On the passing on of Narsil

I have three thoughts regarding the forging of Narsil and its eventual handing off to the line of Elendil.

First, let's look at the etymology. Apparently the name Narsil means "red and white flame", and possibly references the light of the sun and moon. We should take this into account both to settle on the time of its forging, and who might receive such a sword initially.

Second: I kind of love the idea of it being forged but not initially given to anyone of consequence. Then during some major battle, a more prominent character loses or breaks his sword and takes up Narsil from the body of a fallen comrade (or even father??). This would prefigure the taking up of Narsil by Isildur, and I think is a lovely way to properly introduce the sword: as a major player in battle.

Third: A lot of discussion was had trying to link the sword to Elros, but I ask must it come to Numenor that way? Might it perhaps come to Numenor through Aldarion instead? Say, as a gift from Gil-Galad? Aldarion might eventually associate the sword with his voyages and marital troubles and lock it away with other treasures once he takes up the throne. Perhaps then it eventually gets into the hands of others by someone raiding the treasury for it when things in Numenor go south, akin to David taking up Goliath's sword from the tabernacle while on the run from Saul. Passing the sword through Gil-Galad is interesting to me because then it fights side by side with him again in the Last Alliance. We might even see the fall of Gil-Galad and the breaking of the sword in that same battle as thematically tied.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
I agree that Elros is not the only way to get the sword Narsil to where it needs to be after the fall of Numenor. Narsil needs to go the Lords of Andúnië, not the King of Numenor. And that house is known for its friendship with elves, so.....I do like the Gil-galad idea. And since Gil-galad ends up on the Isle of Balar with *any* and all surviving refugees of Beleriand...Narsil could be anyone's.

When there were so many jokes about 'Elros' second best sword,' it seemed clear that it shouldn't go to Numenor with him. (To me, anyway.) But, I did kind of like the idea of Elrond and Elros each inheriting a sword from their famous ancestors. Especially since it's kinda obvious that the way they would have gotten the sword of the King of Doriath would have been...after it was taken off Dior's dead body by the Fëanoreans. And then having Elrond gift Aranrúth to Elros when he becomes King of Numenor...it's a good story.

And yes, I realize Elwing is supposed to rescue Aranrúth from Doriath and then give it to her son (according to Tolkien, not just the podcast). But...the Havens get sacked when Elrond and Elros are about 2 years old. And then those two boys are raised by Maglor (and/or Maedhros)...the very people who sacked Doriath and the Havens. So, you know....any swords they get when they're old enough to carry them are given to them by a Fëanorean.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Maybe Maglor gives the sword to Elrond, then Elrond gives it to Elros, and Valandil receives the sword when the title of Lords of Andunie is created?
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
I like the Gil-Galad plan except for one thing - he's a Noldor king, snd it's a Dwarfish sword. Sindar are all over Dwarfish smithing, but Noldor grow their own...
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Right - Gil-galad can't be the original owner, and he can't get the sword directly from his father, either (whoever that might happen to be).

I agree that the sword should probably go from Telchar --> dwarves --> Sindar --> (Men?) --> wreck of Beleriand --> Isle of Balar --> Gil-galad
...if we are going to go that route.

The idea to make Narsil Beren's sword works really well for the Aragorn/Beren parallels, so it's not a bad idea. And Beren could either get it from his family (Men), or as gift from the Sindar of Doriath after he marries Lúthien. Though, a gift of a sword for a one-handed man might seem a bit...insincere, it is a helpful weapon to have. Just can't make it a two-handed sword, then.....
 
I agree that the sword should probably go from Telchar --> dwarves --> Sindar --> (Men?) --> wreck of Beleriand --> Isle of Balar --> Gil-galad
...if we are going to go that route.

The idea to make Narsil Beren's sword works really well for the Aragorn/Beren parallels, so it's not a bad idea. And Beren could either get it from his family (Men), or as gift from the Sindar of Doriath after he marries Lúthien. Though, a gift of a sword for a one-handed man might seem a bit...insincere, it is a helpful weapon to have. Just can't make it a two-handed sword, then.....
It makes sense, but I don't like the idea of everything going to Aragorn through Beren. Therr are already parallels, and they do work, but I think it's cooler if Narsil isn't just one more thing that once came through Beren.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
True - he already has the Ring of Barahir. Don't want to overdo it and be too heavy handed about the whole thing.

I think the main goal is to avoid having Narsil be 'some random sword in an armory' during the First Age. Someone has to use it for something to justify it being a *named* sword, one whose craftsmanship is known and recognized. Sting is going to be a random knife/short sword from Gondolin. Maybe not standard issue to every soldier, but commonplace; we should see a lot of them on screen. So, when Bilbo finds one, there is no indication of who owned it or made it...just that it is from Gondolin.

