The Ancestral Blade of Kings and Great Houses: The Ice Sword
Whether you’re a fan of the GoT television series, the books, or just fantasy in general, you’ve probably heard of Ned Stark and his epic greatsword, Ice. If you haven’t, we’ll get to their history within the world of Westeros in a bit. But for now, let’s focus on our Ice sword replica.
Like the Ice Sword from the series, this weapon is unabashedly enormous. It measures a monstrous 51 inches in length overall, which is well over a metre (about 130 cm) for anyone out there who prefers metric. The blade itself is 39 inches (just shy of a metre) long, which leaves a comfortable 12 inches of hilt.
While you might think that those measurements are a bit excessive, you need to remember that in both the show and the books, the Ice Sword dwarfed most ordinary longswords. The long hilt is absolutely necessary for you to be able to wield this sword comfortably with both hands, as it obviously isn’t designed for single-handed use. Only the Mountain could potentially manage something like that.
Speaking of the hilt, the design we see is a simple one, as befitting the Stark household. The metallic grey crossguard is straight, with the tips featuring a slight embellishment. These tips, along with the simply designed pommel, are a bronze colour. The grip itself is brown and designed to allow both hands to move freely as needed.
The blade of the Ice Sword is similarly uncomplicated. The blade is, like historical greatswords and claymores, straight. It’s fairly wide, featuring a triple fuller. The two outer fullers end quite closely to the hilt, but the central fuller continues for about three quarters of the blade.
Along with this Ice Sword replica, we provide a wall mount and everything you need to hang it on the wall. This mount takes the shape of a small wooden circle emblazoned with the distinctive crest of House Stark, a white direwolf. This makes this sword a perfect buy for any collector, whether you’re specifically a fan of GoT or fantasy swords in general.
But what if you prefer Cosplay or LARPing and want an appropriate weapon? You know, who would wield the greatsword? Well, obviously Ned Stark would need his iconic sword, so a cosplayer playing him would appreciate this replica.
However, the straightforward design of the Ice Sword means that other characters could conceivably carry this blade. Fantasy kings and knights would especially want a sword of this calibre. Powerful warriors who brandish similarly powerful weapons may also suit this greatsword.
While this is a fearsome and intimidating weapon, there is a definite grace to this blade. Simply put, the Ice sword is both attractive and versatile. It’s recognisable, sure, making it perfect for a GoT fan. However, this kingly blade can fit many potential characters, if that’s what you’re after.
The Tragedies and Triumphs of House Stark and Ice
When we talk about fantasy settings and worlds, the known world described by G.R.R. Martin is as vicious and unforgiving as they come. The dark stain of realism taints every interaction and story, resulting in a history both epic and tragic, but by no means heroic.
In such a world, the honourable and straightforward House Stark stand out as different. Yes, they aren’t exactly sweetness and light, but they lack the scheming duplicity of their peers. This earns them the loyalty of some, but the scorn of others.
The ancestral sword of House Stark, Ice, could be seen as a metaphor for the reputation of the house itself and the man most associated with the sword, Eddard Stark. It is uncompromising, simple, and uncomplicated in design, but absolutely one of a kind in both quality and reputation.
The Tale of the Sword Itself: Valyrian Steel Forged in Blood and Fire
The history of Ice began at least four hundred years before Eddard (better known as Ned) Stark’s time. We know this because Ice was famously a Valyrian steel sword. This meant that it, along with every other Valyrian Steel blade, would have to have been forged before the Doom of Valyria.
The Doom of Valyria refers to a catastrophic event that resulted in the once incredibly powerful Valyrian Freehold, a civilisation not unlike Ancient Rome in that it spanned most of the continent of Essos and was easily the dominant military, technological, and cultural force of the known world.
Anyway, before Valyria blew up, both metaphorically and literally speaking, they were known for having access to incredible magical powers and for creating several marvels that could never be replicated. Among these marvels was the forging of Valyrian Steel.
The secret to Valyrian steel was lost alongside countless other treasures, although it was theorised that magical rites and dragonfire were involved in the forging process. Still, examples of the sword survived and were rightly prized by the denizens of Westeros and Essos.
Valyrian steel swords were lighter than ordinary blades, as well as being stronger and impossibly sharp. Not only did they make for weapons of unsurpassed quality, Valyrian steel swords were beautiful, bearing distinctive rippled patterns. These swords were sometimes strange colours, with Ice being described as dark and smoky, while the Widow’s Wail (another Valyrian sword) was a deep red.
Back to the sword in question. The name “Ice” was actually borne by another sword back in the Age of Heroes, likely by an ancestor of House Stark, back when they ruled the north as the Kings of Winter. When this particular greatsword was forged during the reign of the Valyrian Freehold, it came into the possession of House Stark and was given this ancient name, likely as a nod to this legacy.
