THE SWORDS OF MIDDLE-EARTH

9:00am Thursday 13th December 2012 - 5:00pm Monday 28th July 2014 at Leeds in the War Gallery

Five heroic swords based on weapons used in the epic The Lord of the Rings film trilogy are on display at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

The exhibits were crafted in the past two years by swordsmith, Peter Lyon, and award-winning production workshop, Weta – creators of the original swords for both the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film productions.

The evocatively-named swords – Andúril, Strider’s Sword, Glamdring, Sting and Orcrist – are all artists’ proof copies of the long since sold-out limited editions, ranging from only 10 to 25 in number.

THE FIVE SWORDS – “FACTS AND STATS”:

SWORD OF ARAGORN: ANDÚRIL

The two-handed sword Andúril, originally called Narsil (‘Red and White Flame’), was forged by the dwarf weaponsmith, Telchar of Nogrod. King Elendil used it against Sauron, during the battle of Dagorlad.

His son Isildur took up Narsil and cut the One Ring from Sauron but shattered the sword. The shards of Narsil were re-forged by Elves into the sword Andúril (‘Flame of the West’) for Aragorn, the heir of Isildur, who was crowned King Elessar.

SWORD OF THE RANGER ‘STRIDER’, ARAGORN

The hand-and-a-half sword of Aragorn when he went under the name Strider, among many others, disguised as a Ranger. This long, elegant and plain fighting sword bears a simple blade with neither flourish nor adornment, but reliable and keen, much like Strider himself. The grip is bound in leather stained the ‘Forest Green’ of the Rangers.

SWORD OF GANDALF: GLAMDRING

The two-handed sword of the wizard Gandalf, one of the Fellowship of the Ring, was named Glamdring (Sindarin: ‘Foe-hammer’). Gandalf found it in a Troll-hoard in the caves beneath The Misty Mountains, during the Quest of Erebor. It been forged long before by Elves in the First Age for Turgon, the Ñoldorin elf-king of Gondolin. Its blade, which is slightly leaf-shaped, glows blue or white when evil Orcs or Balrogs are nearby, as do all Elven blades.

SWORD OF BILBO AND FRODO BAGGINS: STING

Sting, the sword of the Hobbit Ringbearer Frodo Baggins, one of the Fellowship of the Ring, was given to him by his cousin Bilbo Baggins.

Bilbo originally found it in a Troll-hoard in the caves beneath The Misty Mountains, during the Quest of Erebor, which he undertook in the years 2941-2 (Third Age) as recorded in ‘The Hobbit’. Bilbo named the sword Sting but it had been made long before by Elves of the First Age, possibly for Turgon of Gondolin. Although only a dagger, it was of sword-length for a small Hobbit.

SWORD OF THORIN OAKENSHIELD: ORCRIST

The sword of the Dwarf Thorin Oakenshield, son of Thráin, grandson of King Thrór, direct descendent of Durin. Orcrist was lost following the Fall of Gondolin in 511 (First Age) and was rediscovered during the Quest of Erebor, as recorded in the tale ‘There and Back Again’, better known as ‘The Hobbit’. Thorin found it within a Troll-hoard in a cave in the Trollshaws Forest, an area bounded to the East by Misty Mountains. Thorin would wear the sword in a scabbard suspended from a baldrick upon his back.

Like all Elven swords its blade is of curved form and glows blue or white when evil Orcs or Balrogs are nearby. The blade itself also bears an Elvish inscription which translates as ‘The Serpent’s Tooth’ a reference to the dragon’s tooth, which forms the grip of the hilt.