Having a shiny suit was indicative of prestige and prowess as far back as the Bronze Age, but there was still a certain amount of practicality required lest the wearer wind up a very stylish corpse. It has been a little over three hundred years since traditional “battle armor” went out of vogue. Since then, literary and artistic portrayals of armor in all its forms have grown more elaborate and ever less practical.
Let’s start with those head handlebars.
Anyone who grew up with goats or sheep understands this pitfall. In a tussle, those horns make excellent handholds—after all, if you control the head, you control the rest of the goat.
Not to mention if they were fighting in a forest or anywhere with low hanging objects, one might very well break his neck before ever reaching the enemy. Then there is all that extra weight and limited motion of the head, which is problematic if you want to be able to see what’s coming at you from different angles.
I’m sorry, but you’re not a porcupine.
Some artists have drawn armor with these freaky spikes all over the place. That looks really cool and scary, but what happens if you fall or have to bring your arm close to your face? And heaven forbid somebody is able to sneak up on the blind spot created by aforementioned spikes, rips them off, and stabs you with them. That’s going to make for one embarrassing eulogy. Not that you’ll be around to suffer through it.
Apparently, the enemy knowing that you’re a woman is more important than continued breathing.
I could go on for hours about female armor in fantasy. Whatever the case, artists and designers and writers have found a deeply rooted need to point out a character’s feminine attributes.
They don’t stop to think that the dreaded “boob plate,” proudly displaying both bosoms, places a ridge of metal over the woman’s sternum. That’s all well and good until she gets hit in the chest and that metal ridge shatters the bone, sending it straight into her heart and lungs.
And then there’s the problem of no armor at all.
I thought about making this specifically about female characters in nothing but metal lingerie, but I’ve also seen male characters in nothing but metal loincloths. They have so little shielding, they might as well be running out there naked. Anyone who’s walked a hyper dog in shorts understands why combat nudity is a bad idea. If a puppy can scratch you up like that by just being playful, how much worse do you think a sword is going to be?
Maybe I’m a snob about these things. It is fantasy and that means a certain degree of artistic license. However, I often find it hard not to laugh/sneer. Especially women’s armor, just…ick.
Reblogged this on Illuminite Caliginosus- A Spark of Light Within the gloom and commented:
Damn, and I really like playing RPGs.
Like I said, stylish corpse! 😉
You’re not a snob about the armor. One of my biggest pet peeves, is female armor which is designed solely to appeal to the male gaze,and enhance her assets, than be useful.That is a trope that needs to be taken out and shot.
And set on fire and the ashes melted into slag.
I laughed the entire time reading this blog. There’s a line between artistic license and just plain impractical and you should that.
Eli Hinze said:
PRAISE THIS POST
BLESS THIS POST
BAPTIZE THIS POINT BECAUSE, LIKE, GIRL
Seriously though, the Conan post has me dying. “Nah, I just want to protect my swinging arm. I don’t really need my vital organs, right? I mean, they’re only vital.” *gets impaled* “Oh . . .wait.”
Your approval flatters me. 😉 But really, he would be scarred like a baiting bear at best, very dead more likely.
Love it. You’ve captured my thoughts completely. And I would love to see a great warrior hanging in a tree by his helmet horns. 😀
Anna from Shout with Emaginette
That could be so funny! I’ll have to try and work that into a story at some point.
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sherry fundin said:
I think you covered a lot of the pitfalls of armor. LOL I couldn’t help but laugh through the post and at some of the comments. Great job, Elisabeth.
sherry @ fundinmental
I love making you laugh! 😀
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