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Top 10 Fighters, 281 AC Edition

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2 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

Interesting choice. I agree that the 5 dead Northmen deserve some consideration here. Considering what we saw of Syrio Forel in taking out 5 Lannister guardsmen before getting taken out by Meryn Trant, I think we can draw some conclusions about the gap between the elite fighters and run-of-the-mill stooges. I think it's certainly possible that Martyn Cassel was an excellent sword, but why not take Ned, the guy who survived despite the fact that I assume he would have been the main focus of the 3 Kingsguard knights attentions?

Also, as a side note, I think the Tower of Joy fight could also be used to question the abilities of the two non-Dayne Kingsguard. The mighty Arthur Dayne was supposed to be the greatest warrior to ever swing a sword in Westeros. With two others who are at least in the same ballpark, shouldn't they have been able to handle 7 inferior fighters?

Like you say, we don't know much about Whent, but all the Kingsguard should have been amongst the best of the best at least at the time they were chosen. Hightower on the other hand, has been Lord Commander for over twenty years, so we have got to assume he's at least in his sixties at this time. Of course, a sixty year old Barristan Selmy does some incredible things (although even he must have lost a few steps since his prime). Does that mean that the White Bull would have been equally formidable at that age? Hard to say, but it seems unlikely. I guess my question would be, if it was Dayne, Whent and Selmy rather than Hightower would the outcome have been different?

 

You do realize that means every kingsguard has a two to one disadvantage with a third guy roaming around to stab them in the back

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4 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

Also, as a side note, I think the Tower of Joy fight could also be used to question the abilities of the two non-Dayne Kingsguard. The mighty Arthur Dayne was supposed to be the greatest warrior to ever swing a sword in Westeros. With two others who are at least in the same ballpark, shouldn't they have been able to handle 7 inferior fighters?

Like you say, we don't know much about Whent, but all the Kingsguard should have been amongst the best of the best at least at the time they were chosen. Hightower on the other hand, has been Lord Commander for over twenty years, so we have got to assume he's at least in his sixties at this time. Of course, a sixty year old Barristan Selmy does some incredible things (although even he must have lost a few steps since his prime). Does that mean that the White Bull would have been equally formidable at that age? Hard to say, but it seems unlikely. I guess my question would be, if it was Dayne, Whent and Selmy rather than Hightower would the outcome have been different?

Jaime lists Hightower as having been as strong or stronger than him. I'd say the outcome certainly would have been different but I don't think Gerold was a slouch. To answer your question about the numbers, that it was 7 on 3 and only two walked out is an amazing testament to the KG's skill. Unless the 7 had almost no armor or were fighting like they were choreographed by GoT. Next time you're hanging out with some friends who you're cool with wrestling with have them both come at you from different directions. There's a reason a lot of Hollywood scenes show bad guys coming on one at a time, fighting multiple opponents takes a lot of skill and a totally different skill set than fighting just one. But you do bring up some legitimate questions. 

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11 hours ago, Impbread said:

You do realize that means every kingsguard has a two to one disadvantage with a third guy roaming around to stab them in the back

Yes I do. That is why I made the point about Syrio Forel taking out 5 oafs with a wooden sword and no real armor to speak of. I think we should expect a fully armed and armored Arthur Dayne to be able to handle two to three more ordinary fighters on his own. With two of his sworn brothers, they should be able to handle 7 unless those 7 are more extra than ordinary.

8 hours ago, CAllDSmith said:

Jaime lists Hightower as having been as strong or stronger than him. I'd say the outcome certainly would have been different but I don't think Gerold was a slouch. To answer your question about the numbers, that it was 7 on 3 and only two walked out is an amazing testament to the KG's skill. Unless the 7 had almost no armor or were fighting like they were choreographed by GoT. Next time you're hanging out with some friends who you're cool with wrestling with have them both come at you from different directions. There's a reason a lot of Hollywood scenes show bad guys coming on one at a time, fighting multiple opponents takes a lot of skill and a totally different skill set than fighting just one. But you do bring up some legitimate questions. 

He does, along with Lyle Crakehall and Greatjon Umber. Hightower may have been strong, but he was still old. Age effect speed and reflex reactions more than strength in most people. Those things are just as vital to fighting skills, aren't they?

