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Lord Fauntleroy

Dragonsteel, Valyrian Steel, and Lightbringer.

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Below is my theory encompassing Valyrian Steel, Obsidian, and Lightbringer (both Stannis' sword and the Lightbringer of myth). It is my contention that the Lightbringer in the Azor Ahai myth is not a literal sword, but the metaphorical methodology of creating Dragonsteel / Valyrian steel.




Firstly let's look into Valyrian steel. A few quotes from the wiki, with important parts in bold.



Valyrian steel blades are lighter, stronger, and sharper than even the best castle-forged steel, and feature distinctive rippled patterns similar to Damascus steel”



Valyrian steel was always costly, but it became considerably more so when there was no more Valyria, the secret of its making lost with the Doom.”



Only the greatest weaponsmiths can reforge swords from existing Valyrian steel, but the secret of creating such an alloy was apparently lost with Valyria, making those remaining weapons highly treasured and extremely rare.”



So, we know Valyrian steel is super special and treasured. It's light, sharp, and sturdy. But why is it so hard to make? Why were the Valyrians able to create it so well? Well, the most important thing in all great recipes is the ingredients. And one thing that seems a bit rare in Westeros is Obsidian.



And a few notes about Obsidian.



Obsidian is volcanic glass, also known as dragonglass.”



Obsidian blades are sharper than steel but far more brittle. The Valyrians also made use of obsidian to make their glass candles.”



Obsidian is, as noted above, volcanic glass. There are not very many volcanoes in Westeros unfortunately, however Valyria was littered with them. From the wiki-



Tyrion recalls that it was written that on the day of Doom every hill for 500 miles had split asunder to fill the air with ash and smoke and fire, blazes so hot and hungry that even dragons in the sky were engulfed and consumed. Great rents had opened in the earth, swallowing palaces, temples, entire towns. Lakes boiled or turned to acid, mountains burst, fiery fountains spewed molten rock a thousand feet into the air, red clouds rained down dragonglass and the black blood of demons, and to the north the ground splintered and collapsed and fell in on itself and an angry sea came rushing in.”



Sounds pretty volcano like to me. It seems that Valyria was just so brimming with dragonglass due to the large amount of volcanic activity that eventually someone had to try combining it with steel. Sharp, yet brittle, if combined with steel why wouldn't it produce a pretty decent blade with the best qualities of both materials? That's how real steel came to be, after all. And to keep their monopoly on the market strong, the Freehold kept the methodology of Dragonsteel's creation a closely guarded secret.



Now, combining these two into one theory (that Valyrian Steel is really Dragonsteel, the combination of Obsidian and Steel) isn't really a new thing. Samwell and Jon Snow come to similar conclusions in both Feast (chapter five) and Dance (chapter seven).



My own take on this concept is that the art of forging new Dragonsteel is more important than we give it credit. That the original discovery was so HUGE, so WORLD-CHANGINGLY important that it became legendary. (By whom, you may ask? None other than Azor Ahai, though that's not really part of my theory. Yet.) The creation of Dragonsteel let whoever Azor Ahai was end the Long Night and save humanity. With all of the more wealthy great houses in Westeros armed to the teeth with expensive Valyrian Steel, they defeated the others and kept the magical foreign blades as family heirlooms.



That's not all though. Since according to my theory the lost art of Dragonsteel is really the source of the Lightbringer legend, how can it ever come back? Well, I would like to posit that “Lightbinger” has been rediscovered. Someone has found out how to create new Dragonsteel, and has the resources to mass produce the magical blades. A person with mass quantities of dragonglass, ties with ancient Valyrian territory (and possibly old Valyrian texts), and lots and lots to gain from saving Westeros. Our Mannis with the Plannis, Stannis Baratheon has brought forth Lightbringer.



The most critical part of this aspect of the theory is that Stannis holds Dragonstone. Why is this important? Well, let's look at Dragonstone for a minute.



Dragonstone was the original seat of House Targaryen in Westeros, which they had colonized and fortified as the westernmost outpost of the Valyrian Freehold.”



Dragonstone is a volcanic island at the mouth of Blackwater Bay, created by the active volcano, Dragonmont.”



The ancient fortress of Dragonstone was built using advanced Valyrian techniques of masonry that were lost in the Doom.”



So, Dragonstone is at least old enough to have been around during the height of the Valyrian Freehold. Those early Targs picked a volcanic island for a reason. For the obsidian, maybe? Seems like a likely reason, otherwise it's a pretty damn happy coincidence. Magic was in full force, since the castle was built by it. So if the Targs knew magic, and picked an island with Obsidian, it's not a huge leap to assume that somewhere on that island is the secret to magical, dragonglass-related activities. Magic + Obsidian + Valyrians = Dragonsteel?



