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Sting

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Sting by John Howe.

Sting was an Elvish knife that was probably made in Gondolin in the First Age. Its maker and original bearer are unknown.

In The Hobbit, Thorin and Company found Sting in a Troll-hoard along with the other Elvish blades Glamdring and Orcrist (which went to Gandalf and Thorin Oakenshield, respectively). Although it was just a dagger by the standard of Men or Elves, it made an excellent sword for a Hobbit. Bilbo Baggins bore the weapon for the remainder of the quest, first using it to keep Gollum at bay under the Misty Mountains. Later, Bilbo gave it the name Sting, after killing a Giant Spider in Mirkwood.

In The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo gave Sting to his nephew, Frodo Baggins, just before the Fellowship of the Ring set off from Rivendell. Fear of Sting helped Frodo to tame Gollum (temporarily). It also helped Frodo and Samwise Gamgee escape from Shelob's lair, and Sam used it to seriously wound Shelob in combat. After the defeat of Sauron at the end of the Third Age, it remained with Sam. He may have taken it with him to the Undying Lands, or it may have remained as an heirloom of the House of Gardener.

Special Properties

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 in The Hobbit and Shelob in The Two Towers.

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 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 "Maegnas 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