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Sting

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Sting by John Howe.

Sting was an Elvish knife made in Gondolin in the First Age. Its maker and bearer is unknown.

Sting was found by Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, in a Troll-hoard along with the other Gondolindrim blades Glamdring and Orcrist. Although it was just a dagger by the standard of Men or Elves, it made an excellent sword for a Hobbit. During his adventures, Bilbo gave it the name Sting, after killing a Giant Spider. Bilbo gave Sting to Frodo Baggins, just before the Fellowship of the Ring set off from Rivendell. After the defeat of Sauron at the end of the Third Age, it passed to Samwise Gamgee.

It had the (apparently) magic ability to detect any Orcs near the weapon. When this presence was felt, it glowed blue, as it did when the Fellowship encountered Orcs in the mines of Moria.

Gollum, who similarly disliked anything made by Elves, was afraid of Sting. This fear helped Bilbo when confronting Gollum under the mountain in The Hobbit. It also helped Frodo to tame Gollum (temporarily) in The Lord of the Rings.

Sting also glowed in the presence of the giant spider descendants of Ungoliant, such as the spiders of Mirkwood in The Hobbit and Shelob in The Two Towers. Sting also cut through the webs of such spiders easily, whereas the blade that Sam brought from the Barrow Downs failed to cut through Shelob's webs.

Portrayal in Adaptions

In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, Sting is leaf-shaped. Upon its crossguard are engraved the Sindarin words:

Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im

Which is translated "Magenas is my name, I am the spider's bane".


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