I think it's a safe bet that somewhere on (or deep within) the castle is the secret to Valyrian Steel. A secret that Stannis eventually found. After all, he was the first non-Valyrian occupant, not counting Maesters, to live there in centuries. Surely a meticulous man like Stannis would want to know everything there is to know about his new (though insulting) seat to get everything in order for his occupancy.



This, I believe, is why he summoned Melisandre. Or rather, how she became convinced he was Azor Ahai. Though I remain unconvinced that Stannis is AA, I do think that Mel follows the same logic here. As a shadowbinder trained in the magical arts, Mel likely has some expertise on what may have gone into Dragonsteel, or at the very least the properties of dragonglass. After working with Stannis and creating the first new Valyrian Steel blade in centuries, she might leap to the conclusion that he is Azor Ahai reborn. Although this brings up the first real hitch in this theory: how exactly is Valyrian Steel made? How would it tie in with Lightbringer's forging? Here's the legend on Lightbringer-



Darkness lay over the world and a hero, Azor Ahai, was chosen to fight against it. To fight the darkness, Azor Ahai needed to forge a hero's sword. He labored for thirty days and thirty nights until it was done. However, when he went to temper it in water, the sword broke. He was not one to give up easily, so he started over. The second time he took fifty days and fifty nights to make the sword, even better than the first. To temper it this time, he captured a lion and drove the sword into its heart, but once more the steel shattered. The third time, with a heavy heart, for he knew before hand what he must do to finish the blade, he worked for a hundred days and nights until it was finished. This time, he called for his wife, Nissa Nissa, and asked her to bare her breast. He drove his sword into her breast, her soul combining with the steel of the sword, creating Lightbringer.”



Unfortunately this is where my own ideas fall flat. Since Lightbringer itself is a metaphor, poetic imagery for the creation of Dragonsteel, what does the imagery of the Lightbringer forging process represent? Ol' Azor here goes from zero to a hundred really quick there. “Water doesn't work, I guess I'll have to stab a fucking lion.” They can't be literal. Maybe the water is traditional sword forging.



Then what are “lions”? My only idea is that the closest things to lions that the Valyrians had on hand are dragons. Did they somehow try and use dragons to forge Dragonsteel? A molten steel sword probably won't pierce dragon hide. Dragonflame instead of traditional fire forges? I'm scratching my head here.



Lastly, the “Nissa Nissa” in the tale can't be a singular woman. The closest I can think of is that the Valyrians used blood magic, committing the heinous act of human sacrifice by stabbing slaves (or more realistically using their blood in the manner of Vary's missing member) to cool the steel. Interestingly, a little tidbit about Valyrian magic that ties blood, magic, Valyria and obsidian together-



All Valyrian magic was rooted in blood and fire. It is said that they could set dragonglass candles to burning with strange, unpleasantly-bright light. With the obsidian candles, they could see across vast distances, look into a man's mind, and speak with one another though they were half the world apart.”



So mixing blood with obsidian sparks some potent magical voodoo! What are your thoughts? Could blood magic, obsidian, Valyria, volcanic activity, Valyrian Steel and the Long Night all be tied together?


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Love the idea, for some reason blood magic just sounds like something that would be done, and it would be awesome if it were true, but it just seems a little bit simple, and begs the question how the art was forgotten.

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Tied together, yes. But I doubt obsidian is part of Valyrian Steel or Lightbringer. Obsidian melts. Lightbringer doesn't.



Go back to Tyrion's second chapter in AGoT and see what it says about dragonbone.


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I like the idea that Lightbringer could be the invention of dragonsteel. But your explanation is flawed because Azor Ahai came from Asshai and not Valyria. According to the timeline here Valyria was founded some 3000 years after the adventures of Azor.


So I think dragonsteel isn't the same as valyrian steel, it's still very likely that both were created with blood and fire but dragonsteel seems more powerfull. At least Lightbringer is, as it generates its own heath and it is said that when AA thrust the blade through a monster, the creature burst into flame.


Dragonsteel is only mentioned once by Sam, he read it was to be effective against the Others who were last fought long before Valyria was founded. So if some Valyrian smith-sorceror came up with the exact same recipe HE would be the second AA and in this case Stannis would be the third. But if the Valyrian only came close to the recipe the race to become the second AA is still wide open!



Might be some loose ends, but I do like the theory of Lightbringer symbolizing some blood magic ritual to create dragonsteel.


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I like the idea that Lightbringer could be the invention of dragonsteel. But your explanation is flawed because Azor Ahai came from Asshai and not Valyria. According to the timeline here Valyria was founded some 3000 years after the adventures of Azor.

