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Jake Powning

Giant Sword, Arctic Fire Colaboration— Bush/Powning

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Owen and I are making a the giant sword from Grendel's hoard.

Built for giants and hung on the wall of the troll lair, It's the sword that was used to slay Grendel's mother by Beowulf after his own sword failed. Once the deed had been done, the blade of the giant's sword was destroyed by Grendel's mother's blood, however, the hilt and possibly a blade fragment remained. Beowulf brought only two things from the troll den when he left — the hilt of this sword and Grendel's head, both of which he gave to king Hrothgar.

In the last few decades the historical Heorot (the hall of Hrothgar) has been unearthed in Denmark, in a place called Lejre.

We'll keep you updated on the progress here.

 

I'll start out by posting my concept drawing for the hilt...

 

The so called "drowning giants" sword hilt fragment was reportedly found next to a very large hominid skull with one intact unusually long canine tooth. The skull could possibly be from a human with some form of giantism from the period of burial, or be an ancient skull (perhaps from a Neanderthal / Homo Sapiens hybrid) unearthed by people of the time and kept as a talismanic curiosity. The skull may be much older than the find site, but since it was lost it's virtually impossible to speculate.

 

lejreskull3smal.jpg

 

 

 

 

"(the hilt) was engraved all over and showed how war first came into the world and the flood destroyed the tribe of giants." -Beowulf

"Drowning Giant" hilt and blade fragment from Hrothgar's tomb. Depicts Salin style giants getting pulled apart and sucked down into whirlpools on iether side of the center line.

 

drowning giants2.jpg

 

Owen and I have been researching the names this sword may have had. The list is quite extensive! I've also designed the hilt based on other giant artifacts I have knowledge of.

 

notes on undertowsml3.jpg

 

This drawing shows the scale difference between men and giants extrapolated from the Lejre hilt and blade fragment size. this is the size a person would need to have been in order to use the sword. Owen Bush is forging a blade to match the original's probable size, and I will fit it with a hilt. When we're done we're hopping a giant will appear to claim the reconstruction. Don't feed the giant any whiskey at all— that's what they tell me.

 

giantweb3.jpg

 

giant11.jpg

 

and finally one of my earliest sketches trying to determine the scale of the hilt before I had thoroughly decoded the hilt ornamentation :) It shows a giant's hand resting under the hilt and a human warrior's hand for scale reference.

 

giant sword2.jpg

 

 

I've had several long discussions with Owen about our research so far. He is researching and designing the blade of the sword and has looked into it's origins. I've taken the liberty of quoting some of what he's written on the subject so far —

 

"For me one thing is certain, a sword with many lives and possibly only one destiny...

I imaging the owner of the sword, feeling that the destiny was his also. to kill a great troll, but alas it was not to be. for him a watery grave, A feast for crabs.

 

I wonder how many carried this sword and died, again and again before the swords long sleep. a lazy lover waiting , languid, nestled in great company. cuddled in gold .draped in horn ,and lyre, dagger....one eye half open....unslept....the long wait.

To wake and find destiny came in the form of a man, casting the shadow of a giant. past owners gathering at the gate and watching as sword met scale, lives and legends flashing past in the severing......destiny fulfilled in blood-melted steel..." - Owen Bush

 

It seems quite likely that this sword was forged in the earliest age, when time wasn't all together settled yet, when the lines between men and gods and giants weren't so clear as they became later. It seems possible, even likely, that this sword was forged by one of the beings hinted at in Völuspá— the children of Ymyr. Immense deep knowing ones later to become gods, but without intention yet, only making things for the sake of making them, unaware of the consequences of breathing life into trees creating the first men, of building mountains from the bones of their recently destroyed progenitor, and the sky from his skull. Perhaps they made other things more subtle— a sword imbued with visions of flood and war they did not yet understand, and given a destiny to unfold as time cooled into a more certain thing than it was in the beginning.

 

It has even been suggested by one scholar (J. Arthur Loose) that this may be the blade that slue Ymyr himself, though of course this would be impossible to prove...

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Oh, man, this is going to be epic!

 

I ahve been following the Lejre excavations with interest myself. Good interpretation!

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very... very excited!

Jake, Owen...

Awesome!

-Gabriel

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Fantastic...

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It really is exciting to think about the implications of this particular discovery. :)

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This just can't happen fast enough for me. I look forward to this with so much anticipation. Thank you for posting your work here.

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Destiny fulfiulled in blood melted steel.....we shall see.

I am stepping outside of my comfort zones with this , explooring parts of the past well misted in time.....treading beyond the vale. allowing snippets of the lost unknown to the surface and trying to hold it together from a literal and metaphoric point of view.

