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Black Arrow

The Black Arrow
Anke Eißmann - Bard the Bowman.jpg
"Bard the Bowman" by Anke Eißmann
LocationLonely Mountain, Lake-town
OwnerGirion, Bard
CreatorDwarves of Erebor
Lonely Mountain
Notable forkilling Smaug
"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

According to Bard the Bowman, the Black Arrow had originated in the Lonely Mountain and had been passed down to him from his father and grandfather of the line of Girion. It was magical for him and whenever he shot it, he always recovered it.

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 Bard's quiver.

Bard fired the arrow through a bare patch in the armour on Smaug's underbelly, described to him by the Thrush. The arrow penetrated Smaug's heart, killing the dragon immediately.[2]

[edit] 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]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

2018: The Lord of the Rings Online:

The Black Arrows are said to have been a gift to each Lord of Dale from King Thrór in gratitude for saving the first dwarf king's life. The eighth Lord of Dale, later known as Girion, wasted all the arrows while attempting to kill Smaug, except for the one which his son "Brandjarn" rescued and was passed down to Bard.
After the restoration of the Kingdom under the Mountain, Dáin Ironfoot gifted the Kings of Dale with newly-forged Black Arrows. Shortly after the Battle of Dale, young King Bard II wounded the great Cold-drake "Vethúg Wintermind" with a Black Arrow, thwarting the drake's attack on Erebor.


  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 · Angrist · Anguirel · Aranrúth · Belthronding · Black Arrow · Bow of Bregor · Bow of the Galadhrim · Daggers of Westernesse · Dagmor · Dailir · Dramborleg · Durin's Axe · Glamdring · Grond · Gúthwinë · Gurthang · Herugrim · Morgul-knife · Narsil · Orcrist · Red Arrow · Ringil · Sting