I’ve been wanting to do this post for quite a while; the list has been sitting in my notes for several months now. Oddly enough it came from a blogger I used to follow until they revealed in a post like this that they were not a fan of Final Fantasy (though they did have the Buster Sword from there…and some derisive comments grrr. Well to each their own), and as they’d gotten the idea from yet another blog post, I don’t feel too bad doing my own especially since the five swords will be different. They are presented in countdown order so #1 is my favorite fictional sword (three guesses what it is and what fandom it’s from. If you’ve been following this blog for, oh, ten seconds, it should pretty plain to see).
I’m a fan of fantastic swords. My paranormal romance novel The Serpent’s Tale features one with its name actually hidden in the title. The sword, the Serpent’s Tail, is holy in nature and wielded by a dark angel/assassin. All of the swords on the below list (save #2 since I wrote the story before I knew major details about that weapon) were great inspirations for this magical and slightly sentient weapon.
“We write by the light of every story we have ever read.”
I hope you enjoy the list and please feel free to comment what your favorite picks would be. Also feel free to tag me if you do your own Top 5 (or Top 10 or Top 17. I don’t judge) post as I’d love to see that, too!
Sword Type: Long Sword
Origin: Welsh Legend
Story: The Chronicles of Prydain
Wielder:Rhydderch Hael (Welsh Legend), Taran (The Chronicles of Prydain), Gwydion (The Chronicles of Prydain), Princess Eilonwy (borne but not wielded) (The Chronicles of Prydain
Dyrnwyn is one of the Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain and is also was one of the first magical swords I came across. I read The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander when I was quite young, and the idea of the sentient sword was still fresh and new in my adolescent head. I absolutely loved the idea of a weapon that could tell what lay in your heart of hearts and would treat you accordingly. It seemed a far finer system of justice than any concocted by humanity.
In the Chronicles Dyrnwyn is found by the Princess Eilonwy in the barrows of Spiral Castle when she, Taran, and the rest were escaping. She took it due it being “the best sword” there, though at the time, she could not know how “best” it was. Attempting to draw it seemed futile though the companions were able to discern there was an inscription upon the blade, and part of it had been scratched out.
It’s not until the short story The Sword from The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain that Drynwyn’s origin is discovered. The sword was originally owned by King Rhitta whose own greed and avarice caused the weapon to kill its owner for written upon the blade are the words:
“Draw Dyrnwyn, only those of noble worth [sometimes mistranslated as “royal blood”], to rule with justice, to strike down evil. Who wields it in good cause shall slay even the lord of death.”
There is such a dearth of justice in our world, and having a sword that would judge a king as equally as a cobbler is something very appealing indeed. Dyrnwyn does indeed slay the lord of death, but that’s a tale you’ll have to read yourself.
Sword Type: Long Sword
Origin: Arthurian Legend
Medium: Books, Films, Video Games
Wielder: King Arthur, various other figures per medium
The tales about Excalibur are as numerous as they are varied, and you’ll have to forgive me that I am not as up and up on Arthurian Legend as I “should” be. I have purchased La Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Mallory, but I’ve yet to read it. It’s also been a while since I read The Mists of Avalon. I, therefore, may be wrong about Excalibur and Caliburn being interchangeable as I’ve only Wikipedia to go on, but I do believe it is not the same as the Sword in the Stone. Regardless since I live in the world, I’ve been influenced and inspired by Britain’s (arguably) most famous sword.
What I do remember from Mists are the magical spells of protection woven into Excalibur’s scabbard by Morgaine who was specifically charged to the task.
Sword Type: Long Sword
Origin: Redwall Series by Brian Jacques
Story: Redwall Series
Wielder: Martin the Warrior, Luke the Warrior (potentially the first wielder), Trisscar Swordmaid, Matthias, Mattimeo, Deyna, numerous others/any creature deemed worthy of the Warrior of Redwall status
The Sword of Martin is the only only sword on my list that boasts no magical powers; however, that doesn’t diminish its legendary nature. It was originally owned by Martin the Elder and passed down to his son Luke the Warrior. Luke bequeathed the sword to his son Martin. After Martin was captured by Badrang the Tyrant, the evil stoat possessed the sword for a time until Martin reclaimed it and slew him (though not without great personal loss). Afterwards, Martin journeyed to Mossflower Woods where the sword was broken by Tsarmina Greeneyes, the wildcat queen of Kotir. Martin bore the broken hilt around his neck until it was reforged at Salamandastron using the metal from a fallen star (definite Narsil/Anduril reference in the reforged sword) in order to make it a mighty and magnificent weapon.
Sword Type: Great Sword
Origin: A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R R Martin
Story: A Song of Ice and Fire Series, Game of Thrones
Medium: Books, TV Show
Wielder: The Sword of the Morning, Ser Arthur Dayne (previous and last wielder and holder of the title)
There are many theories about the sword Dawn. Some believe it may be Lightbringer (since it is “Dawn” and is wielded by the Sword of the “Morning”), but what is known is that it’s the ancestral sword of House Dayne, and the wielder is always given the title Sword of the Morning. The last known wielder was Ser Arthur Dayne (which is more than likely a reference to Arthurian Legend/Excalibur so full circle), the illustrious knight of Kingsguard fame who died at the Tower of Joy. Ned Stark took great pains to return the sword to its rightful home at Starfall, the Daynes’ seat in Dorne.
Like the Sword of Martin, Dawn is said to be made from metal forged from the heart of a fallen star. The blade itself is pale as milkglass, resembling no other Valyrian blade (which begs the question about whether it’s Valyrian in nature at all), and only a knight of House Dayne who is worthy can wield it.
There is something about Dawn and the Sword of the Morning that leads me to believe it is not just a throwaway plot line. We will be seeing this sword again, and a great many secrets will be revealed when we do.
1. The Masamune
Shock and awe my number one favorite fictional sword is the one and only Masamune, wielded by the one and only one winged angel Sephiroth. In real life legend, it is arguably the best sword in the world, comparable to Valyrian steel or sky metal, the latter of which would be more than appropriate, though Valyrian steel with it’s multiple folding method would match with how katanas are forged.
I remember the exact moment my obsession with the Masamune solidified. It was the point in the game where you find President Shinra slumped over his desk at the top of the tower with the eight foot sword in his back. Someone in the party was going to make a move to take it out when they were immediately warned not to touch it. That piqued my interest. Why couldn’t they touch this sword? Would it only answer to its wielder’s call? The gears in my head started spinning at that, equating the sword with fore mentioned Dyrnwyn in that it could only be wielded by someone worthy of it (yes, I’m aware Tifa attempted to wield it against Seph in Nibelheim and failed miserably. The result is pretty telling).. This of course only fueled my fangirl love of Sephiroth.
The Master Sword is definitely in my top ten and is a 100% Sword in the Stone reference. Link literally pulls it from a stone pedestal once he’s worthy to wield it. I’d be proud to have a replica in my possession.
Reforged from the shards of Narsil, Anduril is the sword of heroes and kings of which Aragorn is both. The scene where Elrond pulls the sword out from under his cloak and presents it to the soon to be King of Gondor anew is pretty freaking epic. Anduril would certainly be in my top ten if I wasn’t lazy and only did a top five.
What are your favorite fictional/fantasy swords? Is a sword your favorite type of fiction/fantasy weapon or do you prefer a different flavor of death?
Let me know in the comments!