The Lord of the Rings is probably one of the most famous fantasy series in the Western World, and for good reason. The author and creator of the world that Lord of the Rings takes place in, J.R.R Tolkien, is considered the grandfather of modern fantasy. Like everything else in Middle Earth, his swords and weapons were imbued with rich histories and meticulous design. But there are some which stand out. If you’re looking for Lord of the Rings swords as a collectible, or to complete your cosplay, then you should find what you’re looking for here.
Behind the World of Middle Earth Tolkien’s world is far too expansive to give a detailed history here, even if we focus only on the time that the films are set in. In fact, even the swords of Middle Earth tend to be steeped in stories, with histories and names behind them, but that is without doubt part of what makes them so iconic.
The Story of The Lord of the Rings A look at Middle Earth in the time of the Lord of the Rings tells of an ancient and fading world. It is set in the Third Age of Middle Earth, although many references to the First Age are made. In fact, most of the more iconic swords in the franchise were forged in the First Age, by famous Elves and Dwarves. In the Third Age, there’s a great sense of melancholy. Most of the legendary weapons are ancient, because weapons of similar strength are no longer being forged. Even Andúril was originally crafted in the First Age. Even more, the Elves are leaving Middle Earth, sensing that their time is over, and the more mundane time of man is beginning. The story of the Lord of the Rings focuses on the quest to destroy the One Ring, a powerful weapon created by Sauron, a powerful and evil being. The ring can only be destroyed in the volcano where it was forged, which means that our brave adventurers must travel across a dangerous world, all the while being beset by dangers ancient and new. While the group of adventurers includes many famous warriors and even royalty, the story also follows some relatively humble hobbits. One of these hobbits, Frodo Baggins, must bear the ring and all that comes with it. There are many battles along the way, some small and some on a grand scale. However, while part of the story revolves around a king returning to take his throne with an ancient, reforged blade in hand, it eventually comes down to two small hobbits fighting over a bit of evil jewellery in a volcano.
The Design of Middle Earth One thing that makes Middle Earth so recognisable is how Tolkien pulled so heavily on real history and legends to build his world. While he did create his own cultures and languages, Tolkien had a well-known love of history and so used this knowledge. One legend that Tolkien was evidently very fond of was that of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The influence of these legends is especially clear in the story of Aragorn. However, other legends and ancient tales also influence the Lord of the Rings. Sword names are an aspect common to many Northern European epics, most famously Beowulf. However, when it comes to the famous depictions of Lord of the ring swords that we are familiar with, we actually have Peter Jackson to thank. His designs for the weapons and general appearance of Middle Earth, combined with Tolkien’s incredible stories and histories around them are what help make them so iconic and memorable to this day. Many of the weapon designs seem to draw from history, with each culture having slightly different designs. Because most of the more recognisable Lord of the Rings swords tend to be Elven, they can share some similarities. Many Elven blades seem to have a slight curve to them, such as Frodo’s Sting, Arwen’s Hadhafang and the knives and daggers seen throughout the film. These swords also often some form of inscription, either naming the blade or naming its purpose. However, the longer swords of the series often are more obviously inspired by medieval European weaponry, baring some resemblance to medieval and renaissance longswords. Also, other designs are evident in other cultural weapons, with Dwarven weaponry featuring runes and a geometric design, while the swords of the Rohirrim bore some similarity to Viking swords.