Narsil, of course, doesn't really 'exist' until Elendil takes it into battle against Sauron, but...since it's made by Telchar of Nogrod, we know it's a First Age blade. We are free to make up our own convoluted story of how it got to Elendil, and I think this project with involve a lot of invention and original storylines when we get to the 2nd Age and Numenor. Because, sure, Tolkien told some stories from that time period, but...he left a lot untold.

So, as long as we have it forged sometime after the rising of the Sun and Moon (aka, Season 4) and give it to a named character in the First Age, then we'll be fine. We can almost definitely come up with an excuse of some sort to pass it down to Elros or Gil-galad, because there are SO FEW CHARACTERS left standing at the end, that they'll inherit almost everything.

It could be Círdan's sword, and then he gifts it to a visitor from Numenor for some portentous reason. "I think you should have this," with a significant look.
 

NotACat

Active Member
I think the main goal is to avoid having Narsil be 'some random sword in an armory' during the First Age. Someone has to use it for something to justify it being a *named* sword, one whose craftsmanship is known and recognized.
Then the question is why is that "something" not remembered? What did somebody do with this sword that was notable enough that the sword got a name but not memorable enough that anybody recalls why?
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
I agree that Elros is not the only way to get the sword Narsil to where it needs to be after the fall of Numenor. Narsil needs to go the Lords of Andúnië, not the King of Numenor. And that house is known for its friendship with elves, so.....I do like the Gil-galad idea. And since Gil-galad ends up on the Isle of Balar with *any* and all surviving refugees of Beleriand...Narsil could be anyone's.

When there were so many jokes about 'Elros' second best sword,' it seemed clear that it shouldn't go to Numenor with him. (To me, anyway.) But, I did kind of like the idea of Elrond and Elros each inheriting a sword from their famous ancestors.
I imagine Elrond's sword to be the one Tuor found in Vinyamar. He really preferred his axe, and he even left that behind when he sailed away, so Elrond got his sword.

I agree it doesn't need to be in Elros' hands, even as a unused heirloom. It being his wouldn't prevent the line of Andunie from inheriting it, but I like the idea that Eresseans gave it to the lords of Andunie at some point. Though not necessarily at the same time as the Palantiri. (Aside: how come there are so many Palantiri lying around that somehow even the Eresseans, who had none in Middle-earth, have enough to give away 7 of them? Did Feanor make dozens of them, and freely give them away?)

I don't know if it's relevant (in the context of "second-best swords") but each king of Numenor received a new-forged sword from mortal smiths when officially made the Heir (or was it at his accession to the throne? I forget).

And yes, I realize Elwing is supposed to rescue Aranrúth from Doriath and then give it to her son (according to Tolkien, not just the podcast).
Where was this written? Just in the Unfinished Tales where it "descended to Elros from Elwing his mother."? That could just be interpreted that it was rightfully his because she was his mother. And Elwing (but really, her mother and other guardians) taking Aranrúth from Doriath is awkward because then what was Dior wielding? (Elwing was 3.)

But...the Havens get sacked when Elrond and Elros are about 2 years old. And then those two boys are raised by Maglor (and/or Maedhros)...the very people who sacked Doriath and the Havens. So, you know....any swords they get when they're old enough to carry them are given to them by a Fëanorean.
They were 6 in the Tale of Years, but otherwise I agree. Anything they inherited (Aranrúth, Tuor's axe, Bregor's bow, the Ring of Barahir, etc.) was sacked either from Doriath or the Havens, and then given back to them. They themselves were sacked from the Havens (though not by Maglor nor Maedhros) and then sort of... un-kidnapped.

Narsil must be relatively special (it was made by Telchar) but it can't be Beren's sword for 2 reasons. First, his sword was named Dagmor in the Lay of Leithian. Second, he apparently lost all his weapons at Tol Sirion (or hid them when disguised as an Orc), because he probably has neither bow nor sword when he jumps on Curufin's horse and throttles him. Later he probably got a new sword with which he killed some Dwarves (and maybe a new bow, if the Valar reincarnated him with two hands*), but unless he took Narsil from the Dwarves at Sarn Athrad, or it passed to him through Sindarin hands, he wouldn't have Narsil itself.

But then, there's also no explanation for how Bregor's bow ended up in Numenor, so logic holes (or apparent holes) remain.


*This question is only even hinted at in the Lost Tales, where he's very strongly implied to have two hands. But who knows what Tolkien thought about this question later? The post-LotR discussions about Elven reincarnation very slightly seem to imply the opposite about reincarnating people who were missing body parts.
 
