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Knightly Sword and Shield

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A weapons trope. As Weapon-Based Characterization explains, a person's choice of weapon can say a lot about them, and using a sword and shield together frequently says "Knight in Shining Armor". It includes all the heroic meaning that Heroes Prefer Swords carries, plus the connotations of being a defender that go along with Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me. Sword and Shield users might liberally make use of Shield Bash in a fight and depending on the type of shield might engage in Throwing Your Shield Always Works.

Then again, not everyone with this combination is necessarily good; it could just as easily be used in the hands of a Black Knight instead. Either way, people using swords and shields are usually "knightly" in some form or another.

As noted frequently below, many of the shields of these combinations also serve as the scabbards/sheaths for the swords. This is usually done either because it's cool or rarely, the shield being the sheath allows for a Bifurcated Weapon/Mix-and-Match Weapon combination. Either way, it's a very practical Dual Wielding combination.

Often called "Sword and Board" by tabletop game groups. Compare this trope with Sword/Shield Contrast, which discusses the competing connotations of the two items. Also see Choice of Two Weapons, which covers other dual-equipment setups.

For contrasting tropes, see Primitive Clubs and Savage Spiked Weapons.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Skull Knight from Berserk carries an an awesome Apostle-killing sword with a guard shaped like thorn branches and a serrated blade, alongside a shield bearing an emblem of a rose surrounded by thorny brambles.
  • ShineGreymon Burst Mode from Digimon Data Squad. Also supporting character Knightmon in Digimon Fusion, who contributes his shield alongside Shoutmon X4's sword when they Fusion Dance into Shoutmon X4K.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Knights on Dinosaurs: Banhou, the titular knight, and his fellow raptor-men warriors all use lance and shields as their default equipment, with an action scene being Banhou and another raptor knight sparring each other.
  • Inverted in Rurouni Kenshin with Uonuma Usui, who is trained in the Ryukyu royal martial art of tinbe and rochin (shield and stabbing blade), but is a rough, brutish criminal.
  • In SD Gundam Force, Zero is the epitome of the Knight in Shining Armor hailing from Lacroa, a magical society dependent on knights and magic to defend the royal family. Naturally, his weapon of choice is a shield and a Cool Sword. The shield also acts as the sheath. He ditches this while merged with the Feather Dragon for the Twin Buster Sword, a BFS Bifucurated Weapon, to reflect his transformation into Zero Custom.
    • In the SD Gundam franchise, the Knight Gundam, whom Zero is partly based off of, also wields a sword and shield.
  • Ever the Combat Pragmatist, the sword and shield is the preferred weapon style of the titular Goblin Slayer.
  • Ash's Galarian Farfetch'd in Pokémon Journeys: The Series gets its leek broken in two pieces that he continues to use as sword and shield at Ash's suggestion. It then evolves into Sirfetch'd, turning the pieces into an actual sword and shield set.
  • Delicious in Dungeon: Laios, styled after a generic European knight, started out with a sword and shield (and was the only member of his party with such a loadout), but lost the shield in a mishap at the beginning of the series. After he loses the sword, too, he picks up a new one scavenged from an Animated Armor, but he never does get a new shield.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics's The Union'' has Britannia. She fights with a sword and a shield with a lion symbol on it.
  • Wonder Woman uses a sword and shield. She is also one of DC's most well known paragons of justice.

