House of Haleth - Tools and Props

Odola

Active Member
Didn't we say something like the Dwarves or even the Feanoreans?
Are any of those into spears? Spears are hunting weapons originally, againts big animals like bears. Javelins are light spears for throwing. Neither seems a very dwarwish activity, one due to limited dwarvish high, the other due to dwarvisch limb proportions. And Feanorians making/using a Vanyar style weapon?
Or have the Haladin just custom-ordered one - like bringing in a flint head onto the table and asking for the same shape and weight in metal?
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Are any of those into spears? Spears are hunting weapons originally, againts big animals like bears. Javelins are light spears for throwing. Neither seems a very dwarwish activity, one due to limited dwarvish high, the other due to dwarvisch limb proportions. And Feanorians making/using a Vanyar style weapon?
Or have the Haladin just custom-ordered one - like bringing in a flint head onto the table and asking for the same shape and weight in metal?
The Hosts and users have been pretty adamant about the use of spears before using the sword in combat, as the latter is a sidearm.
 

Odola

Active Member
The Hosts and users have been pretty adamant about the use of spears before using the sword in combat, as the latter is a sidearm.
That is true, but I do not know if this is practical in dwarves?

And anyway, dwarves would have trouble to get the lenght and weighting of a spear correct for a human, but of course they could custom make a single spearhead if given the exact design instructions, that's for sure. The issue is were the Haladim self-aware enough to provide such detailed instructions?

Feanor invented swords, so I do not know how far his sons were into spears. Feanor was not very fond of his Vanya step-mum, so I would think that her descendants would have greater fondness for and expertise in spears which are - after all - a signature Vanyarin weapon.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Feanor invented swords, so I do not know how far his sons were into spears. Feanor was not very fond of his Vanya step-mum, so I would think that her descendants would have greater fondness for and expertise in spears which are - after all - a signature Vanyarin weapon.
Celegorm attempts to spear Beren when he and Curufin try to carry Luthien off, so they're not opposed to using spears.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I see no reason to limit use of spears to the Vanyar. Yes, Vanyar can use spears, that's fine, but surely many other cultures also use spears. They're useful.

As was discussed on the SilmFilm podcast, each household of the Haladin have about one metal item. It is prized/precious and passed down in families. They have obtained these items from trade, first with the dwarves, and later with the other houses of Men. The House of Bëor spent 70 years living in Nargothrond, so their culture was strongly influenced by the Noldor, and they are definitely not a neolithic people when they interact with the Haladin.

The Haladin may not know how to forge iron items themselves, but they do find them useful. Haleth is going to use her spear to fight Boldog and Tevildo, and she even threatens Sauron with it. It would make these scenes more comical than intended if it were simply a sharpened stick she were using. I am fine with her spear having a bronze spearhead.
 

Odola

Active Member
Celegorm attempts to spear Beren when he and Curufin try to carry Luthien off, so they're not opposed to using spears.
O.K. If so, then it can be steel also, as they are able to forge it as required. A wood shaft can be exchanged or adjusted to fit a human. Then it would have be a lighter, smaller weapon though, maybe a hunting javelin, as normal sized elven war spear head would be too heavy for a human, especially a woman, however strong. Elves are considerably stronger. Or is it supposed to be wrought iron all the way though? Then it would be for sure have to be a lightweigh hunting weapon fo elves.

Edit:
A sligtly more decorated but similar in its elegance to a moden hunting spear:
or this one, again a modern one, but very dramatic - has something whimsically elvish about it, for sure spectacular for the Haladin:
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
That is true, but I do not know if this is practical in dwarves?

And anyway, dwarves would have trouble to get the lenght and weighting of a spear correct for a human, but of course they could custom make a single spearhead if given the exact design instructions, that's for sure. The issue is were the Haladim self-aware enough to provide such detailed instructions?

Feanor invented swords, so I do not know how far his sons were into spears. Feanor was not very fond of his Vanya step-mum, so I would think that her descendants would have greater fondness for and expertise in spears which are - after all - a signature Vanyarin weapon.
So, historically speaking, nearly every culture on earth has been into spears. They dominated the battlefield as primary weapons for millenia (with a few significant exceptions, i.e. the Romans). This reality is something we have chosen to illustrate in SilmFilm.

