Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Inspired by Where did the great houses get their Valyrian steel blades from?, what is so special about Valyrian steel?

I have not read the books; I am planning on getting them before month's end, but in the meantime I was just curious as to what its significance is.

share|improve this question
Also, if you are interested, take a look at How many Valyrian steel swords are there at the beginning of GoT – Shevliaskovic Apr 8 '14 at 19:41
I already saw that question, definitely interesting stuff, thanks! – Mkalafut Apr 8 '14 at 19:42
I always felt that GRRM was inspired by the description of magic swords in Tad William's trilogy Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. – TLP Apr 8 '14 at 22:07
They are said to be very durable and remain sharp (probably magically) The blade was Valyrian steel, spell-forged and dark as smoke. Nothing held an edge like Valyrian steel. -Catelyn I, A Game of Thrones. – Mooz Feb 17 '15 at 2:54
Also related: Valyrian Roads – Mooz Feb 17 '15 at 2:56
up vote 22 down vote accepted

The main features are that they are stronger and lighter than normal steel blades. Also, the Valyrian steel has been lost along with Valyria, meaning that there only a few Valyrian Steel blades left in the world. There are only a few people in the world that can actually create a new blade from an existing Valyrian steel blade; thus making them extremely expensive.

Valyrian steel blades are lighter, stronger, and sharper than even the best castle-forged steel, and feature distinctive rippled patterns similar to Damascus steel.

Only the greatest weaponsmiths can reforge swords from existing Valyrian steel, but the secret of creating such an alloy was apparently lost with Valyria, making those remaining weapons highly treasured and extremely rare. The blacksmiths of Qohor claim to know how to reforge Valyrian steel, and Tobho Mott did reforge Ice at the request of the Lannisters, in King's Landing.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the information and the source! – Mkalafut Apr 8 '14 at 19:34

Valyrian Steel has many features that distinguish it from even the best castle-forged steel. Weapons made from Valyrian steel tend to be lighter, stronger, and sharper. It also keeps it's edge better than normal steel. Which is why it's such a desirable material for making weapons, and why the few remaining Valyrian steel weapons are highly regarded and passed down as precious family heirlooms.

share|improve this answer
Sorry System, he beat you by literally seconds and had a bit more info so I have to go with his answer for now! Thanks for replying nonetheless! – Mkalafut Apr 8 '14 at 19:39
@Mkalafut - To the victor go the spoils lol – System Down Apr 8 '14 at 19:40

Valyrian Steel seems to have similar properties as Damascus Steel:

Damascus steel was a type of steel used in Middle Eastern swordmaking. [...] These swords are characterized by distinctive patterns of banding and mottling reminiscent of flowing water. Such blades were reputed to be tough, resistant to shattering and capable of being honed to a sharp, resilient edge.
The reputation and history of Damascus steel has given rise to many legends, such as the ability to cut through a rifle barrel or to cut a hair falling across the blade. [...] Production of these patterned swords gradually declined, ceasing by around 1750, and the process was lost to metalsmiths.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.