In the first Highlander movie, we see the Kurgan in a hotel room assembling his sword. It was a bunch of segments that fit neatly together like something you would buy at an IKEA for weapons (IKILLYA?). Even the blade came in multiple segments.

From what I understand, a blade needs to have a certain amount of give. Like a highway, it needs to be able to deal with a certain level of fluctuation and bending, otherwise it would just break when meeting substantial resistance. Now the reason why highways are not made of interlocking segments is because the bending and fluctuation would not all happen in the same direction and the segments would push against each other resulting in warping and deformation. We can expect the same problem from a sword that has a segmented blade.

I am aware of other segmented blades in fiction (Ivy's sword in SoulCalibur and Renji's Zanpakutto in Bleach), but those are less swords and more bladed whips. The Kurgan's sword operates purely as a standard bastard sword, so how does his blade not break on impact?

  • 18
    This is a textbook example of Rule of Cool (warning: TVTropes link). There is no reason for it to work, but it makes for a cool scene; so for purposes of the film, it works. (Also, just because something was in SoulCalibur doesn't make it realistic...) Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 12:46
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    Most things in SoulCalibur are unrealistic. It's spelling is very unrealistic. Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 12:48
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    On behalf of Paul D.Waite, "Very well, Thank you"
    – Aegon
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 12:50
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    MAGNETISM! Or he hadn't discovered the flesh sheath the immortals used in the TV series :)
    – Jason K
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 21:17
  • 1
    @JasonK but how do magnets work? Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 23:27

4 Answers 4


It would likely work badly. Skallagrim goes into it in more detail here:

The quillons are too thick, the blade is too heavy, the pop-out bits would likely break under anything heavier than a rapier, and indeed, the bits that snap together would likely fall apart with any real pressure.

That said, the Highlander wiki has an (unsourced as best I can tell) explanation, that the blade we see being assembled is a "practice blade":

The Kurgan fought with an emphasis on strength and brute striking-power, usually attempting to end the fight before it began with a single surprise attack. He would stalk his opponents methodically until he was ready. Then, he would attack without even so much as a challenge. He used a special two-handed broadsword, which he eventually supplemented with a detailed replica that could be disassembled and packed away as needed for practice in situations where the original could not be smuggled in and had to remain hidden, usually in his vehicle.

That the two blades are not seen together does not undermine the logic and resourcefulness of having a practice blade, that while not strong enough to last very long in combat, would give The Kurgan time to get to the original. It also recognizes the cunning and survival instincts of The Kurgan, adapting to the need for discretion in modern times while keeping his skills at their peak.

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    There's zero indication in the script or the film that the sword is anything other than the Kurgan's primary weapon
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 16:55
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    In any case, I've found my new favourite youtube channel. Thanks Fuzzy Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 17:28
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    @MagikarpMaster If you liked Skallagrim, you will like scholagladiatoria and Lindybeige even better. Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 7:49
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    Nice try, that wiki explanation, but “The Kurgan, adapting to the need for discretion…”—they must have seen a different movie. Also the description of the fighting style might resemble his last fight of the movie, but not the other two.
    – Holger
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 9:41
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    @Valorum I like the Highlander wiki explanation - it makes sense. By sheer willpower, can't we make this explanation canon? Everyone has to agree. There can be no holdout naysayers like Valorum or the magic won't work. :-)
    – RobertF
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 17:14

One of the key conceits in Highlander (ignoring wackiness we see in the sequel) is that the immortals have access to weapons technology that simply defies modern understanding of metallurgy; swords that are near-infinitely sharp, unbelievably durable and inconceivably resilient. Connor, for example has been using Ramirez' samurai sword to duel with for nearly 500 years (and he for 1500 years before that) yet it remains in defiantly mint condition when it should have been sharpened down to a nub.

climbing the trail to the forge. Olive skin, hawk nose, twinkling eyes, flashing teeth. Flintlock pistol in his belt, crossbow across his back.

Strapped to his side, a Samurai sword, carved hand-guard, razor-sharp, feather-light.

Highlander: Final Draft Script


MACLEOD: This was forged in 593 B.C. Metal folded over 200 times.

He enjoys her amazement.

MACLEOD: (continuing gently) Like finding a 747 a thousand years before the Wright Brothers flew. Right?

Highlander: Final Draft Script

The Kurgan's sword is likely a product of the aforementioned weapons wizardry. It doesn't break simply because it's made of durable metals.

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    Your answer is indeed excellent, but how would you account for Connor's blade shattering in the third movie (technically the second movie since "the quickening" was just a collective fever dream)? Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 20:50
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    @MagikarpMaster - Dunno. Possibly worthy of its own question.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 21:31
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    @charlie_pl - It only needs to be heavy if it's not sharp.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 8:55
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    @Magikarp - it was a gift from him. I don't believe he actually made it himself
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 10:19
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    @Beofett - Keep telling yourself that
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 17:07

I have always thought that Kurgans blade would have some sort of hollow locking mechanism that would extend a barbed rod from the hilt, further up the blade, and then lock into place pulling the 2 blade sections tightly together. It's the only way I could get my head around the thought that the little stub depicted would cause the top half of the sword spinning off to impale an innocent bystander 20 meters away the first time he crossed swords with anyone.

Even my purely imaginary mechanism still wouldn't hold up to actual combat. the weight and leverage on the joint make it impossible.

That just leaves The Rule of Cool or unsubstantiated theories. Maybe Candy was an Elvish sorceress in a mini skirt who repaired the broken blade in Kurgan's hotel room. It's as valid as any other theory.

  • Can you provide sources for your answer?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 14:44
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    @Edlothiad hmm, sources....see "purely imaginary", rule of cool, or unsubstantiated theories. this is just imagination at work. As far as the physics involved: Try chopping firewood with a splitting maul that has a 4 pound head and a cracked handle. That will demonstrate the physics involved with swinging a long, straight object of similar weight with a weak point along the shaft. Source: the damage caused to my fence in my back yard. luckily, no one was hurt. yeah, I know a splitting maul is not a sword, but I'm not a massive iron age swordsman. I simply assume the forces are similar
    – Paul TIKI
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 17:19
  • And there are some mild parallels with how we use pins to set bones and when fixing shafts.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 18:23
  • @FuzzyBoots true. Although when using pins to set bones it's generally there to hold the bones in place until the body can fuse them back together with calcium. Sometimes they are left to add strength, because the fused seam may or may not be as strong as the original smooth bone. Point being, the seam is filled in with the original material. There could be a parallel with the sword, but you would have to weld the ends of the sword. kind of impractical in a flop house like the Kurgan was staying in
    – Paul TIKI
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 20:35

It's established that the immortals of Highlander have the ability to send their consciousness into the mind of an animal. It's not much of a stretch to believe that they put some of their life force into their swords, especially during a duel. That also explains the showers of sparks that often appear when their swords cross (although they needed cables and car batteries in the movies).

In a sense, then, the swords are alive, even magical, when wielded by an immortal. They carry a portion of the Prize. They heal their wounds. They cut through anything. They kill beings who cannot die.

  • 1
    If what you say is true, then why did Connor not die when his sword shattered in the third movie? Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 20:48

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