In the first book of the Amber series, when Random and Corwin travel to Amber, Random "adds" Corwin's sword when travelling through Shadow. The same thing happens in the second book, Guns of Avalon, when Corwin finds his sword in a tree trunk:

It mattered not if it had been somewhere in Amber. It was here now, for the wood that I walked was in Shadow.

Later in the series, however, we learn that it is impossible to find and transfer particular thing through Shadow. So, was Corwin's sword a copy in these cases, or did he have the power after all?

  • As far as I understand, you merely cause your "way through the Shadows" to end up in a world where the sword is hidden in a tree trunk. Jan 26, 2013 at 22:46
  • On a separate note, in Betancourt prequels, you CAN reach for things through the Shadows. Jan 26, 2013 at 22:47
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    I haven't read the prequels, but do they refer to Amberites reaching for things through Shadow, or Chaos-trained adepts of the Logrus? Because if the latter, than Zelazny himself had already established that, both in Merlin's cycle of novels, and even hinted at in the original series, with Brand's powers and association with the Courts. Jan 27, 2013 at 4:54
  • It seems to me it's a mistake to look for too much consistency in the Amber universe. They were great stories, but internal consistency wasn't one of their strong points. Jan 27, 2013 at 8:27
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    @AvnerShahar-Kashtan: Yes, but it was explicitly told in some of the Merlin books that he can reach for "a thing of that kind", not "the particular thing", and after Corwin hid the Jewel, Brand could not find and transport it through Shadow for the same reason
    – comodoro
    Jan 27, 2013 at 18:16

2 Answers 2


Grayswandir is a specialized artifact linked and attuned to the Pattern and to Corwin. Though Corwin's magical abilities were limited mostly to walking through Shadow and using the Trumps, he had a special ability to be able to call his sword to him as he moved through Shadow.

His entry in Wikipedia expands further upon Grayswandir's nature and powers:

  • Grayswandir is Corwin's sword, also known as the Night Blade; its twin is Brand's Werewindle, the Day Sword.

  • Both Grayswandir and Werewindle are inscribed with portions of the Pattern of Amber; this makes them particularly effective against creatures of Chaos.

  • In addition, Grayswandir has one magical property that makes it particularly useful: Corwin can call it by creating a Shadow where he wills it to exist. Unlike a normal blade, Grayswandir can also harm apparitions, and allows Corwin to speak to the shades in Tir-na Nog'th.

  • In the Amber short story "Hall of Mirrors", Corwin revealed that Grayswandir and Werewindle were transformed spikards. Spikards are rings of power that existed before Amber, and possibly even Chaos, were created; they allow the bearer to tap into the raw power of the Amber universe. For reasons unknown neither Corwin nor Brand used their powers during the Patternfall War.

  • The name Grayswandir echoes that of Graywand, the longsword of Fafhrd in Fritz Leiber's tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, a likeness that may or may not be coincidental. Unlike Grayswandir, Graywand has no magical properties, or even identity as a unique artifact; rather, Fafhrd bestows this name on any longsword he happens to possess and use.

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    Thanks, did not know there were more Amber stories than the books.
    – comodoro
    Jan 27, 2013 at 18:20
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    "For reasons unknown neither Corwin nor Brand used their powers during the Patternfall War." I want to note that Corwin's narrative is filled with lies, as Corwin is a self-interested amberite who is recounting this story to his son who is a Chaos lord. It is very difficult to know what actually happened. May 23, 2019 at 12:20

An interesting take on this, similar to Thaddeus's answer but not identical, can be implied from the Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game by Erick Wujcik, which had some creative input by Zelazny, so can be seen as at least partially true to canon, or at least a reasonable interpretation of it.

In the game, characters are created by assigning points to specific traits or attributes. Some of these points can be used to create a unique artifact for your character - often a weapon - which has the same realtionship to your character as Greyswandir to Corwin. This item isn't a mere accidental construct, but somehow Real(tm), like the children of Amber are real, and thus cannot be held in place by something as flimsy as Shadow - it is a part of you, and if you are travelling in Shadow, it is also travelling with you.

Based on this, Greyswandir's appearance is easily explained. Of course Corwin will find it in a convenient Shadow, just like he won't walk through them only to leave his right hand behind.

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