Seeing as some search engines seem to send seekers of swords to my site, I thought I would oblige for my hundredth post:

Sword #5: Watson’s Sword Cane

Let’s open with a Holmesian example and how a sword may epitomise a man’s character: Dr John Watson carries a deadly weapon concealed within an innocuous gentleman’s cane.

And I bet he can kick serious ass with the thing. I gleefully await the moment in SH2 when he takes out half a room with it. Without even breaking a sweat. Before afternoon tea with Mary.

Sword #4: The Vorpal Sword

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

How can you not love the vorpal blade that destryoyzled the Jabberwocky? It would have me calloohing and callaying for joy too.

So, what do we know about it? Not an awful lot – apart from that it’s pretty vorpal and belongs to the Beamish Boy. John Tenniel’s drawing only hints at a long sword, because he’s too busy fleshing out the manxome Jabberwocky.

Maybe the fact that it snicker-snacks that monster is enough.

Sword #3:Lightsaber (Vader)

Who doesn’t want a sword made of light in funky Seventies disco colours? Yeah, thought so.

The whole sword is a rite of passage. A Jedi must make their own and then carries their handiwork forward as their last defence against sudden death. The lightsaber is shown as the definitive means of deciding the major events of the universe.

An elegant weapon, from a more civilised age.

Sword #2: Andúril

Yes, yes, Geeks United, technically the sword pictured is Narsil, as it is yet to be reformed, but my major love is for Andúril – aka Aragorn’s sword.

The idea of a special weapon being destined for a special person is not new (more on that later…). Andúril is the uniter of kingdoms, the standard behind which Middle Earth marches – and it is a king-maker for our grubby hero, Strider.

Sword #1: Excalibur (BBC Merlin version)


(C) Chris Downer

Few can argue that Excalibur does not deserve the top billing – but many might question the source media.

For those who grew up in a cultural vacuum, Excalibur is the weapon of King Arthur, either pulled from a stone by one destined hand or handed over to him by a “moisten bint” – The Lady of the Lake.

On one side: take me up. And on the other: cast me away. A vital lesson that a leader must know when to fight and when to cease fire.

So, why this particular version? Well…

First off, look at the thing! It’s absolutely stunning is what it is. I particularly like the gold detail.

However, the story of the sword is my favourite part. For those in the dark, in the BBC version of Merlin, Arthur and Merlin are contemporaries during the reign of Uther Pendragon. Merlin is Arthur’s manservant, keeping his magic secret and falling over things. Arthur is noble, a bit of a prat and hits his head. A lot.

When Arthur must face down an Undead Knight, Merlin needs to find him a special sword. He realises one may be forged in a Dragon’s breath. So, he takes a sword forged by Gwen’s father (yes, THAT “Gwen”) and gives it to the Dragon he has handy – on one condition. Only Arthur may wield the sword.

Obviously, like most of Merlin’s plans, this goes pear-shaped and Merlin ends up throwing the sword into a lake to hide it away.

Flash forward to the following year when the boys are in a bigger jam – because Morgana and Morgause have taken over Camelot. Merlin retrieves the sword from the water (via his own undead Lady of the Lake) and kills some undead knights with it (yeesh, that’s a lot of undead for family programming).

However, he then has a further problem: how’s he going to hide the sword again? Oh, here’s an idea – let’s stick it in a rock.

Voila! We have two origin myths with a bonus super-origin to make Merlin’s the best Excalibur known to legend.

4 Comments

  • Zephyr

    There are many blades that are more badass than Excalibur
    Such as Aesehaettr (hope I spelled that right) and “The Grass Cutting Sword” wielded by Yamato
    and…. yeah that’s the point

    • I’m not disagreeing! There are hundreds of awesome swords out there and I wish I knew more about them. These are just my favourites. Ask me again in ten years and you’ll certainly get a different list, but Excalibur is also incredibly British. It is a story at the heart of British Celtic mythology and I think it will always be my #1.

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