Forever linked to Valentine's Day thanks to classical depictions of the Roman god of desire Cupid, the bow and arrow have come to symbolize the sharp sting of love and the 'bolt out of the blue' feeling that is said to be felt when some one lays eyes on the person they are destined to fall in love with. Perhaps subconsciously by their creators, its a common thread that those fictional characters associated with archery also possess a certain passion, a streak of je ne sais quoi in kind with that puckish cherub of legend.
From prose to the movies, television and video games, wherever archers take the stage is it rare to see them not only dealing with physical threats but the oftentimes vastly more dangerous emotional challenges as well.Green Arrow/Hawkeye
In Their Sights: Black Canary/Mockingbird
Marvel and DC Comic's premier archery-themed heroes share only one other things past their affinity for and with the bow and arrow: long running tempestuous relationships. Where Green Arrow is an on again/off again millionaire who picked up archery as a means to survive after being stranded by a shipwreck, Hawkeye picked up his skills after running away with the circus as a boy. Despite their frequent changes in fortune and brushes with the law, both heroes were eventually named to their respective universe's premier superhero teams. Green Arrow's relationship with legacy heroine Black Canary is a map of peaks and valleys with the pair falling out of love at least a dozen times, only for them to be brought back together again, even after surviving traumas (both emotional and superheroic), his philandering, a failed marriage and his being dead for a few years. Hawkeye and Mockingbird had what could have been the first superheroic 'meet-cute,' getting into a fight with each other over a misunderstanding in that classic comic book style. The pair fell in love and had a relatively long lasting marriage that slowly broke apart due to an emotional family tragedy, a betrayal of trust, divorce and death (her's this time). Back from 'the grave' the pair is together again, fighting side by side.Robin Hood
In His Sights: Marian
Thanks to the sheer variation in interpretations of his story, Robin Hood became the ultimate example of the archer-hero. This longevity could by ascribed to to the one factor that all versions have in common: his populist crusade against the seemingly insatiable greed of the wealthy. The most powerful symbol of his rebellion was his weapon of choice: the English longbow. A relatively inexpensive but powerful instrument, the longbow proved especially effective against the heavily armored knights that the rich and powerful could afford to have protect them. His courtship of Marian, whose depictions were almost as varied as his, has become a crucial part of the Robin Hood lore, forever proving that a sincere, resourceful rogue can win the heart of a woman well above his station, boosting the confidence of fictional thieves from Danny Ocean to Han Solo.Princess Zelda
In Her Sights: Link
A seemingly endless cycle of reincarnations and subsequent kidnappings has worn on the patience of gaming’s most famous Princesses: Zelda, she of the eponymous series of games. By the time that 1998's The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is released, Princess Zelda was ready to take a more active role in not only saving herself, but all of Hyrule. Not the least of her involvement was her use of the magic bow (a weapon critical to defeating Ganon going back to the very beginning) and the Arrows of Light to pin the lord of evil in place long enough for the Hero of Time to sink the Master Sword into his skull, ending the threat, for another age. In addition to her more active role in saving the day, her destiny is intertwined with the hero Link's, despite how they meet: as innocent children amidst a crisis, life long neighbors or sea-faring rivals, the Hero and the Princess end up happily ever after, at least until the next generation.Sterling Archer
In His Sights: Himself
He might be the world's most dangerous secret agent, but dangerous is a relative term. As lethal as James Bond or Jason Bourne, Sterling Archer, voiced by H. Jon Benjamin (Bob's Burgers), unfortunately couples that skill with a dash of the arrogance and incompetence of Get Smart's Agent 86, Maxwell Smart. His recklessness, alcoholism and womanizing make him funny to watch but a nightmare to work with. Though he doesn’t typically wield a bow and act in his namesake's fashion, he's the kind of guy who wouldn't pass up the opportunity to shoot someone with one, as long as he could think of a witty, action-movie line to say afterward. As for his affections, while Archer is not picky when it comes to his romantic conquests (or even if they charge by the hour) it's clear from his frequent boasting about his grooming and clothing choices that the true object of his affections, is not his ex-girlfriend and fellow secret agent Lana, voiced by Aisha Tyler (Serenity) but himself.Katniss Everdeen
In Her Sights: Peeta Mellark/Gale Hawthorne
Growing up in the dystopian police state of Panem is hard enough when there is isn't enough to eat and you are forced to use the archery skills imparted to you by your dead father to keep your family from starving to death by hunting illegally. But then you are compelled to become a 'tribute,' one of 24 children between the ages of 12 and 18 forced to hunt each other down and fight to the death in a battle royale for the entertainment of the powerful and to punish the people for the sins of their forefathers. In a subversion of the concept of the romantic archer, it's Katniss herself who is the object of affection for two of the primary male characters in the first book of the trilogy, The Hunger Games. Gale shares a closer but unspoken bond with the girl he grew up with, while Peeta, who is stuck in the same deadly game as the book's heroine, finally gives voice to his true unrequited feelings, but it quickly becomes lost in the gamesmanship of the forthcoming horrific televised spectacle.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!