Swords have been around for millennia. More than 5,000 years, according to Wikipedia. And maybe even before then, depending on how you interpret “a long time ago” in the Star Wars opening crawls. Which raises an important question: are lightsabers “swords”? Also, are tacos “sandwiches”? Okay, enough of the jokes, let’s nerd out about our favorite swords in fiction!
We’re going to look at epic fictional swords in all sorts of media: movies and television, comic books and literature, video games, and also folklore. We’ve got your favorites, from Game of Thrones to The Lord of the Rings to Star Wars—yes, lightsabers are swords—but we also look at mythological stories from the real world. So let’s get on with it and share our favorite swords in no particular order!
50 Fictional Swords
Click a sword to jump to that section.
- Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, and Rey’s Blue Lightsaber
- The Master Sword
- The Atlantean Sword
- Ivory Dragon Katana
- Luke Skywalker’s Green Lightsaber
- Vorpal Sword
- The Sword of Gryffindor
- Darth Vader’s Lightsaber
- The Power Sword
- The Blazing Sword
- The Kingdom Key
- Kylo Ren’s Lightsaber
- The Singing Sword
- The Sword of Protection
- Darth Maul’s Lightsaber
- The Six-Fingered Sword
- Widow’s Wail
- The Sword of Kas
- The Sword of Omens
- Obi-Wan Kenobi's (Third) Blue Lightsaber
- The Sword of Martin the Warrior
- Hattori Hanzō Sword
- The Buster Sword
- The Green Destiny
- The Sword of Athena
Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, and Rey’s Blue Lightsaber
“This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.” [Source: Lucasfilm]
Oh, the lightsaber, the iconic “laser sword” of the Jedi. And what a special lightsaber this is. The world first saw this lightsaber given to Luke in Star Wars: Episode IV, but during Star Wars: Episode II we discover that Anakin Skywalker built it after his first lightsaber was destroyed on Geonosis. Anakin would go on to wield this lightsaber against Count Dooku, in the attack on the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, and his duel with Obi-Wan on Mustafar. Obi-Wan later passed the sword on to Luke, who used it in his time on Hoth and Dagobah—and plenty of other places—before he lost the lightsaber along with his hand on Bespin. From there the lightsaber passed to Maz Kanata who gave it to Rey. Of course, Rey wielded this lightsaber in her duel with Kylo Ren and then with Ren against Snoke's Elite Praetorian Guard, after which it broke during a tug-of-war Force battle between Rey and Ren. At the time of this writing, we’ve only seen a teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX, but it appears that Rey has repaired the lightsaber and she uses it against a TIE fighter…maybe?
The Master Sword
The Master Sword is the personal weapon of Link in the Legend of Zelda franchise, where it is also known as the Blade of Evil's Bane, the Sword that Seals the Darkness, and a variety of other awesome names. It first appeared in A Link to the Past—the magical sword in the original Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was arguably a different weapon—and often must be found after a series of quests or tests.
Let’s dig into our first probably-mythological sword on our list: Durendal. In the epic poem La Chanson de Roland—“The Song of Roland”, one of the oldest pieces of French literature—an angel gave the sword to Charlemagne, who in turn gave it to his military leader, Roland. The sword contained all sorts of saintly relics, imbuing it with both magical and religious significance. Roland himself used the sword in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass as he defended Charlemagne and his army’s retreat across the Pyrenees. Charlemagne was certainly a real person and the Battle of Roncevaux Pass was likely based on a real event. But how about Roland and his sword? They may have existed but all of the details are romanticized legends.
The Atlantean Sword
Conan the Barbarian and its sequel Conan the Destroyer tell of the Cimmerian barbarian Conan surviving by his strength, his wits, and his sword. His sword was called the “Atlantean Sword” because it was supposedly forged in Atlantis sometime in the past. Conan used it to defeat the forces of Thulsa Doom, Queen Taramis, and Dagoth the Dreaming God. Dagoth was played by André the Giant, by the way. (That has nothing to do with swords, it’s just a fun fact!)
