Cool Sword

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
In every sense of the word.

I can tell you with no ego, this is my finest sword. If on your journey, you should encounter God, God will be cut.

Hattori Hanzo, Kill Bill

There is something a sword has that other weapons don't. It could be that it is an Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age, or perhaps it's because sword fights just look so impossibly cool. Often Heroes Prefer Swords.

These weapons even come in multiple categories:

  • Longsword (two-handed): The quintessential knightly weapon. A late medieval weapon, with an average blade length of 90 cm (35 in). Sometimes used as a generic term referring to any sword that long or longer. This type of sword came into vogue in late 13th century, and remained in use until the 17th century. It is intended to be used two-handed, but is balanced well enough to be used single-handed. Both the German and Italian schools of swordsmanship deal with this sword.
    • Zweihander (two-hander): With a blade length of 120–150 cm (4–5 ft), was longest known sword, the real life BFS. Bigger. Longer. Better. Used for intimidation, decapitation, and decimation. Especially good on lopping enemy pike tips off, not to say enemy heads.
    • Claymore (two-handed): Scottish sword with a blade length of 100–115 cm (39–45 in). Sometimes used by hot blonde chicks to kill human eating monsters.
    • Claymore, Basket-Hilted (one-handed): Descendant of the above with a blade length of 75–90 cm (30–35 in) long. Probably the longest ever one-handed sword.
  • Transition Sword Category: typically has an average blade length of 70 cm (28 in).
    • Katana (two-handed): The weapon of choice of the Samurai and certain Ninja (especially of the highly visible variety). Are considered the coolest swords of all by some people. Not all Japanese swords were katanas, but popular culture doesn't know that.
    • Scimitar (one-handed): Includes all kinds of curved, non-katana swords, including the Pirate cutlass, the Indian talwar, the European falchion and sabre, and the Chinese dao. Usually wielded by heroes in the Arabian Nights Days, as well as good-hearted dark elves.
    • Spatha (one-handed): Longer than a Gladius, but too short for a longsword, pattern-welded for greater strength. From late Roman days to the First Crusade, this was one of the most common sword types in Europe. King Arthur is likely to have historically used one, and any Viking that isn't swinging an axe or stabbing with a spear might have one of these. Also called a broadsword or broadblade, the literal meaning of Spatha, although modern use of "broadsword" refers to an Arming Sword or a basket-hilted sword. The other translation for 'Spatha' is 'spade' or 'shovel', because it was 'invented' by enlarging the Gladius in order to make it more useful for jobs around the camp. It is therefore the ancestor of not just most later medieval European straight swords, but also of the entrenching tool.
    • Arming sword (one-handed): The classic, cross-shaped knightly weapon, descendant of the Spatha, and commonly paired with a shield. As such, this is usually found in the hands of the Knight in Shining Armor, though heroes of all kinds have made use of them. Often mistakenly called a "longsword," especially by Tabletop Gamers. The jian is the Chinese equivalent, with many of the same cultural associations.
  • Falcata (one-handed): The incredibly badass pre-Roman Spanish machete. Iberians chopped the hell out of so many Roman soldiers with these babies, that the poor Romans had to redesign their shields and armor. Similar to a kukri or kopis, but independently evolved, these Roman-killing machines are curved downwards. Later gladius designs were influenced by it.
  • Gladius (one-handed): Most variations are shorter than a transition sword, but not quite a knife, having an average blade length of 50 cm (20 in). The sword of choice for stories set in Rome. If it's not a gladius but about the same size, it's a likely Weapon of Choice for children or Hobbits. The Japanese equivalent is the wakizashi, which samurai often carried with the katana.
  • Rapier (one-handed): Ho ho! Ha ha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Ha! Thrust! Quip! About as long as a transition sword, but much thinner and lighter. The favorite weapon of The Cavalier Years, where swashbuckling heroes and Pirates roamed. Expect Implausible Fencing Powers and lots of Flynning.
    • See also; foils (which are blunt and used in fencing).

Sometimes the sword is especially special because:

This trope is Older Than Feudalism, because the sword is a very, very old weapon and there are tons of examples from mythology. Possibly the most iconic Cool Sword of all is Excalibur, the sword the Lady in the Lake gave to King Arthur (which supposedly wasn't the original Sword in the Stone).

And no, having a sword is not (necessarily) Compensating for Something.

Recording the sheer number of characters who use swords in media would make for a VERY long trope. Basically, name any hero from a Heroic Fantasy series or an RPG (of any genre), and chances are he'll be using a sword. Thus, this trope should be reserved for cool swords; those with some exceptional quality, name, or power. Not just any old sword will do (only exception would be Captain Carrot's sword from Discworld).

Compare its Gun Counterpart, Cool Guns. For non-cool swords (YMMV), see our Useful Notes: Swords page. Oddly-Shaped Sword is the Sub-Trope for swords that have a really weird shape.

The Other Wiki has a list of cool swords... well, a list of fictional swords; YMMV whether they're cool.

