Hey guys, I’m back from the Féile na Gaiscígh event run by the Dublin HEMA club where we met up with our good friends the Cork Blademasters and Emmet Byrne from Ravenheart forge – I’ll put the links to those guys below. When I got back I was just inundated with messages and comments about “How good would Gandalf really be in a fight?”
Nobody asked for this…
Alright, so why am I really doing this? One of the members of the Academy of Steel, we were out, we were having pancakes – we go out for pancakes a lot and completely undo all of the good work that we’ve just done in class – and there’s a lot of us, some of us are in one booth and I overhear from the other booth that one of the members of my HEMA school hasn’t seen Lord of the Rings. Now I was shocked! Shocked!
So we decided that this was actually a really great opportunity because he gets to watch Lord of the Rings for the first time and I love Lord of the Rings. I was you know “that guy”, you know the guy, they’re not watching the film they’re watching you watching the film; they’re like: “Huh, what do you think of that, huh?! They’re not getting past apparently.”
I’ve recently been doing some study into Fiore’s staff and dagger and watching Gandalf using the staff and a sword got me thinking about how good that combination would actually be.
Gandalf can beat orcs. He can beat other wizards. And goblins And he beats up a hobbit that one time. And balrogs. And he beats up that weird old creep who was – you know – middle earth’s answer to the Human Torch.
“Well if Gandalf is such a badass then why are you picking on him?” I hear you shouting at me. So yeah, this isn’t really about Gandalf the character, more the weapons that he uses. I know he’s magic, don’t at me.
Before we go any further, I am going to be looking at the film adaptation of the Lord of the Rings not the books and I won’t be addressing the Hobbit okay? If you like the Hobbit that’s fine, I just don’t. You can try to convince me in the comments below that it’s any good if you like and I know that somebody worked really hard on it but it’s dank.
Also I know this is a really weird thing to fixate on but it’s always bothered me how much shorter Gandalf the White’s beard is than Gandalf the Grey’s, like I’ve always liked to imagine him stopping off for a trim on the way back to middle earth.
Now I love swords and I recently put together a video about how polearms get a bad rap in films but using two two handed weapons in one hands leaves you two hands short.
Using a staff with an offhand weapon was done, like I said, in Fiore he describes using a staff with a dagger in the off hand.
The idea maybe being that you’re walking down the street, you’ve been caught with your pants down, you pull out your dagger, some bandit is there with a spear, he’s after your ha’pennies and your mutton pies, he’s looking to stab you… You’re trying to displace the spear with the staff, you run in and you job him in the face with the dagger.
Using the spear with the dagger as described by Fiore is amazingly effective and it allows you to use telekinetic powers to disarm your opponent.
Okay – actually I didn’t like it very much I didn’t think it was all that effective. I would’ve much preferred to have had the staff in my hands with the dagger in my belt maybe so that I’m just not getting out pointed by my opponent. It’s probably, for me, one of the things that I like least about Fiore’s work.
There are other historical examples of the sword being used with a spear it just, it looks ungainly, it does not look like it would be very effective. It looks so cumbersome but hell, we’ll give it a go anyway.
I have chosen different opponents to represent the different creatures that you find in middle earth.
You’ve got your orc…
You’ve got your goblin…
You’ve got your disgusting troll…
I would’ve liked to have fought an old man on fire but I didn’t have any volunteers.
You don’t get a lot of power from striking with the staff and the same could be said of the sword because obviously it’s designed to be used with two hands rather than just the one. You can use the staff for cover and that can work quite well but if you’re not used to using two weapons like I am then it does leave you at a bit of a disadvantage.
I attempted to use it here as I’d seen it depicted in the Gladiatoria manuscript but in reality, holding the weapons together like this kind of makes the sword pointless. I mean I suppose you get a little bit of protection to your main hands but that’s about it.
As we can see in this next shot, it really does leave the hand exposed.
In conclusion – was Gandalf any good as a fighter if you took away his magic?
I mean I feel like I could beat up Ian Mckellan. I mean I wouldn’t, I love him. But like if I had to you know, like, I don’t want to… Ian if you’re watching I love you man, seriously, you’re great, I don’t want to beat you up, I’m just saying that if I had to beat you up I think I could.
If you liked this video, and I don’t blame you if you didn’t. I really don’t blame you if you didn’t like this video. But if you did, because you’ve got nothing else going on, maybe hit like or subscribe or the bell icon because it helps us out with.. you know… I don’t know, there’s an algorithm somewhere apparently.
If you have any ideas of maybe other weapons combinations that you’d like me to talk about, leave them in the comments below!
Raven Heart Forge is run by my friend Emmet, an up and coming blacksmith who is making all sorts of cool stuff. Check him out at: https://www.facebook.com/ravenheartforge/
Cork Blade Masters are some absolute fiends with a blade. Technical, formidable and some down right awesome dude: https://www.corkblademasters.com/