. Its archer character, the Arbalest, is indeed largely useless when close to enemies, with only two moves in her entire kit that can be used in the front ranks, and can be a bit blunt and arrogant (especially when Afflicted), but she avoids every other qualification: she's not some waifish Nature Hero, she's a solidly built professional soldier clad in full armour who holds her giant crossbow like a Chainsaw Grip BFG.
  • Several characters in Ravenmark use bows or crossbows as their weapon of choice. Examples include Cierra Montepulciano, who constantly wears an eyepatch in order to have a better aim and to prepare her other eye for night fighting.

    Web Comics 
  • Agents of the Realm has Paige, who's rather aloof and cold. As it could be expected, her Magical Girl weapon is a bow.
  • With the comic being called The Archer And The Squirrel it would be rather surprising if there wasn't a featured archer in it. The heroine, Lark, takes the main role as the archer part of the name.

    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.
  • How to Hero's entry on Archers and Arrows discusses superhero archers, tracing the concept back to a man named "Frederick (last name unknown let’s just say it’s Arrowpants)" who robbed rich people and then left his money with various peasants for safekeeping while he was on the run. In How To Hero's superhero world he is credited with inspiring the myth of Robin Hood.

    Western Animation 
  • Steven Universe has Opal, the fusion of Pearl and Amethyst. Considerably calmer and more focused than either of her components normally are, she has a deep, soothing voice and an Energy Bow capable of scattering multiple arrows to take down numerous small, fast-moving targets. She also offsets the 'skinny build' part by having two sets of arms to hold and draw back her enormous bow with.
  • Evangelyne of Wakfu is an archer and the most level-headed member of the group. Averted with her hot-headed sister Cleophee, who fights with a wrist-mounted crossbow.
  • Artemis and Roy from Young Justice. Both have also been known for Improbable Aiming Skills.

    Real Life 
  • The Battles of Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt were the primary English victories during The Hundred Years War. They proved the ability of the traditional English longbow, whereas the French knights and armored men-at-arms were turned into metallic pincushions while trying to slog across muddy fields to reach the much smaller force of English infantry.
  • Lt. Col. "Fighting Jack" Churchill of the British Army is the only person in World War II to have a confirmed kill with a longbow (at Dunkirk). Other equipment he carried into battle included a basket-hilted Claymore and a set of bagpipes.

Alternative Title(s): Straight Arrow, The Archer, Archertype


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