For thousands of years, many cultures have used archery as a significant form of weaponry. However, when firearms arrived on the European scene in the 16th century, they largely replaced bows and arrows in Europe. Archery only started coming back in vogue in recent years, beginning in the 19th century.
Nevertheless, the English had no desire to give up their heritage and kept practicing archery as a sport. Special societies were formed, tournaments were held, and even The Prince of Wales was heavily involved. And frankly, it’s a small wonder, as a very large portion of “the magic” comes from England, like the Legends of King Arthur and the rebellious character of Robin Hood. Thanks to England’s continuing tradition, many stories safely transitioned the ways of old through the ages to our present day.
Archery requires a type of mastery that is hard to portray on screen since not many actors have professional experience with it. And we can proudly say that Peter Jackson has an eye that circles to every degree like an actual lens of the camera, since so far Tauriel gets very positive reviews.
Tauriel is seen by experts to use a more exotic way of shooting, that much akin to the Eastern mastery of archery, specifically the horseback archers of Mongolia, Hungary, etc. She has an arrow on the outside of her bow, which demonstrates a technique that favors speed rather than accuracy. It gives a shooter a chance to sway his bow in almost every direction, because when aiming to the left the wind would push an arrow to keep a straight line rather then falling out (which just might be the case of a traditional English method used by Legolas, with an arrow on the inner side.)
The only thing that could stand on the way of Tauriel being an excellent “killing machine” would be her quiver hanging on the wrong side (in the picture above). But let’s hope Legolas will save the day if her arrows ever get tangled up whilst a Warg or an Orc gets too close.
The English longbow style that Legolas represents most accurately, was developed when archery transitioned from a war weapon to recreational activity, and accuracy became the goal.
“This technique favors speed over accuracy; when you have a couple of hundred guys on horseback raining arrows on the enemy like this, it doesn’t really matter where they’re going. “– Says Jim MacQuarrie in his commentary on archery and Tauriel for GeekDad.com.
But given that Tauriel, after all, is no common mortal (and the type of a bow she has is actually very heavy), we expect she just might level up with Legolas’s majesty.
So as a final point–Tauriel is doing it right. This, after Legolas, only proves once more that Peter Jackson and the team on The Hobbit films are not only creating things of immense beauty, but are also maintaining the importance of the small details.