Could the legendary sword of Beleg Strongbow and Túrin Turambar, forged by Eöl of star iron, have done any damage to the One Ring?

I know the answer is most likely no but I just finished my re-reading of The Silmarillion and wanted to pose the question here because I'm not totally sure. It is made fairly clear that nothing but the fires of Orodruin can unmake the ring, but Gurthang is said to have properties of no other sword on Middle-earth.

Then Beleg chose Anglachel; and that was a sword of great worth, and it was no named because it was made of iron that fell from heaven as a blazing star; it would cleave all earth-delved iron. One other sword only in Middle-earth was like to it.

The Silmarillion, "Of Túrin Turambar", p. 247"

Linking Anglachel to Gurthang:

The sword Anglachel was forged anew for him by cunning smiths of Nargothrond, and though ever black its edges shone with pale fire; and he named it Gurthang, Iron of Death.

The Silmarillion, "Of Túrin Turambar", p. 258"

Just to add more to this question since the discussion thus far is that nothing indicates that it would just because it's a magical sword. I don't have my copy of The Silmarillion with me at the moment so I can't augment with more quotes unfortunately. But what makes the One so indestructible? Sauron. After instructing in the making of the 9, 7 and 3 he knew that he had to make the One great enough to be able to control and bind the others and thus he poured a great deal of his will and essence into the forging of the One.

From that I can conclude, perhaps mistakenly (which is where you fine people come in), that the One is only, perhaps, several magnitudes more powerful than Sauron at his peak.

It is discussed (I believe in the Council of Elrond) that no craft or power that they have can unmake the Ring and it needs to be cast back where it was forged, in the fires of the center of the Earth. I do not take that as evidence that only the fires of Orodruin can destroy it.

At the time of its making and up until Gandalf reappears as Gandalf the White there was no power in Middle-earth greater than Sauron - so it stands to reason that nothing short of Mt. Doom would be powerful enough to destroy it.

Now back to Gurthang. Gurthang is no ordinary sword. It is distinct from even the other notable swords of the Ancient World, of which we have master works of the Noldor forged in Valinor, perhaps even by Fëanor himself. (See above quote about "One other sword only in Middle-earth was like to it.") Apart from the quote about it being able to cleave all earth-delved iron, it is made of star iron. What is the origin of star iron? Was it devised by Varda when she created the stars? Or is it perhaps a remnant of Eru's own creation?

Also aside from the already named special qualities, it talks. It is the only item we hear about (apart from William's purse in The Hobbit) that physically speaks and throughout Túrin's story there are references to its emotion and will. This indicates a great inherent power in the sword.

There may be no answer and the answer may still be no, but I definitely think Gurthang is a fascinating part of the Ancient World and was curious to hear thoughts on its potential Ring slaying properties.

  • 4
    There's no connection between "Gurthang is harder than common steel" and "The One Ring needs extreme (or possibly location-specific magically enhanced) heat to melt".
    – chepner
    Mar 14, 2019 at 13:23
  • 1
    @chepner Beyond being harder than common steel it is said that Gurthang would cleave all earth-delved iron and was used to slay Glaurung and was unmarked by his blood. In the "Second Prophecy of Mandos" it is even stated that Turin will use Gurthang to kill Melkor after he escapes from the outer darkness. It is definitely an unusual sword and an unusual circumstance, unlike any other weapon on middle-earth.
    – tfuqua
    Mar 14, 2019 at 14:04
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    That still does not imply it would have any affect on the One Ring. The Second Prophecy of Mandos is about as canon as the idea that Eönwë is Manwë's son, and that still doesn't provide any useful evidence. Just because an object has one unusual property does not provide a reason to assume it has any number of other unusual properties.
    – chepner
    Mar 14, 2019 at 14:10
  • 5
    Gurthang: "You fool! No living iron may resist me!" Ring: "I Am No Iron!" Mar 15, 2019 at 11:07
  • 1
    @tfuqua Yes I know, but that isn't really relevant as it doesn't give any form of destructive powers.
    – Amarth
    Mar 15, 2019 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


The One Ring could only be damaged or destroyed by the heat that created it (the fires of Mount Doom) or by the work of a greater smith than Sauron. Only two smiths were ever of that caliber: Aulë and Fëanor, neither of whom was readily available.* On that basis alone, we can expect that the work of the dark elf Eöl would probably not be able to damage the One Ring.

As a comparison, consider the effect (or lack thereof) of the knife Angrist on a Silmaril. Angrist was forged by Telchar of Nogrod, possibly the greatest of all dwarven smiths. After Beren took the blade, which could cut iron like soft wood, from Curufin, it was used to prise one of the Silmarils from Morgoth's crown while the Dark Lord slept. However, when Beren tried to remove another gem, the blade snapped on the Silmaril itself, without even marking the gem. The greatest works of Fëanor, the most skillful of all elven craftsmen, was utterly impervious to an implement made by a lesser (although still among the best ever) artisan.

*While Fëanor could probably have destroyed the Ring, Aulë, whose servant Mairon once had been, might have been able to un-make it, freeing the other rings from its domination without destroying their own power.

  • 1
    Fëanor might not be superior to Sauron quora.com/… Mar 15, 2019 at 13:31
  • I thought briefly about Angrist, but didn't remember the fact that it also cut iron like wood (similar description to Anglachel/Gurthang). One thing that I'm still curious about that I think still may set Gurthang apart is the obvious manifest Will in the sword, which we only see in other massively important works (such as the Ring or the Silmarils).
    – tfuqua
    Mar 15, 2019 at 13:58
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    @nicolallias: IMO, Feanor is definitely a superior smith to Sauron. That link confuses "power" with "skill". It's not a simple Ainur > Elves thing. Gandalf and Sauron are Ainur (Maiar) also, and Gandalf refers to the "unimaginable hand and mind of Feanor", and with reference to Saruman and the Palantir, "Perilous to us all are the devices of an art deeper than we possess ourselves." So according to Gandalf, Feanor's skill is at least superior to Saruman's, who is also a Maia of Aule. (I'd argue that in the specific field of jewelry-related stuff, Feanor might be even as good as Aule; Apr 1, 2019 at 5:29
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    none of the Valar could unmake the Silmarils or even understood how they were made. That doesn't mean Feanor was a better craftsman overall -- he wouldn't even know where to start with making a mountain range, for example -- but in terms of his specialty, stuff like the Palantiri and Silmarils, I think Feanor was #1 ever.) Apr 1, 2019 at 5:30
  • 1
    What if Gurthang got really hot tho Feb 14, 2022 at 22:20

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