List of Lord of The Rings swords, knives and daggers. History of famous Lord of the Rings swords. Narsil, Anduril, Anglachel, Gurthang, Sting, Aranrúth, Sword of Sam, Glamdring, Herugrim, Gúthwinë, Merry’s sword, Orcrist, Troll’s Bane and more.
Narsil was the sword of King Elendil of the Dúnedain, which in a later age was reforged as Andúril. It appears in The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.
Narsil is composed of nar meaning “fire” and thil meaning “white light.” These same elements are found in Anar – the Sun – and Isil (Quenya) or Ithil (Sindarin) – the Moon. Narsil was said to shine with the light of the Sun and the Moon.
History of Narsil
The sword was forged during the First Age by the Dwarf Telchar of Nogrod, a famous weaponsmith and artificer who also made the knife Angrist, which cut a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth, and the Helm of Hador later used by Túrin Turambar.
The sword’s name contains the elements nar and thil, “fire” and “white light” respectively in Quenya, referring to the Sun and Moon.
For whom Telchar originally made Narsil, as well as its early history, is unknown. The only certainty concerning the sword’s history begins when it is in the possession of Elendil. He brings it back with him to Middle-earth towards the close of the Second Age, as his father Amandil correctly predicted Númenor’s imminent destruction.
Elendil became thereafter a great lord, the first of the kings of Gondor and Arnor. He used Narsil in the War of the Last Alliance against Sauron. During the siege of Barad-dûr, Elendil and Gil-galad overthrew Sauron, but perished in the act, and Narsil broke into two beneath Elendil as he fell. Elendil’s son Isildur then used the hilt-shard of the sword to cut the One Ring from the hand of Sauron. Sauron was vanquished and his spirit fled but his power endured in the ring.
Isildur took the shards home with him. Shortly before Isildur was killed in the second year of the Third Age in the disaster at the Gladden Fields, the shards of Narsil were rescued by Ohtar, squire of Isildur. He took them to Imladris (Rivendell), where Isildur’s youngest son Valandil was fostered.
The Shards of Narsil became one of the heirlooms of the Kings of Arnor, and after the Northern Kingdom was destroyed they remained an heirloom of the Rangers of the North. The sword was reforged in Rivendell in 3019 T.A. during the War of the Ring, in celebration of the rediscovery and capture of the Ring with which it had become associated as its symbolic antithesis.
Thereafter it was renamed Andúril, (Sindarin for “Flame of the West”), by Aragorn, the heir of Isildur. He carried the sword during his journey south as one of the Fellowship of the Ring, and it featured prominently at several points in the story, where it was sometimes referred to as the sword that was broken or the sword reforged.
Boromir, son of the Steward of Gondor, travelled to Rivendell in time for the Council of Elrond because of the prophetic dream of his brother Faramir, in which he was told to “seek for the sword that was broken”. Aragorn often used the sword to help establish his credentials.
Narsil (broken and reforged as Andúril) acts as a symbol of the kingship of Arnor and Gondor, and by extension, the stewardship of law over evil. As the Chieftain of the Rangers of the North, Aragorn is the heir to the fragments of the ancient sword. The reforging of the broken sword into Andúril prior to the Fellowship of the Ring leaving Rivendell is one of many important prophesied events leading up to the downfall of Sauron and the restoration of the line of Elendil as kings of Arnor and Gondor.
Narsil in movie and in books
In the motion picture trilogy directed by Peter Jackson, Narsil was not broken in two but in several parts, which were kept in Rivendell, and broke not when Elendil fell but rather when Isildur reached for it and Sauron stepped on it. It is also not reforged into Andúril until the third film, when Arwen persuades Elrond to have elven smiths reforge it from the shards and bring to Aragorn. In the book, he actually wears the broken blade and shows it to the Hobbits when they meet at the Prancing Pony in Bree, and its reforging prior to the departure of the Fellowship is a decisive move toward kingship. According to conceptual artist John Howe, it is designed with a hollow pommel.
