Movie swordmaking is a big long orange-glowing lie


Originally published at:


Are you going to glue two halves together?"

Let me get back to you on that…


Aren’t swords forged rather than cast? At least, any sword you’d want to actually do its job without shattering.


But the fighting is still real, right?



It’s called “fantasy” for a reason.


I don’t see what the problem with the uruk-hai swords in LotR is. They were obviously mass produced blanks that had edges ground into them.


Ah good old Lindybeige! Need to start watching his videos again.


(It was a sort of Orangey colour, around here somewhere…)


A big, long, orange-glowing lie

Does every thread have to be about the Trump admin? Hey-ooooooo!


All you have to do is ask yourself, “Did I see this in a movie?” Then it is probably wrong.


Obviously not…


If only. I count at least six pieces for the shards of Narsil.


There are examples of cast bronze swords in antiquity, but iron/steel must be forged.


Valerian steel and mithril are magical and if they want to glow orange and spontaneously form sword shapes then they can go right ahead.


I seem to recall a Highlander sequel (in spite of every effort to forget all the Highlander sequels, their few good scenes did stick) where Connor forges a sword up in the ancestral highlands and does a lot of forging and beating of the thing. Be interesting if he had a video on

  1. How the heck DID they make iron swords?

  2. How close did Highlander “>1” come to it?

…because being abstracted out from the movie and presented as part of a documentary on YouTube is about the only way I’ll see that scene again. Don’t dare risk watching the movies and being pissed all over again a great original concept so badly abused.


Yeah, cast iron is NOT something that you would want use for a sword.


The History Channel has a show called Forged in Fire where bladesmiths compete against each other to make a knife in about 4 hours, then the two winners of that round go home and make a specific style of sword in 5 days. Mostly they get to use modern equipment (power hammers and propane forges), but sometimes they can only use coal forges and hand tools. It’s a neat look into the forging process and pretty informative (for a reality TV show, at least).


Being fantasy isn’t an excuse for being wrong, though. The fantasy bits should be delineated and have their own internal consistency/explanation (even if it’s just “magic”). But here, it isn’t like they’re presenting some fantasy-based means of creating swords where they use fantasy metal and magically binding two halves together. It’s a mundane, real-world activity that’s simply depicted incorrectly. I don’t even understand why - it’s being done for dramatic purposes, but real sword making is far more dramatic.

The problems are, as he points out: cast iron is unusably brittle, casting something square and grinding off material to make an edge is incredibly wasteful.

It’s a good rule of thumb. Often there are narrative reasons, but what’s weird is how often they could easily, and without impacting the narrative, get it right but don’t.
What’s disturbing is that people really do base their realities on what they see on screen, not realizing that the most mundane things aren’t accurately depicted. Weirdly, they also simultaneously believe that they have a good grasp of fiction vs. reality and recognize that movies and television are fiction. It’s amazing how surprised people get when they realize all their various understandings of how the world works, which they based off fiction, are actually wrong.


Ah, you got here first. Mr. Kidd and Junior Kidd are obsessed with this show. The number of times I’ve seen someone cast a sword on that show is zero.