Lord of the Rings Sword Names The vast majority of the swords in the Lord of the Rings have their own unique names. This serves to solidify these swords as a part of the history of Tolkien’s world. This is a habit that Tolkien seemed to have picked up from both history and legends. Most of the named swords of Tolkien are considered legendary and ancient, with many being Elven. One notable exception to this is Narsil, which was actually made by a Dwarvern smith, although it was later reforged by elves. Théoden’s sword, Herugrim also doesn’t claim to be Elvish, likely made by humans, albeit centuries ago. Because of these sword’s Elven heritage, most of the names are Elven as well. However, because Tolkien was an overachiever, he actually came up with several different Elven languages. The meanings of each sword name are given in the description. The only unnamed sword here is ‘Strider’s Sword’, because it was only really a placeholder sword before Aragorn received Andúril. However, ‘Strider’s Sword’ is still a recognisable blade, and its place in the story shouldn’t be ignored. Otherwise, when it comes to the Lord of the Rings, sword names are simply part of the story and the world. They tell us something about the sword itself, whether it’s a lofty name for the sword of kings, or something short and simple, like ‘Sting’.
Lord of the Rings Swords for Sale Each of the most famous swords in Lord of the Rings with its own history and role in the story. As is Tolkien’s signature, the history of most of these swords is so rich, they’re characters in their own right. The Lord of the Rings replica swords available here should help you relive some of that history, either as one of the characters of Middle Earth, or simply as a display piece to show off the part of yourself that truly loves Middle Earth.
The Swords of Gondor These are the swords associated with Aragorn and the line of Gondor kings. Both are of similar design, as well as Aragorn’s other sword, each being longswords. However, while these weapons were traditionally wielded with two hands, Aragorn had an unusual tendency to wield his longsword with one hand at times. This demonstrates Aragorn’s incredibly strength and skill with the blade, as well as his Elven training as a young man, even as he lived as a Dúnedain Ranger. Both of these swords have come to represent the Line of Gondor itself, as both the kingly line and the sword itself were broken along with the defeat of Sauron. However, with the return of Aragorn, the broken blade was reforged, as was the Line of Gondor.
Narsil Like many of the famous Lord of the Ring Swords, Narsil was an ancient sword, forged during the First Age by a Dwarvern-smith. Originally, it was owned by the Elves, but it was most famously the sword of the King of Gondor, Elendil, during the climactic last battle against Sauron. Elendil was killed, and his sword shattered in the battle, but his son Isildur took up the broken blade and used it to defeat Sauron and end the battle. Narsil spent the majority of the Third Age and the Lord of the Rings as a broken sword, until it was reforged for Aragorn’s benefit into Andúril by the elves. Like Andúril, Narsil was a straight longsword, commonly wielded in two hands. It has an elegant and kingly design, as to expected. In the Elvish language, the name of Narsil means “Red and white flame”, but it is more commonly referred to the “Sword That Was Broken,” for fairly obvious reasons. This is a great sword to add to your collection, as it is so deeply steeped in the history of Middle Earth.
Andúril This is by far the most iconic sword of the Lord of the Rings franchise. Andúril was reforged from the shards of Narsil by the elves and was wielded by Aragorn as he accepted his mantle of king of Gondor. The name has some similarity to that of Narsil, meaning “Flame of the West” when translated from the Elvish language. In the books, Andúril was reforged before Aragorn left Rivendell, but in the Peter Jackson films, Aragorn didn’t receive his distinctive weapon until shortly before he entered the Paths of the Dead, where he used the sword to compel the undead army to attack his enemy. This was an incredibly powerful sword, so much so that it was intimidating even to Sauron himself. Andúril is a long sword, typically wielded with two hands. It has the same hilt as Narsil, but the blade is inscribed with a set of elven runes, which when translated read “I am Andúril who was Narsil, the sword of Elendil. Let the thralls of Mordor flee me." This inscription is fitting. This is the sword where Tolkien’s Arthurian influences truly shine through, as it shares quite a few similarities to Excalibur and/or the Sword in the Stone. Both were usually depicted as longswords, both swords carried with them an association with rightful sovereignties and both are considered to have magical powers. Andúril is the perfect sword for anyone seeking to cosplay as Aragorn the king, or for whoever wishes to start a collection of Lord of the Rings Swords. If you’re only going to get one sword, then this is likely the one for you.
Elven Blades The majority of the weapons of the Lord of the Rings are Elvish in origin, which makes sense when considering the craftsmanship displayed by the elves. Each of these weapons are ancient and very powerful.
