I mean let’s be honest here
a short sword is going to weigh about 3lbs. a longsword? probably 5lbs
actually no let’s get a source. I’m not doing this from memory. Let’s go with the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts, real people fighting with real swords using real techniques and documents. And they said…
Despite frequent claims to the contrary, Medieval swords were indeed light, manageable, and on average weighed less than four pounds. As leading sword expert Ewart Oakeshott unequivocally stated: “Medieval Swords are neither unwieldably heavy nor all alike - the average weight of any one of normal size is between 2.5 lb. and 3.5 lbs. Even the big hand-and-a-half ‘war’ swords rarely weigh more than 4.5 lbs. …”
And just to make sure, I just went and asked my brother for his claymore. It’s a two-handed sword, looks almost exactly like the one on the wikipedia page:
it weighs 3.5lbs. I was actually over-estimating.
I weighed my white oak training sword. It also weighs 3.5lbs. Now considering I can’t even lift my own body weight and I was able to swing that thing around for a good hour once a week, it… really doesn’t take that much strength to lift a sword. Especially when it’s properly balanced! Like, having a sword with a good balance alone takes off a lot of the energy required to wield it.
But using it for hours on end with finesse and accuracy? Completely different story. That’s where the strength to use a sword comes in. You’re going to find yourself wearing out really fast wielding anything in combat if you don’t have the stamina to use it for three hours, let alone a day or two.
I mean I’d even argue it takes more strength to use a bow. And I mean a good bow that’s going to actually take down something like a deer, instead of, I dunno, bouncing off of it like gnats on a gnoll.
I’m sure most of you reading this know all this already, though! To which I’m super proud. Allow me to kiss you on the cheek or the forehead and rub noses with you in glee. And if you didn’t know? Well, welcome to the wonderful world of swordplay! Go forth with your new knowledge. Maybe look into taking up kendo or fencing or even the historical fencing people like ARMA do. (Because European swordplay wasn’t the unskilled use of sharp things. It was an art, just like the more popular Asian martial arts.)
I’m mostly just really tired of this trope set in our minds by things like DnD where melee is determined by STR and archers are determined by DEX, that ignores that archers were some of the biggest and strongest people. And if there’s a woman in fray, she’s probably a spellcaster because women are weak or something like that. (Which, while we’re talking about that, one time in the mogu tag someone tried to justify the sexual dimorphism of the new female mogu models by saying something to the tune of “they’re probably spellcasters.” To which I wanted to respond, “the entire mogu race is made up of spellcasters, dimwit. It’s also made up of individuals who value strength above all else.”)
So when Anduin, who apparently can’t swing a sword (and from what I can tell, isn’t just bad at swordplay, but is actually incapable of swinging it), becomes a priest? It feels less like he’s different from his father, or that he has a strong connection to the light, or maybe he disapproves of drawing blood, and more like it was his only option. To become a spellcaster. Which is a path so many weak, female characters are pushed down. Because, you know, they can’t swing a sword, whether explicitly stated or not.
I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I’m not even saying it was intentional. I’m not even saying Anduin isn’t a totally awesome priest, smiting enemies and making the sky rain holy fire upon the darkness. I’m just so tired of it being the road priests walk down. (Can’t swing a sword? Don’t worry, you can be main healer!)
And I’m so tired of it being the road women walk down.
During the first run of our DnD campaign, in a group where I’m the only female, I made a cleric. He was male. Somebody commented about how everyone in the party was male, and we should have a little more diversity. Someone else suggested I change the gender of my character to achieve it. I gave them a noncommittal shrug. I wasn’t going to budge on the gender of my character, a character who I already knew and was excited to play as. That “M” over “gender” was staying.
So my character was continuously misgendered for the rest of the campaign, and nobody else stood up to change their character’s gender for the sake of diversity.
When we rebooted to switch back from 4.0e to 3.5e, we got a new guy, who made a cleric— one who worships a deity of death, which will eventually give him powers related to necromancy, I believe. He sneered at the thought of maybe having to toss out a heal or two on occasion, and immediately asked me what my character was. The look on his face when I replied “fighter” made me want to sock him in the jaw.
Because being a healer is seen as being womanly. Effeminate. Girly. Weak. It means you’re not strong enough to fight. It means you’re someone who needs protection.
And while Anduin does a great job at disproving this, holding his own in battle and proving that there’s a lot of bite behind that priesty power, I can’t help feel it would have been a little more compelling if he could have swung that sword. If he had truly chosen to be a healer, even though warrior-hood and his father’s approval was within his grasp. Even if he was a little tall with some bulk on his frame. Even if he wasn’t constantly compared to his mother.
And you may tell me, “but Wrexie, he could have been a lot of things besides a priest! Like a mage, a rogue, or a hunter!”, to which I may respond, “Yeah, but he didn’t become any of those things, did he?”, and point out that the problem here is that those three roles are pretty gender-neutral, while the role of a healer is much more often seen as a woman’s role. A role that a man who is truly manly would never take out of his own volition, that he would never turn to if the situation would permit otherwise.
Which is why I will grudgingly accept canon but be loud about how much better it could have been. Why I will glare at Christie Golden, and if it is by no fault of her own, then the person she consulted with who advised her on the matter. And then glare at Christie Golden again for not knowing about swords, and glare at all the other writers for not knowing about swords, and then glare at the high-fantasy nerd culture that didn’t tell them to question otherwise and do five minutes of googling.