The Hadhafang Sword: A Noble Defence Against the Enemy Throng
The Lord of the Rings (or LotR for the lazy among us) is arguably responsible for much of our interpretation of fantasy elves, being the baseline for many creators. Among the characterisation of these beings, much of the Elven aesthetic can also be attributed to LotR.
Hadhafang, along with similar swords, is one example of this effect. The Hadhafang replica itself is based on the Peter Jackson film adaptations of LotR, mainly because the sword itself is only canonical to these films and doesn’t appear in the books. But we’ll get onto the lore later.
Like the Hadhafang sword wielded by Arwen and her father in the films, this replica is a graceful, gently curved sword. Its blade has a single sharp edge, as well as a short false edge on the other side of the blade just below the hilt.
This blade also has two parrying hooks, which are small, curved spikes that jut out and point towards the tip of the blade. These hooks are designed to catch the blade of any opponents, which is especially important for a sword like Hadhafang as it doesn’t have any kind of guard.
Rather, the hilt curves with the hand and simply ends at the blade. This is designed to be a one-handed sword and was used this way in the films. However, the hilt would allow for both hands to wield the sword. The hilt is capped off with a gold-finished steel pommel.
The most striking aspect of the Hadhafang sword would likely be the beautiful Elven designs and script that run down the blade and on the handle. Specifically, the handle features a golden leaf design. The blade also has a similar leaf design, along with some beautifully rendered Elven writing.
This blade is kept safe in the matching scabbard that follows the shape of the sword. This scabbard is made of wood wrapped in faux leather, with attractive gold-finished steel detailing that matches the pommel.
The basis behind the design of the LotR Hadhafang sword has sometimes been attributed to Japanese and East Asian swords. However, Peter Jackson was actually inspired by the cavalry swords wielded by the Cossacks in the Early Modern period of history. The long, curved blade is ideal for the kind of slashing attacks that these soldiers would carry out from horseback.
So, who would want a sword like this? Obviously, collectors of LotR memorabilia and swords would likely benefit from this Hadhafang replica in their repertoire. If you’re more interested wielding a sword as part of a character, you’re still onto a winner here.
An Arwen or Elrond Cosplayer would likely appreciate this as part of their costume, but pretty much any Elven character would suit this weapon at their hip as well. Dark elves and more heroic high or wood elves alike could wield this weapon into battle. Or perhaps your character isn’t Elven, maybe an orc who looted this blade as a trophy from one of their fallen foes, or a human who was graced with the kingly gift of an Elven blade. A weapon like this can really add to the story of any character, if you’re willing to have a bit of fun with it and get creative.
The Elven Blades of Middle Earth: Nobility in Steel
It’s no secret that, in Middle Earth, the Elves were master craftsmen. Swords aside, they were responsible for the creation of some incredibly powerful magical artifacts. Among these were the Rings of Power, although admittedly under the guidance of Sauron. However, the Silmarils were another incredible example of Elven craftsmanship at its height.
These gems, otherwise known as the Jewels of Feanor captured mystical light from the Two Trees of Valinor and were the object of desire for pretty much everyone who saw them. The fact that both of these examples ended up being mired in tragedy and war probably isn’t that important.
Anyway, we aren’t talking about those. We’re talking about the comparatively mundane Elven swords that are peppered through LotR.
The Legendary Elven Swords of the First Age and the Decline of the Elves
There were several different designs of the elven swords as seen in the films. Many of these were gracefully curved single-edged sabres, much like Hadhafang. Other designs we see were more akin to European longswords. Interestingly, these longswords were almost universally forged in the First Age.
The weapons crafted during the First Age were said to be of unparalleled quality and beauty. They also had the ability to glow in the presence of Orcs, although the films reserved this ability for Sting, Frodo and Bilbo’s short sword.
These swords were commonly known as Gondolin blades, after the once great Elven city. Famous examples of confirmed First Age swords are Sting, Glamdring and Orcrist. The latter two were actually owned by the King of Gondolin himself and were lost to history when he fell. The fact that these swords kept their quality for millennia without proper care also hint at a supernatural nature.
Hadhafang’s Heritage: A Gondolin Blade?
We don’t know whether the Hadhafang sword itself was of the First Age or not. During its conception for the films, it was decided that this sword once belonged to Idril, the daughter of King Turgon.
This means that, while not canonical to Tolkien’s books, Hadhafang had a lofty lineage. It also hints at the possibility that Hadhafang was one of the famed Gondolin blades, as Idril was a Gondolin princess. However, Idril outlived the city and the Third Age so we don’t know for certain.
Idril married a mortal human called Tuor and bore him a half-elf son called Earendil. Interestingly, the half-elves of Tolkien’s world were different to the modern fantasy interpretation. Rather than having both human and elven traits, Earendil instead had the choice to live as an immortal elf or as a mortal man.