Only in Game of Thrones can you melt Ice and get two swords. [Source: HBO]
Now let’s look at Ice, the personal weapon of Eddard Stark and the ancestral blade of House Stark in Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire. Ice was a greatsword—basically just a big longsword—made of the quasi-magical Valyrian steel. (Blades forged from this fictional metal are light, eternally sharp, and capable of killing White Walkers.) In a cruel twist of fate, Ned Stark was executed with his own sword by Ilyn Payne, after which Ice was melted and reforged into Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail. But more about those blades later!
The Masamune is a sword found in the Final Fantasy series of video games. It is usually depicted as a strong and fast katana, though sometimes as a nodachi or other vaguely katana-like sword. The weapon is named after—you guessed it—Masamune, a Japanese swordsmith who lived from c. 1264 to 1343 CE.
Ivory Dragon Katana
Speaking of Masamune, a legendary (and historically inaccurate) version of that swordsmith forged a katana for Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez in the Highlander franchise. The sword passed to series protagonist Connor MacLeod and later Duncan MacLeod in the television series, though this was later retconned.
Luke Skywalker’s Green Lightsaber
“I see you have constructed a new lightsaber. Your skills are complete.” [Source: Lucasfilm]
With his first lightsaber lost on Bespin, Luke Skywalker set about building his own. You have to respect his DIY savvy, right? We first saw this new lightsaber in Star Wars: Episode VI when Luke rescued Han Solo on Tatooine. Skywalker later wielded the lightsaber on Endor and in the second Death Star above the forest moon, and during his time as a teacher at his own Jedi Temple. Notably, Luke doesn’t use his green lightsaber in his final Force projection duel with Kylo Ren on Crait, preferring a false copy of his blue lightsaber because he knew it would anger Ren.
Our second mythological sword is Gramr (“Wrath”)—usually spelled “Gram” in English—the weapon of Norse figure Sigurd. In the Völsunga Saga, the god Odin (in disguise, as usual) plunged Gram into a great tree and issued a challenge to remove it. (Sound familiar?) Everyone failed to free the sword until a man named Sigmund drew it easily. A bunch of bad stuff happened to Sigmund’s family and finally to Sigmund. The sword passed to Sigurd who avenged his father’s death and killed the dragon Fafnir.
Let’s turn to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and its amazing scimitar, Windshear. Considered one of the best weapons in the game, Windshear has a good chance to paralyze enemies for one-tenth of a second and is guaranteed to stagger them. Some shields or secondary weapons can prevent this, however, plus the effect can be reflected back upon its wielder. There may be better weapons for specific circumstances but Windshear is useful against just about everything.
Prepare yourself for one of the two largest weapons on this list: the Odinsword. This is a massive sword from Marvel Comics, specifically story arcs involving Odin (duh) and Thor. And by “massive”, we’re talking hundreds of feet in length, though it could change size. In some stories, it’s said that simply drawing the Odinsword from its sheath will lead to Ragnarök—the end of the world in Norse mythology—although Thor wielded the blade on several occasions and Ragnarok didn’t come out until 2017. (That was a joke. We’re all so very sorry.)
“It’s a man’s sword. It’ll take a man to wield it.” [Source: HBO]
The second weapon from Game of Thrones on this list, Longclaw is Jon Snow’s personal sword. It was once the ancestral weapon of House Mormont and wielded by Jorah Mormont, but Jorah gave up the blade when he was exiled. Lord Jeor Mormont then had the bear pommel remade into a direwolf and gave the sword to Jon Snow. Like Ice and many of the other named swords in Game of Thrones, Longclaw is forged from Valyrian steel.
Our next sword is Sakabatō, the katana of Himura Kenshin in the manga and anime Rurouni Kenshin. Sakabatō means “reverse-edge sword” and it is exactly that: a katana with its blade on the inside of the curve rather than the outside. The sword is fairly normal otherwise, with no ostentatious decorations.
