Lord of the Rings: The Strongest Swords in Middle-earth

The Lord of the Rings is quite possibly the greatest movie trilogy of all time. However, Peter Jackson’s films only cover a small snippet of time out of the thousands of years in Middle-earth’s detailed history. Amazon’s new Lord of the Rings series will undoubtedly take the time to explore more, but the only place to really get a true understanding of Middle-earth’s storied past is in the multitude of books that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote or influenced.

By examining the original material, fans of the franchise can gain a better understanding of the historicity leading up to the events surrounding Sauron and his One Ring. One small part of that is understanding why certain weapons were of such significance. Swords like Orcrist and Glamdring were important parts of the film franchise, but their histories were only briefly addressed on screen. So, here’s a detailed look at the most powerful swords that appeared in The Lord of the Rings and a few from the depths of Middle-earth’s history.

RELATED: Lord of the Rings Anatomy: 5 Weird Facts About Legolas & Elves’ Bodies

Gurthang (Iron of Death)

During the First Age, the Dark Elf Eöl came upon a meteor, and with it, he forged two black-bladed swords: Anguirel and Anglachel. The former sword, Eöl kept for himself until his son took it away to Gondolin, following his father’s execution. The latter sword, Eöl gave to the High King of the Sindarin Elves, King Thingol. They were extremely strong swords and could easily cut through iron, but they also had the malice of their maker within them. As such, Thingol refused to wield Anglachel and eventually gave it to Beleg Strongbow during his hunt for the man Turin Turambar.

After being betrayed by his followers, Orcs captured and tormented Turin. Beleg came to his friend’s rescue but, in freeing him, pricked Turin with Anglachel. Mistaking Beleg for an Orc, Turin killed him. After that, Turin went to the Elf realm of Nargothrond, where its talented smiths reforged Anglachel into Gurthang. He used the blade for the rest of his life, most notably to kill Glaurung, the father of all dragons. In the end, sword and wielder died together. Through a series of unfortunate events, Turin asked his sword to kill him, and the sword verbally responded that it would gladly do so. The malice of Eöl remained in the sword, and the blade wanted revenge on Turin for the killing of Beleg. So, Turin fell on his blade, and both were broken.

RELATED: Lord of the Rings: Is Gandalf’s Staff Magical?

Ringil (Cold Star)

Fingolfin was the first High King of the Noldor in Middle-earth. His Elves resisted Morgoth’s Orcs for many years until the Dark Lord unleashed the greatest of his evils in the Dagor Bragollach. Countless Elves died in the attack, and Fingolfin’s kingdom of Hithlum only barely survived. After that, Fingolfin was consumed with rage and took his sword Ringil, rode to Angband and challenged Morgoth to single combat. Morgoth himself was afraid of the High King and the sword that “glittered like ice,” but eventually, the Dark Lord emerged. The two fought an awful battle, and Fingolfin wounded the evil Maiar seven times. Eventually, though, Fingolfin grew weary and fell into a pit made by Morgoth’s mace. Then, Morgoth stepped on his neck, which killed the elf and likely destroyed his sword with him. Morgoth never healed from his wounds and would always be pained by the effects of Ringil.

Glamdring (Foe Hammer)

After Fingolfin’s death, his son Fingon became High King. However, it wasn’t long after that Fingon also died, leaving his brother Turgon as king. Turgon ruled from the hidden city of Gondolin and prospered for four hundred years, but all good things eventually come to an end. Morgoth eventually located Gondolin and attacked. The battle was terrible as Turgon wielded his sword Glamdring and led his people against their foes. Unfortunately, during the battle, Turgon, his sword and his city were all lost. Thousands of years later, Gandalf found Glamdring and used it in the War of the Ring.

RELATED: Lord of the Rings: Who Is the Witch-king - and What Makes Him So Special?

Orcrist (Goblin Cleaver)

Like Glamdring, Orcrist was forged in Gondolin and was likely wielded by one of the great Elf Lords. While the Fall of Gondolin was a great tragedy, both of these swords grew in infamy as a result of that specific battle. In fact, the Goblins named them Beater and Biter, respectively. The swords disappeared for thousands of years, but when the Goblins saw them in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the glowing, blue blades inspired immediate fear and dread. Thorin wielded Orcrist for a while, and Legolas also used the blade later in The Hobbit trilogy.

