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"He carries a sword that's rumored to destroy dragons with a mere touch, but that's just a story. Truth is, he'd have to touch the dragon with the sword several times, and rather forcefully at that."
On Hallowed Ground, p.149

Gram, called also the Sword of Odin, is a powerful magical sword carried by Sigurd Fafnirsbane, a hero of Norse myth.[1]

Appearance

Gram appears as a fine sword of dwarven make.[2]

Properties

Gram is strongly magically enhanced. Its magic has double efficacy against dragons, and triple against lawful evil gold dragons.

Only a hero of lawful good alignment can wield the sword of Odin. Its bearer is protected against fire.[2]

History

Origins

Gram was crafted by the dwarven smiths of Asgard for the purpose of slaying red dragons.[2]

In the kingdom of Hunaland in the world of Earth, Siggeir of Gautland married Signy, daughter of the valkyrie Ljod and King Volsung, himself great-grandson of the god Odin. During the ceremony, a disguised Odin thrust a sword into a tree named Stem of the Children, offering it to whoever could pull it from the tree.

Sigmund Siggeirson

Sigmund, son of Siggeir and Signy, was the only one who could pull the sword from the tree. Siggeir, now king, offered to buy the sword from his son for three times its weight in gold.[3] When Sigmund refused, the king killed Sigmund's nine brothers, and he was forced to flee.

Sigmund later returned to avenge his brothers and ascend to the throne, marrying Hjordis, daughter of King Eylimi. King Lyngvi, a rival for Hjodris' hand in marriage, declared war upon Sigmund. Sigmund used the weapon to battle King Lyngvi's forces almost singlehandedly until the sword was broken in two against the spear of an opponent revealed to be a disguised Odin.[4] Sigmund was mortally wounded.

Sigurd Sigmundsson

Sigmund's wife escaped to Denmark and gave birth to a son, Sigurd, fostered by Regin, a blacksmith. When Sigmund came of age, Regin re-forged the legendary sword and gave it to Sigurd. Sigurd gave the sword the name Gram.

With Regin's guidance, Sigurd used it to slay Regin's brother Fafnir who had transformed into an evil gold dragon after slaying his father Hreidmar for a golden ring that another dwarf, called Andvari, cursed when Loki took it from him.

Fafnir cursed Sigurd with his dying breath, and Sigurd ate Fafnir's heart to gain his strength. Suddenly he gained the ability to to understand the language of birds, and heard them say that Regin was planning to betray him. Sigurd slew Regin with the sword Gram and claimed Andvari's cursed ring.

Sigurd used the sword to rescue the valkyrie Brynhild, who was imprisoned in a ring of fire.

Following Sigurd's death, the sword was lost.[2]

Publication history

Gram appeared in the Dragon Magazine #41 article, Giants in the Earth.[1]. The sword used to slay Fafnir was later described in Legends & Lore (2e) (1990), p.173 as the Sword of Odin.

Creative origins

The sword Gram appears in Norse mythology as the weapon by Sigurd Sigmundsson, hero of the Saga of the Volsungs.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Giants in the Earth, Dragon #41 (Sep 1980), p.18-19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Legends & Lore (2e) (1990), p.173.
  3. Three times the weight of a sword would be around 18 pounds of gold, or 900 gold pieces.
  4. The spear is implied to be Gungnir, Odin's legendary spear.
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