Examples of Cool Sword include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Bleach, all Shinigami (and then some other characters) carry zanpaktou (soul swords). Usually they look like normal swords, but when the wielder achieves First Release (Shikai), they can be temporarily made... well, variations on larger, longer, sharper, they become two swords (in two cases only), one of them becomes something like a few dozen razor-sharp cherry blossoms, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Now, Bankai, that's something else entirely. Usually, the weapon can't even be classified as a sword anymore.
    • To elaborate, the resident Mad Scientist has one that turns into a Kaiju Caterpillar, a member of squad 11 has one that's a giant combination of a Dao, and some kind of pendulum-blade thing which he spins around to increase its power. It's Shonen Manga, so you get what you pay for.
  • Tokiya Mikagami of Flame of Recca has a family heirloom sword named Ensui, which also doubles as a ninja madogu. Inactive, it's just a little bone handle with a spike, but when he immerses it in water it becomes a very lethal water blade. Not only can he use any fluid in it (including blood and acid) but he can use any of the forms of water (ice, steam), manipulate his surroundings, and create water doppelgangers. The more liquid he uses, the stronger it gets. The fact that he's a damn good swordsman (and the only trained fighter in the group) does not detract from Ensui's coolness.
  • The Sunlight Heart Plus in Busou Renkin. The upgrade to a lance is a sword... that can turn into a lance filling the empty space with energy. And can fly to the moon.
  • Aion's sword in Chrono Crusade, which (in the manga) contains his horns, making it the source of his power. Father Remington also has a energy sword.
  • Lohengrin and the Prince's swords in Princess Tutu. The Prince's sword can even turn into two swans when broken, which... is a bit silly, but still cool, since it allows Mytho to call the sword to him after Fakir breaks it with Lohengrin's sword.
  • Mikoto's sword Miroku in My-HiME. Powerful enough to cut through gilded steel, and she can call it from anywhere if she isn't already holding it. It's also part of the body of the Big Bad.
  • Super Robot shows will often have the Humongous Mecha of The Hero wield some kind of Cool Sword, impossibly huge or otherwise.
  • Real Robot wise, such is the rule of every single Gundam in existence: each Gundam has to have a beam saber or otherwise similar weaponry made of metal.
    • Gundam SEED Astray takes this to wild extremes - Lowe Guele creates the Gerbera Straight katana so his Astray Red Frame doesn't run out of juice. Then, he built a 150 meter version of that sword. Then, he built the Tactical Arms for Gai Murakumo's Astray Blue Frame, with one of its forms being a sword! Later on, Lowe makes his own Tactical Arms after the Red Frame gets beat up pretty badly.
  • Signum's Laevatein from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is a mechanical sword that can burst into flame, split into sections as a Whip Sword, and combine with its sheath to form a bow.
    • Fate Testarossa's Bardiche can also become a Cool Sword when it assumes its Zanber form.
  • Gourry's Sword of Light from The Slayers. A functional enough sword in its normal form, but if the blade is removed and Gourry's calls "Light Come Forth" it becomes a light-saber that can kill demons.
  • Berserk: The Dragon Slayer, a BFS among BFS'es, which has taken on a supernatural essence of its own due to all the demons that Guts has killed with it.
    • There's also the Sword of Resonance wielded by the Skull Knight, which has the ability to slice through dimensions.
  • Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann melted down a pair of swords to create a lethal, gigantic version of his sunglasses. It gets better too.
    • Kamina also wields a katana himself, and the katana is bigger than the sheath in which it is stored.
  • Nike in Mahoujin Guru Guru eventually learns to call upon the magic sword of light, "Kira Kira." It's highly effective when used properly, but can be finicky about anything interrupting the process. This has resulted in Kira Kira having where the point of the blade would be an old man's head and a little schoolhouse. On the other extreme, being summoned in an ice cave made it an ice sword.
  • Asuna's Ensis Exorcizans in Mahou Sensei Negima, a huge demon-banishing sword that can also cancel any magic, even wide-range area spells used to decimate entire armies. Comes in the form of a Paper Fan of Doom if you don't summon it properly.
    • Then there's Jack Rakan. He's called "The Thousand Blades" for a reason.
    • Speaking of Akamatsu's work. In Love Hina the Urashima family had in its possession a sword simply called "Hina". It makes the wielder become a lot stronger and better in combat, but the thing is cursed and the demon that was sealed into it will possess the wielder if they aren't strong enough. It appeared once again in Negima in the hands of an enemy who likely stole it. The blade itself is pitch black and in combat it has its own aura that resembles black flames. Giving up yourself to the sword gives us this result.
  • Claymores use... well claymores. They're effectively a symbol of the human ability to resist the youma.
  • As a Shout-Out, a scene in Hayate the Combat Butler shows our hero with three swords stuck in his back. Between appearances, the actual weapons stabbing him change. This is because all six of them are various Cool Swords used by the Original Generation mecha of the Super Robot Wars series.
  • Soul Eater has Ragnarok, who varies in size and shape (though not to BFS standards), but most of the time looks like a longsword. A black longsword, who is not so much attached to his wielder as he is inside them when not being used in combat. Also counts as a Vibroweapon, and a bullying Talking Weapon.
    • Tsubaki would also count after she gains her Fey Blade mode after defeating her brother and he allows her to absorb him.
      • And then there are her forms after Black Star works out the Nakatsukasa Purpose.
    • Surprised people forgot Excalibur. To clarify: His sword form is perfectly symmetrical, and gives his meister powers that put them on the level of godhood (super speed, strength, etc.)
      • Though, to wield him one must worship the very ground he walks on and follow all of his demands, if you don't do things EXACTLY his way, he won't do jack for you. The sword and his list of demands (1000 of them!) is SO annoying, nobody in the Manga has managed to use it (Some have tried, but when you bring it up, they always get the exact same look of dread on their face. It's quite amusing actually! It looks like a hybrid of the face one gets when constipated, combined with what occurs after a Groin Attack), with the occasional reference to one or two people who have managed to use it in the past. In an anime episode, Hiro (minor character only seen ONCE in the manga series), actually finds Excalibur tolerable and also enjoyable, and becomes the strongest meister in all of Shibusen, even taking out Black Star, Kilik and Death the Kid. This ended when Hiro couldn't stand Excalibur's constant sneezing and puts him back.
  • Major General Olivia Armstrong's saber has to count. It has cool carving on it, and it has passed down the Armstrong line for generations!
  • The many famous swords of One Piece with Mihawks 'Kokutou Yoru' or Zoro's 'Wadou Ichi Monji' only being a few examples out of the ever growing list of cool Swords.
    • Add Kizaru's sword of light to the list, it's a magic/chi variant of a lightsaber.
  • Yaiba is full of this, ad has a wide selection, including: Fujin's Sword, Raijin's Sword, Ryujin's Sword, the Devil King Sword, the Water Demon Longsword and the Fire Demon Longsword.
  • The famous "Unlimited Blade Works" of Fate/stay night gives access to every Cool Sword in the world!
    • So does Gilgamesh's "Gate of Babylon," which summons the original swords instead of making copies like Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Naruto features the weapons of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist. Each has a unique ability or use, some more mundane than others.
  • Trunks' sword in the Dragon Ball series.
  • The Gauntlet swords in Bakugan New Vestroia are similar to lightsabers.
    • In Mechtanium Surge Dan and Mag Mel (Barodius) create energy swords with no handles!
  • Gaff's Dragon Sword in Eon Kid.
  • In Lupin III, Goemon has Zantetsuken, a katana made out of either a special alloy or a meteorite depending on the version, which can cut absolutely anything. (Except particularly strong enemies' weapons. And konnyaku gel.)
  • Yoh's katana Harusame in Shaman King.
  • In Yes! Pretty Cure 5, the Cures gain the Cure Flurets, rapier-like swords which... they only use for a tag team finisher attack. In The Movie, it's revealed that Coco, in his human form, can create a gold one and when Cure Dream gains her movie-only Super Mode, she creates the Shining Fluret, which she promptly sword fights with against the movie's Big Bad.
    • The opening for Smile Pretty Cure reveals that Cure Beauty will be able to create an ice sword.
  • Smoker's sword in One Piece is actually an oversized jutte (like a sword, but blunt) and the tip is made of seastone, which he can use to incapacitate anyone with Devil Fruit powers. Seeing as Smoker himself has Devil Fruit powers, his Badass Longcoat is a practical accessory, as it lets him carry the sword on his back without the tip touching his skin.