Anduril (Flame of the West)

Originally forged as Narsil (Red and White Flame), King Elendil famously wielded the blade in his battle with Sauron. Narsil was an heirloom of the house of Elros and passed down by the Kings of Númenor for generations until it was broken when Elendil died. Years later, Elrond had the sword reforged as Anduril, which allowed Aragorn to claim his heirship with the storied blade. However, unlike the other four swords on this list, Andruil was not forged by an Elf, nor did a man forge the blade. It was actually the Dwarf Telchar of Nogrod -- one of the greatest smiths of the First Age -- that forged the sword. Exactly how it came into the possession of the Númenoreans isn’t known, however.

KEEP READING: Lord of the Rings Extended Editions vs. Theatrical Versions: Which Are Better?

Eternals Isn't the First Marvel Movie to Reference Superman
Related Topics
About The Author
Blake Hawkins (501 Articles Published)

Blake Hawkins has written TV and movie features and recaps for CBR since March of 2021. He writes about everything from NCIS to Stranger Things to The Walking Dead and everything in between. Mostly, though, he most enjoys writing about Star Wars. In fact, as recent graduate of Greensboro College's honors program, Blake wrote his thesis on Star Wars and its religious connections. He now lives with his family in Lynchburg VA and is an avid outdoorsman. Feel free to contact him by email at [email protected], or find him on Facebook.

More From Blake Hawkins

You May Like Also

  • the greatest movie trilogy of all time
  • Amazon’s new Lord of the Rings series
  • Lord of the Rings Anatomy: 5 Weird Facts About Legolas & Elves’ Bodies
  • Lord of the Rings: Is Gandalf’s Staff Magical?
  • the Dark Lord unleashed the greatest of his evils
  • Lord of the Rings: Who Is the Witch-king - and What Makes Him So Special?
  • likely wielded by one of the great Elf Lords
  • an heirloom of the house of Elros
  • Lord of the Rings Extended Editions vs. Theatrical Versions: Which Are Better?
  • Tom Holland Describes Filming No Way Home As 'Saying Goodbye' to Spider-Man
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 3 May Introduce the MCU's Most Complex Character
  • Lord of the Rings: Every Major Race in Middle-earth, Explained
  • The Batman Director Says Even More Spinoffs Are in Development
  • Doctor Strange 2 Gives the Clearest Look Yet at the MCU's New Lovecraftian Villain
  • Robert Pattinson Explains Why His Batman Wants to Kill But Refuses to Do So
  • The Batman: Robert Pattinson Wore Clooney's Batman and Robin Suit to Screen Test
  • Image Comics' Saga #55 Comic Review
  • Star Wars: The High Republic - Eye of the Storm #1 Review
  • Image Comics' Made in Korea TPB Review
  • Ben Reilly: Spider-Man #1 Review
  • Titan Comics' Cowboy Bebop #1 Comic Review
  • Marvel's Silver Surfer: Rebirth #1 Comic Review
  • Tom Holland Flies - Yes, FLIES - a Pirate Ship in Uncharted's Final Trailer
  • Punisher Co-Creator Gerry Conway Refuses to Watch the Character's Films
  • Does Supergirl Explain the Time Gap in Superman Returns?
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home Script Reveals a Secret Stan Lee Tribute
  • A Lord of the Rings Theory Links the Arkenstone to Middle-Earth's Greatest Treasures
  • Could Any of Marvel's Eternals Lift Mjolnir?
  • MCU Fans Denounce Wasp Star Evangeline Lilly for Attending Anti-Vax Rally in DC
  • Why Darth Vader's Actor Was Banned From Official Star Wars Events
  • Watch Andrew Garfield Explain How He Snuck Into a Spider-Man: No Way Home Screening
  • Deadpool 2 Referenced a Reality-Warping Threat Scarier Than the Multiverse
  • Marvel Theory: Wanda Maximoff Already Said 'No More Mutants' - and Changed the MCU
  • Sundance 2022: Dual Debuts a Strange, Anti-Action Clone War