And I do understand the difficulty of fighting alone against two at once, with no one to protect your back. However, I'd like to posit to you whether two together fighting back to back would have the same difficulty with 4 at once that one has with 2 at once. I don't think so - not if those two know how to fight together. Three Kingsguard ought to have known how to fight together and against superior numbers. That fight should not have been the equivalent of each guy going one against two while Howland Reed runs around hamstringing each of them from behind.

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Posted (edited)

 

22 hours ago, CAllDSmith said:

Rhaegar Targaryen, the Prince of Dragonstone 

  1. Squired with #1 and trained with the KG. Won multiple tourneys. Was trained by a brother of the KG who was possibly better than the man who trained Robert or Jaime. There's so many factors in a fight that his one loss doesn't mean he wasn't better. (ex. Ned killed #1)

Should never be above Robert in any list. He was a fine jouster, but he died at his first real combat. he has no feats in battle, no experience and no kills.

22 hours ago, CAllDSmith said:

Ser Martyn Cassel. 

  1.  This is probably gonna be my first really unpopular one, but Ned only took his best and closest with him to ToJ. No matter what happened, someone had to take down Hightower and Whent. Judging from Rodrik's ability as a trainer and Jory's ability as a fighter. I think we can make a pretty good statement that one of the five casualties at ToJ deserves to be on the list and I'm putting up Cassel. (Note, the Greatjon was NOT chosen to come.) 

 

This logic is deeply flawed.

Howland Reed was brought there, and Lyanna had to step in to defend him against other squires younger than him. Eddard himself was nothig but average acording to GRRM himself and got easily beat by Royce together with Ser Rodrik in a sparing match.

22 hours ago, CAllDSmith said:

 Lord Robert Baratheon, the Demon of the Trident 

Should be way above. Even wounded Robert Killed 6 men and then beat Jon Connington with a sword. Killed several other nobles during his Rebellion including Rhaegar. He has more feats than anyone other than Barristan in this list and GRRM himself called him legendary.

 

Edited by Arthur Peres
typo.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/8/2019 at 5:26 PM, CAllDSmith said:

Brandon Stark/Rickard Stark 

  1. Apparently did fairly well at Harrenhal. Joint mention because we don't know which was better, but they both thought they could take #'s 1-3 in a trial by combat  

Apparently doing fairly well at a tourney and thinking you are strong is enough to be ranked among the best while proving to be the real deal isn't good enough. Ok.

On 4/8/2019 at 5:26 PM, CAllDSmith said:

Rhaegar Targaryen, the Prince of Dragonstone 

  1. Squired with #1 and trained with the KG. Won multiple tourneys. Was trained by a brother of the KG who was possibly better than the man who trained Robert or Jaime. There's so many factors in a fight that his one loss doesn't mean he wasn't better. (ex. Ned killed #1)

 

Half the things you mentioned are false. He didn't squire with any Kingsguard, he didn't win multiple tourneys but one and his master-at-arms wasn't a KG.

I see you're a lot in assumptions but as far as we know he was a very skilled fighter who got killed by one of the best warrior of his time.

On 4/8/2019 at 5:26 PM, CAllDSmith said:

Ser Martyn Cassel. 

  1. This is probably gonna be my first really unpopular one, but Ned only took his best and closest with him to ToJ. No matter what happened, someone had to take down Hightower and Whent. Judging from Rodrik's ability as a trainer and Jory's ability as a fighter. I think we can make a pretty good statement that one of the five casualties at ToJ deserves to be on the list and I'm putting up Cassel. (Note, the Greatjon was NOT chosen to come.)  

 

A random choice for the sake of it or just some Northers bias ? The guy is barely mentioned not even for his skills yet you put him among the best warriors even before the demon of the Trident ? Not sure how serious it is supposed to be taken.

On 4/8/2019 at 5:26 PM, CAllDSmith said:

Lord Robert Baratheon, the Demon of the Trident 

  1. Did decently well in the tourneys, strong and fast, killed #5 after having sustained at least two wounds. (Ashford and Trident.) So low because he hasn't shown any real versatility besides wear good armor and swing a big hammer. 

