Guide to the Swords of Westeros Part 3

Named swords in Westeros serve as a symbol of prestige and status. The very best of them all are made of Valyrian steel and are exquisite swords, carved from forgotten enchantments, producing the highest quality of blades.

Valyrian steel holds quite the edge compared to any other type of blade in Westeros. "Game of Thrones" presents some of the most memorable weapons such as Lightbringer, Blackfyre and Dark Sister.

Young Arya Stark's personal sword, the Needle, which is certainly dainty compared to other ancestral swords, is still as deadly.

These magnificent swords are not ornamental in the narrative, but play a very significant and integral part.

Needle​ Sword

Needle, Sword of Arya Stark


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Needle is Arya Stark's sword, which was forged in Winterfell. The sword was a gift from Jon Snow. Jon Snow gave Arya the sword prior to his departure to join The Night's Watch at The Wall.

The sword is small with a slender blade, which was specifically made to suit Arya’s slight, petite build.

Needle and Arya

Needle and Arya

Needle is a representation of growth and transformation. The youngest daughter of Ned Stark undergoes an enormous change after getting the sword. It is quite ironic that Arya decided to name her sword Needle yet she hated any type of needlework. 

This sounds like an act of rebellion, and all the other members of the family were trying to teach and mold her to be more skilled in home matters like needlework.

Others wanted her to be like her older sister, Sansa Stark, who was skilled in the art of needle and thread, as opposed to swordplay. Sometimes she makes reference to the Needle when referring to needlework in a sarcastic way, to express her hatred for the art.

Ultimately, Needle serves as a representation of the previous life that the Stark had lived at Winterfell, where Arya and her family were very happy.

The sword is a symbol of her yearning for the happy childhood she was used to, as opposed to the grim situation she has to face later in life. Her dedication to the sword shapes her into an exceptional sword master as she is rather proficient in handling her sharp sword.

Her mastery of the sword is also partly due to the lessons she receives from Syrio Forel. Eventually, Arya uses Needle first to kill an escaping stable boy after the death of King Robert's in Kings Landing, and several other people later in the narrative.

Needle plays a very significant role in shaping Arya into the courageous and intellectual lady she becomes. She becomes the opposite of what everyone expects her to be, but the sword gives her hope in the midst of the unfortunate things happening in their family.

Stark family has experienced very grim and horrible experiences in their life, changing the once happy and peaceful family into a suffering and disintegrated one. Needle becomes a very fundamental part of Arya’s life as a tool for helping her deal with her troubles.

Needle is a sign of strength for the young Arya, and she is determined to do the impossible to keep it. When Hot Pie, one of the recruits, tries to take Needle from her, she warns him that she will kill him just like she had already killed a fat boy.

Arya also fights a gruesome war to recover her sword when it gets stolen by Polliver the Riverlands. When she finally spots him with her Needle, he is determined to fight to regain it, and rushes into the inn despite the Hound’s attempt to stop her.

With the help of the Hound, she courageously fights Polliver and kills him with Needle by stabbing him through the neck, the same way he stabbed Arya’s friend Lommy. She looks elated after recovering Needle as she triumphantly rides away.

I have to admit that it is thrilling just as it is frightening to see the young Arya Stark practice with Needle. The sword is exceptionally sharp and long, just like a Needle, posing the potential risk of causing an accident.

Can’t help but wonder what could happen if she pierces or cuts herself by accident while training or while wielding it against an opponent. Her enthusiasm and desperation during her training and her courage to swing the sword at any provocation is a sight to behold.

She seems utterly impressive and adorable as she sweats and gets all sore during training, and later tells Septa Mordane that she has been doing "Needlework" all day.

Lightbringer Sword

Lightbringer, Red Sword of Heroes

Lightbringer, also known as Red Sword of Heroes, was believed to be the sword of living fire. It was forged for Stannis Baratheon as he was believed to be the Warrior of Light.

The prophecy indicated that the sword would be pulled from the fire by the champion of the Lord of Light, the Prince That Was Promised, who would be the chosen Lord.

Eventually, Stannis Baratheon pulls it out of the fire after it was created by burning statues of the Seven at the behest of Melisandre. The sword glows like fire once it’s unsheathed.

Lightbringer is a profoundly mysterious sword with a touch of magic. Its story is that of an ultimate purpose and prominence, not only in Westeros, but in the whole world.

This is one sword whose purpose is not limited to Westeros alone. When darkness lay over the world, Azor Ahai was chosen as the ultimate hero who will defeat it. As such, the sword for this ultimate purpose was to be forged.

It took Azor thirty days and nights to forge the sword, but the sword broke in water as he was tempering it. He was determined to carve it the second time.

This time, he took fifty days and nights to create it, but still it shattered as he tried to temper it by capturing a lion.

The third time, he used a heavy metal and took a hundred days and nights to make a very strong weapon.

This time he decided to drive it into her wife’s breast, combining the sword’s steel and her soul, hence creating the extraordinary weapon, which became Lightbringer.

Lightbringer is a symbol of greatness and a manifestation of the prophecy. The holder of this sword and its purpose in the narrative are embedded in a prophecy.

It is interesting to think that its fate has a greater purpose than the holder may qualify it; hence it cannot be given out to anyone, as one must have the power to give one.

