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What is the sword Narsil in ‘Rings of Power’ and who wields it?

A brief history of the Sword That Was Broken.

Screengrab via YouTube/AWE me

Most fans recognize the name Narsil as the sword Isildur used to unlimber Sauron’s fingers and thus take the One Ring from him. But with The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power centering around the events of that period and depicting them in earnest, a lot of Tolkienists are now patiently waiting to see Narsil in the hands of Elendil, who will go on to become the first king of Gondor and Arnor.

The show has already introduced Elendil (Lloyd Owen) and his son Isildur (Maxim Baldry) after all, so it should only be a matter of time until the former somehow comes to inherit the legendary Narsil, which in Quenya means “red and white flame.”

Amusingly enough, we may have glimpsed the sword in the fourth and latest episode, when Miriel took Galadriel into a room that exhibited numerous Númenórean heirlooms. The daughter of Finarfin regards a sword for a brief moment, casually leaning on the wall as if it’s nothing out of the ordinary for the Númenóreans. But fans of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy would recognize that hilt and crossguard anywhere.

Photo via Prime Video

Now, you may be wondering how the island kingdom came to possess the weapon in the first place and where it came from. After all, this is Sauron’s ultimate bane at the end of the Second Age, and he fears its very existence well into the War of the Ring when Aragorn picks it up again. Despite its legendary renown, though, Narsil had humble beginnings, at least compared to its destined importance.

Tolkien never made clear when the sword was made, but we know that it was Telchar — one of the greatest Dwarven smiths in the history of Middle-earth — that first gave it its name. Of what became of Narsil after it was forged, not much is known, other than that it came to the House of Elros at some point in the Second Age and was passed down among Númenóreans for generations.

Through means left mysterious — yet almost certainly to be depicted in The Rings of Power — Elendil came to inherit the sword and use it during the Battle of Dagorlad and the Siege of Barad-dûr, Sauron’s fortress in Mordor. When the Dark Lord himself joined the battle, he killed Elendil and broke the sword in two under his foot. Isildur, Elendil’s son, picked up the shard and sliced Sauron’s fingers off, destroying the Dark Lord’s physical body and relieving him of the One Ring, the source of his strength.

The line of kings guarded the shards of Narsil as an heirloom, and when Aragorn came of age in the year 2951 TA, Elrond gave him the hilt. Later, before undertaking the journey of a lifetime as part of the Fellowship, the Elven smiths of Imladris forged the sword again and renamed it Andúril, “flame of the west.” And Aragorn, for his part, used the sword to fight the armies of the Shadow to the very Black Gates of Mordor.

About the author

Jonathan Wright

Jonathan is a religious consumer of movies, TV shows, video games, and speculative fiction. And when he isn't doing that, he likes to write about them. He can get particularly worked up when talking about 'The Lord of the Rings' or 'A Song of Ice and Fire' or any work of high fantasy, come to think of it.