Comic Books

  • The silver/titanium (depending on what version) sword in Blade that has an interesting security system built into it to cut the fingers off of unauthorized wielders and it can kill vampires. (When it's titanium, Blade has to actually behead the vampire to kill them.)
  • While few of the swords Hellboy has used were particularly elaborate, they were all very old. Only ever used as improvisational weapons, you'd think a rusty piece of metal wouldn't be that cool. But they are. May be Mike Mignola's love of Gothic antiquity rearing it's head.
    • He was recently[when?] given Excalibur, which appears as a somewhat ornate and unusually long gladius. There's also his father's sword, which waits for him in Pandemonium and will herald the Apocalypse.
  • The Ebony Blade (sounds like a brand of razor) of the Black Knight was forged by Merlin, can cut through steel like butter, snd can be summoned to the Knight's hand. So what if it comes with a blood curse?
  • Soultaker, the blade of Katana from The Outsiders, drinks the souls of those it kills, and then makes them available as ghosts to answer questions.
  • The Moon Sword from Sláine: the Horned God is a weapon so terrible that it does not merely cut its foes; rather, their bodies rip themselves open to receive it.
  • The Makluan Sword used by the first Swordsman. Made by the Mandarin, it had a numrous weapons built in, including disintegrator rays, and a flamethrower.
  • The Muramasa Blade forged for Wolverine, containing a "shard of his soul", is said to be the only weapon that can kill him (or his kin, apparently) for good. It ultimately killed Sabretooth. Daken had part of it melted down and grafted onto his wrist claws (which retract, like Wolverine's).
  • There is a fictional version of the real-life mythical sword the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (the "Grass cutter") in the Marvel Universe, which plays an important role in the first Ares miniseries.
  • Martha from Give Me Liberty uses one (a saber) when she fights the gay nazis IN SPACE! (She wisely refuses to use firearms, since they'd puncture the station's outer hull, which would kill both parties. Her opponents are not that smart.)
  • In Fish Police, Inspector Gill acquires a Cool Sword which he names Suds-Guzzler.

Fan Works

  • Kyon's Laser Blade in Kyon: Big Damn Hero, whose hilt was used by one of his ancestors and blade was made from the remains of a robot from another world.
  • In the Firefly fanfic Forward, River acquires a Chinese jian that was once owned by a General Jingwei. Aside from being a nice blade, it also channels electricity.
  • Near the end of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fic I Am What I Am, Xander forges a magic sword with frost powers for Oz and names it "Cool Sword" because that's literally what it is. (Unfortunately, Oz doesn't get a chance to actually use it, because it spontaneously transforms into a pair of Wolverine-esque claws that give him some measure of control over his werewolf.)
  • Your Mileage May Vary whether the trope is averted or embodied with Ranma's blade Tenchuu no yasashigena from the Ranma ½ fic Ranma and Akane: A Love Story: a tachi, the precursor to the katana, it is plain, unadorned and is simply a piece of sharpened steel intended to kill people, that is in no way legendary or magical. That said, it is perfectly crafted for doing the task for which it is intended.
    • Late in the existing material, Akane acquires her own Cool Sword, Isileth -- a truly legendary blade (and Crossover element) made from Thunderbolt Iron, with a history and reputation that spans multiple timelines, which literally fell into her hand during a fight against a demon on the outskirts of Hell.


  • The sword made by Domingo Montoya for the six-fingered Count Rugen and wielded by Domingo's son Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride.
  • The same six-fingered sword prop is Top Dollar's weapon of choice in The Crow
  • The ancestral two-handed sword carried by Etienne Navarre in Ladyhawke. Each wielder embeds a jewel on its handle to mark its lineage.
  • Star Wars: Lightsabers. Examples from the films include:
    • Darth Maul's double version.
    • Count Dooku's bent handle version, which mimics the current pistol-grip handle used in Olympic fencing so Christopher Lee could mix point-control techniques from his FIFTY YEARS of experience in fencing with kendo techniques.
    • Luke's green one was unique in the original trilogy.
    • Mace Windu's purple lightsaber, which is unique in the films. Samuel L. Jackson requested the color so he could pick himself out in the big fight scenes.
  • Conan the Barbarian features two cool swords, the Master's Sword, which Conan's father makes, and the Atlantean sword that Conan finds. The Master's sword gets stolen and Conan is able to slash through it with the power of the Riddle of Steel, then uses the shards to kill Thulsa Doom. Each prop sword cost $10,000 to make.
  • The swords made by Hattori Hanzo from Kill Bill. Three people in the movie have had swords made for them by the legendary swordsmith: the Bride, Bill himself, and Budd.
  • Balian of Ibelin inherits his father's sword in Kingdom of Heaven. The DVD features include a piece on how they went about making the sword to look as cool as possible without compromising its functionality.
  • Lord Loxley's sword in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which the Sheriff of Nottingham pulls out in the last fight sequence. He dominates the fight until he drops it, but as soon as he picks it up again, he splits Robin's sword in twain.
  • Green Destiny, the sword everyone is fighting over in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
  • In Braveheart, William Wallace's claymore becomes a symbol of the man.
  • In the J.J. Abrams Star Trek film, when asked what his specialty was in combat, Sulu answers "fencing." Kirk is less than impressed until Sulu whips out a telescoping saber and kicks a little ass.
  • The sword Will makes for James Norrington in the first Pirates of the Caribbean shows up in all the sequels and is regularly noted as a "nice sword." It's replaced by Blackbeard's sword in the final movie which can control ships! It is later owned by Barbossa at the end.
  • Patrick Swayze's character in Steel Dawn fight with one. And it's shiny too!
  • The titular sword in the movie Excalibur was ... well ... Excalibur! It often reflects green light to make it look otherworldly.
  • In Highlander, Connor uses an ancient katana that was made far before its time. The Kurgan uses a two-handed sword that can be disassembled and hidden in a briefcase.
  • The "Alumutian" blades in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
  • The Sword of Doom and the Sword of Fate in Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword.
  • The Vorpal Sword in Alice in Wonderland, (2010)
  • In The Sword and the Sorcerer, the hero is armed with a triple-bladed sword that can shoot two of its blades.
  • In Blade, the title character has a booby-trapped silver katana for fighting vampires.


