You thought Legolas was cool? Check out Lars Andersen.
The video gives you the impression that archery as it is currently practiced in competitions and depicted in films and games is not anything like the way archery was practiced by soldiers and hunters centuries ago. While this may true in terms of modern bow technology – an issue that is not raised in the video – it is almost certainly inaccurate with regards to several of the issues presented in the video.
There’s an interesting discussion about Andersen’s archery skills and his claims about ancient archery by some military historians on Reddit. Some of it is thoughtful and some of it is academics having hissy fits. There seems to be a general consensus that drawing arrows to shoot from an open quiver worn on the back as it is commonly depicted in films and games was probably not done very often. The discussion also points out that archery has been practiced in many different ways in many different cultures with the result that blanket statements about archery or archers are likely to be inaccurate. Techniques that were common in one place and time may be completely irrelevant to the way archery was practiced in another.
As a history lesson, Andersen’s video has problems, but as a demonstration of a set of archery skills it’s terrific. Some of the things he does with a bow are amazing. Although the video is dismissive of Hollywood’s treatment of archery as spectacle (while Andersen rapidly shoots targets while rollerblading or riding on the back of a motorcycle) Andersen’s archery skills look like they would be most useful on a Hollywood film set. Maybe Peter Jackson’s next Tolkien extravganza could motion capture Anderson and then skin him with Orlando Bloom dressed up as Legolas using the same technology used to let Andy Serkis play Gollum.