In Lewis Carroll’s novel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There—the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland—Alice read a nonsense poem named “Jabberwocky”. As a nonsense poem, it contained a great number of made-up words, including a “vorpal sword” and “vorpal blade” that killed a creature named the “Jabberwock”. Carroll didn’t define or describe this vorpal sword/blade, only that it sounded like “snicker-snack!” and was capable of beheading a foe. (To be fair, can’t most swords?) The sword found its way into Dungeons & Dragons rules, where it excels at decapitating enemies.
The Sword of Gryffindor
I dub thee 'Horcrux-slayer'. [Source: Warner Bros. Pictures]
In the Harry Potter series of books and films, the Sword of Gryffindor is a silver sword once owned by Godric Gryffindor, wizard and co-founder of Hogwarts. Goblin silversmith King Ragnuk the First made the sword for Godric a thousand years before the events of the books and movies. The sword would appear to Gryffindors—that is, students sorted into House Gryffindor at Hogwarts—when needed, often appearing in the Sorting Hat, another ancient item of Godric’s. The sword was used by Harry to slay the Basilisk, Dumbledore to destroy Marvolo Gaunt's ring, Ron Weasley to destroy the Locket of Slytherin, and Neville Longbottom to slay Nagini.
Darth Vader’s Lightsaber
Now we turn to Darth Vader’s red lightsaber, the third lightsaber on this list. As a Sith Lord, Vader couldn’t simply build a new weapon. As told in the comic series Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, Vader had to kill a Jedi, take their lightsaber, and “bleed” its kyber crystal. These crystals amplify and focus the energy that makes lightsabers work and Sith bleed them by imbuing the crystal with anger and pain. The process turns the kyber crystal red, which explains why the lightsabers of Sith Lords like Darth Vader are colored as they are.
The Power Sword
Alright, we might just need the power of Grayskull to get through this one. The Masters of the Universe toy line was released in 1982, introducing us to the hero He-Man and the villain Skeletor. Those two action figures each included half of a "Power Sword" plus a mini-comic about their on-going battles. The details don't matter, only that He-Man and Skeletor wanted to obtain both halves because the Power Sword had all kinds of cool powers. (It is called the Power Sword, after all.) The next year, the cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe debuted on television and He-Man had the full Power Sword. Well, kinda. Prince Adam had the Power Sword, and by saying "by the power of Grayskull, I have the power!" he was able to turn into He-Man. Then you've got a live-action movie in 1987 and new toy lines in 1990, 2002, and 2008 (along with accompanying television series in 1990 and 2002). During that time, the Power Sword also gets called the Sword of Power and the Sword of Grayskull. Look, it was a toy line first and a cartoon series meant to sell toys, it doesn't have to make a ton of sense.
“I shall call you Sting.” [Source: New Line Cinema]
When talking about our favorite swords from fiction, we can’t forget about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The most iconic blade from these books isn’t one of the fancy Elvish longswords—don’t worry, we’ll get to them—but a lowly shortsword. Named “Sting” by Bilbo Baggins, it was forged in Gondolin some 6,000 years before he found it in a troll-hoard. Bilbo carried Sting in the Misty Mountains where he found the One Ring, fought spiders in Mirkwood (which earned it the name “Sting”), and the rest of the way to Erebor and back. Bilbo passed the sword to Frodo, who carried it in his quest to destroy the One Ring. And Samwise Gamgee wielded the sword briefly against the spider Shelob.
The Blazing Sword
Our other gigantic weapon is the sword of Voltron, often called the “Blazing Sword” because, well, it blazes with magical heat. Voltron is about 200 feet tall (60 meters) in the 1984-85 Voltron: Defender of the Universe series and 330 feet (100 meters) in the 2016-18 Voltron: Legendary Defender series, which puts the Blazing Sword at somewhere in the range of 150 feet (1980s) to 250 feet (2010s). Which is why Voltron basically always wins.
