Wiki of Westeros

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Wiki of Westeros
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Wiki of Westeros

"That dagger once belonged to Aegon the Conqueror. It was Aenar's before that. And before that... it is difficult to know. Before Aegon's death, the last of the Valyrian pyromancers hid his song in the steel."
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]

A Valyrian steel dagger,[2] fashioned in Old Valyria, eventually came into the possession of the Targaryen family. The blade is finely made of Valyrian steel, and the hilt is made of dragonbone and dragonglass.

After the fall of the Targaryens, it was given to a catspaw to be used in an assassination attempt on Bran Stark. This weapon would indirectly begin the War of the Five Kings and, years later, also end the Great War when Arya Stark used it to kill the Night King.

History[]

Background[]

The Valyrian steel dagger had its origin in Old Valyria, though its precise history before it came into the possession of Aenar Targaryen is unknown.[3] Aenar and his family were the only dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria, having left to settle on the island of Dragonstone twelve years before.[4] Over the course of the century following the Doom, the dagger passed down through Aenar's descendants, eventually to Aegon the Conqueror.[3]

Prior to Aegon's Conquest, Aegon had a prophetic dream in which he foresaw the return of the White Walkers and the Great War. Aegon interpreted the dream as indicating that a Targaryen had to rule a unified Westeros to counteract the threat. After realizing the threat would not arrive in his own lifetime, he had the last of the Valyrian pyromancers incise his prophecy into the blade, only revealed in extreme heat: "From my blood will come the Prince That Was Promised, and his will be the Song of Ice and Fire."[3][a]

House of the Dragon: Season 1[]

KOTNS Viserys & Rhaenyra

Young Rhaenyra Targaryen reads Aegon I's prophecy from the dagger.

The Valyrian steel dagger is in the possession of Viserys I. Nine years into his reign, he clutches it as he tells Rhaenyra the secret of Aegon's dragon dream and how the dagger and the prophecy have been passed from king to heir since Aegon I's time.[5]

Approximately four years later, Viserys places the dagger inside a brazier for Rhaenyra when he summons her to his chambers after she was caught with Daemon on the Street of Silk. Rhaenyra picks up the dagger and reads aloud the revealing words, which prompts Viserys to explain its history.[3]

During a fiery exchange of words over the maiming of Aemond in 126 AC,[b] Alicent becomes so furious that the king refuses to punish Lucerys, that she snatches the dagger from him and attacks the boy. Rhaenyra intervenes and fights Alicent off, though she is slashed on her left forearm. The wound is deep, requiring sutures.[6]

While Viserys is near death in 132 AC, the dagger is placed near his bed. It emits an icy hum as Viserys dies.[7]

On their way to the coronation of Aegon II, Alicent presents the dagger to her son. Aegon takes hold of the blade and carefully examines it.[8]

House of the Dragon: Season 2[]

Once the Battle at Rook's Rest is over, Aemond approaches Aegon, and finds the dagger.[9] Later, while watching Meleys's head drawn through the city on a cart, Alicent notices that Aemond carries the dagger on his belt.[10]

Game of Thrones: Season 1[]

The dagger is carried by the assassin who attempted to kill Bran as he lies in a coma at Winterfell, following his fall from a tower. The attempt is thwarted by Bran's mother Catelyn, and his direwolf, Summer. Catelyn is injured by the dagger, similarly to what happened many years before to Rhaenyra, while protecting her son.

Following this incident, Catelyn shows the dagger to Maester Luwin, Ser Rodrik Cassel, Robb, and Theon. They conclude, in view of the weapon's materials (a dragonbone hilt and a Valyrian steel blade) that whoever had ordered the attack and armed the catspaw must be very wealthy.

Catelyn resolves to carry the blade to her husband in King's Landing to investigate further.[11] Varys and Littlefinger both examine the blade, to which Littlefinger claims that the dagger originally belonged to him, and he lost it in a bet to Tyrion.[12] After he is kidnapped, Tyrion denies that, but Catelyn does not believe him.[13]

Afterward, Eddard keeps the blade with him. During a conversation with Littlefinger, in which he tries to persuade Ned to make peace with the Lannisters, Ned disdainfully says "with the people who tried to murder my boy" and puts the dagger on the desk, to make a point.

After betraying Ned,[14] Littlefinger takes the blade for himself.

Catspaw dagger in Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things

The blade.

Game of Thrones: Season 7[]

At the Citadel, Sam studies a book about the Long Night.[1]

Valyrian steel dagger game of thrones catspaw blade sam

The book Samwell Tarly reads includes the same (or a similar) dagger.

While reading, Sam lingers on a page detailing the use of dragonglass to decorate weapons. The page contains a drawing of the Valyrian steel dagger:

The Valyrians were familiar with dragonglass long before they came to Westeros. They called it "zīrtys perzys" which translated to “frozen fire” 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.

Littlefinger later gives the dagger to Bran. Bran, however, is now the Three-Eyed Raven and incapable of fighting on his own, so he gives the dagger to Arya, in the presence of Sansa. Sansa notes that Littlefinger never gives away anything for free, and suggests that he must have some sort of ulterior motive. Later, Arya uses the dagger when sparring with Brienne.[15]

In an appropriate twist of fate, the blade is used by Arya to execute Littlefinger during his trial for treason. During the trial, it is deduced that the dagger did in fact belong to Littlefinger all along, leaving open the possibility that he was the one who sent the catspaw to kill Bran in the first place.[16]

Game of Thrones: Season 8[]

GoT S08E03 AKNK

Arya Stark stabs the Night King with the dagger, killing him, his White Walker lieutenants and the wights attacking Winterfell.

