Literature and Mythology

The Glamdring Sword of Gandalf

The Glamdring SwordWhat is Glamdring?

Glamdring, also known as Foe-Hammer or Beater, was a sword originally belonged to King Turgon of Gondolin, the ruler of the hidden land of Elves. It was stated that Turgon had wielded it during the first age Nirnaeth Arnoediad (The Battle of Unnumbered Tears) or the Fall of Gondolin. The sword Glamdring must have done quite a damage until the third age, and this legendary sword was still known to the Orcs of the Misty Mountains. Since then, the sword was called as Beater by the humanoid monsters called Orcs.

However, after the death of King Turgon, there was no mention of the fate of Glamdring until the third age. For over 6500 years, starting from the first age of 510, Glamdring was said to have traveled from Gondolin to the east. There was also a mystery that surrounds the history of the sword since the fall of Gondolin. It was believed that the Glamdring, along with the swords Orcrist and the Sting, have been plundered again and again. Nevertheless, after surviving the War of Wrath (war of the Elves), the sword ended up in the troll’s cave in Eriador.  In TA 2941, when it was retrieved, the sword was appropriated by a wizard named Gandalf and used it as a weapon during the War of the Ring.

The Glamdring’s Appearance

Glamdring is a Sindarin word for “Foe Hammer.” It formed from the words ‘glam,’ which literally means ‘shouting or confused noise,’ and the word ‘dring,’ meaning ‘beat or strike.’The Glamdring and Orcrist sword is described to have beautiful scabbards and jeweled hilts. Like the sword Sting, Glamdring glows in blue in the presence of Orcs, although this feature was not shown in the movies. Glamdring was also called as the sword of Turgon or a white and gold sword in a ruel-ivory bone sheath.  It was also engraved with the rune in which Gandalf couldn’t read, so he seeks the help of Elrond, who was a savant in all kinds of runes.

The Discovery of Glamdring

In third age 2941, Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, along with the wizard Gandalf and a group of elves called Thorin and Company encountered three Trolls -William, Tom, and Bert, in the Trollshaw. These trolls captured Bilbo, Thorin, and the other dwarves, but they were saved by Gandalf after exposing the trolls in the sunlight. It was there where they had discovered the Glamdring, the Sting, and the Orcrist. Gandalf was amazed by the Glamdring’s appearance and then declared the sword as his own. Also, the Glamdring bears an inscription written in rune that Gandalf did not know. He consulted Elrond, the Lord of Rivendell, for that, and it was then when the Glamdring was called ‘Foe-Hammer,’ in accordance with its runes inscription.

Gandalf and his Sword Glamdring

Using the sword, Gandalf defeated the Great Goblin while the other Orcs fled at the sight of what they have known as the Beater. However, it was unknown whether Gandalf used the sword again in the Quest of Erebor. Also, during the battle of the Chamber of Mazarbul and in the standoff with Balrog, Gandalf was reported to have used the Glamdring. As well as that, Gandalf has the sword when he met Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas, known as the Three Hunters.

Subsequently, throughout the War of the Ring and at their arrival to the Prancing Pony in Bree together with Samwise, Frodo, Merry, and Pippin, Gandalf still continues to bear the sword.  In September of the third age 3021, Gandalf left the Middle-Earth as he sailed to West, although it was not mentioned whether he had his Glamdring with him.

Glamdring Movie Portrayals

In the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies series, the sword Glamdring is one of the primary weapons wielded by the wizard Gandalf, aside from his staff. The sword was originally made by the Weta Workshop designer, Richard Taylor. He stated that the inscription on the sword was intended for elves usually put magical inscriptions on the blade to strengthen it. Also, this idea was used in several other weapons, such as the Anduril sword.

In the Hobbit trilogy, Gandalf was able to recognize it as Gondolin’s sword, but Elrond identified it by name. The design of the sword’s blade is also different from that of the Elvish curved swords that are regularly seen. This was probably because the blade was made during the first age, where the design of the sword was different.

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