LOTR

The Rings of Power sparks debate over Nazgul and the mysterious black sword in trailer

We analyze if the black sword of The Rings of Power is the legendary Gurthang or if it is a Morgul dagger, the blade of the Witch King and the Nazgul.

The latest trailer for The Rings of Power has shaken up Tolkien fans and turned Middle-earth upside down. If a few days ago it was a mess with the new Sauron and the Balrog, today we bring you the debate generated around the mysterious black sword that seems to be magically fixed in the trailer, in the manner of Thor's hammer in the recent Love and Thunder. The community is debating whether we are dealing with Gurthang, the legendary sword of the First Age, or if it is actually a Morgul dagger, that is, the blade of the Witch King of Angmar and the rest of the Nazgul.

The first thing that crossed everyone's mind was that we were looking at Gurthang. Also known as Anglachel, this sword is mentioned in Tolkien's posthumous novel The Sons of Húrin, and is a legendary weapon with a fascinating history behind it. Roughly speaking, it is said to have been forged from a meteorite by a dark elf and its power was such that it could even cut through steel. Gurthang is a sword with feelings, emotions and desires of its own. When Túrin, its owner, asks it to take his life, the sword speaks and replies that it will gladly drink his blood (definitely there's nothing like Tolkien's lore).

The Rings of Power is set in the Second Age, the one of Sauron's rise, but it has been confirmed that there will be scenes from the previous era. We will have flashbacks to the ancient days and the First Age featuring Morgoth, the original Dark Lord, and his little creatures (the balrog is one of them). Gurthang ended the lives of many of Morgoth's monsters and his appearance would make perfect sense, but there are several problems with this theory.

One is that its appearance might mean requiring permission from the Tolkien Estate to use The Sons of Húrin and adapt certain passages, something that would surely be opposed by the writer's heirs. The only one who has collaborated as a consultant on the series is the black sheep of the Tolkien family, grandson Simon Tolkien, who was stripped of the organization's membership.

The second problem is that the sword resides in Túrin's tomb, unbroken and miles away from where the story is set. It has also had too much importance in the trailers and it is a weapon with a lot of importance to only appear in flashbacks and without explaining anything else about it. And the last one is the existence of an even better theory: what if it is not Gurthang, but a morgul blade?

Patrick McKay, the series' showrunner, recently spoke out and revealed how interesting he found the origins of the Witch King and the Nazgul. Emerging during the Second Age, it seems that one of the many plots of The Rings of Power will revolve around the rings received by the nine kingdoms from the men and how they gradually corrupt their monarchs and transform them into the Nazgul. And if they appear... how can we not show the Morgul blades they carry?

Some will say that Minas Morgul did not yet exist in the Second Age and that then it would make no sense, but Morgul daggers are not called that way because they were forged there. The two words share a name, but they are unrelated. Morgul does not designate a place but etymologically means "black magic". A Morgul blade is precisely what Frodo is pierced with at the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring. It is the weapon that makes you see " the beyond" as if you were wearing the ring of power, and it poisons and tortures you to death. It falls apart in Aragorn's hands when he picks it up, and he picks it up with that same mysterious black powder with which it is reconstructed in The Rings of Power's latest trailer.

When we speak of broken blades, we all remember Andúril, Aragorn's sword. Sheltered in Elrond's home, the Elf has it forged anew for the one destined to unify the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor. And why do we all remember that one? Because the stories in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films are the ones we are all most familiar with, whether we are casuals or Tolkien scholars. Hopefully, the references are to that common imagery, and, if so, wouldn't it be fascinating to learn in the series of the Nazgul's weapons with which thousands of years later they would attack Frodo?

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is scheduled for a September 2 release on Prime Video.