So I think dragonsteel isn't the same as valyrian steel, it's still very likely that both were created with blood and fire but dragonsteel seems more powerfull. At least Lightbringer is, as it generates its own heath and it is said that when AA thrust the blade through a monster, the creature burst into flame.

Dragonsteel is only mentioned once by Sam, he read it was to be effective against the Others who were last fought long before Valyria was founded. So if some Valyrian smith-sorceror came up with the exact same recipe HE would be the second AA and in this case Stannis would be the third. But if the Valyrian only came close to the recipe the race to become the second AA is still wide open!

Might be some loose ends, but I do like the theory of Lightbringer symbolizing some blood magic ritual to create dragonsteel.

Well, dragon steel and valyrian steel might be the same thing. The steel was founded by Asshai'i, and when some of it was delivired to Westeros it became known as dragon steel. The name was probably straight translation from Asshai's language. I assume the recipe kind of faded away from Asshai to Ghiscari empire and later to Valyrian Freehold. This is just a theory of how the Valyrian steel recipe is actually found by Asshai'i (I do not really believe it by myself).

But I don't think that Light bringer is Valyrian steel. LB is just something magical. Maybe it will be revealed later in the series.

But enough coming up with own ideas. It is possibly best to rely on information already given. That concludes Valyrian steel is forged by magic and dragon's fire, and Light Bringer is a sword forged by a guy in Asshai, and Dragon steel is just an older name for Valyrian steel.

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Well, dragon steel and valyrian steel might be the same thing. The steel was founded by Asshai'i, and when some of it was delivired to Westeros it became known as dragon steel. The name was probably straight translation from Asshai's language. I assume the recipe kind of faded away from Asshai to Ghiscari empire and later to Valyrian Freehold. This is just a theory of how the Valyrian steel recipe is actually found by Asshai'i (I do not really believe it by myself).

But I don't think that Light bringer is Valyrian steel. LB is just something magical. Maybe it will be revealed later in the series.

But enough coming up with own ideas. It is possibly best to rely on information already given. That concludes Valyrian steel is forged by magic and dragon's fire, and Light Bringer is a sword forged by a guy in Asshai, and Dragon steel is just an older name for Valyrian steel.

Dragonsteel is "steel" made of dragonbone. It's hidden in AGoT, as are the seeds of most of the big things in the series.

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In that case as Rhaegar Targaryen was thought to be Azor he might as well stabbed Lyanna Stark with his own blade to resurrect Lightbringer, and that hidden and unknown so far sword to be the secret ,not Jon Snow

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Bumping the thread with an update to the theory-

Darkness lay over the world and a hero, Azor Ahai, was chosen to fight against it. To fight the darkness, Azor Ahai needed to forge a hero's sword. He labored for thirty days and thirty nights until it was done. However, when he went to temper it in water, the sword broke. He was not one to give up easily, so he started over. The second time he took fifty days and fifty nights to make the sword, even better than the first. To temper it this time, he captured a lion and drove the sword into its heart, but once more the steel shattered. The third time, with a heavy heart, for he knew before hand what he must do to finish the blade, he worked for a hundred days and nights until it was finished. This time, he called for his wife, Nissa Nissa, and asked her to bare her breast. He drove his sword into her breast, her soul combining with the steel of the sword, creating Lightbringer.”

 

This part of the tale is where it gets interesting.  It is describing the process the Valyrians undertook to find the perfect formula for their steel and also the effectiveness it has on the Others. 

 

We begin with water, which represents the normal sword forging technique. As we learned from the first chapter of GoT, normal steel shatters against the magical might of an Other.

 

Then what are “lions”? This would be their first attempts at blood sacrifice to enhance the magic of the blades. The Valyrians used  ritualistic animal sacrifice to strengthen the blades. As we see in the text, this had the same result as the normal water-forged blades. It is important to note that the lions are sacrificed in the same manner as Nissa Nissa, implying that it is not dragonfire they are referencing. 

 

Lastly, the Nissa Nissa in the tale can't be a singular woman. The Valyrians used human blood magic, using human sacrifice by stabbing slaves (or more realistically using their blood in the manner of Vary's missing member) to cool the steel. Interestingly, a little tidbit about Valyrian magic that ties blood, magic, Valyria and obsidian together-

 

All Valyrian magic was rooted in blood and fire. It is said that they could set dragonglass candles to burning with strange, unpleasantly-bright light. With the obsidian candles, they could see across vast distances, look into a man's mind, and speak with one another though they were half the world apart.”

