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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Perrin Aybara's axe

** Perrin's axe **


This axe consisted of "A broad half-moon blade on one side of the head and a curved spike on the other ..." <TEotW: 10, 138, Leavetaking>. "The ashwood shaft was as long as his arm, and smooth ... to the touch." <TEotW: 30, 439, Children of Shadow>. It is likely that it is primarily intended for single-handed use: Perrin uses it from his saddle while standing in the stirrups and moving forward <TEotW: 49, 736, The Dark One Stirs>, i.e. he'd need the other hand to hold the reins. At least once, however, he uses his axe in both hands <TDR: 34, 396, A Different Dance>.

Child Byar, an obvious connoisseur of battle axes, lauds it as "Excellently balanced ... Plainly made, but by a very good weaponsmith, perhaps even a master ... Not a villager's weapon, ... nor a farmer's." <TEotW: 30, 450, Children of the Shadow>

This "great-bladed" <TEotW: 13, 177, Choices> axe is "By weight of metal ... a good five or six pounds lighter than the hammer ..." <TDR: 50, 597, The Hammer>; more specifically, Perrin's ten-pound hammer "weighed more than twice as much as the axe blade ..." This axe head, then, weighs some four to four-and-a-half pounds, including *both* blade and spike.

Such a "... great, steel half-moon" <TGH: xxiii, Prologue> would feature an 8 to 10" face, likely closer to 10"; larger faces thin the blade excessively, within the weight restraints given above. Many of the larger, two-handed European battle axes had 8 to 9" blade faces, with a rare 10" face; the smaller battle axes very typically had a 5" face ... for those who think that a 10-inch blade isn't very big ...

The spike found opposite of the half-blade is described as curved, but far more commonly is described as thick. It is likely that the curve is a slight one; a noticeable curve would have been mentioned in the axe's description far more frequently. Perrin, "... with the spike foremost ... drove the spike into the Trolloc's temple" <TDR: 4, 66, Shadows Walking>, and instantly kills it; to do so would require at least the 5 to 6" length standard for such spikes. An excessive curve to the spike would've made this maneuver very difficult.

The larger European war axes often sported a 5 to 6" spike opposite the blade; these were typically slightly curved, or straight. Very commonly, the spike was quadrangular in cross-section, occasionally triangular. Perrin's axe most likely follows this model.

Perrin AybaraFinally, the ashwood haft is defined as "... a pace long..." <LoC: Prologue, 39, The First Message>, 36" in real-world units, about as long Perrin's arm, including outstretched hand. I have previously argued for a somewhat shorter handle, some 26 to 30" long, given the apparent flexibility of some of Jordan's measurements. A longer axe becomes unwieldy; Perrin's axe is easily concealed beneath his cloak, and never described or perceived as long-handled, unwieldy, or clumsy, though he takes it everywhere.

Plainly made, and presumably lacking the simple ornamentation shown on the cover of TDR; Sweet also lops off the upper tip of the half-moon. The illustration on page 202 of RJWoT (left) has since eclipsed Sweet's version, and fits the facts far better.

Perrin's hammer is described separately.


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