    Fan Works 
  • Monica from the Fire Emblem: Three Houses fanfic The Ghost of Ochs favors using a sword and shield in battle, doing so mostly out of a desire to protect herself and others from harm, and also to differentiate herself from Byleth and Petra, who don't use shields to go with their swords.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: The Wolf carries a number of swords on his person, and carries a massive runic shield. It's not immune to a ballista bolt though.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney's Sleeping Beauty. When the noble Prince Philip goes up against Maleficent he wields the magical Sword of Truth and the Shield of Virtue given to him by the fairies.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Boromir from The Lord of the Rings is a courageous and honorable nobleman from Gondor who fights with sword and shield. Although he's never referred to as a knight, he certainly invokes this trope.
  • Sword and shield is the default combo for Church Knights in The Elenium, to the point that Eddings specifically points out the exceptions (Ulath and Berit's axes, Bevier's lochaber).
  • This is the default style of knights in A Song of Ice and Fire, to the point where deviating from it for the course of a duel, (as both Bronn and Oberyn Martell did in order to employ Hit-and-Run Tactics) is considered unusual and noteworthy.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Peter Pevensie receives a sword and shield from Father Christmas. He puts them to use in the climactic battle.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Near the end of the Book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul makes a metaphor that describes virtues as armor protecting believers from spiritual attack. (He would have been referring to the equipment of Roman soldiers instead of knights, as knights came hundreds of years later, but the imagery of a righteous warrior is unchanged.) In addition to actual pieces of armor,note  the gear includes the "shield of faith" and "sword of scripture".
  • When Perseus went on a quest to kill Medusa in order to save his mother from being forced to marry a slimy king, he was gifted a razor sharp sword and a polished shield that was reflective enough to allow the hero to behead Medusa without directly looking at her, avoiding her Deadly Gaze.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Champions supplement Enemies III. The supervillain known as The Green Knight is a headless suit of armor controlled by the consciousness of John Nottingham. The Knight carries a shield he received as payment for a job and wields a weapon created by his armor that can take the form of a sword.
  • In Descent: Journeys in the Dark, heroes of the Knight class start off with a sword and a shield. The base game's iconic knight, Syndrael, is a Lady of War characterized by her Undying Loyalty to her liege and wields a sword and a shield by default.
  • Ironclaw: The "Knight's Trappings" gift includes a metal shield and an expensive melee weapon, such as most swords. Also plate armor and a lance.
  • Warhammer Fantasy:
    • Popular with the Warriors of Chaos: Archaeon the Everchosen, a Black Knight and top dog of the Warriors of Chaos, uses a sword and shield from horseback. The Chaos Lords Sigvald the Magnificent and Count Mordrek the Damned (both knights) also fight with sword and shield, as does Wulfrik the Wanderer (strictly speaking not a knight). The Chaos lord Vardek Crom can switch between a sword-and-shield stance and one where he Dual Wields a sword and axe. Chaos Knights are also the only heavy cavalry in the game not to come with the Knightly Lance as standard, instead fighting with magic swords and shields by default.
    • King Louen Leoncour of Bretonnia fights with a sword and shield, in contrast to most of his knights who favour the Knightly Lance.
    • Evil Overlord Malekith of the Dark Elves, a Magic Knight, also uses a sword and shield (alongside his magic and being a Dragon Rider).
  • The Space Marines from Warhammer 40,000 have the Knightly Company Champions whom are often carry a power sword and a combat shield to accompany their blade. Sometimes they also carry a bolt pistol with their shield hand so they aren't completely locked into melee combat.

  • Kopaka from BIONICLE is equipped with a shield and sword. His Toa Nuva form gives him a double-bladed sword and a larger shield.

