The Blacksmith’s Ideal Paperweight: The Mini Anvil
Those of us who have an interest in weapons and armor, either from fantasy or medieval history, are well aware of the importance of the blacksmith’s forge and anvil when it comes to creating these items. Without the simple blacksmith, many of the greatest heroes from history and fantasy wouldn’t have been able to achieve many of their feats.
One way to honour the blacksmith’s place in history is with the mini anvil. Unfortunately, a full-sized anvil is often less than practical for most homes and offices. But we do have good news. The mini anvil is, unsurprisingly, much more portable than its inspiration.
This makes it ideal as a decorative piece. The mini anvil can happily sit on your desk and even be used as a handy paperweight or bookend. Use it to personalise your home or workplace and to show off your appreciation for traditional workmanship, whether you’re a sword aficionado or you just have an interest in medieval life in general.
The mini anvil is modelled on a medieval blacksmith’s anvil, so has the traditional and iconic anvil shape. It has a metallic finish with some artful scuff-marks to make it look more realistic. After all, no anvil that’s seen any use is going to be pristine.
Blacksmiths in Fantasy: Famous Examples of the Archetype
Fantasy stories in general tend to follow some colourful characters. We have kings and wizards and great warriors, all who embark on epic quests and achieve awesome feats. However, there are also simpler characters to be found in fantasy, as well as those who had humble lives before stumbling upon their destiny as a hero.
While the most common humble backstory for a protagonist is probably the “farm boy”, the blacksmith also crops up fairly often. The blacksmith might simply be a backstory that gets left behind as the plot progresses, or it’s a major part of the character.
As characters, fantasy blacksmiths might be very strong physically and have a stout personality. Sometimes they get to show off their blacksmithing prowess and end up forging impressive weapons or armor, even if they were just a humble village smith at the start of the story.
Let’s look at a few examples of the blacksmith in fantasy fiction.
Perrin Goldeneyes: The Wolf King
“If you could see through these golden eyes of mine, you’d find the world a different place.”
Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series featured thousands of characters, including a rich cast of main characters, many of whom being capable of incredible power. Among this cast we have three young men called Rand Al’Thor, Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara.
These men all came from the same village and grew up together. Rand was a shepherd, Mat was the son of a horse trader, and Perrin was a blacksmith’s apprentice. They also all turn out to be what’s known as “Ta’veren”, which basically meant that destiny itself was intertwined in their lives and sometimes twisted around them in strange ways.
Rand and Mat went on their own adventures, but we’ll focus on Perrin. As a blacksmith, Perrin was incredibly strong, to the point that he was very deliberately restrained for fear of hurting those around him. He was gentle and slow to anger, being as careful with his words as with his actions.
This apparent slowness of thought when combined with his great size led to some people seeing Perrin as a bit dim, but he was actually a very logical and analytical thinker. Perrin ensured that everything was thought through completely before acting, often using his background as a blacksmith to help him solve problems by visualising them as a difficult blacksmith’s puzzle.
However, Perrin became more than a simple smith. Another of his defining characteristics was his transformation into a wolfbrother. This is how he gained his defining feature, his golden yellow eyes. He also developed an ability to communicate with wolves, enhanced senses, and last but absolutely not least, a connection to the world of dreams.
Perrin wrestled with this wilder aspect of himself throughout the series, along with his desire to be a man of peace rather than a man of violence. However, Perrin recognised that it was necessary for him to fight. He was also a force to be reckoned with and capable of great violence, especially when his anger did flare. His animalistic impulses when coupled with his great strength made him an incredibly fearsome physical fighter.
Even as he rose to the status of a Lord and gained a reputation as a fierce fighter, Perrin always saw himself as a blacksmith at heart. Perrin was associated with an axe and a hammer through the series, refusing to relinquish the simple blacksmith’s hammer while being forced to carry the warrior’s axe. Finally, these two parts of Perrin’s personality came to a head, leading to him forging his own powerful weapon.
As a Ta’veren, Perrin was the subject of several prophecies and sometimes managed to twist fate itself to his whims. He was a great warrior and a prudent military commander. His connection to the world of dreams led to some of his more impressive feats of the series. But it was Perrin’s blacksmith’s heart and mind that made him who he was.
Goodman Durnik: The Man With Two Lives
“Ordinary men are afraid almost every minute of their lives… After you’ve put it on every morning like an old tunic, you won’t even notice it anymore.”
