Sting

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Beowhald13 17/Dec/2006 at 12:06 PM
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Why is it that sting lights up, i know it is simply a warning, but does it make it fight differently, does it burn more, i know this may sound dumb but i would like to know if the lighting of the sword does anything to its ability to fight. if someone could please answer this it would be great help, you can either im me or send me a PM
Kinarear 17/Dec/2006 at 01:18 PM
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Sting lights up when orcs are near, nothing else. Besides that and the fact that it looks really cool its just an elven nife.

what say you?

Magradhaid 17/Dec/2006 at 01:44 PM
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Sting (Bilbo’s), Glamdring (Gandalf’s), and Orcrist (Thorin’s) glow with a blue flame when Orcs are near. They were all found in the same place, a troll cave in the Hobbit, and are said to have been made by Noldorin smiths of Gondolin for the Goblin-wars.
Endril 17/Dec/2006 at 03:00 PM
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The glowing of Sting works more like a warning to his owner about the fact that the orcs are around. It’s like a supernatural feature of the swords created by the elven smiths. I don’t know if Gandalf’s did the same thing.
Qtpie 17/Dec/2006 at 04:55 PM
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Gandalf’s sword Glamdring glowed as well, when Orcs were nearby.

’No gleam came from the blades or Stinf or of Glamdring; and that was some comfort, for being the work of Elvish smiths in the Eldar Days these swords shone with a cold light, if any Orcs were near at hand.’[/BLUE] FoTR: A Journey in the Dark
KingODuckingham 17/Dec/2006 at 09:45 PM
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As can be seen from that quote, the "flame" is not actual fire, but simply an inner light that glows to signal the presence of orcs. So no, it wouldn’t burn more or enhance the killing power of the blade or anything like that. It is simply one of the coolest detection powers ever conceived. Goodness knows how the elves managed to build something like that.
punatic 21/Dec/2006 at 01:50 PM
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In the Hobbit, Bilbo worries if the spiders will see Sting when he has the ring on (BTW he names his sword, dagger really, after the battle, his first step toward being a hero because heros have swords with names). I think this was a small error by JRRT. If his sword was visible, then his clothes etc. might have to be as well. Maybe it was Bilbo worrying and not an error by JRRT. Anyway, it was a good invention that has been copied many times since.
Endril 21/Dec/2006 at 09:18 PM
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Thanks Taragolloion!
Túrin 21/Dec/2006 at 09:26 PM
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punatic,

I think this was a small error by JRRT. If his sword was visible, then his clothes etc. might have to be as well.

There’s one difference between Sting’s light and clothing though - Sting was producing light, clothing does not.  If you have the Unfinished Tales, you can see a bit regarding Isildur and the Elendilmir and the One Ring:

"Isildur turned west, and drawing up the Ring that hung in a wallet from a fine chain about his neck he set it upon his finger with a cry of pain, and was never seen again by any eye upon Middle-earth.  But the Elendilmir of the West could not be quenched, and suddenly it blazed forth red and wrathful as a burning star.  Men and Orcs gave way in fear; and Isildur, drawing a hood over his head, vanished into the night. [25]

Note 25: The meaning, sufficiently remarkable, of this passage appears to be that the light of the Elendilmir was proof against the invisibility conferred by the One Ring when worn, if its light was be visible were the Ring not worn; but when Isildur covered his head with a hood its light was extinguished."
     - UT, The Disaster of Gladden Fields

The note is somewhat unclear, but from the passage (and from the passages regarding Bilbo and Frodo wearing the Ring) we can see that Isildur was rendered invisible but the shining Elendilmir was not - until he covered it with his hood.  Thus, the clothing would be invisible, but the light-producing object was still visible (unless, of course, covered by one of the invisible articles of clothing).

ArgentKnight 28/Dec/2006 at 02:08 AM
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How can an invisible object still produce light? If it’s invisible light goes around or though the object. In oder to create light it would have to be visible. Similar to the impossiblity of human invisibility. If you eyes are invisible then they can’t pick up light with out becoming visible again, or at the very least casting a shadow.
MasterofPuppets 28/Dec/2006 at 02:38 AM
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But when you use the ring you do cast a shadow. It says so in the lotr. Although your shadow is weaker, so is your eyesight because you enter the world of wraiths.
Eldszar 28/Dec/2006 at 08:51 AM
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Though I honestly don’t know or even remember reading about it, I would think all elven made weapons would cause some sort of discomfort if evil where to touch it.  If Golem feels pain from an elven rope tied around his ankle and can’t eat their food either then I tend to believe it would be the same for weapons or anything elven made for that matter.

Steophan 29/Dec/2006 at 03:08 AM
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Eldszar How would that work for those elves who willingly served Morgoth in the First Age, or for that matter the elves who took part in the KInslaying?  Both these groups could be considered evil, and yet as elves would have used elven artifacts. 
Akonga 30/Dec/2006 at 08:11 AM
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Maybe elven things cause discomfort to the enemy of the bearer or maker.
If the elve is against Morgoth or Sauron, his belongings and the things he made cause discomfort to servants of Morgoth. But if the elve serves Morgoth, it is the other way round because the elve feels he is doing the right thing. I think that the virtues of things, the "magic" depends on the person who made and his/her personality because all special, magical things hold some bit of the power of the person who made them.