He married another half-elf and they both chose to live as elves. He became known as the mariner and was tasked with guarding the Sun and Moon, banished to the Great Ocean forever. Before all that, he had two sons. These were Elros and Elrond.
Elros chose to join mankind and became the first Numenorian king. It was through him that his descendants were gifted with their incredibly long lifespans. But we want to talk about Elrond, because he was the one who ended up with Hadhafang. You know, that sword we were talking about.
Unlike his brother, Elrond chose to live on as an elf. He inherited his grandmother’s sword, and we see him wield it in battle several times. Chronologically speaking, we first see him use it during the battle in which Isildur cut the Ring from Sauron’s finger, centuries before the events of the LotR story. Then, in the Hobbit films, Elrond again wields it against both Orcs and the Ringwraiths.
Elrond had a single daughter, Arwen. Like her father and grandfather, Arwen was a half-elf. At some point before Frodo acquired the One Ring from Bilbo, Hadhafang was passed down to Arwen. This could be when the script was engraved on the blade, as it reads:
“This blade is called Hadhafang, a noble defence against the enemy throng for a noble lady.”
The “noble lady” likely refers to Arwen, which means “noble lady”. However, it could also have referred to Idril, who certainly was a noble lady. Anyway, we see her wielding this sword on horseback, fending the Nazgul away from Frodo.
The Slow Decline of the Elves: Why They Left Middle Earth
The elves were immortal, basically angelic people who lived on Middle Earth for centuries. They left Valinor, their home, in order to pursue Morgoth who was the original Dark Lord. They battled against him throughout the First Age until he was finally defeated by the Valar, Godlike beings who favoured the elves.
In their prime, the elves were incredibly powerful. They were wise, beautiful, and were masters in pretty much everything from music to crafts, and even war. Those who lived on Middle Earth founded peaceful and stunning realms and wielded powerful magic.
They flourished in peace until the rise of Sauron, yet another Dark Lord. Allying with the burgeoning Mankind, the elves halted his plans for dominion. Temporarily, at least. However, while triumphant, it was becoming obvious that the power of Man was only getting stronger.
While relations between the elves and men remained friendly, Man’s influence grew more and more while the Elves became weary of these mortal lands and secluded themselves. At this time, they produced fewer great crafts, although the reforging of Narsil into Anduril could well count. Eventually, the Elves started to travel back to Valinor. Basically, it was mankind’s fault for thriving.
The last of these Elves finally left Middle Earth after the final defeat of Sauron at the dawn of the Fourth Age. Any elves who lingered faded into obscurity, both figuratively as they hid away, and literally as their bodies were consumed.
The Joining of Man and Elf: The Tale Arwen and Aragorn
Arwen Evenstar was the daughter of Elrond, who was the Lord of Rivendell and bearer of one of the Three Great Rings of Power. Arwen was considered incredibly beautiful, even for an elf, and was compared favourably to her ancestress, Luthien, who had been described as the most beautiful of all elves.
She had two older twin brothers who spent a lot of time hanging out with the Dunedain Rangers of the North. Specifically, they once rode into battle with Arathorn, the father of Aragorn. When Arathorn was killed, they brought Aragorn home as a ward to Elrond.
Arwen was about 2700 years old at this point, give or take a few years. Unusually for an elf, she had not yet married. Marriage for elves was a lifelong affair and they never divorced or remarried. Anyway, Arwen didn’t actually meet Aragorn until he was twenty years old, as she spent much of her time with Galadriel in Lorien.
Aragorn was smitten, falling in love pretty much instantly. Fortunately for him, she came to reciprocate his love thirty years or so later when the two were reunited. Despite the potential misgivings of her father, Arwen promised herself to Aragorn. In doing this, Arwen chose to be mortal and to remain on Middle Earth.
This union was both beautiful and tragic, especially for Arwen. She knew exactly what sacrifices she made for her love but decided that it was all worth it. She supported Aragorn during his quest to retake the throne of Gondor from her home. Then, after Sauron was defeated, she joined him at Minas Tirith.
Aragorn was crowned king and they married, making Arwen the queen of Gondor. In a way, this union was more than just two people who loved one another. Both Aragorn and Arwen carried the blood of the Three Kings of the High Elves (The Numenor descended from Elrond’s brother, remember). Aragorn also had a claim to the throne of Arnor, another human kingdom. Their son and heir, Eldarion, carried enough noble blood to burst.
However, their happiness was finite, as is always true for the trappings of mortals. Aragorn lived for another 122 years before eventually succumbing to old age. Arwen’s heart broke, and she lingered on for only another year before passing away at 2901 years old.
The technical specifications of this replica of Hadhafang for sale are as follows:
- Overall Length: 40.5 inches or 102.9 cm
- Blade Length: 30 inches or 76.2 cm
- Blade Material: Stainless Steel
- Handle Material: ABS Material (a polymer), polished steel details with gold finish
- Scabbard Material: Wooden, faux leather, polished steel details with gold finish