A Game of Thrones • A Song of Ice and Fire NWN2 Persistent World • Low Magic Role Play

History of the Targaryens

World of Westeros - History
Saturday, 29 May 2010 11:04



Ancient Valyria

A long-dead city of wonderment, Valyria was once the capital of a great empire called the Valyrian Freehold, but has since fallen to ruin. At its prime, the Valyrian Freehold was an advanced civilization and the dominant military and cultural power of the known world. The city was located on a peninsula of Essos, and is the ancestral home of House Targaryen.

In the early days of Valyria, the mighty Ghiscari Empire tried to stop the city's expansion, fighting five major wars that were each won by the Valyrians. The last battle destroyed the Ghiscari Empire and its capital of Old Ghis. Over the years the Valyrians continued to conquer, building great cities and roadways that all led to Valyria. Many smaller nations, such as the Andals and the Rhoynar, fled west to avoid Valyrian expansion. Valyria took many slaves from its conquered lands and used them to mine deep into the earth. At the height of its power, the Freehold stretched over almost the entire east. Cities built by the Valyrian Freehold include Oros, Mantarys, Tyria, and all of the Free Cites except Braavos.

The Valyrian Freehold was destroyed when some as-yet undescribed "Doom" was visited upon it several hundred years prior to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire. The Doom, apparently of volcanic nature, fragmented the land surrounding the city itself into numerous smaller islands, creating the Smoking Sea between them. The area is now described as "demon-haunted", and most people are afraid to go there, as it is said, "The Doom still rules in Valyria." Though the eight Valyrian Free Cities survived the Doom, as well as the Targaryens who fled to Dragonstone, most of Valyria's culture, language, and craft was lost in the Doom.

Valyria is best remembered for its unique ability to raise dragons and use them as weapons of war. Much of its military strength came from the effectiveness of its dragons on the battlefield. Valyria is also remembered for forging "Valyrian steel", a magical metal used to make weapons of unparalleled quality. Valyrian steel blades are lighter, stronger, and sharper than those of regular steel, and feature distinctive rippled patterns similar to Damascus steel. The secret of forging such metal was apparently lost with Valyria, making those remaining weapons highly treasured and extremely rare. Most Valyrian steel blades in Westeros are treasured heirlooms of noble houses, each with its own name and storied history. Ice, the greatsword of House Stark, was one such blade.


Known Valyrian Blades

  • Ice - The two handed greatsword of House Stark, passed down to each successive Lord of Winterfell. Passed to Ser Ilyn Payne after Eddard Stark's execution in King's Landing. Melted down and reforged into two longswords at the command of Tywin Lannister, in order to secure a Valyrian Blade for his House's lineage. These two blades became known as Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail.
  • Longclaw - Formerly the hand and a half bastard sword of Jeor Mormont, it was given to Jon Snow after he saved Mormont from an attack by a wight.
  • Heartsbane - The two handed greatsword of House Tarly.
  • Blackfyre - Valyrian Sword of Kings, the sword of Aegon the Conqueror. Last wielded by Daemon Blackfyre during the Blackfyre Rebellion.
  • Dark Sister - The sword of Aegon's sister/wife Visenya. Wielded by Aemon the Dragonknight & later Bryndon "Bloodraven" Rivers.
  • Lady Forlorn - Hereditary blade of House Corbray. Passed to Lyn Corbray by his father despite his status as a second son. This break in tradition remains a point of contention between Ser Lyn and his older brother Lyonel, head of House Corbray.
  • Red Rain - Carried by the Drumms of the Iron Islands, taken from a mainland knight by Hilmar Drumm.
  • Nightfall - Longswords carried by Ser Harras Harlaw of the Isle of Harlaw in the Iron Islands.
  • Oathkeeper - One of two Valyrian blades forged of steel taken from Ice, the greatsword of the Starks, at the order of Lord Tywin Lannister. The blade was originally meant for Ser Jaime, Lord Commander of King Tommen Baratheon's Kingsguard, but was given to Brienne of Tarth for use in her quest to locate Sansa Stark. The blade was given its name, Oathkeeper, at that time.
  • Widow's Wail - The second of two Valyrian blades forged of steel taken from Ice, the greatsword of the Starks, at the order of Lord Tywin Lannister. This blade was given to Joffrey Baratheon as a wedding gift by Tywin Lannister, and was named Widow's Wail from the shouted suggestion of an unnamed guest of the gift-giving ceremony. Following Joffrey's death, ownership of Widow's Wail has presumably passed to Tommen, but this has not been confirmed in text.
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 May 2010 11:14