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Forged during the later First Age;1 broken in II 34412
Forged by Telchar of Nogrod
'fire' and 'white light'3
Other names
Sword of Elendil; after its breaking it was known as the Blade that was Broken, the Sword that was Broken, or the Shards of Narsil; after its reforging it was named Andúril, the Flame of the West


About this entry:

  • Updated 5 July 2001
  • Updates planned: 3


The mighty Sword of Elendil

"...and the sword of Elendil filled Orcs and Men with fear, for it shone with the light of the sun and of the moon, and it was named Narsil."
The Silmarillion
Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

The Sword of Elendil, forged by Telchar of Nogrod during the later years of the First Age. The sword was broken in Elendil's fall at the Siege of Barad-dûr, and its Shards became an heirloom of his heirs throughout the Third Age until it was reforged as Andúril and borne by Aragorn II Elessar in the War of the Ring.



Details of the original forging of Narsil are difficult to determine. It was made by Telchar of Nogrod, who also made the Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin. Helpfully, a passage in Unfinished Tales tells us that the Dragon-helm was originally made for Azaghâl of Belegost, who died in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad in I 471; in order to make the helm specifically for Azaghâl, Telchar must have been working at about this time. Though we can't be certain exactly when Narsil was made, then, we can fairly safely place its forging in Telchar's workshop in Nogrod, probably during the fourth or fifth centuries of the Years of the Sun.


Narsil was broken in the War of the Last Alliance, with the fall of its wielder Elendil. Its burning light was lost, but Elendil's son Isildur used its broken shards to cut the Ruling Ring from Sauron's finger. The shards were eventually brought to Imladris, and they became an heirloom of the House of Isildur. During the War of the Ring, the sword was reforged, its light was rekindled, and it was borne by Elendil's distant descendant Aragorn, who renamed it Andúril.


The origins of Narsil's name are complex, and contain an element of symbolism. Tolkien himself described the name's derivation in his Letters:

'Narsil is a name composed of 2 basic stems without variation or adjuncts: √NAR 'fire', & √THIL 'white light'. It thus symbolised the chief heavenly lights, as enemies of darkness, Sun (Anar) and Moon (in Q) Isil.'
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, No. 347, dated 1972

So, an alternative and less literal translation of Narsil would be 'Sun-and-Moon', and indeed we see that formulation in the name of the tale Narsilion, translated as the 'Song of the Sun and Moon'.


About this entry:

  • Updated 5 July 2001
  • Updates planned: 3

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