Game of Thrones weapons master talks about the Catspaw Dagger

There are many familiar names, houses, places and things that connect Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon. One of them is the infamous Catspaw Dagger, a weapon featured at critical moments in the history of Westeros. Fans excited about seeing the dagger wielded this past week in “Driftmark” can see it for real at the official Game of Thrones Studio Tour in Northern Ireland.

The Valyrian steel Catspaw Dagger was first seen in season 1 of Game of Thrones, when an assassin attempted to use it to kill Bran Stark. At the time, Bran lay comatose after Jaime Lannister pushed him from a tower at Winterfell. His mother Catelyn suffered severe wounds to her hands while defending him. The mystery of who sent the assassin to murder Bran and the knife’s origins lead to several key plot twists, including the arrest of Tyrion Lannister.

At this point, the dagger becomes known as the “Catspaw Dagger,” with the assassin being the catspaw. A catspaw means “the dupe of another,” and is derived from La Fontaine’s fable The Monkey and the Cat.

Image: Game of Thrones Studio Tour

We don’t see the dagger for a while after that, but it returns in the seventh season when Littlefinger presents it to Bran at Winterfell. Poetically, Arya uses the blade to execute Littlefinger and then wields it against the Night King. In the series finale, “The Iron Throne,” Arya is seen still wearing a dagger at her belt as she sets sail to explore the Sunset Sea.

While the blade is Valayrian steel, the hilt is made of dragonbone and dragon glass, suggesting the blade had a prestigious history.

With House of the Dragon, we get to see the days of the Catspaw Dagger’s prime, when it sits at the hip of King Viserys Targaryen. Viserys shares the dagger’s story with Rhaenyra. It is said to have once been owned by their ancestor Aenar Targaryen, who guided the family to Dragonstone before the Doom of Valyria. It is inscribed with words:

From my blood come the prince that was promised, and his will be the song of ice and fire.

Last week, in “Driftmark,” Queen Alicent became enraged over the maiming of her son Aemond. Snatching the weapon, Alicent slashes Rhaenyra’s arm, drawing first blood in the wars to come

Game of Thrones weapons master Tommy Dunne reveals the inspiration behind the making of the Catspaw Dagger

The Catspaw Dagger was created by Game of Thrones weapons master Tommy Dunne, who got his inspiration for the design from a deer bone. Wicklow-born Dunne used an Impala deer’s antler bone he acquired in South Africa and had it shipped to his workshop. However, the weapon master wasn’t told of the concept behind the Catspaw Dagger until after filming had wrapped on the show.

“The only brief I was given for the Catspaw Dagger was that the ‘opulence’ had to be there and that it needed to have a Targaryen look and feel to it,” said Dunne in an interview with the Game of Thrones Studio Tour. “The shape [of the bone] is unusual, so I had to cut the tail end of it off. The tip [of the handle] is a Bodkin arrow. I glued that to the antler bone to create a feel to it.”

For Dunne, it was a “very proud moment” moment to see his creation become a link between the Westeros of Game of Thrones and of House of the Dragon, set 200 years earlier.

For me, it joins up the two worlds. I am proud of all the equipment and weapons made for Game of Thrones. It’s great that fans can watch the world of Westeros on screen while also delving behind the scenes of the making of this world at Game of Thrones Studio Tour.

You can see the original dagger on display at the official Game of Thrones Studio Tour in Northern Ireland, alongside sets and props used in the show. Other notable Game of Thrones weapons on display at the studio tour include Jon Snow’s Longclaw sword, King Joffrey Baratheon’s great crossbow, and Brienne of Tarth’s Oathkeeper sword.

The Game of Thrones Studio Tour

The Game of Thrones Studio Tour, located in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, is an immersive journey that allows visitors to explore what it took to make the show. It is the only official Game of Thrones Studio Tour in the world.

The tour is located at Linen Mill Studios, where many of Game of Thrones‘ most memorable moments were shot, including Bran Stark’s assassination attempt and Sansa Stark’s coronation as Queen of the North in the Great Hall of Winterfell. Visitors can get up close and personal with more than 140 costumes from the series, weapons, jewelry, and prosthetic make-up used to create the White Walkers, Night King, and other characters. You can even play as a Kingsguard or a White Walker in interactive displays or try your hand at archery!

The Game of Thrones Studio Tour is located at Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, only 30 minutes from Belfast and 90 minutes from Dublin. To learn more about the only official Game of Thrones Studio Tour and to buy tickets, visit the official website.

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