In this week’s Send the Ravens column, we look ahead to a huge meeting happening at Riverrun and answer your Game of Thrones questions…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
There’s a very interesting reunion headed for Game of Thrones this week that could potentially re-introduce a very crucial character to the mythos or at the very least it will bring several characters back together after being apart for quite some time.
As chronicled a few weeks back via a message from Lord Petyr Baelish, Riverrun — the ancestral castle belonging to House Tully — has been seized from the Frey’s and taken back by Brynden Tully aka The Blackfish. If you remember, The Blackfish is Catelyn Stark’s uncle, who escaped the events of The Red Wedding because he had to take a leak. While he stepped outside, Walder Frey locked the Starks inside and butchered all of them.
Since that time, it appears The Blackfish has gathered an army of Tully loyalists and they took back the castle from Walder Frey’s sons. Now Walder Frey has ordered them to go back and take the castle from The Blackfish. To assist them in that endeavor, King Tommen sent his “uncle” Jamie Lannister to broker a peace with The Blackfish and regain the castle for his kingdom.
Now don’t forget, Sansa Stark sent Brienne of Tarth to Riverrun as well to speak to The Blackfish and hopefully turn him into an ally against the Bolton’s as they try to retake the North. Judging from pictures released from Game of Thrones on Wednesday, we know that Jamie has arrived at Riverrun for a meeting with The Blackfish and he brought our good friend Bronn of the Blackwater with him as backup. Clearly, the Frey family will also not be far behind as they try to reclaim the castle they just lost.
But Brienne’s arrival could spark a very interesting meeting with Jamie considering he tasked her with finding and protecting the remaining Stark children — Sansa and Arya — just like he promised their mother he would do after he was released.
Now this story is nearly the same as the books minus one huge caveat and this is a massive spoiler if you haven’t read the books although there’s still no way to know for sure if the series is going this direction.
Will lady stone heart ever show up? The BWOB was mentioned again, they could pull it off still.
— Brandon Mitchell (@BrandonArcade) May 30, 2016
In the books, Brienne of Tarth is actually captured by the Brotherhood without Banners — who Walder Frey’s idiot sons mentioned in last week’s episode. The Brotherhood are the people who had a trial by combat with The Hound and ended up selling Gendry to Lady Melisandre for a pouch full of gold while they sacked Lannister garrisons all over Westeros.
The Brotherhood without Banners are led by a man named Beric Dondarrion, who was brought back to live numerous times by his friend and red priest Thoros of Myr. But he passes along his power of resurrection to another soul, who then becomes the new leader of the Brotherhood.
Her name is Lady Stoneheart but you know her better as Catelyn Stark.
Yep, that’s right — Catelyn Stark’s body was found dumped in the river after the events of The Red Wedding and brought back to life but because her throat was slashed (just like on the show), she could barely speak. She took on the name Lady Stoneheart and became the new leader of the Brotherhood as she sought revenge against anybody involved with The Red Wedding.
When Lady Stoneheart discovers Brienne of Tarth carrying Oathkeeper — the Valyrian steel sword that was forged from Ned Stark’s giant Ice sword and given to Jamie as a gift by his father Tywin Lannister. Lady Stoneheart believes Brienne is now a traitor and she gives her two options — kill Jamie Lannister or she will die. When Brienne refuses, Lady Stoneheart orders her killed but as she watches Podrick dying in front of her, she changes her mind and says that she’ll carry out the orders to kill Jamie Lannister. The last time we see Brienne in the books, she finds Jamie and tells him that she discovered where Sansa Stark has been hiding and that she’s been captured by The Hound, Sandor Clegane.
She begs Jamie to ride with her along to rescue Sansa or risk her being killed by The Hound. Now there are a ton of holes in that story obviously because Sansa isn’t anywhere near Riverrun and we know The Hound is dead so this sounds a lot like a trap. Is there a chance the same thing happens on Game of Thrones? Is Lady Stoneheart finally making an appearance? We won’t know just yet but it’s something to keep an eye on as all these parties converge on Riverrun this week!
With that said, let’s get to your Game of Thrones questions for this week:
The story and history behind Valerian steel. Who has one? How many are there? What power does the sword yield?
— Murphs56 (@Murphs56) May 30, 2016
Valyrian steel was first forged in Valyria thousands of years before our story in Game of Thrones takes place. Valyrian steel is said to be the lightest and most battle hardened weapon making material in the known world. A detail from the maesters:
“The properties of Valyrian steel are well known and are the result of both folding iron many times to balance and remove impurities and the use of spells — or at least arts we do not know — to give unnatural strength to the resulting steel.”
Valyrian steel is forged in dragon’s fire, which is another reason why it can no longer be produced because until Daenerys Targaryen came along there were no more dragons. But even more importantly, no one knows how to make Valyrian steel any longer although the blacksmiths of Qohor know how to reforge Valyrian steel — like what they did when they melted down Ned Stark’s sword Ice and forged two new weapons — Widow’s wail, which was given to Joffrey Baratheon and Oathkeeper, which now belongs to Brienne of Tarth.
Here are the existing weapons that we know about:
Longclaw — the blade of House Mormont that was given to Jon Snow
Oathkeeper — the blade of Jamie Lannister that was melted down from Ned Stark’s sword Ice that is now in the possession of Brienne of Tarth.
