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Thread: Shards of Narsil

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I have read LOTR several times and I'm always confused during the Fellowship when the hobbits encounter Aragorn at Bree and he pulls out the hilt shard of Narsil. I know that he used Anduril as a form of credentials after it was reforged for the War of the Ring, but why is he carry the broken shards? Clearly he doesn't fight with it, but to my knowledge there is no mention of him carrying a functional sword. Anybody know more?
I don't recall any mention of it either. I'm sure he used a different sword when, say, fighting in Gondor as Thorongil, but I don't know when and why he switched to Narsil. Do you have the Letters? Recent editions have a comprehensive index that may be useful to you. If you don't have a copy I will try to remember to check my copy when I can (though that might be a while: its not one of the books I brought to my dorm).
Had a look in Letters for you- surprisingly narsil/anduril only turns up on 3 pages in the whole thing and not much to shed light on the point raised.
In letter 210 where Tollkien is grumbling about how his work is being treated in adaptation, the quote is in relation to the Weathertop scene and he says "Strider does not 'whip out a sword' in the book. Naturally not; his sword was broken."
From this it is to be implied that Aragorn did not in fact use a sword whilst wandering the wilds. Although I have often wondered why he would carry a broken sword about with him instead of leaving it with the other heirlooms in Rivendell- only thing I can think of is that he went and got it especially as a token of who he was in order to convince Frodo.
That's a reasonable assertion Petty.

[b:drnkye55]GB[/b:drnkye55]
That's a very good point, petty. However, I'm not sure that it fits with Strider's statement in the chapter named for him that "For all I knew I had to persuade you to trust me without proofs, if I was to help you." I'm unsure because it's possible Strider considered Narsil to be inconclusive, and thus not proof. I need to think on this more.
I had forgotten that line Eldo- good catch! That does go against my theory- which leaves us back at Aragorn wandering the wilds with a stub of a knackered sword! Mmmmmmm. Mabe he just didn't need a sword in general- I do a lt of hiking and camping and I've never needed one. Im guessing wolves, even trolls (and even Nazgul) can be fended off with a good bit of fire- or simply avoided. And I don't think theres much in the Wilds between Rivendell and Hobbiton to trouble a ranger- even unarmed.
That may be the case, but it doesn't make much sense. If he comes across a renegade pack of Orcs or Bandits or whatever, how is Aragorn going to fight someone who has a sword (or is he Jet Li now :lol: ). Seriously though, how do Rangers combat danger if they don't have the necessary equipment? And why would he wonder around with the hilt while the rest of the shards lay in Rivendell? This does seem a conundrum :? .

[b:90qb4vcf]GB[/b:90qb4vcf]
It is indeed a bit of a conundrum GB. I agree there seems little sense in him wandering about with a useless sword, if all he wanted was to have an heirloom close to him there are smaller, easier ones he could be carrying. And it also seems a bit of a risk given Aragorn knows if the sh*t hits the fan then Narsil will be reforged as prophezised, you'd think he would leave it safe and sound in Rivendell for that day.
Hard as I find it to say this, but PJ putting the sword in Rivendell is one of the changes (possibly the only one) I agree whole-heartedly with. It just makes more sense.
Sssh! Don't let Odo hear you! <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' />

[b:bm07sa4u]GB[/b:bm07sa4u]
I think PJ handled it well.. but I'm not bothered by Aragorn carrying it around as a Ranger in the book. The psychological attachment would be strong, especially now that he knows his time is coming. And when sneaking aound in the Wild, the knife, or bow would probably be more useful. Remember, Aragorn uses fire not swordplay (even in the film, I think) to fight off the Nazgul. A heavy sword would be a hindrance more than a help in the Wild, and was it not just the hilt and a small part of blade Aragorn carried? An emblem and reminder of who he really was? Narsil is [i:3iim3lzg]reforged[/i:3iim3lzg] in the book, but were 'shards' as such mentioned? Don't blades get made from molten metal? Do 'shards' get melded together? If so, they might have been left in Rivendell (to save them rattling in his bag in the bushes in the Wild).

In the book, Aragorn's sword was reforged before he left Rivendell, wasn't it? His time of slinking in the shadows was drawing to an end. He was going on one last 'sneak' to Gondor, but then War would be upon him!


(NB GB, it's not very nice to whisper behind people's backs! :x )
Yes, I think it's mentioned that the shards had been left in Rivendell Odo.

But your points regarding knife and bow are particularly excellent :mrgreen: . Of course those would serve him well in the wilds.