The invention of swords certainly is not attributed to Fëanor in the text of the published Silmarillion, though there is some heavy association there. The production of swords by the Noldor is not significant because it is their weapon of choice, but because it illustrates a transition to a more martial culture. Swords are one of the few weapon types of the ancient world designed specifically for deployment against other people. Spears, bows, clubs, knives, and others have uses involved in hunting or defending against animals. Swords are almost never used in that context.

So the Noldor do use spears in battle, because they know about their existence and aren't foolish enough to forget their usefulness.

As to the dwarves, I see no reason why a civilization faced with a significant reach disadvantage would eschew weapons that would mitigate that. And a blade intended to be a Dwarven partisan or glaive would be perfectly fine for use as a spear by a human-sized person when fitted to a longer haft. But it need not even be a Dwarven spearpoint. The Dwarves have been trading with the Sindar and Nandor for centuries at this point and have a long history of supplying them with weapons.

O.K. If so, then it can be steel also, as they are able to forge it as required. A wood shaft can be exchanged or adjusted to fit a human. Then it would have be a lighter, smaller weapon though, maybe a hunting javelin, as normal sized elven war spear head would be too heavy for a human, especially a woman, however strong. Elves are considerably stronger. Or is it supposed to be wrought iron all the way though? Then it would be for sure have to be a lightweigh hunting weapon fo elves.

A sligtly more decorated but similar in its elegance to a moden hunting spear:
The point of the weapon being bronze would be that the Haladin would still be able to repair it on their own with the tools and knowledge available to them.

As to the strength disparity between Elves and Humans... it certainly does not seem so great that Humans have trouble wielding Elvish weapons. Turin does it Aragorn does it. Bilbo does it. It seems unlikely that the Elves would fashion or use weapons that are heavy just to be heavy. And while Haleth is indeed a woman, she gets the spear from her father who is not. Also, I don't have a problem with Haleth being stronger than the average woman. After all, I'm plenty strong enough to wield a spear, and there exist women who are stronger still.

This particular matter has been pretty heavily discussed, and I can recommend listening to the podcast sessions 24 and 27-29 of season 5 where Prof. Olsen talked about it. We also discussed it in the script discussions for episodes 4 and 6 of this season.
 

Odola

Active Member
As to the dwarves, I see no reason why a civilization faced with a significant reach disadvantage would eschew weapons that would mitigate that. And a blade intended to be a Dwarven partisan or glaive would be perfectly fine for use as a spear by a human-sized person when fitted to a longer haft. But it need not even be a Dwarven spearpoint. The Dwarves have been trading with the Sindar and Nandor for centuries at this point and have a long history of supplying them with weapons.
Imho dwarves would need a atlatl to have much success with throwing a spear. Or using very strong but short thrusting spears if going against some bear they come across in na cave.

The point of the weapon being bronze would be that the Haladin would still be able to repair it on their own with the tools and knowledge available to them.
If they got it form the Feanorians with some well placed proteting spells on it they would not need to repair it for several centuries. It would outlive a bronze spearhead by many generations.

If orcs are armed with properly forged iron - and it seems to be - the "iron crown bearer" knows something about iron, as does the "former student of Aule"- a bronze spearhead is no match for those at all. The only advantage is has that - if maintained regularly - it bring to color of the sun in dark places. Otherwise it is just a toy when used against "real" iron (not the first human attemps of casting iron before they learned how to forge it properly).

Here a short video with the modern spear with the spiral blade I showed above - the blade is reportedly dangerous that it has already been banned in several places - something some of the Feanorians could have had invented.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
To clarify, here are the combat instances where we see Haleth's spear used 'on screen' in our TV show adaptation:

