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  1. thi4f

    Top 10 Fighters, 281 AC Edition

    I meant to discuss a two/three year period, not necessarily 281 AC alone: So I was thinking about most extraordinary fighters of previous era, 281-283 AC roughly, the period encompassing Tourney at Harrenhal and Robert's Rebellion.
  2. thi4f

    I made a visual timeline of events

    Great work, just fantastic stuff! I appreciate the effort you put in doing this, I imagine it could take whole days, if not weeks. Truly inspiring. Diving this deep into timelines, what mistakes (if any) did you find the most troubling - I mean it doesn't fit like a glove, all those events in the books... so I'm curious which are the most head-scratching for someone putting it together nicely.
  3. I think it boils down what one defines as "worst". I think there are at least two viable ways of interpretaing this question: - the worst human being from moral point of view, - the worst Lord to be subject to. Both of them are criminals and it's really like comparing Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy. Or, rather, Gilles de Rais and Ivan the Terrible. One of them is more prone to inflict suffering with his own hands, involving torture, mutilation, rape, murder and treason. His dominion is only a fracture of the other's "Empire", so committed atrocities may be lesser in scale, but definitely electric chair worthy. Roose takes opportunities given to him, he's selective with his victims and thinks twice before he moves. But make no mistake, if he's in a position to take what he wants and avoid detection, he'll do it. I think he's already flayed a good number of smallfolk during those years, not to mention other torments. The other is definitely unforgiving to his enemies and burns them to the ground, literally. What some Tywin apologists overlook in my observation (not necessarily in this thread), he definitely has a sadistic side, and the way he's handled the Tysha case proves that imho. I think he could even go as far as annuling the "shameful" marriage, hanging the girl, flogging the Imp... and it still would be less twisted than the ordeal he planned on that day. Less twisted, not better. Sleeping with Shae not only shows his hypocrisy, but proves even further that he was hell-bent on humiliating Tyrion - maybe he even took sexual satisfaction from it, but I can't prove it so I'll leave that out. Ordering chevauchees in Riverlands, pillaging the King's Landing or destroying House Reyne were exceedingly cruel (even if he gained political advantage from it) and affected (arguably) more people than Roose's shenanigans. But I suspect Bolton wouldn't hesitate and do all the same in Tywin's position though - at least if he was as shrewd as Old Lion was. So yes, they are definitely terrible human beings and anyone worth the Iron Throne should recognize it. Who's worse morally? If you go by the numbers, Tywin has the lead. If we judge them by personal deeds, Roose edges him out - you can't beat torturing someone to death, I think. Now the second part. Well, I agree that living under Tywin's is much less likely to cause anguish. I give him that. I'm willing to bet that Roose Bolton harrassed smallfolk for no good reason and tried to cover it from Starks... and has been successful for years. Tywin probably leaves you alone as long as you're obedient and pay your taxes. BUT Tywin Lannister also has Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch under his banners. Who the hell knows what they do in their keeps. Who believes they were good overlords and let the smallfolk live peacefully... and who thinks Tywin didn't know about this? Why did he send Gregor and Amory to Red Keep that day instead of Harys Swyft, Lyle Crakehall or Andros Brax? I guess we'll never know.
  4. thi4f

    Top 10 Fighters, 281 AC Edition

    Randyll is a good pick, +3 for Valyrian Steel Blade, I need to check his wiki. Definitely an outside chance for Top 10, but who knows if he's more worthy than Whent or Tygett Lannister. The latter had quite fearsome reputation, I'd rather have him than Kevan on my side, but I don't think he's got any experience during Robert's Rebellion.
  5. thi4f

    Top 10 Fighters, 281 AC Edition

    Issues with Brandon Stark I agree, we know next to nothing about his actual skills in relation to best warriors. I could leave him off from Top 10, perhaps, but still not sold if Oberyn is the one to take his place. As I mentioned before, I have my reservations towards young Red Viper and I prefer more seasoned warriors. Thus I include types of Jason Mallister and Blackfish. Following this path, I might relegate Brandon from top 10 so another veteran gets a spot. Gregor Clegane revisited I had him in top 10 when I was writing the draft of OP. I'm not sold on his melee skills at the time (he was ~17 at times of Rebellion), especially that might've been the first time he killed someone (anyone can shed a light on this one?)... ... BUT he still was a TOTAL OUTLIER when it comes to size, strength, arm's reach and coordination. I wouldn't approach the Mountain without a crossbow (or bolt thrower, for that matter)... so it has to account for something. It's almost like a different species and for that he deserves to be taken seriously. Curious case of Jorah Mormont To be blunt: I'm not buying him as a great swordsman at all, at least in 281 AC. His victory at Lannisport Tourney is suspect, although it's just my "head-canon". He's more of a Bronn/Alliser Thorne peer, a Tier 2 player (still respectable though).
  6. thi4f