    Video Games 
  • EXTRAPOWER: Star Resistance: Walhalla fights with a sword and shield, reflecting her status as a warrior of the heavens. The shield even gives her the unique ability among player characters to completely negate damage for a time, which is useful as a melee combatant in a Shoot 'Em Up.
  • In The Legend of Zelda, Link who is The Hero and often The Champion of Princess Zelda wields a sword and shield together with the most famous being the Master Sword and Hylian Shield.
    • Darknuts are the elite knights of Ganon's demon army. While the lower-ranked ones only have a BFS, at mid-tier they gain shields, and the most powerful ones have shields and capes just for intimidation.
    • In Oracle Of Ages, the fourth miniboss is a giant knight who boasts of his invincible sword and shield at the beginning of the battle. He then throws his sword at you, and it turns out his shield is less durable than his sword. After both weapons are broken, he becomes vulnerable to your own weapons.
  • In the Soul Series, members of the Alexandra family (Sophitia, Cassandra, Patrokolos, and Pyrrha) all fight with swords and shields.
  • The Gladiators and Paladins of Final Fantasy XIV use Swords and shields. The latter having roots in a group of knights sworn to defend the sultana of Ul'dah.
  • Tidus from Final Fantasy X is a variant who uses a BFS (that he wields one-handed) and a buckler, and at first doesn't fit the associated personality type, though he is one of Yuna's guardians. However, over the course of the story, he grows into a selfless hero.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy: The Warrior of Light, a knight-classic favor, carries a shield and sword into battle. He's notably the only sword-focused character in the game to use a shield. Dissidia NT also added Kam'lanaut, a villainous Archduke from Final Fantasy XI, his use of a shield alongside his sword feeding into his noble image.
  • In Skylanders, knights Chop Chop and Chill both have swords and shields.
  • "Weapon and Shield" is one of the skill categories for the warrior class in the Dragon Age series, and a sword and shield build is intended as the Stone Wall of a party. In addition to defensive bonuses, the tree also features multiple varieties of just beating enemies to death with the shield itself. In addition to potentially the player character, several companions and NPCs are trained in it:
    • Alistair, of Dragon Age: Origins, begins with Weapon and Shield talents. He is one of the more traditionally good party members and is a new recruit of the fabled Grey Wardens — an organization dedicated to fighting the monsters known as darkspawn.
      • Loghain Mac Tir is similarly trained in these talents, and ultimately serves a replacement for Alistair in the party if you should choose to spare his life. He is one of Ferelden's most skilled generals, and appointed as one of Ferelden's only two teyrns, making him a commoner raised to nobility. Far less heroic than Alistair, he makes numerous morally questionable choices, sells elves into slavery in order to evacuate them and fund the army, and ultimately hunts down the Grey Wardens in an effort to blame his retreat at Ostagar on them. Nevertheless, he is a man of honour, and willing to sacrifice his life for his duty at the end of the game if spared.
    • Aveline Vallen was In-Universe named after Ser Aveline, a legendary figure and the first female member of the Chevaliers, an Orlesian knightly order. She becomes a guardsman, becomes guard-captain by mid-way through the first Act or before the second one (depending on whether her Act 1 sidequest is done), and is as such focused on law and order. She is also a Workaholic and Married to the Job. The only sword-and-shield party member in Dragon Age II, she has a personal tree that can be leveled, raising her tanking abilities and turning her from "guardsman" to "indestructible moving wall".
      "Face me! I stand for all of us!"
    • Blackwall in Dragon Age: Inquisition is a Champion specialization and also fights with sword and shield as well. He's also someone who has dedicated his life to helping others and protecting the weak because he's not the real Blackwall. He's someone whose life was saved by the real Blackwall and is trying to make up for his past crimes.
      • Cassandra also fights with sword and shield (or shield and other one-handed weapon) and uses the Templar specialization. As a Seeker of Truth, part of her job is to oversee the military branch of the Chantry (the primary in-game religion) and protect the innocent from harm. She takes her duties very seriously.
      • Cullen usually functions as an advisor during Inquisition. However, there are a few times during the game when he takes an active role in the fighting, and whenever he does, he uses a sword and shield. The Iron Bull may comment, in dialogue with the Herald, that he could identify Cullen as a former Templar because of the specific way he holds his shield. Similarly to Blackwall, he is working to atone for prior misdeeds from his Templar days, and considers protecting those weaker than himself and guiding those of lower rank to be an intrinsic part of this.
  • For a Warrior or Paladin Tank in World of Warcraft, the sword and shield is the way to go. Note that the weapon need not be a sword, it can be any 1-handed melee weapon.
    • Deathknights don't use shields, so they have special abilities to reduce the damage they take to compensate.
    • Like Deathknights, Druids don't use shields either. They transform into a bear instead.
  • In Fire Emblem, the units most likely to have a shield in addition to their main weapon are the horse and armor knights and the "hero" class. Additionally, in the original continuity, the Fire Emblem itself is a magical shield that the main character uses in accord with his legendary sword. Marth, and his descendants Chrom and Lucina, all have shields in their most powerful forms.
  • Pokémon:
    • Aegislash is a sword-and-shield Pokémon, and can switch whether its offensive sword or defensive shield half is more prominent. It's Pokédex entry characterizes the species as loyal servants of kings.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield is set in the Poke-equivalent of England, which has a history of knights and heraldry. The featured Olympus Mons are the sword-wielding wolf Zacian and the shield-maned wolf Zamazenta.
    • Also in Sword and Shield is Sirfetch'd, a regional evolution of Farfetch'd whose oversized leek had broken into 2 parts, of which the sharpened stalk is used as a sword and the hardened leaves are made into a shield.
  • In Diablo II, the Paladin (a classical religious warrior clad in full armour) is a defensive fighter with several useful skills requiring both a one-handed weapon and a shield. Though the example is a bit downplayed in the game: although the character can wield swords, his optimal weapon of choice is actually a scepter (a series of mace-class weapons which grants special bonus to Paladin's wielder).
  • In Phantasy Calradia, the starting gear of a Paladin player character is a bastard sword and a shield, but nothing prevents to eventually build a two-handed weapon/polearm based Paladin.
  • In every game of the Monster Hunter series, the player can choose a combination of a short sword (compared to the usual BFS) and a shield. While less defensively capable than the Lance and Gunlance, it can still block some attacks, and is the only weapon that can use items while drawn; coupled with Wide-Range, they serve the same 'paladin' role as an actual RPG. The fourth generation added the Charge Blade, a larger version of it that stores energy with it's sword strikes, which can then be either transferred to the shield for added defense, or both can be combined into a massive axe and the energy used for powerful attacks.
  • BlazBlue: Tsubaki Yayoi puts her own spin on the theme, with her special weapon set called Izayoi in form of a Spell Book used as a buckler and a short sword shaped like a quill. She also works in the NOL's special "Wings of Justice" unit, and she herself has an idealized view of justice and heroes thereof.
  • The Haunted Ruins: The Skeletons on the fourth section, and the Ghost Knights on the sixth, are shown fighting with swords and shields.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: Ivy can equip swords and shields, or go with a two-handed sword.
  • The Elder Scrolls allows you to equip characters with sword and shields in combination.
  • In Guild Wars 2, Logan Thackary wields a sword and shield. Logan is the top warrior in Kryta, a Medieval European Fantasy Counter Part Culture, and is the bodyguard to the Queen, who he harbors a Bodyguard Crush for. He's also a Guardian, the closest thing GW2 has to a Paladin, a Magic Knight class themed around defense, similar to medieval ideas of knights. Overall, his character has a very strong knightly theme.
  • In Find Mii from StreetPass Mii Plaza, all Miis come equipped with a sword and shield.
  • In Warframe, Swords and Shields are one type of melee weapon and are most closely associated with Oberon. Silva & Aegis Prime even feature angelic motifs to match. Subverted with Tyl Regor, who has his own custom made sword and shield, Ack & Brunt.
  • In Tales of Vesperia the sub-weapon system has two characters who have shields alongside a sword; Estelle and Flynn. Flynn fits this the most, being an actual knight and certainly fitting the ideal of a Knight in Shining Armor. Estelle can also use rods, as the resident White Mage, but she's a virtuous young lady who will leap to rescue anyone in need of aid.
  • Duke Andre from Dual Blades and its sequel Slashers: The Power Battle uses both a sword and shield and also throws roses as projectiles, in battle. He is also notably the only character on the rosters of the games to have a shield.
  • In Super Robot Wars Judgment, the elite knights of the Fury all pilot the Raftclans, a mecha equipped with a shield and sword that double as a claw and a gun respectively.
  • In Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor — Martyr, the Assault Crusader can equip a chainsword and a Suppression Shield. He also has a Jet Pack to get him stuck in faster. Of course, said shield pairs equally well with a pistol...
  • In Dragon Project, the Light Burst Sword and Shield Behemoth, Light Airgetlam and his set invokes this trope's imagery, along with being slow yet tough and deadly. This is contrasted by his dark counterpart or rather his dark side, Dark Gauvain, the Dark Burst Great Sword Behemoth, who dual wields a pair of katanas, along with being deadly and agile yet fragile.
  • Paladins from Fantasy Life have swords and shield as their main weapon, and most Paladin NPCs are employed as castle guards.
  • A common build in all three Dark Souls-games, both among players and NPCs. A notable example is Artorias of the Abyss in his prime, although he gave up his shield to protect the young wolf Sif after his arm broke and he couldn't bear the burden. In III, Crestfallen Hawkwood uses this weapon type, though, ironically, it caused him to be kicked out of the Abyss Watchers, who style themselves after Artorias, since they saw it as cowardly.
  • Barbarian (Titus): Keela, a princess from a barbarian tribal kingdom, is notable as having this particular set of weapons and more specifically to use a shield in addition with a weapon.
  • City of Heroes allows Brutes, Tankers and Scrappers to do this by taking the Broad Sword and Shield Defense power sets.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 3, the Guardian Commander class (acquired from Zeon) is a Defender role that equips the party member with a sword and shield, and focuses on blocking incoming damage.

