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The swords that the Hobbits got from the Barrow Downs were apparently magical in some way: in "The Departure of Boromir", Aragorn says this of Merry and Pippin's blades: Doubtless the Orcs despoiled them, but feared to keep the knives, knowing them for what they are: work of Westernesse, wound about with spells for the bane of Mordor.

There are several reasons to believe that the barrow blades were particularly harmful to the Nazgul. A major piece of evidence is the effect of Merry's blade on the Witch King (during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. It was enchanted with the power to harm the Witch-king of Angmar himself).

We know almost nothing about whether the barrow blades had any special effect on other evil creatures. In "Flotsam and Jetsam", Merry says that Ugluk (leader of the Uruk-hai band) took the swords but then "threw the things away as if they burned him." http://stason.org/TULARC/education-books/tolkien-newsgroups/45-Were-the-barrow-blades-magical-In-what-way-Tolkien.html#.UXlaMXfn_mI#ixzz2RUfmq0BO

With that said, how did the Hobbits get their Barrow blades back if the Uruks threw them away after Merry and Pippin were captured?

  • I think you are over-interpreting a little: nowhere is it suggested that the blade was made specifically to kill the Witch King of Angmar, only that it was forged at the time when Kingdom of Angmar was the chief foe of the Northern Kingdom. – horatio Apr 25 '13 at 18:18
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Aragorn found them and returned them at Isengard in 'Flotsam and Jetsam'.

'Here are some treasures that you let fall' said Aragorn. 'You will be glad to have them back.' He loosened his belt from under his cloak, and took from it the two sheathed knives.

This is near the beginning of the chapter.

  • Oh man, that was right in front of Merry's comment about Ugluk taking them. Duh. I'm getting too old. Thanks Derek. – Morgan Apr 25 '13 at 20:29

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