    Top 10 Fighters, 281 AC Edition

    I have no gripes with Victarion listed somewhere. He surely is an intimidating, strong and battle-worn leader of the Ironborn which earns my respect. But there is a couple of things that need to be mentioned: 1. Victarion's age. Wiki states that he was born anywhere between 257 and 269 AC, which makes him as young as 13 years old during discussed period (on the other hand he could've been as old as 25, which is right in most people's prime). 2. Training. I don't know too much of Ironborn culture, they are always outsiders to other Great Houses, so I have no idea how they are taught to fight. Greyjoys are a leading House in a very martial, brutal culture, so they must know how to use an axe from a young age. But are they trained extensively to use a bow, sword or spears properly, the way most southern knights/Lords are? Do they know how to fight men-at-arms in plate armor, crossbowmen behind a stockade, charging knights in the rear? How are they trained to besiege castles or protect supply chains for inland armies? Now I don't want to mock the Ironborn, no. I'm sure they are formidable warriors in their own habitat, with their own rules. But how do they fare against the best competition, and thousands of them? What separates Greyjoy fighters from clansmen brutes, swinging their axes and maces mindlessly? 3. Experience. This is connected to the previous point. I was always wondering if the Ironborn aren't just misogynist, brutal bullies who specialize in chopping down fishermen, harrassing elders and taking seawives. They've done a great job in Stony Shore when faced poor commoners, they terrorized weakly protected Shield Islands, but what about more even matchups? We don't see them in Kingsguard, tourneys or fighting outlaws. At least I don't remember any of it. Look, I think Victarion is definitely one of the greatest and most fearsome Ironborn warriors, but there are questions that need an answer. Maybe I'm nitpicking them too much, but for me, Iron Islands look much more like barbaric tribes then skilled and trained knights of High Middle Ages. Not that barbarians couldn't kick their asses! He is a tall, quite strong second son of Steffon Baratheon, raised by likes of Donal Noye and coming from martial oriented Stormlands culture. I'm sure he is a respectable swordsman, but there are no mentions of Stannis taking part of tourneys. He is a bit of enigma: while others feast and have fun, he's building fleets, serves in Small Council, launches assaults on Iron Fleet, Dragonstone and Great Wyk. Sure it's a simplistic description but I just wanted to point out that his fighting skills are not really highlighted. The main source of memoirs is Stannis himself because nobody else seems to give a damn... and he only reminisces battles from commander's perspective. But as a man raised by castellans of Storm's End and Robert's blood, he must've been above average, at least. On a sidenote: funny how many soldier-types come from Stormlands. Barristan Selmy, Beric Dondarrion, Balon Swann, Jon Connington, Bryce Caron, Brienne of Tarth (!), Simon Toyne, Cortnay Penrose, Donal Noye, Guyard Morrigen, Rolland Storm, Meryn F. Trant, Richard Lonmouth, Myles Toyne, not to mention Baratheons. They're like Georgia/Florida/Alabama when it comes to fierce talent!
  7. thi4f

