Legolas aims

Legolas, a master archer

An archer is someone whose primary weapon in battle is the bow and arrow. There are many different archers in The Lord of the Rings and the other books by J.R.R. Tolkien.

In Middle-earthEdit

Dwarves Edit

Only seen by some of the members of Thorin and Company, in The Hobbit.


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A fully armed elf Archer with a quiver of arrows


An Elf Archer of Mirkwood

The Elven archers from Lórien use large bows of Mallorn wood strung with elf-hair. Their arrows were almost four feet long and usually made of ash with a tip made of gold and shaped like a Mallorn leaf. They used a spiral method of fletching (attaching feathers to the arrow shaft), thus making their arrows more accurate, up to a quarter mile.

Legolas was the most renowned archer throughout the Third Age. Earlier in his journey with the Fellowship of the Ring, he used a bow from Mirkwood, and it was later replaced by the bow of the Galadhrim Lady Galadriel gave him.[1]



Faramir, a trained archer

The Gondorian army contains units of archers who use a longbow. The bows are made of heartwood, about 68 inches tall. The arrows are about 28 inches long with four-inch steel tips. They are accurate up to 200 yards. The longbowmen of the army wear their quiver (the case that holds the arrows) on their hips rather than on their backs like most archers, such as Legolas and Haldir.

Rangers of IthilienEdit

The Rangers of Ithilien were primarily archers. They used a simple longbow, often made of yew, likely up to 80 inches in length. Their arrows would have averaged about 28 inches in length with a steel tip with consistent accuracy up to 200 yards.


Rohan included archers in its militia. They used shortbows, possibly because they fought mounted on horses and a longer bow might get in the way. The shortbows were much less powerful than those used by their allies, having probably a range of only 125 yards. Their arrows were unique in having a cutout in the heads; this cut down on weight & the amount of metal used while still allowing the arrowheads to have a larger surface area, which would cause a larger wound. Another unique aspect of the arrows was that they were fletched with leather.

Note: Information comes from "The Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare" by Chris Smith.

Haradrim and EasterlingsEdit


Haradrim archers in action, atop a Mumak

The Haradrim (Southrons) were also skilled archers, along with their allies the Easterlings. The Haradrim were masters of archery and had expert snipers positioned on the feared Mumakil. Their bows were short, possibly made of composite materials and by the time of the War of the Ring, could possibly have been compound, making them extremely deadly. The Easterlings are mentioned several times in the books as having scores of mounted archers. The horse archers were among the deadliest in Middle Earth, far exceeding the skill of the Rohirrim and Haradrim. The Easterlings also had many foot archers weilding both longbows and recurve bows.


Goblin Archer

A goblin archer

Orcs and Goblins were often seen carrying bows, but are also viewed as poor handlers of the weapon. Their bows can range from being as tall as an Uruk to relatively short. The maximum effective ranges included 50 and 100 yards. Orc arrows were usually tipped with poison or barbed, so even a glancing hit could be fatal.


The Hobbits were not a warring people, but their best unit in times of war are their archers. During the reign of the last King of Arnor before its disbanding the first time, hobbits sent archers to his aid as was agreed when they moved to live in Arnor. Hobbit archers were also responsible for the death of Grima Wormtongue.

Most notable archersEdit


  1. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter VI: "Farewell to Lorien"
  2. The Hobbit, Chapter XIV: "Fire and Water"