Fans of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series will know that weapons are characters unto themselves. The items have rich histories surrounding their creation and custody chains, and a lot of ink has been spilled to breathing life into these death-dealing devices.
Along the way, Game of Throneshas also paid special attention to the most prominent swords, daggers, and personalized pieces of weaponry, and the story of which character has which weapon has become something of a subplot in and of itself on the show.
Sunday's episode, for example, featured the dramatic transfer of ownership of one of the series' most fabled pieces of Valyrian steel as well as the forging of an entirely new piece of wight-slaying equipment. So, before we get to the big battle ahead, let's take a look at where all the most important and celebrated pieces of smithery have landed on Game of Thrones so far and how they might help our heroes defeat the White Walkers have that descended upon Winterfell.
Who has it? Jon Snow (Kit Harington).
How did he get it? Jon received Longclaw as a gift from Lord Commander Mormont all the way back in Season 1, and he's had it ever since. Mormont gave it to him as a token of thanks for Jon and Ghost saving him from the reanimated corpse of Othor, and the pommel was updated to feature a white direwolf, which is both the House Stark sigil and a nod to Ghost, The Very Good Boy. Mormont mentioned that the sword had been in his family for five centuries and was originally meant to be passed on to Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), but his son brought "dishonor" upon their home and fled Westeros without it. Upon meeting Jorah in Season 7, Jon tried to return the weapon to the Mormont family -- why he never offered it to little Lyanna Mormont is unclear -- but Jorah insisted that he keep it. "I brought shame to my house, broke my father's heart," Jorah said. "I forfeited the right to claim this sword."
What does it do? Jon learned during the Massacre at Hardhome that because Longclaw is made of Valyrian steel, it can kill -- er, re-kill -- wights and White Walkers just as well as dragonglass.
Who has it? Jorah Mormont.
How did he get it? Heartsbane belonged to House Tarly and was technically supposed to be passed down to Sam (John Bradley) due to the order of succession after his father Randyll, but since Sam wasn't a fighter and his father favored his valiant younger brother Dickon, the sword was instead intended for Dickon. However, after being disparaged by his father during a visit with Gilly (Hannah Murray) and Little Sam in Season 6, Sam decided to take the sword for himself and headed for the Citadel, where he eventually met Jorah and cured him of greyscale. After returning to Winterfell and learning that Randyll and Dickon were flayed alive by Daenerys in Season 8, he decided to give it to Jorah because he thought it was the "right" thing to do with it. "I'll wield it in his memory, to guard the realms of men," Jorah promised.
What does it do? Heartsbane is also made of Valyrian steel, so it should have the same power to cut down the dead.
Who has it? Arya Stark (Maisie Williams).
How did she get it? In Season 1, Jon Snow commissioned the sword for her from Winterfell's resident blacksmith, Mikken, before departing to take the black and join the Night's Watch. The sword was then stolen from her by Polliver in Season 2 when he and other Lannister forces raided Yoren's hideout and sent her to Harrenhal. Arya eventually retrieved the weapon in Season 4, when she and the Hound (Rory McCann) ran into Polliver at an inn in the Riverlands. She was asked to give the weapon up in Braavos in order to become a Faceless Man in Season 5, but she instead tucked it in a pile of rocks by the sea and later retrieved it.
What does it do? Needle has no specific powers, but Arya has certainly used it to cross a few names off her list after she "stick[s] 'em with the pointy end."
Who has it? Arya Stark.
How did she get it? This dagger basically started the War of the Five Kings in Game of Thrones. After Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) managed to survive being pushed out of the tower window by Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in Season 1, an assassin was sent to make sure he'd never wake up from his coma, using this dagger. Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) managed to fight the attacker off long enough for the direwolf Summer to intervene, and she headed to King's Landing to find out where it came from. Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) lied and old her he lost it in a bet to Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), which sparked an entire line of costly missteps by the Stark family. In Season 7, Littlefinger gave the dagger to Bran, who in turn gave it to Arya because, he said, "it's wasted on a cripple."
What does it do? It's made of both dragonbone and Valyrian steel, so it should be useful to strike down White Walkers and wights ... if they get close enough, that is.
Who has it? Jaime Lannister.
How did he get it? Widow's Wail was one of two swords forged from Ice, the blade that belonged to House Stark before Eddard (Sean Bean) was beheaded. Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) created it for King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) at the beginning of Season 4 as a wedding present, with the second blade intended for Jaime. After Joffrey's death by poisoning, however, Jaime took possession of Widow's Wail.
What does it do? It's made of Valyrian steel. 'Nuff said.
Who has it? Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie).
How did she get it? Oathkeeper, which she named, was the second sword forged from Ice and was originally intended for Jaime. However, he gave the sword to Brienne to help her locate and protect Sansa (Sophie Turner) from Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) after she fled King's Landing amid Joffrey's fated wedding reception. "It's reforged from Ned Stark's sword," he told her. "You'll use it to defend Ned Stark's daughter."
What does it do? Also Valyrian steel. Bye bye, undead soldiers.
Who has it? Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer).
How did he get it? Unclear.
What does it do? Channeling the power of the Lord of Light, Beric is able to bring flames to the blade, seemingly on command. Fire can destroy wights as well. Without Beric wielding it, though, it might as well be a tin sparring sword.
Who has it? It was last seen in the possession of The Hound but presumably has been returned to Gendry (Joe Dempsie).
How did he get it? Unclear; Gendry first introduced the weapon in Season 7 when he was sprung from his smithing shop in Flea Bottom by Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham). He brought it to fight during the Wight Hunt north of the wall but left it behind for The Hound to fight with when he was sent back to Eastwatch to get an SOS raven to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). "I don't know much about swinging swords," Gendry once boasted of his weapon choice. "But this -- this I know."
What does it do? Nothing special that we know of.
Who has it? The Hound.
How did he get it? Gendry forged it for him from dragonglass, which he said was not an easy feat given its size and the difficulty of melding the material.
What does it do? Dragonglass > White Walkers.
Who has it? Arya.
How did she get it? Gendry forged it for her, based on her own design.
What does it do? It's partially made of dragonglass, so it should serve well in the fight against the dead, but the specific capabilities of how the weapon works are still TBD.
Game of Thrones airs on Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.