Dragon Slayers Shouldn’t Have Dragons…

One of the unusual habits of modern day blade designers I find a bit puzzling is their penchant for questionable weapon names. Take this set of swords for example:

Dragon Slayers

Dragon Slayer 41" Dragon Slayer 23In

[view full size] [view full size]

Now I’m not saying these aren’t cool looking swords. Because they are. Albeit perhaps a little gaudy for my taste around the cross guard area. But the point is, What we are looking at are a set of dragon themed swords, called… Dragon Slayers. Yes. Seems innocent enough, right? Except that, in the face of tradition, this name makes no sense. I’m making no sense? Ok, ok let me explain.

Traditionally, any special sword design or name would serve as an obvious indicator of either it’s use, abilities, or as a tribute to something. Look at the LOTR for example. Every weapon had a name. And each name had a significance in relation to it’s history or purpose.

Let’s take, for instance, Gandalfs Sword, Glamdring. AKA “Foe Hammer”, “Beater”, and in more contemporary works “Goblin Cleaver”. Pretty self explanatory what it’s supposed to be for. And then there are sword whose design is intended to pay homage to a creature of strength and honor, like, for instance, the Japanese Dragon Katana, where the Dragon is an honored good luck charm of strength and power, whose design has been integrated into the grip.

This weapon, on the other hand, seems confused. The design itself is actually fine, the idea of a black scimitar with a rearing dragon cross guard, black grip and dragon head pommel is ok, (though perhaps too many dragon heads for my taste) but then naming it the “Dragon Slayer”? Seems a bit contradictory to me. Either you are honoring the dragon by designing a sword around it, or you design the sword to slay it… Not both.

Perhaps I am confused about the sword naming rules, (or maybe there aren’t any…), but personally I probably would have gone for a more Dragon friendly name…

Dragon Slayers – [True Swords]


10 Responses to “Dragon Slayers Shouldn’t Have Dragons…”

  1. 1 ladyofspiders
    April 22, 2008 at 12:24 am

    I think maybe I can try to explain it a little bit too you. Hopefully I will make sense. I think in a way, there can be a certain resepct between the hunter and the hunted. And though they may be a dragon slayer, they find the dragon a most formidable oppenent, and so in some regaurds they do give honor to the animal, though they veiew it as an oppenent.

    Kind of like the way modern hunters, (though I am completely against sport hunting)where those shirts and hats which have pictures of ducks upon them, or buy that sort of Americanna art, with paintings of stags and such upon it.

    In thier minds, (as I do find it contradictory myself but it is how they justify things with themselves) they do not go around killing things becasue they hate nature but because of how much they enjoy it.

  2. April 22, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Ok, I think I kind of understand where you are coming from. In essence a hunter might adorn his hunting weapon with images of his prey as a sign of respect. It sounds like a plausible explanation, though I’m personally not inclined to believe that the contemporary American hunter really adorns their hats and shirts with deer, ducks and geese out of respect for them. They may claim to enjoy nature, but I believe they really enjoy the thrill of the hunt, not really nature itself. It is more about self gratification than actual nature love.

    Steve Irwin, the insane man that he was, truly loved nature. Hunters… I don’t think so much. I think many hunters would gladly destroy nature for a cheap thrill. And I never understood the thrill of hunting anyway. For one thing, your average hunted animal is not a combatant. I really don’t see the sport in hunting an animal that had no desire to fight back.

    But back to the point, with a Dragon, I don’t think it would a hunter/hunted situation. Dragons have traditionally always been intelligent, and just as well equipped and skilled at combat as humans. And, more importantly, most had the desire and experience needed to match wits with a human on equal terms. Some even considered humans prey. They were lethal and wily opponents many of whom who could, in fact, just as easily outsmart their human counterparts. So that would be a fair match.

    Historically Dragons have either been hated or feared, or loved and respected. I can see how the cultures that love and respect dragons might create dragon themed weapons. But the ones that hated them (and would therefore have dragon slayers) might be loathe to have to look upon a dragons form every time they picked up their weapon. Especially given that, on any given dragon hunt, the dragon slayer could just as well also be the hunted/prey.

