The weapons of Middle-Earth. They are to die for. For any weapon lover the entire legendarium of Tolkien is loaded with swords that all do some pretty serious damage. they are beautiful, have epic stories behind them and take part in some of the greatest tales of heroism, tragedy, vengeance and victory.
We list the 7most famous weapons in Tolkien’s Middle Earth. To those who are not familiar with the Tolkien works before The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, you are missing out on some fantastic battles, characters and weapons!
Here we go, the 7most famous weapons in Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
We’re glad a long spear features in the list. And few spears were as well known as Aeglos. Aeglos was the spear of Gil-Galad [Gil-Gald made our list of the top 15 most famous characters in Middle-Earth], High King of the Noldor at the end of the First Age and throughout the Second Age. He wielded the spear and a silver shield. We know that the name means “Icicle;” little else is known of Aeglos’ origins, except that it was forged in the First Age.
It was a weapon of such might that it could harm the body of Sauron, even while he was wielding the One.
It was broken by Sauron when he killed Gil-Galad, killing him by the heat of his hands and his rage.
Update: We got an amazing glimpse of Aeglos in the recent Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series:
2. Anlgachel / Gurthang
Anlgachel was the Black Sword of Turin Turambar, one of my favorite characters in the entire collection of Middle-Earth writings. You can read more on this epic and tragic hero in our viral post: 15 Famous characters in Tolkien’s Middle Earth
Anlgachel was made from an meteoric iron (that probably came from the origins or Arda). It was one of a pair of swords, the other being Anguirel. It was forged by the Elven smith Eol. It was also the most storied weapon in the Legendarium. No there is more to say about Eol, Eol was a Sindar Elf, and a relative of King Thingol of Doriath (Another Epic king and famous character). However, he preferred not to live in Doriath, especially once the Girdle of Melian was placed. Instead, he lived in the nearby forest of Nan Elmoth. Eol preferred twilight and the stars to the sun, and Nan Elmoth was a forest thick with tree cover. There, he encountered Dwarves form the Blue Mountains in the East; there northernmost trade route passed close to Nan Elmoth, and he would meet them there. He formed a rare friendship with them, often accompanying them back to the Blue Mountains. There, in exchange for news of the outside world, he learned their techniques in metalworking.
He used this knowledge when, one night, a meteor fell from the sky. He harvested the metal, and forged it into two swords, Anglachel and Anguirel. Anglachel was jet black, and both were capable of shearing through normal metal, and even Noldor iron. He gave Anglachel as payment to Thingol for allowing him to stay in Nan Elmoth and still enjoy the protection of Doriath.
Eol was known as the Dark Elf, and it suited his temperament as well as his love of twilight. He was dark of mind and mood, and took offense at the slightest comment. He also was capable of enchantment, which he used to disorient Aredhel in the forest. She would marry him there. He used that skill of enchantment to imbue the sword with a bit of his spirit. It was capable of speech, though only spoke once, and had a tendency to kill its wielder.
Thingol refused to wield the sword on the advice of his wife, Melian. She was a Maiar (like Gandalf), and sensed that a bit of Eol’s dark nature was imbued in the sword. It was kept in the armory of Doriath until Beleg Strongbow took it to pursue Turin into the wilds. Melian warned him that it would turn on him.
Beleg lived with Turin and a company of outlaws for a time, until they were captured and slain, except for Beleg and Turin. Beleg was bound and left for another to torture and kill, but he escaped and chased down Turin’s captors. Turin, meanwhile, was being tortured by the Orcs who caught him. Beleg managed to rescue an unconscious Turin, but nicked Turin’s arm while trying to cut Turin’s bonds. Turin awoke, saw a figure standing over him with a blade, and assumed that it was an Orc trying to finish the job. He quickly wrested Anglachel from Beleg and slew him. As Beleg lay bleeding, Turin realized his mistake. Anglachel itself blunted in response to the slaying.
With great effort, it was reforged into Gurthang. Later, Turin would use the sword to slay Glaurung, the father of Morgoth’s Dragons, and the terror of the Dagor Bragollach. However, Glaurung revealed to Turin that he had unwittingly married and impregnated his sister, who he had not seen since she was a child; she had been told as well, and had committed suicide over it. Turin then called out to his sword:
“Hail Gurthang! No lord or loyalty dost thou know, save the hand that wieldeth thee. From no blood wilt thou shrink. Wilt thou therefore take Túrin Turambar, wilt thou slay me swiftly?”
