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Just a silly thought about Rand's bow

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Near the beginning of the Great Hunt there is this description of Rand and his bow:

 

"His unstrung bow stood propped in the corner with Mat's and Perrin's...He had made it himself since coming to Fal Dara, and besides him, only Lan and Perrin could draw it."

 

I know it probably sounds rather silly, but how did he know that only the three of them could draw it, and what was the point of mentioning it?  It gives me this idea that Rand walks around with his bow asking everyone he can find to try drawing it and then adding the names of those who can't to a list he keeps in his pocket.

 

Or, maybe it was just to let us know how bad-ass strong Rand is  ^.^

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I guess poor Rhuarc is just too weak...not to mention any of the other male characters who are described as ridiculously strong like Haral Luhhan, etc

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I don't think you're supposed to quantify that remark over all people. Rand was travelling with a few people, training at arms, and at some point the others wanted a go at his bow. Since he's taller than just about anybody else up to that point, it's got a much higher draw weight than people are used to, and he's been training with it since he was a kid. Lan and Perrin are both quite tall, and so Perrin has been training his whole life with a bow nearly as long as Rand's. Plus, he's got +20 to strength for being a blacksmith. Mat can't draw it because he's significantly shorter, and not a muscle-man. The same will hold true for most ordinary people. Even Aiel will probably have a hard time, despite their height, since they're accustomed to smaller recurve bows.

 

Remember, the Two Rivers folk are modelled pretty closely on the Welsh/English, and the longbow stuff jis directly imported from that history. All kinds of people were stronger than your average longbowman, but most still couldn't draw the longbow properly--certainly not over and over again.

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@goaswerfraiejen,

i completely agree,in my opinion,the remark about rand's strength with his bow

was never meant to be all-encompassing,it was more likely about those shienarans soldiers

who trained with lan and rand in fal dara,and certainly not about "poor rhuarc",(rand

didn't even meet him at that point).

Edited by jack of shadows

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I agree the point about Rand's height.

 

Another reason for mentioning it is Rand's use with it later in the book.  And maybe also the conversations about it in between.

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I think it was a statement on the style of the bow, as well.  The Shinarans use, if memory serves a much smaller style of bow.  They actually poke a little fun at Rand in the begining of TGH.  I don't think it odd that a group of soldiers would ask to try Rand's bow, as it is so different from what they use.

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I think it was a statement on the style of the bow, as well.  The Shinarans use, if memory serves a much smaller style of bow.  They actually poke a little fun at Rand in the begining of TGH.  I don't think it odd that a group of soldiers would ask to try Rand's bow, as it is so different from what they use.

 

 

Yeah, they're smaller, of necessity: they shoot from horseback, Mongol (/steppe)-style. I don't think they've got composite bows like the Aiel, though. Theirs are just regular short or maybe recurve bows, which means that although they can skirmish pretty well, they lack the range and power the Steppe peoples had (while the Aiel get the range and power but lose the superior skirmishing capabilities offered by horses).

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I also did not think it was meant to be all encompassing, but still I wonder if even the issue of height is enough to account for an entire fortress of battle hardened warriors to be unable to draw a long bow (at least once?).

 

I've never tried to draw a bow, short or long so I don't have any practicle experience.

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Bows in general are rough to use, especially these new fangled things they have today. But throughout the entire series (not sure how much you have read) RJ makes a point to state that few people outside the Two Rivers can use their bows. 

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Ok, let's settle this with a joke...

 

Q. Why did Rand shoot the Aes Sedai with an arrow from his very special two Rivers bow?

 

A. She insisted he bow properly in the awesome presence of Aes Sedai.  >.>

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English longbowman were the nuclear weapons of their age for a short period in history.  Yew trees were so valuable for making the bows that they were used as a trading commodity.  The pull on longbows got ridiculously high as yeoman got stronger and more skilled.  It took a lifetime of training to use them effectively.  A really athletic person who was not experienced at pulling this specific type of bow would struggle no matter what his background. 

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I also did not think it was meant to be all encompassing, but still I wonder if even the issue of height is enough to account for an entire fortress of battle hardened warriors to be unable to draw a long bow (at least once?).

 

I've never tried to draw a bow, short or long so I don't have any practicle experience.

 

 

The average draw weight on a 6ft Welsh longbow was probably around 120lbs, drawing to the ear (although some estimates range as high as 180lbs, and never lower than 90lbs). So... well, unless you've got some significant muscles, you're going to have a hard time drawing it properly. Go to the gym and try playing around with the 100lb dumbbells, and you'll quickly get a sense of how tough it is. Most longbows made today seldom crack 60lbs. Even re-enacters stick to 80lbs. Pulling on that stuff for a lifetime gives you a humped shoulder and spinal problems (unless, I guess, you shoot with both hands evenly).

 

Lan can draw it because he has arms like tree trunks and can bench press a Trolloc. But he can't draw it repeatedly because his muscles aren't accustomed to the strain. The same will be true for any other really strong Randlanders. Petra can probably draw it.

Edited by Goaswerfraiejen

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hey goas,

 

Thanks for that explanation. Wow! 120lbs! That's quite serious. And, I'd be way too embarrassed to go to the gym to try that much weight. I'm only 155lbs myself. ^_^

 

The thing about Lans muscles (even if its once) is still a bit confusing though cause that kinda implies that a fortress full of warriors can't match those three. I'm open to that possibility but I'm still kinda leaning towards the explanation that RJ was using the situation to promote their badass-ness rather than giving a comprehensive assessment of the shinarans inability to draw rands bow.

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The thing about Lans muscles (even if its once) is still a bit confusing though cause that kinda implies that a fortress full of warriors can't match those three. I'm open to that possibility but I'm still kinda leaning towards the explanation that RJ was using the situation to promote their badass-ness rather than giving a comprehensive assessment of the shinarans inability to draw rands bow.

