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In Game of Thrones we found out that obsidian (dragon glass) and valyrian steel (dragon steel) are both able to kill the White Walkers.

In S5Ep08 we finally saw the horde of undead that is under the command of the white walkers. We also see that they can be destroyed with ordinary weapons (or giant's feet, whatever you have handy I guess).

While valyrian steel will obviously cut through the bones of the undead quite easily, obsidian cannot. According to the following link, if obsidian were to try to cut bone it will cause pieces to flake off or break - http://obsidian-scalpel.blogspot.com/.

So how useful is a bag of obsidian arrow heads? They won't be much use against the undead, and the few white walkers that were at the battle were far outside of arrow range. I don't remember if they found any obsidian blades, but I can't see those being of much use either. You would have to carry two swords with you and hope you have time to draw the obsidian blade when you run into a white walker.

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Obsidian is very useful because the White Walkers cannot even touch it. Their body starts to steam and melt away on contact with Obsidian. So you don't have to smash them with Obsidian but just brining them in contact with White Walkers would cause serious damage.

Killing White Walkers with Obsidian

And then he was stumbling forward, falling more than running, really, closing his eyes and shoving the dagger blindly out before him with both hands. He heard a crack, like the sound ice makes when it breaks beneath a man’s foot, and then a screech so shrill and sharp that he went staggering backward with his hands over his muffled ears, and fell hard on his arse.

When he opened his eyes the Other’s armor was running down its legs in rivulets as pale blue blood hissed and steamed around the black dragonglass dagger in its throat. It reached down with two bone-white hands to pull out the knife, but where its fingers touched the obsidian they smoked.

Sam rolled onto his side, eyes wide as the Other shrank and puddled, dissolving away. In twenty heartbeats its flesh was gone, swirling away in a fine white mist. Beneath were bones like milkglass, pale and shiny, and they were melting too. Finally only the dragonglass dagger remained, wreathed in steam as if it were alive and sweating. Grenn bent to scoop it up and flung it down again at once. “Mother, that’s cold.”

“Obsidian.” Sam struggled to his knees. “Dragonglass, they call it. Dragonglass. Dragon glass.” He giggled, and cried, and doubled over to heave his courage out onto the snow.

A Storm of Swords

Obsidian is very powerful against White Walkers because it is a kind frozen fire.

The king gave that a curt nod, as if to say he knew and did not care. “You slew this creature with an obsidian dagger, I am told,” he said to Sam. “Y-yes, Your Grace. Jon Snow gave it to me.”

“Dragonglass.” The red woman’s laugh was music. “Frozen fire, in the tongue of old Valyria. Small wonder it is anathema to these cold children of the Other.”

A Storm of Swords

Secondly Valyrian steel is very rare and expensive. Few houses have it and they don't share it with others. Valyrian steel can also be used for fighting normal humans.

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According to the GoT wiki the bag of dragon glass that was found actually contained arrowheads and spearheads made of the material.

It seems that the material works very well against the white walkers, but not the undead that they command.

  • 'but not the undead that they command.' Do we know if this is true? I know we haven't seen it destroy any of the undead, but I don't think we have seen anybody try yet. – cnim Jun 8 '15 at 16:49
  • @cnim in the tv cannon we haven't seen it, but apparently it did occur in the book and wasn't effective there. My hunch is that the show wouldn't change that sort of detail. – DForck42 Jun 8 '15 at 21:53
  • In Season 7, a dragonglass dagger was used against an undead bear and it collapsed after being stabbed. Other weapons had little effect on it, just obsidian worked to kill it – m1gp0z Dec 21 '18 at 21:08

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