The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring

by

J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Shards of Narsil / Anduril Symbol Analysis

The Shards of Narsil / Anduril Symbol Icon

Narsil was a famed longsword that symbolized the strength and fortitude of the Men of the West (Numenoreans) in withstanding evil forces in Middle-earth. During the High King Elendil’s final battle with the Dark Lord Sauron in the War of the Last Alliance, Narsil broke into two shards beneath the Elendil’s body when he was slain. His son, Isildur, then wielded the handle-shard to cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand. The heirs of Isildur have since handed down the shards of Narsil as an heirloom that represents their lineage to the thrones of Arnor and Gondor. Aragorn’s decision to reforge the shards of Narsil in Rivendell signals that he is officially setting out to fulfil the prophecy of his ascension to those thrones. Elvish smiths reforge the shards into a bright new blade called Anduril, Flame of the West—this reconstruction parallels the transformation that begins to take place of the rugged Strider into the noble Aragorn. Names in Middle-earth are important; in this case Tolkien has called the Sword that was Broken “Narsil,” meaning fire (“nar”) and white flame (“thil”) in the elven language Quenya, while the Sword that was Reforged is “Anduril,” meaning west and sunset (“andunne”) and brilliance (“ril”). The representation of Narsil as the flames of sun and moon, and Anduril as the literal Flame of the West, indicate the weapon’s purpose in aiding noble men to combat enemies of the darkness. Specifically, Narsil and Anduril symbolize the greatness of the House of Númenor in their longstanding defiance of Sauron, when many other humans have fallen to the Dark Lord’s corruption.

The Shards of Narsil / Anduril Quotes in The Fellowship of the Ring

The The Fellowship of the Ring quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Shards of Narsil / Anduril. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Fellowship of the Ring published in 1954.
Book 2, Chapter 8 Quotes

[Aragorn’s] own plan, while Gandalf remained with them, had been to go with Boromir, and with his sword help to deliver Gondor. For he believed that the message of the dreams was a summons, and that the hour had come at last when the heir of Elendil should come forth and strive with Sauron for the mastery. But in Moria the burden of Gandalf had been laid on him; and he knew that he could not now forsake the Ring, if Frodo refused in the end to go with Boromir. And yet what help could he or any of the Company give to Frodo, save to walk blindly with him into the darkness?

Page Number: 359
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
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The Shards of Narsil / Anduril Symbol Timeline in The Fellowship of the Ring

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Shards of Narsil / Anduril appears in The Fellowship of the Ring. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 10
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...Strider pulls it out to demonstrate that it is broken below the hilt, the two shards ineffective for combat. Strider reveals his real name as Aragorn, and pledges his service to... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 2
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
Aragorn rises to reveal the Sword that was Broken, laying the shards of Narsil before the Council. These are the two pieces of the longsword that the... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 3
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...Fellowship of the Ring—makes plans to depart Rivendell, Aragorn instructs elven smiths to reforge the shards of Narsil that he carries in his scabbard. The Sword that was Broken is reforged... (full context)