  • The blade of Janos Drugeth in 1632 is a subversion. He is a counselor to the Emperor of Austria as well as a Cavalry Officer and a Hungarian nobleman of good family and so he can pay for whatever sword he darn well feels like paying for, but his blade, while extremely well cared for, is an ordinary cavalry sword. His blade is for the hard and unpleasant work of killing people in battle and not for showing off in court.
  • Slightly subverted in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series: as noted above, Carrot Ironfoundersson's sword – described in Guards! Guards! – is the most unmagical sword there is. It has no power, it has no name, there is nothing written on it. But it's still a Cool Sword, because, as Fred Colon observes, "Real kings had shiny swords, obviously. Except, except, except maybe your real real king of, like, days of yore, he would have a sword that didn't sparkle one bit but was bloody efficient at cutting things."
    • Said sword can effortlessly rip through metal, and on one occasion, went right through a man and buried itself into the solid granite pillar behind him.
    • The tendency for swords to be magical and special and what not was lampshaded when Carrot first received his sword, as it was noted that the fact that it wasn't magical or special in any way made it unique in the Discworld.
      • In the same book, the fake heir to the throne has a glittery, gem-laden sword of inestimable coolness that utterly fails to save him vs. a dragon.
      • The trick, though, lies in how magic on the Discworld works. Death and his family, for example, can pass through walls and such because they're more real than other things. If Carrot's sword truly has no magic in it, then it's got to be thoroughly real, which would make it extremely powerful when pitted against... well, most anything on the Disc.
    • Death's sword, however, is so thin it can barely be seen, and so sharp it can cut a flame in half.
    • Vetinari's sword is rumoured to be one of these (supposedly made from iron extracted from human blood), but in fact it is completely ordinary.
      • It's not even a sword. People assume his walking stick is a Sword Cane (with the aforementioned blood of a thousand enemies rumour), and he allows them to think this because "if people think you might have a sword, they forget that you definitely have a club".
    • The swords of the Silver Horde (from Interesting Times and The Last Hero) may looked all worn and notched, but when you consider just how much use they must have gotten...
    • Hrun's sword Kring is so cool it can not only hold a conversation (probably better than Hrun can), but can also take over anyone wielding it.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings features Narsil, Sting and Glamdring.
  • In The Wheel of Time we have the impossibly cool Callandor, a sword-shaped crystal artifact capable of greatly amplifying magic, one of the most powerful magical artifacts in existence, which only The Chosen One could pull out of its magical stasis. Our hero pulled it out, then jammed it back into the ground to remind everyone he was coming back for it, rather than use it. Turns out this was smart, as Callandor was flawed, and constant use would drive him insane even faster than normal, if it didn't kill him first. He's used it once or twice since then, and even for him, gone nutty.
    • The series also has Rand's first sword, his father's, marked as a blademaster's weapon which could never be damaged. It was destroyed when he stabbed Ba'alzamon with it. Rand then got the sword of King Laman of Cairhien. Even Mat has an ashandarei, a spear with a sword blade on the end.
      • There was also Justice, the sword of Artur Hawkwing.
        • The swords with heron marks have different degrees of coolness. Most of them are mundane and modern, albeit of excellent workmanship. The rest are relics of the Age of Legends. Most of them are just mass-produced standard issue weapon (like the Japanese WWII-era Shingunto swords, but wrought with the One Power), while the very few are individually crafted for prominent personalities.
  • Stormbringer from The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock, which has the distinction of being a Cool Sword, a Blade of Fearsome Size, and an Artifact of Doom.
  • Changeling from C.J. Cherryh's Morgaine Cycle has a edgeless "blade" made out of crystal, which would make it harmless... except that, when unsheathed, it's tip produces a rift in the fabric of reality that sucks up everything in its path.
  • The Sword of Riva from the Belgariad. An incredibly large sword made of meteoric iron, it's so heavy it needs the MacGuffin stuck on its pommel to lighten its weight. It also has a tendency to glow with blue fire when aforementioned macguffin is attached.
    • Garion is able to use the Orb of Aldur to give a friend's sword some similar properties. By the time Garion is done with it, 'Zakath is able to use his Blade of Fearsome Size as a rapier because it weighs absolutely nothing.
    • Cthrek Goru, Torak's black sword, is also pretty damn cool. A cursed Blade of Fearsome Size that leaks shadow with every swing, it intills fear in all those menaced by it. Wielded first by Torak, and then by the Demon Lord Mordja, it is present at both EVENTs and serves as the Evil Counterpart to the Sword of the Rivan King.
  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 novel Ravenor Returned, they go up against a warp-tainted sword, which is vampiric. The wound freaks out the doctor they find to treat it.
  • The sword of Martin the Warrior from the Redwall series. Another case of meteoric iron, plus handed down through many followers.
    • It's been described as having an edge like midwinter, which is just pure Badass. This weapon is proof a sword doesn't have to have a unique look (all it has going for it is a ruby pommelstone and black-cloth-wrapped handgrip) to be a Cool Sword.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Peter is given a sword by Father Christmas. In Prince Caspian, when they have found themselves back in Narnia, they go to get their gifts, and Peter takes it down and announces that it is his sword, with which he killed the wolf.
    • In the Prince Caspian scene described above, he refers to the sword as Rhindon - Wiki Narnia has a detailed description.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novels, Ibram Gaunt's swords are not only chainswords; his first one was a gift from his mentor, and after it is wrecked (much to his distress), he receives the power sword of Hieronymo Sondar, the founder of Vervunhive, while he tries to defend it in Necropolis. In Only In Death, Varl confirms Gaunt's death by showing the sword. Then Ezsrah takes it for a bludtoll, a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to culminate in his own death, and Mkoll chases after him to recover it. Rather than fight Ezsrah, he agrees to follow him until he dies and recover the sword then.
  • In the Diablo novel The Black Road, the main character, Darrick, looks for a sword, Stormfury, that will allow him to defeat the main villain of the book. When he finds it, the sword looks like a plain infantryman's weapon. When Darrick questions its lack of style, the sword's guardian points out that an impressive and awe-inspiring weapon would be more likely to be stolen, and the sword's abilities could not to be kept secret.
  • The titular blade of the Sword of Truth series. It's indestructible, can cut through anything the wielder perceives as an enemy, and feeds off the user's anger. And in the right hands, it can make the wielder a near unbeatable swordsman.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Wolfblade, Ragnor loses his sword defending the House of Belisarius. The Celestarch therefore gives him one: from the time of the Emperor, that had once belong to Skander. It fits his hand as if made for him, and the rune radiate a strange coldness.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel False Gods, Maggard wields a Kirlian blade -- "forged on ancient Terra and said to be able to severe the connection between body and soul"—and Horus is impressed with how it killed the walking corpses (as well as with Maggard's own skill).
    • Horus himself carries a golden sword, forged for him by one of his battle brothers when he was made Warmaster.
    • Temba carrires a warp-tainted sword that Temba whispered Horus's name to before fighting with new skill (although the sword is too blood thirsty, and Horus manages to kill him). But Horus's wound is killing him, and Loken discovers the sword was a xenos artifact -- too late to prevent Erebus, whom he knows responsible for this, from taking Horus to a shrine.
    • In James Swallow's The Flight of the Eisenstein, Garro's sword Libertas. Parts of it are older than the Age of Strife, and when he discovers Horus's treachery, he has his men swear their oath of moment on it. Later the reanimated corpses have "plague knife" which produce infection when they strike.
  • Various "great weapons" in Steven Brust's Dragaera series.
  • Parodied in the Dancing Gods series with Joe the Barbarian and his mighty sword Irving.
  • Sharpe was given the choice between a cool sword that was more like a work of art, a symphony designed to kill, and a mass-produced heavy cavalry sabre that had been customised with love by his friend Patrick Harper. Guess which one he chose.
  • Need, from Mercedes Lackey's Velgarth books, is an archtypical version. In the hands of a mage or other martially unskilled sort it will hijack her body and fight with vast skill. In the hands of a warrior or other magically unskilled sort it will dispell any spell cast upon her without her permission. No matter who holds it, she will heal with remarkable speed. The downsides? It will only work for a woman, will not harm a woman, and will... press... it's wielder into aiding any woman in the area whether she wants it or not.

