Terry Pratchett makes his own magic sword with meteoric iron

Having been knighted by the Queen, Sir Terry Pratchett decided he needed a sword, so he made one. He mined the ore from a field near his house, chucked in a bunch of meteoric ore ("thunderbolt iron, you see -- highly magical, you've got to chuck that stuff in whether you believe in it or not") and then got a local blacksmith to help him fashion a silver-chased blade out of it. Then he hid it away, because he was worried that England's knife-crime-maddened coppers would come over to his house and confiscate it.
With help from his friend Jake Keen -- an expert on ancient metal-making techniques -- the author dug up 81kg of ore and smelted it in the grounds of his house, using a makeshift kiln built from clay and hay and fuelled with damp sheep manure...

He said: "It annoys me that knights aren't allowed to carry their swords. That would be knife crime."

Terry Pratchett creates a sword with meteorites (Thanks, Eric!)

(Image: Terry Pratchett, Powell's, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from firepile's photostream)


  1. Insert pen-being-mightier-than-the-sword comment here.

    Insert other comment to the effect that meteorite-iron swords don’t kill people, Chuck Norris kills people, but Terry Pratchett makes his swords …

    Though it needed no proof, Terry Pratchett proves he is simply incredible at everything! How cool is that?

  2. Terry Pratchett just continues to amaze me. I was enthralled by his books growing up, but his non-writing activities have probably inspired me the most.

    1. You’re so right Church. In fact, allowing Knights to wear swords may also encourage more people to live up to the ideals and become Knights of the Realm. :)

  3. In lands where common sense still prevails, you have to commit a crime with a knife before it’s considered “knife crime”.

    I give it another 10 years until the UK unveils “hand crime”, “penis crime” and the like.

  4. In a sensible universe, this sword would have magic powers just because of what it’s made of, how it was made, and who it was made by and for.

    If nothing else, ‘The Sword of Sir PTerry’ is guaranteed to become a legend someday.

  5. Can he carry it if it’s peace-tied? (Ren-faires in the US allow weapons if they are tied to their sheaths — are you telling me that British renaissance faires don’t allow weapons at all?)

    Terry Pratchett is my favorite author ever (and I’m thrilled that my 10 year old has also become a fan.)

  6. Hey, the Queen comes at these guys with a sword while knighting them. Aren’t they even allowed to defend themselves?

    1. I think Sir Terry said himself, when commenting on his knighthood, that being struck (tapped) with the sword by the monarch represents the last time that the recipient can honourablt be struck without having to defend himself.

  7. Reply to elagie

    This is from (quite) a few years ago, but I used to be involved in medieval re-enactment here in the UK and the general rules were once on-site/camp then walking round in full weaponry was fine, but NO weapons were to be worn at all if leaving the site.

  8. I love that he not only made a magic sword, but hid it away as well. One can only hope it was hidden in a crystal festooned cave, buried half way in the living rock with an arcane inscription (possibly in runes, but some made up language would work too) inscribed on the nearby wall.

    1. an arcane inscription (possibly in runes, but some made up language would work too) inscribed on the nearby wall.

      Like “Minde ye hed”? – this is Pratchett after all :-P

  9. So, somewhere in MOE, there is a lump of dark, lumpish yet gently witty social(ist) sarcasm, in which TP has thrust his magical ka-niff, then uttered the mystic words, “After me comes no one except British cops.”

    I knew he was losing it. I think it’s gone. (He’s forgotten everything he ever knew about Hermione Granger.)

  10. It is sad that the people who brought us the Magna Carta have fallen so far. Unfortunately I think it was the loss of the adventurous men lost in battle in WW-I and WW-II that brought them to that point. Nature or nurture something got lost and caution crept into the national soul.

    Terry Pratchett should be given a harem license to help bring back the sword forging swashbuckler genes.

    1. The rationale for banning sword-sticks probably has something to do with, you know, disguising a deadly weapon as something innocuous.

      And in fact, though I am firmly against the banning of swords and sword-related activities, it is not hard to see the difficult position that this creates for lawmakers. On the one hand, there are traditions relating to weapons and their use ceremonially and culturally has to be acknowledged. Further, liberal governments should seek to reduce the limitations of choice they impose upon their citizens or subjects. However, it is unavoidable that carrying a sword is essentially going about prepared and equipped to commit acts of deadly violence against others; in fact it is from this that much of the ceremonial function has arisen. Even owning a sword is an admission that objects designed to kill people are pretty cool sometimes. So it’s easy to bleat ‘nanny state, wah, wah’ but it is also important to recognise that the impulse to posess a sword which the government is allegedly so cruelly thwarting is essentially one’s inner 8-year-old taking control, and as such perhaps a nanny state is not so wholly inappropriate.

      I notice that above I’ve been disemvowelled; I’m honoured; I feel like i’ve passed an important threshold in my life. On reflection I was being pretty obnoxious. I get wound up by people reading Daily-Mail level reporting about the UK and accepting it uncritically.

  11. We don’t really have ren faires after the US tradition in the UK, and re-enactment generally requires blunt weapons. However, it is legal to carry a sword peace-knotted. In fact, I know loads of people who have encountered the police whilst carrying a variety of weapons, from swords to spears to halberds, without getting in trouble. Sir Terry is simply being an alarmist old fool.

  12. First they came for the guns, but we did not say anything because we are not gun owners.

    Then they came for the swords. At that point we got pissed because swords are awesome!

  13. I live in a jurisdiction where a blade over 4″ and less than (IIRC) 16″ is illegal, whether it’s mounted on a short grip or on a pole. This leaves just about everything worthy of the word “sword” legal, but only if worn openly, not concealed.

    This leads to the occasional surreal moment on the bus :)

    I can happily report that one of the perks of being a sword carrying maniac is that you always get a seat to yourself in public transit.

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