InuYasha is an extensive manga series published in 559 chapters (56 volumes), 2 anime series totaling 193 episodes, and 4 feature films. Then there’s an OVA, a light novel, video games, you name it. Anyways, the franchise followed half-dog-demon Inuyasha as he gathered pieces of a magical jewel that shattered across Japan. (That may explain the seemingly eternal storyline!) Inuyasha wielded Tessaiga, a weapon forged from the fang of a demon and capable of killing a hundred demons in one swing. Whoa.
Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (literally, “Grass-Cutting Sword”) is a mythological sword from Japan wielded by the warlord prince Yamato Takeru. The weapon was originally named Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (“Heavenly Sword of Gathering Clouds”) after it was found inside the body of an eight-headed monster. (It’s a long story.) It passed to Yamato Takeru, who discovered that it could control winds, and he used it to survive an ambush. The warlord was later killed by another monster when he was caught without the weapon. Which is why rule #1 of carrying a sword is to always carry that sword.
“Blade of the Scarlet Highlord” [Source: Blizzard Entertainment]
It’s time we looked at the Warcraft franchise, specifically the MMORPG World of Warcraft. Our first sword from WoW is Ashbringer, the blade of…Ashbringer. No, that’s not a mistake. There’s this guy named Alexandros Mograine who’s also known as “Ashbringer” and he named his sword Ashbringer. Both Ashbringers—Mograine and the sword—were involved in tons of deep Warcraft lore: the Silver Hand, the Scarlet Crusade, Kel'thuzad, Naxxramas, you name it. The sword was rumored to exist in World of Warcraft’s code for years and eventually surfaced as a corrupted weapon. A “true” version became the artifact weapon of retribution paladins in the Legion expansion.
The Kingdom Key
Are Keyblades “swords”? We debated this one for quite some time. But we figured that if lightsabers—ahem, “laser swords”—are really swords, then so are keyblades. So that brings us to the Kingdom Key, the default keyblade in many of the Kingdom Hearts games. The Kingdom Key is a giant skeleton key adorned in gold and silver and wielded just like a real sword. They also open doors. (Imagine that!)
Kylo Ren’s Lightsaber
Next on our list of Star Wars swords is the crossguard lightsaber of Kylo Ren. Like the lightsaber of his grandfather, Darth Vader, the kyber crystal at the heart of Ren’s lightsaber has been bled. The crystal is also cracked and generates tremendous heat, necessitating vents that function as crossguard blades. Kylo Ren wielded this lightsaber in his time with the Knights of Ren and in pivotal duels against Rey and with Rey against Snoke's Elite Praetorian Guard.
“Very bright was that sword when it was made whole again; the light of the sun shone redly in it, and the light of the moon shone cold, its edge was hard and keen.” [Source: New Line Cinema]
Our second sword from The Lord of the Rings is Andúril, the personal weapon of Aragorn. Andúril was reforged from Narsil, the sword used by Isildur to cut a finger (along with the One Ring) off Sauron’s hand. In the books, Aragon carried Andúril from Rivendell for the entirety of the Quest of the Ring. (Or at least his part of the quest.) In the film adaptation, Andúril was given to Aragon before his journey through the Paths of the Dead, and he wielded it from that point.
Now let’s look at Oathkeeper, our third sword from Game of Thrones. After Ned Stark’s Ice was used to execute him, that sword was melted down and reforged into Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail. Lord Tywin Lannister gave Oathkeeper to Jaime Lannister to serve as a sword of House Lannister, a callous trophy of Lannister treachery. But Jaime gave the sword to Brienne of Tarth so that she could find and rescue Sansa Stark. Brienne used the sword to great effect, slaying Stannis Baratheon as well as several Lannister and Bolton soldiers, and wielded it in the Battle of Winterfell.