  1. Haleth's father Haldad takes a teenage Haleth with him when they hear something attacking their penned animals (sheep/goats). This creature turns out to be one of Thuringwethil's vampires. Haleth and her father kill the creature, using the spear. There is no indication that the creature would be wearing armor of any sort.
  2. Haleth takes the spear when Sauron comes to the gate of the stockade at night when she is a teenager. He is disguised as a man of the Haladin at the time, and thus appears like any other member of their culture (no armor). The audience knows his true identity, while Haleth does not. He leaves before she attacks him, but her threat is made clear with her spear.
  3. Haleth uses the spear to defend the walls of the stockade during the siege. Boldog, who has made it to the top of the wall, is pushed back off by the combined efforts of Haleth and one of the surviving men. So, yes, Boldog is well armored and clad in steel, and Haleth's weapon is unable to wound or injure him in any way. Luckily for Haleth, the folk of Caranthir arrive at that time, mounted on horses and well-armed.
  4. Haleth and her people traverse Nan Dungortheb. She uses the spear while fighting spiders the size of Shelob.
  5. Haleth sets an ambush for Tevildo, by allowing his cats to ambush her in Brethil. Her spear shaft is broken in the initial fighting, and when Tevildo arrives, she uses the 'broken' weapon to kill him. Tevildo is the size of a tiger, roughly, but he does not wear armor.

After this time, Haleth uses the shortened spear as a sign of leadership, so presumably the Haladin obtain better weapons for use in the future. The old bronze spear becomes ceremonial rather than an item in active use. Certainly, by the time of the double wedding between the heirs of Haleth and the heirs of Hador (which occurs at the end of Haleth's lifetime), the Haladin would have access to steel weapons, through either trade with the Noldor or through trade with the Houses of Hador or Bëor.


So, no, at no point do we intend to show people with bronze weapons defeating enemies armored in steel. Armor works on our show; people wearing armor are only wounded if the weapon wielded against them could reasonably overcome their armor's defense.


To further clarify, Haleth's father Haldad owns this spear well before the stockade battle, and there is no indication that the Haladin are trading with the Noldor at that time. They could easily trade with the dwarves (they live along the dwarf road through southern Thargelion), and they could have traded with the Avari before crossing the mountains into Beleriand. But while the Noldor are aware that human settlements exist in the area, they remain largely uncontacted at the time Haldad would have had to obtain his spear.


So, in this thread, what we are looking for would be the design of a bronze spear that Haleth can wield in Season 5 of our show.
 

Odola

Active Member
So, in this thread, what we are looking for would be the design of a bronze spear that Haleth can wield in Season 5 of our show.
If it is used against wampires and can be made by the Avari then actually silver with some protective spells on it would be valid option.

If its made by other humans some time back then bronze would be fitting. There are plenty of pictures of orginal and reconstructed bronze spearheads online. Do you need someting specific?
Edit: I do not think dwarves deal with bronze much outside perhaps of minting coins or of jewerly making. They are smiths, not bronze casters. Do they even use brass like in making bells?
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
We originally discussed Haleth's spear in this thread:

In that discussion, the intention to make it a bronze, dwarf-made spear was raised.

I am a little puzzled by this resistance to having the dwarves make this weapon. We have established that Belegost exports weapons, and we have the Haladin living near Belegost. If this comes from a supposition that Dwarves do not make or wield spears, I can only say that Tolkien did not share that idea. When Bilbo enters Smaug's hoard in Erebor, he is able to see the full treasure, and it includes this description:

Behind him where the walls were nearest could dimly be seen coats of mail, helms and axes, swords and spears hanging;
If you inspect Tolkien's illustration of the meeting between Bilbo and Smaug, you will see these spears hanging on the walls in the background:



Likewise, when Gimli sings of Durin's realm of Khazad-dûm, he says the following:

Buckler and corslet, axe and sword,
And shining spears were laid in hoard.
I consider this to be ample textual evidence that Tolkien intended his dwarves to make and wield spears, as these texts were published in his lifetime and went through extensive revision to reach their published forms.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
There are plenty of pictures of original and reconstructed bronze spearheads online. Do you need something specific?
Well, yes. This is a discussion of props for the show, so we are asking the question, 'what would Haleth's spear look like?'. A specific choice of design would have to be made for a prop. I do think the one you linked to is a lovely specimen, and could certainly be considered:


Selbourne/Blackmoor hoard, Hampshire, England, c. 1200-800 BC

I do not think dwarves deal with bronze much outside perhaps of minting coins or of jewerly making. They are smiths, not bronze casters. Do they even use brass like in making bells?
While I would not consider bronze to be the primary or choice metal of the Dwarves of Belegost or Nogrod, I find it puzzling to suggest that they would be uninterested in or unable to work with this material. If they know the Haladin like it, and the Haladin are trading partners who a) live nearby and b) can provide foodstuffs for them, I don't see why the Dwarves wouldn't be interested in producing objects specifically for them.

