There is a long tradition of naming swords in medieval times. Some believe this is because a good sword was a warrior’s greatest possession and therefore deserved a name while others believe a name would give a sword mystical powers.
Either way, this tradition is just as prominent in the Game of Thrones’ universe where usually only swords made of Valyrian steel are given names.
Ice was a Valyrian steel heirloom of House Stark, handed down to every Lord of Winterfell through the generations and was used both in war and on ceremonial occasions. Unfortunately for Eddard Stark, it was also the instrument of his death when Ser Ilyn Payne, the King’s Justice, used the two-handed greatsword to behead the Lord of Winterfell on the orders of King Joffrey.
In Season 4, Ice is melted down under Tywin Lannister's orders and, due to its substantial size, is used to create two new longswords.
The first of the swords created from Ice is given to King Joffrey by Tywin Lannister at the breakfast prior to his grandson’s wedding ceremony.
After using it to destroy the book Tyrion gave him as a wedding gift, Joffrey asks the other guests to think of a name for the blade. After a few suggestions, he quickly settles on the name Widow’s Wail.
Ironically, there is no hint of wailing from Joffrey’s widow, Margaery, as the sword is placed alongside Joffrey’s corpse during his funeral service.
The other longsword made from Ice is initially given to Jaime Lannister by his father, Tywin, in the hopes that it will become a family heirloom. The Lannisters’ hereditary Valyrian blade, Brightroar, was lost when Tommen II Lannister, King of the Rock, took it on his expedition to the ruins of Valyria and disappeared.
However, knowing the sword came from Ice, Jaime instead hands the blade over to Brienne of Tarth and charges her to use it to find and protect Sansa Stark with her father’s own blade.
Brienne considers a few names before settling on Oathkeeper, a reference to the oath she swore to Catelyn Stark and the oath Jaime broke as a Kingsguard when he killed the Mad King Aerys.
Before Jon Snow leaves to join the Night’s Watch, he asks the castle blacksmith at Winterfell to forge a very special blade. He gives the thin, rapier-like sword to Arya Stark, saying it is skinny like her and advises her to “Stick ‘em with the pointy end.”
She gives the sword its name as a reference to how Sansa has always been better at needlework. "Sansa can keep her sewing needles; I've got a needle of my own."
Longclaw is a Valyrian steel sword that had been in the possession of House Mormont for five centuries. When Lord Jeor Mormont gave up his lordship to take the black and command the Night’s Watch, he passed it on to his son and heir, Jorah Mormont.
Jorah fled Westeros after trying to sell some poachers into slavery and sent the sword back to his father on the Wall.
Many years later, Jeor gave Longclaw to Jon Snow 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.
In a world where might isn’t always right and your mind needs to be as sharp as your blade, possessing some Valyrian steel and a sharp intellect seem to be the only way to survive the game of thrones.
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