    Top 10 Fighters, 281 AC Edition

    More on Rhaegar: There are at least two interpretations of Ruby Ford duel between Bob and Prince. Pro-Rhaegar view takes notice of Robert's wounds and that the fight allegedly took a while, which probably translates to some 2 minutes. Pro-Robert view lessens the impact of injuries (he inspected the bodies in Red Keep days/weeks later while being almost fine) and claims that Robert owned the Targaryen. I think it wasn't exactly an even fight because it played out to Rhaegar's sole advantage: he was a terrific rider and probably spent more hours on "mounted combat" training than anything else. But I respect him for holding his own for a short while and fighting till the end. All in all, most of my Top 10 fighters were busy that year and fought in couple of battles, while Rhaegar spent his time with Lyanna. Thanks to his legendary jousting I could see him above Brandon Stark, perhaps; but defnitely not ahead of seasoned warriors (Royce, Brynden, Mallister). Oberyn Martell in times of Rebellion: I'd like specialists on House Martell to chime in because it all depends on the exact timeline of events... Oberyn spent some of his youth in Citadel (likely a couple of years), then in Free Cities (learning about posions and, possibly, dark arts) and further east, fighting with Second Sons mercenaries. If he's done it all before Robert's Rebellion there is a good reason to put him somewhere in top 20, maybe top 10. But I always assumed he only became obssessed with warfare after Elia perished. It's hard to judge Oberyn solely on his fight vs Gregor in 300 AC. I wouldn't be surprised if he was preparing to fight the Mountain specifically for years. There is a place for him among the great warriors (definitely a tier above Bronns), but where exactly? Hard to tell. I don't even know if he had drawn a sword in times of Rebellion. As usual with House Martell - they are all BADASS if you give them benefit of the doubt... the evidence is a bit lacking. I like your lists, post some more : )
  8. thi4f

    Robert's Kingsguard

    I agree with the premise of the thread. There were surely dozens of knights better suited than Meryn F. Trant, even after such a bloody war. Not that I have candidates ready, but Stormlands alone produce terrific fighters twice a year. He could even wait a year or two to get better candidacies. I bet he didn't care since half of the team comes from Cersei nominations.
  9. thi4f

