A dominant theme in the novel The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier is trust. The character Jan struggles to trust people in the aftermath of the war; in Joseph Balicki, he has found a mentor and someone he can depend upon for a change. Joseph's gift of the silver sword paper knife shows his trust and faith in Jan, revealing his belief in the goodness and loyalty in Jan's character. Jan learns to trust Joseph, and through the course of the novel, he encounters other people that he struggles to trust as well, like Ruth. Jan is used to depending solely on himself, and his friendship with Ruth redefines his priorities. His rescue of Edek during the storm on Lake Constance when the boat capsizes also reveals his willingness to trust in his new family, because he chooses to aid Ruth and Edek over Ludwig, his beloved dog. Serraillier's novel optimistically addresses the aftermath of war through the perspective of children who must learn to trust again and rebuild their families.