Arya uses the Valyrian steel dagger to destroy the Night King during the Battle of Winterfell, causing his White Walkers to shatter into icy fragments and the wights serving under him to fall immediately.[17]

The dagger is last seen at Arya's side, as her ship sails west into the unexplored waters of the Sunset Sea.[18]

Ownership history[]

Behind the scenes[]

  • Although the dagger had not been seen in the series since Season 1, the cover of a June 2017 issue of Entertainment Weekly showed Arya Stark with the dagger on her belt.[19] This was somewhat of a spoiler that the dagger would reappear in the TV series.
  • Actor John Bradley (Samwell Tarly) explained in interviews that in the Season 7 premiere, when Sam is reading a book, he was specifically instructed to linger on a detailed sketch of the Valyrian steel dagger - as this was apparently intended to remind the audience about it: "When we were shooting that scene, 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 it. Make sure we get a good shot of this page before you turn the page over."[20]
  • The dagger's appearance was changed for House of the Dragon, as the showrunners felt that its appearance was "too fantasy" and didn't fit with the tone of the show. In-universe, the dagger has the same hilt and handle fittings in Game of Thrones, but has been altered and worn over time.[21]

In the books[]

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the dagger originally belonged to Littlefinger; it is unknown who previously owned it, and how and when Littlefinger obtained it. There is no mention of it in Fire & Blood.

During the tourney held to celebrate Joffrey Baratheon's twelfth nameday, Littlefinger lost it to Robert Baratheon, not to Tyrion.[22] Later it was used by the catspaw.[23]

Similarly to the show, Catelyn shows the dagger to Littlefinger and Varys.[24] Later, while discussing the dagger with the Starks, Littlefinger hands it to Ned and advises him to throw it away.[25]

Later, Ned examines the dagger, trying to figure why Tyrion or anyone else would want Bran dead. He has a strong (but incorrect) feeling that the dagger and Bran's fall have something to do with Jon Arryn's murder.[26]

While Robert is lying near death, Ned considers what he should do. Littlefinger advises him to make peace with the Lannisters. Ned firmly refuses; to emphasize his stand, he places the dagger on the table, a reminder that the Lannisters sought to murder his son.[27]

During the brawl in the throne room, Littlefinger slides the dagger from its sheath and shoves it up under Ned's chin.[28]

Unlike in the show, Catelyn reveals to Tyrion that it was Littlefinger who told her the dagger belonged to him.[29] Later, by interrogating Jaime, she discovers that Littlefinger lied to her, but it is too late to undo the damage she caused by kidnapping Tyrion.[22]

Some time after Tyrion returns to King's Landing, he chats with Littlefinger, commenting about his dagger. Littlefinger draws the dagger, glances at it casually as if he had never seen it before, then says with mischief in his eyes: "Valyrian steel, and a dragonbone hilt. A trifle plain, though. It's yours, if you would like it". Tyrion muses "He knows, the insolent wretch. He knows and he knows that I know, and he thinks that I cannot touch him".[30]

It is unknown what has become of the dagger afterwards; Littlefinger presumably still has it in possession. In A Storm of Swords it is mentioned that Littlefinger carries a dagger and uses it to cut food, but it is not specified whether it is the Valyrian steel dagger – if it is, it is certainly an ignoble use of such a material.

Appearances[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 1: "Dragonstone" (2017).
  2. Ryan Condal (2021). "The Heirs of the Dragon." Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 4: "King of the Narrow Sea" (2022).
  4. Game of Thrones: Conquest & Rebellion: An Animated History of the Seven Kingdoms, Chapter 1: "Valyria's Last Scion: House Targaryen" (2017).
  5. House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 1: "The Heirs of the Dragon" (2022).
  6. House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 7: "Driftmark" (2022).
  7. House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 8: "The Lord of the Tides" (2022).
  8. House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 9: "The Green Council" (2022).
  9. House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 4: "The Red Dragon and the Gold" (2024).
  10. House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 5: "Regent" (2024).
  11. Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 2: "The Kingsroad" (2011).
  12. Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 3: "Lord Snow" (2011).
  13. Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 5: "The Wolf and the Lion" (2011).
  14. Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 7: "You Win or You Die" (2011).
  15. Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 4: "The Spoils of War" (2017).
  16. Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 7: "The Dragon and the Wolf" (2017).
  17. Game of Thrones: Season 8, Episode 3: "The Long Night" (2019).
  18. Game of Thrones: Season 8, Episode 6: "The Iron Throne" (2019).
  19. BusinessInsider
  20. Huffingtonpost
  21. https://ew.com/tv/game-of-thrones-catspaw-dagger-house-of-the-dragon/
  22. 22.0 22.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII (1998).
  23. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 14, Catelyn III (1996).
  24. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV (1996).
  25. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV (1996).
  26. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII (1996).
  27. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII (1996).
  28. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV (1996).
  29. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 31, Tyrion IV (1996).
  30. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV (1998).

Notes[]

  1. In the episode, Rhaenyra omits the word "will" from the prophecy while reading Valyrian glyphs. According to David J. Peterson, the correct translation is "From my blood will come the Prince That Was Promised."
  2. "Driftmark" picks up only days after "The Princess and the Queen," which takes place in 126 AC.

External links[]

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