The Valyrian steel weapon that a catspaw assassin used in Season 1 in the assassination attempt against Bran Stark seems to be popping up a lot lately. The blade that fans are referring to as the “catspaw dagger” used to Petyr Baelish. However, in Season 7 episode 4, “The Spoils of War“, Littlefinger gave that dagger to Bran Stark, who in turn gave it to Arya.
Wait, that looks familiar
In Season 1, after Cat Stark and Summer dispatched the assassin, Cat took the blade with her to King’s Landing. There, Littlefinger told her the dagger once belonged to him, but later became the possession of Tyrion Lannister. This set off a chain of events that led to Cat ultimately kidnapping Tyrion, assuming he was the one who tried to have her son killed.
Currently, the weapon goes unnamed in the show but has taken on the name of its most memorable wielder, the catspaw assassin. The last time we saw the actual blade was in Ned Stark’s study during Littlefinger’s memorable betrayal at the end of Season 1. After holding a more mundane dagger to Ned’s throat and shipping him off to the dungeons, Littlefinger grabbed the Valyrian steel dagger from Ned’s desk and secreted it away. Since then, the blade has disappeared. More recently, we’ve only seen a drawing of the dagger. For all we knew, it was a meaningless, if finely-crafted, little chunk of steel.
Valyrian steel is not to be messed with
The blade is made of that rare and coveted metal, Valyrian steel, so that alone makes it worthwhile. Valyrian steel is one of the few materials that we know can kill wights. But it is also sufficiently old and unique enough to merit a precise and accurate illustration along with a full page description in a book in the Citadel. We got a glimpse of it there when Sam was researching dragonglass, and the camera lingers ever-so-tellingly on a page with an illustration of this exact dagger.
The text, if you look very closely, describes the process of melting obsidian to use it in the decoration of weapons. We also know that the means and method of creating Valyrian steel have been lost. Could dragonglass and dragons with fiery breath hot enough to melt it be the key to manufacturing this mythical metal?
There will be blood
On a more narrative level, the “catspaw dagger” is important because it is a physical reminder of the circumstances that lead to this civil war. Cat Stark kidnapped Tyrion Lannister because she thought he sent a man armed with this dagger to kill her injured son.
Bran, too hinted at a deeper knowledge of the dagger’s provenance. He asks Littlefinger, “Do you know who this belonged to?” Littlefinger, always keen to show off how much he knows, claims he doesn’t know who owned the dagger, which we know is a lie. He even reiterates the idea that this dagger is essentially the cause of the War of the Five Kings. That alone is meaningful enough. If Littlefinger did, in fact, give the dagger to the assassin, that makes him the war’s architect.
But Bran’s hidden question is much more interesting. Bran, remember, has seen pretty much all of human history on Westeros. Littlefinger assumes Bran wants to know the dagger’s recent history, but it’s entirely possible that Bran really means, “do you know who this dagger first belonged to?” It could be that the dagger has even grander historical significance than that. If Bran ever gets out of his cryptic weirdo funk and starts telling people useful information, we may find that out this season as well. Weapons in Westeros, after all, are made to be used. And their use often shakes up the balance of power.
Now, the dagger belongs to Arya. We knew she’d get her hands on it because on a promotional cover for Entertainment Weekly, Arya had the dagger tucked into her belt. We have already seen that she can use it (and how!) because of her duel with Brienne.
Will Arya be the one to do in Littlefinger or will she simply scare him off? More importantly, now that she has the “catspaw dagger”, who will she decide to use it on?