Our last sword from mythology is Excalibur, probably the best-known sword in the English-speaking world. In many Arthurian legends, Excalibur was embedded in an anvil and could only be removed by the “true king”. Arthur came along and drew the sword—these are “Arthurian legends”, after all—which has clear parallels to Gram from Norse myth. In other versions of the story, it was the Lady of the Lake who gave Excalibur to Arthur after he was already king. Excalibur is named in numerous legends and stories are still being written about it today.
The Singing Sword
Speaking of Excalibur, did you know that it had a “sister sword”, another weapon forged from the same iron? According to Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant, it did! The titular Prince Valiant wielded the Singing Sword—sometimes named “Flamberge” but often simply called the Singing Sword—which was charmed with magical powers.
The Sword of Protection
Here’s the version from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power because it looks way cooler. [Source: DreamWorks/Mattel/Netflix]
Remember when we talked about how unnecessarily complicated He-Man and his Power Sword were? Well Prince Adam's sister, Adora, had a sword of her own: the Sword of Protection. Luckily for us, it's super easy to explain. Adora said "for the honor of Grayskull" and turned into She-Ra. That's it. The swords look similar, except the Sword of Protection has a jewel because She-Ra was made for girls. (Seriously? Seriously.) The sword got a revamp in the 2018 She-Ra and the Princesses of Power reboot.
We turn back to World of Warcraft for our second weapon from that game: Frostmourne! The doomed paladin Arthas Menethil, who would do anything to save his homeland Loredaeron—trust us, it was atrocity after atrocity after atrocity—heard rumors that this sword granted immense power to its owner. But the sword was cursed and turned Arthas into a death knight of the Scourge. He eventually took up the mantle of the Lich King and—you guessed it—committed a few more atrocities. Eventually Frostmourne was shattered by none other than Ashbringer.
Darth Maul’s Lightsaber
Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Maul is one of the best villains of the franchise and his red, double-bladed lightsaber is a spectacle to behold. The two blades allowed Darth Maul to employ a dramatic fighting style that still looks good today. (Seriously, it’s one of the best parts of the prequel trilogy!) Maul wielded this lightsaber in his duel with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi at the same time, and in most of his time in The Clone Wars.
The Six-Fingered Sword
“I’ve never seen its equal.” [Source: 20th Century Fox]
Who needs a six-fingered sword? A six-fingered man, of course. If you know your 1980s romantic-comedy-fantasy-adventure-family films, you’ve already surmised that we’re talking about The Princess Bride. The six-fingered sword was made for the six-fingered Count Rugen, who killed the swordsmith Domingo Montoya with his own creation. The sword then passed to his son, Inigo Montoya, who went on to avenge his father’s death.
Widow’s Wail was the second sword made from Ned Stark’s Ice in Game of Thrones. The blade was introduced within the series as a wedding gift from Tywin Lannister to King Joffrey Baratheon. Joffrey treated the weapon like a toy, shredding a book with it and unintentionally killing some pigeons before he was poisoned. Widow’s Wail then passed to King Tommen Baratheon, who never wielded it, and finally to Jaime Lannister. Jaime wielded the sword against Daenerys Targaryen's Dothraki horde and in the Battle of Winterfell but notably didn’t use it to kill Olenna Tyrell.
The Sword of Kas
In the Greyhawk setting of Dungeons & Dragons, the vampire Kas the Bloody-Handed wielded a sword named, well, the Sword of Kas. The sword was created by the arch-lich Vecna—a villainous wizard so powerful that he turned himself undead in order to live forever—specifically for his loyal servant Kas. The blade then whispered to Kas, convincing him to betray his master. Not cool. (But since Vecna was evil, maybe cool?) Anyways, Vecna lived, though the sword took his hand and eye. The Sword of Kas continues to get used as a powerful magical item in Dungeons & Dragons campaigns today, notably the first season of Critical Role.
