I came to think of it from interesting discussion at one of my answers regarding wildfire.

My understanding was that Wildfire is not magical because nothing suggests that it was. Granted that Order of Pyromancers keeps calling the manufacturing process a "spell" but they call everything a spell and hint at their own magical prowess as noted by Tyrion. The guild of Alchemists is not named so without a reason. If wildfire were magical, then that art should have been lost with death of the last dragon in Aegon III's reign as magic went begun to go out of the world then apparently. Some quotes from ACOK:

The substance was the pyromancers’ own term for wildfire. They called each other wisdom as well, which Tyrion found almost as annoying as their custom of hinting at the vast secret stores of knowledge that they wanted him to think they possessed. Once theirs had been a powerful guild, but in recent centuries the maesters of the Citadel had supplanted the alchemists almost everywhere. Now only a few of the older order remained, and they no longer even pretended to transmute metals...

Again from ACOK about "spell" on apparently fire-sensing ceilings:

By spell Tyrion imagined Hallyne meant clever trick. He thought he would like to inspect one of these false-ceilinged cells to see how it worked, but this was not the time. Perhaps when the war was won.

But counter argument is strong as well. Reforging Valyrian steel swords was still in practice after death of dragons which is also supposedly carried out with spells. Also existence of dragons seems to have improved quality of all fire-related "magic" spells. Admittedly it makes no sense that dragons should act as a catalyst in production of wildfire if it was not magic.

So the question is, Is wildfire really magical? Or the spells are simple chemical manufacturing processes for which dragons might play a role of catalyst?

Or can we say that while the procedure required to manufacture wildfire might involve magic but the end product remains chemical?

It might be opinion-based at this point since we do not know it for a fact right now but I'd like to see arguments based on canon sources which can help in determining the nature of wildfire.

  • 4
    I always assumed this was Greek Fire
    – Fruitbat
    May 30, 2016 at 9:44
  • 3
    George R. R. Martin likes to start with real history and crank it up past 11.
    – Joe L.
    May 30, 2016 at 12:20
  • 1
    My understanding is that reforging a Valyrian steel sword doesn't take magic, it's just that only the best blacksmiths can do it properly.
    – kuhl
    May 30, 2016 at 12:34
  • 2
    As I understand it, there is two kinds of magic in ASOIAF. There is the "yer a wizzard 'arry"-Force kind of magic, like greenseeing and warging. This magic you are either born with or will never have. But then there is the other kind of magic, for instance Mel's magic, where there is no line between "craftsmanship" and magic. At some point skill and understanding blur with what we call magic and can be learned by every devoted student. Wild Fire IMO falls under the learnable magic. This kind of magic makes this universe so that you can be way better at everything, compared to our universe. May 30, 2016 at 15:29
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    If it was chemical, but they didn't understand the science of it (you mix A with B and it's wildfire.... why? Dunno.), then it might be attributed to magic, kind of like how not-understood things were in the real world. Sep 21, 2016 at 13:56

2 Answers 2


Assumption: If wildfire were magical, then that art should have been lost with death of the last dragon in Aegon III's reign as magic went out of the world then apparently.

I disagree with this assumption. Magic in ASOIAF may have varying forms. White walkers were white walking way before dragons were hatched. Faceless men probably have their own form of magic. Children of the forest had their magic. Three eyed raven was watching over Bran long before the dragons. Warging was common beyond the wall. Albeit weak, warlocks of the Qarth had some magic of theirs as well, or they claim they have some magic.

The magic that disappeared or declined seem to be related to fire. Alchemists guild and Valyrian steel forgers suffered from this decline. Art of dragonglass candle burning was also lost.

So the question is, Is wildfire really magical?

My answer is yes, it is magical. Your only evidence against it is Tyrion's skepticism. Tyrion is a smart man, hence he is always skeptic. He was also skeptic of white walkers and giants, but we already know that his skepticism was pointless.

Hallyne the pyromancer and Tyrion had a talk about this.

