In Game of Thrones‘ season seven premiere, sharp-eyed viewers spotted an illustration of a dagger Sam found in an old book looked identical to the one used by Bran’s would-be assassin in season one. Rather than just a fun Easter egg though, that dagger took on added meaning when Baelish “gifted” it to Bran last week.
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But while we were busy wondering what scheme Littlefinger is working on, we might have missed out on the show answering one of the great mysteries of Valyrian steel. If so it’s a revelation that would be far more important going forward than anything Littlefinger is planning for the future.This was the dagger used by the cutthroat (catspaw in the books) assassin in season one, which Catelyn brought to Littlefinger who lied about it belonging to Tyrion Lannister.Compare that to the illustration in Sam’s dusty forgotten book.They are exactly the same, and that’s not by chance. John Bradley who plays Samwell Tarly talked about the filming of that scene with The Huffington Post after this season’s premiere, and he had this to say about that specific page in the book.
“I was literally told make sure that you linger on this page. They were shooting over my shoulder and said make sure to linger on this page. Make sure we get a good shot of this page before you turn the page over.”
The actual dagger from the show, from the Making of Game of Thrones Production Diary
In the moment the only thing any viewer could really notice on that page is the dagger, but the show’s creators had to know that fans would decipher what the text had to say, which is exactly what Reddit user rataface did by making an exact replica of it.
His reproduction is so accurate it can be a little difficult to read, so here’s what it says (bolded section ours):
The Valyrians were familiar with dragonglass long before they came to Westeros. They called it “Zirtyl yierzyll,” which translated to â€œfrozen fireâ€ in Valyrian, and eastern tales tell of how their dragons would thaw the stone with dragonflame until it became molten and malleable. The Valyrians then used it to build their strange monuments and building without seams and joints of our modern castles. When Aegon the conqueror forged his Seven Kingdoms, he and his descendants would often decorate their blades with dragonglass feeling a kinship with the stone. The royal fashion for dragonglass ornamentation soon spread throughout the Seven Kingdoms to those wealthy enough to afford it. Hilts and pommels were and are the most common decoration for dragonglass if too brittle to make a useful crossguard. Indeed, its very brittleness is what relegate it to the great houses and the most successful merchants.
It’s more than a little curious that an illustration of a Valyrian steel dagger doesn’t mention the word “steel” one time. This entire entry speaks only of dragonglass, almost as though the two are one and the same.We wrote extensively about Valyrian steel before, about how no one knows how the Valyrians made it, their secrets dying with them in the Doom. All we know for certain is that it is lighter, stronger, and sharper than even the best castle-forged steel. It is thought to have been forged in dragonflame, and it was cast with magic and spells. (George R.R. Martin himself has called it a “fantasy metal” because magic played a role in its making and it contains magical qualities.)Because no one knows exactly how it was made there is a finite amount of it in the world, making it is almost priceless. That was true before anyone knew it could kill a White Walker.There is something else we know about Valyrian steel though: it has a very dark color.In A Storm of Swords as Tywin is having House Stark’s ancestral Valyrian steel sword Ice reforged into two swords for House Lannister, he has this thought:
“Most Valyrian steel was a grey so dark it looked almost black, as was true here as well.”
That dark color could be because it was likely forged in dragonflame, but remember that bolded line from Sam’s book that seemed to discuss Valyrian steel and dragonglass interchangeably?
“…eastern tales tell of how their dragons would thaw the stone with dragonflame until it became molten and malleable.”
Only dragonflame is hot enough to turn obsidian molten, and dragonglass is usually black.Was Valyrian steel forged with dragonglass, which is why it both looks especially dark and can kill White Walkers?The Children of the Forest made the White Walkers by inserting dragonglass into the heart of a man. We might not know the specifics of how that worked, but we know dragonglass is both magical and the White Walkers weakness.We assumed Valyrian steel could also kill White Walkers because it was forged in dragonflame, but what if it’s actually because Valyrian steel is partially made of dragonglass itself?Whether or not the steel was forged in dragonflame wouldn’t matter, the dragonglass would have had to have been melted by dragons, so dragons were still needed for the process, which is why no one has been able to make it since the Doom of Valyria.But if Sam has come across this information and can somehow piece it together, at Dragonstone right now are three dragons and a “mountain” of dragonglass. Valyrian steel swords and daggers in the hands of gifted fighters like Jon and Arya would be much more desirable to fight with in the Great War than dragonglass spears or arrows.Of course the magic the Valyrians forged the steel is still required, and they’d need skilled blacksmiths to quickly make them since the White Walkers seem poised to finally arrive at the Wall.Is Melisandre heading to Volantis, the oldest of the Valyrian outposts and home to the Lord of Light’s most devoted followers, to find that lost information and return to Westeros with it? Is long-lost blacksmith Gendry finally going to return when the living need him most?It would be quite the convergence, but Bradley did also have this to say in that interview:
“All of these storylines, no matter how spread out they feel sometimes, they are a lot of the same storyline and in the equation.”
The show wanted him to linger on that page because they wanted us to pay attention to it, and that might be because it contains an answer to one the great mysteries of making Valyrian steel.With the dead marching it’s sounds like it could be a recipe for victory.What do you think? Is Valyrian steel made with dragonglass? Is that why it kills White Walkers? If so what might all this mean going forward? Forge all of your thoughts in our comments section below.For more information on the significance of the dagger that Littlefinger gave to Bran, click here.To understand how Jaime Lannister possibly sank so deep so close to shore (lol), click here.Is Gendry actually coming back? Here is what we think about that.