Note: This post talks about dragonglass, which may reference various episodes in HBO's Game of Thrones (GoT). The only content that's discussed in this OP is directly related to dragonglass, which includes any conversations/events that may directly involve/mention dragonglass.

From what I understand, dragonglass is obsidian. My question is, does GoT ever actually mention why this glass is effective against white walkers? Is it solely because obsidian is made at high temperatures by volcanoes (with White Walkers being "ice-like")? Or, does it have to do with the origin of White Walkers, with respect to the Children of the Forest?

A long-forgotten secret is that the Children [of the Forest] actually created the White Walkers as a weapon, by transforming humans into them: this was achieved in a magic ceremony that involved (among other things) plunging a dragonglass shard into a human's chest.

Perhaps, due to the ceremony involving dragonglass, the White Walkers now have a negative affinity towards it?

Aside from these two theories, I've got nothing.. can anyone help in explaining this?

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    Not explained yet. Any answer will be speculation (opinion based). Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 18:25
  • 2
    For your information, it's more accurate to say dragonglass is similar to non-fictional obsidian, but not that it is obsidian. We don't yet exactly know what the process of creating dragonglass is - many speculate that, as the name indicates, it involves dragon fire, not a volcanic process. The same is true for "dragon steel" (aka Valyrian steel), which is also effective against White Walkers - so we can infer that dragons are at the root of this. Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 18:38
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    Could be related to the heat, could be magical, could be a weakness put in by the children of the forest, could just be a plot point with no explanation. We don't know yet.
    – Virusbomb
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 18:40
  • It is like why we breath oxygen only? Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 10:09
  • I would guess it has something to do with Dragon Fire. Dragon Glass and Valyrian Steel (Dragon Steel), can't be a coincidence. I would probably go on to say that Dragon breath must have been involved in the creation of both.
    – LeonX
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


In the Game of Thrones universe obsidian has magical properties that it obviously does not have in real life, as confirmed by George R.R. Martin;

Shaw: Is there a certain reason why they named obsidian "dragonglass" or why you did that?

Martin: Yes, there is a reason.

Shaw: Are dragons somehow the mortal enemy of the Others?

Martin: There are a lot of legends, and you'll be hearing more about them in the future books, but a lot of stuff about Others and about dragons maybe isn't completely understood by the people of the present. Obsidian is of course volcanic glass; it's formed by immense heat and pressure down in the earth. The dragons themselves are creatures of intense heat.

Shaw: I wasn't sure if you had added something to obsidian for the fantasy.

Martin: I've given it magical characteristics that of course real obsidian doesn't necessarily have. After all, we live in a world that has no magic. My world does have magic, so it's a little bit different.

- Interview with the Dragon, 2003, Robert Shaw

  • Arguably, the name "dragonglass" could be derived from its ability to kill white walkers. It's a fair assumption that dragons are considered the archetypical counter to a WW. Obsidian is the only material known to kill the WW without a real connection to dragons (Valyrian steel is rumored to be forged by dragonfire, thus being directly connected to dragons). Even if obsidian has no relation to dragons whatsoever, they can share a name because they share one (unrelated but coincidental) characteristic: killing White Walkers.
    – Flater
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 9:45
  • @Flater There were no dragons in Westeros during the Long Night or used in the War for the Dawn. I don't believe dragons were a known opponent to White Walkers until recently... There might a new question there...
    – Skooba
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 11:32
  • That supports my claim that dragonglass is a recent name (relative to the Long Night) and essentially nothing more than a nickname, and not the basis for why obsidian is effective in the first place.
    – Flater
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 11:34
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    @Flater - I always felt that it was called dragonglass because it looked like whatever’s left over after dragons have melted one’s castle.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 23:05
  • @Obie2.0: What you say is also possible (mine is just a theory), but your example still somewhat confirms the main purpose of my comment: that dragonglass has no actual connection to dragons; which would mean that its ability to kill white walkers is unrelated to dragonfire's ability to kill white walkers (they both just happen to work)
    – Flater
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 7:49

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