Longclaw Plaque

With this line of swords our plan is to show the crest & words of the house the sword belongs to on the wall plaque that will ultimately hold the sword. We had a little bit of a problem with Longclaw though because it is only newly in Jon’s possession & Jon doesn’t, technically, have a house.

We thought of doing the Stark design anyways, we thought of doing the Mormont crest, we thought of maybe using some sort of Night’s Watch symbolism (but they only use black officially, and crow is a slang term). Ultimately the appropriate plaque to use would be one that reflects the sword’s destiny, and only one person knows what that is.

Would Jon ever be a Stark again? I don’t know, but George R.R. Martin told us to use the Stark colors in reverse as that is what bastards in Westeros often do. Also, GRRM did a reading from A Dance with Dragons which you can listen to here which seems to allude to Jon perhaps becoming legitimate. Will Jon remain in the Watch? Will he join with Stannis as Lord of Winterfell and a Stark in name? I guess we’ll find out in ADWD.

For our next sword, Needle, we will face an equal challenge. What type of symbol should Arya have? Stark? Faceless Man? Something else? We’ll see.

45 Thoughts on “Longclaw: Plaque

  1. I think the Stark colors in reverse are appropriate, but for some reason using House Stark’s words seems out of place.

    Despite the direction Arya’s life has taken, she is still a trueborn Stark, and should thus be represented with the full Stark Direwolf, etc.

  2. Hmmm… I’d just go with solid black background with the words of the Night’s Watch in the foreground. I think of Jon Snow as being one of them now, not a Stark.

  3. Chris on June 14, 2007 at 12:12 pm said:

    I thought, for some reason, the Watch did have a symbol. Something to do with Castle Black. Maybe I’m just mistaken. I’d go back and check, but the only books I have with me are a Storm of Swords and a Feast for Crows (both of which I haven’t finished reading yet).

    As for the plaque, I think it looks pretty cool, and it’ll look even better on my wall. I can’t wait to get this. I’m clearing space in my room for these swords.

  4. Elsa on June 14, 2007 at 1:16 pm said:

    I like the plaque desing as it is… I think Jon is a Stark in his heart…Choosing black colour is nice to show his place at the Night´s Watch.

  5. Hosero on June 14, 2007 at 1:29 pm said:

    It seems right to have the white wolf on there, it reminds me of Ghost.

  6. Janus on June 14, 2007 at 1:30 pm said:

    The Watch should only be presented by a black shield, perhaps the words on it could be something taken from th oath of the Watch.
    Agter all, Jon twice had to choose between the Watch and Winerfell, and chose the blak brotherhood twice. When Rob went to war, he opted to stay with his brothers, and when king Stannis offered to make him the lord of Winterfell, he became Lord Commander instead.
    But oter then that, the plaque looks cool.

  7. Andrew on June 14, 2007 at 2:38 pm said:

    I think the design is good, simple is the key really as the sword will be the main focal point…However, the dire wolfs front left leg looks twisted instead of raised. It might be better to have the wolf almost curl around the sword with it’s teeth bared and head down.

    Imagine that the dire wolf is, as is winter a fearsome creature…not a prancer.

  8. Jack on June 14, 2007 at 3:15 pm said:

    I understand the dilemma regarding what would be appropriate for Jon. If Ice is ever replicated, it might look kinda cool to have the plaque in white with the words in black right next to Jon’s plaque & sword!

  9. Freudas on June 14, 2007 at 3:30 pm said:

    If the plaque is to be Stark colors reversed, the background should be grey, not black.

  10. I love the design! I think I would like to see words that reflect the Night Watch rather than Stark, however.

  11. Christon's Bane on June 14, 2007 at 4:02 pm said:

    With John being Lyanna an Rhaegars son (foretold by the blue flowers in a wall of ice in Dany’s vision, and Lyanna’s love for the blue flowers and Ned’s promise to her that we are constantly told of in GOT but never hear what it actually is), but without that being proven yet, the plaque you have chosen is perfect. For no one knows more about winter coming than the knights of the watch battling the wildlings and wights. Now I am excited to see the sword!

