When I was twelve I played Ocarina of Time for the first of many, many times. Some of my fondest memories involve Link, Epona, our trusty bow and arrow, and the shooting range in Gerudo Valley. I felt inexplicably awesome in those moments, and I daydreamed of eventually learning archery myself. Maybe even some horseback riding! But that's a different story.
When I was fifteen I read Fellowship of the Rings, then saw the movie later that year, and fell in enamored fascination with Legolas and his unrivaled archery skills. I remembered how I felt three years prior playing Ocarina of Time, and I shoveled even more resolve into learning the ancient skill myself.
On a smaller scale, The Princess Diaries played a brief interlude in my ongoing interest in archery. You remember that scene where she has to shoot the flaming arrow through the hoop to represent love? Yeah, that was cool.
This past year has presented a huge push, and by huge push I mean my 'learn archery' buttons are being rapidly jammed on like a twelve year old with a new drum set, with the presence of Katniss and now Merida.
So, to make sure we're all keeping count, that makes two strong male representatives, and now two strong female representatives encouraging me to go after a fourteen year long aspiration.
How does everyone feel about the archery push? Does it feel overplayed? Is it under-represented? Is anyone upset that I didn't bring up Hawkeye? Does anyone out there practice archery themselves?
A few weeks ago I saw a video from the professional archery people, I forget what they're called and I can't remember where to find the video. This is some grade A journalism, right? Anyway, the representative mentioned that there had been a huge spike in popularity and it was largely attributed to The Hunger Games. This I find pretty awesome! Katniss is, comparatively speaking, a really great role model for young women. She's strong, she has her own set of issues. She's determined and amazing with a bow and arrow. Katniss is not without fault, of course, but this is about her archery skills, not her personality.
It's made me wonder if the spike will continue... spiking, or if there will be an even larger spike once Brave hits theatres. Merida looks to be another phenomenal bow toting character and I am really excited to see how her story plays out. I find it fantastic that there are more and more powerful female leads to choose from. And to me I think it's even better that they use bows and not guns. Guns don't seem as badass as archery. Perhaps it's because archery is so much older... I'll think on this and get back to you.
It's unfortunate that I've never had lessons myself, but there weren't exactly places to learn where I grew up. But! Apparently there is an amazing archery range in Santa Monica that offers lessons, and there are even days where I can go and practice for free!
I've seen a few places online that are a bit grumbly toward the "hunger games/brave" crowd for mucking up their beloved archery. I can sympathize with half-hearted interests threatening to engulf a true love, but some people will develop legitimate, life-long interests from Hunger Games and Brave. I hope that, when the day comes that I finally learn archery, I will be met with bows not drawn.