From Narsil to Anduril: A Story in Props


Sr Member
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.


The sword that was Narsil, reforged into Anduril, was perhaps the most famous sword in all of Middle Earth. For generations, it was passed down from father to son in the royal line of Numenor. This is truly a kingly sword.

In Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Narsil was represented as a hand-and-a-half sword, rather different from the blade in Tolkien's literature which was frequently used with a shield. Regardless, perhaps the most beautiful sword in all of Jackson's incarnation of Tolkien's masterwork was wonderfully recreated by United Cutlery. I have two of the three forms of the blade, and rather than purchase a collectible Shards of Narsil from UC, I made my own. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.


For those who either didn't care for the films, or never saw them, here's a crash course in this blade's history.

Narsil was forged in Numenor, some time in the Second Age by a Dwarven swordsmith. It was passed down through generations of kings, which prevented the need for a new sword to be forged for each monarch. Instead, Numenor's kings wielded this one blade, which was linked to the throne. Narsil, a combination of sun (anar) and moon (ithil) in Tolkien's invented language of Sindarin, was the royal blade of Numenor. The kings of Numenor lived on for centuries, ruling fairly and compassionately over their people.


All that changed when Sauron, a lesser demi-god who had been sent to Middle Earth to guide the inhabitants but soon fell to temptation, tricked the last King of Numenor into trying to invade the Undying Lands (a paradise on earth) before his time had come. Enraged, Iluvatar, Tolkien's created god, sank Numenor beneath the sea. Only narrowly did a few, honest men escape. Among these men was Elendil, with his two sons, Isildur and Anaron.

Elendil landed on the shores of Middle Earth, and with his sons founded two Kingdoms of Men, for the survivors of the Numenor disaster: Gondor and Arnor. Elendil was the High King of both nations, and ruled fairly for many years before Sauron the Deceiver began to move against the Free Peoples of Middle Earth again. A Last Alliance of Men and Elves joined to battle this threat, and they fought Sauron's armies on the slopes of Oroduin, or in the Common Tongue, Mt. Doom. For seven years they laid siege to Sauron's fortress, then the Dark Lord appeared on the field.


Elendil, together with Gil-Galad, the Elven High King, charged Sauron as he cut through their ranks. Gil-Galad fell before the Dark Lord, and Elendil, blinded by grief, charged Sauron recklessly. He was quickly killed, and fell on Narsil, shattering it into many pieces. In Jackson's films, the blade was broken as Sauron stepped on it. Regardless, the blade was broken.


Isildur, seeing this, charged over to his father's side. He raised the broken hilt of Narsil, and cut Sauron's source of power, the One Ring, from his hand. Sauron was defeated, and his armies destroyed; the war was won because of a literal stroke of luck by a broken blade.


The One Ring went on to corrupt Isildur and escape his clutches, disappearing from known memory for thousands of years. The broken shards of Narsil were taken to Rivendell, where they were cared for by the Elves. There they would wait for their one true master.


Nearly three thousands years later, the One Ring resurfaced in the hands of a Hobbit. A great quest was undertaken to destroy this one remaining font of power for the Dark Lord, so the Ring came to Rivendell; the closest it had been to Narsil for three millennia. There, the ring was placed in the hands of a hobbit, while Aragorn, heir to the throne of Gondor and owner of the Shards of Narsil, guided the hobbit on his journey.

Through many toils, the Ringbearer was eventually separated from Isildur's Heir. Aragorn rallied to Theoden of Rohan to aid him in his fight against the dark powers of the world, and soon after, Theoden answered Aragorn's call for aid. On the eve of the great battle which would decide the war's outcome, Elrond, Lord of the Elves, met with Aragorn and presented him with the reforged Shards of Narsil, now called Anduril, Flame of the West.


Anduril was used in the battle, and it emerged victorious. Only at the battle before Sauron's Black Gate did Aragorn fall, but his life was spared by two small Hobbits in a very dangerous land. The Ring, Narsil's old nemesis, was destroyed. Sauron the Deceiver was gone from Middle Earth, and Aragorn was crowned King of Gondor and Arnor, the first High King of the Reunited Kingdom. He would rule for another century before entrusting Anduril to his son, his successor to the throne. Once again, the blade that was Narsil was the royal blade of Gondor, just as it had been millennia before.


I've wanted all three versions of this sword ever since I saw the movie. I have to admit, I'm very, very impressed with United Cutlery's quality and hard work on these. My Shards were made from a knockoff, not a UC blade, and the difference is immediately noticeable.

The UC Swords are heavy, well made, and beautiful to look at. Each comes with a nice display plaque which hangs on the wall, and they turned out really well. I'll cover each of the three swords in a little more photographic detail below.

Firstly, Narsil. This was actually the last blade I got, and probably my favorite of the three. The blade is elegant and unblemished, and the hilt is solid and well made. Take a look for yourself; this is really a work of art.


Yeah, this photo's up higher, but it's worth another look.



Real gold accents in the pommel and on the guard. The runes are well done on the pommel, as well.


The blade is very bright on this sword, and the lack of runes (as on Anduril) makes it shine, and makes for a cleaner weapon. This is probably why it's my favorite of the three.


Another beauty shot, here.

Instead of cutting up one of these beautiful Narsil swords, I got a cheap Anduril knockoff online, which had the runes painted on in the fuller (blood channel) of the blade. I took those off with some polish, and polished the blade up really well before I went after it with a bandsaw and a hydraulic dremel tool. The Shards of Narsil is really a fun prop to have; it's easily the most recognizable of the three, and most portable too; probably the most dangerous, though.




As you can see, the hilt is not of the same quality as the UC. You get what you pay for...


Here's a cleaner image of the break pattern.


And a more movie-accurate position for the Shards.

These things are sharp. Whew.

Anduril will have a special place in my heart because it was my first real prop. It's a beautiful blade, and matches Narsil perfectly on every detail save the gold "jewel" on the guard (right above the blade; it's black on Narsil) and the runes on the blade.




A truly beautiful weapon.

Now let's look at all three:


From left to right: Narsil, Shards, Anduril.



Anduril on the left, now, Shards in the middle.


Truly a beautiful sword, and a fascinating story.

Thanks, everyone. If you're on the fence, get a UC sword; they're great quality for the money, feel great in the hand and look really nice on the wall.

Let me know what you think! I know I repeated some of it from my Shards of Narsil thread, but all new photos, anyway. Lol. Comment away!
Love it! You did a great job with the shards! I have not got a regular narsil (can pick them up easy, so i'll get it down the road). But your words on it made me want one now. I was happy with just the shards and anduril until now.. dang.. now i need narsil too! :p

Love the pics! Good job with what you had to work with for those shards! Look nice!
The Narsil really is a nice looking sword. The blade is really nice and clean, and the black gem makes it look... more subdued, somehow. It really does make for a nice weapon.

The Shards really are a neat piece. I just took 'em in to a machine shop, and we had them all cut in about two hours.
Thanks for this awesome post! I'm more of a casual LOTR fan (love the movies, currently reading the books) so this was great. I always liked the clean look of this sword. Sometimes the most simple designs have the greatest impact.
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