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Andúril and Narsil


Anduril and Aragorn Aragorn and Anduril Aragorn and Anduril Elendil with Narsil


Narsil, (its name meaning 'fire' and 'white light') was forged by Telchar of Nogrod in or before the First Age.  Telchar was a Dwarf of Nogrod in the Blue Mountains, and one of the greatest smiths in the history of Middle-earth. Among his works were Angrist (the knife that freed the Silmaril from the Iron Crown), Narsil and the Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin.

Narsil is a name composed of 2 basic stems without variation or adjuncts: √NAR 'fire', & √THIL 'white light'. It thus symbolised the chief heavenly lights, as enemies of darkness, Sun (Anar) and Moon (in Q) Isil.[1] Andúril means Flame of the West (as a region) not of the Sunset. (Tolkien's letters)

Nothing is then told of who orginally owned Narsil, but it next appeared in the hands of King Elendil, the last Lord of Andúnië, a renowned and ancient sword.  Elendil fought with it in when he led the Battle of the Last Alliance against Sauron with the elves in the late Second Age

...and the sword of Elendil filled Orcs and Men with fear, for it shone with the light of the sun and of the moon, and it was named Narsil. (Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, The Silmarillion)

During this battle Elendil was slain by Sauron and the sword was knocked from his hand, where it shattered.  Elendil's son, Isildur then picked up a shard and cut the One Ring from Sauron's hand, causing Sauron's spirit to leave his body and so ending this battle in victory.

Elendil fell, and Narsil broke beneath him; but Sauron himself was overthrown, and Isildur cut the Ring from his hand with the hilt-shard of his father's sword, and took it for his own.' (The Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring)

Isildur took the shards and kept them in safe keeping, whereupon he returned to Gondor and was proclaimed King.  After a year he decided he wanted to reclaim his lands to the North, but first decided to visit Elrond in Imladris where his wife and youngest baby son, Valandil were staying and to ask Elrond's counsel.  On the way, he and his guards were amubushed by orcs at the Gladden fields.

Isildur saw that no help would be coming from Lothlórien, for it was days behind; and neither would any help be coming from the Elves in Mirkwood, who were four days ahead. He then turned to his squire, Ohtar, and gave him the shards and sheath of Narsil and commanded him to save it at all costs, even if he were to be called a coward who had deserted him. Othar then fled into the valley with his companion.

From the ruin of the Gladden Fields, where Isildur perished, three men only came ever back over the mountains after long wandering. One of these was Ohtar, the esquire of Isildur, who bore the shards of the sword of Elendil; and he brought them to Valandil, the heir of Isildur, who being but a child had remained here in Rivendell. But Narsil was broken and its light extinguished, and it has not yet been forged again.(The Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring)

In the third age, Ohtar took the shards to Valandil in Imladris where it was kept safe for generations.   Elrond foretold it should not be reforged until the One Ring was found again and Sauron returned. Because the blade was broken the light of the sword was extinguished.

Through time the line of Kings was forgotten, and only in Imladris was the history of the sword remembered

Aragorn received the shards of Narsil at the age of 20 in 2951. At that time, Elrond told Aragorn of his heritage as the heir of Isildur. Aragorn bore the shards of Narsil in a sheath as he travelled throughout Middle-earth

Upon meeting Frodo, as Strider, in Bree, he revealed his broken sword to him in proof of who he was

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
 The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost. 

           From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

 'I did not know,' he answered. 'But I am Aragorn, and those verses go with that name.' He drew out his sword, and they saw that the blade was indeed broken a foot below the hilt. 'Not much use is it, Sam?' said Strider. 'But the time is near when it shall be forged anew.' (Strider, The Fellowship of the Ring)

In the Third Age circa 3018, the One Ring resurfaced and Sauron again began to grow in power. After the people of Middle Earth met at the Council of Elrond and were shown Isildur's Bane the Fellowship of the Ring was formed.  Before they left Rivendell :

     The Sword of Elendil was forged anew by Elvish smiths, and on its blade was traced a device of seven stars set between the crescent Moon and the rayed Sun, and about them was written many runes; for Aragorn son of Arathorn was going to war upon the marches of Mordor. Very bright was that sword when it was made whole again; the light of the sun shone redly in it, and the light of the moon shone cold, and its edge was hard and keen. And Aragorn gave it a new name and called it Andúril, Flame of the West. (The Ring Goes South, The Fellowship of the Ring)

Upon leaving Lothlorien, the Lady Galadriel made a gift to Aragorn of a sheath for Andúril

`Here is the gift of Celeborn and Galadriel to the leader of your Company,' she said to Aragorn, and she gave him a sheath that had been made to fit his sword. It was overlaid with a tracery of flowers and leaves wrought of silver and gold, and on it were set in elven runes formed of many gems the name Andúril and the lineage of the sword. 

     `The blade that is drawn from this sheath shall not be stained or broken even in defeat,' she said (Farewell to Lórien, The Fellowship of the Ring)

Aragorn used Andúril throughout the Middle Age, at Helm's Deep, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and the Battle of the Morannon before the Black Gates of Mordor where Sauron was destroyed.

Most notably Aragorn revealed Andúril to Sauron through the Palantir, to announce his presence:

He drew a deep breath. 'It was a bitter struggle, and the weariness is slow to pass. I spoke no word to him, and in the end I wrenched the Stone to my own will. That alone he will find hard to endure. And he beheld me. Yes, Master Gimli, he saw me, but in other guise than you see me here. If that will aid him, then I have done ill. But I do not think so. To know that I lived and walked the earth was a blow to his heart, I deem; for he knew it not till now. The eyes in Orthanc did not see through the armour of Théoden; but Sauron has not forgotten Isildur and the sword of Elendil. Now in the very hour of his great designs the heir of Isildur and the Sword are revealed; for I showed the blade re-forged to him. He is not so mighty yet that he is above fear; nay, doubt ever gnaws him.' (The Parting of the Grey Company, The Return of the King)


Contributed by Elril Galia

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