 

What kind of versatily have the others guys mentioned showed ? None since half of them did absolutely nothing. Anyway for the records on top of being a better warrior than most of them Robert is likely a better swordsman than most, having killed 6 men with a sword (one knight included) and defeated Jon Connington a notorious warrior friend of Rhaegar.

No men who fought at the Trident among the rebels should be ranked higher than Robert, he was the MVP of the war fighting at the front in every battle while smashing the other side champion.

Edited by Kal-L

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On 4/10/2019 at 2:26 PM, Kal-L said:

Apparently doing fairly well at a tourney and thinking you are strong is enough to be ranked among the best while proving to be the real deal isn't good enough. Ok.

I'm not the only one listing Brandon here. Working with the general consensus 

On 4/10/2019 at 2:26 PM, Kal-L said:

Half the things you mentioned are false. He didn't squire with any Kingsguard, he didn't win multiple tourneys but one and his master-at-arms wasn't a KG.

I see you're a lot in assumptions but as far as we know he was a very skilled fighter who got killed by one of the best warrior of his time.

Actually they aren't false. He squired WITH Arthur Dayne who is a member of the Kingsguard, not FOR. His master-art-arms was a brother of a KG (Willem Darry is Jonothor Darry's brother.) You are correct I did mistype when I said he won multiple tourneys. He merely placed second against Arthur Dayne in 276 when  both were teenagers, then beat Dayne in 277/8 where he took second to Barristan, and then beat them both at Harrenhal. So while not winning multiple, he's still won more than Robert. And you're presupposition that Rhaegar was only a very skill fighter while Robert was one of the best makes no sense. If we're being honest, from reputation alone Robert could never hit above top 8 below the 7KG. 

 

On 4/10/2019 at 2:26 PM, Kal-L said:

A random choice for the sake of it or just some Northers bias ? The guy is barely mentioned not even for his skills yet you put him among the best warriors even before the demon of the Trident ? Not sure how serious it is supposed to be taken.

Do you work at the Peach? Or maybe Chataya's? It seems like you're just getting more aggressive in your Robert shilling. I even mention that Martyn is a place holder for all five who fell, because three men who would have slain Robert at the Trident are dead at their feet. Martyn seemed the most plausible because his younger brother became master-at-arms of Winterfell, and his son was a decent knight. Looking at Rodrik's work, the men he's trained, and how he trained them shows someone who actually knows what he is doing.  Theon was one of the best archers in Westeros, Robb one of the best battle commanders, with nothing to suggest he was a bad fighter for a pubescent boy, Jon Snow is counted among the best in a non-canon work GRRM wrote. 

The logic follows that the White Bull was stronger than Jaime, that we've all agreed Dayne was better than Robert; that Whent was better than Loras or Balon Swann, that Loras is a copy of Jaime at seventeen, and per their word they would have been able to kill Robert at the Trident or Jaime at KL. And someone at ToJ killed them. 

On 4/10/2019 at 2:26 PM, Kal-L said:

What kind of versatily have the others guys mentioned showed ? None since half of them did absolutely nothing. Anyway for the records on top of being a better warrior than most of them Robert is likely a better swordsman than most, having killed 6 men with a sword (one knight included) and defeated Jon Connington a notorious warrior friend of Rhaegar.

No men who fought at the Trident among the rebels should be ranked higher than Robert, he was the MVP of the war fighting at the front in every battle while smashing the other side champion.

Is it possible he was the MVP because he's the one who ends up with the crown and the throne and the money to pay the singers? He never "defeated" Jon Connington, Jon merely says that he nearly killed him. Remembering back seventeen years, when everyone else says they never even met. He defeated Jon like Jaime defeated Robb in the Whispering Wood.  As far as we know from the circumstances he popped out of an brothel behind them and took them by surprise. Am I saying that Robert is a bad fight? No. Am I saying he's the god you're making him out to be? No. 

Again I go to Martin's friend and colleague Jordan to find an example of just how flexible this type of ranking can be. Over the course of just the first six books, a tall teenager who has never held a sword learns enough to become master rank, a man only a few years older goes from training under some of the best to slaying them within a short period of time, and that second man and his much better brother get their asses kicked by a teenager fresh out of a sick bed using only a quarter staff. 

Your last point is not only the most illogical, but also the most absurd and asinine thing I've seen written on this topic. 