Anduril was the sword of Aragorn. It was forged from the shards of Elendil’s sword, Narsil.
Andúril means “Flame of the West.” It is derived from andúnë meaning “sunset, west” and ril meaning “brilliance.”
Anglachel / Gurthang
Sword of Beleg and Turin.
The sword is said to have sung with gladness when Beleg unsheathed it to kill orcs and other servants of Morgoth.
After Túrin was captured by Orcs at Amon Rûdh, Beleg pursued the Orcs to free Túrin. He slew their guards and slipped into the camp, but as he was cutting Túrin’s fetters, the sword nicked Túrin, waking him. In the darkness, Túrin assumed it was Orcs come back to torture him. He seized Anglachel, and slew Beleg with it. When he realised his mistake, he mourned long over the death of his friend.
Túrin and Gwindor then travelled together to Nargothrond where the sword was reforged by the expert smiths and renamed Gurthang (“Iron of Death” in Sindarin). Its edges shone with a pale fire. The Elves came to call Túrin Mormegil (“Black Sword” in Sindarin). With it he led the Elves of Nargothrond in many battles, driving the Orcs from the lands. Túrin also referred to it as the Black Thorn of Brethil.
After the slaying of Glaurung, Túrin discovered from Brandir that his wife Níniel was in fact his sister Nienor. In anger he slew Brandir with Gurthang, and then in despair he fell upon the sword, asking it to take his own life.
It was prophesied by Mandos that in the Final Battle for Earth at the end of time, Gurthang would again be taken up by Túrin and would deliver the final blow against Morgoth, defeating evil forever.
The name Anglachel includes Sindarin roots: ang (“iron”), probably lhach (“leaping flame”), and probably êl (“star”). Commentators have assembled these into various possible translations (such as “Iron Star-flame” or “Iron of the Flaming Star”), but Tolkien did not give a definitive translation.
Gurthang is translated in the Index of The Silmarillion as “Iron of Death”, from the Sindarin roots gurth (“death”) + ang (“iron”).
Sword of King Thingol of Doriath.
Aranruth may have been made by the Dwarves of Belegost and Nogrod who provided many of the weapons in Thingol’s armories. Following the death of Thingol, Aranruth was saved from the ruin of Doriath around 506-507 of the First Age.
Thingol’s great-granddaughter Elwing gave the sword to her son Elros who became the first King of Numenor in the year 32 of the Second Age. Aranruth was passed down from ruler to ruler until the destruction of Numenor in 3319 when the sword was lost. It is not clear whether Aranruth was in Numenor when the island sank beneath the Sea or whether Ar-Pharazon took Aranruth with him when he attacked the Undying Lands. If the latter, then Aranruth would have been buried in the Caves of the Forgotten along with Ar-Pharazon until the Last Battle against Morgoth.
The name Aranrúth means “King’s Ire” in Sindarin from aran meaning “king” and rûth meaning “anger”.
Sword of Gandalf.
Glamdring was forged in Gondolin, a great realm of the Elves in the First Age. It once belonged to Turgon, the King of Gondolin. It is not known how Glamdring survived the Fall of Gondolin.
Six thousand years later, in the year 2941 of the Third Age, Gandalf found Glamdring in the Troll-hoard of Bert, Tom, and William in the Trollshaws. The swords Orcrist and Sting were also found in the Trolls’ cave. Glamdring had a beautiful scabbard and a jewelled hilt and was engraved with runes. Elrond was able to identify the blade as Glamdring the Foe-hammer from the runes. A special property of the blade was that it glowed with blue light when Orcs were near.
When Thorin Oakenshield and company were attacked by Orcs in the Misty Mountains, Gandalf came to their rescue with a flash of fire and smoke. He used Glamdring to behead the Great Goblin. The other Orcs recognized the legendary sword, which they called Beater, and fled. Gandalf used Glamdring to cut the bonds of Bilbo and the Dwarves. Later, at the Battle of the Five Armies, it is likely that Gandalf used the sword against the attacking Orcs and Wargs.