    However your explanation makes sense to me, as I could probably see a character like a medieval Steve Irwin, finding himself in the unusual and unfortunate predicament of having to kill a Dragon to save his family, deciding to forge a sword in the dragons image in order to pay his respects before he engaged it in battle to the death… 🙂

  3. 3 ladyofspiders
    April 22, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    I am not saying I agree with that mode of logic, but that is what hunters will cliam.

    But back in the ye old days, I don’t know. I can visulaize a dragon slayer viewing the dragon as a formiable opponent and maybe crafting dragon imagery upon his weapony as a symbol of sorts.

  4. April 24, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    yeah, I know you dislike modern day hunting/hunters in general, I also find their logic rather flawed. But I suppose you could be right. After all, there were hunters who did actually love nature back in the old days too… In fact I think more hunters were in tune with nature back then than they are now… And had more respect for their prey also…

  5. 5 Brad
    May 3, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Also, something else that was overlooked here.

    A LOT of fantasy fans will argue that the COLOUR of a dragon makes a difference. In Dungeons and Dragons for example (I don’t play but I LOVE the artwork and the stories) a Silver dragon is actually a GOOD thing; metallic dragons-Gold, Silver, Bronze, Copper and Brass-are actually HEROES and good guys. Chromatic dragons on the other hand are evil-Red, Black, Blue, White and Green.

    It’s not uncommon for metallic dragons to simply kill chromatic ones in those stories (in fact the entire Dragonlance series of novels and comics is based upon that premise) and so, a silver handled blade with the name Dragon Slayer makes a good deal of sense, as the warrior wielding it would be paying homage to the heroic dragons and asking their strength and courage in defeating his foe.

    And one thing about hunting here. While I DO NOT condone hunting for recreational purposes I DO see the need of it sometimes. I live here in Ontario, and the number of car accidents involving deer has risen DRAMATICALLY in the last 5 years or so. The deer population is getting out of hand, due to a lack of preators hunting them (thanks SO much to those moronic hunters who killed wolves and bears for sport) and so many people are going out and hunting deer in the hopes of:

    a) reducing the population back to a safe limit so they don’t eat everything around them and then die off as a species.

    b) reducing the population so we humans are safe from hitting the number of stray ones that cross the roads

    c) reducing the population down to only the strongest and smartest ones so that they will be stronger as a species in the future.

    I admit that a fair number of them may simply be doing it for sport, but in this instance it is a necessity as well.

  6. May 3, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Weeeeelll, I really do not place much stock in the “fantasy” flavor of dragon lore. Much like I do with weapons, I much prefer the historical perspective and the historically related mythos, over what our modern day D&D aficionados have cooked up. So I’d ask that people restrict their comments on the issue to historical references only.

    Not to mention, historically, dragon color has been a function of the culture they come from, and not necessarily an indicator of their malevolence or benevolence. So the D&D notion of color=alignment seriously ignores the cultural influence on a dragons appearance.

    On the hunting issue, my position is that nature is self balancing. Most of the natural predator/prey imbalances we see today are largely a result of humans imposing our will on the ecosystem. So, IMHO the “culling” explanation for hunting, is at best a crutch for our failure to consider the effects of some other action we took that originally cause the problem. (Like the hunting of predators for sport as you suggested).

    Also nature, if left alone, will automatically preserve only the strongest and smartest of any species, (survival of the fittest) so that isn’t a good reason to hunt either. In fact it is our improperly conceived encroachment upon their habitat, and thoughtless hunting practices, that cause our clashes with nature. (Like bears raiding peoples houses and us hitting deer)

    So while there are some (and very few at that) legitimate reasons to hunt, by and large, present day humans, especially in the US, really do not have reasons to hunt that could not have been avoided by a little forethought, except as an excuse to fix a problem of their own making, or as sport.

    But for hunters to admit that would be to deprive them of an important recreational activity…

  7. 7 MoZZA
    August 25, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    look at the film dragonheart a dragon slayer befriends a dragon…. mwuhahahaa

  8. August 27, 2008 at 12:22 am

    LOL OK, that movie was an aberration. But even then, the dragon slayer hated dragons at the beginning…

  9. 9 MoZZA
    September 16, 2008 at 11:30 am

    phyre… please… please stop obliterating my comments!

    but i still love ya LOL

  10. September 17, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    LOL I’m sorry, I’m sorry ok, I just can’t help it…
    I’m an anal retentive bastige, it’s not my fault… 😀

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