Fantasy Armor Part II
One Last Example of Good Female Fantasy Armor
Male Fantasy Armor: The Right and The Wrong Way
This article is going to be significantly different than my first one on fantasy armor. It was much harder to write than the first one. Part of me actually regretted mentioning in the first one that I was going to write this article. The main reason for this regret is that male fantasy armor does not suffer as much from the vile depredations of fanservice as female fantasy armor does. This is probably due to the fact that people absurdly view the fantasy fan base as 99% male (by male here I mean sex obsessed teenage boys). I’m going to throw in a caveat here. I am not the sort of person who goes to conventions and dresses up like his favorite character. I have nothing against those who do. I do not know if most of them fit this 99% male mold or not. Those I do know that go to conventions do not. However, most of the fantasy and sci-fi fans that I know do not fit this mold Some of them are also female. I am sure that some tv producers would be shocked to learn that. But I digress. My point is that most of those, who are thought to be the fantasy fanbase, don’t particularly care about seeing the male body.
Notable Offender #1: Conan the Barbarian.
I want to make some things quite clear right off the bat. I am not talking about the books written by Robert E. Howard. I have not read them. Nor am I talking about the plot, the dialogue, or the acting in the movies. I have not watched them. Nor am I talking about the comic books. I have not read them. I am only talking about the costume. I do not know if it is ever referred to as armor. If the costume is referred to as armor, there is no justification for the costume, but if it is not referred to as armor, the costume can be justified. From what I understand, Conan is a Cimmerian, which has a culture based on the Celts, who ran naked into battle. So this loincloth could actually make sense.
Notable Offender #2: The Greeks.
I want to make it quite clear here that I am not talking about the actual Greek people. I’m talking about the Athenians and the Spartans in 300 and 300: Rise of An Empire. Now, I know that the people out there, who think that Zack Snyder is the god-king of modern cinema are going to hate me. I’ll try not to cry myself to sleep over it. The fact of the matter is that this is not armor. There is a helmet and a shield. Good job! My praise of this armor ends there. I am still trying to figure out where people got the idea that Greeks do not wear pants. Now, I know that some people are going to say, “You have to understand the source material.” No, no, I do not. If the source material has these outfits in it, then the source material is stupid. Seriously when Red Sonja’s chainmail bikini is doing more to protect her than another character’s armor is doing to protect him, the other character is in trouble. Also do not throw the “it’s fantasy” excuse at me. I discussed my opinion of that excuse in my former article on this topic.
Notable Offender #3: MMORPGS
To be honest, I have not played a ton of MMORPGs, but I have seen pictures of some of the armor in these games. They are ridiculous. See above example, which is from the game TERA. These games seem to be equal opportunity offenders when it comes to fantasy armor. Seriously, what sort of self respecting warrior would ever wear a suit of plate mail, which leaves his belly exposed? Only one with a death wish would. TERA would be one of those games that I have not played. So for all I know that armor logically has a lower armor rating than actual full plate mail in the game. I do find this highly doubtful though. Now, I will point out that TERA is not the only offender out there. Most MMORPGs are offenders at least when it comes to female fantasy armor.
Doing It Right
Now that I have looked at a few notable offenders, I would like to look at a few people, who have done it right.
Doing it Right #1: Aragorn
Aragorn in the movie trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, ends up wearing this quite nice looking suit of chainmail armor. This is lighter weight than full plate mail, but it also provides ample protection against the enemy weapons. This is a sensible suit of armor.
Doing it Right #2: Thor
Thor from the Thor Movies also wears some quite nice armor. Just like Lady Sif’s, it could use a bit more neck protection, but it is still a highly protective suit of armor. It covers his arms. It protects his chest. He wears pants.
Doing it Right #3: Jaime Lannister.
Yet again, we have a nice, elegantly simple suit of armor. Since Jaime is an expert swordsman, he is leaving his arms free enough to enable maneuverability with his sword. However, note that his chest and stomach are well protected. Since he is not a tank warrior, he does not need heavy armor.
Doing it Right #4: Gregor Clegane, The Mountain that Rides
Here we have Gregor Clegane. He is a tank warrior so his armor needs to be heavier than Jaime Lannister’s. It is basically what one wants in armor. It provides protection while allowing the warrior to serve in his role.
An Example of Good Fantasy Writing
An Example of Good Fantasy Movies
Now, as I said in the previous article, this is a big deal. What most fantasy fans that I know want in their fantasy is good storytelling. We want characters to be well crafted. That means the warrior whether female or male dresses in sensible armor like an actual warrior would. I am not one, who often passes serious ridicule on fantasy. I think there are enough people in the world, who do that, without me joining in. But if an author makes supposedly intelligent warriors wear idiotic armor, then I will ridicule that author. Enough is enough.