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KTN Charter School students create armory
Ketchikan Charter School seventh-grader Abi Davies talks about a sword she designed on Oct. 25 in the foyer of KCS. Staff Photo by Taylor Balkom

Daily News Staff Writer

The dozens of swords and scrolls displayed on the walls at Ketchikan Charter School each tell a story — which were inspired by a story themselves.

After reading “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien, the seventh-and-eighth students at KCS modeled their projects — otherwise known as the armory — off of the fictional setting of Tolkien’s writing: Middle-earth.

In Tolkien’s work, the swords of Middle-earth are based on weapons of Northern Europe during the Early Middle Ages, and have special powers and a detailed history. There are at least 16 swords in Middle-earth, and include Glamdring, the sword of Gandalf; and Anguirel, the sword of Maeglin, who betrayed Gondolin.

Using their research of ancient swords and ones used in “The Hobbit,” the students were able to detail their swords’ powers and heroic history on their scrolls, which also have the name of their swords on the medieval manuscript.

“They did research of ancient swords throughout history. They looked at the handles, they did drawings,” said Julie McFarland, KCS principal. “There’s some fun stuff — some of them are made from dragon skin.”

The sword Flaming Blade has a straight blade style, with a basket over the handle to block the hand from getting stabbed.

“My sword has two special abilities,” a student wrote on the Flaming Blade scroll. “One is it shoots fire with a button on the handle, another ability is when danger is near, my sword glows purple on one side.”

Another sword named Truth Seeker has several gems near the handle, each detailing a unique past.

“My favorite is the diamond on the pommel, which is embedded in metal from the evil queen’s mirror,” the student wrote on the Truth Seeker scroll. “All the amethysts on the crossguard of the sword are from Maleficent’s jewelry.”

Abi Davies, a seventh-grader, said she was originally going to make her sword red, yellow and gold — but ended up going a little wild with the acrylic paint.

“Then I added blue, purple (and) pink and it turned out to be an iridescent mix of flames,” Davies said.

Another sword on the wall, named The Blade of Burning Cold, was a gift for the emperor, and is a sword enchanted with fire and ice. It also has the power to easily slay any dragon that has a problem with the keeper of the sword.

“The sword was forged with the scales of a dragon, and every time another is slain, the enchantment strengthens,” the scroll for The Blade of Burning Cold states. “When the emperor died, his men buried him the sword atop his grave. However, a thief snuck past the royal guards and stole the sword.”

McFarland said all of the art projects connect with the school’s curriculum — and the armory combined art, history and language arts lessons.

“It helps the students really remember the project and it becomes part of their learning,” she said. “They will definitely remember the ancient cultures that they studied, (and) they’ll definitely remember the literature that they read through this project that they created.”