Glamdring This was the sword wielded by the wizard Gandalf after he found it in a troll’s cave in the time of the Hobbit book, along with several other swords. Glamdring was forged in the first age, and so was incredibly ancient and powerful. Like so many of these ancient swords, this roots the sword even further in the history and legends of middle earth. The Third Age is just a small part of this sword’s story. Glamdring was a hand-and-a-half sword, designed to be effective when used with either one or two hands. Gandalf often wielded it with his staff in the other hand. Like other elven swords, it had an elegant design, being described as having a beautiful scabbard and a jewelled hilt. In the books, Glamdring was described as being similar to Sting with its ability to glow in the presence of orcs, but the films kept this ability unique to Sting. The name means “Foe-hammer” in Elvish, but it was also known as “Beater” by the goblins who Gandalf engaged in battle.
Sting Technically a dagger, Sting was used as a short sword by both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. While it’s a short blade, Sting was as powerful as any other Elven blade made during the first age. Most famously, Sting would glow blue in the presence of orcs, which regularly warned both Bilbo and Frodo when danger was nearby. It was an elaborate weapon, with a leaf-shaped blade akin to Ancient Greek short swords. In the films, Sting was depicted with an inscription down the blade that read “Sting is my name; I am the spider's bane.” It was named such by Bilbo and recognised and rightly feared by Gollum when Frodo encountered him on his quest.
Hadhafang Unlike most other swords in this list, Hadhafang does not appear in the books. This is the blade that was wielded by Elrond during the battle where he stood with Elendil and Isildur against Sauron. Later on, it was passed to Arwen, his daughter. Hadhafang is famous for its sleek and elegant curved design, inspired by European cavalry sabres and the Assyrian khopesh. Unlike many of the swords in the Lord of the Rings, Hadhafang was designed to be used on horseback rather than on foot. The name of Hadhafang can be translated to mean “throng-cleaver”. This name was pulled from Tolkien’s own list of Elvish words.
Other Lord of the Rings Swords Of course, there were other distinctive swords that showed up in the Lord of the Rings.
Strider’s Sword Unlike the other swords here, strider’s sword doesn’t have a unique name. This is the sword that was used by Aragorn before he took up Andúril and accepted the mantle of King of Gondor. The design of strider’s sword comes largely from the films, where Aragorn didn’t receive Andúril until much later than in the books. Again, this is a longsword and has a less elaborate design from the kinglier swords featured in the series. This sword would be great when cosplaying Aragorn in his role as ‘Strider the Ranger’. It’s also a fine choice for collectors, as it appears so often in the films.
Herugrim This is one of the lesser-known swords of the Lord of the Rings franchise, but it is distinctive non-the-less. Herugrim was the sword wielded by Théoden and was an heirloom of the Rohirrim kings. In the books, Herugrim was described as “a long sword in a scabbard clasped with gold and set with green gems". The distinctive hilt of this sword can be attributed to the film trilogy, which showed Herugrim as having a hilt designed with two golden horse heads joined at the neck and touching noses. The design of the sword, as well as the memorable scene of Théoden King regaining his sword along with his own sanity, are what solidify it into our minds. The Rohirric language was heavily based on Old English, so the meaning of Herugrim is regularly considered to mean “very fierce”, a fitting name for a sword.
In Conclusion The world that J.R.R Tolkien created when he conceived Middle Earth is about as expansive as a fantasy world can be. His inspirations in the Northern European sagas and the legends are obvious, so the whole world and the stories surrounding it feel more like an epic legend than a story. The Lord of the Rings Swords play a part in this feeling of depth and history, as each one comes with its own stories and legends. These are stories and legends that, with these replicas, we can feel a part of. So, whether you have a love of the design of these swords, or a love of the characters and want an opportunity to cosplay as them, one of these Lord of the Rings replica swords should be ideal for you.