Guide to the Swords of Westeros Part 4
Most of the Valyrian blades in Westeros are exquisite weapons, created from historical enchantments in order to create the highest quality, sharp, light and strong blades.
The swords attract such great value and are incredibly coveted, mostly because there are only a few such blades that still exist.
Nothing is like Ice, the greatsword of House Stark which was re-forged to produce two important Valyrian swords for House Lannister.
The fact that Valyrian steel is created using magic and spells is the only reason to explain how Longclaw could slay White Walkers.
Longclaw is a Valyrian steel sword that belonged to House Mormont. It is one of the few known swords made of Valyrian steel in Westeros.
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Longclaw is a longsword, sharp, light and incredibly strong. The Valyrian steel used to create it allows it to stay sharp even without maintenance.
You can recognize this sword by a rippling pattern in its blade, and also it’s shorter than a great sword but longer than an arming sword.
Longclaw serves as a sole source of wealth for House Mormont. House Mormont is a rather impoverished house that relies on this family heirloom, as it is passed down through generations.
The sword belonged to Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander Mormont of the Night's Watch. He gave the sword to his only son, Ser Jorah Mormont after joining the Night's Watch.
However, Jorah would later bring dishonor to House Mormont when he tried to sell poachers as slaves, forcing him into exile to the Free Cities of Essos.
Jorah was from that day considered unworthy of wielding Longclaw, and there was no one else in the family to own it since he was an only child. Maege Mormont, Jeor’s aunt, returned the sword to him, and it remained at Castle Black.
Longclaw helps restore honor to House Mormont in the hands of Jon Snow, the bastard of Lord Eddard Stark. After Ser Jorah Mormont went into exile, he had the grace to send the sword back to his father.
Jon Snow, the steward to Lord Commander, saved Jeor Mormont from White Walkers and in return, awarded him with Longclaw as a mark of gratitude. Initially, when Longclaw was in possession of House Mormont it had a bear pommel.
Before Jon Snow took possession of the sword, Jeor refashioned it into a wolf's head.. The new wolf pommel represented the sigil of House Stark. The sword is described as a bastard sword or hand and a half, because it is longer than an ordinary longsword.
Longclaw served as a source of new discovery, especially during the epic battle with the White Walkers. It was impressive, but rather scary to watch the fight between the huge undead gang of the White Walkers against a small group of Night’s Watch brothers.
Previously, the only weapon known to kill or fatally wound the White Walkers was dragonglass. As such, it was clear that the Night’s Watch brothers were not doing well, not only because they were outnumbered, but also because they did not have the dragonglass.
However, things did not turn out well for the White Walkers and their allies as Jon Snow was able to slay a White Walker with Longclaw. Who would have guessed that Valyrian Steel would be capable of killing White Walkers?
How it did that is still a mystery. It’s obvious there must be a connection between the dragonglass and the metal, for the blade to have such a gigantic impact.
Since these undead creatures have only few known vulnerabilities that involve dragon fire and dragons, the discovery that Longclaw could kill a White Walker is a significant step for the Night’s Watch to learn new ways of boosting their defense against the White Walker.
Ice is a Valyrian steel greatsword, a possession of House Stark. This ancestral weapon is a two-handed, wide sword that is smoky and dark in appearance.
The sword has a unique pattern of dark ripples, where the steel is seen folding over thousands of times.
The history of this great sword has not been disclosed, but it is believed to originate from northern lords that ruled during Aegon the Conqueror.
The sword finally ended up in House Stark. It became the possession of the current Lord of Winterfell, Eddard Stark. He used Ice to execute deserters and prisoners from the Night's Watch after Robert's Rebellion.
Ice was phenomenal in marking the downfall of Ned Stark and House Stark. In King's Landing, King Joffrey gave Ser Ilyn Payne, the King's Justice orders to execute Ned Stark.
Illyn Payne uses Ice to execute him. It is sad that the valuable and treasured greatsword of House Stark was used to behead its owner.
The sword shifts from House Stark and remains in the hands of Ser Ilyn Payne until it is taken back by Tywin Lannister.
The beheading of Ned Stark presented the downfall of one of the most noble and principled Stark leader in a heightened gut-wrenching moment. The execution of Ned Stark was followed by the destruction of Ice under the orders of Tywin Lannister.
Such an event feels like something great getting broken down and losing its value forever. This destruction was a symbol of Ned Stark’s downfall, which marks the beginning of serious trouble for the Starks, especially Arya and Sansa Stark.
The destruction of Ned Stark and the subsequent destruction of Ice was instrumental in bolstering the Lannister family's power.
For House Lannister, owning a Valyrian steel sword would serve as a source of restoring their dignity. Tywin Lannister orders the re-forging of Ice to form two new greatswords for House Lannister.
For House Lannister, destroying Ice had a greater significance than just eliminating a remnant of House Stark, but also restoring a sword that they have been missing for a long time.
It’s a saddening moment to see Ice melt down, and worse see it produce two swords for the enemy.
One sword goes to his executor, the sadistic Joffrey Baratheon, who gets the sword as a wedding gift.
The attendants propose several names for the sword, but he ridiculously has a way of coming up with crazy names for swords. He chooses to call her sword Widow's Wail.
The one sword is given to Jaime Lannister, but he later passes it to Brienne, an honorable warrior woman who named the sword Oathkeeper.
