Tolkien Gateway


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m (adjusting category to Noncanon weapons, as all Middle-earth portrayals of crossbows are adaptations-only (mostly games and films))
m (moved Crossbows to Cross-bows: Tolkien's spelling)

Revision as of 21:32, 19 October 2021

Cross-bows is a concept which has only appeared in an adaptation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Crossbows are a type of bow weapons where the bow and its string are mounted on a stock. The bowstring along with bolt is pulled back and then held in place until fired by a trigger lever.

They are fairly commonly shown in some of the adaptations, but aren't mentioned in the original works.


Portrayal in adaptations

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

As part of the roleplaying game's extrapolation of Middle-earth's aspects, crossbows occur as a rarer form of archery weapon. They are used most commonly by the dwarves, who are implied to be their original inventors. They can be sometimes found in the possession of some half-elves and half-trolls as well. Hobbits also occassionally use them, specifically smaller light crossbows. These are referred to as "bracebows".[1] [2]

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers:

In the film, the Uruk-hai use fairly large crossbows at Helm's Deep, presumably designed by Saruman. The Uruk crossbowmen are featured relatively little in scenes during the siege, mainly at the beginning and while trying to conquer the first gatehouse of the fortress, shooting at the defenders through gaps in the damaged gate. They use their crossbows with ease and deadly accuracy. Though the crossbows are reloaded somewhat slower than a bow, they feature an integrated spanning lever, which allows for faster spanning of the bowstring and makes additional spanning tools unnecessary. In the behind the scenes documentaries of the film's Extended Edition, concept artist John Howe and production designer Richard Taylor briefly discuss and demonstrate the Uruk crossbow props, made by Weta Workshop. Howe reveals that the inspiration for the crossbow came from an early 16th century design, found in the Codex Löffelholz manuscript from Germany. [3] [4] [5]

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II:

Uruk crossbowmen are portrayed as a deadly fighting unit.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Crossbows are available to player characters as handheld ranged weapons. They are less common than bows. Some player character classes, such as the Champion, are not allowed to use the weapon. [6]

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North:

A steel dwarven crossbow is one of the ranged weapons available to the (non-canon) dwarf player character Farin.

See also

External links


  1. S. Coleman Charlton (1993), Middle-earth Role Playing (2nd edition, hardcover) (#2000)
  2. S. Coleman Charlton (1993), Middle-earth Role Playing (2nd edition, softcover) (#2001)
  3. Animated image of Richard Taylor demonstrating the functional Uruk crossbow prop, Weta Workshop featurette, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Extended Edition
  4. Codex Löffelholz in .pdf format at the Jagellonian Bibliotheque - historical design that inspired the film crossbows by Howe and Weta Workshop
  5. Video demonstrating a professionally reconstructed Codex Löffelholz crossbow - the rare historical design that inspired the film's Uruk crossbows
  6. Crossbow Items The Lord of the Rings Online Wiki