Woman's Need calls me
As Woman's Need made me
Her Need I must answer
As my maker bade me.

    • Somewhat amusingly, Need can also be wielded by gay men, although this rarely happens and is hypothesized as being a result of "confusion" on Need's part. However, Firesong k'Treva, a Hawkbrother archmage, was her last wielder, and Need was fully conscious when he used her.
  • Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Stories series has a ton of cool swords, including the protagonists's blade Serpent Breath, so named because it has nearly-invisible lines in it that resemble a dragon's breath. Other names include Widow Maker and Heart Breaker.
    • Caledfwylch in his Warlord Chronicles, which would become known as Excalibur by the later generations.
  • In Percy Jackson and The Olympians, Anaklusmos/Riptide, which is made of celestial bronze and can only hurt heroes, monsters and gods; it also turns into a pen and reappears in Percy's pocket. Then, there's Backbiter, forged of both steel and bronze so it can hurt everyone.
  • The Twelve Swords of Power in the books of Fred Saberhagen.

I shatter Swords and splinter spears;
None stands to Shieldbreaker.
My point's the fount of orphan's tears
My edge the widowmaker.

  • In Chris Roberson's Warhammer 40,000 Blood Ravens novel Dawn Of War II, Wisdom. Explicitly described as a rare sword so marvelous as to have a name. Lost in a fight with a tyrannid, it is found again in a collection of xenos artifacts, and one Space Marine immediately takes it up in order to undo the shame.
  • The Swords of the Cross in The Dresden Files, which each have a nail from the True Cross worked into the blade. They are Amoracchius, Fidellacchius, and Esperacchius; The swords of Love, Faith, and Hope respectively.
    • The Wardens of the White Council also have some heavily enchanted swords which can cut through magic. Harry didn't get one when he was made a Warden in Dead Beat because the wizard who makes them was rendered unable to do so by the events of the book.
  • In The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines (think The Brothers Grimm meet Charlie's Angels The Cinderella Captain Ersatz Danielle has a sword made of glass which contains her mother's soul.
  • Sadrao and Kuroinu's swords in Black Dogs. Sadrao's, which possibly counts as a Blade of Fearsome Size (if you're human-sized), is said to be so well crafted that if properly taken care of it could be used for a hundred years.
  • The spirit-sword Shadowmaker in Douglas Hill's Master of Fiends. Not only does it change shape depending upon the tactical situation, but it ends up in the hands of one of the few genuine Badasses in the series.
  • Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is about the three titular swords and their role in defeating (or not) the Storm King.
  • In The Song of Roland, we have Durandal, No, not that one., the sword of Charlemagne's paladin, Roland. Said to be indestructable, in addition to containing various holy relics in its hilt, including a tooth of St. Peter, blood of St. Basil, and a hair of St. Denis.
    • This sword was so indestructable, that when Roland attempted to smash it to prevent it being taken by the Saracens, he accidentally created La Brèche de Roland, a large gap in the Pyrennes mountains forty meters wide and a hundred meters tall.
  • In Book of the New Sun, Severian's executioner's sword "Terminus Est" has a hollow blade half filled with mercury, with the intent of causing its balance to shift when making a decapitating strike from above, thus making the strike more effective (NOT with the intent of poisoning the blade).
  • In The Scar, Uther Doul wields a "possible sword" from the Ghosthead Empire; when swung imprecisely, it simultaneously strikes everywhere it could have possibly struck.
  • In Book 2 of The 39 Clues, Dan Cahill gets a pair of Japanese swords.
  • In Robert E. Howard's The Hour of the Dragon, Zenobia brings Conan the Barbarian a sword when she rescues him.

Whatever else she might be, she was proven by that dagger to be a person of practical intelligence. It was no slender stiletto, selected because of a jeweled hilt or gold guard, fitted only for dainty murder in milady's boudoir; it was a forthright poniard, a warrior's weapon, broad-bladed, fifteen inches in length, tapering to a diamond-sharp point.

