Friday, August 10, 2007

Steel Magic

This panel was one of my favorite events at Archon. I always find Elizabeth Moon and Lee Martindale to be interesting, knowledgeable panelists. But this panel with John Hemry, Laura Underwood, Daniel Abraham, Ryu Cope and Paul Chafe worked very well. Swords are just fascinating. And this group knew their stuff - from the technology involved in crafting strong but flexible swords to the history of sword making to the magic of swords in stories - this panel touched on all of it. And, of course, the famous swords from great literary works were lovingly discussed. Amazing how many of these swords had names!

Hearing about the techniques in ancient sword making - no wonder swords have such a mystical symbolism. The ancient sword maker had to recognize the color of the molten metal as well as bend and shape it to form a sharp edge, a strong metal, and yet have a bendable, flexible weapon. Without our modern sensors and testing equipment, these old masters created amazing swords.

While swords were primarily weapons, many were crafted with beauty in their hilts and blades - a lasting beauty still visible today.

Many in the audience had their own swords - some were family heirlooms, others were military memorablia from either their own military service or from a family member's. Several had actual sword and knife collections. And many people still name their swords.

What a fun panel!

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