There are many great reasons to tune in to HBO’s smash hit, Game of Thrones. This is a series for adults, so there’s plenty of flesh, enough sex to make Larry Flynt blush, and more than a fair share of violence for the bloodthirsty amongst us.
Some of that violence has been in the form of some spectacular fights. Here’s a look at four that make us wish there were 40 more just like ‘em.
Eddard vs. Jaime
“I don’t fight in tournaments because when I fight a man for real, I don’t want him to know what I can do.” –Eddard “Ned” Stark
Ned Stark was a man of honor. It was one of the best traits he had and everyone admired that about him. He was also a hell of a fighter and it was the rare man who ever wanted to go toe-to-toe with him.
Anyway, this one time, while leaving Littlefinger’s residence, Ned and some of his guards were ambushed by Jaime and his pack of vultures. A bit of verbal taunting went on, then some chest-puffing, then some actual fighting.
Both Ned and Jaime are skilled swordsmen and excellent tacticians while engaged in hand-to-hand combat. They’re also fierce and courageous. When their swordfight got underway, it was brash, bold, and strident. Swords clanking, testosterone escaping in loud grunts, and the very real sense that death could happen in the blink of an eye.
The fight was quite even until one of Jaime’s thugs drove a spear through Ned’s leg, from behind, like a little coward. Jaime took the win, such as it was, but not before knocking his guard out cold for such a chicken move.
Regardless of the cheating, etc., this was one of the best action moments in the entire series. Too bad Ned didn’t stick around very long.
Brienne vs. Stark Soldiers (
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, right? If you know Brienne then you know that’s only the half of it. This large, awkward female knight, who frequently looks like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz when she’s out walking around in her armor, is a dangerous, determined woman.
Her fight against three Stark Soldiers is arguably one of the fiercest, quickest trio of deaths at the hand of a single individual in Game of Thrones. While keeping an eye on her prisoner Jaime Lannister, she drew two shorter knives to dispatch the first two before they even knew they were in a fight. She saves her long sword for the third attacker as he lay in the ground in complete shock at how quickly his two companions became ex-Stark Soldiers. The crosswise beheading, using her two short knives as makeshift scissors, was particularly gruesome and delightful.
But this was no killing just for killing’s sake. No, Brienne was protecting Lannister, who would have surely been cut to ribbons had the soldiers been better fighters and hadn’t underestimated her because she’s a woman. Who knew such sexism existed in medieval times?
Yoren vs. Lannisters (
Yoren was always a thankless servant, tasked with recruiting the bottom-feeders from King’s Landing and turning them into productive members of the Night’s Watch. Yoren can only be described as a soldier’s soldier, if you know what I mean.
He was loyal to Ned Stark, even witnessing his beheading at King’s Landing. While there, he spotted Ned’s daughter Arya in the crowd and made his way to her, shielding her from seeing her father’s execution.
One of the most memorable scenes in the entire series involves Yoren going to blows with Lannister thug Ser Amory Lorch and several of his men. Sadly, Yoren doesn’t make it out alive, but wow what bravery! He took on at least a dozen Lannister soldiers all in the name of protecting his recruits. It took a lot of men to bring him down. See what I mean about him being a soldier’s soldier? Viewers respect that kind of loyalty to one’s responsibilities.
Syrio vs. Lannisters (
“There is only one god, and His name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: “Not today”.” –Syrio Forel
This mysterious foreigner brings a lot of intrigue to the Seven Kingdoms. He’s the complete and total badass. He’s well educated, he speaks in cryptic terms that only a few will ever understand, and he knows how to fight like he invented it.
One day, he was mixing it up with the Kingsguard; legendary badasses in their own right. It was incredible watching Syrio, armed only with a wood training sword, engaged in serious combat with these Lannister loyalists. And I mean the to-the-death kind of serious combat.
At one point in the fight he said, “The First Sword of Braavos does not run.” This is pretty much the first time we learn anything at all about his past and potential upbringing. In fact, the story of how Syrio became the First Sword of Braavos is fascinating. In a nutshell, this:
The Ruler of Braavos chose Syrio as the First Sword, even though others were a little stronger, or a bit quicker, or a tad younger. Syrio was chosen because of his uncanny ability to be totally aware in any situation. In short, his perception was the difference-maker.
The Ruler had a cat on his lap and asked Syrio to say something about this incredible beast. Syrio is rumored to have said, “I see many like him every night in the streets of Bravos, it’s a tomcat.”
Others had failed this simple test because they chose to kiss up rather than say what was obvious. The Ruler of Braavos chose Syrio, after he told the truth.
In the end, however, the fight between Sryio and the full complement of Kingsguard was a battle to remember. The first shot he takes, with is wood training sword, is absolutely one for the ages. Right up against the ol’ metal brain bucket of the guard who drew the short straw and had to go first.
By the end he’d dispatched the entire Kingsguard with great panache and a brilliant display of personal combat skills. Every show should have a character like Syrio, right?
Which Game of Thrones fight is your favorite? Cast your vote for one of these and see which one rates highest with true fans of the show!