  • In the Shannara series by Terry Brooks there are two of these. The Sword of Shannara, which can reveal the truth about anything it touches, and the jet black Sword of Leah, which, having been dipped in the Hadeshorn, can now cut and parry magic as though it were iron and steel.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe expands on the types of lightsabers available. Mara Jade also has a pink one, as did Siri Tachi, a love interest for Obi-Wan when he was young. There are also tonfa-style sabers, the rapier-like lightfoils, and lightwhips which are almost always wielded by hot dark side temptresses.
  • Shardblades in The Stormlight Archive are this enormous Soul Cutting Blades, that often have fancy designs or symbols on the blade.
  • Many a young fantasy fan was introduced to this trope by Dyrnwyn in the Chronicles of Prydain.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has some:
    • Valyrian steel blades are, by definition, cool blades. There are only 200-something remaining blades in the world, as the secret of their making is lost. They are light, durable and incredibly sharp. Some Valyrian steel swords appearing on-screen and in the books:
      • Ice, the Stark's Valyrian steel greatsword
      • Longclaw, a bastard sword for a bastard
      • Oathkeeper and Widow's wail, two swords with a blood-red coloration made from Ice.
    • Other, cool swords also appear, including:
      • Dawn. It's made from a fallen star, milky-white color, one of the few non-Valyrian blades that are on par with them
      • Lightbringer, Azor Ahai's legendary sword
      • Needle, Arya Stark's skinny dagger-like blade
      • Thoros of Myr's swords, set on fire with wildfire or Blood Magic
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere an Autumn Tale, the good guys' swords can not be wielded if stolen; this is what tells Raechel that Lucian was given the sword he carries.

Live-Action TV


He chanted words to the blazing mix, of ancient Red Men’s and White Men’s tricks
To draw a spirit, and purpose fix in what the blade would feel:
The iron laws from Nature’s hand, the ruthless will of the desert land,
The freedom no one can command – and cast that thought in steel.

And when the blacksmith’s work was done, the new sword gleamed like the setting sun.
All down the blade did the old runes run, a warning plain to see.
The steel was grained like the finest wood. A full yard long and more it stood.
The runes read: “I serve but the good of life and liberty.”

Near the hilt, set in copper wire, a phoenix rose up from the pyre.
A copper star within the fire rayed out copper cords.
The grip was like a saguaro made that clasped a moon in quartz and jade.
In truth, like to no other blade was the Arizona Sword.

Made at the order of a would-be tyrant, it turned and slew him when he first drew it, then vanished.


  • The Poetic Edda of Norse Mythology includes a story called The Waking of Angantyr. The story revolves around the magic sword Tyrfing ("The Finger of the War God"). Odin's mortal grandson Svafrlami managed to entrap some Dwarves and forced them to forge the sword for him. It gleamed like fire and could cut through metal and stone as if through cloth. It would also never miss a strike and the blade would never blemish. But angry at being forced to create it, the Dwarves cursed it so that whenever it was drawn it would kill someone. It was also designed to betray its wielders eventually. However, it was an awesome weapon and Angantyr uses it in a battle between his people, the Goths, and their far more numerous enemies the Huns. The Goths win because Angantyr cuts down much of their army using Tyrfing.
  • Before Arthur, Perseus had a special sword that could cut the armored neck of a Gorgon. Athena and Hermes gave it to him.
    • Other versions say that the weapon was the Sickle of Kronus, which had been claimed by Zeus as his personal weapon.
  • The swords of Japanese swordmakers, like Masamune and Muramasa, are treated like this.
  • Subverted in Beowulf. There's a lot of build-up to his use of Hrunting (any sword with a name is important). And then when he uses it against Grendel's mother it fails. He has to use a sword found in the home of Grendel's mother to defeat her. Being forged by giants makes it a cool sword in its own right, but again, Grendel's mother's blood melts the sword.
    • When Beowulf uses Hrunting again on the Dragon, it actually breaks.
  • The sword of the famed alchemist Paracelsus, which supposedly contained Azoth (a cure-all) in its pommel, and a gem containign an imp that could be sent out to wreak havoc.
  • The paired swords Gan Jiang and Mo Ye from the Wu and Yue Spring and Autumn Annals.
  • Excalibur, anyone? The original Sword in the Stone was also a Cool Sword. According to some versions, Excalibur was given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake after it broke. Other versions have them as the same sword.
  • The Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven) from Japanese myth. Better known by the less cool name Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (Grass Cutting Sword) which can control the winds. It's possible that it was real weapon but most historians are convinced that even it was real it's been lost for a very long time, regardless of the claims made about the blade kept at the Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya.
    • The Kusanagi appears in many Japanese works of fiction. In Naruto, for example, Orochimaru uses it in several different fights.

Tabletop Games


  • The Sommerswerd from the Lone Wolf gamebooks. + 8 to combat skill, double damage to the undead, only good weapon that can kill a Darklord. Granted, the Darklords made plenty of weapons to use against themselves via Enemy Civil War but those tend to be Artifact of Doom.
    • The Ironheart Broadsword from Book 11. It has a Badass description, a name that rivals 'Sommerswerd' in coolness, and is the only weapon other than the Sommerswerd that can kill the Chaos-master. Unfortunately you don't get to keep it, and if you brought the Sommerswerd, the Sword of the Sun doesn't even let you find it. Maybe it was jealous?

Tabletop RPG

  • In Traveller the Imperial Marines have ceremonial cutlasses. Aslan, interestingly enough never used swords because they thought their claws were satisfactory. They have a great love for finely crafted weapons of all Technology Levels though.
  • Though Warhammer 40,000 has a plethora of exceptionally Cool Swords (many of them detailed below), it should be remembered that the basic chainsword is still, well, a sword and a chainsaw, thus being the exact blend of utterly cool and horrifyingly gory that defines 40k.


