There is a glaring hole in recent Game of Thrones seasons that needs to be addressed: the ability of Valyrian steel to destroy White Walkers has not been acknowledged since before Jon Snow’s death.
In fact, it hasn’t been mentioned since the Season Five finale when Jon Snow reveals this discovery to Sam Tarly. Jon has cared about little more than the war between the living and the dead since long before his death, but after being killed later that same episode, he never mentions Valyrian steel’s power again.
Since leaving the Night’s Watch and being named King in the North, Jon has commanded the Northern maesters to examine their records for any mention of dragonglass, began mining the mountain of dragonglass at Dragonstone and proved that the Army of the Dead not only exists, but can also be destroyed with dragonglass or fire—and yet he has essentially ignored Valyrian steel.
When he demonstrates how wights are killed to Cersei & Co., why doesn’t he mention Valyrian steel? (Does it not occur to him that the wealthiest house might have a weapon of this value?) Brienne carries a Valyrian steel sword, so why hasn’t Jon clued her in? (Do he and Sansa even know that her sword belonged to Ned Stark?) Why does Sam tell Jon about the mountain of dragonglass but not about the Valyrian steel sword he has in his possession? And if the Northern maesters are searching their records for dragonglass, why not Valyrian steel as well?
We have heard time and again that there is only a very small handful of these weapons that still exist—but there is currently enough to arm, at the very least, the small pack of men who went beyond the Wall last season. Some of these weapons are even in Winterfell, or on their way to Winterfell, in the Season Seven finale. In the event that this is finally acknowledged in the coming season, here is a list of all the Valyrian steel weapons we know of and where they are at this point:
Current Owner: Jon Snow
Current whereabouts: A boat heading north
What we know: Jon’s sword is the only Valyrian steel weapon that we have actually seen kill a White Walker—but more on that later. Longclaw is the ancestral sword of House Mormont and was meant to be Jorah’s before he was exiled for betraying the North. Jorah’s father and former Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jeor Mormont, changes the pommel from a bear to a wolf and presents it to Jon Snow in Season One after Jon prevents him from being killed by a dead man—the first wight we meet in the HBO series. Jon offers the sword to Jorah in Season Seven, but Jorah refuses it, stating that he broke his father’s heart and forfeited the right to claim the sword.
Weapon: Widow’s Wail
Current Owner: unknown
Current Whereabouts: unknown, possibly King’s Landing
What we know: Widow’s Wail was one of two weapons forged from Ned Stark’s longsword, Ice—the ancestral weapon of House Stark. Tywin Lannister, who Jaime mentions in Season Four had wanted a Valyrian steel sword in the family for a long time, presents one of the swords to his grandson, King Joffrey, as a wedding gift. Following Joffrey’s death, the sword should presumably have been handed down to King Tommen, but it is never confirmed. Unless Widow’s Wail was buried with Joffrey, the sword should still be in King’s Landing.
Current Owner: Brienne
Current whereabouts: Winterfell or en route to Winterfell
What we know: The second sword forged from Ned Stark’s was given to Jaime, who handed it off to Brienne with the purpose of finding and protecting Sansa. It has a golden lion on the pommel that has caused trouble throughout her journey, but when Brienne attempts to return it to Jaime, he insists that it is hers to keep. Brienne and Oathkeeper are last seen in King’s Landing, standing in for Sansa at the meeting with Cersei. If Brienne and her sword are not already at Winterfell when the eighth season premiers, they’ll be on their way.
Last Owner: Samwell Tarly
Current whereabouts: Winterfell
What we know: Sam steals his family’s sword from Horn Hill after his father shames and banishes him, stating that the weapon was meant to go to his eldest son, but that Sam is not worthy of the honor. Gilly briefly expresses fear that Randyll Tarly will come looking for it, but seeing as Daenerys burned him alive in the following season, that’s no longer a concern. The last we saw Sam, he and Bran had discovered the truth of Jon’s ancestry, and were awaiting Jon’s return to Winterfell.
