What’s in a name


ElfQuest has been published in many languages. Here you can find some of the languages which the name Strongbow has been translated in. If you know of a translation that had not been posted here, please contact me.

Flèche Vive
Arco Fuerte
Arco Forte
Barske Bue


We all know Strongbow is a hot, drop-dead gorgeous elf, but did you also know it’s cider. Never would I have imagined that a stoic archer would also be an alcolholic drink.

Strongbow is the No. 1 cider brand in the UK accounting for more than 3 out of every 5 pints of cider sold. Its unique taste delivers a refreshingly clean, crisp and sharp pint, making it a Gold Medal Winner at the International Beer and Cider Competition.

And I’m not promoting it here.

More information can be found at: http://www.strongbow.com/. The site is, however, not for minors (18+ only!), since it’s about an alcolholic beverage.

Royal Roots

Strongbow is also the name of the 2nd Earl of Pembroke. His name is Richard de Clare, who lived from 1130 to 1176. He was known as Strongbow and was the son of Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Isabel de Beaumont. De Clare was an Anglo-Norman lord notable for beginning the Norman conquest of Ireland. His father Gilbert died when he was about eighteen years old, and he inherited the title Earl of Pembroke, but not at that stage his father’s lands in the Welsh marches.

When Diarmuid MacMorrough, King of Leinster, sought help from King Henry II to regain his kingdom, he was pointed in the direction of Richard de Clare and other Welsh Marches barons and knights, together with Welsh archers — hence the name “Strongbow”. (It is as a result of Welsh settlers remaining behind after this expedition that certain Irish surnames such as “Walsh” and “Wogan” are said to originate.) This army took Wexford, Waterford and Dublin in 1169 and 1170, and Strongbow joined them in August 1170.

The day after the capture of Waterford, he married MacMorrough’s daughter Aoife of Leinster. When MacMorrough died, Strongbow claimed the kingship of Leinster in the right of his wife. Henry II was concerned about his barons’ new lands in Ireland and summoned them back to England in 1171 to extract their fealty and to prepare for his own invasion of Ireland that year to create the lordship of Ireland. In 1173, Henry’s sons rose against him in Normandy; Strongbow’s support for Henry led to him being made Henry’s governor of Ireland. Richard also held the title of Lord Marshal of England.

Strongbow died of an infection in his foot in 1176 during a rebellion by the Irish and was buried in Dublin – his tomb can be viewed in Christ Church Cathedral. He left a young son Gilbert who died in 1185 while still a minor, and a daughter Isabel. King Henry II promised Isabel in marriage to William Marshal together with her father’s lands and title. Strongbow’s widow, Aoife, lived on to 1188, when she is last found in a charter.

Middle Earth Hero

In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, Beleg is a major character who appears in numerous books, tales and poems about the First Age of Middle-earth such as The Silmarillion, The Lays of Beleriand and the Children of Húrin. Beleg’s name is said to mean ‘might’. He is further known as Beleg Cúthalion, or Beleg Strongbow. This nickname, or epessë, Cúthalion meaning “Strongbow” was bestowed for his skill as an archer. Beleg was a Sindarin Elf who served in the army of King Elu Thingol of Doriath. He “followed no man”, and “could not be restrained”. Together with Mablung he is one of the great captains of Thingol.

Beleg conducts the defence of the realm of Doriath leading smaller companies in actions along the borders as Chief of the Marchwardens. He has larger commands such as the battle in Brethil against a Legion of Orcs as Captain commanding the axe-armed Sindar with Halmir and the Haladin archers. He leads the front line scouts in the battle against Boldog’s Orc-host on the North March.[2] Beleg, along with Beren, Thingol, Mablung and Huan, is a member of the party in the legendary hunt of the great wolf Carcharoth. He later defeats Orcs invading Dimbar. Beleg serves in battles of the wider struggle beyond the borders of Doriath fighting in the Fifth Battle. He is said to be unequalled in woodland skills of stalking, hunting, tracking. He is master of the bow, axe, sword and spear, having considerable magical skills with weapons. His bow, Belthronding, is made of black Yew, strung with bear sinew and can only be drawn by Beleg’s might and magic; an arrow called Dailir can always be found unsought. He wields the sentient, magic sword, Anglachel[3] and hones it with a song of sharpening. He is stated to be a master of healing. Much is said of him, his character and his individual heroic feats and deeds in the various versions of the tales of Túrin and the Lays of Beleriand in particular.

After the catastrophe of the Fifth Battle, the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the boy Túrin is sent to Doriath for protection from Morgoth’s special enmity for the House of Húrin. Beleg becomes the mentor, good friend and brother-in-arms of Túrin Turambar. When Túrin leaves Doriath, Beleg receives permission from Thingol to follow him into exile and is granted the sword Anglachel to help in this endeavor. Beleg long seeks Túrin. At Amon Rûdh he is captured and tortured by the outlaws, until Túrin returns and releases him. Together, with Túrin wearing the Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin, he becomes again a captain against Morgoth. The land where they dwell becomes known as the Land of Helm and Bow. When Túrin is captured by Morgoth in a treacherous ambush, Beleg is grievously wounded. Yet with the strength of an great Elven warrior and his extraordinary healing skills, he recovers swiftly and tracks the Orcs. Meeting the escaped elven thrall Gwindor in Taur-nu-Fuin, together they rescue Túrin, with Beleg performing an heroic feat of bowmanship, slaying numerous wolf sentinels in the dark. After they carry Túrin from the Orc-camp, while removing Túrin’s bonds, Beleg accidentally cut Túrin with his sword. Túrin awakes and does not recognize Beleg in the darkness, mistaking the shape over him with a blade for an Orc. In a sudden rage of self defence, he wrests the sword from Beleg and kills him.

After a time in grief and in honour of his friend, Túrin made and sang the Laer Cú Beleg, the Song of the Great Bow.