Most of us are quaking in our seats for tonight’s big season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones (GOT). I know I’ve been humming the theme song all day! An integral part of Game of Thrones is their sword fighting choreography. The most famous blades on GOT include Jon Snow’s Longclaw, Arya Stark’s Needle, Ned Stark’s Ice, Joffrey’s Widow’s Wail, and Brienne of Tarth’s Oathkeeper. One of the most famous types of steel in the show, Valyrian steel, is the most prized sword and tool material. In addition to fire and dragonglass, Valyrian steel weapons may be used to kill the white walkers.
Valyrian steel was forged using magic in Valyria. They are lighter, stronger, and sharper than regular steel swords. It is distinguished by its rippled patterns that bear resemblance to damascus steel (folded billets of contrasting metals treated with acid to etch). Forging damascus is an ancient artform involving ingots of wootz steel and lots of folding.
Think about how croissants are made! This type of steel derives its namesake from Damascus, Syria. There’s some rumor that the damascus steel swords cut through the European’s steel swords when they came through Damascus. Many high-end custom blades are made out of damascus steel. Folding the billets is an artform within itself! Ice from GOT is hand-forged by Man at Arms in Season 3, Episode 35. This video is amazing as it shows you the process it takes to make Ned Stark’s Ice.
The blade is dipped in ferric chloride or muriatic acid in order to etch the damascus. There are well known designs such as ladder, reptilian, random, vines & roses, typhoon, raindrop, diamondback, basketweave, herringbone, fireball, etc. Damasteel has a great selection of traditional and original design damascus billets that you can purchase for stock removal. I have written about stock removal methods in a previous blog post of mine.
Damascus steel is very pretty, but it took us a long time to get there. The first swords were forged out of copper and were very quick to dull and bend. Then swords were revamped and made stronger with bronze (an alloy of tin and copper). Bronze is still a soft metal; There wasn’t a decent sword until stainless steels made from iron and carbon entered the scene. Swords are rated for their balance, harness, strength, and flexibility. GOT weaponry has a lot of similarities to the real world materials used in real-life blades. Who will sit upon the Iron Throne as the next Monarch of Westeros?
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