Gandalf bore Glamdring when the Fellowship left Rivendell on December 25, 3018. In Moria, he wielded the sword in the battle against the Orcs in the Chamber of Mazarbul. On the Bridge of Khazad-dum, Gandalf confronted the Balrog with Glamdring. The blade glittered with white light and it shattered the Balrog’s red sword into molten fragments. Gandalf then smote the bridge with his staff, and he and the Balrog fell into the abyss. Gandalf continued to fight the Balrog, hewing him with Glamdring until the Balrog fled up the Endless Stair. In the Battle of the Peak, Gandalf defeated the Balrog.
When he returned as Gandalf the White, he still had Glamdring. He left the sword in the care of Hama, the Doorward of Theoden at Meduseld. Gandalf later retrieved Glamdring and bore it throughout the War of the Ring. When Gandalf returned to Bree with the Hobbits in October of 3019 he was wearing the sword at his side. It is not known whether Gandalf took Glamdring with him when he left Middle-earth in September of 3021.
The name Glamdring comes from the word Glamhoth, a Sindarin term for Orcs that literally means “din horde” or “host of tumult.” The word glam means “noise” and the word dring means “beat, strike.” Called Beater by the Orcs and the Foe-hammer in the Common Speech.
Sword of Eomer.
Eomer wielded Guthwine throughout the War of the Ring. Eomer had been imprisoned on the authority of Grima Wormtongue, and when he was released he asked Hama to bring Guthwine to him. Eomer offered his sword to Theoden, and when the King grasped the hilt it seemed as though firmness and strength returned to him.
Eomer and Aragorn drew their swords together at the Battle of Helm’s Deep and fought to defend the gates of the Hornburg.
At the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, when others despaired at the approach of the black-sailed ships of the Corsairs, Eomer raised Guthwine to defy them. But then he laughed and threw his sword into the air and sang as he caught it, for the standard of Aragorn was revealed on the foremost ship. The two friends met in the middle of the battlefield and leaned on their swords and were glad.
Gúthwinë means “battle friend” from the Old English guð meaning “battle, war” and winë meaning “friend.”
Sword of Theoden.
Herugrim was an ancient blade. Its scabbard was clasped with gold and was set with green gems.
When Theoden fell under the influence of Grima Wormtongue, Grima took Herugrim and locked it in his chest. On March 2, 3019, Gandalf healed Theoden and said, “Your fingers would remember their old strength better, if they grasped a sword-hilt.” (TTT, p. 121) Theoden first accepted Eomer’s sword Guthwine and then he asked that Herugrim be retrieved from Grima. Hama made Grima give him the keys to the chest where Herugrim was hidden, and then he knelt before the King and presented the sword to him.
Theoden took Herugrim into the Battle of Helm’s Deep and he wielded the sword at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, where he was slain on March 15. Theoden’s esquire Merry Brandybuck bore the King’s arms in the funeral procession to Rohan. On August 10, Theoden was buried with his arms, but it is not stated whether Herugrim was among them.
Herugrim means “fierce sword.” In Old English heoru means “sword” and grim means “fierce, angry.”
Sword of Meriadoc Brandybuck. Merry’s sword played a crucial role in the War of the Ring. The sword came from a barrow on the Barrow-downs that may have been the grave of the last prince of Cardolan, who was killed in battle against the forces of Angmar in 1409. The Hobbits were trapped in the barrow by a Barrow-wight and when Merry awoke from the Barrow-wight’s spell, he had a memory of a Man who had fought the Witch-king of Angmar long ago.
Tom Bombadil rescued the Hobbits and gave them blades from the barrow. The swords had been made for the war against the Witch-king of Angmar by the Dunedain of Arnor and they were wound with spells against the servants of Sauron. They were long, leaf-shaped daggers damasked with serpents in red and gold, and they had black sheaths of light metal set with fiery stones.
