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What’s Your Favorite Fantasy Sword?

5 Swords by DrewEidenEveryone loves Excalibur; I mean it’s the sword of swords! One land, one King! And all that jazz. I could sit here and talk about all the times I drew what I thought Excalibur looked like on my folders in middle school, but who really knows what that mythological sword was shaped like.

What is your favorite legendary, fantasy sword, and why? Think hard, there are lots of cool choices. I was mulling over this question a lot last weekend. If I was a character in some novel or role playing game what sword would I want to carry? It comes down to two major details for me: the powers of the weapon and of course what it looks like. Yeah I know, it’s not the length of the sword, it’s how far you plunge it in, but man, I went to art school and have one of those delicate sensibilities that makes me want things to look right. I will seriously get up, off my sick/dying bed, to straighten something across the room that is out of place. I need balance, brother!

Being big on cartoons and video games I instantly go to those sources. I would have to say off the top of my head there are three swords I think are really freaking cool.

Lords of Light by GrimbroThundarr’s Sun Sword

Thundarr the Barbarian had this awesome magical sword, which he somehow switched on. I guess I always imagined it had an on and off button like a flash light. The weapon made a semi-light saber sound, but instead of being made of laser it was all flames. It looked bad-ass and you know it would scare away cavemen with their inherent fear of fire; also good versus dried up corpse-zombies, which is always a plus.

Lion-O’s Sword of Omens

My second pick is from another cartoon: ThunderCats. Lion-O carried the Sword of Omens. I mean just the name makes me want to carry this one. Can you see yourself, surrounded my maidens, “Yeah, baby, it’s called the Sword of Omens, and it gets much…MUCH bigger when I use it.” Not only can it be concealed one minute and then used to fight off other two-handers, but this magical sword has some outstanding powers like, all together now, SIGHT BEYOND SIGHT!

Squall Leonhart by AameeyurSquall Leonhart’s Gunblade

My last pick would be something that I originally scoffed at, Squall Leonhart’s gunblade. Yeah, when Final Fantasy 8 came out I was like, what the hell is a gunblade? Dumb! Maybe I was just young and stupid because now, years later, I’m like, hell-yeah gunblade!

Just watching the intro to Final Fantasy 8 gives me goose bumps. That’s one cool looking sword, and yep you can blast people with it to. That’s gangsta!

So which one would I pick? It’s hard to say and depends on the situation really. Rolling solo, I might take the gunblade, but in a big battle the Sword of Omens wins. Not only can I use its powers to spy, but I can call upon my teammates when I need them. It also comes with a hot, cat claw scabbard for the warrior who likes to accessorize.

Leave the sword you would chose to wield in the comments section below!

This article was originally posted in June 19, 2011.

Title image by DrewEiden.

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43 Comments

  1. Avatar Overlord says:

    I would have to chose Durzo Blint’s Retribution 🙂

    Great article Kevin – I wouldn’t mind Cloud Strife’s Sword either 😉

  2. Avatar Warren says:

    I must admit I never cared for the gun blades from FFVIII. Always thought they were kind of silly… As much as I like the Final Fantasy series as whole, I don’t think the blades (Even the one from FFVII) is as iconic as, say, a light saber.

  3. Avatar Anmol says:

    Ever since i was read the ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ series Riptide is my favorite sword.

  4. Stormbringer

    No question. There can’t be many (any) swords off the list whose name has been the title of a best selling fantasy book and who form the core of a whole series that has remained popular for more than 30 years…

  5. Avatar Alan Laird says:

    None of the ones listed.

    I was wondering why Stormbringer wasn’t on the list, I see I’m not the only one.

  6. Avatar Ken says:

    Cloud Strife’s Buster Sword is pretty iconic but it does seem pretty hard to wield in real situations. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNc7kHADtUw

    Personally I prefer something lighter like Drizzt Do’Urden’s Icingdeath.

  7. Avatar WordTipping says:

    I really liked the three swords, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn from the likewise names Tad William’s trilogy. I loved how each had a history critical to the story and people.

  8. Avatar Sftheory1 says:

    The Sword of Grayskull and Sameheda are my two favorite swords from fantasy.

  9. Dragnipur, from the article’s picture. It’s Stormbringer times a thousand. What other sword has gods and monsters trapped inside it for all eternity?