  12. Jason on June 14, 2007 at 5:02 pm said:

    I can understand this dilemma. The Stark crest of Winter is coming might just be appropriate since the series is not finished yet and there is still some mystery surrounding who John’s real mother was. Was there any possibility of creating a Mormont background?

  13. Just in case it isn’t clear… we didn’t choose the plaque, GRRM did. So heh… as I said, read into that what you will. I personally think Jon will leave the watch.

    Also, we wanted to replicate the Stark symbol, which is a running wolf, not a snarling, pouncing, or attacking wolf.

  14. Chris on June 14, 2007 at 5:37 pm said:

    The white wolf on black background does make for a striking design, but the wolf’s front legs are drawn incorrectly and it throws the whole piece off. The artist seems to have rendered the front legs as if they were a horse’s, not a wolf’s.

  15. edie on June 14, 2007 at 6:02 pm said:

    the plaque looks good, but i do have to agree that the front legs seem slightly off. the right leg is extended too far out instead of up. i’m waiting patiently for the sword and impatiently for the book !

  16. Sime on June 14, 2007 at 6:35 pm said:

    I have to agree about the front legs. They are bending the wrong way. Like Chris said, they are bending like a horses front legs. A wolfs front legs bend the opposite way

  17. Eduardo on June 14, 2007 at 10:57 pm said:

    I think colors are just perfect, but the words are defenitely out of place, because it has more Mormont story on it than “Stark”, Jon is only the new owner, and the sword is the more important thing here, not the owner.
    I don´t like the wolf either, I would use a more traditional design.

  18. FWIW here is an image of a wolf running in almost exactly the same pose:


    Of course the symbol isn’t supposed to be photographic, so it is a little different. It is also supposed to be of a direwolf, which has larger claws & forepaws than a normal wolf. Finally of course likely the Stark symbol would have been first made during the reigns of the Old Kings of the North as an artist’s interpretation.

    There would too likely be different versions of it, we decided to go with a more primitive representation like what you’d find on weaponry, signet rings, and other things that don’t really take well to a detailed painting.

  19. Elijah on June 16, 2007 at 2:53 am said:

    Wow… I’m really looking forward to this. I guess I’m one of the few folks on here that doesn’t even have half a complaint about the plaque. It just seems absolutely perfect for Jon Snow.

    Can’t wait for Longclaw. Longclaw will be the best, but something else that I’m looking forward to (even though it was only mentioned offhand) is The Hound’s helm. That’d be pretty damn cool to have as a display piece.

    Man, I’ve already got a place picked out for Longclaw… This is gonna be the greatest thing ever.

  20. Stephie on June 17, 2007 at 8:04 pm said:

    Everyone spending a lot of time talking about how the words don’t work with Jon being of the Night Watch. However, already there has been a simple design error. It has already been said. The Stark sigil is a grey direwolf on a white field. I would worry about the rest later.

  21. no offense but you guys need to read what valyrian wrote. He says that GRRM told them to use the the Stark words and the Stark colors in reverse. So it really doesn’t matter what you say it should be. The only person’s opinion that counts, GRRM, has spoken.

  22. Jamie on June 18, 2007 at 10:52 am said:

    I agree with what a few people have already said, the backgroung should be grey and the front legs of the wolf are bending the wrong way, you can even see it in the picture you provided. It really does take away from the piece.

  23. Wolf’s front legs are drawn incorrectly, that is true, but your explanation about legs bending wrong way is not, or at least it is half true.
    There IS a joint that bends that way, but it is little one, down the leg-close to claws. Uper joint is bending the opposite way, and that one is missing in the plaque, or maybe better way to say this joint in the plaque came instead 2joints that real wolf has. So here we have one bending instead of 2.

  24. Paul on June 18, 2007 at 7:46 pm said:

    117 has it right, the “elbow” joint is missing.

  25. Yes, technically the exact reverse of Stark colors would not be on a black background. It is not an error though. It is not as if ourselves or GRRM did not know what the Stark colors were.

    Mostly, the important thing is that it matches the character. If Jon took colors he wouldn’t consult the Citadel in Old Town as to what would be most appropriate. It would totally be based on his preferences & whims.