Weapon: Littlefinger’s unnamed dagger
Last Owner: Arya Stark
Current Whereabouts: Winterfell
What we know: After Jaime fails to kill Bran in the pilot, an assassin is hired to use this dagger to kill the crippled boy in his sleep, but Catelyn Stark and Bran’s direwolf thwart the assassination and retrieve the weapon. Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish admits that the dagger was once his, but claims he lost it to Tyrion Lannister, and thus ignites the War of the Five Kings. He uses it next to threaten Ned Stark, and then holds onto it until Season Seven. In seemingly good faith, he hands the dagger over to Bran, who secretly knows the truth of its ownership and passes it on to Arya. At Sansa’s order and Arya’s hand, the dagger ultimately becomes the murder weapon in Littlefinger’s downfall and remains in Stark possession at Winterfell.
OTHER MENTIONS OF VALYRIAN STEEL:
Dark Sister is the Valyrian steel sword wielded by Vysenia Targaryen, who we learn about from her young admirer, Arya Stark, in Season Two. Arya interrupts Tywin Lannister’s story while posing as a commoner at Harrenhal to point out that Aegon “the Conqueror” Targaryen wasn’t the only one to ride a dragon…his sisters, Vysenia and Rhaenys, rode dragons of their own. “Vysenia Targaryen was a great warrior,” Arya says before she tells us about the sword. Vysenia was both the sister and wife of Aegon the Conqueror, the first king of the dynasty that lasted centuries before Robert Baratheon’s rebellion ended the Targaryen reign. How the sword was lost is not mentioned in the HBO series, but if she had one, it’s possible her siblings did as well.
Maesters of the Citadel:
Maester Luwin, the Starks’ maester in the early seasons, explains that while all maesters wear chains around their necks that are composed of various metals, the metal links signify each maester’s personal expertise, and that some of these links, which indicate different fields of study, are made with Valyrian steel. The links are on the tiny side, but I’m certain there are enough maesters in the world to put together a sword or two, or at least few daggers.
The greatest city there ever was or will be:
In Season Two, Daenerys meets Xaro Xhoan Daxos, one of Qarth’s “Thirteen,” who vouches for Dany to allow her into the city and later proposes to her. He reveals a giant safe and insists that the door is made of Valyrian steel and is therefore impenetrable…and that it’s full of gold. When Dany finds Xaro in bed with her handmaiden and friend, Doreah, and opens the safe to find it empty, she locks them both inside it. As it turns out, all the gold in the city of Qarth is fake, so it’s possible the door of the safe is as well.
JUST A THOUGHT:
“There’s power in kings’ blood”
This is a phrase that has been engrained into our minds since Season Two. It is quoted several times by the Red Woman, the series’ strongest believer in the Lord of Light and the existence of the “Price Who Was Promised.” Now that she believes Jon and Daenerys are the ones to fulfill this prophecy, and now that we know that both of them actually descended from royalty, the phrase is something worth thinking about. Jon assumes that his sword annihilates White Walkers because of its Valyrian steel blade—but it wouldn’t be so farfetched if instead it had something to do with his bloodline. If for some reason that is the case—and if dragonglass can defeat White Walkers but not the Night King—then maybe only Dany or Jon can defeat him. Or Gendry, if Robert Baratheon’s blood still counts as king’s blood.
There are many who believe that the Night King is a Stark. We know for a fact that the Starks are direct descendants of the First Men, and that the Children of the Forest created the Night King by plunging dragonglass into one of the First Men’s hearts. Moreover, the original Brandon Stark, Bran the Builder, is known to have built the Wall. If Jon’s ability to kill White Walkers has nothing to do with Valyrian steel, and nothing to do with having king’s blood, it could be Stark’s blood (through his possible relation to the Night King) that gives him this power.
Regardless of whether you think these theories are plausible, Jon is oblivious to them, and therefore they do not excuse him from ignoring Valyrian steel. During Jon’s last mission beyond the Wall, the group discovers that when a White Walker is killed with a Valyrian steel sword, all the wights that were created by this particular White Walker will also fall. And, theoretically, if the Night King is killed, the entire army will fall. Whether dragonglass would have the same grand effect has yet to be seen—and now that the dead have officially marched past the Wall, it should be more crucial than ever that the Army of the Living is properly armed.