When Game of Thrones premiered in the spring of 2011, Hollywood considered fantasy TV shows to be a risky proposition. At that time, genre shows were pigeonholed as fare for nerds, and were generally pitched to niche networks, like Syfy and the CW. HBO had success in the past with historical fiction, but no network had ever undertaken the task to bring such a massive story, which involved countless characters with complicated ancestry, to life. The production would span several countries and employ several crews, all working in tandem. Clearly, the risk paid off.
Game of Thrones is synonymous with graphic sex and violence, sometimes mixed together. In only 60 episodes, Game of Thrones has managed to kill scores of characters, in evermore inventive ways. Author George R.R. Martin has said that he based his books on the Middle Ages, a barbaric time in history. His stories are rooted in medieval society, when women were treated like property and petty crimes were punished by execution, often in gruesome ways. One doesn’t have to wonder, then, why GoT is full of dangerous and deadly weapons. From blades to badasses, CBR runs down 15 of the deadliest weapons on Game of Thrones.
15. RAT IN A BUCKET
The stronghold of Harrenhal has a horrible reputation. No one has ever escaped Harrenhal, although the castle has passed through the hands of several families. Harrenhal is remote and well-guarded. The ruins reveal chamber after chamber of miserable accommodations and hideous torture devices. By the time Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie found themselves prisoners at Harrenhal, Tywin Lannister was in charge.
Every day, a guard removed a prisoner who was never seen again. In “Garden of Bones,” a defiant prisoner met his fate out in the yard. After his wide-open arms were secured, the guard placed a hungry rat on the prisoner’s chest, then strapped a bucket over the animal. The starving rodent had no choice but to chew his way through the prisoner’s chest, heedless of his bone-chilling screams.
A crossbow is a handy weapon to have. It’s spring-loaded action means not only can the shooter use both hands to properly aim, but also the arrow is fired at a faster velocity, rendering it more lethal. The crossbow is also more compact, which means it’s easier to carry around, especially after it’s loaded.
A crossbow proved to be a deadly weapon of choice in two notable instances on Game of Thrones. First, Joffrey used a crossbow to torture and kill Ros, the prostitute who was given to King Joffrey for betraying Lord Petyr Baelish. The second, and even more shocking, instance happened after Tyrion discovered Shae in his father’s bed. In his rage, he strangled the woman he loved, then marched straight to the loo, where he shot a rather surprised Lord Twyin Lannister.
13. RAMSAY’S DOGS
Ramsay Bolton was a hideous and sadistic man. His status as a bastard for so many years made him into an evil, heartless monster. He tortured people, mentally and physically, for sheer pleasure. Theon Greyjoy lost more than an appendage after being imprisoned and abused by Ramsay. Sansa Stark, especailly, found out how cruel he could be.
He killed people not just for gain, but also for sport. One of his favorite methods of dispatching poor souls was to sic his vicious dogs, known as Bastard’s Girls, on his victims. He literally hunted Tansy and Theon, after Tansy had angered Ramsay’s lover, Myranda. He also fed his baby brother and his stepmother to the hounds, ensuring he was the only one left in the Bolton family.
12. BOW AND ARROW
A bow and a quiver full of arrows is one of the most deadly long-rage weapons on Game of Thrones, because the show is set sometime in the Middle Ages, when firearms were not yet invented. Archers can eliminate their targets from a distance, rather than up close in a chancy sword fight.
No character on Game of Thrones was better with a bow and arrow than Ygritte. She had near-perfect aim and quick reflexes, which helped her nock arrow after arrow before her opponent knew what hit him. Sadly, Ygritte met her end on the wrong end of the very weapon she preferred. During the battle between the Wildlings and the Night’s Watch, just when it seemed like Ygritte and Jon Snow would reconcile, Olly shot her through the chest. She died in Jon’s arms.
