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[quote:0c9a533bea="Nowth"]It just turns me off when tradition becomes its own justification, and Strongbow isn't shown engaging in a lot of questioning or reasoning. Unless you've never before met people who were at all willing to stand up for their ideals, I can't imagine what's so attractive about so much disapproval, resentment and suppressed anger in one tight-lipped skinny package. [/quote:0c9a533bea]

I used to think of Strongbow like that too, Nowth. And I can remember the moment I changed my mind. It's at the moment when Strongbow and Moonshade leave Blue Mountain after Strongbow tells Cutter he's not going to challenge him again. After accepting Nightfall's bow, Strongbow looks back at the Wolfriders as Door closes and sends something like, *You'll change your minds, I know it! We'll be waiting in the woods! We'll wait!*

I could see that the tight-lipped, stiff-necked archer was just about to cry. And it changed my whole view of him. All that unattractive hardness was only on the surface. Below it was a person who cared so deeply and passionately for his tribe that he could hardly bear to leave them, and yet couldn't bear to stay, either. Looking back over his actions with that understanding, I came to see that the Way was not just empty tradition, but an anchor for the archer's turbulent soul.

I came to love Strongbow in that moment. And over the years I've seen that tender underside of his manifest itself over and over again-- to the point where his outward prickliness now only elicits a fond smile.