As promised, I’m back with part two of my favorite fictional weapons! Before we jump in, let’s go over the rules.
To be considered for this list, the item in question must be a weapon. As I was looking at other lists of fictional weapons for inspiration, I was confused by some of them, because they chose to include things like the One Ring or the Deathly Hallows. Those aren’t weapons, those are just magic items. But if you’re interested in seeing a list along those lines from me, let me know! I’d be happy to make a part three.
In addition to being a weapon, I’m looking for an added effect of some sort (usually magical, sometimes symbolic) to set it apart from others like it.
Finally, I’m only choosing one weapon of each type. No swords on this list, either, as I covered them extensively in part one of this series.
This list, more than the first one I made, pulls more from mythology and legend than fiction, though I’ve tried to make it a more even spread. But I’ve found that most fantasy stories (which is both my primary genre of choice and also where we see a wider spread of weapons) favor swords, especially when it comes to weapon enchantments and enhancements. And, like the other list, these are in no particular order.
1. Gáe Bulg
Starting things off is a unique spear from Irish mythology, created from the bones of a sea monster. When wielded correctly (and after certain rituals, according to some sources), this spear sprouts dozens of barbs, causing grievous injury. The technique required to use it is known only to a few heroes, notably Scottish warrior Scáthach and her only pupil, Cúchulainn. You definitely don’t want to find yourself on the wrong end of this stick.
2. Death’s Scythe
This is the only generalized entry on my list, as the concept of Death carrying a scythe is so common, it’s hard to trace it back to an original source. Scythes were created to cut and harvest grains and other crops, and they certainly look deadly. It’s become something of a trope, the skeletal or hooded figure of death holding the long staff topped with a hooked blade, ready to harvest the souls of the dead. It makes for an intimidating sight.
3. Zeus’ Thunderbolt
As king of the Olympians and god of the sky, it makes sense that Zeus would have a weapon that fits both in terms of power and in terms of aesthetic. Enter the thunderbolt, a crackling piece of lightning that Zeus could throw like a spear (but it’s not a spear, it’s pure lightning, hence it’s inclusion on the list despite another spear already being on it). True, it’s not exactly a “weapon with an effect”, but considering it’s the only weapon of it’s kind, it gets a pass from me. Sources vary as to whether the weapon was a gift from the Cyclopes or Hephaestus, but regardless of it’s origins, it’s become a key part of the Greek god’s identity.
Speaking of gods of thunder, let’s talk about Mjölnir! The iconic weapon of Thor, the Norse god of thunder, legends of this mighty weapon can be traced as early as the 13th century. More recently, Mjölnir has carved out a place in modern media as the first weapon of one of the original Avengers. This warhammer packs a punch, but what makes it special in my book is the utility it has outside of combat. Mjölnir seems to be at least partially sentient, as it has opinions about who gets to use it. In fact, only a select few are considered worthy, and anyone who doesn’t make the cut can’t budge it an inch. Add to that the power of flight and directing lightning, and you’ve got yourself a weapon without equal.
5. Cupid’s Bow and Arrows
While we’re on the topic of gods, let’s take a short trip over to Roman mythology to take a look at Cupid’s signature weapon: the bow and arrows. Many Greek and Roman gods carried bows, and many of them were even special in their creation, but for me, Cupid edges out a win with his arrows. He carried two types: ones with sharpened, golden tips, and ones with blunt, lead tips. Each type had a specific effect. The gold arrows caused love and obsession, while the lead arrows caused hatred and aversion. The effects were so strong, not even the gods were exempt. Cupid himself fell victim when he accidentally scratched himself with a golden arrow.
Well, I’ve talked about a Marvel superhero, so I suppose it’s only fair I talk about a DC superhero as well: Batman, the Dark Knight himself. He’s a hero with gizmos and gadgets aplenty, but I’m focusing on the batarang today. Named by combining ‘Batman’ with ‘boomerang’, these throwable weapons are actually closer to shuriken, throwing stars, or even throwing knives (but they aren’t knives or daggers, like the next entry, as they don’t have hilts). These bat-shaped pieces of metal are sharp and versatile, especially when tinkered with. Batman generally defaults to regular batarangs, but he also seems to have a batarang for every occasion: batarangs that fold up for easier storage, batarangs that deliver an electric shock, batarangs that explode, and batarangs that can be controlled remotely, to name a few.
7. Dark One’s Dagger
From TV’s Once Upon a Time, this dagger is magically bound to the Dark One, a vessel of Darkness. The dagger bears the name of the Dark One and grants powers to its counterpart, but also to others. If a person can get a hold of the dagger and speaks the name on it, they gain power over the Dark One. The Dark One is immortal, but can be killed by the dagger. Although, it turns out the Dark One is actually a title and when the Dark One is killed, the stabber becomes the new host for the powers of darkness. Rumplestiltskin and Emma Swan both hold the title at some point throughout the series.
Like the swords list I made, there were a few weapons that didn’t make the cut for some reason or another.
Paul Bunyan’s Axe
Paul Bunyan is an American folk legend, a giant and lumberjack who traveled the country with his ox companion. He’s credited with the creation of many landmarks and geographical features, including Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes (said to be formed in his footprints) and the Grand Canyon, which he made by dragging his axe behind him as he walked. But the special features belong to the man, not the axe.
Lasso of Truth
Less of a weapon and more of a tool, Wonder Woman wields this lariat to great effect. When bound by it, anyone captured must speak the truth.
I had a hard time figuring out what to do with wands. I certainly consider them weapons, but they’re more than just that. They’re vessels of power. But while those who use them accomplish untold incredible deeds, wands are little more than a way to concentrate or control that power. There’s rarely anything special about them. But, I figured they deserve an honorable mention at the very least.
This entry comes from D&D and is a bit more of a personal preference. The character I play has one of these enchanted daggers, and she takes great delight in utilizing it’s ability to burst into flame upon making contact with a target.
Before you notice the glaring omission to this list, I’ll come clean: Sci-fi is not a genre I spend much time consuming, so my knowledge of firearms, blasters, and explosives is sorely lacking. So I’ll put the question to you (and maybe I’ll compile the answers in a future post): What are your favorite sci-fi weapons?
Until next time, word nerds!