Regardless, we will not show how Haldad obtains his weapon, nor will we state how long it has been in his family, nor definitively establish its provenance on the show. None of that is important to the story of Haleth; what matters is that we show her taking up her father's spear as her own weapon. So...that's what we show.
 

Odola

Active Member
If you inspect Tolkien's illustration of the meeting between Bilbo and Smaug, you will see these spears hanging on the walls in the background:

Lovely picture. I concede - but even there the proportions are wrong for a human spear. Spearhead to broad and the shaft to short. And all obviously iron/steel.


The problem I do have with it is that battle axe cultures, and the Dwarves are one, are not very fond of spears, they seem to have little use for it. The battle axes replace them.

I consider this to be ample textual evidence that Tolkien intended his dwarves to make and wield spears, as these texts were published in his lifetime and went through extensive revision to reach their published forms.
Then I am overuled, however unhistorical I might find this. After all, Sam was a potato breeder - and that is as unhistorical as it gets.

While I would not consider bronze to be the primary or choice metal of the Dwarves of Belegost or Nogrod, I find it puzzling to suggest that they would be uninterested in or unable to work with this material. If they know the Haladin like it, and the Haladin are trading partners who a) live nearby and b) can provide foodstuffs for them, I don't see why the Dwarves wouldn't be interested in producing objects specifically for them.
Uninterested more than unable. Depends on their "customer orientation" - if goes far enough to submit to customer wishes even if the craftsman is aware that the customer wishes for his own disadvantage.
Dwarves are certainly aware that a cast bronze weapon is no match for a properly forged iron weapon and those are abundant at that time already.

Regardless, we will not show how Haldad obtains his weapon, nor will we state how long it has been in his family, nor definitively establish its provenance on the show. None of that is important to the story of Haleth; what matters is that we show her taking up her father's spear as her own weapon. So...that's what we show.
O.k. That it what I asked in the beginning. Even if the backstory is not shown it has to be plausible. Have you told you search for a bronze spearhead from the beginning, no problem, plenty of those out there:
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
As pointed out earlier, the backstory for this particular item has been previously discussed at length in the recordings I referenced.

I do like the long-bladed spear-point suggested above, in part because it is distinctive, but also because it would lend itself well to the short-hafted spear it will ultimately become. Reminiscent of the Zulu iklwa.

images.jpeg

With an even shorter half, it could even be worn on her person with a sheath, in episodes S05E06 and S05E10.
 

Odola

Active Member
If you inspect Tolkien's illustration of the meeting between Bilbo and Smaug, you will see these spears hanging on the walls in the background:

I allowed myself to check the proportion of one of the "middle ground" dwarven spears fron that picture [in SketchUp free]:

dwarven spear proportions.png
It does not fit a 1,5 m high woman. I have tried to 2 possible sizes here. And imho even if one were to extend the shaft - if you want I can do that too.
 
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Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I think you are wrong. THAT shirt is obviously a hauberk and hauberks are quite long.Also the oval shield and high helmet look like historical models we know had quite some size, and a high bell.That Hauberk is easily 75-95 cm long, even if made for a dwarf (which is not even sure).I estimate the spears in smaug's cave are at last about 1,70 m long, which is a length not totally unheard of for short fighting spears.More likely they have a length of more than 1,90m.

Many historic spears were very broad, most relevant viking spears which could pierce as well as cut.Also a small person can use a spear very effective.The chinese are not Dwarves, but many medieval Chinese soldiers were quite small by european standarts, and they were very good and effective fighters and of course used the spear and shield.
 
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Odola

Active Member
I think you are wrong. THAT shirt is obviously a hauberk and hauberks are quite long.Also the oval shield and high helmet look like historical models we know had quite some size, and a high bell.

Many historic spears were very broad, most relevant viking spears which could pierce as well as cut.Also a small person can use a spear very effective.The chinese are not Dwarves, but many medieval Chinese soldiers were quite small by european standarts, and they were very good and effective fighters and of course used the spear and shield.
So how long would you want this hauberk to be? I can extend the size of the spear at any moment to whatever ratio you want it to be, once I have created the 3D model, and I have saved that.
 
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