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Mary Robinette Kowal – Make Your Quest Epic With These Iconic Fantasy Weapons

Step right up! Are you a hero trapped in the the humdrum of daily fantasy life? Are you always relegated to the background in battles when you want to rise to epic levels? We understand what it’s like when your career is stalled and no one takes you seriously. And we’re here to tell you that what you’re lacking is the right weapon. You can’t wield just any tool and hope for greatness; you need iconic instruments like Excalibur, without which King Arthur would be…what? Just another king with a magical adviser. But by pulling Excalibur from the stone he rises into epic stature. So stop struggling with the commonplace and take a look at the Catalog of Iconic Weapons.


Whip — Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The whip has a rugged style that says you’re a rough and tumble sort of fellow. Besides working as a weapon, this can also function as a mode of transportation, allowing ready escape from cliffs as long as there’s a handy strut to loop it around. Don’t forget to check out the dynamic snapping sound. It says you mean business.
Offense: Scarring, strangling, serious smarting
Defense: Removing weapons from enemies


Sword — Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Sure you could have a normal sword, but to be iconic your sword needs a name like Green Destiny. With this sweet package deal you get magical properties of an ever-sharp blade and a destiny all your own. Far more than a piece of metal, Green Destiny carries with it the weight of prophecy. That’s epic.
Offense: Can cut through metal, stone, and human bodies
Defense: Can block metal, stone and human bodies


Wand — Harry Potter Series (2001-2011)
Why go with a weapon that can only do one thing, when you can use magic instead? A wand from Alivan’s can suit any occasion — whether you’re picking a lock, levitating a feather or dueling a dark wizard. Be warned however, that these come with a steep learning curve and no user’s manual.
Offense: Fire, Expelliarmus, Unforgivable Curses
Defense: Patronus


Tomato Soup — The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)
Skip the traditional weapons and head straight into pop art. With a pantry that looks like a walk-in Warhol, you’ll have the element of surprise on your side. After all, who looks for death in an exploding can? Plus, the red goo is slightly less off-putting than blood.
Offense: Can be fired using squirt guns
Defense: Booby-trap an oven with exploding tomato soup


Golden Staff — The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)
With its graceful carvings, the Golden Staff makes a fine piece of decorative art when you aren’t using it to kick ass. Spinning parries combined with sharp thrusts makes for a beautiful presentation when fighting. Besides its inherent strength, this weapon requires strong skills and concentration. Oh yes, and it allows you to time travel. Snap.
Offense: Knock heads
Defense: Blocks blows from any weapon type


Bow and Arrow — The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
Not interested in getting close to the action? Stick with a bow that allows you to inflict maximum damage from a distance. The bright red fletching sported by Susan (Anna Popplewell) makes a sharp fashion statement while at the same time paying a nod to the blood of war.
Offense: Pierces armor
Defense: If desperate, can be used as a club at close range


Stake — Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
This simple weapon is good for the hero on a budget. Hand-crafted from individually split pieces of lumber, the artisan qualities are at home in a church, graveyard or street corner. An ideal (and economical!) choice of weaponry if you face vampires in your day-to-day.
Offense: Aim through the heart for instant death
Defense: Really none


Medusa’s Head – Clash of the Titans (1981)
Not for the faint-hearted, this bloody trophy can freeze your enemies in their tracks. As a side benefit, you get a complete sculpture garden afterwards, so choose your targets wisely. Be careful not to look directly at the face, lest you join them.
Offense: Turns enemies to stone
Defense: An effective deterrent against being an enemy


Laser — Toy Story (1995)
Don’t think lasers are an option in fantasy? Fret no more! Just borrow this easy trick from your nearest animated toy astronaut and be the envy of your peers with a cutting edge arm laser. Useful as a flashlight, its greatest strength is its intimidation factor — which is off the scale for mild-mannered toys.
Offense: Um…actually, it’s just a light
Defense: Duh, intimidate your enemy into submission. And then blind him?


Your Entire Body – The Medallion (2003)
Rather than worrying about a weapon you might drop or damage, learn to inflict maximum harm with your own body. Take a page from Jackie Chan’s style guide and you too can defeat your foes with speed and comic timing.
Offense: Round kicks, ladders
Defense: Disarming style

Didn’t see anything that suited your style in this catalog? Tell us about your ideal Iconic weapon and what makes it the perfect option for your rise to epic stature.


Mary Robinette Kowal is the winner of the 2008 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a professional puppeteer. Her first novel Shades of Milk and Honey is being published by Tor in 2010.

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