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Dates
Probably forged some time in the First Age1
Broken in II 34412
Origins
Forged by Telchar of Nogrod
Pronunciation
na'rsil
Meaning
'fire' and 'white light'3
Other Names
Sword of Elendil; after its breaking it was known as the Sword-that-was-Broken, or the Shards or Narsil; after its reforging it was named Andúril

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About this entry:

  • Updated 5 July 2001
  • Updates planned: 3

Narsil

The mighty Sword of Elendil

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"...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."
Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
in The Silmarillion

The Sword of Elendil, forged by Telchar of Nogrod in or before 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.


Notes

1

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 Helpfully, a passage in Unfinished Tales tells us that the Dragon-helm was originally made for Azaghâl of Belegost, who died in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad in I 471; in order to make the helm specifically for Azaghâl, Telchar must have been working at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 of Narsil's origins, then, we can fairly safely place its forging in Telchar's workshop in Nogrod, probably during the fourth or fifth centuries of the First Age.

2

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.

3

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

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