Beater? Foe-hammer? [Source: New Line Cinema]
Now let’s look at Glamdring, our third sword from The Lord of the Rings and second from The Hobbit. Gandalf, Bilbo, and the Dwarves found this blade in the same troll-hoard as Sting, and Gandalf subsequently claimed it as his own. He carried the blade into the Misty Mountains and used it to kill the Great Goblin and it surely helped in his two-day battle with the Balrog of Moria. Glamdring was also called “Beater” by the goblins of the Misty Mountains and “Foe-hammer” by Turgon, the King of Gondolin, where it was forged 6,000 years earlier.
The Sword of Omens
Is there any sword more magical than Lion-O’s Sword of Omens on ThunderCats? It could change in size from dagger to longsword, melt metal and stone, and stun or electrocute enemies. Plus its Eye of Power could release a powerful energy blast, heal and cure magical effects, fly through the air, and grant the ability to see over far distances. Within the series, its power is compared to that of Excalibur, though we don’t remember any of that stuff happening in Le Morte d'Arthur!
In 1980, the post-apocalyptic cartoon Thundarr the Barbarian debuted on television. It was produced by Steve Gerber (Howard the Duck, Man-Thing) with later contributions from Alex Toth (Super Friends, Space Ghost) and Jack Kirby (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc.). Its influences included Conan the Barbarian and The Planet of the Apes, plus the more recent Star Wars. The main character, a barbarian named Thundarr, wielded the Sunsword, which was really just a hilt that could project a sword made of light. (Sound familiar?) Sadly, the show only aired for two seasons, though the Sunsword would find its way into Dungeons & Dragons and other fantasy and sci-fi media.
Did someone say [Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker]? [Source: Blizzard Entertainment]
Our third and final sword from World of Warcraft is Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker. That’s a quite a name for a weapon but you’ll understand when it’s wielded by Thunderaan the Windlord, a.k.a. Thunderaan the Wind Seeker, a.k.a Thunderaan the Prince of Air. It turns out that royalty in games love their titles, just like in real life. Anyways, players in World of Warcraft can obtain their own Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker by spending countless weeks—or perhaps even months or years—running Molton Core, or they can buy a replica during the yearly World of Warcraft anniversary.
Obi-Wan Kenobi's (Third) Blue Lightsaber
Obi-Wan Kenobi had bad luck with lightsabers. He lost his first in a duel with Darth Maul and his second was taken by Count Dooku. The third time’s a charm with lightsabers, apparently, because this lightsaber saw Obi-Wan through the end of the Clone Wars, his duel with Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar, and his second duel with Anakin (now Darth Vader) on the Death Star. This lightsaber’s design was also used by Luke Skywalker as a basis for his own green lightsaber.
The Sword of Martin the Warrior
Let’s move to something a little more lighthearted: Brian Jacques’ Redwall, which is a fantasy adventure series where everyone is an animal! The Sword of Martin the Warrior was used by a succession of warriors to defend the Redwall Abbey. While carried by Martin the Warrior, the sword was broken and eventually reforged using “star metal”—that is, metal from a meteorite—which is a fairly common trope in fantasy literature.
Hattori Hanzo Sword
“You must have big rats if you need Hattori Hanzō's steel.” [Source: A Band Apart/Miramax]
In Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films, a former swordsmith (and current bad-sushi-chef) named Hattori Hanzō forged a fantastic blade so that “The Bride” could enact revenge against the titular Bill. Look, there’s really no way to adequately summarize these films, so if you haven’t seen them, you should. Hattori Hanzō’s sword saw the most use in Volume 1, where the Bride killed O-Ren Ishii and the rest of her Yakuza army, the Crazy 88. (It’s truly a masterful swordfighting sequence.) Hattori Hanzō was likely named after a real Samurai nicknamed “Demon Hanzō”, a figure who commanded Ninja armies and helped unify Japan.