  10. Avatar Dan Jones says:

    I’d have a hard time choosing between two, neither of which showed up in the poll. Elric’s Stormbringer has already been mentioned by Mark. The other would be Severian’s Terminus Est, from Gene Wolfe’s _Book of the New Sun_ series.

  11. Avatar Kit says:

    What about THE MASTER SWORD?! D: That’s what I would pick. 😛

  12. Avatar WizardofWestmarch says:

    Couple things that make me sad to see unlisted

    1) Stormbringer. Already mentioned but aside from excalibur this has to be at least one of the most iconic swords in fantasy.

    2) Shieldbreaker from the Books of Swords series by Saberhagen. The only way the other great Swords could be destroyed.

    3) I can’t think of the name right now (been a while since I was in the series) but Rake’s sword in Malazan. Though I guess you could argue in many ways it is a knock off of Stormbringer…

    In the end though I probably have to go with Excalibur. I’m an Arthurian slut at heart.

  13. Avatar Khaldun says:

    Isn’t there a cool sword in Sanderson’s Warbreaker? I like the idea of a cocky self-aware sword with some measure of control over its own fate.

  14. Avatar shigzeo says:

    Mine ain’t there. Mine is the vorpal sword. Jabberwocky: http://bit.ly/mQkACU

  15. Avatar Johann says:

    Dragnipur. No contest. The only one that I also like is the sword that Dassem carries that Rake forged. Named Sorrow or Retribution I think. We’ll see a lot more of that sword in Esslemont’s novels I think.

  16. Avatar Paul Wiseall says:

    Where’s the singing sword from Roger Rabbit?

    Ah, I jest. Mine would be the Warpsword of Khaine from the Malus Darkblade novels. A sword that’s quasi-sentient, throws the bearer in to a furious rage until all enemies are destroyed and it also drinks the blood that’s been spilled. Fucking cool

  17. Avatar Don says:

    It seems everyone has forgotten about the Sword of Truth?

  18. Avatar knittingknots says:

    Yay, Stormbringer! Or any version of the Eternal Champion’s sword, but Elric’s nasty blade is my fav. I do have a weak spot for Tessaiga, though.

  19. Lots of great picks! Thanks to all for replying, commenting and voting. Like I say in the post, I tend to fall back on cartoons and video games first when I make my votes. I agree Stormbringer is freaking cool and would be my literary sword pick too. I have a print of the White Wolf Elric painting above my desk. Epic.

    Kevin James Breaux

  20. Avatar Laurel Kriegler says:

    Personally, I’d take the sword of the Rivan King from the Belgariad and Mallorean novels by David Eddings. Especially when the Orb of Aldur is attached. 🙂

  21. Avatar redwall_hp says:

    How is Jon Snow’s sword ahead of Excalibur? Pfft.

  22. […] this Fantasy Faction article on swords in fantasy dates back to 2011, but that doesn’t bother me. Not when I still listen to classic Black […]

  23. Avatar Andrew says:

    Either Dragnipur (so much epic), Bairoth Delum (Karsa Orlong’s stone sword) or Nightblood(the sword from Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson.)

  24. Avatar Wormwood says:

    So many are obviously “inspired” by others (polite way of saying ripped off) but because they are more recent they get more attention. Classic mythology gives us Excalibur, Durandal, and Tyrfing.

    While Stormbringer from Michael Moorcock is probably the archetype for all modern fantasy evil semi-sentient swords, he had once mentioned that Tyrfing was the original inspiration for him. Tyrfing was probably the original cursed sword, from the Elder Edda that is the basis for Norse Mythology. It too did evil deeds, including killing its owner.

    Moorcock also had all his heroes’ swords as clones of just the “black sword”, for different stories.

    CJ Cheryth’s Changeling was pretty badass, as the original portable black-hole warpgate type sword. I liked Erikson, but Anomander Rake’s Dragnipur to me seems very derivative of the others.

  25. Avatar Nick says:

    No, you can’t see into the future with it, but how about the Mortal Sword from Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments? Power to control demons anyone?