    Top 10 Fighters, 281 AC Edition

    Robert -> Selmy: I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with this one. Granted it's just speculation on my part, but I think Ser Barristan was still a top notch fighter in AGOT. It says a lot: not only he preserved his body exceptionally well, but also could use experience/ability to outmaneuver younger, more athletic opponents in his sixties. Perhaps his style wasn't as "acrobatic", maybe he relied more on fundamentals, foot technique etc. When it comes to fighter's performance, I believe martial artists don't lose as much as sprinters/running backs/shooting guards once they hit 40. In my "head canon", healthy and well-trained swordsmen at 40 are almost the same as their younger counterparts, and battle experience makes up for agility gap. Now 50 year olds is a different thing... On the other hand, Robert Baratheon smashed through everything on his path back then and I'm not sure Barristan could fend him off with sword and shield in 281-283 period. Gerold issue: I'm not really sure. Barristan's and Jaime's opinions on White Bull are splendid, but who knows how much of a fighter he was at the tail end of his life. I'll give him a benefit of the doubt because Rhaegar left him at Tower of Joy, and who knew better than the young prince? Rhaegar higher than no. 10: In order to get him higher, I'd need to knock some other warrior down a peg. Maybe Brandon Stark deserves to lose one spot, but I'm hesitant. I imagine he was "Robert Baratheon Lite" and undoubtedly a better fighter than his brothers: a man who survived Tower of Joy and the First Ranger of the Night's Watch. But it all happens some time after Brandon's death, to be frank. We don't have that much information on Wild Wolf. When it comes to Rhaegar himself, I think he was a better jouster than Loras Tyrell in AGOT, but definitely not as good of a swordsman as Sandor Clegane, prime Jaime or even Garlan. I could see him in Brynden Tully's range, tops; definitely below Bronze Yohn. Jaime Lannister not making top 10: He was 15 at the onset of RR, 17 when he backstabbed Aerys and 18 when he started to win tourneys. I believe he was definitely a top 3 fighter between Greyjoy's Rebellion and Whispering Wood, a good decade of dominance. In other words, my opinion on his skills is VERY high, but I see no reason to put him ahead of seasoned fighters on the list. It's just a matter of his age... Obviously I have other young bucks in top 10 (Brandon was twenty, Rhaegar 24, Arthur Dayne in mid 20s as well), but there has to be a gulf between 16 and 20 year olds. The curve is flat later on. Gun to my head, I'd have teen Jaime Lannister in top 20, which is astonishingly high : )
  10. So I was thinking about most extraordinary fighters of previous era, 281-283 AC roughly, the period encompassing Tourney at Harrenhal and Robert's Rebellion. Since those events happened some ~15 years before AGOT kicks off, memories of these fights are vivid, even more so than with us comparing Evanders and Tysons of 1990s. What helps in comparison is the fact that main ASOIAF characters fought with (or against) top warriors of the yesteryear, so their opinions certainly matter - even if they're biased. What matters: - effectiveness and melee skills vital in both single combat and battlefield; - jousting is helpful as far as it translates to real battle; - all weapons, armors and preparation allowed, but versatility is valuable; - strength, stamina, agility, ambidexterity, hand-eye coordination and other physical tools; - *Battle IQ*, age, experience, valor and reputation should also be considered. To kick this off, I'll present my TOP 10 at the moment, but it is subject to change if you convince me! 1) Arthur Dayne (with Dawn) Can't really argue this one because GRRM said so, apparently. Arthur was in his twenties at the time, most likely in physical prime. Track record on the battlefield is limited, but he slew the Smiling Knight and enjoyed great reputation. Jousting? Not as good as Rhaegar, but also up there, top 3 easily. I believe he was a marvelous swordsman and really capable rider, although wielding the greatest sword in the Seven Kingdoms helped a lot. 2) Barristan Selmy He was in mid-to-late forties at the time, but still in prime I believe. Definitely the best track record in the realm, he has it all: 30 years of tourneys (started at age of 10), Defiance of Duskendale, defeated Smiling Knight, killed Simon Toyne, Maelys Blackfyre and a dozen of distinguished warriors at Trident. I believe he's the perfect mix of skill, versatility and experience with at least 90% of athleticism intact (he aged very well). He would be my number 1, but well, GRRM and Dawn. Without the meteorite holy sword, swap no. 1 and 2. 3) Robert Baratheon I wouldn't be surprised if his kill count climbed to 100+ during Rebellion. Hard to argue against a guy who won numerous battles and always led the charge. Defeating prime Targaryen ON HORSEBACK is Robert's crowning achievement. Armor-crushing warhammer, 6'6" frame and enormous strength certainly made him a beast. 4) Gerold Hightower Guy had 20+ years as a Lord Commander of the Kingsguard under his belt. After Ormund Baratheon's death he led royal forces in War of the 9p Kings. Gerold had all the experience in the world, much like Barristan fifteen years later, but advanced age prevents him from claiming the top. 5) Yohn Royce Another killing machine. Even older Bronze Yohn was a force (won melee in 298 AC against Thoros of Myr, fighting with a common mace), imagine him in Rebellion times. Famous tourney knight for decades, he has a great size and legendary runic armor. What's not to like. 6) Smiling Knight I think Jaime painted a picture of a hellish, savage fighter, highly skilled and much feared throughout the realm. I think his fearlesness is the most dangerous trait, very hard to account for. I'm putting much stock in "his generation's Gregor Clegane" claim - even if it's a bit self-serving. 7) Jason Mallister Another decorated tourney knight, he took down three of Rhaegar's bannermen at Trident. Consistent performance across the decades (Greyjoy's Rebellion made him even more famous) convinces me he was elite back in the day. 8) Brynden Tully Blackfish enjoyed considerable fame in Westeros for his deeds in War of the Ninepenny Kings and he's got even more recognition in Rebellion days. Although in his forties, I believe he was still a very cunning, agile swordsman with great fundamentals, archery skills and balls of steel. Much like Odysseus. 9) Brandon Stark They say Eddard is a skilled swordsman, but Brandon owned him and was a terrific jouster on top of that. With his height, training and audacity, I see a great potential in this 20 year old fellow. What a shame his "career" ended prematurely. 10) Rhaegar Targaryen Not much to say: legendary jouster and likely a very capable fighter. They say he took the prophecy to his heart and became motivated to increase his martial skills. Not sure if he belongs this high, but being the best mounted warrior in the Seven Kingdoms accounts for something. Honorable mentions: Gregor Clegane, Jon Connington, Lyn Corbray, Jonothor Darry, Jaime Lannister, Tygett Lannister, Lewyn Martell, Oberyn Martell, Oswell Whent
  11. thi4f

    Favorite POV Character

    Only sticking to AGOT... When it comes to POV characters, my favorite has to Eddard, followed by Arya. These two are among my top10 favorite characters in the books. When it comes to POV chapters, Eddard again comes on top (15 great chapters, really no filler), followed by Catelyn (11 chapters, this is pure gold after she kidnapped Tyrion) and the Dwarf himself (9 chapters, roughly 3 in the North, 3 in captivity and 3 at war; his later chapters are quintessential).