Merry used the sword in Moria and at Amon Hen, where he managed to cut off the hands and arms of several Orcs before he and Pippin were captured. He laid the sword on the lap of King Theoden of Rohan when he became his esquire.
But the final and most important time that Merry used the sword was at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. As Eowyn confronted the Witch-king and was nearly slain, Merry pierced the sinew of the Witch-king’s knee, causing the Nazgul to stumble forward. Eowyn then thrust her sword between the Witch-king’s crown and mantle and he was vanquished. Afterwards, the blade of Merry’s sword disintegrated.
The swords from the barrows are referred to as swords of Westernesse because they were made by the descendants of the Men of Numenor, which was also called Westernesse. They were also called Barrow-blades.
Weapon of the Lord of the Nazgul. The blade of the Morgul-knife was long and thin and it glowed with a pale light. On the hilt were hidden evil writings.
The Lord of the Nazgul stabbed Frodo Baggins with the Morgul-knife during the attack on Weathertop on October 6, 3018. The point of the blade broke off in Frodo’s left shoulder and began working its way toward his heart. Frodo became gravely ill; his shoulder and arm became cold and numb, and his vision was clouded. In time, Frodo would have become a wraith under the dominion of Sauron.
The sliver remained in Frodo’s body for seventeen days, until Elrond was able to remove it on October 23. Frodo recovered to a certain extent, but the wound continued to trouble him for as long as he remained in Middle-earth, especially each year on the anniversary of the attack. Gandalf noticed a hint of transparency about Frodo, particulary in the arm that had been wounded.
The blade of the Morgul-knife disintegrated in the morning light the day after Frodo was wounded. Aragorn chanted over the hilt in a strange language and brought it to Rivendell. The sliver that was removed from Frodo’s shoulder was melted.
The word morgul means “black sorcery.” The element mor means “black, dark.” The element gûl means “sorcery, magic” from the stem ngol or nólë meaning “long study, lore, knowledge.”
Sword of Thorin Oakenshield.
Orcrist had a beautiful scabbard and a jewelled hilt and its name was engraved on the blade in runes. The blade glowed when Orcs were near.
Orcrist was forged in Gondolin, a great realm of the Elves in the First Age. It was a famous blade and had been used to slay many Orcs. The name Orcrist meant “Goblin-cleaver” and Orcs hated and feared it and called it Biter. The original owner of Orcrist is not known, nor is it known how the sword escaped the Fall of Gondolin.
Orcrist means “Goblin-cleaver.”
Sword of Samwise Gamgee.
Sam’s sword was made by the Dunedain of the North-kingdom of Arnor during their war against the Witch-king of Angmar. Sam acquired the sword from the barrow of a Barrow-wight where the Hobbits were trapped on September 28-29, 3018. The barrow may have been the grave of the last Prince of Cardolan in the North-kingdom. Tom Bombadil selected the swords for Sam and the other Hobbits.
The swords were long, leaf-shaped daggers. They were made of a light, strong metal, set with gems and damasked with serpents in red and gold. There was Numenorean writing on the blades and they were wound with spells against the servants of Sauron. The swords were well made and remained sharp and free of rust after centuries in the barrow.
Sam killed an Orc with his sword in the Chamber of Mazarbul in Moria on January 15, 3019. On March 13, Frodo was stung by Shelob and Sam believed him to be dead. Sam took Frodo’s sword Sting and left his own Barrow-blade beside his master. Sam’s sword was found by the Orcs who captured Frodo.
Sam’s sword and Frodo’s cloak and mithril shirt were taken to Barad-dur. On March 25, the Mouth of Sauron showed the sword, cloak and mail to Gandalf and the Host of the West as proof that a Hobbit had been captured. Gandalf took the items from the Mouth of Sauron.
