I have been trying to gather some details on the Origin of Sting, but it seems there is very little known. I gather that Sting was forged in Gondolin during the first age, however aside form that I cannot find any info. I find it slightly odd that, despite being such an iconic sword, there is little back story.

Can anyone provide any details on Stings life in the first age? Who made it? who wielded it, who rescued it? etc.

2 Answers 2


There's a little bit of context available. With some guesswork, we can piece together a likely biography for Sting.

We know that Sting was made by Gondolin Elves which makes it very likely to have been used in the defence of Gondolin:

"being the work of Elvish smiths in the Elder Days these swords shone with a cold light, if any Orcs were near at hand" - FOTR

We've not got an in-universe description of how it came to be in the possession of a group of trolls, but it was (probably) wielded as a secondary weapon by a soldier who died (or lost it) at the Battle and Fall of Gondolin. It was then located by looters:

"Eärendel distraught wanders with Voronwë and comes to the ruins of Gondolin. Men are encamped there miserably. Also Gnomes searching still for lost gems (or some Gnomes gone back to Gondolin)." - HoME I - The Book of Lost Tales, Part 2

There's no good reason to assume that it's a famous blade given that it's little more than a dagger.

  • Hmm, so I suppose a looter or an escaping elf may have taken in and somehow made their way to Middle Earth?
    – user45549
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 22:24
  • @Hatandboots -Precisely. We know it's of Gondolin make. 1+1=2, usually.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 23:02
  • 1
    @Hatandboots Gondolin is in Middle-Earth, or at least it was until Beleriand sank.
    – Spencer
    Commented Aug 27, 2020 at 22:34

Unfortunately, that's everything we know about Sting.

Considering the details we do know about it, it's not entirely surprising; Sting is described as a knife, and perfectly-sized for Bilbo:

Bilbo took a knife in a leather sheath. It would have made only a tiny pocket-knife for a troll, but it was as good as a short sword for the hobbit.

The Hobbit Chapter 2: "Roast Mutton"

And as Tom Bombadil points out, Hobbit-sized swords are really only as big as knives for bigger folk:

For each of the hobbits he chose a dagger, long, leaf-shaped, and keen, of marvellous workmanship, damasked with serpent-forms in red and gold. They gleamed as he drew them from their black sheaths, wrought of some strange metal, light and strong, and set with many fiery stones. Whether by some virtue in these sheaths or because of the spell that lay on the mound, the blades seemed untouched by time, unrusted, sharp, glittering in the sun.

'Old knives are long enough as swords for hobbit-people,'

Fellowship of the Ring Book I Chapter 8: "Fog on the Barrow-Downs"

By all accounts Sting was an unremarkable weapon, and whatever history it may have had wasn't considered worth recording.

  • 3
    I thought it was at least remarkable enough for them to enchant it with the 'orc detection', though that could have been common practice in Gondolin.
    – user45549
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 22:25
  • 4
    @Hatandboots There's been some fan speculation on this point, but we don't have much to go on; there is one line from Fellowship: "No gleam came from the blades of Sting or of Glamdring; and that was some comfort, for being the work of Elvish smiths in the Elder Days these swords shone with a cold light, if any Orcs were near at hand." (Book II Chapter 4) but it's by no means absolute Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 1:15

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