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The Swords

After the group kills the Trolls trying to eat them, they go to their cave where they find a collection of Elven swords. Gandalf gives Bilbo a sword that glows when Orcs are near.

Bilbo's Sword

The Elf City

Later in the film, after escaping from the Orcs, the group find themselves in Rivendel. They share a dinner with the Elves, where they hear the names and histories of the swords they found.

Bilbo pulls out his sword, but a Dwarf sitting beside him tells him to put it away, because it was to small to have a story.

What was the name of Bilbo's sword, and what was its story?

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There's a great quote in the Fellowship of the Ring which one of the dwarves makes if someone can find it... something like "Don't bother laddie... swords are named for great deeds" "are you saying it hasn't seen battle?" – Liath Nov 19 '13 at 9:26
up vote 11 down vote accepted


Sting was an ancient blade made by Elvish weapon-smiths in Gondolin. It was lost during the Fall of Gondolin, the same battle in which Turgon fell and Glamdring was taken. The blade was carried by Bilbo in The Hobbit after he found it in a Troll-hoard.

Engraved on the blade are Sindarin letters that read phonetically, "Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im". Translated they read, "Sting is my name; I am the spider's bane". According to the appendix of The Silmarillion, the element maeg in Sindarin means 'sharp' or 'piercing', and the Etymologies section in The Lost Road and Other Writings gives the meaning of the element nass as 'point', so "Maegnas" is literally translated as "sharp-point".

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Well, yes. But Bilbo gives it that name when he is fighting the spiders in the forest. – dmckee Jan 21 '13 at 2:24
No, the name was written on the sword. – Michael Stern Jan 21 '13 at 5:10
When found in the trolls' cave, there was no writing on the knife/sword/(letter-opener). After his adventures in Mirkwood, Bilbo named his blade "Sting" and had the Elves engrave it as given above. – Jim Green Jan 21 '13 at 12:43
@JimGreen I'd post that as an answer - although the answer has already been chosen its worth adding! – Liath Jan 7 '14 at 7:29

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