Originally Posted by Gibonius
This is not a spoiler: I always got the feeling that Valyrian steel wasn't really "magical" in the usual sense of magic swords. It's just really high quality steel: very light (which makes that huge two hander usable), very sharp and stays that way. It doesn't make the user any more skilled or powerful, but the owners are almost always great knights and lords so they're usually the best swordsmen anyway. The Valyrians used magic to make it, but that's a bit of a different thing. Lord Marmot (leader of the Night's Watch) giving Jon his Valyrian sword was a huge deal for that reason; it was his family sword and he's handing it to a bastard and new member. Reinforces that "there's something special in store for you, boy" message.
Yeah I'm kinda butthurt that Jon got Jorah's sword since Jorah is more and more becoming my favorite character in this. Valyrian steel isn't 'magical', but apparently there are magical swords in this setting according to Martin in the the Making of GOT on HBO IIRC.
I had skipped a few pages and missed that everyone was clamoring for no book spoilers. My apology for posting a book spoiler earlier.
FWIW, I don't think you spoiled anything w/ that