On 4/10/2019 at 2:26 PM, Kal-L said:

No men who fought at the Trident among the rebels should be ranked higher than Robert,

That doesn't even make sense. So Robert, per your flawed definition of what makes a better fighter, is better than 1. Barristan Selmy, 2. Jonothor Darry 3. Lewyn Martell and 4. Every single other person who happened to be on that battle field that day because why exactly? Because fate brought Rhaegar and Robert together with a sword and a hammer and not lances in their hands? Because if it had been lances Rhaegar would 100% have killed Robert since Robert has been regularly beaten in jousts. Robert took wounds at least twice during the war. Oberyn Martell with a spear beats Robert every time simply from that fact. That's what I mean by Robert lacking versatility. He muscles through and takes blows on his armor. Barristan killed three men with a dagger while wearing no armor fifteen years later, and then killed a man forty years younger without a helmet on. 

 

This last point is for everyone that is saying "Robert killed Rhaegar so Robert must always be listed as better than Rhaegar" Ned. Stark. Killed. Arthur. Dayne. We don't know all of the details, we really don't know any of the details. We can't take GoT's horribly choreographed version of events with any credibility. Sure, Ned says that Dayne would have killed him if it weren't for Howland Reed. But that can mean anything, it could mean Reed warged into Dayne, it could mean he hamstrung him from behind, he tossed Ned a sword, he tripped Dayne with his (Reed's) own entrails, that he happened to bleed into his eye, that he pulled a Whispering Wood and caught Dawn in his gut for a few seconds. There are so many variables we don't know about the fight at ToJ same as there are many variables we don't know about the Trident. Robert was a great fighter, I'm not denying that. Robert was one of the best, I'm also not denying that. This is a list of the top 10. We're measuring in millimeters of difference in skill if not smaller.  

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[mod] Folks, people need to calm down, be more polite and remember that we're talking about ranking fighters in a book series, not life or death issues. If you can't do that in a friendly, respectful way, don't do it at all. [/mod]

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Worth pointing out that Robert was also knighted. And Ned - Robert’s closest friend - said the greatest knight he ever saw was Arthur Dayne.

And we know Barristan is Dayne’e equal in raw skill, using equal swords.

So I think there is no question both these two outrank prime Robert as fighters. And with Jaime being one of the greatest swordsmen in the 10,000 year history of Westeros, according to George himself, he must be VERY close behind the top two in skill.

As for Robert - he comes across as more of a brawler. I say again, he will be in the league of the Hound, the Greatjon, the Mountain etc. Not in the top three.

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1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

So I think there is no question both these two outrank prime Robert as fighters. And with Jaime being one of the greatest swordsmen in the 10,000 year history of Westeros, according to George himself, he must be VERY close behind the top two in skill.

 

By 281 Jaime is only 15, never saw combat, not even took places in tournaments. I doubt that he could face Robert in his prime.  And about Jaime being one of the greatest in history, the same could be said about Robert.

"The hammer was forged by Donal Noye while he was still the smith at Storm’s End, and Robert’s prowess with it was legendary. In tournaments he was never much for jousting, preferring a melee where he could bludgeon his opponents senseless."

By 281 Robert is at the top 3. Only Dayne and Barristan I see on top of him.

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2 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

By 281 Jaime is only 15, never saw combat, not even took places in tournaments. I doubt that he could face Robert in his prime.  And about Jaime being one of the greatest in history, the same could be said about Robert.

Jaime had seen combat by then however. The battles against the Kingswood Brotherhood started in 280 and ended in 281. Your point still stands, about Jaime at 15 and Robert at 19 being a much different fight than Robert at 36 and Jaime at 32. 

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Barristan, Robert and Dayne are tied even at harrenhall, Selmy's experience puts him with the other two despite age...

Prime Robert is a genetic freak who was called a peerless warrior by the guy who fought prime dayne, he has the book feats, weapon and genetic advantage while dayne has the experience advantage. No sword, even VS/dawn (who couldn't cut the SK sword in several hits) is deadlier than a warhammer in 1v1 armoured combat, Bob only needs one hit anywhere to disable daynes arms or legs or subdue dayne and break his neck to kill him, and dayne has to find a gap while avoiding all this in armour, so it's a toss up

prime barristan is better overall than anyone, being equal in sword skill with dayne as the two most skillfull swordman ever, then being better in every other field of combat than arthur

in 4th place i would put teen jaime but with reservantions, he becomes one of the greatest swords  ever but not yet

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On 4/5/2019 at 7:24 AM, thi4f said:

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).

