I have only ever seen Merry with one sword/dagger — the one that Galadriel gives him in Lothlórien. So how can the sword he stabs the Nazgûl king with be one he picked up from the Barrow-downs after being saved by Tom Bombadil from the Barrow-wights? Is there any mention of him having two swords after he leaves Lothlórien with the Fellowship? And isn't the one Galadriel gave him destroyed by the fire the Rohirrim started to burn the orcs that took Merry and Pippin hostage?

So, how many swords/daggers does Merry have? 1 or 2?

1 Answer 1


Merry always had 1 sword: the sword from the Barrow-Downs. Galadriel gave him a silver belt.

Here is what happens in the book. (Emphasis mine)

For each of the hobbits he chose a dagger, long, leaf-shaped, and keen, of marvellous workmanship, damasked with serpent-forms in red and gold. They gleamed as he drew them from their black sheaths, wrought of some strange metal, light and strong, and set with many fiery stones. Whether by some virtue in these sheaths or because of the spell that lay on the mound, the blades seemed untouched by time, unrusted, sharp, glittering in the sun.

'Old knives are long enough as swords for hobbit-people,' he said. 'Sharp blades are good to have, if Shire-folk go walking, east, south, or far away into dark and danger.' Then he told them that these blades were forged many long years ago by Men of Westernesse: they were foes of the Dark Lord, but they were overcome by the evil king of Carn Dûm in the Land of Angmar.

The Lord of the Rings - Book I, The Fellowship of the Ring: Chapter VIII: Fog on the Barrow-downs

Later on;

Then Merry looked for his sword that he had let fall; for even as he struck his blow his arm was numbed, and now he could only use his left hand. And behold! there lay his weapon, but the blade was smoking like a dry branch that has been thrust in a fire; and as he watched it, it writhed and withered and was consumed.

So passed the sword of the Barrow-downs, work of Westernesse. But glad would he have been to know its fate who wrought it slowly long ago in the North-kingdom when the Dúnedain were young, and chief among their foes was the dread realm of Angmar and its sorcerer king. No other blade, not though mightier hands had wielded it, would have dealt that foe a wound so bitter, cleaving the undead flesh, breaking the spell that knit his unseen sinews to his will.

The Lord of the Rings - Book V, The Return of the King: Chapter VI: The Battle of the Pelennor Fields

The sword of the Barrow-downs was used to injure the Witch-king.

Merry's gift from Galadriel:

The Lady bowed her head, and she turned to Boromir, and to him she gave a belt of gold; and to Merry and Pippin she gave small silver belts, each with a clasp wrought like a golden flower.

The Lord of the Rings - Book II, The Return of the King: Chapter VIII: Farewell to Lórien

In the film it is different, and thus your points are correct. Merry (and Pippin) both received swords from Galadriel, although, the sword he used to stab the Witch-king is the sword from the Barrow-downs, not Galadriel's gift.

  • 5
    PJ was mostly hoping that movie viewers would be overall satisfied with the whole "Technically they're a woman and a Hobbit, so the prophecy is fulfilled" and completely ignore the fact that Eowyn is still of the race of men and didn't actually contribute anything towards killing the Witch-King. But like a good Hobbit, Merry doesn't take any of the credit. May 8, 2017 at 8:56
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    @tes in fact in places the films not just miss vital bits of the books (like here) but go completely counter to the books (like the treatment of the Ring Bearer by Faramir).
    – jwenting
    May 8, 2017 at 10:28
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    Merry effectively makes him "mortal", and Eowyn stabs him in the face, so yes, technically speaking, Eowyn killed the Witch-King. But it was Merry that actually destroyed the Witch-King. Without him, Eowyn would have certainly died, being unable to kill him before Merry broke those bonds. May 8, 2017 at 12:58
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    @DisturbedNeo To be fair though, without Eowyn Merry wouldn't have stood a chance against the Witch-king, or his flying mount. So no matter who gets credit, it was at least a team effort. May 8, 2017 at 13:51
  • 2
    @DisturbedNeo Yes. I was just making sure you didn't think a sword to the face didn't kill him. Because a sword to the face is going to kill anything. To note on your latest comment. His Barrow blade writhed and withered, and was consumed so Merry needed Eowyn, to deliver the aforementioned Sword to the Face
    – Edlothiad
    May 8, 2017 at 15:49

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