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NotACat

Active Member
*This question is only even hinted at in the Lost Tales, where he's very strongly implied to have two hands. But who knows what Tolkien thought about this question later? The post-LotR discussions about Elven reincarnation very slightly seems to imply the opposite about reincarnating people who were missing body parts.
I don't know how many Elves died from decapitation but even one would make this a very important question indeed o_O
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Well death-wounds definitely get healed. The question is if an Elf who was maimed or blinded sometime before death (or Beren) is still maimed or blind after being reincarnated.

This question is only even hinted at in the Lost Tales, where he's very strongly implied to have two hands. But who knows what Tolkien thought about this question later? The post-LotR discussions about Elven reincarnation very slightly seem to imply the opposite about reincarnating people who were missing body parts.
After rereading the Elven reincarnation texts again more carefully, my tentative guess is that Elves would be reincarnated with fully intact bodies, but Beren might not be. However, giving him two hands after he comes back would emphasize that he got a whole new body, not his dead body resurrected.
 
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Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I don't know how many Elves died from decapitation but even one would make this a very important question indeed o_O
Fingon got his head cut open. I had suggested him getting bisected down his spine a while ago. It was not well-received.

As for Narsil, perhaps it’s Curufin’s sword, that Beren takes from him? Maybe make Angrist a twin of Narsil, which is given to Dior along with the Silmaril, then taken with the surviving Sindar to the Havens in F.A. 506 when Doriath falls, Maglor takes it in the Third Kinslaying and it is given to Elros?
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I imagine Elrond's sword to be the one Tuor found in Vinyamar. He really preferred his axe, and he even left that behind when he sailed away, so Elrond got his sword.

I agree it doesn't need to be in Elros' hands, even as a unused heirloom. It being his wouldn't prevent the line of Andunie from inheriting it, but I like the idea that Eresseans gave it to the lords of Andunie at some point. Though not necessarily at the same time as the Palantiri. (Aside: how come there are so many Palantiri lying around that somehow even the Eresseans, who had none in Middle-earth, have enough to give away 7 of them? Did Feanor make dozens of them, and freely give them away?)

I don't know if it's relevant (in the context of "second-best swords") but each king of Numenor received a new-forged sword from mortal smiths when officially made the Heir (or was it at his accession to the throne? I forget).

Where was this written? Just in the Unfinished Tales where it "descended to Elros from Elwing his mother."? That could just be interpreted that it was rightfully his because she was his mother. And Elwing (but really, her mother and other guardians) taking Aranrúth from Doriath is awkward because then what was Dior wielding? (Elwing was 3.)

They were 6 in the Tale of Years, but otherwise I agree. Anything they inherited (Aranrúth, Tuor's axe, Bregor's bow, the Ring of Barahir, etc.) was sacked either from Doriath or the Havens, and then given back to them. They themselves were sacked from the Havens (though not by Maglor nor Maedhros) and then sort of... un-kidnapped.

Narsil must be relatively special (it was made by Telchar) but it can't be Beren's sword for 2 reasons. First, his sword was named Dagmor in the Lay of Leithian. Second, he apparently lost all his weapons at Tol Sirion (or hid them when disguised as an Orc), because he probably has neither bow nor sword when he jumps on Curufin's horse and throttles him. Later he probably got a new sword with which he killed some Dwarves (and maybe a new bow, if the Valar reincarnated him with two hands*), but unless he took Narsil from the Dwarves at Sarn Athrad, or it passed to him through Sindarin hands, he wouldn't have Narsil itself.

But then, there's also no explanation for how Bregor's bow ended up in Numenor, so logic holes (or apparent holes) remain.


*This question is only even hinted at in the Lost Tales, where he's very strongly implied to have two hands. But who knows what Tolkien thought about this question later? The post-LotR discussions about Elven reincarnation very slightly seem to imply the opposite about reincarnating people who were missing body parts.
Perhaps Tuor takes the sword with him, but it’s not really built for someone like him, who prefers axes.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
As for Narsil, perhaps it’s Curufin’s sword, that Beren takes from him? Maybe make Angrist a twin of Narsil, which is given to Dior along with the Silmaril, then taken with the surviving Sindar to the Havens in F.A. 506 when Doriath falls, Maglor takes it in the Third Kinslaying and it is given to Elros?
Angrist itself broke when Beren tried to get a second Silmaril.

