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Black Arrow

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"Arrow!" said the bowman. "Black arrow! I have saved you to the last. You have never failed me and always I have recovered you. I had you from my father and he from of old. If ever you came from the forges of the true king under the Mountain, go now and speed well!"
Bard, Fire and Water

When in T.A. 2941[1] the dragon Smaug attacked Lake-town, after being disturbed by Thorin and Company in the Lonely Mountain, the Black Arrow was the last arrow left in the quiver of Bard the Bowman.

According to Bard, this arrow had been passed down to him from his father and grandfather, and he believed it had originated in the Lonely Mountain. Bard fired the arrow through a bare patch in the armor on Smaug's underbelly, described to him by the Thrush. The arrow penetrated to Smaug's heart, killing the dragon immediately.[2]

Inspiration

J.R.R. Tolkien may have found inspiration for the weapon that achieves its goal and then perishes in Beowulf. In that story Beowulf's sword cannot kill Grendal's mother but another sword, an ancient blade found in her lair, can destroy her and slice off Grendel's head. However, the sword then melted down to the hilt.[3]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Fire and Water"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Return to Bag-End, The Second Phase, "The Death of Smaug", (ii) The Black Arrow, p. 558


Weapons of Middle-earth
Aeglos · Andúril · Anglachel · Anguirel · Angrist · Aranrúth · Belthronding · Black Arrow · Bow of Bregor · Daggers of Westernesse · Dagmor · Dailir · Dramborleg · Durin's Axe · Glamdring · Grond · Gúthwinë · Gurthang · Herugrim · Morgul blades · Narsil · Orcrist · Red Arrow · Ringil · Sting