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During the Quest of Erebor in 2941, Thorin and Company happened upon a trio of nasty, hungry Trolls who nearly ate them for supper. Only the intervention of Gandalf the Grey saved the company from such a horrible fate.
Afterwards, the company discovered the troll-hoard filled with all manner of treasure, including several fine Elvish blades: Glamdring the Foe-Hammer went to Gandalf, while its mate Orcrist the Goblin-Cleaver was claimed by Thorin Oakenshield.
Bilbo Baggins, too, claimed a blade, and though it was just a dagger by the standard of Men or Elves, it made an excellent short sword for a Hobbit, serving in that capacity for the remainder of Bilbo's quest. He used it to light his way through the dank caves beneath the Misty Mountains after becoming separated from the dwarves during the esacpe from the Goblins, then used it to keep a hungry Gollum at bay. Finally, in the depths of Mirkwood Forest,
In 3019, just before the Fellowship of the Ring set off from [[Rivendell], Bilbo gave Sting to his nephew Frodo Baggins, as well as his wondrous coat of Mithril mail, as a gift to protect him on the perilous journey to Mount Doom that lay ahead. As a consequence of his centuries of corruption under The One Ring's influence, Gollum feared weapons of Elvish make like Sting, which made the knife a factor in aiding Frodo in temporarily taming the wretched creature. It also helped Frodo and Samwise Gamgee escape from the lair of the terrible Shelob in Cirith Ungol, and during the ensuing battle, even after paralyzing Frodo, the massive spider met its match in a determined Samwise Gamgee and learned how the Elvish weapon earned its name.
Still armed with Sting, Sam stormed the Tower of Cirith Ungol in order to rescue Frodo, though he found little in the way of a fight, as the tower had seen a battle between its own forces over Frodo's mithril-mail coat. After the defeat of Sauron at the end of the Third Age, when both Bilbo and Frodo sailed across the sea to the Undying Lands, Sting remained with Sam. He may have taken it with him when he, at last, followed them as was his right as the last remaining Ring-Bearer, or it may have remained as an heirloom of the Gardner Family.
Sting had the (apparently) magic ability to detect the presence of Orcs in its vicinity. When Orcs were nearby, it glowed blue, as it did when the Fellowship encountered Orcs in the mines of Moria. Sting also glowed in the presence of the giant spider descendants of Ungoliant, such as the spiders of Mirkwood and Shelob.
Sting also performed better than ordinary weapons in combat and against odd materials; it cut through the webs of giant spiders easily, whereas the blade that Sam brought from the Barrow Downs failed to cut through Shelob's webs.
Portrayal in Adaptions
In Rankin/Bass' 1977 animated adaptation of The Hobbit, Sting has a distinctive shape, with a vaguely leaf-shaped blade, round, ball-shaped pommel, featureless black hilt, and a unique guard sporting a ring in the front that the wielder's finger slips into when grasping the hilt. This version of Sting glows bright white, not blue as in the books and most other adaptations. Notably, following the Rankin/Bass adaptations' pattern of not explicitly showing violence, Sting is not shown stabbing or slashing its victims; instead, a strange fly-eye like effect is shown when Bilbo slays the giant spiders in Mirkwood, an effect that is oddly repeated when he knocks another spider off of a branch with a rock.
Sting's appearance in Rankin/Bass' 1980 animated adaptation of The Return of the King is broadly similar to that in Rankin/Bass' earlier film, with a alterations; notably, the shape of the blade is changed from vaguely leaf-shaped to stout and straight-bladed, and the hilt is no longer a featureless black, but is now adorned with intricate designs.
Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im
Which is translated "Maegnas is my name, I am the spider's bane".
|Weapons of Middle-earth|
|Aeglos · Andúril · Anglachel · Angrist · Anguirel · Aranrúth · Belthronding · Black Arrow · Bow of Bregor · Daggers of Westernesse · Dagmor · Dailir · Dramborleg · Durin's Axe · Glamdring · Grond · Gúthwinë · Gurthang · Herugrim · Morgul-knife · Narsil · Orcrist · Red Arrow · Ringil · Sting|