The Lord of the Rings is full of excellent inspiration for tattoos. And there’s no better example of that than the legendary sword Narsil.
Known as the “Sword That Was Broken,” this stunning blade carries rich symbolic meaning. So naturally, you might wonder what it means when inked.
Tattoos of Narsil generally signify bravery, perseverance, and fortitude. However, it can also represent admiration of the past or commemoration of a lost loved one.
Furthermore, many Lord of the Rings fans get ink featuring the sword to show their love for the series.
What is Narsil?
In The Lord of the Rings, Narsil was the sword of King Elendil.
The king bravely wielded Narsil in war for many years—until the Dark Lord Sauron defeated him.
Tragically, Elendil’s son Isildur was there to witness his father’s demise. And overcome with anger, he took up the sword and confronted the Dark Lord.
The king’s son used Narsil to slice off Sauron’s fingers, severing the Dark Lord’s magical One Ring. While Isildur was victorious, the sword was left shattered after the fight.
Now known as the “Sword That Was Broken,” the elves kept watch over the fragments for centuries.
Later on, the elves reforged the sword for Aragorn. This new blade was named Andúril, meaning Flame of the West.
Aragorn wields the blade during several critical battles of the story and eventually becomes king.
As a result, Narsil is much like the Excalibur of The Lord of the Rings. It serves as a symbol of courage, war, and providence.
What is the History of Narsil Tattoos?
The Lord of the Rings books were released initially in the 1950s.
However, tattoos inspired by the series didn’t become fashionable until the 2000s—when the massively successful film adaptations came out.
Following The Fellowship of the Ring, many fans wanted to show their love of the series. And what better way than getting a tattoo of the coolest looking sword in the movies?
Narsil quickly became one of the most prominent symbols from the films, particularly for ink pieces.
The sword was also one of the first icons from nerd culture to become prevalent in tattoo art. And fantasy-inspired designs are more common now in large part thanks to it.
At first, pieces featuring the blade were generally intended to show fandom. But over time, the meanings around it grew.
What Does Narsil Symbolize?
Narsil, first and foremost, is a symbol of heroism.
Throughout the books, characters show a healthy respect for the blade. They believe it to be a priceless relic that represents triumph over evil.
Because of that reverence, the elves diligently protect Narsil for centuries after the blade is broken.
Additionally, the sword represents providence and destiny, especially regarding royalty. After all, several respected lords wield the sword in battle. And Aragorn becomes king not long after receiving the blade.
Interestingly, the Sword That Was Broken may also symbolize artistry and craftsmanship.
Narsil was said to be made by Telchar, the most famed and talented Dwarven blacksmith. As such, it’s known as the most potent blade a warrior could have.
What Do Narsil Tattoos Mean?
Part of what makes ink featuring this legendary blade great is the versatility.
Narsil tattoos can represent everything from inner strength to grief. Or, they can show a fanatic love for the Lord of the Rings series.
Here are some positive meanings attached to the Sword That Was Broken:
Tattoos of the blade can also symbolize family bonds and heritage. This is because, in The Lord of the Rings, Narsil gets passed down among bloodlines.
Below are some of the more negative, solemn connotations of the legendary sword:
- Pain and strife
- Failure to achieve a goal
Since the Narsil is a sword broken into pieces, tattoos showing it may also suggest fracturing—both emotional and physical.
It can symbolize personal rebirth after traumatic events. Or recovery from a severe injury.
Where Do Narsil Tattoos Usually Go?
The most popular location for Narsil tattoos is the arm, particularly the upper arm and shoulder.
Considering how cool and striking these tats appear, you’ll want to show them off. And there’s hardly a better place than the outer arm.
Additionally, the outer shoulder provides space for accompanying objects or backsplashes.
However, it’s also fashionable to get the mythical blade inked on the underside of the forearm.
These tats are typically more simplistic and minimalist in design. This location also makes the ink easy to display or hide depending on the situation.
Below is a list of other excellent Narsil tattoo locations:
- Running up the calf
- On the hip pointing downwards
- Alongside the thigh
- On the side of the torso
- On the inside of the upper arm
Characteristics and Styles of Narsil Tattoos
Narsil tatoos come in several excellent designs. But generally speaking, most pieces are done in a realistic, black and gray style.
This serious-looking aesthetic is a perfect match for the sword’s somber symbolism. And such designs usually depict the sword vertically and include the broken shards.
These realistic tatoos look stunning while maintaining the original appearance of the blade.
Meanwhile, many other people opt for high fantasy-style pieces. After all, The Lord of the Rings essentially invented the genre.
These ink works feature much more vibrant hues and dramatic designs.
For example, the blade’s hilt may be depicted growing into a tree. And it’s popular to include vivid backsplashes for extra pizzazz.
In addition to style, the accompanying objects in the design can say a lot.
Many Narsil tattoo designs include the Evenstar necklace—a memento given to Aragorn by Arwen in the story. This necklace may add symbolism related to love or passion to the sword.
It’s also commonplace to include the inscription of the One Ring around the blade. Beyond its dazzling appearance, it can also represent inner strength.
Tattoos featuring Narsil generally represents heroic ideals like valor and grit. However, they can also serve as memorials for a lost loved one or past times.
Thanks to its iconic appearance, the sword is one of the most popular Lord of the Rings tattoo subjects.