Size Matters, Historically

The spear is mightier than the sword.

PHOTO | Johnan Mitchell

Spears are without a doubt the weapon that propelled humanity into a different age. The journey starts with proto-humans and sharpened sticks, hunting for their next meal, and extends through to 1951, where the last historically documented bayonet charge took place in Korea. (For the sake of this argument, I am including bayonets as a form of spear.)

There is no doubt that spears have been humanity’s weapon of choice for a very long time, but why are they so misrepresented in the media?

Several examples come to mind when I think about how disrespected the spear has been in modern interpretations. The classic tabletop roleplaying game, Dungeons and Dragons, is notorious for making this weapon terrible.

In every iteration of the game, swords have dealt consistently more damage than a spear. In fact, it outclasses it so much that the only reason why one would use a spear in this fantasy setting is merely for aesthetics.

The same goes for video games, with statistics constantly and consistently keeping the spear as a low-damage weapon. Dark souls is especially bad about nixing the genuine ability that this polearm possesses.

The media loves their sword and shield duels, because they feel it looks cooler and will attract a bigger audience, but this is not the case, as seen in “The Stormlight Archives” by Brandon Sanderson.

One of the main characters, Kaladin, uses the spear to great effect. He wields the weapon through a combination of thrusts and swings.

While the choreography may be exaggerated when compared to how the weapon is used in real life, it is no more exaggerated than the bombastic sword duels depicted in movies.

Either weapon can make the viewer’s imagination jump to life. Why give all the glory to the sword when the spear is just as interesting?

Media representation aside, Spears held a very blatant historical advantage. The untrained commoner could use a spear, and often to great effect. This is compared to a sword, which takes years to fully master.

Not to mention that swords were mostly taught for dueling, tournaments and sports more than it was taught for war. In a practical wartime setting, the spear was the way to go and

swords were a last-resort in many combat scenarios.

There is no denying that there are other martial weapons that are cooler, but the spear does not deserve all of the hate that it receives in modern media interpretations.

I think it is foolish that spears do not get the attention they deserve, especially given the fact that they remain one of the most important weapons in human history.