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Game of Thrones: Valyrian Steel Explained

[Editor’s Note: With Gendry working on new blades and Arya revealing her Valyrian steel dagger again, it’s time to take another look at the importance of this magical steel…]

In Game of Thrones, magic is used rather sparingly, owing to author George R.R. Martin‘s tendency to keep the mystical art on the margins in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. So when it does show up — either in the fantastic flight of fire-breathing dragons, the resurrection powers of the White Walkers and the wights they reanimate, or in the centuries-old staying power of The Wall itself — magic tends to make a big impression. Using conventional weapons (be they steel swords and armor or massive ballistae) does little against White Walkers or Dragons; the humans of the Known World will need magic on their side if they’re to win the day.

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Enter Valyrian steel, the mystical metal that forms the most famous blades across Westeros and beyond. Much of it, the metal and the knowledge of how to forge it, has been lost to time and conflict, but a few bits of Valyrian steel are still in play … and they still have an edge keen enough for cleaving White Walkers and wights alike. No new Valyrian steel has been forged since the secret to the process — which is presumed to involve dragon-fire and magic — was lost in the Doom of Valyria, though the blacksmiths of Qohor (and at least one who resided in Volantis) are competent enough to reforge existing blades into new ones.

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This is all to say that the existing Valyrian steel blades are extremely important and one of the few offensive weapons capable of defeating the Night King’s army. So what’s the current status of the known weapons? Read on to find out.

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