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Fellowship of Fans > Guest Writer  > Weapons Of The Second Age: Christopher Thompson

Weapons Of The Second Age: Christopher Thompson

We all know that the Second Age of Middle-earth is filled to the brim with great characters, mythical races and creatures, literal world-changing events, and fascinating cities and landscapes. But, if there is one thing that doesn’t get talked about enough, it’s the weapons—and I’m here to change that. Today, I want to talk about some the more unique weapons in Tolkien’s legendarium, and how they could play a vital role in the upcoming Rings of Power series. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at 10 of the most interesting weapons that Middle-earth had to offer during, before and after the Second Age.

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Let’s start it off with one of my personal favorites: Aeglos, the spear of Gil-galad, High-king of the Ñoldor. We see this particular weapon for a brief moment in the prologue of the Fellowship of the Ring, when Gil-galad used it to penetrate an orc’s armor. It was greatly feared by its enemies and Gil-galad used it throughout the War of the Alliance. I would be shocked if we don’t see this beautiful weapon in the Rings of Power series. It doesn’t even have to look like its movie counterpart (we really didn’t get a good look at it anyway), as long as it’s in the show, that is a win in my book!

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Glamdring, also known as the Foe-hammer or the Beater, was forged in the First Age for Turgon, the King of Gondolin. Though, we do not know for certain, the sword was probably used in many battles of the First Age, before being lost throughout all of recorded Second Age history. I would not expect to see this particular weapon make an appearance in the Rings of Power series, as it wouldn’t be found again until the Third Age when Gandalf comes across it in the Trollshaws during the events of the Hobbit.

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Orcrist, just like its mate Glamdring, was forged in Gondolin in the First Age of Middle-earth. Its past is even more of an enigma than Glamdring’s as its recorded history ends in the First Age before being found by Thorin and Company in the Third Age. Fun fact: If you’ve only watched the movies then you’re probably under the assumption that only Sting can glow blue when orcs or goblins are around. But, that isn’t the case, as both Glamdring and Orcrist are capable of glowing blue, as well. I doubt this fine blade will appear in the Rings of Power.

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The last of the three weapons found in the Trollshaws was Sting, another sword that was forged in Gondolin by the High-elves of the First Age. It is doubtful that this particular sword was made for King Turgon, but who knows, really? Maybe he had a lot of letters that needed opening? Or maybe it was crafted as a gift for a certain princess by the name of Idril? We will probably never know for certain. What we do know, however, is the small likelihood of it appearing in the Rings of Power.

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One of the more prominent weapons of the Second Age was Aranrúth. Aranrúth was the cherished sword of King Thingol in the First Age. He greatly prized this weapon, and as he passed, the sword would be handed down to the generations that followed. Elros, the brother of Elrond and the first King of Númenor, acquired this weapon from his mother, Elwing. From then on, it became a sort of artifact or heirloom, if you will, in the halls of the kings of Númenor. Sadly, however, unlike most of the swords on this list, we actually know of its grim fate. See, during the Downfall of Númenor, the sword was lost in the crushing waves that encompassed the Island—never to be seen again. I am also fully aware of the fact that Aranrúth is only mentioned in text that Amazon does not currently have the rights to, but it truly would be a shame to see such a fabled blade not make an appearance on-screen. Hopefully Amazon can ask permission from the Tolkien Estate to use some of the weapons that are only mentioned in other writings and not just those that are mentioned in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. If the map of Númenor and the inclusion of Tirion is any indication, then it would seem as though that the Tolkien Estate is up for those discussions.

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Hadhafang was the sword of Elrond Half-elven, and it bore an elvish inscription along its blade; it was also created solely for Peter Jackson’s saga and was never mentioned in any of Tolkien’s writings. According to the movie’s public material, the sword was handed down from Idril to Eärendil and then to Elrond, who used it in the War of the Last Alliance at the end of the Second Age. I would say not to look for Hadhafang in the Rings of Power, but considering some of the weapons and armor from the show look strikingly similar to their big screen counterparts, I wouldn’t be too surprised if it were to appear at some point.

Narsil, arguably the most famous sword in Tolkien’s legendarium, was created in the First Age by the dwarven craftsmen Telchar Nogrod for unknown reasons. It is theorized that the sword was crafted for King Thingol in his wars against Morgoth, but that is just speculation. Its known history is rather obscure until the end of the Second Age comes about and the sword is given to Elendil, son of Amandil. Who, by the end of his very life, would use it against the second Dark Lord himself: Sauron, during the Battle of Dagorlad in the War of the Last Alliance. During this battle, however, Elendil would fall, and the blade would break along with him. His son Isildur would pick up the broken blade, and with it, cut the Ring from Sauron’s hand. And the rest is, well, history. As for seeing it in the show: We can be 100% certain that it will indeed appear. What we aren’t sure of, however, is if it will resemble the design of the one in Peter Jackson’s films. I guess we will just have to wait and find out for ourselves.