Ice continued to be the ancestral sword of House Stark for centuries, acting as both a fearsome weapon and a constant reminder of the authority of the House. It was passed down between the Lords of House Stark, until it found itself into the hands of good old Ned Stark.
As a weapon, Ice was generally used for ceremonial purposes. Most commonly, it was used to dispense lethal justice and was traditionally wielded by the House Lord himself as they believed that “the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.” We saw Ned Stark himself demonstrate this practice as he executed a deserter using Ice.
The final time we see Ice in action is, perhaps fittingly, during an execution. However, Ned Stark was not the one to swing the blade this time. Rather, it was his neck at the other end as he was executed for treason by the then-king, the infamous Joffrey Baratheon. As if to highlight the vast difference between Joffrey and the honourable Starks, he didn’t deign to swing the killing blow, but had an executioner do the dirty work for him.
Following this final, dishonourable use, Ice lingered on as a trophy in the hands of the Lannisters, the family ultimately responsible for Ned’s ignoble death. Eventually, Lord Tywin Lannister had the greatsword melted down into two longswords, both with the same properties of Valyrian steel. The fact that this was possible is a testament to just how enormous Ice was.
These twin swords came to be known as the Widow’s Wail and Oathkeeper.
The History of House Stark: The Kings in The North
If you thought Ice was old, the heritage of House Stark makes it pale in comparison. House Stark was one of the oldest Great Houses of Westeros, with their lineage being traced back to the First Men. The House itself was founded by a fellow known as Bran the Builder millennia ago. He was credited with building both the Wall and Winterfell as defences against the threat of the White Walkers.
Fittingly, the motto of House Stark is a warning rather than a boast. The simple “Winter is Coming” warns both against the supernatural threat representing an Eternal Winter to the North and the rather more mundane harsh winters of their territory.
Originally, they were known as the Kings of Winter, or the Kings in the North and ruled their own kingdom. However, they bent the knee to King Aegon Targaryen rather than suffer dragonfire and thus became the Wardens of the North instead. They primarily defended against wildlings and supported the Night’s Watch for a while.
Let’s fast forward to the time of Ned Stark’s youth, when Westeros was ruled over by King Aerys Targaryen, otherwise known as the Mad King. You can probably guess why he had that nickname. Anyway, at this time House Stark was headed by Lord Rickard Stark, Ned Stark’s father. Ned also had an older brother called Brandon, a younger brother called Benjen, and a sister, Lyanna.
Brandon was betrothed to Catelyn Tully, and Lyanna to Robert Baratheon. This is where things started to go a bit wrong for the Starks. Lyanna was supposedly abducted by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, the son of the Mad King himself, who had actually fallen in love with her. Brandon didn’t take this very well and marched over to King’s Landing to challenge the prince, where he was abruptly arrested and imprisoned.
Rickard was then summoned to King’s Landing, where he demanded a trial by combat. Surprisingly, King Aegon accepted this challenge. Unsurprisingly, King Aerys had a very nasty trick up his sleeve and announced that his champion was going to be fire. You can kind of see where this is going to end.
So, Rickard, wearing his steel armor of course, was trussed up and suspended from the rafters where Aerys’s pyromancers lit a fire. If that wasn’t enough, Brandon was there, with a noose around his neck and a sword placed just out of reach. Brandon thus strangled himself trying to take the sword and save his father, who was roasted to death in his armor.
Predictably, this cruel execution did not endear King Aegon to the people. Ned Stark was now the Lord of Winterfell. When King Aerys demanded the heads of Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon from Lord Jon Arryn, Jon instead revolted. Ned Stark and Robert also rebelled, as did their countrymen.
During this rebellion, Ned’s sister Lyanna died. Prince Rhaegar also died, killed by Robert Baratheon himself. Ned Stark led the charge to King’s Landing himself, discovering that the Lannister’s had sacked the place themselves by treachery and savagely killed Rhaegar’s wife and children. As he went to claim the throne for Robert Baratheon, he also found the corpse of the Mad King along with his killer, Jaime Lannister. It could be argued that this is where the animosity between House Stark and House Lannister began.
Seventeen years later, we find ourselves at the start of the Song of Ice and Fire. House Stark started out on a high, with Ned Stark being one of King Robert Baratheon’s closest allies. However, as we all know, things went downhill quite quickly.
The technical specifications for this Ice sword replica are as follows:
- Blade Material: Polished stainless steel
- Colours: Silvery-grey blade, bronze coloured pommel, brown handle
- Overall Length: 51 inches or 129.5 cm
- Blade Length: 39 inches or 99.1 cm
- Hilt Length: 12 inches or 30.5 cm
- Wall Mount: Wooden with white detailing. Wall mounting hardware included.