Orcrist (also called the Goblin-cleaver) was an Elven sword from Gondolin, the mate of Glamdring, which became the sword of Thorin II Oakenshield during The Quest of Erebor.

It was used by Thorin in The Hobbit, and was feared and called Biter by the Goblins.[1]


Made by the Elven-smiths of old, Orcrist had a beautiful scabbard and jeweled hilt.[2] There were runes on the sword which bore its name.[3] At first glance, Gandalf identified the sword as a "good blade."[2] Like Glamdring and Sting, Orcrist glowed whenever Orcs were near.


During the First Age, Orcrist was forged alongside its "mate", Glamdring by Elf smiths, and might been used by King Turgon or one of the Lords of the Gondolindrim in the Goblin Wars. It was described to have "killed hundreds of goblins in its time, when the fair elves of Gondolin hunted them in the hills or did battle before their walls", and was most likely lost during the Fall of Gondolin.[1]

Third Age

Orcrist was discovered with Glamdring centuries later. Thorin and Company made the discovery in the trolls' cave, with Gandalf observing the high quality of the blades. Once in Rivendell, Elrond recognized Orcrist as one from Gondolin, and Thorin promised to honor the sword.[3]

Thorin used Orcrist throughout the rest of the Quest of Erebor to slay goblins in the Goblin caves after the killing of the Great Goblin, but he lost it when he was captured by the Wood-elves of Mirkwood. Orcrist was confiscated[4] and was not returned to him until after the Battle of Five Armies. Upon his death, Thranduil returned the blade and Orcrist was placed upon Thorin's tomb under the Lonely Mountain, and it "gleamed ever in the dark if foes approached".[5]


Orcrist means "Goblin-cleaver", from "Orc" and the Sindarin ris ("to cut").[6] It was called Biter by Orcs of Misty Mountains.

In Ñoldorin Elvish, Orchrist was a variation of Orcrist, from risto ("slash, rip").[7]

Portrayal in adaptations

The Hobbit film trilogy

Legolas with Orcrist

Legolas wields Orcrist

In the The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Orcrist is taken by Legolas when he and a group of elves capture Thorin's company, and it is subsequently shown being wielded by Legolas when he fights Bolg and other Orcs in defense of Lake-town.

In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Legolas uses Orcrist to stay his father Thranduil's blade when intervening in a conflict between he and Tauriel, in Dale. He then draws Orcrist to battle Bolg once more, but ultimately sacrifices Orcrist to save Thorin's life, throwing it from afar, into the chest of the orc who nearly killed Thorin, high up on the frozen waterfall. Thorin then retrieved the sword from the dead orc's chest as it fell over the edge and used it in the climactic battle with Azog on the Celduin near Ravenhill. Orcrist easily held up to Azog's much larger mace as well as his sword. Thorin dealt the mortal blow to Azog, by allowing Azog to pierce his chest, bringing Azog close enough to impale his heart. With Azog on his back, Thorin presses Orcrist deep enough that it splits the ice beneath Azog's body. As in the novel, Orcrist is shown in the extended edition of the film to be buried with Thorin.

IMG 0531

Thorin the real owner of the sword

While it is an Elvish sword, it does not appear to glow blue (or glow at all, for that matter) when Thorin is in the presence of Orcs in the film. This reflects the fact that Glamdring did not glow in the films as well.

The design and make


Orcrist's runes

In Peter Jackson's The Hobbit films, Orcrist appears more similar in shape to Sting. Its appearance - a single-edged weapon with a somewhat curved pommel - is also somewhat reminiscent of Hadhafang, the blade wielded by both Arwen and Elrond in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The main difference is that Hadhafang has a curved blade, whereas Orcrist's is straighter. It is also shown to be very powerful as it is able to knock back a vicious swing from the Goblin King with ease.

The grip is made of a large tooth capped in a metal pommel. The pommel also displays Ecthelion's herald giving speculation that Orcrist was his sword. The runes running along the blade have been translated to be NAGOL E-LŶG or "Tooth of-Snake [or Dragon]".[8] In the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the sword's designers went with a single-edged blade due to its name Goblin Cleaver. However, an early scene of old Bilbo shows replicas of Orcrist and Glamdring in the background, where the Orcrist replica does have a curve on the flat edge.

Orcrist's spine was kept fairly straight, meaning it should also function well as a thrusting weapon. With this in mind, movie version Orcrist is surprisingly versatile, and well-suited to a dwarf; one may presume that a stout dwarf could wield it with the force needed to cut through nearly any Orc-made armor.


Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles.
  • As a mighty sword from Gondolin, it is widely speculated that King Turgon or one of the Lords of the Gondolindrim was the wielder of Orcrist. Some possibilities are Egalmoth (who survived the Fall of Gondolin and may have taken his sword with him) and Ecthelion of the Fountain (who died after slaying Gothmog). According to The Fall of Gondolin, Ecthelion led a charge and killed countless Orcs with his sword,[9] which may be attributed to the fact that the Orcs of Misty Mountains feared Orcrist.

    Master Swordsmith collectible of Orcrist


Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ዖርችሪስት
Arabic أوركريست
Belarusian Cyrillic Орцріст
Bengali ওর্চ্রিস্ত
Bulgarian Cyrillic Оркист
Burmese ဪရ္စ္ရိသ္တ္
Chinese (Hong Kong) 獸咬
Chinese (Mandarin) 奥克锐斯特
Finnish Hiidensurma
Georgian ორკრისტი
Greek Όρκριστ
Gujarati ઑર્ચ્રિસ્ત
Hebrew אורקריסט
Hindi ॐर्च्रिस्त
Japanese オルクリスト
Kannada ಒರ್ಕ್ರಿಸ್ತ್
Kazakh Орцріст (Cyrillic) Orcrist (Latin)
Korean 오르크리스트
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Орцрист ?
Macedonian Cyrillic Орцрист
Marathi ओर्च्रिस्त
Mongolian Cyrillic Орцрист
Nepalese ॐर्च्रिस्त
Pashto ورچریست ?
Persian ورچریست
Punjabi ਓਰcਰਿਸ੍ਤ
Sanskrit ॐर्च्रिस्त्
Serbian Орцрист (Cyrillic) Orcrist (Latin)
Sinhalese ඕර්ච්‍රිස්ත්
Slovenian Orcrist - Britva
Russian Оркрист
Tajik Cyrillic Орчрист
Tamil ஓர்ச்ரிஸ்த்
Telugu ఒర్క్రిస్ట్
Ukrainian Cyrillic Орцріст
Urdu اورکراسٹ
Uzbek Орчрист (Cyrillic) Orchrist (Latin)
Vietnamese Bổ Đôi Yêu Tinh
Yiddish אָרקריסט


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Hobbit, Chapter IV: "Over Hill and Under Hill"
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Hobbit, Chapter II: "Roast Mutton"
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Hobbit, Chapter III: "A Short Rest"
  4. The Hobbit, Chapter VIII: "Flies and Spiders"
  5. The Hobbit, Chapter XVIII: "The Return Journey"
  6. Parma Eldalamberon, Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  7. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies"
  8. Jude Fisher, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Visual Companion
  9. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. II: The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, chapter III: "The Fall of Gondolin"

External links

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