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In Game of Thrones Longclaw is a Valyrian steel sword, in the possession of House Mormont for five centuries. It is passed down from one generation to another.

When Lord Jeor Mormont retired from his lordship to take the black and command the Night's Watch, he passed it to his son and heir, Ser Jorah Mormont. When Jorah went into exile after trying to sell some poachers into slavery, he had the sword sent back to his father on the Wall. Who then passed it to Jon Snow as a reward for saving his life from a wight.

Nonetheless, it is still Valyrian steel, and Valyrian steel swords are rare, plus the fact that it belongs rightfully to Lyanna as she is a Mormont. Does Lyanna Mormont have any legitimate claim to ask Jon Snow to return it? Or does Jon Snow have any reason to return it himself?

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No, she should not be asking for same. As Longclaw is given to Jon Snow by Lord Jeor Mormont. If the Mormont family had thought of keeping it in house, they would not have sent it to Jeor as Jeor has already taken the black. They had known that it will eventually be inherited by someone else. And when Jon meets Lynna, she didn't even ask about it, if she wanted to get it back it was time for her to make a deal.

On the contrary Jon might decide to return it to the Mormont family, however that after the end of the fight with the White Walkers, as he needs it right now for killing them.

Note that Jeor didn't give it to Jon to kill White Walkers, he was not even aware that White Walker can be killed by it. He gave it as he thought Jon is worthy of it.

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It's important to first look at is Jon's status when Jeor bequeaths the sword to him. Jon is bound to "bear no child." This is quite profound.

  • When Jon becomes old, he will likewise have to bestow the sword. He'll have to make a choice not based on biological lineage.

  • Will he bequeath it to the most worthy, as Jeor deemed him? Will that person be his successor in the Watch, and in that case, was it partly a gift to the Night's Watch?

  • What if Jon dies in battle but body and sword are recovered? Who does the sword go to? Is it returned to the Mormonts?

Everything changes when Jon is freed from his oath. He may now have children.

  • But would he bequeath it to his children, knowing Jeor never expected he would have them? After all, Jeor's gift of the sword to Jon broke the tradition of primogeniture. Jon refused the blade when Jeor first offered because the act carried such tremendous implications. [See "Blackfyre" below]

  • Dawn, the sword owned by House Dayne, is not necessarily wielded in every generation. Only those deemed worthy may bear it, and they take the title "Sword of Morning". This implies custodianship of a sword may skip a generation.

**Because Jeor bequeathed it on Jon, it would certainly be a breach of etiquette for Lyanna to ask for it back while Jon bears it. It may not be unreasonable to ask that it to be returned after Jon's custodianship is done. **

Jon, after all, has great admiration for Lyanna.


Blackfyre, the Targaryen sword, was not bestowed by Aegon the Unworthy on firstborn son. Rather, he gave it to his bastard, Damon. The act was so unheard of, it was taken as a sign of the Unworthy's intention that Damon should rule. This was the cause of the Blackfyre Rebellion.

  • She absolutely could what? Ask for it back, or reasonably expect that he should return it? It seems to me that it was a gift to Jon, what grounds can that be expected to be returned? Jon doesn't owe allegiance to her. – iandotkelly Aug 20 '16 at 15:06
  • To further elaborate: I'm not saying she would ask for it back, just that she could. So my answer is actually more correct, even if people have an emotional attachment to the idea of John "owning" the blade. – DukeZhou Aug 20 '16 at 18:06
  • I'm just suggesting you clarify the answer ... you're not stating she has any 'right' to the sword being given back to her family, but that Jon would be sympathetic to this if he were asked. – iandotkelly Aug 20 '16 at 18:07
  • That is cloudy. She may. There is nothing mentioned in any of the books or tv episodes that deals with the legal aspects of the question. – DukeZhou Aug 20 '16 at 18:09

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