Dragonglass and Valyrian steel are hugely important in the wars to come on Game of Thrones since they’re the only weapons that can kill the White Walkers leading the army of undead Wights (not counting dragon fire). Jon has the Dragonglass supply from Dragonstone on lockdown, but what about the handful of Valyrian steel weapons out there?
Several key characters currently carry Valyrian steel blades: Jon himself has Longclaw, Arya got the Catspaw dagger from Bran, Jaime has had Widow’s Wail since Tommen’s death, Brienne received Oathkeeper as a gift from Jaime, and Sam stole Heartsbane from his family’s home.
Each of these characters has proven themselves on the battlefield and are totally worthy of their weapons … all except for Sam Tarly. Now that Sam dropped out of college and took Gilly and little Sam back on the road again in Season 7, he’s heading north to join, probably for Winterfell, which is a long journey.
Normally, Sam would want to keep Heartsbane in the family, especially considering the ornate design that bears the House Tarly sigil. It’s just too bad that all of the male Tarlys are dead (RIP Randyll and Dickon).
The best thing Sam can do to help the war effort is to give that sword to someone who knows how to use it, possibly for it to be refashioned into a new weapon entirely. (It wouldn’t be the first time a Valyrian blade had been reworked or reforged on the show.) How epic would it be to have Gendry rework the blade for one of the other warriors on Game of Thrones to use?
Out of all the competent fighters out there, here are the best candidates to wield Heartsbane, in increasing likelihood.
6. Benjen Stark, aka “Coldhands”
One of the earlier points where the show diverged from the books was in presenting Coldhands from the books as the reanimated corpse of Benjen Stark, Ned Stark’s brother. He encountered Meera Reed and Bran Stark last season and saved them from certain death. (He actually appeared during the same exact episode that Sam stole Heartsbane.)
Benjen is currently somewhere north of the Wall, forbidden from passing through it by the same magic that keeps the White Walkers from moving south, and it’s debatable if he’ll even resurface. It’s unclear how coming into contact with Valyrian steel might impact an undead character like Benjen, but if it’s physically possible Benjen would be a solid, albeit far-fetched, choice to wield Heartsbane against the White Walkers.
5. Jon Snow
Under other circumstances, Jon would be the obvious receiver of the sword considering he and Sam’s friendship. But Jon already has Longclaw, the iconic weapon now symbolic for the King in the North. Longclaw has a direwolf pommel and is technically a “bastard sword.” That means Jon is probably going to keep it for life.
Still, Longclaw used to have a bear instead of a direwolf on the hilt, and it once belonged to Jorah Mormont, recently returned free of Greyscale. Jorah could conceivably want that sword back now that he and Jon have teamed up to venture north of the Wall. It’s likely that Jorah will at least mention it unless some stupidly complicated sword-shuffling happens. Then Jon will keep Longclaw, and Heartsbane will go to someone else. If there’s anybody who needs a Valyrian blade, it’s Jon.
4. Thoros of Myr
The only Red Priest we’ve met on the show, Thoros leads the Brotherhood Without Banners with Beric Dondarrion, and has been known to resurrect Beric from death several times. Thoros fought alongside Robert Baratheon numerous times in past wars and, like his friend, has also engaged in lechery and drunken revelry in the years since.
He’s known for wielding flaming swords in battle, which makes it less likely that he’ll wind up with a Valyrian blade. Nonetheless, Thoros is slated to be an important figure, fighting with Jon against the Night King. As such, a Valyrian steel blade in his hand could go a long way.
3. Beric Dondarrion
Despite dying a handful of times in battle and only having one eye left, Beric Dondarrion is supposedly still a pretty great warrior. Much like his companion Thoros, Beric also wields flaming swords. It’s all but certain that we’ll see him whip out a flaming sword in the coming weeks on Game of Thrones as his party wanders north of the Wall.
Though there’s not much evidence that Beric is a better fighter per se (he has legit died in battle, which could be interpreted as the opposite), the fact that the Red God resurrects him time and again is telling that he has some greater significance. Jon was resurrected by R’hllor to fight White Walkers with a Valyrian sword, so perhaps the same could be said for Beric.
2. Jorah Mormont
The first of the only two truly viable candidates to wield Heartsbane (though the others are exciting dark horse candidates), Jorah is one of the most versatile and well-rounded fighters in all of Westeros. Jorah getting a new Valyrian steel sword would be a decent consolation prize considering Jon gets to keep Longclaw. He is broad, powerful, and fights with a knightly style that makes a larger blade like Heartsbane the ideal weapon for him (yeah, Heartsbane is actually bigger than Longclaw).
Unlike some of the other Valyrian blades, Heartsbane is a greatsword. It’s in the same weapon class as Ned Stark’s Ice, which was that huge sword that was melted down and used for the Lannister weapons Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail. Heartsbane isn’t quite as massive, but it’s best reserved for a large, powerful person like Jorah or, even better, the Hound.
1. Sandor Clegane, aka “the Hound”
Without question, there is no better person to wield Heartsbane than the Hound. Valyrian steel is significantly lighter than other metals, which would make the Hound even more formidable should he gain it. His slightly larger brother, the Mountain, is renowned for wielding a traditional greatsword with a shield, a feat of strength impossible for lesser men. With a lighter sword, the Hound might be able to manage the same.
Now, all Sam needs to do is make that long trek up north to hand the sword over to one of these characters — assuming they all survive in the coming weeks.
Game of Thones airs Sundays on HBO at 9 p.m. Eastern.