Video Games

  • Any Final Fantasy sword that isn't just bought in a shop. Double points if it's named after one of the other swords on the list (Excalibur and Masamune are everpresent).
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Lloyd gets not one, but TWO of these. One of them was his birth father's sword, which is essentially a flaming butcher knife. The other was his adopted father's sword, which was made of ice and could slice through rock.
  • Zelda's Master Sword, which powers vary from game-to-game but these days is usually treated as an all purpose weapon for destroying evil. Most commonly, it has the "Power to Repel Evil," which is how you end up Playing Tennis With the Boss when the boss is the King of Evil. In The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past you can actually make it even stronger by tempering it (turning the blade red instead of blue) and some Honest Axe action will get you an all mighty Golden Sword. There is also the Picori Sword from The Legend of Zelda the Minish Cap which is later reforged as the Four Sword which are essentially the same as the Master Sword and the Phantom Sword from The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass, which appears to be that worlds version of the Master Sword (down to similar aesthetics).
    • It should be added that the Four Sword can make 4 copies of its wielder, turning you into a small army.
    • Also from the Zelda series is the Biggoron's Sword, which is so big it takes two hands to wield, but out-does the damage of every other weapon in the games it appears in.
    • In many games since The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, the sword has a dedicated button unlike the other items, and has the widest array of uses out of all of them. Optional upgrades often add even more utility to it, such as shooting energy while Link is at full health or chargeable whirl attacks.
  • Keyblades in general, which are part key, part sword. A mystical superpowered weapon granting superstrength and reflexes on absurd levels as well as being able to open and close routes between parallel universes.
  • The Star Dragon Sword/Zodiac Sword from the Suikoden series is pretty Badass, and something of a Deadpan Snarker to boot.
    • In a slightly more comical example, Gon from the first Suikoden can upgrade his regular Sword into a literal Cool Sword and from there into the Very Neat Sword. This, I think we can all agree, makes Gon the best character ever.
  • Cyphers in Strider.
  • Soul Calibur has both the eponymous sword and its Evil Counterpart, the Soul Edge.
  • Soul Reaver, in both of its incarnations.
  • Sinclair from Art of Fighting 3 wields a scimitar.
  • There is nothing that Zankantou/Colossal Blade cannot cut.
  • League of Legends is chock full of them, mostly of a BFS variety. One character uses Mind Over Matter to wield her sword, but is not described doing that with other objects, so it is assumedly just with her blade.
  • Just check out any epic weapon in an MMORPG. Rule of Cool seems to be how everyone wants to fight. There are even things like axes with spikes and skulls randomly strewn on it. Or for a sword example, Thunderfury, a sword longer than yourself that has random lightning jolts on it plus some... unique... cutting edges.
  • Warcraft
    • Frostmourne hungers...
    • The Ashbringer...
    • The twin blades of Azzinoth, the very cool swords wielded by Illidan, or Thunderfury, a sword wielded by Thunderaan, lord of wind elementals, Ashkandi, greatsword of the Brotherhood, Zin'rokh and Jin'rohk... The list goes on.
  • City of Heroes offers many options for the broadsword, katana, and dual blades melee powersets.
  • Nobody else thinks the Dragon Sword and the Dark Dragon Blade from Ninja Gaiden are cool?
  • Kamui's Tamayorihime in Arcana Heart, a sword that can cut through ether (Elemental substance) without damaging the physical body.
  • The Sword of Gith, from Neverwinter Nights 2. In D&D, it is mainly used by Githyanki, and is able to sever the astral cord (a lifeline to the body) of astral travelers, killing them instantly.
    • Any silver sword can do that. Gith's sword is much more powerful.
      • More specifically, the average Silver Sword is capable of lopping heads and arms off with ease, shearing right through most materials, in addition to astral projections and is litterally made out of a constantly shifting blade of liquid silver. And that is the average silver sword carried by a Githyanki Knight. The Sword of Gith is the blade of the FOUNDER of the Githyanki, known for being so bloodthirsty that she actually had to be stopped by her most loyal retainer when she started picking fights with everyone. This is also bypassing the fact that it's a shattered weapon, held together by the very power of your character's mind, with a list of beneficial properties that outpreforms everything other individual magic item in the game.
  • Dak'kon's Karach blade from Planescape: Torment: made of pure elemental chaos and shaped by the wielder's will, a character who's studied it claims that, with the right mindset behind it, it could cut holes in reality...or kill an immortal.
  • Baldur's Gate 2 had the memorable Liliacor, an intelligent sword that was Ax Crazy whose best advice on getting rich is to kill someone rich and loot the body. Repeatedly. It also protected you from confusion spells....
    • Then there's Carsomyr, the paladins-only Holy Avenger sword you recover from the lair of a notorious dragon and which comes with a list of bonuses and anti-magic abilities as long as your arm.
      • Carsomyr: When you're sick of playing nice with the demilich.
  • In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, Soma can obtain the Sword in the Stone... while it's still in the stone!, but there is the Claimh Solais. It's huger, shinier, faster, holier... One of the rare examples where the Infinity+1 Sword sucks compared to some other weapon.
  • Also, from the same game (and Symphony of the Night), the Crissagrim/Valmanway. A sword made of wind, anyone?
  • In Legaia: Duel Saga, there are some very cool swords. Some are on fire (sorta), none of them are sentient, but at least half of the main character's many blades are just kickass and very original in design. Wish I could find some pics of them online for proof...
  • In the campaign for Hordes of the Underdark, an expansion pack for the original Neverwinter Nights, you might stumble upon a talking longsword named Enseric. Be ready for a fight though if you plan on freeing him...
  • Team Fortress 2 gives the Scottish cyclops Demoman an unlockable sword, the Eyelander. It decapitates foes, and changes your health and speed based on how many people you kill, because it's haunted.
    • Some other swords have since been added to the game, mostly for the demoman, though the Eyelander remains the most iconic.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has the Umbra blade, which traps souls, as well as numerous others. They don't even have to be artifact weapons. The "basic" ebony and daedric swords qualify.
  • From the Dragon Age series we have Starfang, made from starmetal, Vigilance, which is made with the bones of an elder High Dragon and is arguably the most powerful sword in the series, the Celebrant, which is a two-handed sword used as a badge of office for "Toughest Warrior in the Free Marches" and has absorbed the awesomeness of its past wielders... yeah, Dragon Age likes this Trope. A lot.
    • Asala is another great example, being the greatsword belonging to Sten, forged for his hand alone and as a Qunari, is considered to be an extension of his very soul. Finding it for him causes him to actually smile and afterwards earns you his Undying Loyalty.
  • Deus Ex and Deus Ex Invisible War both have the Dragon's Tooth Sword, a prototype nanite blade.
  • The Sword of Evil's Bane before the Master Sword, Herald, Gigas, Exacalibur, Masamune, and a thousand other names: the Sword of Mana. The latter games desribe it being instrument to slaying primortal evil and choas to create the world. It is wieled by the hero for the world's peril. More often than not the hero ends up with a rusted or broken sword in the final battle instead; it'll do.
  • Ragnell from Fire Emblem 9 and 10. It's one of the few weapons in the games that's indestructible, does insane damage, has a ranged attack, and is huge for the setting. It's only really comparable to it's twin, Alondite. That both swords are wielded by embodiments of awesome doesn't hurt.
