Why Swords?

Why do I write Epic Fantasy with medieval weaponry and magic?  Hasn’t this already been done in a plethora of ways?  Certainly, but for me there is a draw to swords and bows that modern weaponry lacks.

I have a deep respect for medieval weaponry.  Sure, the weapons of that time are pretty barbaric and often lead to gruesome and painful deaths, but melee weapons such as swords allow the user to actually see his opponent die. Close combat requires two sides to engage in a way that ranged weapons do not.  A person wielding a sword has to get close enough to see the light leave from the other’s eyes.  Swords required years of training, often a man’s entire life, and a great deal of strength and speed to wield effectively.

These properties of medieval melee weapons are why they fascinate me so much.  While writing, I try to envision how the warrior would not only move, but his inevitable respect for his fellow swordsmen, even the defeated ones.  Every time two swordsmen engage each other, it is a test of skill.  There is no hiding with a sword.  The combatants must face one another openly.

There is also the exotic factor of medieval weapons.  Swords, maces, axes, and bows are not used regularly in the industrialized world.  Since they are so rarely seen, save for maybe a renaissance festival, I find myself wondering what it would look like to have these weapons as a staple for a military instead of firearms.  Ultimately, I chose to write another epic fantasy story using swords and sorcery because they are exotic, and exotic things tend to invoke the imagination.

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