Invites us to consider the deeper social implications of carrying and using a sword in the medieval world of Middle-earth—how bearing a sword not only indicates leadership and service, but provides an opportunity for social mobility, in addition to its more obvious military meanings. Considers as examples Merry and Pippin swearing oaths to, respectively, Théoden and Denethor; Éowyn’s heroic deeds; and especially Aragorn’s use of Narsil/Andúril as a symbol of legitimacy and service to his people.
Brisbois, Michael J.
"The Blade Against the Burden: The Iconography of the Sword in The Lord of the Rings,"
Mythlore: A Journal of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature: Vol. 27
, Article 9.
Available at: http://dc.swosu.edu/mythlore/vol27/iss1/9