 

I am all to aware of the maker putting his own interpretation on the piece and want to as much as is possable act as a vessel for this one, to allow the muscle memory a journy beyond my past into forgings long forgotten , never spoken in words......

 

from a practical point of view, it is clear that a giants sword is not a trifling thing and my experimentation to date seems to be pushing me to the realisation that as the canvas gets bigger you need more detail rather than less, more story so to speak.

 

in many ways a modern smith with the victorian tooling I have is in a great place to attempt a blade like this.....

 

To incorperate profetic themes , sea serpents, the deluge and eventual demise of foe and blade will be a challenge as will be patternwelding a 40 to 50lb of blade...................

 

I am a craftsman who works from his gut and although I will put pen to paper this weekend , I cant really be sure of what will happen in steel untill the fury hits me and I am lost in the storm.......

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I am a craftsman who works from his gut and although I will put pen to paper this weekend , I cant really be sure of what will happen in steel untill the fury hits me and I am lost in the storm.......

 

That is the only way to do it. B)

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BIGGER...............BIGGER

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go for it guys.

Owen - sort of the collective unconscious of the bladesmith.

 

I have read anthropologists who like to refer to us as, "apes with axes." The idea being that making and using a singled-edged, backed blade, is intrinsic to being human. So... reach way back, man!

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To incorperate profetic themes , sea serpents, the deluge and eventual demise of foe and blade will be a challenge as will be patternwelding a 40 to 50lb of blade...................

 

 

 

40-50lbs?!? How big is this piece planned to be?

 

I'm gonna go make some popcorn.....

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40-50lbs?!? How big is this piece planned to be?

 

I'm gonna go make some popcorn.....

Really big. Gihugic even.

I mean it's going to be giant sized after all. Better make A LOT of popcorn.......hopefully the WIP will be mind-blowing.

Edited by Joshua States

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Here are some progress shots, the hilt begins to immerge. It's about 10 inches wide.

 

20160405_163123_HDR~2~2.jpg20160406_141938_HDR~2.jpg20160411_145752_HDR~2.jpg20160412_111917_HDR.jpg20160412_163237_HDR~2.jpg

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Where are they going to find someone to wield it? :lol:

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Sweet!! I've been following this project on facebook and it's awesome! Loved the video too, by the way. When do we get to see the blade? :D

Hire Halfthor Bjornson? =)

I was thinking the same thing! haha I bet he could wield it without much trouble.

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Hire Halfthor Bjornson? =)

 

not sure about the "Hire" part but thats the idea. I have an idea about the strength of a county level strong man, I worked with one and he could lift a 3.5 hundredweight anvil from the floor up on to its stand. I was impressed having asked him and someone else to give me a hand moving it (thinking 3 people may just about do it) . Having a "real" strongman around makes one feel safe, like a child again..........

I do not imagine Beowulf being of the stature of Halfthor, however I believe his Heroic certainty to be a very powerfull magic....He is a legend in his own lunchbox........and knows it.

I wonder if there would be a way to challenge Halfthor to better Beowolf....... that would be cool.

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Sweet!! I've been following this project on facebook and it's awesome! Loved the video too, by the way. When do we get to see the blade? :D

 

I was thinking the same thing! haha I bet he could wield it without much trouble.

 

The blade......was a long time in the making.........

When I was young ,my father taught me this.........Stand by the side of the Glacier for long enough and you will see the heads of your enemies slowly pass by, very slowly, really verry slowly, like verrrrrrrry slowwwwly. such is the way of giant forging.

To demand the rock to give up its iron is rude, so it must be asked.......sometimes a few times? nurtured , cherished and coddled . let the fire gently warm it....you get the picture.....soon ....sooooooon.

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Too bad Ashokan is the same weekend as the NH Highland Games at Loon. Bjornson will be there again this year, in which case I'd say "bring it over for ashokan and we can get a pic of him holding it!" He's real nice in person and I'm sure he'd pose for a pic with it, but ... 6 hours from Ashokan to Loon Mountain so not gunna happen =)

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Too bad Ashokan is the same weekend as the NH Highland Games at Loon. Bjornson will be there again this year, in which case I'd say "bring it over for ashokan and we can get a pic of him holding it!" He's real nice in person and I'm sure he'd pose for a pic with it, but ... 6 hours from Ashokan to Loon Mountain so not gunna happen =)

But if it could happen, this sword just might make it into season 6 (or 7) of GOT............

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I have reams of photos and vids of the making of this piece but do not know how to post vids on the forum? any clues would be good.

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I have reams of photos and vids of the making of this piece but do not know how to post vids on the forum? any clues would be good.

 

Post them to Youtube and then embed the code. IM me on facebook and I can walk you through it, bud.

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