I like to break things down in to Tiers.

Bottom Tier (Untrained): Tegular people with little to know training or skill in combat. Samwell Tarly and the lowborn recruits at the wall in AGoT for example.

Low Tier (Competent): This is for people who aren’t exceptional, but are competent fighters. This Tier is for lords and mediocre knights. Ned, Robb and Theon would be here.

Mid Tier (Exceptional): Exceptional fighters would be here and some of the better knights. This is where I would place a Bronn and Jorah Mornont.

High Tier (Elite): They aren’t legendary warriors, but they’re still some of the greatest fighters in asoiaf. The lesser members of Aerys Kingsguard are here along with Rhaegar.

Top Tier (Legendary): The best members of Aerys’ Kingsguard find themselves here. Arthur Dayne, Barristan Selmy, Gerold Hightower along with Robert Baratheon and a handful of others.

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On 4/5/2019 at 6:03 PM, CAllDSmith said:

GRRM has said that Barristan in his prime was equal to Dayne so long as Dayne wasn't using Dawn. Looking at the White Book the Trident is Barristan's first "career injuries" as it were. We see Barristan (After these injuries, plus fifteen years.) Taking down three armed men while unarmed, take down the Titan's Bastard, and fight and kill Krahz unarmored (There's a reason forfeiting knights forfeit their helmets.) and leap down into the pit to try to distract Drogon. While Robert is definitely stronger than Barristan, we can't say he's a better fighter. 

I agree Jaime should be on the list, but we can't say that Tarly is a great tactician. He's won ONE battle, that was a strategic loss, and that battle hasn't even happened yet. We can also tell from Samwell's training that he actually has no clue what he's doing. In order to actually be good at something you also have to be able to teach it. (I'm not saying you have to have a good epistemology, but Sam doesn't even know how to hold a sword. You can teach a three-year old that.)  

Better in what way? They’re both probably on the same level.

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On 4/5/2019 at 9:59 AM, Megorova said:

Third place should be Rhaegar's.

In 276 he participated in tournament at Lannisport, where he defeated 15 opponents in a row, among them Barristan Selmy, and only in the last melee was defeated by Arthur Dayne.

In 278 or 279 at Storm's End Rhaegar defeated Jason Mallister, Oberyn Martell, Simon Toyne (leader of Kingswood Brotherwood), and Arthur Dayne (broke 12 lances in 13 tilts), and in the end was defeated by Barristan Selmy (who had defeated Robert Baratheon, Jon Connington, Oberyn Martell, Jason Mallister, and Kingsguard Leyton Hightower).

In 281 at Harrenhall Rhaegar defeated Arthur Dayne, Barristan Selmy, Brandon Stark, and Yohn Royce.

Barristan defeated Robert, and killed Simon Toyne, Maelys Blackfyre (who had killed Daemon Blackfyre's destrier, and then twisted Daemon's head until he tore it from his shoulders), Symon Hollard (master-at-arms at Duskendale, who had killed Kingsguard Gwayne Gaunt), and a pit-fighter Khrazz (who was much younger and heavier than Barristan).

Rhaegar was only once defeated by Barristan and once by Arthur, while he had defeated both of them twice. So Rhaegar is approximately as strong as Barristan, only significantly less experienced, and he's about as strong as Arthur Dayne without Dawn.

It's fairly possible, that Arthur Dayne was a dragonseed. Dyanna Dayne, mother of Aegon V, had two daughters, Daella and Rhae. One of those princesses could have married back into Dayne family, with one of her cousins. In this case, Rhaegar was third cousin to Arthur and Ashara. Which could be an explanation, why Rhaegar and Arthur were close friends (like King Aerys and his cousin Steffon Baratheon), and why Ashara became Princess Elia's lady-in-waiting -> because they were bloodrelated to Targaryens. Could be that Barristan Selmy is also a dragonseed. I could be totally wrong about this, but I think, that he is a Blackfyre on his mother's side (who possibly was daughter of Aenys Blackfyre).

