Now, as any reputable axe throwing establishment ought to be, we are mostly staffed by nerds; history nerds, fantasy nerds, sci-fi nerds, hardcore nerds - I could go on. So as a group of nerds, we (and by “we” I mean “I”) have compiled a list of the Top 8 Axes In Media According To The Hilt Staff (Me).
8 - Wuuthrad, Skyrim
The fabled axe of Ysgramor, the first human in Tamriel! Of course if you’ve never played Skyrim, you have no idea what I’m talking about, but it’s been out over a decade and re-released a bajillion times since its first release, so you have no excuse. Wuuthrad is a pretty disappointing reward for playing through the Companions questline. After you’ve spent hours tracking down the broken fragments of the mythical axe, it is reassembled by the famous blacksmith, Eorlund Grey-Mane and given to
you to return to the tomb of its former bearer. Dealing out a base of 25 damage, it’s not particularly powerful, but if you’re fighting elves, you’ll find that it’s “especially deadly” because as players of the
game know well; “Many of Skyrim's Nords harbour a bitter resentment of all elvenkind, who they've battled with throughout history.”
Nords - famously racist!
(Honourable mentions also go to the Rueful Axe, the Headsman’s Axe and the Ebony Battle Axe.)
7 - Shotgun Axe, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
America in the early 19th Century. Vampires are hatching a devious plan to colonise the nation, enslaving mankind and turning them into slaves and livestock. They already hold sway over the southern states and are influencing the Civil War to expand their territory. Who can stop them? You guessed it! The big man with the big hat - Abe Lincoln himself. What better weapon to use for beheading the undead, but an axe? But wait! There’s more! For this is no mere wood-chopper. Vampires a little far out of reach? No problem! This axe is also a shotgun, because of course it is. The film adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s alternate history novel is an utterly ridiculous action romp featuring a particularly iconic axe that deserves to be commemorated in our list of famous choppers.
What weapon would you choose to fight vampires? Of course it’s an axe. Anything else is irrelevant.
6 - The Shining
Now I am no fan of Stanley Kubrick’s films. There’s often just a lot of wailing and off-key violins. They’re films for the thinking man, and I am not a thinking man. However, we all know the scene; Shelley Duvall cowering in the bathroom, clutching a kitchen knife as her only defence as a deranged Jack Nicholson smashes through the door with a hefty fire axe. The words, “Here’s Johnny,” immediately bring the scene vividly to our minds. That axe is an axe that everybody knows and thus, earns its mention here.
So the next time you decide to become the caretaker of an abandoned hotel in the middle of nowhere, make sure you’ve got a trusty fire axe nearby to terrify your wife!
5 - The Separator - Brütal Legend
The year is 2010. You’re trawling through the pre-owned section of your local gaming store. You spot a game you’ve never noticed before. The front cover depicts a broad, cartoonish rocker wielding an unfeasibly large double-bit battle axe in one hand and holding aloft a guitar being struck by lightning in the other. You buy it without really expecting much, but hoping for a bit of a laugh. It turns out to be the single best game you have ever played (at that time of your life).
Playing as Eddie Riggs (voiced by the incomparable Jack Black), a roadie transported to another world where music has magical powers, you battle your way through hordes of demons to a backing track of bands like Black Sabbath and Motörhead. As you begin playing, you discover the Separator and immediately set about beheading demonic priests as ‘Children of the Grave’ plays in the background. It is epic! The axe is customisable with options that set its head ablaze, hone the edge to inflict bleed damage to your enemies, or cover it in exploding spikes. It is the sh*t!
Look, if you’ve not played this game do it now! Now! It features the voices of Tim Curry, Ozzy Ozbourne, Lemmy, Rob Halford and Lita Ford!
4 - Assassin’s Tomahawk - Assassin’s Creed III
This is my favourite game in the series, mostly just because it’s set during one of my favourite periods of history, but also for the introduction of some interesting new weapons to the game, including the bayoneted musket, war club, and of course, the tomahawk! It’s gritty, it’s brutal, it gets the job done. Its aesthetics are off the charts too, with the head shaped like the emblem of the Assassin order, just so the people you kill know who it is that’s killing them. Not as if the incredibly obvious hooded robes weren’t going to give it away. I always found Connor to be one of the worst characters to play as in a game - he was a whiny, brooding, self-absorbed teenager for most of the game, but his tomahawk was really cool!
For those “in the know”, the Assassin’s Creed games, while exceptionally detailed in many ways, are wildly inaccurate in others (especially weapons). AC3 famously features a 1796 pattern light cavalry sabre, more than 20 years before the pattern was developed… in 1796 (Did I mention I’m also a huge sword nerd?)
3 - Stormbreaker - Thor
Marvel needs to stop. Am I right? It’s been going on for too long and steadily getting worse. However, you know that bit in whichever one of the tedious, CGI-ridden monstrosities it is where a giant Peter Dinklage forges an axe for Thor after Cate Blanchett broke his chonky hammer, and then the walking tree chops off its own arm to serve as a haft? That was pretty good, right? Stormbreaker is an ugly-ass axe as far as I’m concerned, but its ability to channel Thor’s powers almost redeems the impracticality of its design. It’s essentially a wizard’s staff if you ask me, but a pretty badass wizard’s staff.
Also, naming your weapon after a YA novel is a bit naff.
2 - The Leviathan Axe - God Of War
I won’t lie, I have only played ‘God Of War’ once. It was good. I never played it again. But, the Leviathan Axe is the best axe in any video game! It has felled gods, defeated trolls and giants, and slain countless undead and dark elves! And who doesn’t want a magical axe that returns to you perfectly whenever you throw it? As an axe thrower, it is the dream axe! It’s sleek, beautiful and exceptionally powerful. The Leviathan Axe is one of the best designed weapons in gaming. The way you can play with how it returns to you after you’ve thrown it to damage your enemies or its ability to freeze opponents in place while to tackle other minions are some of the creative uses for a gaming weapon.
The Leviathan Axe - when a boomerang just won’t cut it!
1 - Gimli’s Double Bit Axe
Gimli is the best character in ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ and I will die on this hill. He is much more than just comic relief. He is an absolute unit. The king of axes. My childhood icon. Now, he has a number of axes of his belt (what self-respecting dwarf doesn’t?) - throwing axes, walking axes, bearded axes, but the axe that we all recognise is his double bit axe. Interestingly, I recently realised that when the Fellowship sets
out from Rivendell, Gimli does not carry that axe. He finds it in Moria, in the tomb of his cousin, Balin. It can be seen lying on the floor just before the goblins attack (Guys, I f*cking love 'The Lord Of The Rings'). I could spend hours rambling on about the finer points of Tolkien’s dwarves.
This axe is so good that I have a tattoo of it on my arm and I look at it fondly, whispering, “My precioussss!”
While not good enough to make the cut (Ha!), other axes worth mentioning are the Nazi-killing hatchet from 'Wolfenstein II' and Patrick Bateman's (no relation) axe in the famous scene.