But I like the suggestion that Narsil was Curufin's. Despoiling him of his gear would logically include his sword, yes? But how to get the sword (and Beren's clothes and shoes...) to fit inside the wolf-hame... I don't know. The suggestion so far from others on the forum has been that we shouldn't show the physical transformation, and he has to be able to take Angrist with him so I guess Luthien has to do do... something magical and handwaved about "merging" Beren's stuff into the wolf-form. I don't want a naked Beren on screen in Angband, either. A sword is big, but... I think it may work.

So then Narsil is Dior's second-best sword. And that leaves 3 ancestral swords for the sons of Earendil.

Except... hm. If it was Curufin's, wouldn't the remaining sons of Feanor take back and keep their brother's sword? Or are they so utterly disgusted with Curufin's behavior that they decide Narsil now rightfully belongs to Beren's heirs, in (partial) compensation for all the crap Curufin did?

Perhaps Tuor takes the sword with him, but it’s not really built for someone like him, who prefers axes.
I don't think he took any weapons with him into the West, otherwise his axe (his favorite weapon) would not be left in Elros' hands.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Angrist itself broke when Beren tried to get a second Silmaril.

But I like the suggestion that Narsil was Curufin's. Despoiling him of his gear would logically include his sword, yes? But how to get the sword (and Beren's clothes and shoes...) to fit inside the wolf-hame... I don't know. The suggestion so far from others on the forum has been that we shouldn't show the physical transformation, and he has to be able to take Angrist with him so I guess Luthien has to do do... something magical and handwaved about "merging" Beren's stuff into the wolf-form. I don't want a naked Beren on screen in Angband, either. A sword is big, but... I think it may work.

So then Narsil is Dior's second-best sword. And that leaves 3 ancestral swords for the sons of Earendil.

Except... hm. If it was Curufin's, wouldn't the remaining sons of Feanor take back and keep their brother's sword? Or are they so utterly disgusted with Curufin's behavior that they decide Narsil now rightfully belongs to Beren's heirs, in (partial) compensation for all the crap Curufin did?

I don't think he took any weapons with him into the West, otherwise his axe (his favorite weapon) would not be left in Elros' hands.
That’s not what I meant for Tuor. I meant that Tuor would not use the sword left in Nevrast, being more suited for axes but take it with him in Gondolin’s fall to the Havens.
 

NotACat

Active Member
But how to get the sword (and Beren's clothes and shoes...) to fit inside the wolf-hame... I don't know. The suggestion so far from others on the forum has been that we shouldn't show the physical transformation, and he has to be able to take Angrist with him so I guess Luthien has to do do... something magical and handwaved about "merging" Beren's stuff into the wolf-form. I don't want a naked Beren on screen in Angband, either. A sword is big, but... I think it may work.
A wolf-hame might work like a cloak, with the wolf's head acting like a hood, that you simply draw about you and as it settles you transform into the wolf along with anything you might be wearing or carrying: the trick might be to remove it after :eek:

The other kind of similar magic with which I am passing familiar is the Animagus transformation which according to all sensible evidence includes clothes, etc, notwithstanding the stupid rat in the third film: the book certainly doesn't mention him leaving his clothes behind which you would think would be quite noticeable. In actual fact, the same could be said of Remus when he turns into the werewolf! Unfortunately when Sirius accompanies Harry to the train in Book Five there's no mention of him transforming like he does in the film (where they contradict themselves :p ) and I'm struggling to think of any other time we see a transformation. McGonagall only demonstrates her talent in the film IIRC and Rita never transforms where anybody can see her…

I did just recall the whale-sarks from Deep Wizardry but they did require the wizards in question to remove their bating-suits first (cue much teenage awkwardness :D ) so I'm not sure that helps…
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
That’s not what I meant for Tuor. I meant that Tuor would not use the sword left in Nevrast, being more suited for axes but take it with him in Gondolin’s fall to the Havens.
Yep, that's what I was thinking. He keeps it, but still prefers his axe. Sorry I misunderstood you.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
This actually makes me think about how Narsil would be presented alongside Dagmor, Beren's sword. Perhaps Narsil is a bastard sword while Dagmor is a one-handed sword to be worn on the hip? And what happens to Dagmor? Will it be buried with Beren? Will he lose it along the way and then he uses Narsil after taking it from Curufin?
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
This actually makes me think about how Narsil would be presented alongside Dagmor, Beren's sword. Perhaps Narsil is a bastard sword while Dagmor is a one-handed sword to be worn on the hip? And what happens to Dagmor? Will it be buried with Beren? Will he lose it along the way and then he uses Narsil after taking it from Curufin?
Beren is travelling on foot a bit too much for carrying two swords on his hip, no?
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
A sword cannot be drawn from the back. You can store it on your back, but you can't use it until you move it back to your hip. (Look up Metatron's YouTube channel, I think he's the one who tested it out.
 
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