Tyrion was growing impatient. Ser Jacelyn Bywater was likely here by now and Ironhand misliked waiting. "Yes, you have secret spells, how splendid, what of them" "They, hmmm, seem to be working better than they were." Hallyne smiled weakly. "You don't suppose there are any dragons about, do you?"

So, producing wildfire requires spells and art of wildfire did not die away with the dragons. Wildfire was, in fact the true power of Targaryens.

Or can we say that while the procedure required to manufacture wildfire might involve magic but the end product remains chemical?

I think this part of your question is impossible to answer. We know magic is involved. Is it possible to produce wildfire without magic? The word "spell" points to it. I claim a substance is magical if magic is involved in the production. However, in order to fully answer this question, we need to define chemistry, alchemy and magic in ASOIAF world. I hardly think we can precisely define them, so this part of question is more opinion-based.

  • Great answer Koca. One thing though. Wildfire came to Westeros with Targaryens right? So contrary to other forms of magic that you mentioned, The production might be some form of fire magic which was so beloved of Valyrians. Fire and Blood magic either went out or became too weak as Hallyne himself said that he was told that magic begun to go out when last dragon died, until Daenerys performed her blood magic. It had been centuries since Aegon III's reign so the remnants of the magic, if any, must have been very weak..
    – Aegon
    May 31, 2016 at 5:07
  • Do you have a reference for the (evolutionary) age of dragons? It's hard to believe that dragon's magically sprung into exist a handful of millennia ago, but perhaps I just don't know the ASOIAF canon well enough. May 31, 2016 at 5:24
  • @EdS. Dragons did exist long before Valyrians found them imo. Valyrians managed to however master them unlike other nations. That happened 5,000 years ago. There are some details in The World of Ice And Fire but sadly I do not recall
    – Aegon
    May 31, 2016 at 5:37
  • @Aegon Take note that magic in ASOIAF was never too strong. Battles were fought with soldiers not with magicians. Children of the forest lost the war against the first men, in spite of their magic. Like in the LOTR, here, magic is an auxiliary force. It gets its power from being unpredictable, not from its strength. All of this, of course, with the exception of the white walkers. So far, only they have magic strong enough to change the outcome of battles.
    – user65648
    May 31, 2016 at 6:19
  • Another point, the art of forging Valyrian steel was lost in the Doom of Valyria, not when the dragons died.
    – kuhl
    May 31, 2016 at 10:36


Hallyne talks about using spells in the production of wildfire but the way it is worded implies they are not necessarily needed. As such it would appear as though the substance is chemical in nature but enhanced through magic.

Hallyne had the complexion of a mushroom, so it was hard to see how he could turn any paler, yet somehow he managed. "We were, my lord Hand, my brothers and I have been laboring day and night from the first, I assure you. It is only, hmmm, we have made so much of the substance that we have become, hmmm, more practiced as it were, and also"—the alchemist shifted uncomfortably—"certain spells, hmmm, ancient secrets of our order, very delicate, very troublesome, but necessary if the substance is to be, hmmm, all it should be..."
Tyrion was growing impatient. Ser Jacelyn Bywater was likely here by now, and Ironhand misliked waiting. "Yes, you have secret spells; how splendid. What of them?"
"They, hmmm, seem to be working better than they were." Hallyne smiled weakly. "You don't suppose there are any dragons about, do you?"
A Clash of Kings, Tyrion XI

  • 1
    You don't suppose there are any dragons about, do you?", Magical beings are acting as a Catalyst here for a supposed Chemical process. We know rebirth of the dragons improved the efficiency of a lot of spells including that Street Wizard in Qarth whose prowess increased exponentially once Dragons were born as Quaithe suggested.
    – Aegon
    Apr 27, 2018 at 12:24
  • @Aegon That's the point though, the spells don't seem to be needed to make the actual substance but only to make it better.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Apr 27, 2018 at 12:26
  • Yup, but the connection....It has Magic written all over it. We know magic started going out from the World once Dragons died. It was going out but it still existed in a weaker form. That will explain why the substance and minor spells could still be done. Return of the dragons boosted the strength of those spells. So magic then?
    – Aegon
    Apr 27, 2018 at 12:28

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