The Making of Thorondún

By Justin Gerard


A few years ago I painted a number of paintings from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion that featured the elf warrior Glorfindel and his battle with a balrog.  

Then when Annie and I got married, longtime friend, colleague and Person-of-the-Year Award Winner Cory Godbey got in contact with David DelaGardelle, a fearsomely talented swordsmith, about the possibility of taking the sword from the Glorfindel image and actually forging it. 

David Delagardelle has been designing and making swords for over 10 years and runs the Cedarlore Forge.  His work has a strong celtic and Tolkien influence and he has designed many swords and weapons around figures and myths from Tolkien. The weapons he makes are some of the most wonderfully designed and patterns I have ever seen.  He takes the time to research and design each blade specifically to the story of its bearer.  


Now what is truly amazing about this project is that David and Cory did this without me knowing it.  And this made it very tricky because I designed the Glorfindel sword in my artwork not only on functional principles but also a design element meant to lead the viewer along the composition. Because of this, there were certain aspects of the blade that defied logic to someone familiar with designing and forging blades.

I never designed the sword in the artwork with the idea that it would someday have to actually be forged. Still, in spite of these apparent barriers, David was able to take the design and with a little tinkering, turn it into a completely functional design which he was then able to hammer into this amazing blade. 

Thorondún 1.jpg

After the amazing work in actually designing and forging the shape, another type of magic begins. At this point David then goes in and adds the fine details, completely by hand, using chisel and acid to not just the sword, but also the scabbard. David is an accomplished 2D artist, and his elegant pattern and decorative work sings as it takes these blades to entire new levels of art. His attention to detail in his designs is remarkable, all the way down to his research of the names and histories of the weapon, which he carves and etches directly into the weapons, imbuing them with the same sense of rich history that Tolkien gave to Middle Earth.

This is truly one of the coolest things i have ever seen in my life and it is an absolute honor to have one of David's swords in my home. I am so pleased to be able to share it with you here. If you haven't already, you have got to check out his work at Cedarlore Forge