11. MOON DOOR
The Eyrie is one of the best places in all of Westeros to rule, simply because it sits on top of the Mountains of the Moon. To get to the Eryie, the seat of the Lord of the Vale, travelers must enter through a very narrow, winding passage that’s heavily guarded by archers, before climbing practically into the sky to enter the audience chamber.
The Eyrie’s height alone makes it scary. Prisoners are kept in cells that are open to the sky. If they’re especially unlucky, they’re executed by being tossed into the Moon Door, an opening in the floor of the audience chamber. While perhaps not a classic weapon, it certainly was feared as one by any who knew of it. Lady Lysa made the mistake of trusting Littlefinger, who, after he married her, pushed her into the Moon Door, where she fell to her death.
Several different poisons are available to anyone in Westeros with means and murder in their heart. Manticore venom is a popular choice, as well as Tears of Lys. The Sand Snakes of Dorne lace their weapons with The Long Farewell, the poison of choice in their realm.
Ned Stark thought poison was a woman’s weapon, but women weren’t the only ones using poison to rid themselves of their enemies. For instance, Littlefinger advised Lady Lysa to use it on her husband so he could marry her. Jaqen H’ghar also used poison, Wolfsbane, on the dart that killed Ser Amory Lorch at Harrenhal. The most famous poisoning on Game of Thrones, of course, was that of King Joffrey. Olenna Tyrell, with the help of Littlefinger — again! — administered The Strangler to Joffrey on his wedding day.
When young Arya was packing to leave Winterfell, Jon Snow, her half-brother, gave her Needle, her very own blade. She arrived in King’s Landing without a clue how to use it, however. Her father hired Syrio Forel to train her. Even after she ran from King’s Landing, she continued her training. Its thin blade suits Arya’s slight build, allowing her to use speed and agility in a fight.
Although Arya is young, Needle has seen quite a bit of action. She used it to kill Polliver, the man who took it from her at Harrenhal. She also killed Rorge, who had threatened to rape and kill her. Needle was most useful, however, against the Waif, who was merciless to Arya in the House of Black and White. Arya lured the Waif to her hiding place and then killed her.
Direwolves hadn’t been spotted in over 200 years when the Stark family came upon a litter of them just outside Winterfell. Ned Stark gave each of the children their own Direwolf, who would bond with their owners and, in some cases, give their lives to protect them.
The Starks’ deadly Direwolves struck fear in the heart of everyone who encountered them. Grey Wind was a fierce killer in Robb Stark’s war before being decapitated. Summer sacrificed himself, fighting off wights to allow Bran to escape the cave of the three-eyed raven. The deadliest Direwolf of all is Ghost, who belongs to Jon Snow. He has fought by Jon’s side at the Night’s Watch and beyond the Wall. He was also invaluable against the Wildlings and White Walkers. Plus, he protected Jon while he was dead.
7. RED WOMAN
Melisandre, the Red Woman, is a powerful priestess of the Lord of Light, and a great and terrible living weapon for her cause. She is centuries old, but she wears a magical ruby necklace that gives her the appearance of youthful beauty. Upon arriving at Dragonstone, she converted Stannis Baratheon, his wife and everyone under his command to her religion.
Melisandre, herself, hasn’t killed anyone (that we know of). Rather, she is as deadly as a weapon because of the power she commands. She birthed a shadow demon that killed Renly Baratheon. She also had dozens of people burned at the stake in the name of the Lord of Light, including Stannis’ daughter. Worst of all, Stannis led his men into a massacre on her word that he would be victorious. Thanks to her, hundreds, if not thousands, of men, including Stannis, lost their lives fighting Ramsay Bolton.
Oathkeeper, a fairly new blade, has an interesting history. After Ned Stark was beheaded, Twyin Lannister kept his family’s sword, Ice. He had Ice, which was made of Valyrian steel, melted down and reforged into two longblades. Tywin gave one of the swords to Jaime, telling him that a one-handed man with no family needs all the help he can get.
