What Is Dragonglass? Explanation & Theories for ‘Game of Thrones’

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A central part of the Game of Thrones premiere tonight involved dragonglass, and it will likely continue to play a big role as Season 7 continues. But what exactly is dragonglass? And what are some of the top theories about the role it might play in the rest of the season?

Dragonglass and Valyrian steel are the only substances that can kill White Walkers. Dragonglass is a type of volcanic glass, also known as obsidian. Valyrians once called it “frozen fire.” Although folklore holds that dragonglass is made by dragons, Maesters believe it is just a type of volcanic rock.

It was also used by the Children of the Forest to create White Walkers. This is likely why it can also kill them. The dragonglass somehow introduced a magic into the humans of old that turned them into White Walkers. Plunging that dragonglass back into them must undo that magic. Here’s the scene from last season when we learned how White Walkers were created:

Sam found a cache of dragonglass at the First of the First Men in Season 2. In Season 3, he accidentally discovers that it kills White Walkers. He gives a dragonglass dagger to Bran and Meera, along with dragonglass arrowheads.

In Season 5, Stannis told Sam that there was dragonglass in Dragonstone. This begs the question: why was it such a big deal for Sam to discover that again? Here’s the scene with Stannis and Tarly:

In the premiere, Sam basically said that he thought Stannis was exaggerating. But with dragonglass being so important, why wouldn’t they have at least checked it out to make sure? Stannis also didn’t specify the quantities, so maybe Sam had no idea just how much was at their disposal.

In Season 6, we learned that Benjen was stabbed by a White Walker and partially on his way to turning into a wight. But the Children of the Forest found him and inserted dragonglass into his heart to stop him from turning.

In the premiere, we also learned that Targaryens used to adorn their weapons with dragonglass.

We know a little more about dragonglass from the books, but because the books and the show have diverged, it’s unclear how much of the books’ information is actually relevant. The Game of Thrones Wikia goes into it all in detail, but here are some highlights. Dragonglass is useless against wights. Melisandre says this is because wights are still just dead flesh, while White Walkers (the Others) are something more. Dragonglass may be sharper than steel but it’s more brittle, so it can’t be used as a regular sword, unlike Valyrian steel.

What do you think about dragonglass? Do you think it’s just volcanic rock or something more? Let us know in the comments below.