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In the fighting scenes in Game of Thrones where White Walkers are included you see the humans slashing them with their swords, firing arrows at them and so on.

But the question is, how can a White Walker finally be killed?

Smashing it's head (like in The Walking Dead). Usually in the fantasy genre undead can not exist headless.

..or...

Can the White Walkers also be killed only by dragon glass?

But I think the show disproves this since John attacked White Walkers with his sword and they did not splinter.

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White Walkers are impervious to most man-made weapons; their ice-cold blades will shatter normal steel. There are only two things that can kill them:

dragonglass (aka obsidian, aka volcanic glass, aka solid fire) and Valyrian steel.

In season two, Sam Tarly killed a White Walker with a dragonglass dagger. He found a cache of these weapons at the Fist of the First Men, an ancient stronghold north of the Wall. Sam believes that the earliest men who lived in Westeros hid them there, as a backup stash to use against White Walkers.

Dragonglass is simply another name for obsidian — volcanic glass of sorts. Aside from the set of daggers Sam found,

Valyrian Steel

Speaking of "Hardhome," Jon learned in that same episode that there's more to his sword than he thought. Longclaw, the sword gifted to him by former Lord Commander Mormont, is made from Valyrian steel. This special type of metal is rare in Westeros because it can only be forged using magic.

The name is derived from Valyria — the ancient stronghold for a now-dead civilization in Essos. When inquired about the same to Mr. G R R Martin, this is what he had to say : "Valyrian steel is a fantasy metal. Which means it has magical characteristics, and magic plays a role in its forging."

As per the books, the method or the magical ways of creating/forging valyrian steel was lost during the Doom of valyria.
But, both in the books and in the show, it has been mentioned that some skilled smiths and maesters are capable of re-forging Valyrian Steel weapons, by melting down existing ones. ( Just like Tywin lannister hired the smiths to melt the Ned Starks valyrian steel greatsword "Ice", and made two new swords, named "Oathkeeper" and "widows wail" ).

Fan Speculation :

The connection between dragonglass and Valyrian steel is (you guessed it) dragons.

Source : ezgif.com

  • While you are correct that Valryian steel kills White Walkers, there is no reason to believe it is forged using dragonfire. We see Ice be reforged into Oathkeeper and Widows Wail. – Skooba Aug 16 '17 at 18:29
  • @Skooba Forging is not the same as reforging. Valyrian steel could only be made by Valyrians, who also had dragons (thus lending credence to dragonfire being part of its creation process, combined with no one else being able to make Valyrian steel). Ice was melted (reshaped) into two different swords, without chemically changing the composition of the Valyrian steel. – Flater Aug 21 '17 at 10:19
  • The connection between dragonglass and Valyrian steel is (you guessed it) dragons. There is no proven link between dragonglass and dragons, other than the name. Arguably, dragonglass gets its name because it can kill White Walkers. But that doesn't mean that the material itself is related to dragon. "This glasslike substance can kill the White Walkers. We thought only dragons (and Valyrian steel, forged by dragonfire) can kill Walkers. This must be dragon-like glass. Let's call it dragonglass". There is a different connection: Dragonglass created the White Walkers. – Flater Aug 21 '17 at 10:23
  • (To finish my thought) Maybe obsidian has an effect on White Walkers because they are created from it, regardless of dragons. The name "dragonglass" could be a misnomer, existing due to the coincidence of both being able to kill a White Walker, but being able to do so for completely different reasons. – Flater Aug 21 '17 at 10:24
  • @Flater Thanks, I really don't know where i read it, and all this time i thought it was true, but after some searching , you are right.Thanks again. – Niknit Aug 21 '17 at 11:42
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From the awoiaf wiki, these are the known weaknesses of the White Walkers, or the Others, as they were originally called:

The Others have a few known weaknesses that are recorded in ancient texts. One is obsidian, otherwise called dragonglass or "frozen fire". Ancient texts also record a weakness to "dragonsteel", which some think may be Valyrian steel. When asked about the ability of Valyrian steel to kill an Other, Martin simply replied that "the Night's Watch would like to know as well". Fire is known to dismay the Others.

This answer here, explains why Jon Snow was able to kill the White Walker with his sword.

  • I'm downvoting as your spoiler tag contains un-aired footage. I'd appreciate it if you'd signify the episode number at least. Anyone who has read all the books and watched all legally aired episodes should be safe to view a spoiler tag or should be explicitly warned about it. – kuhl Aug 16 '17 at 17:30
  • @kuhl Makes sense. Removed it altogether :) – Dawny33 Aug 16 '17 at 17:32
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    I appreciate it. Removed my downvote and upvoted. – kuhl Aug 16 '17 at 17:35
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Wait though. In the first chapter of the first book, Waymar Royce, the Night's Watch Ranger who was the first one killed by the Others, declares, when the Other's are approaching, that he has a Valyrian Steel sword as a form of warning to them. Yet it shatters immediately when struck by the ice sword of the Other. Am I wrong in remembering that way? I remember having to find out what "Valyrian" meant in that first chapter, because it wasn't explained yet. The TV movie is different in most of that exchange anyway, so it doesn't happen there but I thought it was that way in the book, and I no longer have that one.

  • There is no mention of "Valyrian" in the Prologue chapter. He had a normal sword that shattered on The Other's blade. genius.com/… Perhaps you're thinking of the early Chapter where Ned dispensed justice with the Valayrian sword Ice to the ranger who survived and deserted. – IronSean Aug 17 '17 at 17:43
  • Plus, unless you are a Lord Commander or are being groomed to be one, is someone who is just a schmoe in the Watch going to have Valyrian Steel? If he did say something like that, it was bluff/bluster. Most of them get their by less than noble routes, and I doubt they are able to retain possessions of that kind of value before they, and everything they take with them passes out of sight and mind, forever, for the most part. – PoloHoleSet Aug 22 '17 at 14:45
  • Thanks. Makes sense. I must have remembered it wrong or as you said, conflated Ned Stark's sword being Valyrian with Royces sword since they both happened early on. – JRaef Aug 23 '17 at 23:22

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