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What Is Valyrian Steel And Why It Is So Strong and Rare?

By Rishabh Shandilya
September 8,2022

Every fan of the show or books knows about the strength, sharpness, and might of the blades carved out of Valyrian steel. In the game of Thrones, we see Tywin Lannister giving a Valyrian Steel sword to his son Jamie Lannister.

We also see Jon wielding Longclaw which was also a Valyrian Steelwork, and finally, in the house of Dragon, the Rogue Prince aka Daemon Targaryen wields a Valyrian Steel sword name Dark Sister.

Daemon Targaryen

Daemon Targaryen holding Dark Sister

But what exactly is Valyrian steel, why are they so potent and rare? Let’s find out.

What Is Valyrian Steel?

Throughout the heyday of the great Valyrian Kingdom, a special kind of metal called “Valyrian steel” was developed. A blade made from this steel doesn’t ever have to be sharpened since it can keep its edge indefinitely. Valyrian steel is distinguished not only by its razor-like edge but also by its high stiffness and lightweight compared to regular metal and its peculiar rippling design apparent in swords created from it.

These Valyrian words can’t be mistaken for anything else. Valyrian Steel swords are uniform in structure regardless of the size of the blade. Its surface is clearly wavy as if the liquid were trickling from it. In reality, Damascus Steel was the exact inspiration for this appearance, as strange as it may seem at first glance.

Ned Stark

Ned Stark Valyrian Steel Sword

The wisdom of how to forge Valyrian steel, along with most of the Freehold’s written history, was destroyed in the Destruction of Valyria. Once this happened, it was no longer feasible to forge new swords out of Valyrian steel, thus we can only guess at the original process. No one knows for sure, but legend has it that the steel was formed in Dragonfire and charged with magical powers.

The Secrets Have Been Long Lost

Valyrian Steel

Records documenting the history of Valyrian Steel

An experienced blacksmith can create new swords out of smelted ones made of Valyrian steel, however, it’s a time-consuming procedure. The renowned blacksmiths of Qohor are renowned for their ability to do this, although even they are unable to forge completely fresh Valyrian steel and are notoriously tight-lipped regarding the reforging procedure. Though it is possible to forge two smaller blades out of a bigger one, or one huge blade out of many smaller ones, Valyrian steel is limited and highly scarce.

Although Thurgood counts 227 Valyrian steel swords throughout Westeros, there are likely hundreds more that have been misplaced or forgotten since his lists were compiled. Even the poorest of Westeros’s minor families are reluctant to part with their Valyrian steel swords because of the prestige and significance they hold.

Known Valyrian Steels Sword In House of Dragons, and GOT

Jon Snow and White Walker

Jon Snow fighting White Walker with Valyrian Steel Sword Longclaw

Longclaw, Jon Snow’s blade made of Valyrian steel, is famed for being the weapon with which he slaughtered his first White Walker, while Arya Stark’s knife, made of Valyrian steel, was the weapon with which she has slain the Night King.

Dark Sister, a legendary sword possessed by Targaryen Household since long before any Targaryen ever set foot in Westeros, is now in the hands of Prince Daemon. It is said that Queen Visenya, wife of Aegon the Conqueror, once employed Dark Sister. Daemon’s father, Baelon the Brave, was the previous owner of the sword.