Tolkien Gateway

Orcrist

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Revision as of 06:59, 15 March 2007

Orcrist by Audrey Corman.

Orcrist was the weapon of the Dwarf Lord Thorin Oakenshield from Tolkien's novel, The Hobbit. The only description of it is in the above mentioned book, that it had a fancy scabbard and a jeweled hilt.

In Sindarin Orcrist is said to mean "Goblin Cleaver", (Goblin being a synonym for Orc used mainly in The Hobbit). Goblins called the blade Biter. Many of the famed weapons in Tolkien's stories had names, such as Glamdring, Narsil and Sting (see chart below). It was crafted by the Elves, who not only made it a valuable weapon, also a feared one, particularly among traditional enemies of the Elves: Orcs and other evil creatures of Middle-earth. Like Glamdring and Sting, the blade could detect the presence of Orcs and warn its bearer by glowing blue.

As the "mate" to King Turgon's sword Glamdring, Orcrist was likely borne by a high ranking lord in the King's entourage. Ten possibilities present themselves: Maeglin, Tuor, Ecthelion of the Fountain, Penlod, Egalmoth, Salgant, Duilin, Galdor, Rog, and Glorfindel. Since Maeglin presumably still had his father's sword, Anguirel, it was not his. Duilin bore a bow, while Galdor carried a club and Rog a mace. Tuor seems to have come to Gondolin after Glamdring had been forged (see Unfinished Tales), and if this was the mate it should have been forged before his arrival as well. In any case, Tuor bore an axe, not a sword. Glorfindel died outside of the city; Ecthelion perished in Gondolin as he slew Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. Because he is the only one of the four lords mentioned in the Silmarillion that seem possible, the most accepted assumption is that Orcrist belonged to Ecthelion, but this is never stated explicitly in any of Tolkien's writings. The other remaining ones, Penlod, Eglamoth, and Salgant, are also possible, though none are mentioned in the Silmarillion and are only found in the Fall of Gondolin.

In The Hobbit, Thorin is mortally wounded at the Battle of Five Armies. After his death Orcrist is placed upon Thorin's tomb and that it "gleamed ever in the dark if foes approached" (The Hobbit Chapter 18, "The Return Journey").



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