  26. […] this Fantasy Faction article on swords in fantasy dates back to 2011, but that doesn’t bother me. Not when I still listen to classic Black […]

  27. Avatar Overlord says:

    Stormbringer is the obvious one, but having just finished Terry Brooks’s latest (The High Druid’s Blade) I think the Sword of Leah would be pretty damned cool. Jet black blade, glows green with magic – sign me up! 🙂

  28. Avatar Zack Long says:

    Dragnipur, hands down.

  29. Avatar Guy Lawley says:

    Stormbringer, hands down.
    Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword was a major inspiration for Michael Moorcock, and is an utterly brilliant book in its own right.
    Can’t remember the name of the blade therein.

  30. Narsil/Anduril. Anduril is by far my favorite. (Aragorn’s re-forged sword.)

    Herugrim (Theoden’s sword) comes in at a very close second, though I didn’t fall in love with that sword until watching the The Two Towers: Extended Edition, when Gandalf ‘cast’ Saruman out of Theoden.

    Nightblood (Warbreaker) and The Sword of Truth come to a tie for third favorite swords.

  31. Avatar The Procrastinator says:

    Hands down Narsil, as design by John Howe and Weta workshop.

    It has the looks:
    Let’s face it – most fantasy swords in popculture, are quite ridiculous. Not only are they on the complete opposite of what’s practical and usable in combat, they also often look laughably garish. Weta’s design for LOTR revolutionised the way swords were conceptualised in movies and popculture. They were 100% practical and designed they way a real-world sword shoud be (exceptions were made for fantasy races such as elves, but almost always with a good “in-world” reasoning behind it), but at the same time, they didn’t sacrafice the sexy, fantasy lines and shapes. In fact they refined them, getting rid of a lot of ridiculousness native to fantasy genre.

    Narsil’s design represents for me the best looking sword from the “kingly weapon” archetype. Various royal, legendary swords of kings in fiction, often suffer from everly cheesy ornamentation – lots of gold, lion reliefs, overabundance of gems etc. Narsil’s shapes cuts a very simple, but at the same time very regal line. The weapon looks like it was made for a king, it has a certain gravitas in its shape, but lacks the gimmicry usally associated with designs of similar swords. It also features a characteristic, stand-out feature of holes in the pommel, with not only look good, but also – according to John Howe and swordmaker Peter Lyon – make it the only, real, usable sword in the world to have that feature, as mr Lyon actually made a fully usable prop for the movies.

    It also has the lore and pedegree. The story of this sword, as well as its users is suitably epic.

  32. Avatar Declan Barnes says:

    DEFINITELY Dragnipur, no question! Anomander Rake/ Draconus’ sword is nearly my favourite thing in fantasy.

  33. Avatar Karlequin says:

    I’m quite partial to the triple-bladed projectile sword from “The Sword and the Sorcerer” – utterly impractical but still cool. And the film is pure cheese, e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OU96za6czU

  34. Avatar Guy Lawley says:

    Oh yes, the blade in The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson is Tyrfing, as mentioned by Wormwood above.
    From the Norse Eddas.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrfing
    Did I mention what a superb book that is?
    See also Three Hearts for Three Lions.

    My vote is still going to Stormbringer though.

  35. Avatar David Mosley says:

    While I will also add my vote for Stormbringer as my favourite fantasy sword I’d add that Uther Doul’s Possible Sword (from China Mièville’s The Scar) is also freaking cool. Due to a ‘quantum engine’ attached to it, the Possible Sword “makes every possible strike [it could have possibly made]. The results are typically extremely messy, as dozens, or even hundreds, of possible strikes land with each attack, generally puréeing whatever is on the receiving end.” It maybe even scores over Stormbringer in that it’s less likely to turn on the wielder – although I suppose if we’re taking “every possible strike possible” literally then by the terms of a properly constructed ‘Critical Fumble Table’ it should also include possible *self-inflicted* wounds as well, so perhaps it ought to come with a ‘caveat gladiator’ warning as well.

  36. Avatar AJ Zaethe says:

    It is either between the Master Sword or the Sword That Is Not a Sword – Callandor, from the Wheel of Time.

  37. I would personally go with a spear. But among swords the Green Destiny ranks very high. It’s pretty small and almost flimsy, but shatters and slices through other weapons like nobodies business.

  38. Avatar Ian Jensen says:

    What about the Keyblade?

  39. Avatar Ian Jensen says:

    If it chose me (not all people choose the sword) I’d defend the realm of light.

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