04 October 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 96: Sting

Frodo with Sting in The Fellowship of the Ring
Sting was the name given by Bilbo Baggins to the Elven short sword (or long knife, by Elvish standards) discovered in a Trolls’ hoard during one of his adventures in TA 2941. Sting was forged by the Elven-smiths of Gondolin during the First Age; its intended use was in wars against the Enemy Morgoth, though after the city of Gondolin was destroyed, it fell into the hands of evil. 

Sting’s history throughout the Second and Third Ages remains unknown, though it likely passed from hoard to hoard, finally resting with the Trolls in their lair in eastern Eriador. Gandalf slew the Trolls who possessed it; he took Glamdring for himself, while Thorin Oakenshield received the sword Orcrist, leaving Sting to Bilbo, who named it after rescuing his companions from the Mirkwood spiders.  

Bilbo later passed Sting on to Frodo in Rivendell, and it was later used to subdue Gollum (who hated and feared anything made by the Elves) and cut through the webs of Shelob, and once the War of the Ring had ended, it became an heirloom of the Gamgee family. 

Sting glowed with a cold blue light in the presence of Orcs. While the book never clearly states whether or not Bilbo had it inscribed, Peter Jackson’s film adaptations contained the following inscription: “Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im,” which translates to: "Sting is my name; I am the spider's bane."

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