[b:2wef9tvn]GB[/b:2wef9tvn]
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":30vmcvho]Yes, I think it's mentioned that the shards had been left in Rivendell Odo.[/quote:30vmcvho]


Yes... and just agreeing with you, Old Beard.
What do you gentleman think about how Aragorn aquired the sword in the movie? I found it a bit spontaneus, but I can't think of any other way to do it other than it being forged in Rivendell in Fellowship, but Aragorn being reluctant to use it. Then in Return of the King, he and Gandalf could have that talk about the paths of the dead, and then he'd decide to go after he talked to Theoden about leaving. That would've made more sense and then there'd be a constant reminder of what Aragorn would have to eventually become.
How do you guys feel about Anduril lacking its "glow" in PJs LOTR? I can't decide whether I like that it was omitted or not.
An interesting point Tinuviel, I never liked the whole Elrond bringing the sword along bit. It seems to me it was the decision to make Aragorn the reluctant King that led the to change when he got the sword reforged. And I didnt quite follow exactly what Arwens part was supposed to be in persuading Elrond to reforge it- that one they just made up for the films (along with about 3/4 of the rest of the films that were made up).
That and I really liked the Grey Company in the book and was looking forward to the arrival of the rest of the rangers of the north to join their Captain in his final struggle with evil- but no PJ and co went (yet again) for simplification and over dramatisation. We hates them! We hates them forever!
Hi Ancalagon, did Anduril glow? I'll need to check that one (or just take your word for it as its v late as I post this!)- Glamdring should have glowed too but didnt either.
"...on its blade was traced a device of seven stars set between the crescent Moon and the rayed Sun, and about them was written many runes... Very bright was that sword when it was made whole again; the light of the sun shone redly in it, and the light of the moon shone cold, and its edge was hard and keen"
Thanks for the clarification Ancalagon - I mistakenly thought you were referring to the sort of glow Sting gives off when orcs are about rather than the sort of inherent brightness your quote would seem to imply.
I guess I was under the impression that it was that type of "glow" (red by day, white by night)
Certainly wouldn't have done any harm for it to have a reddish reflection to the blade in sunlight and a blueish hue in moonlight- it might seem like to small a detail to bother with but anyone whose seen the rat catcher shop in the streets of Minas Tirith (its on the extras somewhere) will see that they were not adverse to putting a ridiculous amount of detail into things that can often not even be seen properly on screen (in the case of the rat catcher I think Gandalf gallops past on his way into the city, blink and you miss it) so a glow on a sword shouldn't have been too much trouble.
[quote="pettytyrant101":1acmwg7i]Aragorn wandering the wilds with a stub of a knackered sword! Mmmmmmm. Mabe he just didn't need a sword in general- I do a lt of hiking and camping and I've never needed one. Im guessing wolves, even trolls (and even Nazgul) can be fended off with a good bit of fire- or simply avoided. And I don't think theres much in the Wilds between Rivendell and Hobbiton to trouble a ranger- even unarmed.[/quote:1acmwg7i]

On the other hand, Aragorn says that there are foes that would "freeze [Barliman Butterbur's] heart" only a day's march from Bree (The Council of Elrond, IIRC). This would seem to go against my earlier speculation. :roll: I wonder if it is possible that he could have carried some other weapon with him in addition to the hilt-shard. And on that note:

[quote="Gandalfs Beard":1acmwg7i]And why would he wonder around with the hilt while the rest of the shards lay in Rivendell?[/quote:1acmwg7i]

I always imagined that he had the entire sword in the scabbard, but he could clearly only [i:1acmwg7i]pull[/i:1acmwg7i] out the hilt-shard. Is there any concrete evidence either way?
[quote="Tinuviel":2mphvwkm]What do you gentleman think about how Aragorn aquired the sword in the movie?[/quote:2mphvwkm]

I think it worked well enough in the context of movie-Aragorn's 'journey', though I dislike the whole 'journey'. I am annoyed at how Elrond (like the Lorien Elves who come to Helm's Deep) seems able to bend the laws of reality and travel super-fast, though. <img src='/images/smileys/vevil.gif' border='0' alt='Very Evil Smilie' />

[quote:2mphvwkm]I can't think of any other way to do it other than it being forged in Rivendell in Fellowship, but Aragorn being reluctant to use it.[/quote:2mphvwkm]

I can! <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' /> Have the sword reforged in Rivendell but cut-out the bulk of the indecisive nonsense and let Aragorn be confident and not an emo. That doesn't mean he never has self-doubt, but at the end of the day he knows what he's doing and is comfortable with it.

You know, like in the book. :geek:
[quote="Ancalagon":1nj89rk6]How do you guys feel about Anduril lacking its "glow" in PJs LOTR? I can't decide whether I like that it was omitted or not.[/quote:1nj89rk6]

It's minor enough that I don't really mind. Better to be cut entirely than done tackily, though I think a subtle glow could have been nice. All in all it's not a big deal to me, though.