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This is very similar to a theory I recently posted, accept I do not believe obsidian is involved in dragonsteal, I believe it is dragonflame, steal, and blood sacrifice.  Obsidian is sharp because of its flaky nature, but metal does not possess a quality of sharpness.  Valyrian steals qualities are its light weight, hardness, and durability.  Hardness is the quality that lends Valyrian steal its sharpness.  The metal itself can be forged into a sharper angle, while still holding its edge when it contacts other surfaces than normal steal swords can be because it is harder.  It is the shape the sword takes that gives it its level of sharpness, not the steal itself.  Durability is the swords ability to not snap when it is used.

I would state that in order for obsidian to have been named dragon glass, people had to know what dragons were.  If dragons were around, and were tamed, their flame could be used to forge steal, and if you used a dragons flame to forge steal you would probably call that dragon steal.

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This is very similar to a theory I recently posted, accept I do not believe obsidian is involved in dragonsteal <snip>

Then why, in your opinion, is Dragonglass involved in the plot of the books at all? It's used to fight the Others right along with Dragonsteel and both have near-identical names used by the Children/Wildlings. Both are also associated with Valyria and blood magic.

 

Its (obsidian) presence indicates a particular importance to the novels and overall story. 

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The dragon glass candles are interesting and could become more important to the story as it develops.  Dragon glass is also much more common than dragon steal since you have to kill someone to make it. 

On a separate note, I think the fact that the weapons the cotf used kill WW's is possible evidence of the cotf creating them.

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On a separate note, I think the fact that the weapons the cotf used kill WW's is possible evidence of the cotf creating them.

I doubt the Children created obsidian. Speaking of, I'm not sure how the Children got obsidian in the first place. 

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I doubt the Children created obsidian. Speaking of, I'm not sure how the Children got obsidian in the first place. 

No I didn't mean evidence that they created obsidian but evidence that they created the WW's.  They can ward their caves against them, they were already living in caves not really effected by the son, and their weapons can kill them unlike normal human weapons.

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I doubt the Children created obsidian. Speaking of, I'm not sure how the Children got obsidian in the first place. 

Primitive people have crafted knives, spear points, and arrowheads from things like obsidian and flint sine long before recorded history.  Obsidian is volcanic, and might be found either on Dragonstone or anywhere there's geothermal activity, like a geyser or hot spring. Since we know Winterfell is built on a hot spring, it would be unsurprising to find obsidian close by. The CotF no doubt found some and learned to craft with it, it's useful aside from any properties against ice zombies.

I believe there's a so spake Martin where he explains that obsidian is not an ingredient, but magic and sacrifice is.

IRL, it would be possible to use the components of obsidian in a steel alloy, some of which would be either only contributing color or would simply sluff off as slag. The steel that results has improved electrical conductivity but is inherently so brittle as to make a sword that is at the very best a wall decoration. I can accept that magic might make possible something effectively impossible given the technological level in the story, but magic making what we know will be a crappy sword into the finest of swords is just a way to break suspension of disbelief.

 

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 The First Men fought the Others during the Long Night. They fought with iron. They didn't even have regular steel, never mind Valyrian steel. 

I never stated the First Men had the ability to create Dragonsteel, but I do believe they had access to it during the Long Night possibly via "Azor Ahai" who brought it with "him" to Westeros. Maybe Valyria itself is Azor Ahai? Regardless most Lordly houses have had their Valyrian Steel blades for thousands of years, possibly back into the First Men. 

 

I believe there's a so spake Martin where he explains that obsidian is not an ingredient, but magic and sacrifice is.

Please find this and provide a source if you want to claim it as credible. I have not heard of that at all. 

 

No I didn't mean evidence that they created obsidian but evidence that they created the WW's.  They can ward their caves against them, they were already living in caves not really effected by the son, and their weapons can kill them unlike normal human weapons.

I actually agree with you on this. The Children may have created the Others to take out mankind once they couldn't break the Neck. However that is largely unrelated to this topic so lets discuss that another time. 

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Fascinating and I don't have my books with me right this second, but I've always believed the components of VS are dragon fire, obsidian and magic.  Now I'm hearing obsidian isn't even part of the equation?   

To magic or spells, I would imagine that dragon fire in and of itself is magical.   So perhaps the spells and/or sacrifices are what differentiate VS from DS?  

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I believe there's a so spake Martin where he explains that obsidian is not an ingredient, but magic and sacrifice is.

Looks like the 3rd quote screwed this up a bit, but I am pretty sure that Littlefinger's dagger is thinking of dragonbone, not obsidian, and I am pretty sure GRRM was talking about Valyrian steal, not dragonsteal, which we do not know for a fact is the same thing.

 

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