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No. 24: Heirline crack

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Heirline crack

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Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/pomh/?comic=24

Strip by: Ian Boreham

{An elven smith presents Aragorn, the heir of Elendil, with a sword, as another elf watches.}

{Aragorn holds the sword aloft in both hands.}
Aragorn: Behold! The sword of Elendil, forged anew!

{Aragorn looks up at the sword, eyes narrowed.}
Aragorn: Waaait a minute...

{The sword has a crack in it.}
Aragorn: You've just stuck it together with glue!

{The smith has a surly expression.}
Smith: What did you expect? It's not easy, you know!

{Aragorn scowls.}
Smith: You thought I'd just tap the bits with a hammer? It's basically making a whole new blade!

{The smith glances conspiratorially at the other elf, who smirks back.}
Smith: Besides, Narsil was made by a...(runic font)DWARF.

{Aragorn's face is flushed with anger, and his eyes are flames.}

{Aragorn raises the sword above his head.}
Aragorn (shouting maniacally): That's the last time, you elvish sonofa...

{Aragorn brings the sword down on the smith's head. The smith nonchalantly allows the sword to strike a magical barrier, causing the glued join to break.}

FX: Snap!
FX: Magic
Other elf: Ha ha ha

The author writes:

There's obviously some history there. Well, on the elves' side, anyway. I doubt they'd consider Aragorn's measly lifespan anything like history.

Anyway, I said I'd cover the forging of Anduril from a non-Peter Jackson angle, and I have fulfilled my oath.

I've always wondered who was supposed to have re-forged the sword. It was made in ancient times by one of the greatest dwarven smiths ever, and yet there are no smiths of renown ever mentioned as being around to re-forge it. The identity of the smith is discussed on Stack Exchange, my current first port of call for Tolkienerdery.

And how are you supposed to re-forge a sword without basically starting from scratch? Even if you hammer-welded the pieces together, you'd need some overlap, and you'd wreck any engraving or pattern-forging at the join. If you re-forge a magical sword, can you get the magical circuitry to work properly again? Or has all the magic run out when it was broken? And how does an elf re-forge something made using dwarven technology? ("Better" would be this smith's answer, I'm guessing.) Perhaps elves are good at "healing" things, and could actually clean and re-fuse the broken surfaces somehow. Or perhaps dwarven magic items come with repair manuals. I can just see it: "I've refurbished the wiring, but I'm having trouble with the broken rune on the crack. You just can't get the parts anymore, since the drowning of Beleriand. I can use a spare rune I've got lying around from a broken dwarvish axe, but it won't be the same. You'll need to get it checked every twelve months, and you'll probably have to replace it in a few years."

I wasn't sure how to dress Aragorn for this - in some sort of Elven princely finery, since he's in Rivendell? I figured he's about to go on the road again with the fellowship, so I should draw him in ranger's gear. If you ever search for images of fantasy ranger costumes on the internet, they almost all look the same, and lots of them are pictures of LARPers. That got me thinking - the Dunedain of the north dressed in fantasy ranger's gear, went out into the forest on weekends and fought orcs; they were LARPers! Fortunately for Aragorn, Arwen was into elven princess cosplay, so the two of them got on well.

Drawn in Krita and Inkscape.