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I wanted to include Anglachel on this list for many reasons, the first being the fact that it’s my favorite weapon in all of Tolkien’s legendarium. The second is because of its rich history. See, Anglachel was a very special sword. It was forged from a meteorite by Eöl, the Dark Elf during the First Age of Middle-earth, along with its twin—Anguirel. It was then given to King Thingol as payment, but he would not use it for his wife, Melian, warned him of its malice. Oh, did I forget to mention that the sword had a mind of its own? How it was sentient from the very beginning and imbued with its creator’s malice? I guess it slipped my mind. Anyway, the sword then found a new owner, Beleg Strongbow, and he took it while in search for his friend, Túrin Turambar. Long story short, the sword betrayed Beleg, and Túrin unwittingly used it against him. After committing this terrible act, the sword would become dull and its blade would turn black. Túrin then took the sword and reforged it in the great underground city of Nargothrond. There, he would give it a new name: Gurthang, meaning “iron of death”. Túrin would later use it against the many foes that crossed his path, including the father of all dragons, Glaurung. After a couple of encounters with the great beast, Túrin would slay Glaurung with the black sword in-hand. Shortly after though, he too would meet his end by the edge of that malevolent blade as he decided to take his own life after many years of troubles and heartache. The third and final reason as to why I added this particular weapon to the list has to deal with a theory of mine that is backed by nothing more than my own speculation. See, there is a certain broken sword that appears quite frequently in the Rings of Power promotional images. It first appeared in the “hands” posters back in January, and was later seen again in a photo featuring Theo, and then once again in the Empire Magazine. This particular sword seems to be a key factor in some sort of plotpoint or storyline in the upcoming show. What catches my eye though is the color of the blade itself and the menacing look it gives off. Now, this could very well be just a sword that is created for the sole purpose of the show and is not tied directly to Tolkien’s legendarium, but if it isn’t, and it is tied to Tolkien’s mythos, then all I have to say is that there is only one blade that matches the look of this broken sword and it goes by the name of Gurthang, the Blade of Death.
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Dramborleg, the axe of Tuor, has a rather complicated history. Unlike many of the weapons on this list, its feats and moments aren’t very cut and dry. The biggest things it’s known for were later altered down the line by the ever changing mind of Tolkien himself. The axe is greatly tied into the Fall of Gondolin, and the story of Tuor, a mere mortal man, who helped to lead the people of Gondolin out of their burning city. But wait, you might be asking yourself: What is so complicated about that? That is what happened in the story, correct? Well, yes, but Tolkien also highlighted certain things like Orc Lords and an army of Balrogs that really wouldn’t fit his view of Middle-earth later down the line. According to the Fall of Gondolin: “The leap of that axe Dramborleg that was swung by the hand of Tuor were [the Balrogs] still more afraid, for it sang like the rush of eagle’s wings in the air and it took death as it fell, five of them went down before it.” As mentioned before, Tolkien would change his mind several times on the subject of Balrogs and their ever-growing mythos inside of his own legendarium. The idea of a mortal man like Tuor bringing down almost a half a dozen Balrogs while a Maiar like Gandalf dies when defeating just one, doesn’t make too much sense. As for Dramborleg, its history doesn’t end there, as it would find its way to the halls of the kings of Númenor much like the sword Aranrúth that we mentioned earlier. Alas, it’s fate ended much like that of Aranrúth’s, as it too was lost in the Downfall of Númenor. As for it appearing in the show, it would seem likely, though it too is not mentioned in the writings that Amazon currently have the rights to. Nevertheless, we can only hope.
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The Bow of Bregor was one the few unique and named bows in Tolkien’s legendarium. It was an heirloom of the House of Bëor and was used by, you guessed it, Bregor. When he passed, the bow would not be forgotten as it was taken by the Edain and brought to Númenor to remain in the halls of the kings. And just like many of the weapons we’ve mentioned before, it too was destroyed during the Downfall of Númenor. The likelihood of seeing such a weapon in the show is not low, but it isn’t very high, either, as the bow only appears in a single text from the Unfinished Tales.
And there you have it: 10 of the finest weapons that Middle-earth had to offer during the Second Age. Some of which were lost to time only to appear again, and others were used to slay Dark Lords and fearsome Dragons. None were ever forgotten in the annals of Arda’s history, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better collection of weaponry from any tale or story told from fantasy literature. I hope to see at least some of them make an appearance on-screen when Rings of Power premieres on September 2nd of this year.
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I’m Harry the creator and manager of Fellowship of Fans and my first introduction to Tolkien was unsurprisingly through my father reading me the Hobbit when I was very young. Being able to grow FoF into a wider and uplifting community is a privilege.

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