    Likewise, I think many of you are reading too much information into the wolf symbol. For one, it is a dire wolf, a larger beast with likely exaggerated forepaws, feet, and claws. For two, the point of heraldry is not to be photographic in quality, but to represent the appearance of your house and or strike fear into the hearts of your enemies. Realistically the symbols would be adopted over a long period of time and become very traditional.

    So when you look at the symbol you should not worry about thinking if perhaps it looks exactly like an Earth wolf, or what you imagine a direwolf would look like. But rather could it be a symbol the old Kings of the North first started using it in ages long past when Giants & the Children of the Forest roamed the lands before the Andals came?

    For a real world example, a traditional rampant lion, doesn’t look much like a real lion, but that has never stopped it from being used in heraldry.

  26. Travis Crisp on June 24, 2007 at 11:10 pm said:

    For everyone that said the fore legs look worng, there right. The right Frong should be in a straight up and down position or slightly behind and the left bent front leg has one to many bends in it. The paw should be located right after the first bend a very short distance away. Look at your PICTURE that you have provided you will see the mistake clearly.

  27. Felcis on June 25, 2007 at 4:21 pm said:

    Needle should definitely have the Stark symbol. Even if Arya is with the Faceless Men now and in the future, Needle is stll the part of the North she wants to keep (at least she said so in AFFC).

  28. MrFurry on June 25, 2007 at 7:03 pm said:

    Man, what bunch of whiny… persons. I think it’s great.

    Of course, the ‘proper’ House would also depend on who Jon Snow’s father and mother really are…

    Blue roses anyone?


  29. Blitzkrieg on June 26, 2007 at 12:52 pm said:

    First – These swords are going to be awesome and i can’t wait to buy them… especially Needle.

    Second – I had to chime in here… All told, the front legs on the direwolf positively bend in the wrong direction. Although emblems and crests often alter animals for artistic purposes, i do NOT think they were/are ever drawn anatomically incorrectly. I hope Valyrian Steel and GRRM modify the legs.

    Third – Regardless, these peices are going to be awesome and i’m a buyer even if they put a chihuahua on the Snow plaque!!!


  30. Coldfingers on June 26, 2007 at 9:55 pm said:

    Throwing in with the mob, I have to say that the legs just don’t work. They are bent in form with hooved animals such as horses, cows, goats, and the lot. Predators typically have rearward bending “knee” joints for pouncing upon prey. Prey typically have the forward bending “knee” joints for faster flight from the predators. The first view of the plaque gives the impression of a wolf with broken legs tumbling forward. While this does somewhat align with what has befallen the Starks in the series, I can’t say that it fits a heraldic symbol for their house too well. Please change this if for no other reason than the myriad complaints on the image. As far as the colors and family words, John IS a Stark no matter the circumstances and they are his words, too. But when he took the black it became one of his colors so it does belong on the shield.

  31. The plaque is very nicely done.

    The legs are completely fine.

    Part of being a fantasy reader is having an open mind. When you read about Dany’s dragons puffing smoke and fire, for example, you don’t try to calculate the chemical properties of the dragon’s nasal cavaties which enable to them to eject bursts of flame out of their nostrils.

    The same goes for anatomical interpretation of mythical creatures; direwolves do not exist in reality, (or…do they? :) ) and therefore their structure does not reflect that of the wolves on our planet.

    Also, as mentioned previously, the crest is an exaggerated, artistic interpretation. Look at the heraldic lions:


    The idea is not to get it to be a perfect image of how the animal appears in nature, but a mere SYMBOL to artistically represent it.

    All of this, of course, valyrian said before.

  32. Coldfingers on July 3, 2007 at 10:33 am said:


    While heraldic coats of arms were often emblazoned with idealized images of animals and such, the anatomy was by and large adhered to unless there was a specific reason for it. The whole point of slapping a big, scary (or in some cases even kind of cute) animal on your shield was to symbolize the qualities and characteristics that this particular animal stood for. For example, the rampant lion was a symbol for deathless courage whereas the bear symbolized courageous defense of family.

