Archery Help for Writers in Middle-earth: 3. Parts of the Arrow and Bow

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3. Parts of the Arrow and Bow


Arrowhead - that sharp pointy thing on the business end.

Shaft - the wooden body of the arrow.

Crest - Painted/colored identification stripes (if desired) applied just forward of the fletching. These can be personal, heraldic, tribal, clan, etc.

Fletching - the three feathers at the rear of the arrow designed to stabilize flight and create lift. The feather placed at right-angles to the Nock is the "Cock" feather, and may be another color from the other two "Hen" feathers, for ease of finding the nock. Fletching may be applied parallel to the shaft's length, or set in a slight spiral.

Nock - the notched end at the very butt of the arrow, where the string is inserted prior to shooting. The nock may be simply a smooth groove cut cross-grain of the wooden shaft, or it may be a bit of shaped, smooth horn glued to the end of the shaft. The nock must be smooth enough that it does not cut or fray the bowstring.


Handle - Slightly thickened midsection where the archer grasps the bow.

Belly - Curved inner part of the bow, closest the archer when drawn.

Back - Flat outer part of the bow, facing away from the archer towards the target when drawn.

Upper Limb - Top half of the bow. (Yes, they do have a top and bottom.)

Lower Limb - Lower half of the bow.

Arrow Plate - A bit of decorative horn, bone, mother-of-pearl etc., that is inlaid on the arrow-side (left side) of the bow, just above the handle.  Since the arrow does not actually create much wear, this is mostly for looks, as well as to make the upper half of the bow easy to identify.

String Nocks - grooved horn or wood tips at both ends of the bow to which the string is strung.

Odd Fact: An arrow when nocked for drawing is properly laid across the bow-hand on the LEFT side of the bow, not the right. (Look at photos of Orlando/Legolas shooting, and you will see examples of this.) Recall the "archer's paradox" for more on how that curiosity of flight works and works well.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: ErinRua

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: Other

Genre: Research Article

Rating: General

Last Updated: 11/21/05

Original Post: 09/19/02

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Playlists Featuring the Story

Useful Reference Works - 4 stories - Owner: Elena Tiriel
Non-fiction works about topics useful to writers.
Included because: I am not an archer, therefore I need all the help I can get to incorporate archery in my stories.

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