As Jon Snow and Ser Davos keep saying: it doesn’t matter who wins the Iron Throne so long as the White Walker threat exists. The Night’s King and his merry band of undead wights and White Walkers are marching south, and unless something is done quickly everyone in Westeros is doomed.
As seen in previous scuffles, White Walkers are vulnerable to three things: fire, dragonglass (obsidian), and Valyrian steel. Queen Daenerys has the fire and dragonglass taken care of, but it’s the third weapon that has everyone stumped.
Valyrian steel is the rarest and most sought after resource in the Seven Kingdoms. Forged in the days of the Valyrian Freehold, Valyrian steel uses special techniques (including a smidgen of magic and dragonfire) to create weapons that remain sharp for eternity.
Since the Doom of Valyria (if you remember Season 5 when Jorah and Tyrion were attacked by Stone Men as they sailed past Valyria, it was little more than a smoking crater, indicating whatever the Doom was, it was pretty hardcore), the methods of forging Valyrian steel have been lost to the world of Game of Thrones. As a result, all Valyrian steel weapons have become impossibly rare and expensive family heirlooms, owned only by the greatest of Westerosi houses.
Valyrian steel is so rare that when legendary Lannister King Tommen II lost his Valyrian sword - known as Brightroar - while he was sailing around Valyria, he couldn’t buy another one from another Westerosi house.
Valyrian steel is so expensive a *Lannister* couldn’t buy some.
Valryian steel: hugely expensive, incredibly rare, invaluable in killing White Walkers. Here’s who owns some in Game of Thrones.
Jon Snow – Longclaw
Jon Snow wields a Valyrian steel sword known as Longclaw. Longclaw was originally a sword belonging to House Mormont, but when Jon Snow saved the then Head of the Night’s Watch Jeor Mormont from certain death at the hands of a wight, Jeor gifted Jon the weapon.
Interestingly, Jon when used Longclaw to defeat a White Walker at the Battle of Hardhome in season 5, it was to the shock of the other White Walkers who were there. Whatever it is about Valyrian steel that kills White Walkers, it appears White Walkers weren’t aware of their vulnerability to it until that moment.
Jaime Lannister – Widow’s Wail
Jaime Lannister owns one of the two swords that were forged from Ice – the former Stark Valyrian steel sword. Following the Red Wedding and the oblieration of the House Stark, Tywin Lannister melted down Ice and had it reforged by a blacksmith from Volantis, creating two smaller weapons.
Tywin gave one of these swords to King Joffery on the day of his wedding to Margaery Tyrell. The sadistic king named it Widow’s Wail and used it for little more than hacking a copy of Maester Kaeth's book Lives of Four Kings to pieces and cutting open a pigeon pie. Following Joffery’s death at the Purple Wedding, Widow’s Wail was claimed by Jaime Lannister, who has been using it ever since.
As for the other sword?
Brienne of Tarth – Oathkeeper
Brienne owns the second sword that was made out of Ice.
Originally Tywin gave Oathkeeper to Jaime and Widow’s Wail to Joffery, but following Jaime’s adventures with Brienne and the loss of his hand in Season 3, Jaime decided to give Oathkeeper to Brienne.
Brienne has wielded Oathkeeper since Season 4, and prior to her duel with The Hound, Sandor Clegane correctly identified it as a former Lannister weapon thanks to the golden lion design that forms Oathkeeper’s pommel.
Samwell Tarly – Heartsbane
Here’s a thing: while Sam Tarly has killed a White Walker before, he did it with dragonglass rather than Valyrian steel.
Heartsbane is the ancestral sword of the House Tarly, apparently having been with the family for over 500 years. When introducing the sword in Season 6, Sam’s dad Randyll Tarly said Sam was unworthy of inheriting the blade.
Sam nicked the sword before heading to Old Town to train as a Maester. Considering how much research he’s doing into killing White Walkers, we imagine Heartsbane will get used very soon.
Arya Stark – The Catspaw Dagger
The Catspaw dagger first popped up in Season 1, when an assassin tried to use it to kill Bran Stark. Following Littlefinger’s claim that the blade belonged to Tyrion Lannister, the failed assassination fostered a huge rift between the Starks and Lannisters that (kind of) kicked off the War of the Five Kings.
The catspaw dagger wasn’t seen again until Season 7 when Littlefinger gifted it to Bran. Bran had little need for the weapon and so re-gifted it (considering how rare and expensive Valyrian steel is, an awful lot of it gets gifted and then re-gifted) to Arya Stark.
For reasons we’ve discussed here, the catspaw dagger may be the most important Valyrian steel weapon around. It may be small, but it’s owned by one heck of a fighter...