As one of the best materials for making swords, Valyrian steel became the top material for the Valyrians in making weapons, armor, and jewelry. When the Doom of Valyria occurred, the secrets of the steel’s creation got lost. Valyrian steel blades are so sharp and lightweight that they are the best weapon to wield. However, with the destruction of Valyria, Valyrian steel swords became a rarity that almost everyone craved. In Westeros, having a Valyrian blade was only possible by one being a noble family.
Valyrian Steel Details
- Name: Valyrian Steel.
- Method of Creation: Unknown.
- Place of Origin: Valyrian Free Hold.
- Best Qualities: Super Durable, Lightweight.
- Steel’s Uses: Jewelry, Weaponry, and Ornamentation.
- Other Names: Dragonsteel.
Valyrian steel is a steel made with dragon flame and magic. Because of its super durability, blades made with it can seldom get blunt. It is super lightweight and better than any steel known to man; this makes it the most sought-after steel in all of Westeros and Essos.
Valyrian steel has a dark-grey color that looks almost black. The blades made with it have ripple patterns across their length, similar to those of Damascus steel. One thing that makes the steel even more mysterious is that not even dragon flame can destroy it; this made the method of its creation even more perplexing to the best of the best maesters and forgers.
Though most of the Valyrian steel in Westeros exists as swords, it can get used for many other purposes. Besides weaponry, it got used for the beautification of palaces and castles. At the Citadel, a link of the steel signifies a maester’s expertise in magic.
Relevance in the Night’s Watch
According to Castle Black’s archives, the Last Hero and his companions sought out the Children of the Forest during the Long Night. He used a dragonsteel blade to slay Others and wights. From the story, many believe that dragonsteel was another name for Valyrian steel.
After the Valyrian Freehold got established, many magical practices began taking place in the Freehold. With the help of spells and dragons, Valyrian steel got created. Because of the mysterious nature of its creation, the material was expensive. When the Fourteen Fires erupted and destroyed Valyria, every knowledge that once existed in the Freehold, including that of Valyrian steel creation, got lost to humanity. With its formation process lost, it became an even more precious commodity.
The Free City of Qohor
Though no one knew how to create Valyrian steel, the Free City of Qohor still knew how to rework the metal. However, the knowledge was a closely guarded secret of the master blacksmiths. When maester Pol from the Citadel traveled to Qohor, he tried gaining information on the secret reforging process of Valyrian steel. However, he got whipped in public thrice and was even cast out for asking too many questions. The last time, his hand got cut off as he allegedly got caught trying to steal a blade. According to maester Pol, his hands got cut off because he discovered the master smiths of Qohor used the blood of infant slaves to rework Valyrian steel.
When Aegon I Targaryen the Conqueror arrived in Westeros, he wielded a Valyrian steel sword. After conquering the continent, he became King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, the First Men, and Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. After building the Iron Throne and King’s Landing, he ruled Westeros until he died in 37 AC. During his funeral, his hands got folded over the hilt of his Valyrian steel sword. When Aegon’s pyre got lighted by dragon flame, his sword, Blackfyre, was unharmed by the fire.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
When Gared, a man of the Night’s Watch, deserts and gets caught, Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell uses his Valyrian steel sword, Ice, to behead him. On returning to Winterfell, Eddard’s children, Bran Stark, Jon Snow, and Robb Stark, find six direwolf pups, and after convincing their father, he lets them keep them.
After Bran Stark gets thrown by Jaime Lannister from a tower, his father leaves for King’s Landing with his daughters, Arya Stark and Sansa Stark. An assassin tries to kill him with a Valyrian steel catspaw dagger but gets stopped by Summer, Bran’s direwolf. Catelyn Stark travels to King’s Landing to learn about the Valyrian steel dagger. Lord Petyr Baelish tells her that the blade belongs to Tyrion Lannister. Later, Catelyn arrests Tyrion, and his father, Lord Tywin Lannister, raises his banners and begins raiding the Riverlands.
Meanwhile, Jon Snow joins the Night’s Watch and meets Samwell Tarly. Sam narrates how his father, Lord Randyll Tarly, threatened to kill him if he did not join the Watch. After saving Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, the commander of the Night’s Watch, from wights, Lord Mormont gives him Longclaw, his family greatsword. The commander tells Jon how his son, Jorah Mormont, left the blade after running to Essos.
When Eddard gets arrested for treason, he is sentenced to death by Joffrey Baratheon. Ser Illyn Payne uses Ice to kill the Lord of Winterfell.
After Eddard’s death, Tywin Lannister tasks Tobho Mott, a Qohorik master blacksmith, to reforge Ice into two Valyrian steel blades. After the blades get made, Tywin gives one, which he named Widow’s Wail, to his grandson, King Joffrey Baratheon, as a wedding gift. He gives the other to his son Jaime. However, on getting the blade, Jaime gives it to Brienne of Tarth and tasks her with finding Sansa and returning her to Winterfell. The second sword gets named Oathkeeper.
When Tormund Giantsbane meets Jon Snow, he tells him it is impossible to fight Others. Tormund asks Jon if Longclaw can cut cold, and Jon remembers Sam telling him about dragonsteel, similar to Valyrian steel.
Relevance in Adaptation
In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Valyrian steel was a rarity in Essos and Westeros. The blade, alongside dragonglass, was an effective weapon against White Walkers. The most prominent Valyrian steel swords include Ice, Longclaw, Heartsbane, and Red Rain. After Bran got injured from falling from a tower, an assassin tried to kill him with a dagger but failed. Later, Lord Petyr Baelish, littlefinger, retrieved the blade and gifted it to Bran, but he instead handed it to his sister, Arya Stark. in the Battle of Winterfell, Arya used the dagger to kill the Night King.
In House of the Dragon, Daemon Targaryen used a helmet made of Valyrian steel. The helmet got adorned with the head and wings of a dragon.
Valyrian Steel: A Weapon of Blood
Though Valyrian steel was a wonder many could only dream of having, its creation was rooted in a bloody history. According to many rumors, it got forged using blood magic and dragon flame. Its existence shows that people do not care about the consequence or history behind something but only care about owning it regardless of how it got made.
How was Valyrian steel made?
According to some sources, Valyrian steel got made using dragon fire and blood magic. The blood magic involved using infants. Though the sources never got verified, dragon fire got used in the forging process because the steel was resistant to dragon flame.
Can Others get killed by Valyrian steel?
When Samwell found archives in Castle Black’s library talking about the Last Hero using dragonsteel to kill Others, he showed Jon, who believed dragonsteel was Valyrian steel.
Can Valyrian steel break?
No. Valyrian steel is no ordinary steel. It got created using magic and other unknown processes, making it incredibly sharp and durable. Valyrian steel could never break.
What happened to Ice, Eddard Stark’s blade?
After getting killed by Joffrey Baratheon, Tywin Lannister gave Ice to a blacksmith master in Qohor, and the sword got reforged into two blades.