Lightbringer was bestowed to Azor Ahai, a legendary hero, who had once defeated darkness that lay over the world. The sword was intended to defeat the Great Other, now 5,000 years later.

Lightbringer brings hope to Westeros. The prophecy dictates that the world would be saved again through a warrior with whom Azor Ahai will be reborn.

According to the legend, "There will come a day after a long summer when the stars bleed, and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world.

In this dread hour, a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him."

There can be as many interpretation as to who will be the “warrior” who will draw a “burning sword” from fire, just as there are many fitting candidates according to the specifications of the legend.

I’m inclined to accept Melisandre’s version when he says that Stannis Baratheon is the Warrior of Light, thanks to her magical powers. Lightbringer is a lot more similar to Stannis.

While the logic and the legend associated with the “burning sword” are there, one can’t help but feel like it’s some form of mind trick, given that the original Lightbringer was already wielded 5,000 years ago.

The hope of this legend is, however, valid since it has a timeline when the next Lightbringer is expected to be wielded. The legend says that the “stars bleed at the end of this summer”.

Blackfyre Sword

Blackfyre Valyrian Steel Sword

Blackfyre is Dark Sister’s sister sword. It is a Valyrian steel sword belonging to House Targaryen. Aegon the Conqueror wielded the sword during the War of Conquest.

This sword was later in possession of many other martial Targaryen kings. Aegon the Unworthy gave this sword to Daemon, his bastard son, due to his prowess and valour in the battle.

Blackfyre is a symbol of power shift in the quest for the throne. It’s amazing how active this sword is and how every victory comes with its own reward.

The sword has been in House Targaryen as an ancestral weapon passed down from generations to generations, but King Aegon IV King surprised people when he chose to give Blackfyre to his bastard son, Daemon as opposed to his legitimate son, Daeron.

Aegon IV Targaryen acknowledges Daemon I Blackfyre artwork by Marc Simonetti

Surprisingly, the king did not only give Daemon the mighty Targaryen sword, but he would also legitimize all his illegitimate children on his deathbed, surprising everyone even more.

The sword plays a significant role in the struggle for power and the shift of control, where the legitimate and illegitimate sons of the House of Targaryen got the same status.

Ultimately, the sword changed hands from the House Targaryen to House Blackfyre, which was founded by Daemon.

Blackfyre is associated with greatness and a new dawn for those considered inferior in Westeros. Who knew that a bastard son in Westeros could one day become a holder of the throne, and ancestral sword and later found his own lineage?

The epic sword performance demonstrated by Daemon gave him a better chance to secure a paramount place superior to his legitimate brother. This is the first chance he gets on his journey to greatness.

Later, during the Blackfyre Rebellion against House Targaryen, Daemon wielded Blackfyre, which cost his brother King Daeron II Targaryen the throne. This type of twist is more fascinating, just as it is inspiring, given that the illegitimate sons of major houses in Westeros have always been on the receiving end throughout the show.

It is a shame that the whereabouts of the sword remains unknown long after the death of Daemon. After his death in the hands of Brynden Rivers, another bastard that fought for House Targaryen, the sword was rescued and taken to Free Cities.

It remained in House Blackfyre and was passed from generation to generation until the fall of House Blackfyre during the War of the Ninepenny Kings.

Dark Sister Sword

Dark Sister, Valyrian steel sword weilded by Visenya Targeran

Dark Sister is a sword belonging to Visenya Targaryen. It was made of Valyrian steel and was one of the popular Targaryen Valyrian steel swords.

Visenya Targaryen, a great warrior, wielded Dark Sister in battle during the War of Conquest, while riding her dragon. It is unfortunate that this mighty sword got lost during Blackfyre Rebellion, and its whereabouts remains unknown.

Visenya Targaryen and Dark Sister by Amok

Dark Sister has a touch of inspiration, not only because it was wielded by a woman in battle, but also because of how exceptionally Visenya swings it while riding her dragon.

Here, we note that all the swords in Game of Thrones are specifically made from scratch to fit the person wielding it. This is specially true when it comes to the prowess demonstrated by Visenya while in battle.

Her sword is precisely designed with a slender blade to fit well on a female hand. It is interesting to point that the performance of the sword is widely attributed to her unpredictable nature, since no one has any certainty with regards to expectations of how she is supposed to act or handle herself.

Visenya demonstrates a very dark, stern and unforgivable trait, but she also has a soft, passionate and sensual character.

Dark Sister is a symbol of hope and even though it gets lost when Bloodraven was sent to the Wall, there is hope that it could be found and their dignity restored.

Dark Sister was a special sword since it was the last ancestral sword of House Targaryan. The sword was last wielded by Bloodraven during the Blackfyre Rebellion, and Arya dreams about it through Nymeria.

During her dreams, she becomes Night Wolf and is seen leading many other wolves while threatening villages and feasting on corpses throughout the Riverlands.

The name of this sword, Dark Sister fits Arya very well as she has demonstrated a dark side when he kills several people with little or no remorse.

Arya is also determined to kill many more people, and she is not afraid of saying it in public. As such, there is hope that the sword will be found, and Arya will wield it in future battles.


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