The Serpent, Spear, and Wheel of Time
A Compendium of Weaponry and Military Costuming
of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time
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Rand al'Thor
Tam's heron-mark sword
Laman's sword
the Dragon Banner
the Dragon Scepter
the Crown of Swords
Legion of the Dragon
Perrin
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Two Rivers bow
Mat Cauthon
Mat Cauthon
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the Horn of Valere
the Band of the Red Hand
The Two Rivers
Two Rivers bow
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Queen's guards of Andor
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the Crown of Swords
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Callandor
Loial's axe
Birgitte and her bow
Aram's sword
Sword of Kirukan
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** The Two Rivers Bow **


Described as "great" and "stout", <LOC: 54, 677, The Sending; TSR: 42, 684, A Missing Leaf>, the Two Rivers bow was fitted with a bowstring made of "... tightly wrapped, waxed cords ..." <TSR: 40, 659, Hunter of Trollocs>,Welsh longbow silhouette a thin beeswax coating providing some protection against the elements. Horn nocks at either end of a long stave may also be typical of the Two Rivers longbow <TDR: 44, 514, Hunted>.

Rand's bow probably defines the maximum dimensions of such a bow, with a "... stave two hands taller than he was ...", or 85" in length, and with such a heavy draw that "... only Lan and Perrin could draw it." <TGH: 2, 17, The Welcome> This is longer than the usual "... great Two Rivers bows, [which] even when strung [were] nearly as tall as the men who drew them." <ACoS: 3, 92, Hill of the Golden Dawn> Some Two Rivers men, like Perrin, reached just over 6', all fell short of Rand's height. Thus, the length of a strung bow likely falls between 60" and 72", somewhat longer unstrung. See also measurements.

The Two Rivers longbow is indeed noted for its extraordinary range. In the battle for Emond's field, "... a goose-fletched hail streaked the sky as it arced out, plunged down ..." <TSR: 56, 931, Goldeneyes>; it "... could kill a man at three hundred paces and more." <LoC: 54, 677, The Sending> The bow's draw was unusually heavy; Faile is unable to "... draw a man's Two River's longbow ..." <TSR: 53, 872, The Price of a Departure>

This correlates perfectly with the Welsh or English longbow, a yew self bow some 6' long, with a draw weight of 80 to 110 lbs., able to place a heavy shaft through mail at 200 yards or more, with a maximum recorded bowshot of just under 400 yards. Drawn to the chest, it was fired high into the air, in arcing hails into a mass of opponents, as at Emond's Field. It was a weapon of great power and effectiveness; victories at Agincourt and Crecy are reminiscent of the longbow defense of Emond's Field.

On one occasion, the Emond's Field defenders sink their arrows into the Trolloc horde at 400 paces <TSR: 56, 931, Goldeneyes>, and 500 paces is said to be "... a long bowshot ..." <TSR 42, 695, A Missing Leaf>. This typical long bowshot nevertheless is longer than any ever recorded with the English longbow, if Jordan's pace is equivalent to a real-world 36" (see also measurements). The distances cited above only fit with a pace of 24 to 26 real-world inches in length. Perhaps this represents a Jordan oversight, perhaps it intentionally exaggerates Two Rivers archers' ability, or weaponry, or perhaps the pace is a somewhat flexible measure of distance.

Note also that the Two Rivers bow is never said to be drawn to the chest. Rand, Perrin and Mat typically draw the bowstring back along the cheek, towards the ear <TEotW: 49, 736, The Dark One Stirs; TGH: 17, 264, Choices; TSR: 40, 667, Hunter of Trollocs> - an action that significantly reduces both power and range. Perhaps it is drawn to the chest when aimed, at greater distances, into a mass of opponents, and back to the ear for greater accuracy when firing at a single target, a change possibly reflected in "... no longer firing in flights but choosing their targets." <TSR: 44, 720, The Breaking Storm>

Mat Cauthon observes that black yew is the wood of choice: "That braided grain was what gave bows made from it such power, twice what any other wood could give." <KoD: 6, 185, A Stave and a Razor> He selects a stave more than a foot taller than his own 5' 11".

broadhead arrow pointArrows, finally, were tipped with steel double-edged broadhead points, unbarbed, and fletched with goose feathers tied and glued to the shaft <TDR: 44, 514, Hunted; TSR: 42, 684, A Missing Leaf; TSR: 44, 719, The Breaking Storm; TSR: 45, 728, The Tinker's Sword> - probably resembling the 36" cloth-yard shafts used with the English longbow. The point depicted on the left seems to match the description, and was historically used heavily for hunting as well as war. As such, it would be readily available in the Two Rivers.

armor-piercing bodkin points"... points like chisels, designed to drive through Trolloc armor ..." are mentioned elsewhere <TGH: 17, 264, Choices>; these may be the broadhead points referred to above, but more likely reflect the armor-piercing bodkin points shown to the right. After all, the Two Rivers had not known a need for such heavy arrowheads; Rand most likely obtained them in Shienar.


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