And from the blade rang a cold voice in answer: “Yea, I will drink thy blood gladly, that so I may forget the blood of Beleg my master, and the blood of Brandir slain unjustly. I will slay thee swiftly.”
Turin then threw himself onto Gurthang, and it broke, slaying its last master. It was never reforged, but buried with Turin. His tomb, which also contained his sister and mother’s remains, became an island after the destruction of Beleriand. It’s name was Tol Morwen.
The legendary sword of Fingolfin, High King of the Noldor and Feanor’s half-brother, Ringil is one of the most lauded weapons in all of Arda’s history. It was forged by the Noldor, and Fingolfin wielded it in his battle against Morgoth, where the blade wounded Morgoth eight times and crippled him with it’s last blow.
Fingolfin was arguable the best fighter ever to have lived.
While the etymology of the word is not sure, it is a weapon of the Noldor, and enchanted to slay the servants of Morgoth, who could not be harmed through normal means. It was said to have glittered like ice. Due to it being a First Age Noldorian weapon; it being associated with the House of Feanor; and the description of it being like ice, it is often thought to be a companion weapon to Aeglos, Gil-Galad’s spear, though this is speculation.
We absolutely love the below two pieces of art from https://twitter.com/SummerPudding_1 that beautifully depicts the challenge from Frigolfin, and the battle:
“But Fingolfin gleamed beneath it as a star; for his mail was overlaid with silver, and his blue shield was set with crystals; and he drew his sword Ringil, that glittered like ice.”
Gandalf’s sword was Glamdring although not his originally. “It burned with a rage that made it gleam if goblins were about; now it was bright as blue flame for delight in the killing of the great lord of the cave. It made no trouble whatever of cutting through the goblin-chains and setting all the prisoners free as quickly as possible.” Orcrist, its twin, presumably was similar.
Glamdring was first wielded by Turgon (The mighty Noldorin Elf King) It was a fantastically manufactured sword with jewels embedded in its hilt that glimmered blue in the presence of Orcs, however, it glimmered with a whitish light most of the time. When Turgon owned it Glamding was described as “a white and gold sword in a ruel-bone (ivory) sheath”. And from the Unfinished Tales, Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin we read “It was such a wondrous weapon, that it withstood and actually overpowered the molten blazing sword of Durin’s Bane. Although that could be somehow influenced by the nature of its wielder, who was a Maia after all.”
As fearsome as Balrogs are, there are still several weapons in Tolkien’s Legendarium with the power to slay them. The battle axe Dramborleg is probably the most famous in this regard.
Dramborleg was the signature weapon of Tuor, who was appropriately recognized as a hero among the Human race. It is unknown which race is responsible for forging Dramborleg. Regardless, the weapon is one of superior design responsible for performing feats that would be considered superhuman.
With this weapon, Tuor has slain not just one, but several Balrogs.
Even Gandalf, with his blade Glamdring, was barely able to fight off just one. Even after he vanquished it, the toll of the battle caused him temporary unconsciousness.
Though Dramborleg was lost following the downfall of Númenor, it remains one of the greatest weapons in the series.
Unlike most weapons on this list, the Morgul-blades are not known for their durability. In the first film, following an attack by Sauron’s Nazgûl, Frodo gets hurt by one, however, after the fact, the blade breaks.
This may seem like poor craftsmanship, but the true power of this weapon is to dispatch people from the inside. After breaking off from the blade, a shard will slowly dig deeper into its victim until it reaches their heart.
Once this happens, an individual will irreversibly be transformed into a wraith. Only a specific form of Elven magic can prevent this terrifying transition. However, even after being cured, victims like Frodo still suffer from the phantom pain left behind by the Morgul-blade.
Truly, a terrifying power that makes this fragile blade worthy of being on this list.
The dark lord Morgoth (originally known as Melkor) is quite possibly one of the strongest antagonists in the history of Tolkien’s Legendarium. He is the primordial source of all evil in the world and was responsible for corrupting the Maiar, leading to the birth of the Balrogs.
It seems only fitting that a man of his caliber would use nothing less than a weapon of the highest destructive potential. For Morgoth, this weapon of choice is none other than Grond, “The Hammer of The Underworld.”
According to Tolkien’s Silmarillion, a single strike from Grond had the equivalent force of a thunder bolt strike, leaving fiery craters in its wake.
In the end, all it took was three strikes from Morgoth to defeat Fingolfin. The weapon’s legacy was so great that in Return of The King, Sauron was inspired to build a battering ram with a similar name to break down the gates of Minas Tirith.