I saw a good reddit thread saying Ned Stark might not be carrying a huge sword as it might attract attention. Do we know if he was definitely using Ice? Alternatively, do we have any reason not to believe it wasn't Ice?

Both in TV series and books answers are appreciated.

4 Answers 4


I can't currently answer for the books, but in the show it appears he's definitely not using Ice in his fight against Jaime. If you compare Ice in the scene where he executes the Night's Watch deserter in S01E01:

And the sword he's using in his fight with Jaime in King's Landing in S01E05:

they're quite obviously not the same.


In the book A Game of Thrones the great-sword known as Ice is not mentioned in the encounter between Jaime and Ned.

I have quoted select sentences from the full passage that details the fight.

"No!" Ned Stark screamed, clawing for his sword. Jaime was already cantering off down the street as he heard Wyl shout.

Ned galloped to him, bringing his longsword down on Tregar's helm.

Ned's sword is only mentioned twice and is never called "Ice" or even a "great-sword". Ice is always called by name or as a "great-sword", if not both in the books.

Ned was also mounted on horse in the books. It would be very difficult to wield a two-handed great-sword while mounted, so even if Ned had Ice on his person at the time of the fight, he would have wanted to use something more suitable for the situation. The only time we see Ice used is for executions.

Remember Valyrian steel swords are very rare and treasured. Not even the Lannisters have enough gold to make a lesser house forget their pride and honor to sell one.

  • Good answer as usual mate. A sliiiiight nitpick, it's not necessarily that the Lannisters lack the gold to buy a VS sword off someone, it's that no-one sells them as a rule of honour and pride.
    – Möoz
    Oct 30, 2016 at 21:20
  • Although I disagree that ice may be used on horseback, given that Valyrian swords are easier to wield; your question fully answers mine. Thank you. I wish I could have two accepted answers.
    – user65648
    Oct 31, 2016 at 9:18
  • There are medieval sources which suggest that two handed weapons, even two handed swords, were used on horseback, so I think that part of your answer was misinformed. Oct 31, 2016 at 13:19

No, Ned was not using Ice during his fight with Jaime, he was using a normal arming sword.

In the TV series Game of Thrones, Ice, the Valyrian steel sword of Eddard Stark, is portrayed as a claymore-sized ceremonial blade (greatsword), which is so large that it requires Theon to hold the scabbard while he unsheathes it.

enter image description here

It has a lot in common with real medieval executioner's swords, except it has a point, which suggests that the show is trying to imply that the sword is ceremonial/symbolic, not for combat use. This is reinforced in Tywin's conversation with Jaime in Season 4, Episode 1

Tywin: The original weapon was absurdly large. Plenty of steel for two swords

The sword Ned Stark uses in his fight against Jaime Lannister (in Season 1, Episode 5) is a typical arming sword (he carries two on his waist in the scene before drawing one of them).

enter image description here


This was addressed out of universe by GRRM during a panel Q&A and is part of the So Spake Martin archives at Westeros.org. He states plainly that no, Ice is a ceremonial sword, not a battle sword.

Asked if Ned ever used Ice in battle. George points out it was a greatsword, very large and cumbersome, a ceremonial sword for beheading people more than a fighting sword, so he suggests that it was "probably too heavy and clumsy" to use unless you're the Mountain.

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