Last Sunday we watched a rare episode of Game of Thrones in which no one died. It made the inevitability of many of them dying this Sunday even more heartbreaking.
My naïve reasoning about the Night King was wrong, of course. He wants something similar to what Sauron wanted – to destroy all humanity. And then what?
Who would Sauron rule over if he had won? Over the Orcs? The Night King is coming, bringing the endless winter darkness with him. He also wants to wipe out every trace of human society, even memories of it. Well, he already had darkness and winter on the other side of the wall, didn’t he? What’s so different in this side, especially in the darkness? Does he really want to rule over an army of zombies?
Or does he want to create something new, more alive than his mindless followers? Evil can be absolute, but if there’s no one to direct it toward, it doesn’t make sense.
Anyhow, many swords will be put into good (or bad) use tomorrow, and this post is not about the Night King’s intentions, but about blades with personal names and stories they inspired.
Besides the hundreds of swords that the Iron Throne is made of, there are several memorable blades in G.R.R. Martin’s series: Ned Stark’s Ice, Aria’s Needle, Jamie’s Oathkeeper, Jon Snow’s Longclaw, and the professed Lightbringer, in case it is a sword, and not a personification of it.
The story of Excalibur, maybe the most famous sword of the Western world, is well known, but there is a movie with the same name which is my favourite among the filmed Arthurian legends. It was directed by John Boorman in 1981.
Everything glows in this movie: the armor, the sword, Camelot, the forest, creating an otherworldly atmosphere in which very real, very human inner and outer conflicts occur. Not unlike Game of Thrones.
The Lord of the Rings also features some mighty swords – King Elessar’s Anduril, Gandalf’s Glamdring, Frodo’s Sting, the Harry Potter books as well (Gryffindor’s sword), but there are also other famous – and legendary – swords that belonged or “belonged” to historical people.
According to Islamic tradition, Zulfiqar was the swords of Ali Ibn Abi Talib, who married Prophet Muhammed’s daughter, Fatima, and later became the last of four “original” caliphs who succeeded the Prophet.
Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (“Grass Cutting Sword”) is linked to the ancient Japanese tales of gods and serpents, and is considered to be one of three imperial regalia.
Joyeuse – Charlemagne’s sword, lost in a battle but found by one of Charlemagne’s knights, to whom the king then granted an appanage named Joyeuse.
William Wallace’s Sword, allegedly used in the battle of Sterling in 1297 and a year later, at the battle of Falkirk. Experts believe that a man had to be 7 feet tall to handle this double-edged, colossal sword. It’s unknown how tall William Wallace was.
Durandal – the sword of Charlemagne’s paladin, Roland, according to the “Song of Roland”.
The strongest sword ever?
Honjo Masamune. It’s a historical sword, a symbol of Tokugawa shogunate, passed down form one Shogun to the next. It was forged by the master swordsmith Goro Nyudo Masamune, and is consider one of the finest swords ever made. Its whereabouts remains a mystery.