Movie swordmaking is a big long orange-glowing lie


this is exactly the type of pedantry-based wankfest that got me on the internet


Nit picks:

Early Iron swords were in fact cast, following directly on from bronze working techniques. And while they did apparently break easily. The bigger issue was that they bent super easy. Iron that was practical to use for blade that way being a lot softer than bronze or some such.

“They” did in fact grind swords into shape. Stock removal from pre produced blanks/billets has apparently always been a feature of steel sword making. And our image of a lonely guy with a forge making blades from ore to finished blade is kind of a myth. Some places specialized in making steel, some in hammering it out into billets and partially shaped blades. And others in finishing a sword from one or both of those things. The bigger a blade making center was, and the better connected to trade routes, the more grinding you saw. With it apparently being most common in the manufacture of Roman military swords. First grinding with water and human powered stone wheels, and later leather abrasive bands.

And complaining about movies using the wrong metal to pull off a shot is about as valid as complaining they don’t produce bullet wounds by shooting actors with live ammo. There are practical, safety, and cost reasons that they’re not actually going to melt steel or fuck around with silver. Inaccurate coloring or not.

Mass produced blanks would still have been hammered out.

If there’s a defense of it in LOTR it’s that the orcs aren’t exactly technologically advanced. So they’re casting low quality swords cheaply like those very early Iron swords I mentioned. And there’s a case to be made that this is the intent. Elves and dwarves are shown forging metal/swords. And the orcs don’t cast their armor.

But I think it’s probably that Jackson wanted that Conan the Barbarian style casting shot. It’s a bit of a trope at this point, and crops up even where people would seem to know better.


Yes, this. As much as I respect the pedantry directed to depictions of iron or steel swords being cast, when it comes to fantasy materials I’m fully willing to suspend my disbelief.


I figure they just cast a vaguely sword shaped object, then pound it flat and fold it on itself a bunch of times until it has the strength they need. Then sharpen and add handle. There’s a big element of “rest of the fucking owl” to the shot, but we are here to see hobbits, not a 20 part series on ancient metalworking.


what about gluing two halvelings together? I’m asking for some sick, twisted friends.


You may be the only person on the internet who started off with Pedantry.



Wow, it’s almost as if movies were designed to Look Cool, even at the expense of truth or realism!


Yeah…look at all those “hyper realistic” movies that just dominate the box office.


Absolutely true. The temps necessary to actually melt steel are beyond the reach of a basic, primitive forge. Hot enough to soften then beat it into submission!


Because molten steel is white hot, would develop a thick layer of dross on top and would be full of bubbles when cast that way.



“On the screen it is pictures.”–Fritz Lang in Godard’s Contempt, the only not-stupid thing I’ve ever heard about cinema.


You mean, like this one?


Steel/Iron swords certainly are. That’s his last point in the video: cast iron is pretty brittle. A cast iron sword would shatter.






What, no Hattori Hanzo references?

I am disappoint.


Gendry is a low-key badass; I hope he lives.




Many thanks! That really was cool. And I’ll reply with the YouTube address I hadn’t bothered to look up out of general Highlander-sequel irritation:

…the scene was in Highlander 3, and is on YouTube not because of the comparatively-accurate sword-forging, but because it was part of the “Training Montage” to the tune of Loreena McKennit’s “Bonny Portmore”. That tune had me buying a couple of her CDs before I realized I only liked “Bonny” all that much. This was a “make your sword then train with it” montage. But it was Highlander training, which requires all swordfighting to be in visually stunning locations, since all the Immortals were drawn to fight each other - in beautiful scenery (except for the very first car-park fight).