By this time, Jaime was feeling pretty rotten about a lot of things, but especially his family’s treatment of the Starks. He gave the sword to Brienne of Tarth, and asked her to use it in her search to find Sansa Stark and protect her. Brienne did just that. She used Oathkeeper against several foes, for protection and vengeance, including Stannis Baratheon.
Longclaw was handed down, from father to son, for generations in the House of Mormont. When Ser Jorah Mormont disgraced his family, however, his father, Lord Jeor Mormont, retained possession of their family heirloom. Until, that is, one night, when Jon Snow saved his life when a wight attacked Ser Jeor. They discovered that Valyrian steel, from which Longclaw was made, can slay the undead.
Jon Snow has put Longclaw to good use. He has killed dozens of men and undead in several battles. He cut a wide swathe through the Wildlings when they attacked Castle Black. He killed plenty of White Walkers beyond the Wall. Then, he slaughtered dozens, to his exhaustion, in the Battle of the Bastards, against Ramsay Bolton.
4. THE MOUNTAIN
Even as a child, The Mountain was huge, and mean. He held the face of his brother, The Hound, to a fire just for taking one of his toys. Later, The Mountain was suspected of killing countless servants, as well as their parents. After being knighted, he was ordered by Tywin Lannister to kill the Mad King’s wife and children, which he did in brutal ways.
The Mountain was mortally wounded in a trial by combat with Oberyn Martell, but his life is being sustained by a mysterious process. He is now Cersei Lannister’s weapon of choice. He killed a man who bragged of taunting Cersei during her walk of shame. He tore off the head of one of the Sparrows who tried to attack Cersei. Cersei also commanded him to torture and kill Septa Unella, who had mistreated Cersei.
The Seven Kingdoms are nothing if not a dangerous place to live. People die in many ways, rarely living to a ripe old age. Even if they’re not shot with an arrow, cut down by a sword or poisoned, starvation and other everyday ills await them. But there is no more fearsome danger than the one that lives beyond the Wall.
White Walkers are what scares the Night’s Watch because they’ve seen their armies of undead. How do you kill something that’s already dead? Samwell Tarly discovered that Dragonglass can destroy a White Walker when he stabbed one while protecting Gilly and her baby. Dragonglass not only kills White Walkers, it can also turn a man into a White Walker. Dragonglass is powerful and deadly, indeed.
2. DRAGON FIRE
Hundreds of years ago, the Targaryens used dragons to invade and conquer Westeros. Dragons are fiercely protective and nearly indestructible. Their breath can destroy dozens at a time. Dragons had fallen into legend when Daenerys Targaryen received three dragon eggs as a wedding present. She hatched them and raised them as her own.
The Mother of Dragons has used her pets, more than once, to defeat an enemy, or escape from one. In Slaver’s Bay, she demonstrated her power by having Drogon incinerate Kraznys, the slave master. Drogon also came to her aid during the Great Games at Daznak’s Pit. When the Sons of the Harpy attacked, Drogon flew in and barbecued dozens of them before flying away with Daenerys on his back.
Wildfire, an incredibly volatile and highly flammable substance, was created by members of the Alchemist’s Guild. Tyrion Lannister knew that the older it gets, the more powerful it becomes, which meant that he knew the 20 year-old cache of it beneath King’s Landing was terribly dangerous. He also knew that water would not extinguish Wildfire.
When Stannis Baratheon’s fleet entered Blackwater Bay at King’s Landing, they expected to flight a fleet of ships. Instead, Tyrion sent just one ship, loaded and leaking with Wildfire, into their midst. Commander Bronn shot off a fiery arrow that ignited the entire bay. Cersei also used Wildfire to get rid of her enemies. She had it loaded beneath the Great Sept of Baelor, then waited until all of her enemies were inside. Once the Wildfire was ignited, the Sept and everyone inside were obliterated.
Game of Thrones returns on HBO with new episodes on July 16, 2017.
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