"The whole owl world will want battle claws."
- —Theo, The First Blacksmith
Battle claws are long claw-like metal sheaths that slip over an owl's talons, held on by leather straps. Battle claws are usually used as weapons in warfare, increasing the talons' (an owl's natural weapons) damage, reach, and deadliness. Battle claws are the primary and most commonly used weapons in the owl kingdoms, and even owls who live alone can have them made by rogue smiths. The first primitive set of claws were made by Theo, the first blacksmith.
How they are described and depicted in the books is inconsistent.
While Grank and Theo were experimenting with fire, Theo was making a three-clawed shape that looked like an owl's talon. Grank challenged him to make another sharp point and then hollow it out, which he did. Theo, when told by Grank what he had just done, was shocked, for he was a gizzard-resister. It was only by revealing that the egg he had on the unnamed island was that of Queen Siv and King H'rath that he convinced Theo to make another set to arm the owls who were to fight for the eggs safety.
Later, while Theo was flying over the Bitter Sea, he met a Great Horned Owl and a Snowy named Lord Elgobad (a cousin of Lord Arrin's) who were trying to recruit new troops for Lord Arrin's forces. They attacked Theo, unaware of this new weapon, and thinking him unarmed against their swords. Theo easily killed the overconfident Great Horned, and Elgobad barely escaped with his life.
The word about them eventually spread, and in the present day, to have battle claws is normal. Theo, however, remained haunted by what he had done. A young Spotted Owl named Ivar, whom Theo created a metal leg for after he lost his real leg, discovered the River of Wind and left, never to be seen again by any owl in the Five Kingdoms. Theo felt that he could no longer live in this world, so he followed and discovered the Middle Kingdom, where he became the first H'ryth.
Battle claws are first seen in The Capture, when Skench appears wearing battle claws and full battle regalia to stop Soren and Glifie's escape from st angelies. Despite use as weapons, battle claws are often used by colliers to pick up hot coals that would normally hurt the talons.
Notable Battle Claws
Ezylryb's battle claws
Ezylryb's battle claws have had a long and tragic history. They were made by the rogue smith of Dark Fowl, Orf, for Lyze of Kiel, the warrior of the Northern Kingdoms, who in turn had made them for his younger brother, Ifghar. Ifghar received them after he won the Blue Heart of Valor award for courage in battle, and Lyze passed them on to him. However, he took them back when Ifghar suggested surrender to the League of the Ice Talons, which was treason. In the next battle against the Ice Talons, he lost them on the battlefield, but was persuaded to pick them up again. He swore never to fight with any pair of battle claws again after his mate, Lil, was killed. He joined the Glauxian Brothers, and then the Guardians of Ga'Hoole, where he hid them in a secret chamber, the same one where King Hoole read coded messages. He kept them there for years.
After the Great Downing, Lyze (now known Ezylryb) left to investigate and did not return. The band looked in his hollow and rediscovered the secret chamber, where they saw the battle claws. After the Battle of The Beaks, when Ezylryb had returned, he passed the claws to his ward, Soren, which gave him a "free pass" to the forge of the Rogue Smith Orf. In the final battle of the War of the Ember, Soren sliced off the Striga's head with them.
Other types of battle claws
- Coal claws - Coal claws are battle claws with bonk coals at the tips, burning as well as tearing. They are dangerous not just to the opponents but the wearer as well, as they can do long-term damage to an owl's talons, and so most Rogue Smiths refuse to make them.
- Fire claws - Similar to coal claws, Fire claws are regular battle claws, but heated with red-hot coals, a step up from a set of coal claws. Also like the coal claws, they can inflict massive damage to an owl's talons.
- NAST's (Nickel Alloy Super Talons) - NAST's are battle claws made by Bubo, the blacksmith of the Great Tree. They are said to be able to split rock due to their reliability and strength.
In the movie
Battle claws in the movie have changed from the battle claws in the book. The ones in the movie are more pointed. In the only clear close-up, you can tell that they are decorated with gold leaves. However, in the book, the claws are shaped like a standard party hat. They also had a leather strap that held the claws onto an owl's feet. the strap was fastened aroung the owl's legs. There is a picture in the guide book to the great tree.