Literature and Mythology

Introduction to Thorin Oakenshield’s Sword –The Orcrist

The Orcrist sword wielder, ThorinOakenshield portrayed by Richard Armitage

What is Orcrist?

The Orcrist, also known as the Biter or the Goblin Cleaver, was an Elven sword and mate of the Glamdring sword,forged forKing Turgon of Gondolin. The sword’s name ‘Biter’ was given by the Orcs, while they named Glamdring as ‘Beater.’ Along with the swords Sting and Glamdring, the Orcist is also one of the weapons that were feared byOrcs and other evil creatures.

It was forged in Gondolin, the Elves’ hidden city during the first age, and was believed to be wielded by King Turgon himself. The sword was reportedly used in slicing thousands of neck during a battle. However, after Turgon died, during the war against Morgoth in the first age of 510, the sword Orcrist was lost.

What does the Orcrist Looks Like?

The Orcrist is a single-edge sword that has runes engraved on its blade. The runes etched on the blade were translated as “The Serpent’s Tooth.” In addition, these runes inscribed from the sword were carved from its hilt and stretch across half of its blade. Although the metal used to create the blade of Orcrist was unknown, the sword’s grip was made of the dragon’s tooth.

As well as that, the Orcrist’s sheath also has an inscription that was translated as “Born from the Maws of Dragon, I am Always Hungry and Thirsty.” These inscriptions on the sheath seemingly connect with the runes that were engraved on the hilt of Orcrist when it is sheathed. Furthermore, its scabbard has a wooden base protected by metal, covered with several fine details from its tip to hilt.

The Orcrist’s Discovery

Centuries later, in the third age 2941, Gandalf the wizard, Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, and Thorin and Company discovered the Orcrist, as well as the Sting and the Glamdring. It was then kept by the trolls in the Trollshaws located in the Eriador. Although it was unknown how the swords Orcrist, Glamdring, and the Sting came into the troll’s possession, Thorin obtained the Orcrist upon finding it. The same with the other two swords, The Glamdring, that was wielded by Gandalf and the Sting sword, owned by Bilbo Baggins. Later on the series, Bilbo subsequently passed the Sting to his nephew, Frodo Baggins. Upon arriving in the Rivendell, Elrond, the lord of Rivendell, eventually recognized the Orcrist as one of the Elven made swords that came from the city of Gondolin.

As promised, Thorin honored the sword and used it to kill the humanoid monsters called Orcs, during their Quest of Erebor. However, Thorin lost his Orcristwhen he was capture in the Mirkwood by Wood-Elves. The Orcrist was then confiscated and was not returned to him until after The Battle of Five Armies. Subsequently, After Thorin died, the King of Elves of the Woodland Realm, Thranduil, placed the Orcrist upon Thorin’s tomb, on the Lonely Mountain. The Orcrist glowed in the dark whenever enemies were approaching.

The Abilities of the Sword Orcrist

Most weapons in The Hobbit’s world and The Lord of the Rings hold attributes that make them stand out from the rest. Besides, nothing suits the story’s protagonists better than having enchanted and magic weapons that can greatly help them out on their journey.

Included in the number of enchanted weapons are the elven weapons, particularly the ones forged during the first century. An example of this is the swordOrcrist. However, it is important to remember that, along with Orcrist, Glamdring, and Sting were both elven swords that were also forged during the first century.

We mention those swords –The Glamdring and the Sting, as those weapons seemingly share characteristics with the Orcrist, although some of them were not shown in the film series. Still, since they were forged by the same old Elven smiths around the same period, it can be concluded that the three Elven weapons share similar capabilities.

Below are just a few of the Orcrist’s skills that were seen in the movies:

It glows when Orcs or Goblins are nearby.

The Elven Swords will give out a blue glow when there are orcsor goblins nearby. It protects the wielder by warning them about the possible danger that may occur nearby.

Because of the light it emits, this can also aid the wielder when battling in a dark cave or dark places. This is especially useful even against creatures that detest light. Although it is understood thatElvish swords send out a blue glow when Orcs are nearby, the Orcrist did not seem to have this ability in the movies for some reason, but it did so, at least in the books.

Against the Spider Webs

Spider webs produced by giant spiders can’t be easily cut when you’re in The Hobbit’s world. These are hard to get out of, and regular weapons are no match of these webs.

Luckily, Elven swords can. When Bilbo was captured by the spider’s web while in the Mirkwood, he was able to get through using the Sting sword. Although Thorin and his Orcrist were not seen cutting spider webs, it can be concluded that Orcristhas the same skill as Sting.

Against the Orcs and Goblins

Orcs and goblins are afraid of elvish weapons. This sword also has an intensified impact on theOrcs and Goblins, as the sword was known as the Goblin Cleaver, which kills thousands of Orcs during the first age.

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