I wonder whether there is any suggestion in Tolkien's books that the breaking of Narsil led to the weakening of the strength of the men of the West and thus to the corruption of Isildur and the fall of the Kings of Arnor. Is Narsil said to hold the same magical powers within its forging the same way the One Ring holds within the malice and power of Sauron? Is therefore Anduril for the Men of the West what the One Ring is for Sauron?

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    Narsil was just a sword. A magical sword maybe, but just a sword.
    – ibid
    Jan 15, 2016 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


No, not at all. While you could perhaps make a lit-crit argument that the loss of the Ring and the breaking of Narsil parallel each other in some symbolic way, there's no indication in the text itself that they are similar in any mechanical way.

Is Narsil magical?

There is no evidence of Narsil/Andúril had any magical power, beyond what you would find in a normal sword of Elvish make:

[T]he sword of Elendil filled Orcs and Men with fear, for it shone with the light of the sun and of the moon, and it was named Narsil.

The Silmarillion V OF the Rings of Power and the Third Age

Aragorn threw back his cloak. The elven-sheath glittered as he grasped it, and the bright blade of Andúril shone like a sudden flame as he swept it out.

Two Towers Book III Chapter 2: "The Riders of Rohan"

Andúril rose and fell, gleaming with white fire.

Two Towers Book III Chapter 7: "Helm's Deep"

What limited power it does have is mostly due to its reputation as the sword that defeated Sauron, not any especially magical power.

Is the breaking of Narsil related to the diminishing of Men?

Not at all. The diminishment of Men began long before, when the Men of Númenor turned against Eru Ilúvatar:

In those days the Shadow grew deeper upon Númenor; and the lives of the Kings of the House of Elros waned because of their rebellion

The Silmarillion IV Akallabêth

Later on, it was worsened by the Gondorians intermingling with non-Númenóreans:

Yet at the last, in the wearing of the swift years of Middle-earth, Gondor waned, and the line of Meneldil son of Anárion failed. For the blood of the Númenóreans became much mingled with that of other men, and their power and wisdom was diminished, and their life-span was shortened, and the watch upon Mordor slumbered.

The Silmarillion V OF the Rings of Power and the Third Age

Nothing to do with Narsil.

  • I see your points. Still I am wondering... Dwarves could do magic from what I read, elves were magic themselves and the sword seems to be forged by dwarves, reforged by elves and carried by a man, why cannot it have within all the powers of good?
    – Alexandra
    Jan 15, 2016 at 20:16
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    @Alexandra In a manner of speaking you could say that Narsil had good magic because it was a magical item that was used for beneficient purposes. But there's no evidence that Telchar (or Elrond) did anything to it that would imbue it specifically with the "power of good" Jan 15, 2016 at 20:31
  • When you say evidence you mean that it should be clearly stated in the book I suppose. Aren't there any quotations that would imply in a more subtle way some sort of extreme power? I mean what about the blades that became blue when Orcs were near, are they magical or not? And if they are is that clearly stated in the book? I am not doubting your answer I am just very curious :)
    – Alexandra
    Jan 15, 2016 at 20:47
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    @Alexandra There is no indication that Narsil has any extreme power; the little magical power it does display (see the first part of my answer) is subtle, and principally what I might call "artistic." But it's not reasonable to compare it to the Ring, or to argue for it being imbued with any "power of good." Tolkien didn't believe in magic that was inherently "good" or "evil", except in how it was used Jan 15, 2016 at 21:01
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    @Alexandra There is no dispute that Narsil/Andúril is a magical sword; I have never said anything to the contrary. What it is not, and which is implied by no discussion either here or on that question you linked to, is magical in the same way the Ring is magical, nor that it was imbued with especially "Good" magical properties. I don't rightly know what you mean by either "the powers of good" or "extreme power", but in my estimation Narsil demonstrates neither. It is magical in the way all Elven creations are magical: subtly Jan 16, 2016 at 1:18

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