    It was also commonplace to have the animal in a particular pose for which they would be recognized and suitably respected. However, this would be difficult if the animal could not be identified by the demeanor of its posing.

    Keep in mind also that fantasy needs to have some basis for itself in reality to lend credibility to the more “fantastic” elements in it. Otherwise its usually considered scifi.

    Oh, one more thing… dire wolves DID exist, possibly as recently as 4,000 years ago. And they were, as in the book, simply a larger representation of the wolf. The anatomy was similar with exception to size.

  33. Coldfingers on July 3, 2007 at 10:44 am said:

    OK, one more thing…

    It is interesting to conjecture how it might be scientifically possible to explain how Dany’s dragons are able to belch fire forth. It may be that the fire starts at the stomach or some other internal organ and proceeds through the digestive tract and out the mouth. But that would require some seriously heat tolerant tissue throughout their digestive tract. However, if the fire is actually started by a chemical that the dragons produce in some internal organ and belch forth into the air (similar to snakes and venom) causing a chemical reaction that could explain it ,too.

    Then again, maybe they just like refried beans…

  34. Coldfingers… great comment.
    So now plz explain just how did all those dead people got up :) Melisandre’s necklace also, and green dreams plz :)
    Just joking, great comment you had there but as much as we want to see wolves looking real, noone wants to explain dragons.
    Magic and unreal things are seldom in Martin’s writting, but there is just enough of it to give some tickle to our imagination.
    So dragons are born in fire and they ‘breathe’ fire… and i love them for that.

  35. and no chemistry plz… there is more than i want of it in school, if martin starts to write explanations from chemical point of view i am gonna kill myself for sure

  36. Dirk on July 10, 2007 at 2:22 pm said:

    Upon further thought, would not a direwolve’s best traits be depicted: Largeness, Intelligence and TEETH? Intelligence can best be depicted with the eyes. Where are the teeth!!? Now some of you may think that the talons are in the anticipatory spring or running yet no baring of teeth?
    The Crest shield is perfect as the background — keep that!

  37. Yet why would there be the “motto” Winter is Coming. That would only pertain to a particular cycle of weather. It would not be a motto during the winter or of the beginning of a long summer. This is only a saying that is currently being thought upon and in no way an enduring crest saying for the Starks and Winterfell. Unless they pull out the shields that say “summer is comming” or “Summer is Hear” as the seasons progress. I think not.

  38. I think some fans get a little too presumptive.

  39. I have to admit, reading all of this(again) has made me rethink my initial reaction to the wolf.I have my own mental image of what the wolf looks like, so any version isn’t going to look perfect. Thanks for the hard work on what is going to be a beautiful work of art.

  40. Nate on July 23, 2007 at 8:29 am said:

    So i definitely understand one thing. The front legs are bending like a horses legs, not a wolfs. HOWEVER even though i am an artist and that stuff usually irritates me, i have to say GRRM and Valyrian Steel are correct in saying heraldry is heraldry. My family crest is symbolic not realistic. and i have often seen logos of companies today, or in the past and the only important thing is u connect the IMAGE to the BEARER. and i think they have a powerful herald for house stark/snow/whatever jon will be in the future.

  41. Watchers on August 4, 2007 at 10:03 am said:

    I don’t know that the Stark crest is appropriate for Jon. For right now, with what we’ve been told, Jon is the bastard son of Eddard Stark… But in a few years? When the later books have been released and we find out the truth of his parentage, it will most likely no longer work.
    That’s why I personally think you should wait on releasing this sword for the book that reveals Jon’s parentage to come out. Or else release a new plaque for it once we learn the truth.

  42. The stark crest is fine for Jon. No matter who his parents are he’s still a product of the north.

  43. Theresa on November 26, 2007 at 9:47 am said:

    I’ve been waiting for an update on these products, but sadly nothing for a while. I’d really like to have something as a Christmas gift – is there a timeline yet?

  44. Oh no, it will not be ready by Christmas.

    The swords are being manufactured right now, but it is a long process and so there haven’t been many updates. Soon we should have product pictures to share though.

  45. I strictly recommend not to wait until you get big sum of cash to buy goods! You should just take the loans or just small business loan and feel free

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