They are eye catching I suppose. Most novels are set in a medieval type setting so weapons are numerous and even then swords featured strongly, but not exclusively. So what about the other weapons?
I am a Saxon re-enactor and have used a sword, single handed spear (6 foot), double handed spear (9 foot), scramseax (long knife) and an axe. Many of you are correct that swords are a status symbol and a sign of wealth. In terms of using weapons, I found the axe clumsy and the head too small. With a sword you could get away with moire mistakes. The sword has a cross guard and that and its length protect the hand. I have broken fingers fighting with the seax as I occasionally blocked with my hand rather than the blade. Ideally I liked a short spear to start a fight as that had longer reach, but when a fight became messy I dropped the spear (if possible) and ended up with the sword.
Perhaps we need to see heroes with other weapons a bit more often. The Silmarillion certainly had at least one hero with a bow. Any thoughts?
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