The Essential Guide To The Swords Of Game Of Thrones

Game of Thrones viewers, pat yourselves on the back and treat yourselves to a hot pie made by Hot Pie. You've made a valiant effort in keeping up with the histories and rivalries never explained outright on the show. You've pieced together how the events of Robert's Rebellion changed the Westerosi political landscape forever. You've caught up on who has a rightful claim to the Iron Throne, and why.
Alas, there's a whole other subset of Game of Thrones lore that's about to get a whole lot more important: Weaponry. When playing the game of thrones, swords are more than killing machines. Like direwolves, swords have names and personalities — and can also slash through people's skin, when necessary.
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As the forces of the living and dead converge, the history and powers of each significant sword on Game of Thrones will come into play — especially since Valyrian steel is one of two known substances that can kill White Walkers.
Let's sharpen your knowledge of the difference between Oathkeeper and Needle, shall we?
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The Sword: Ice

Owner: Eddard Stark

The Specs: A greatsword made of Valyrian steel, Ice is described as being as wide as a person's hand, and even taller than a teenage Robb Stark. Its blade was "dark as smoke."

Four hundred years before Robert's Rebellion, Ice was forged in Valyria, and later acquired by the Stark family. Ice was passed down through generations of Starks until it was inherited by Ned Stark, the sword's final owner.

After his execution, Tywin Lannister melted down Ice and forged two swords: Widow's Wail and Oathkeeper.
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The Sword: Widow's Wail

The Owner: The sword first belonged to Joffrey Baratheon. When he died, it passed to Tommen, though we never saw him carry it. Now, Jaime Lannister carries Widow's Wail.

The Specs: Since Widow's Wail is a Lannister-commissioned sword, its scabbard is decorated with lions' heads with ruby eyes. The blade has a red and black rippled pattern.

Tywin Lannister gave his grandson Joffrey Baratheon this sword, forged from Ned Stark's melted-down Valyrian steel, for a wedding gift. Joffrey named it "Widow's Wail," since that way, it would be like beheading Ned Stark each time he took a swing.
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The Sword: Oathkeeper

The Owner: Currently, Brienne of Tarth. Originally, Jaime Lannister.

The Specs: Just like its sister sword, Widow's Wail, this Valyrian Steel sword is decorated with lions' heads on the scabbard.

Tywin Lannister melted down Ned Stark's sword, Ice, into two swords. He gave one, Widow's Wail, to Joffrey. The other, he gave to Jaime, with the understanding that Jaime would renounce his vows as Lord Commander of the Kingsuard and move to the Lannister ancestral home of Casterly Rock. Jaime refused and was disowned, but got to keep the sword.

Jaime gave the sword to Brienne of Tarth to aid on her quest to find Sansa Stark — he appreciated the irony of using Ned Stark's sword to protect Ned Stark's daughter. She chose to name the sword Oathkeeper.
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The Sword: Needle

The Owner: Arya Stark, though it was briefly in the hand of Polliver

The Specs: Needle is exceptionally thin and light, fit for the style of fencing practiced in Braavos, where Aryo's teacher, Syrio Forel, was from. Its small proportions also make Needle perfect for someone of Arya's age.

As all significant swords on Game of Thrones seem to be, Needle was originally a gift. Before leaving to join the Night's Watch, Jon Snow commissioned this sword for his fierce younger half-sister.

Arya names the sword Needle in reference to her least favorite of all domestic arts: needlework. "Sansa can keep her sewing needles; I've got a needle of my own," she told Jon.
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The Sword: Longclaw

The Owners: Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, Ser Jorah Mormont, Jon Snow

The Specs: The sword has dark ripples in the steel, indicating it may be made of Valyrian steel. Originally, the sword had a bear on the hilt for the Mormont family; now, there's a wolf's head, for the Starks.

Longclaw had been passed down through the Mormont family for five centuries. When Lord Commander Jeor Mormont joined the Night's Watch, he gave Longclaw to his son, Jorah. Then, Jorah brought dishonor on the Mormont family when he tried to sell poachers to a slaver, and had to leave the sword behind. Jeor's sister returned the sword to Jeor at the Wall, where the Commander kept it hidden, lest the sword remind him of his son.

Years later, Jon saved Jeor from a wight. As thanks, Jeor gave Jon the sword.
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The Sword: Heartsbane

The Owners: Randyll Tarly, Samwell Tarly

The Specs: Made of Valyrian steel, Heartsbane is a greatsword of the same proportions as Eddard Stark's Ice had been. The hit is in the shape of a bow and arrow in honor of the Tarly house sigil, a huntsman.

The kind, intelligent, battle-averse Samwell Tarly was never the bloodthirsty son his father, Randyll, had hoped. Randyll swore that Samwell would never inherit the family sword, Heartsbane. Samwell got revenge on a lifetime of cruelty when he escaped from his house with his father's sword in tow.
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The Sword: Lightbringer

The Owners: Azor Ahai

The Specs: Valyrian steel? Pshht. Lightbringer is made of fire.

According to legend, Azor Ahai was the prince who forged a sword that brought about the end of the Long Night. Actually making Lightbringer was a grim process. For 30 days and nights, he worked on the sword — but when he tempered the steel in water, the sword broke. He then worked 50 days and nights, and drove the sword through a lion's heart. It broke again. It was only 100 days later, when Azor Ahai drove the steel through his beloved wife Nissa Nissa's heart, that Lightbringer was forged. Lightbringer radiated heat, and could defeat the Others.
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The Sword: Dawn

The Owners: Ser Arthur Dayne

The Specs: Like the mythological sword Lightbringer, which is made of living flames, Dawn is allegedly made of an equally unwieldy substance: a fallen star. So, unlike swords made of Valyrian steel, Dawn is pale.

Though Dawn had been in the Dayne family for generations, it didn't pass from person to person. Rather, only knights deemed worthy could wield Dawn. The last owner of Dawn was Ser Arthur Dayne, a member of King Aerys II Targaryen's Kingsguard. After Dayne was killed outside the Tower of Joy, Eddard Stark returned Dawn to the Dayne family at Starfall.

The Dawn sword may play into the theory that Jon Snow is actually the reincarnation of Azor Ahai, sent to save the world from the Long Night. According to the prophecy, Azor Ahai will be "born amidst salt and smoke, beneath a bleeding star." After Ned Stark kills Arthur Dayne outside the Tower of Joy, he brings Dawn up to the room where Lyanna Stark is giving birth to Jon Snow. So, Jon is born under a bleeding star — the Dawn sword, with blood on the handle.
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