Game of Homes
Crossbows are wonderful, aren’t they? I’m told that before they were invented, archers had to train for years and years to learn to “properly” shoot a bow and arrow. Who has the time for that?
Crossbows are simple, easy to use, and quite accurate, so long as a brave warrior like me is doing the shooting. It’s always wise to have a few of them around, along with plenty of extra bolts, just in case some disloyal subject forgets their place.
Of course, one could choose to store one’s arms on the usual floor stands, or just leave them lying where they’ll be easy to lay hands on, but the former is too utilitarian, and the latter makes for a cluttered throne room.
There are far more pleasing ways to store weapons. Take the Iron Throne, for example. It’s commanding yet elegant, angular but not without a certain grace. It’s the perfect blend of beauty and bloodlust.
The throne was forged from the swords of surrendered enemies, and despite its rustic construction, I can tell you firsthand that it’s actually quite comfortable. Of course, I’d have killed those fools rather than let them surrender, but battles from which the swords were obtained happened before my time. No matter: there will be plenty of time for killing later.
Let’s take the same approach with crossbows, shall we?
Crossbows make a pleasing wall accent. Of course, it’s all in the presentation. You can opt for a wooden mount, but make sure the stain on the wood accentuates your décor. If you’re trying to create a rustic richness, a dark hardwood mount is an excellent choice. Light woods are better if you’re striving for a more airy, modern feel.
I’ve always been fond of iron wall mounts for my crossbows. They’re substantial and attractive, and they work well with other forged accent pieces in iron or Valyrian steel.
You could also opt for a more personal touch, turning your crossbow mount into a personal memento for commemorating your victories. Have your servants fashion a wall hanger from an inverted ribcage, preferably from one of their relatives. If they don’t get it right the first time, simply kill them, use the corpse for other decorating projects, and start fresh with another servant.
You could also stain a wooden crossbow hanger with the blood of a foe, a servant, a dog, or anything, really. Nobody has to know where the blood comes from, and the overall effect will be stylish and formidable.
A Word on Replica Crossbows
When visiting the castles of lesser rulers, I’ve spotted crossbows that were purely decorative. This is a major faux pas. Why would you want to decorate with crossbows that were incapable of serving their intended purpose? Worse, you might forget that you’d done so, only to be reminded when attempting to kill a lippy underling. Of course, you’d probably just have them beheaded anyway, but it’s best to avoid the embarrassment. You never know when spies might be lurking about, and you wouldn’t want word to get out that you were decorating with fake crossbows.
The only possible exception could be made for situations in which betrayal is a strong possibility. It could be a wise decision to use replicas at weddings or near restrooms, just to avoid unpleasant surprises.
What About the Bloodstains?
When crossbows are used as décor, bloodstains are inevitable. Some prefer to remove them, and that’s their prerogative. If you’re going to have someone wash them away, I recommend using tears as a cleaner.
However, I’d strongly consider leaving the bloodstains as they are. They provide a well-needed splash of color to an otherwise droll chamber, and they lend a wonderful authenticity to your crossbow displays.
To find a residence to put these decorative crossbows, check out the Game of Homes.