SWORDS ARE AWESOME
At one point in Your Face Tomorrow, Javier Marias’ epic three-novel digression on truth, violence, and transgression, the narrator flips his intellectual bean because his boss takes out a sword in a bathroom.
You don’t take out a sword just to intimidate a person, he says. It’s such an inconvenient, impossible to conceal, wonky tool that any 21st century person looking to intimidate someone would just use a gun or a shank.
The very presence of the sword drips with violence and murder.
They’re among the most primitive crafted weapons—basically just sharpened clubs—and were the main element of war for so long that our collective creative consciousness won’t let go of them.
Beside the fact that all of the best fight scenes in movies have swords in them, and the fact that the leader of any group better have a sword or else he ain’t really the leader, they continue popping up in symbolic, fictional, and practical uses. From duels, to raunchy 19th century novels, to military ceremony, swords remain.
The symbolic and emotional connection of the sword to the human heart is complex and richly varied.
At least 50% of the appeal of Star Wars comes from how it drags the nobility of the sword and the knight into space travel. It’s not only about cool-looking, light-saber fights. Even Darth Vader knows that he’s got to fight Luke and Obi Wan sword-to-sword—nobly, light a knight.
Of course, they’re not always noble. The Hound prefers a sword, too. His just happens to be massive, and excellent at hacking people in half.
A sword is, literally, an extension of the self. It extends your arm in a 2, 3, or 4 foot arc around your body and gives it a killing edge, turning a fleshy little target into a tiger: elegant, terrifying, and deadly. It also, like those people who start to look like their dogs, provides a physical representation for who a person is.
Thing is, swords are awesome because they just look cool. And when you hold one you look like a Bad Ass. You aren’t holding a little plastic lead projector and telling people to stay away or you’ll shoot.
You’re holding a three-foot shard of steel and saying, come at me bro. See what happens.