Originally inspired by competitive cooking shows like “Chopped,” the History Channel‘s long-running series “Forged in Fire” takes the cooking derby concept and cranks up the heat, both figuratively and literally. Each episode of “Forged,” currently in its eighth season, depicts four professional and hobbyist bladesmiths competing to see who can create the best weapon within an ever-shifting set of parameters.
There are three rounds. First, contestants must forge a blade; then they’re required to turn that blade into a functioning weapon; finally, the two remaining contestants are given five days to replicate an historically significant weapon and present it to the judges. Only one smith goes home with the $10,000 prize.
If you’re keeping track, that’s an awful lot of weapons getting made — roughly five per episode, which at 175 episodes aired so far, amounts to nearly a thousand total, making “Forged” one of the more dangerous shows on television, and not just because of copycats. Which makes you wonder: What’s happening to that proverbial mountain of razor-sharp steel getting cranked out?
Surprisingly, contestants just take their weapons home
What happens to the weapons that win the show isn’t exactly a mystery: They’re very prominently incorporated into the set. Officially referred to as “the Forge,” the set features an ever-expanding “winners wall” where the weapons that took home the grand prize are displayed proudly. That still leaves open the question of what happens to the “losing” weapons, though: Obviously, the subpar weapons aren’t going to get that sort of distinction, but how are they disposed of, especially given that poor-quality weapons tend to be even more dangerous than top-notch ones?
There are rumors swirling around the internet (for instance, in a Quora conversation) that it’s literally illegal for weapons to leave the set, but apparently that isn’t the case. According to a spokesperson for the History channel itself (quoted in Reality Blurred), the losing contestants are actually allowed to keep the weapons they create on the show: “[A]s a symbol of our gratitude and out of respect for the amount of work put into the weapon, we return it to the creator.”
So, if you were wondering, now you know. And if you ever watched “Forged” and said to yourself, “I hope that thing never makes it out onto the street,” well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
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