Sword Art Online is basically about players getting trapped within a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. But the catch is, if they die in the game then they die in real life. Bummer. The protagonist, Kazuto "Kirito" Kirigaya, played the game since its beta phase and was therefore quite experienced. One of his iconic weapons, Elucidator, was a rare drop from a boss monster that Kirito went on to use in several later battles within the game.
Retracting and elemental weapons are a thing in fantasy literature, and the iconic How to Train Your Dragon has both traits. The protagonist of the series, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, wielded the Dragon Blade, often just called “Inferno”. Inferno could light on fire—obviously—as well as explode and hypnotize wild dragons. Cool…er…hot!
“I've got a needle of my own.” [Source: HBO]
Needle is our final sword from Game of Thrones and also the only blade from that series not made from the mystical Valyrian steel. Everything Arya does with a "normal" sword really says a lot about how much training time she put in! Needle was forged by Mikken, Winterfell’s blacksmith, as a gift from Jon Snow to Arya. She was taught how to fight in the Braavosi “Water Dance” style by Syrio Forel and wielded it throughout her travels, save for a short time in Braavos.
Our final sword from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit is Orcrist, the “Goblin-cleaver” of Thorin II Oakenshield. Orcrist was forged, along with Glamdring, in the time of Turgon of Gondolin. It was known for killing hundreds of goblins, who named the sword “Biter”. Thorin used the sword to free his party from the goblins under the Misty Mountains and was later taken by Thranduil and the Wood-elves of Mirkwood. After Thorin’s death, Thranduil returned the blade and it was placed on Thorin’s tomb at Erebor.
The Buster Sword
Our second blade from the Final Fantasy series, the Buster Sword first appeared in 1997’s Final Fantasy VII as the primary weapon of Cloud Strife. Despite the weapon’s dubious real-world functionality, it has become an iconic representation for Cloud and the Final Fantasy VII game itself.
We all want a sword from Father Christmas, right? At least anyone reading this list does! Well Peter Pevensie, also known as High King Peter the Magnificent, got one and we’re all a little jealous. Of course we’re talking about the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, and the gifted sword is Rhindon. The sword is rather typical for fantasy literature: steel with a golden hilt and impervious to rust.
The Green Destiny
“Too many men have died at its edge. It may look pure...but only because blood washes so easily from its blade.” [Source: Sony Pictures Classics]
At its heart, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a film about a sword theft, so of course we had to include the Green Destiny on this list! This sword is a rather fantastic jian—a Chinese “straight sword”—that seemed to flow and ripple in combat. The flexible weapon really does look spectacular on screen, so if you’re a fan of swords—and why else would you be reading this list?—you owe it to yourself to check this movie out.
Stormbringer is a particularly evil sword introduced in Michael Moorcock’s The Dreaming City and highlighted in a number of later stories. The weapon was forged from a demon—perhaps the Devil himself—and it reveled in killing. The protagonist Elric of Melniboné hated the sword and the things it did, but only the sword’s magic enabled him to continue his quest. In the end, Stormbringer killed Elric just as he was about to triumph. Ouch.
The Sword of Athena
Wonder Woman has all sorts of cool toys. Her Lasso of Truth can tie up enemies but also compel them to tell the truth. Her Bracelets of Submission are indestructible and can be smacked together to produce a shockwave. But her Sword of Athena is capable of inflicting severe damage, able to harm Doomsday and even Superman without a scratch. In the comics, the sword was able to split atoms and even set off a nuclear explosion!
Well that was an undertaking! Not only covering our favorite swords, but having to cut some that weren’t quite “top 50” material: Steven Brust’s Iceflame and the other Morganti weapons, Fritz Leiber’s Graywand and Scalpel, Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara, and more. Tell us about your favorite swords in the comments and maybe we’ll write about the next 50! And if you're looking to pick up some swords of your own, be sure to check out all of our licensed toy weapons and accessories.