After Frodo and Sam were rescued from Mordor, Sam’s sword was returned to him at the Field of Cormallen. He used the sword in the Battle of Bywater on November 3.
The swords from the barrows are referred to as swords of Westernesse because they were made by the descendants of the Men of Numenor, which was also called Westernesse. They were also called Barrow-blades.
Sword of Pippin.
Troll’s Bane is a nickname of the sword of Peregrin Took. Pippin and his companions were given swords by Tom Bombadil on the Barrow-downs. The swords came from a barrow that may have been the grave of the last prince of Cardolan, who was killed in battle against the forces of Angmar in 1409.
The swords had been made for the war against the Witch-king of Angmar by the Dunedain of Arnor and they were wound with spells against the servants of Sauron. They were long, leaf-shaped daggers damasked with serpents in red and gold and engraved with characters of Numenor, and they had black sheaths of light metal set with fiery stones.
Pippin used his sword to pledge fealty to Denethor, Steward of Gondor. At the Battle of the Morannon, Pippin slew a great Troll-chief with it, saving his friend Beregond’s life. The sword’s true name is not known, but during the Scouring of the Shire, Pippin called it “Troll’s bane.”
Pippin called his sword Troll’s bane because he used it to kill a Troll at the Battle of the Morannon.
Sword of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.
Sting was actually a long knife that made the perfect Hobbit-sized sword. Bilbo found it in 2941 in the Troll-hoard of Bert, Tom and William, where the swords Glamdring and Orcrist were also found. These three blades were made by the Elves in Gondolin in the First Age.
A special property of the blades was that they glowed with a blue light when Orcs were near. Bilbo used the faint light from the sword to make his way through the tunnels of the Misty Mountains after he was separated from his Dwarf companions. He encountered the creature Gollum and considered using the sword to kill him but decided to spare him out of pity.
Bilbo first used his sword to kill the Great Spiders in Mirkwood who captured him and his friends. It was then that he named the sword Sting.
When he returned home, Bilbo hung Sting over his mantlepiece. He took it with him when he left the Shire in 3001. On December 25, 3018, Bilbo gave the sword to Frodo Baggins, who was about to embark on his quest to destroy the One Ring.
Frodo first used the sword in Moria to stab the foot of a Cave-troll. When Gollum attacked Sam Gamgee in the Emyn Muil, Frodo drew Sting and put it to the creature’s throat. But, like Bilbo, Frodo decided to spare Gollum’s life.
In Shelob’s Lair, Frodo drew Sting and the Phial of Galadriel and advanced on Shelob, causing her to retreat. He used the sword to cut through the spiderwebs blocking their escape, but Shelob caught up to Frodo and stung him. Sam took up Sting in his left hand and cut off one of Shelob’s claws and he put out one of her eyes with his own sword. He slashed at her abdomen with Sting, and then, as the creature lowered her weight onto him, Sam held up Sting and it pierced her belly, wounding her terribly and possibly fatally.
Sam believed Frodo to be dead, and he took Sting from him along with the Ring intending to continue the quest alone. When he discovered his mistake, Sam rescued Frodo from the Tower of Cirith Ungol. The Orcs mistook Sam, armed with Sting, for a great Elf-warrior. Frodo then gave Sting to Sam to keep, saying, “I do not think it will be my part to strike any blow again.” (RotK, p. 204)
When Sam jettisoned their gear on the plain of Gorgoroth he kept Sting, and the sword was saved from the destruction of Mordor by Gandalf. At the Field of Cormallen, Frodo was reluctant to wear any sword, and would have preferred to take the sword that belonged to Sam, but Sam insisted that Frodo wear Sting for the celebrations. It is likely that Frodo returned Sting to Sam, to whom he left all his possessions on leaving Middle-earth.
Hadhafang is an elvish sword used by Arwen; while the design is original the name is derived from Tolkien’s “Etymologies” in The Lost Road.
Other Lord of the Rings swords