The epic Game of Thrones, based on George RR Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, has received acclaim from critics and fans alike, and deservedly wears the crown of television’s most enthralling fantasy drama.
Game of Throne’s phenomenal success can be attributed to its compelling storylines, diverse cast of characters, great scripts, and amazing battle scenes. And perhaps most importantly, DRAGONS!
In this article, we will be looking at the show’s most iconic weapons that have changed the fates of men and nations.
If you’re not up to date with Game of Thrones, there be spoilers ahead. You have been warned!
EDDARD STARK’S ICE SWORD
The ancestral sword of House Stark, long wielded by the Lord of Winterfell. Last brandished by Lord Eddard Stark, Ice was one incredible sword. Forged in old Valyria from Valyrian steel, Ice is a greatsword, as wide across as a man’s hand, and taller than an adolescent Robb Stark.
The first time we lay eyes on this incredible longsword, Ned is faced with the task of beheading Gared, who deserted the Night’s Watch after seeing the dead rise beyond the wall. Always an honourable man Ned sees as his duty to hand out justice personally.
Tasked with serving as Hand of the King to Robert Baratheon, Ned and his daughters travel south to King’s Landing where, too honourable to play the Game of Thrones, Ned’s fate is sealed and Ice is turned against him, showing us that no one is safe in the world of Westeros.
Ice’s final moments are spent in the hands of Tywin Lannister in Season 4 Episode 1, where it’s melted and forged into two smaller swords, Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail.
BRIENNE OF TARTH’S OATHKEEPER SWORD
With a blade of black and red rippled Valyrian steel and sheathed in a scabbard that glitters gold, Oathkeeper was intended to become the new sword of House Lannister. Decorated with a row of lions’ heads and red rubies, with a lion’s head pommel, Tywin Lannister had this sword forged from Ice to bestow on his son Jaime.
Despite Tywin’s intentions, Jaime gifted the sword to Brienne of Tarth, believing that a sword forged from Ned Stark’s Ice should be used to protect his daughters, following Brienne’s promise that she would return Catelyn Starks’ daughters safely to Winterfell. The sword was named Oathkeeper in honour of Brienne’s oath to the Starks.
In season 4 episode 10, while travelling to the Bloody Gate, Brienne encounters Arya Stark training with her smallsword Needle. Failing to convince Arya to come with her, Brienne ends up duelling The Hound, in a fight scene that has quickly become a fan favourite. Although Brienne wins the fight by knocking the Hound over a cliff, Arya escapes and continues on her journey alone.
ARYA STARK’S NEEDLE SWORD
The sword of Arya Stark, gifted by Jon Snow before he left Winterfell to join the Night’s Watch.
Made from “castle-forged” steel, Needle is a thin, three-sided smallsword, measuring about 2’5”, perfectly suited to Arya’s slight build. Due to its dimensions, Needle was much better suited to the “Water Dance” style of fencing popular in Braavos which puts emphasis on speed and agility, better suited to quick thrust attacks, often giving her an advantage over the more cumbersome fighting style popular with the knights of Westeros.
Taught this Braavosi fighting style by the Master Swordsman Syrio Forel while in King’s Landing, which gives her an edge over her opponents on her journey to escape the Lannisters and cross off all the names on her list. Arya eventually overcomes the trials of the Many-Faced God to become a Master Swordswoman in her own right. The first time we truly see the culmination of her growth as a fighter and servant of the Many-Faced God is when she defeats Brienne of Tarth using Needle and the Catspaw Dagger.
THE CATSPAW ASSASSIN’S DAGGER
Shrouded in mystery, the Catspaw Dagger first appeared in Season 1, left at the scene of a crime by the catspaw assassin sent to kill Bran Stark while he laid in a coma following his fall from the tower.
We know very little about this dagger. Originally believed to be owned by the Lannisters we find out in later seasons that it is in fact owned by Petyr Baelish, it’s made from Valyrian Steel, and it has a Dragonbone hilt. This is a very unusual dagger and is believed to be one of a kind, possibly dating as far back as the time of Aerys the Conqueror.
In an ironic twist of fate, in a particularly satisfying scene, Arya uses the Catspaw Dagger to execute Petyr Baelish for his machinations and betrayals throughout the show.
Although we do not know the true name of the Dagger, we believe that there is more to this knife yet to be revealed.
JON SNOW’S LONGCLAW SWORD
The most iconic sword from Game of Thrones is Jon Snow’s Longclaw. Made from Valyrian Steel, Longclaw was the ancestral weapon of House Mormont for five centuries.
When Sir Jeor Mormont retired and joined the Night’s Watch, the sword was passed to his son, Jorah Mormont. After Jorah was sent into exile, the sword was returned to Sir Jeor Mormont at Castle Black.
To thank Jon Snow for saving him from a wight, Jeor Mormont, now Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, bestowed Longclaw to Jon Snow. The Lord Commander replaced the bear of House Mormont pommel with the direwolf of House Stark. This whole scene gives us an insight into how the Lord Commander loves Jon Snow and sees him as a substitute for his exiled son.
Fast forward a few seasons and it is while wielding this sword against the undead that Jon learns that, alongside Dragonglass, Valyrian Steel is one of the few materials that can destroy a White Walker.
Swords play a vital role in Game of Thrones, from the Catspaw Blade that kicked off the war between the Starks and the Lannisters, to the Longclaw Sword, believed to be one of the few weapons in existence that can kill a white walker. The aforementioned swords have had a huge impact on the show’s twists and turns, and the fates and machinations of some of our favourite and most reviled (I’m looking at you Joffrey) characters.
What is your favourite weapon from Game of Thrones and what impact has it had on Westeros and its inhabitants?