Jorah Mormont: Iron chainmail and steel plate over the chest; metal gauntlets over the hands and greaves over the legs; a visored helm over the skull. A knight in full armor can shrug off swords, spears and axes. But Valyrian steel slices through his protections like so much cloth. As advanced as iron is from bronze, so is Valyrian steel from ordinary steel. Lighter yet stronger, and nothing holds an edge like it. If you take a whetstone to a Valyrian blade, you will need another whetstone... and maybe another hand to hold it.
Nobody knows how the Valyrians forged their steel. Less than a handful of smiths can now even reshape it. The process, like so much of their civilization, was lost in the Doom. Many claim they wove magic spells into the molten metal and blasted it with dragonfire. When you see a Valyrian blade, smokey and dark as if drinking in the sun and rippling with a thousand folds, you may not scoff so loudly.
The Valyrian steel that exists now is all there will ever be. Some survives in the Citadel with the Maesters' chains, where a link of Valyrian steel signifies study of the higher mysteries - whatever those are. Some drifts through the world as prized daggers and jewelry for rich merchants; I've even seen a Dothraki arakh. But much more of Valyrian steel lives on in the great houses of Westeros, as their most treasured possession: a sword passed down from father to son for generations. Ice of House Stark, Heartsbane of House Tarly, Lady Forlorn of House Corbray...
But even precious treasures can be lost. Aegon Targaryen's Blackfyre and Visenya's Dark Sister disappeared in Daemon Blackfyre's rebellion. A foolish King of the Rock took House Lannister's Brightroar to Valyria, and neither blade nor man was seen again. And then there are the swords that are not lost, but lose their owners. For five centuries Longclaw was the pride of House Mormont, my house. Even penniless and in great debt, I chose to sell men rather than the sword. And when my shame became known and I fled Bear Island for the east, I left it behind for my father - to hold it for a worthier heir. Valyrian steel is a wonder of the world, sharper than wits, truer than men, rarer than virtue. But even its edge cannot cut so deeply as a son's failure... nor its value match that of redemption.
- King Aegon I Targaryen (mentioned)
- Queen Visenya Targaryen (mentioned)
- Daemon Blackfyre
- King Tommen II Lannister
- Lord Jorah Mormont
- Lord Commander Jeor Mormont