Widow’s Wail — the other sword made out of Ned Stark’s blade Ice that was in the possession of King Joffrey, but now is believed to belong to his brother Tommen
The dagger that was used in the attempt on Bran Stark’s life that is now in the possession of Petyr Baelish
Heartsbane — the greatsword (similar to Ned Stark’s Ice) that belongs to Randyll Tarly aka Samwell’s father, which Sam stole last week
Now these are the swords still in play from the books, but have not appeared on the show:
Lady Forlorn — the sword of House Corbray, currently possessed by Ser Lyn Corbray
Nightfall — the sword of House Harlaw and in possession by Ser Harras Harlaw
Red Rain — sword of House Drumm, which they stole in a raid. It’s believed this sword may be the ancestral weapon of House Reyne (remember the song ‘Rains of Castamere’? Those people that the Lannisters wiped out). Both Red Rain and Nightfall come from houses in the Iron Islands aka the Greyjoy territory.
There’s also House Celtigar, which sits in Blackwater Bay and they are great collectors and amongst the treasure they’ve amassed throughout the years it’s said that they have a great Valyrian steel axe in their possession.
There are tons of Valyrian swords that are unaccounted for such as Blackfyre, the ancestral sword of House Targaryen that was lost when King Aegon IV gave the weapon to his bastard Daemon (who eventually formed his own faction House Blackfyre) but after his death, it disappeared and no one has seen it in over a hundred years. There’s also the Targareyn sword called Dark Sister, which was last given to a man named Bryden Rivers, who you know as the Three-Eyed Raven.
As far as powers go, Valyrian steel is lightweight, incredibly sharp and impossibly hard and the one thing we know for sure is that these weapons can shatter a White Walker, most likely due to being forged with dragon’s fire. Dragons seem to be the kryptonite for a White Walker so that’s why these few weapons are so important.
Benjen Stark went searching for White Walkers back in season one, but disappeared and was presumed dead. He was one of the reasons why former Lord Commander Jeor Mormont decided to lead a ranging party north of The Wall to go look for him and find answers as to what the hell was actually happening out there.
According to Benjen, his ranging party was ravaged by the White Walkers and he was personally killed by one of their icy swords. He was then left for dead where he would then turn into a Wight — the undead zombies that serve the White Walkers. Before he could turn, however, the Children of the Forest found him and plunged a dagger of pure dragon glass into his heart. It was the same magic that turned a man into the first White Walker but in this case it had the reverse effect.
It turned a soon to be Wight into a sort of man again.
So Benjen is both alive and dead (more dead) but he still retained all of his memories and abilities. He just didn’t turn into a White Walker or a Wight after he was killed.
Connection between the Mad King, Bran, “burn them all” & the white walkers? https://t.co/F6qkNYK4vl
— Rex Highwalker (@HighwalkerMMA) May 30, 2016
This is a good question because last week we saw Bran have a huge string of flashbacks, including one very important time in history when King Aerys II Targaryan better known as The Mad King, ordered King’s Landing burned to the ground.
During Robert Baratheon’s rebellion, King Aerys decided that if he couldn’t have King’s Landing then no one could so he had his pyromancers build huge vats of wildfire — the flammable liquid that destroyed Stannis Baratheon’s fleet back in season 2. The pyromancers then hid the wildfire all over and under King’s Landing just waiting for Aerys to give the order to “burn them all”.
Unfortunately for Aerys, he allowed Tywin Lannister through his gates thinking he could trust his former Hand of the King, but instead he had formed a pact with Robert Baratheon to sack the city and take down the king. So with all hope lost, Aerys ordered Jamie Lannister (who was one of his royal Kingsguard) to kill his father and then he ordered Rossart, the head of the Alchemist’s Guild and his very brief Hand of the King, to burn it all to the ground.
Of course, Jamie Lannister then killed Rossart and killed the Mad King before anybody could be burned alive.
So Bran’s flashbacks to that famous scene were part of the “downloads” he received from the Three-Eyed Raven when he absorbed his powers back in the cave. But those flashbacks also came with a lot of looks at the White Walkers and the threat to the south that we know is coming from the army of the dead.
My best guess is this — wildfire can be used to kill White Walkers and that could be a key weapon to use against the creatures once they finally attack. Remember, Tyrion Lannister had most of the wildfire supply used to destroy Stannis but there were pots of that stuff laced throughout King’s Landing when the Mad King died. Some of it was probably never found or even discovered. So perhaps the city really will burn? Or perhaps that will be another weapon to use against the White Walkers?
There’s another theory that Bran Stark and/or the original Three-Eyed Raven is responsible for the “burn them all” command after time traveling to the past just like Bran did to Hodor with those words being planted in The Mad King’s head. It’s a good plot twist, but seems unlikely considering The Mad King was already off his tits crazy in the months and years leading to Robert’s rebellion in the first place.
Then again, who saw “hold the door” coming before it happened?
Will Sam continue on to the Citadel or will he head back to Castle Black to get Heartsbane to Jon? #SendtheRavens
— Alex (@bigal_baker) May 31, 2016
It would seem that Sam is going to head back to the Citadel where he will begin his training as a maester for the Night’s Watch to take over for Maester Aemon, who passed away last season. This story is slightly different from the books although there, Samwell finds out about Daenerys Targaryen and her living dragons before meeting a man named Marwyn at the Citadel, who intends to leave and go maester for her in Meereen.
Marwyn swears Samwell to secrecy about the dragons, but that’s the end of his journey as we know it.
Considering, Samwell now has committed to Gilly and their son Sam as well as taken his family’s greatsword Heartsbane, it’s tough to tell where he’s going next. Don’t forget, Sam still doesn’t know that Jon Snow was murdered and resurrected! So it would appear that Sam is going to end up at Old Town where he can train at the Citadel but once he gets word about Jon exiting his post as the Lord Commander and now building an army to take down the Bolton’s, there’s always a chance he reconvenes with his friend and helps his cause to reclaim the north in the name of House Stark.