No matter how you watch it – from your iPhone while on the subway or from the cozy confines of a plush leather couch with a bowl of cheddar popcorn – there’s no denying that HBO’s Game of Thrones is one of the best television shows ever made. It’s so good in fact, that HBO has released their new standalone $14.99/month HBO NOW subscription service just in time for the fifth-season of the show to start this coming Sunday, April 12th – which just may break all streaming audience records thanks to their free 30-day trial membership for new users which is effective starting today.

But aside from the character sub-plot extravaganza that – along with many other attributes – make the show so popular, one of the most entertaining components of the show is its ability to transfer users into mythical folklore that is void of any iDevices, apps and the like. Along with that comes the brilliant period-based approach to virtually every piece of the set design ranging from the physical structures to costumes and effects - among them being the swords and other weaponry that drive the games between the thrones.

Of course, with this being the era of YouTube and Wiki-everything, some enthusiastic fans of the show were bound to create their own versions of accurately-replicated props to keep by their side in case the unexpected Lannister comes crashing through their flatscreen and onto their living room floor.

Leading up to the season five premiere this coming Sunday, here's three Game of Thrones superfans (along with GoT Weapons Master Tommy Dunne adding insight) who have either broken down the material science for the Game of Thrones weaponry or simply just found joy in creating them from scratch:

Valyrian Steel

From Game of Thrones Wiki:

The secret of forging Valyrian steel was lost in the Doom of Valyria, after which creating new Valyrian steel weapons became impossible. Valyrian steel was expensive to begin with, so Valyrian steel swords such as House Stark's Ice were already valued heirlooms passed down from one generation to the next in powerful noble families. In the four centuries since the destruction of Valyria, surviving Valyrian steel weapons became priceless, and the few noble Houses who possessed such weapons treasured them even more closely.

Skilled smiths can reforge Valyrian steel weapons by melting down existing ones, but it's a difficult process. Two smaller Valyrian steel swords can be made out of a larger greatsword, or a large greatsword made by melting down multiple smaller swords, but the amount of Valyrian steel in the world is finite and extremely rare.

The Valyrian steel sword Oathkeeper - note the distinctive rippled pattern of the metal.
The master-blacksmiths of Qohor are noted as being among the few who can successfully reforge it - though even they don't know how to make entirely new Valyrian steel.

Some maesters also bear a Valyrian steel link in the maester chain they wear. It is a sign that said maester has studied the "higher mysteries" - magic. This field of study, however, is mostly theoretical and its purpose is to demonstrate that magic, if it ever existed, is now extinct.


Jon Snow's Longclaw

From Game of Thrones Wiki:

Longclaw is a Valyrian steel sword, in the possession of House Mormont for five centuries. When Lord Jeor Mormont retired from his lordship to take the black and command the Night's Watch, he passed it to his son and heir, Ser Jorah Mormont. When Jorah went into exile after trying to sell some poachers into slavery, he had the sword sent back to his father on the Wall.

Years later, Jeor gave Longclaw to Jon Snow as a reward for saving his life from a wight. Before giving it to Jon he had the pommel remade, replacing the bear with a direwolf head, the sigil of House Stark.

Longclaw is a bastard sword (also known as a "Hand-and-a-half sword"), which is longer than a longsword, but shorter than a greatsword. Longswords are meant to be wielded with one hand, while the other hand holds a shield. Greatswords are so large that they can only be wielded using both hands, preventing usage of a shield. Bastard swords can be used with one or two hands: while they are larger than longswords they are short enough that they can still be wielded with one hand, though it is preferable to use two hands.


Arya's Needle

From Game of Thrones Wiki:

Needle is a thin sword wielded by Arya Stark. It was given to her by Jon Snow, who had it made by Mikken, the blacksmith of Winterfell.

The sword is well suited to Arya's slight build, which prevents her from fighting in the style of large male Westerosi knights, who employ powerful slashing moves and strong blocks using a heavy sword. Instead, Arya and Needle are much better suited to the "Water Dance" style of fencing popular in Braavos and other Free Cities, which emphasizes speed and agility with a thin, light rapier used in quick thrusting attacks.


GoT Weapons Master Tommy Dunne

From Game of Thrones Wiki:

Tommy Dunne is a film and television armorer from Wicklow in the Republic of Ireland. He is the weapons master for Game of Thrones. He has also worked on the HBO World War II miniseries The Pacific and Band of Brothers and the preceding feature film Saving Private Ryan with executive producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. He worked on the films The Mask of Zorro, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, V For Vendetta, Blood Diamond, The Bourne Ultimatum, Charlie Wilson's War and Your Highness. He was the armorer for the Iraq War miniseries Occupation.

Tommy Dunne made an uncredited appearance as Tommy the Winterfell barber in Season 1's "Winter is Coming" (a role which still involved the "use" of a blade). He later made another uncredited cameo in Season 4's "Two Swords", as the Valyrian sword smith who reforges Ned Stark's greatsword Ice.


For Game of Thrones fans who might want their own weaponry and armor in the case that Joffrey Baratheon stumbles off of his pedestal, through your flatscreen and into your living room, Valyrian Steel is the official licensed manufacturer of Game of Thrones prop reproductions.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.