Swords from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to go on show at Royal Armouries

By Culture24 Reporter | 10 December 2012
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A photo of a young woman holding a long silver sword in front of a wooden door
Conservator Vicky Garlick, of the Royal Armouries, admires a sword of Middle Earth© Courtesy Royal Armouries

Proof copies of four weapons from the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – known as the Andúril, Strider's Sword, Glamdring, and Sting swords – will go on exclusive display in Leeds after the Royal Armouries struck a deal with their big-screen creators.

Swordsmith Peter Lyon and production workshop Weta have given the Leeds venue the versions of the sold-out limited editions, building on a relationship fostered between Curator of European Edged Weapons Bob Woosnam-Savage and the New Zealand team during an exhibition devoted to their work held in Leeds four years ago.

A photo of a large silver sword lying on the dark grey floor of a museum exhibition space
© Courtesy Royal Armouries
They will go on show on December 13, coinciding with the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

“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,” says Woosnam-Savage.

“We are probably the only museum in the world to have the full set.

“Although the swords are not movie props, they were crafted by Peter using the same designs, methods, materials and tools that were used to create the original hero weapons for the motion picture trilogy.

“It has given Weta a real kick to know that pieces made by them are now exhibited at Britain’s National Museum of Arms and Armour.

“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.

“It pursues the idea of using our Royal Armouries’ treasures to inspire modern-day creations.”

The swords will be on display in the War Gallery until the end of February 2013.

Sharper focus: The swords in profile

  • 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 is 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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