    Web Animation 
  • Seems to be JoCat's weapon across any game:
    • In A Crap Guide to Monster Hunter, the Sword and Shield is the last weapon he covers and it is the one weapon where he drops the Caustic Critic act and heaps unconditional praise on. In fact, he insults you the viewer for not using it.
    • In A Crap Guide to Dungeons & Dragons, he insists that Paladins who don't use swords and shields are "big smelly doodoo-heads".
    • In A Crap Guide to Final Fantasy XIV, he says that the reason Paladin is the best Tank class in the game is because it specializes in using swords and shields.
  • RWBY:
    • Jaune Arc makes use of a simple arming sword and collapsible heater shield which is a stark contrast to the other characters' Impossibly Cool Mix and Match Weapons. It puts a twist on the shield-as-sheath gimmick as the shield's collapsed form makes it into a scabbard. This is also weaponized into a Bifurcated Weapon in later volumes, as a means to give the sword a larger and heftier blade. The sword itself is named "Crocea Mors"note  and is said to have come from one of his ancestors.
    • The Ace and Jaune's teammate/love interest, Pyrrha Nikos, is armed with Miló and Akoúo̱. Miló is capable of transitioning between three forms: a javelin, a Xiphosnote  and a rifle; Akoúo̱ is a round shield. After Miló is destroyed during Pyrrha's death at Cinder's hands, Jaune uses the remaining parts of her weapons and armor to upgrade his own.