  • Summon Night: Swordcraft Story and it's sequel both contain large swords of power. In the first game, you craft said sword from the other four swords that your father, Shintetsu, actually put his soul into and died making. You can choose to sacrifice your Guardian Beast for a more powerful sword and an easier fight, or let your companion live and have a slightly more difficult time. Either way, your new sword is big, blue, and kicks ass. You don't get to keep it after the end however. Then the second game gives you another, which is activated with your Mono Shift. It can shoot large energy bolts, but it's damaged while doing so. Slightly subverted in the fact that said sword is essentially the weapon you have crafted currently, with the same strengths and weaknesses. It's still badass, and it still can lay down the hurt quickly.
  • Temjin, the titular hero in Virtual On series, although his sword also works as a gun.
  • Fable III's main selling point is the fact, as you level up, you can form a basic longsword into one of these, it evolves depending on various factors and decisions you make, such as alignment, how much you use magic, how much gold you make, etc.
  • Golden Sun and its sequel Golden Sun: Dark Dawn have a bunch of these. What makes them really cool is their "Unleash" abilities. The Kikuichimonji summons a demon swordsman that slices your enemies in half. The Masamune summons dragons made out of water to smite your foes. The Verdant Sword turns into a lightsaber. Phaeton's Blade impales the enemy with spears of light. The coolest ones by far are the ones only The Hero (Isaac and Matthew) can wield. The Gaia Blade can summon an even bigger Cool Sword while the Sol Blade can summon a miniature sun.
    • Not to forget both of them have Psynergy involving summoning giant swords to impale their enemies.
  • RuneScape's got at least two worth mentioning:
    • The Godsword. An Infinity+1 Sword composed of four separate swords.
    • Silverlight, while not particularly useful at first unless you need to get up close and personal with demons, gets upgraded to a very Awesome but Practical melee weapon at the end of a quest about... getting up close and personal with a demon.
  • How cool are the Eternity swords in Eien no Aselia? They're outright gods. In fact, the universe was apparently once one huge sword that shattered into them, and they're trying to reform.
  • Touhou: Youmu's Hakurouken and Roukanken. They are katanas (both of them), they can turn into BFS, they were forged by Youkai who are anti-thesis of gods, they can cut anything (explicitly stated to be able to cleave confusion).
  • Mega Man: Z-Saber is what makes Zero so cool - sometimes even surpassing X.
  • God of War: The Blades of Chaos/Athena/Exile are a pair of short swords that Kratos can throw and swing using the chains on his wrists. They also light on fire when in use.
    • II brought us the Blade of Olympus, forged by Zeus himself to end the Great War between the Gods and Titans.
  • Rance has the Demonic Sword Chaos (which is just as perverted as he is). It is one of two weapons able to kill the Demon King. The other one is held by Kentarou
  • Almost all of the swords in Otogi: Myth of Demons are special in some way, wether it was used to seal a powerful demon, is a demonic blade that can kill anything it touches, or has a blade made of solid moonlight. All of the swords have some unique story behind them, in fact, the most normal sword in this game is a large katana designed for splitting helmets.
  • Meta Knight's Sword in the Kirby series.
  • The Sword of Light, the Sword of Darkness and the Chaos Breaker from Shining Force. Each was an insanely powerful Laser Blade that could be used for different effects. Although, the Sword of Darkness was cursed and produced a Useless Useful Spell.
  • The Sora Katana in Red Steel II
  • The Monado in Xenoblade Chronicles because it has the ability to allow you to see the future, has a cool shape, a blue energy blade can came out of it, and it can't cut humans!
  • Icewind Dale has Pale Justice, an incredibly potent magical blade blessed by Helm that nonetheless appears as a well-made but plain soldier's weapon.
  • Every sword used by Matt in the Epic Battle Fantasy series counts, all having special powers, magical properties and cool designs, the Heaven's Gate being the most iconic one. The creator of the series fully admitted on several occasions that he likes designing badass-looking fantasy swords.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Fittingly enough the first-ever Real Life entry for this trope goes to Terry Pratchett, who in commemoration of his own knighting acquired the material to forge his very own sword, and out of genuine Thunderbolt Iron no less.
  • A bunch of real life cool Spanish swords.
  • The Urumi whip swords have to classify.
  • The Japanese invented an intensive sword-making process that came about in large part because their iron is of terrible quality and needs a great deal of work to make it useful. Due to the influence of Japanese culture in entertainment, Japanese swords have quite a following.
    • On the dark side, though perhaps rather practical in a sense, samurai sword's effectiveness for killing people was tested by, well, killing people. That is they were taken to a prison yard and used on the next batch of execution victims.
  • The Germanic and Celtic tribes have, since the Iron Age, had a lengthy and trying process of sword-making that still produces some of the best swords today. It's called pattern-welding, and it involves twisting different kinds of steel together in order to ensure the blade has strength and flexibility. With a little treatment, the flowing patterns of steel would be visible on the blades. Like a human fingerprint, each blade had a different pattern. Prior to standardised systems of measurement, this style of swordsmithing was very unreliable; it has produced some of the best swords known anywhere to history, but it's also produced some of the flimsiest Iron Age swords as well.
  • A real life case of technological improvements resulted in the invention of spring monosteel in sufficient quantity and quality for swords in Europe starting around 1400. It lead to sword blades being springier, therefore far harder to break, because instead of snapping like previous blades made by pattern welding and folding, the blade would just form back to shape under stress. This monosteel, while it doesn't hold the same super hard edge as precision hardened blades, is ultimately far more durable and less prone to manufacturing defects. This led to a very interesting period of history from the early 1600's to the late 1900's when enormous numbers of swords all over the world, including highly non European designs and places, used blades made in Europe for this exact reason, most significantly in India, where European blademakers even created blades expressly for this foreign market where they were then mated onto locally designed and made hilts.
  • Kuo Chang-hsi, a Taiwanese swordsmith, uses human bones to forge his swords. (He also forged the Green Destiny sword for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
  • Swords demanded the highest quality ironmongery of whatever time they were used in because of the stress expected from them and the money the buyer could afford. Moreover the metal work had to be good for several feet because of course breaking in one place is the end of the sword; it did not have a wooden shaft like a polearm or a short blade like a knife. Many a sword was customized according to a users preferred style. And many bladesmiths kept their secrets hidden and clothed in mysticism naturally enough both from a sense of guildish identity and to guard trade secrets. Some of the mysticism of course was justified: bathing a sword in the blood of a victim sacrificed to the War God(a highly plausible formula) or having a red-haired boy urinate on it(an actual one) for instance really would carbonize the blade as indeed would many biological materials.
  • The Ulfberht swords. Blades made for Vikings from crucible steel imported from the Middle East, they were so rare and desired that there were actually smiths making shoddy knockoffs of them from inferior steel, with "Ulfberht" misspelled on the blade.