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Things of Middle-earth


Type: Weapons

Meaning: Thudder-sharp


The mighty axe wielded by Tuor, son of Huor in Gondolin; a gift of Turgon, King of Gondolin:
Upon a time the king caused his most cunning artificers to fashion a suit of armour for Tuor as a great gift, and it was made of Gnome-steel overlaid with silver; but his helm was adorned with a device of metals and jewels like to two swan-wings, one on either side, and a swan's wing was wrought on his shield; but he carried an axe rather than a sword, and this in the speech of the Gondothlim he named Dramborleg, 1 for its buffet stunned and its edge clove all armour.

The Book of Lost Tales 2, HoME Vol 2, Ch 3, The Fall of Gondolin

Now the Orcs again take heart from the coming of the drakes..., and they assail the Gondothlim grievously. There Tuor slew Othrod a lord of the Orcs cleaving his helm, and Balcmeg he hewed asunder, and Lug he smote with his axe that his limbs were cut from beneath him at the knee, but Ecthelion shore through two captains of the goblins at a sweep and cleft the head of Orcobal their chiefest champion to his teeth; and by reason of the great doughtiness of those two lords they came even unto the Balrogs. Of those demons of power Ecthelion slew three 2...; yet of the leap of that axe Dramborleg that was swung by the hand of Tuor were they still more afraid, for it sang like the rush of eagle's wings in the air and took death as it fell, and five of them went down before it.

But... Ecthelion's left arm got... rent... and his shield fell... even as that dragon of fire drew nigh amid the ruin of the walls. Then Ecthelion must lean on Tuor..., though the very feet of the trampling beast were upon them, and they were like to be overborne: but Tuor hewed at a foot of the creature so that flame spouted forth, and that serpent screamed, lashing with its tail; and many of both Orcs and Noldoli got their death therefrom.

The Book of Lost Tales 2, HoME Vol 2, Ch 3, The Fall of Gondolin

From Tuor, Dramborleg passed to his son Eärendil and then to Eärendil's son Elros Tar-Minyatur, the first King of Númenor, where it became an heirloom of the royal house, until it was lost in the Downfall:

Other heirlooms there were beside [Aranrúth]: the Ring of Barahir; the great Axe of Tuor, father of Eärendil; and the Bow of Bregor 3.... Only the Ring... survived the Downfall.... [Author's note.]

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 1, Description of the Island of Númenor: Notes, Note 2

1In a list of names accompanying the tale Dramborleg is translated "Thudder-Sharp": "the axe of Tuor that smote both a heavy dint as of a club and cleft as a sword."

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 1, Description of the Island of Númenor: Notes, Note 2

2The early conception of the Balrogs makes them less terrible, and certainly more destructible, than they afterwards became: they existed in 'hundreds'..., and were slain by Tuor and the Gondothlim in large numbers.... The Balrogs are 'demons of power'...; they are capable of pain and fear...; they are attired in iron armour..., and they have whips of flame (a character they never lost) and claws of steel....

The Book of Lost Tales 2, HoME Vol 2, Ch 3, The Fall of Gondolin: Notes and Commentary

3Bregor Father of Barahir and Bregolas.

Unfinished Tales, Index

Zimraphel. 6Jul03
Elena Tiriel 2Feb10

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