Why did Godric Gryffindor have a sword made for himself in the first place?

In the series, the only example of a wizard using muggle weaponry I can think of is Bellatrix Lestrange and her knife - being an evil sadist, she would probably enjoy using one against helpless victims because it's more gruesome than the relatively clean (if more painful) crucio curse. I can see why she'd use a knife.

The valiant Gryffindor wouldn't want to cut someone up, so why did he ever acquire a sword (and an expensive goblin-made one, too) instead of relying on magic for self-defense? Did he predict its usefulness to the future generations, or was it just meant to be an accessory, or what?

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    Because: Swords! – Möoz May 5 '15 at 22:48
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    As Hermione conclusively demonstrated on Ferretface, sometimes the fist is mightier than the wand – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 6 '15 at 2:02
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    Swords are good for decapitating snakes. – user20155 May 6 '15 at 3:39
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    "Who needs wands when you got swag?" (Gryffindor, 982) – Mark Gabriel May 7 '15 at 1:54
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    same reason I have a sword, they are cool – Naib May 8 '16 at 14:48
up vote 115 down vote accepted

The Sword of Gryffindor entry on Pottermore explicitly answers this question:

The question of why a wizard would need a sword, though often asked, is easily answered. In the days before the International Statute of Secrecy, when wizards mingled freely with Muggles, they would use swords to defend themselves just as often as wands. Indeed, it was considered unsporting to use a wand against a Muggle sword (which is not to say it was never done). Many gifted wizards were also accomplished duellists in the conventional sense, Gryffindor among them.

Since this was written by JKR herself, we can accept this as a canon answer.

  • 10
    Nice answer! I was thinking of this bit from Pottermore when I saw the question -- that'll teach me to leave my computer! :) – Slytherincess May 5 '15 at 19:10
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    @Slytherincess That'll teach you to think that you can be faster than Richard, who incidentally operates at the speed of Thor. – Möoz May 5 '15 at 22:47
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    @Mooz - Whoever is worthy shall possess the power of Richard! – Valorum May 6 '15 at 5:46
  • Great answer. Isn't it also that there are dangers that are strongly magic resistant, which might be more vulnerable to a simple magical sword? Trolls and unicorns come to mind. – Luaan May 6 '15 at 7:06
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    @Luaan, I thought of that, but Gryffindor was among the mightiest wizards of his time so I assume he, if necessary, could still MacGyver his way around them using magic. – kviiri May 6 '15 at 7:21

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