David Eddings wrote several different fantasy series, including the Belgariad and the Mallorean. These primarily followed a character called Garion, a farm boy who turned out to have a destiny far greater than his humble origins.
But we aren’t talking about Garion, we’re talking about one of his companions, Durnik. Durnik was a blacksmith who lived and worked on the same farm where Garion grew up. When Garion and his Aunt Pol were forced to flee the farm with an old vagabond called Mister Wolf, Durnik decided to go with them.
It soon transpired that things weren’t as simple as they seemed, and Durnik found himself consorting with mighty kings and sorcerers, embroiled in a conflict of gods and heroes. However, Durnik remained a simple commoner, even as every other character turned out to have royal and mystical heritage.
Still, Durnik held fast to his simplicity. Even his appearance played a part in his character, he is medium height with plain brown hair and eyes. As a blacksmith, Durnik is actually very strong, but you couldn’t tell by looking at him. He was possibly the most ordinary and nondescript man in the series.
This was part of the beauty of Durnik. He was simple, yes, but he was also practical, kind, honest, and very reliable. He was intelligent and took pride in doing things correctly, valuing simple hard work. In a series full of eccentric and larger-than-life characters, Durnik represented the everyman.
However, while Durnik was the “ordinary man”, he was never overlooked by either his friends or the narrative. He grounded the story, showing that even a simple blacksmith could be as heroic as a king. He also grounded the characters, reminding them of those common folk who fought on without magic or might.
Eventually, Durnik did rise to similar heights as his companions, but his character always rang true. While we don’t get to see much of him as a blacksmith after the start of the series, he uses the principles of his work even when he has access to more impressive powers.
William Turner: Honest Blacksmith Turned Pirate Captain
“No cause is lost if there is but one fool left to fight for it.”
Let’s move away from classic fantasy series for a while and look at something a little more mainstream. The Pirates of the Caribbean series is set in a fantasy version of the Caribbean Sea during the colonisation of the Americas and primarily follows three main characters.
First, we have the incorrigible pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow. Next, there’s the beautiful and adventurous Elizabeth Swann. Finally, we have William Turner, the noble-hearted and eager young blacksmith’s apprentice.
Will Turner was a promising young man and an accomplished blacksmith. He was a humble man who followed the strict laws of society in every aspect of his life. Despite the fact that he was a skilled smith, Will’s achievements were often attributed to his much more useless master.
Will was also handsome, loyal, and honest to a fault. He also harboured an overwhelming hatred of pirates and a desperate yet impossible love for Elizabeth Swann, the governor’s daughter. However, his respect for society meant that Will never pursued this love.
Oh, and his father was a cursed, immortal pirate called Bootstrap Bill.
As you might have guessed, Will Turner wasn’t best pleased to learn that his beloved, long dead, merchant sailor father was actually a pirate. But, when Elizabeth Swann is captured by pirates, Will was forced to ally himself with Jack Sparrow and follow in his father’s footsteps.
In doing so, Will Turner demonstrated another side to himself. Beneath the humble and restrained personality that he had so carefully cultivated, Will was fiercely loyal and prone to rash decisions. He also showed a willingness to break the law and overlook his own hatred if the situation warranted it.
Simply put, his love and loyalty towards Elizabeth Swann gave Will Turner the motivation to throw his life and even his principles away, if it meant saving her. This led to him finally being able to shake off the shackles of propriety and admit his love to her.
To begin with, Will found it hard to accept the pirate within himself, clinging to his roots as an honest blacksmith. Still, over time, Will found himself stealing a ship and joining a pirate crew. In the end, Will had left his past as a blacksmith’s apprentice behind and fully accepted his destiny as a pirate.
However, being a blacksmith did lead to him learning to fight and taught him to be a meticulous worker. It also allowed him to break Jack Sparrow out of jail, as he had designed the jail doors and knew their foibles. While his past as a blacksmith wasn’t as integral through the story as the examples Perrin or Durnik, it did play an important role in his early characterisation.
The technical specifications for the mini anvil for sale are as follows:
- Anvil Dimensions: 100 mm (height) x 175 mm (length) x 75.6 mm at base (width)
- Anvil Weight: 3 lbs 15.9 oz, or 1.91 kg
- Colour: Metallic grey