 

I'm not entirely clear on what's confusing you. Lan has the brute (upper body) strength to draw the bow properly, but not to use it. Brute strength doesn't translate into skill at arms, though.

 

The result is that the Two Rivers folk who grew up with the longbow are, on the whole, stronger (in terms of upper-body strength) than other people in the world. But other people who spent a lot of time developing the same muscles to the same extent for whatever reason--e.g., blacksmithing, maybe lumberjacks too, powerlifters if they exist in Randland (I guess they're called "strongmen")--would also be able to pull the bows. Although again, pulling =/= using, since proper (wartime) use requires you to pull it twelve times a minute for half an hour or so.

 

Maybe I'm just a weird outlier, but that doesn't strike me as particularly strange. In fact, all these things would have been true of Welsh and English longbowmen relative to their non-longbowmen counterparts elsewhere in the world.

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Bows in general are rough to use, especially these new fangled things they have today.

Not sure if I seen the new.  Could you describe them (with words or picture)?

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hey goas, he original issue was about who could draw the bow, and not necessarily who could use it to its intended purpose.

 

I was suggesting that it seemed a bit weird that the only three people in a fortress full of warriors who had the strength to draw the bow even once just happened to be three of the main characters, and that RJ was kinda bragging on them because of that.

 

I get what people are saying about the specialized nature of using a long bow properly, but the context was about being able to draw it, even once. Someone suggested earlier that its not just an issue of brute strength and that's why no sheinaran could do it, but you seemed to suggest Lan could do it because of his brute strength.

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Drawing a bow is not only about raw strength.  It is the practice that builds the neurological pathways that allows the muscles to work effectively at the task.  I think the passage was hinting that Rand built a really high draw weight bow that only Rand and Perrin could draw because of a combination of strength and practice.  Lan is just the Chuck Norris of Randland.  So in effect an experienced longbow archer who is slightly weaker like Mat might be able to draw a 120lb bow.  A very strong non longbow archer might be able to draw Mat's bow.  But only an experienced very sturdy longbow archer can draw the thumpstick that rand put together. 

 

Riding horses is a great example of this concept.  Studies have shown that very experienced equestrians burn almost zero calories riding horses. The riders bodies are so relaxed and attuned to where they need to be in the horses stride that very little work is done.  Inexperienced riders burn a ton of calories riding because they are constantly adjusting to the horse. 

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And yet, the inexperienced people can still ride, even if only in a clumsy manner. Perhapz RJ meant to communicate what you are suggesting about experience being the key to Rand and Perrin's ability, but that's not how it was worded. It appears to be written in the context of strength, not skill. Being able to draw the bow (even once) is how its worded and was the context of my original post.

 

Two people here have already stated Lan could draw it (if even only once) because of his brute strength, which seems to be RJ's reason for including him, too. It may also be that RJ did not literally mean "no other person in the whole fortress" as it's actually written but rather an idiomatic expression like "all kinds" used to refer to all shinarans after one group tried to draw it and failed.

 

But still my original point was that, based on the way it's actually written, it gives the rather silly impression that Rand walks around the fortress asking everyone to try his bow and keeps a list of those who can't. Perhaps it's just my Ariel humor that I saw it that way? ^_^

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I took it to mean, of the people who had tried to draw the string, those were the ones who succeeded.  And not literally only those people in the entire world or even the fortress could do it. 

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Bows in general are rough to use, especially these new fangled things they have today.

Not sure if I seen the new.  Could you describe them (with words or picture)?

 

http://www.bowhuntingbasics.com/images/Compound%20Bow.jpg

 

These, they are harder to get drawn, but easier to hold back, depending on the tension poundage

 

That picture was the first time I seen that particular kind of bow.  The limb bolts lock together when the bow & arrow are fully drawn?

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Bows in general are rough to use, especially these new fangled things they have today.

Not sure if I seen the new.  Could you describe them (with words or picture)?

 

http://www.bowhuntingbasics.com/images/Compound%20Bow.jpg

 

These, they are harder to get drawn, but easier to hold back, depending on the tension poundage

 

That picture was the first time I seen that particular kind of bow.  The limb bolts lock together when the bow & arrow are fully drawn?

 

I'm not entirely sure, but when you get it about 75% drawn it becomes a lot easier. It may be what you said

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Bows in general are rough to use, especially these new fangled things they have today.

Not sure if I seen the new.  Could you describe them (with words or picture)?

 

http://www.bowhuntingbasics.com/images/Compound%20Bow.jpg

 

These, they are harder to get drawn, but easier to hold back, depending on the tension poundage

 

That picture was the first time I seen that particular kind of bow.  The limb bolts lock together when the bow & arrow are fully drawn?

 

I'm not entirely sure, but when you get it about 75% drawn it becomes a lot easier. It may be what you said

 

I am not 100% sure but I believe it has to do with the pulleys, like the lower one is an odd shape, so it may rotate a bit and act as a 'lock' type deal

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Bows in general are rough to use, especially these new fangled things they have today.

Not sure if I seen the new.  Could you describe them (with words or picture)?

 

http://www.bowhuntingbasics.com/images/Compound%20Bow.jpg

 

These, they are harder to get drawn, but easier to hold back, depending on the tension poundage

 

That picture was the first time I seen that particular kind of bow.  The limb bolts lock together when the bow & arrow are fully drawn?

 

I'm not entirely sure, but when you get it about 75% drawn it becomes a lot easier. It may be what you said

 

I am not 100% sure but I believe it has to do with the pulleys, like the lower one is an odd shape, so it may rotate a bit and act as a 'lock' type deal

 

makes sense

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