How Realistic are Weapons in the Movies…?

Today, we’re very happy to share with you a short video featuring Tobias Capwell. In ‘How Real is it?’, the curator of arms and armour at The Wallace Collection in London examines 11 memorable scenes featuring medieval weapons and armour, and gives his assessment of their used based on whether or not they are historically accurate.

Capwell takes a look at Sauron’s armour, flails and maces in The Lord of the Rings; he discusses the Corinthian and Greek influences behind the Mandalorians’ helmets; whether or not swords and shields are realistically used in Vikings and The Last Kingdom; whether or not it is possible to reforge a sword that is fit for purpose (as in Game of Thrones); and also various aspects of knightly combat.

Capwell has written a number of books and articles on weapons, armour throughout history, as well as books on knighthood and tournaments. In 2015 he had the honour of serving as one of the two fully-armoured knights who escorted the remains of King Richard III to their final resting place in Leicester Cathedral:

Back in June 2020, the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities hosted Toby for a lecture on ‘Armour and the Knight in Life and Afterlife’, which you can watch below…

‘Sir Capwell’ Escorts Richard III to His Final Resting Place…

Dr. Tobias Capwell, a client of the Zeno Agency, is Curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection in London. As not only one of the world’s leading experts in his field, but also a skilled practitioner and key figure in the modern competitive jousting community, he regular appears on television and radio, and has written numerous books and articles.

Recently, however, he was involved in something rather unusual, even for him: he was one of just two horsemen in full armour escorting the remains of King Richard III on his final journey to Leicester Cathedral. The story was covered around the world, including this story in the L.A. Times.

Of the involvement in this historic event, he says: ‘I write and talk about the Middle Ages all the time, but I’ve never felt like a part of that history before. It was extraordinary to experience the medieval period crashing into the modern world like that. Magical.’

Toby was born in California and found his calling when, as a young boy, he visited the collection of medieval arms and armour at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. He now lives near London with his family.

2015 is a very special year for Toby. Not only is it the 600th anniversary of King Henry V’s victory at the Battle of Agincourt (25 October 1415), but he has recently written an appendix on armour for Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ new book Agincourt: My Family, the Battle and the Fight for France. This summer, Toby will be publishing his major study ARMOUR OF THE ENGLISH KNIGHT 1400-1450. Fifteen years in the making, this lavishly illustrated book will be the first of a series of three volumes telling the story of armour in England from the Hundred Years War to the advent of the Tudor dynasty.