A MUST FOR HOBBIT FANS! - Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Four heroic swords based on weapons used in the epic ‘The Lord of the Rings’ film trilogy go on display at the Royal Armouries in Leeds from December 13 to celebrate the long-awaited movie premiere – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
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, and Sting – are all artists’ proof copies of the long since sold-out limited editions, ranging from only 10 to 25 in number.
Royal Armouries is believed to be the only museum in the world to display the full set of swords. Their appearance follows the highly successful exhibition, The Wonderful World of Weta: Arms and Armour from the Movies, staged in Leeds in 2008.
Royal Armouries’ Curator of European Edged Weapons, Bob Woosnam-Savage, has kept in touch with Weta and one of its directors, Sir Richard Taylor, in New Zealand since the exhibition closed.
Bob said, “We are probably the only museum in the world to have the full set and it has given Richard and Peter at Weta a real kick to know that pieces made by them are now exhibited at the Royal Armouries – Britain’s National Museum of Arms and Armour.’
“When these swords were suggested as a collection of ‘high-end’ collectibles of museum quality, we thought it was a great idea to secure them.”
Although the swords are not movie props, they were crafted by Peter Lyon using the same designs, methods, materials and tools that were used to create the original hero weapons for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ motion picture trilogy.
The pieces showcase a multitude of sword making, metal crafting and wood working techniques and are examples of present day, world-class sword-making skills.
Bob added, “Pursuing the idea of using our Royal Armouries’ treasures to inspire modern-day creations, it is worth noting that the design of some of these swords was based on real medieval and renaissance designs, similar to those held by the museum within the national collection.”
The swords will be on display in the War Gallery from December 13 to the end of February 2013.
THE FOUR 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.
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Notes to editors
- Royal Armouries is the national museum of arms and armour and has sites in Leeds, HM Tower of London, Fort Nelson and Louisville, Kentucky. It is the first British national museum to open a permanent presence in another country
- Admission to the museum is free. However, there may be a small charge for some special events.
- Open all year daily, 10am-5pm. Closed 24-25 December
- Information Line: 0113 220 1999
- Website: www.royalarmouries.org
- The Royal Armouries Museum should not be confused with Royal Armouries International plc, the private sector corporate hospitality business.