Although Jaime has done some horrible stuff, it’s prudent to admit that giving out the sword to Brienne was a decent move that suggested that, in a strange way, Eddard’s values would live on in Oathkeeper.
Oathkeeper is a Valyrian steel blade that was made from the reforged Ice, alongside Widow's Wail. Oathkeeper was a longsword compared to Widow's Wail, which was a relatively smaller sword.
The blade has red and black ripples through the steel. The most interesting features about this sword are inherent in its beauty and color.
It has hand-moulded crossguards, pommels, and hilts, which are created from gleaming brass, and adorned with blood red Swarovski crystals.
Since Oathkeeper was made for Jaime Lannister, it featured the symbols of his house, which is the Lannister lions.
Oathkeeper serves as a symbol that Jaime was on a path to redemption. He has been one of the most ruthless characters throughout the show, hence hard to foresee a time when he would give up such a great sword, for the sake of doing the right thing.
I have to admit the act looks very impressive. Even the moody lighting during the melting of Ice denotes a dark experience, even though the Lannisters are getting two Valyrian swords at the same time after such a long time, there is nothing to celebrate.
When Lord Tywin Lannister gave the sword to Jaime, the intention was to make it an heirloom of his house, but changed his mind and decided to give the blade to Brienne of Tarth. Jaime felt that it was only appropriate that Ned’s sword be used for protection of his children.
While this remains such a noble and admirable act, it seems a little regretful. Jaime had improved his martial skills and pace with time, becoming excellent, pretty, fantastic, wonderful and very very fast with the sword.
In my opinion, Jaime is one of the best actors when it comes to wielding swords, and would have been thrilled to see him wield Oathkeeper in battle.
Oathkeeper serves as a source of protection for the Starks. After the death of Ned Stark, his children were left without protection and highly vulnerable.
Following beheading of Ned Stark for treason, Sansa Stark is in danger as she is kept prisoner by the Lannisters. Joffrey repeatedly brutalizes and humiliates her and eventually repudiates her betrothal to her.
Before King Joffrey's death, Sansa is spirited away by Petyr Baelish from the city. Afterward, Jaime gifts Brienne with Oathkeeper and tasks her with the responsibility of looking for Sansa and protecting her from recapture by Cersei.
It’s such a relief that Brienne will use Ned’s sword to protect his daughter from the enemy. Before choosing the name of this precious, she makes some serious considerations and eventually comes up with Oathkeeper.
However, the symbol of House Lannister on the sword will not make it easy for Brienne to protect Arya Stark when they encounter each other.
Arya is suspicious of the Lannister lion on the blade, and the situation turns hostile. It is sad that Brienne has to use Oathkeeper against Sandor Clegane, who was traveling with Arya.
If only they could trust her, then Sandor could not have been knocked off the cliff. During Brienne’s initial encounter with Petyr Baelish and Sansa Stark, the situation gets even more hostile as Sansa does not trust her, and Brienne is followed by three guards.
Brienne uses Oathkeeper to slice through the sword of one of the guards who are following them. The sword remains in possession of Brienne.
Widow's Wail Sword
Widow’s Wail was the second Valyrian steel blade made from re-forged Ice, which was the blade of House Stark.
This sword is Joffrey's gift from his grandfather Tywin Lannister. The sword is very prestigious since it is made of the famous Valyrian steel.
It is also one of a kind as it was one of only two swords of Valyrian steel in King’s Landing, as announced by Tywin.
Widow’s Wail functionality can’t be compromised, this is evident in the manner Grand Maester Pycelle warns Joffrey when he toys with it.
The guests that were present at that breakfast were asked by Joffrey to suggest a name for the blade, but after a few suggestion he settled for the name “Widow’s Wail.” Joffrey was content with this name since it reminded him of Ned Stark’s beheading.
He liked the name Widow Wail, and he is heard saying, “I like that! Every time I use it, it’ll be like cutting off Nerd Stark’s head all over again. Other names that he rejected include Stormbringer, Terminus, and Wolfsbane.
Widow’s Wail is a mark of misuse of power. This greatsword was certainly not going to be productive under the possession of such an irresponsible boy-king.
Widow’s Wail had a cherry red hue in the steel when subjected to intense light. The hilt of this great sword also had a red leather grip for the handle, with golden lion paws for the cross-guard.
The fact that the sword had silver tags with a ruby set in the middle signified Lannister-Baratheon. Joffrey cuts the book Tyrion gave him and told him that he was not a stranger when it comes to Valyrian steel.
After this statement, Tyrion comprehended the person who sent Catspaw assassin to murder Bran Stark.
Widow’s Wail serves as the downfall of Joffrey, in a way he pays for the pain he has caused other people.
Strangely, Joffrey is seen using this blade to slice the crust open to free the birds. He makes a very brutal cut that some of the pigeons inside are truncated even though Margaery warned that it would be unsuitable to use it for such task.
In this scenario, the superiority of Widow’s Wail can be vividly grasped. It is clear that the supremacy of this sword is seen in the manner the crust is sliced with just one cut, even though it is not meant to handle such tasks.
It is hilarious how this scenario matches the fact that Joffrey owns such a valuable Valyrian steel blade, which he does not deserve.
Widow’s Wail was later passed to Joffrey’s brother, King Tommen when he ascended to the throne. On grounds of technicality, Tommen owned the sword but couldn’t wield it since he was only eight years old.
There is no doubt that Widow’s Wail was one of the greatest sword used in the seven kingdoms.