    Western Animation 
  • Castlevania (2017): When Alucard decides to get off his drunken ass and starts fighting again in season 4, he carries his shield from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night alongside his sword. This increases his effectiveness in combat by giving him two weapons for defense and offense. Especially when he uses his Mind over Matter powers to turn his sword into a Flying Weapon.
  • In Steven Universe, Rose Quartz could summon a shield from her gem, and she wielded a sword, marking her as the heroic, noble leader of a rebellion. However, it was the polearm and dual saber-wielding Pearl who compared herself to a knight, with Rose Quartz as her liege. Oddly, Rose's son Steven only uses the shield, and ended up giving the sword to his friend Connie—but when they fused to form Stevonnie, the weapons are paired together again.

    Real Life 
  • The armored knights of Medieval Europe are the Trope Maker, though the pairing of sword and shield by professional warriors dates back much further. Depending on the time period it may also be subverted: At the very end of the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance the evolution of armor led to different weapons and tactics becoming more effective.
    While there may have been more spears on the battlefield prior to the Battle of Nancy in the late 1400s, the spear was more successful as a static defense, with the sword being the primary weapon for those worth more training. Afterwards, along with the Swiss introduction of the pike square, the axe, mace, and hammer were more effective against the armor of that time, while swords were largely relegated to being sidearms. Additionally, by the time the full plate armor most people associate with the image of knighthood came about, the shield was largely abandoned except by specialist troops since knights were already so well-protected by the armor that it usually wasn't worth the extra weight. This instead allowed the knight to use larger two-handed weapons such as the longsword or poleaxe, which were much more useful for contending with another fully-armored knight.
    The longsword developed alongside these improvements in armor, but even then it usually remained a backup weapon or sidearm, with knights typically beginning the engagement either with the lance when on horseback, or with the poleaxe or polehammer when on foot.
  • While knights did not exist prior to Medieval Europe, the sword and shield pairing has been a pretty popular combination even back during the Classical Era to varying degrees. Usually however, the spear was the first weapon used, before getting to the sword and shield; however, the sword and shield pairing was used as a main weapon by the Roman Legions, usually after throwing their pilum to render the enemies' shields useless (by staying stuck in them) before closing in.


Video Example(s):


Martin the knight

Martin wakes up as a knight of the Round Table with a sword and shield.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / KnightlySwordAndShield

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