So, because of their dragonblood, Rhaegar Targaryen, Arthur Dayne, Barristan Selmy and Robert Baratheon (whose paternal grandmother was a Targaryen) should be in first quad of Top fighters. Arthur should be on first place with Dawn (or without Dawn on third place before Robert). Barristan gets second place, but only because he has more fighting experience than Rhaegar. If Rhaegar lived longer, and fought in more battles, then I'm sure, that he would have eventually surpassed Barristan. And Rhaegar third, while Robert is fourth.

Just because Robert managed to kill Rhaegar in a combat, doesn't mean, that Robert was a better fighter. I think, that we should take into consideration circumstances of that battle - they were highly unfavourable for Rhaegar. His wife and children were kept as hostages by Rhaegar's crazy father. He had to leave pregnant Lyanna back at Starfall. By the time of his return to King's Landing, Targaryen troops had suffered great losses, and were severely demoralized. Troops of The North, The Vale, Riverlands and Stormlands were fighting on Robert's side. Troops of Westerlands were staying away from battlefield. Troops of The Reach were stalling time at Storm's End (in my opinion Tyrells didn't went into battle to support Aerys' troops, because Tyrells and Redwynes were secretly supporting Blackfyres, and were working in tandem with Varys, who is an agent of Blackfyres). So on Targaryens' side there was only meager army of Crownlands, and 10.000 soldiers, that arrived all the way from Dorne, so they were not in a best condition, because they (same as Rhaegar) barely had any time to rest, after their arrival from south, and were immediately sent to fight at the Trident. Under all of those unfavourable conditions, it was nearly impossible for Rhaegar to win in that battle. So we shouldn't judge Rhaegar's fighting capabilities solely based on his death by Robert.

Also Robert's weapon was heavier (Robert himself was also heavier than Rhaegar, so it wasn't hard for him to wield that warhammer), more deadly, and had further reach than Rhaegar's sword. Rhaegar's sword wasn't Valyrian steel, so even several dozens of hits of that sword on Robert's armor, were not deadly. While even one well-aimed hit of Robert's spiked warhammer was an end-game for Rhaegar. They were armed unfairly.

Under more fair fighting conditions, Rhaegar would have definitely won. Robert was physically stronger, but Rhaegar was more skilled, more agile, faster, and smarter. If they both were armed with swords, Rhaegar would have won.

Rhaegar defeated both Tygett and Gerion Lannister in 276.

Rhaegar May have been a little faster and more agile, but he was less skilled and less intelligent. At least when it came to fighting.

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On 4/8/2019 at 8:26 AM, Free Northman Reborn said:

Somehow there are always a few voices wanting to shove Robert into the top 3 list.  He should not be there.

Arthur Dayne was George’s supreme fighter. His Lancelot. And his equal was Barristan, except for Dawn. Then comes Jaime - one of the greatest in the history of Westeros, according to George himself. Jaime himself says he could beat Robert.

After those three I agree it’s a toss up between a bunch including the Hound, the Mountain, Robert, the Greatjon, etc.

But the top three seem pretty clear.

Jaime himself says that he can beat Dayne. Robert has better feats than anyone in the series with the exception of Barristan. He certainly deserves to be at or near the top of these lists.

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On 4/8/2019 at 9:26 AM, CAllDSmith said:

a

 

 

On 4/8/2019 at 9:26 AM, CAllDSmith said:

Lyn Corbray is kind of a paper tiger, he only slew Lewyn Martell because Martell was already mortally wounded. I don't see any evidence to put Rhaegar so low on the list though. I'm actually gonna finally put my list below. 

I agree with your sentiment, but the King Arthur nerd in me just wants to scream at comparing Arthur to Lancelot. I get what you mean, but I'm honestly begging for a well written series about Arthur in a similar vein to Cornwell's trilogy, that includes the Welsh characters and removes the later addition of Lancelot. (Merlin gets a pass for being actually Welsh.) He's Rhaegar's Bedwyr. 

 

Now for my top ten of 281 list. 

  1. Ser Arthur Dayne, Sword of the Morning 
    1. Based on reputation, SotM qualifications and battle experience 
  2. Ser Barristan the Bold of House Selmy 
    1. GRRM ruling on skill, White Book record showing no losses or real wounds save the arrow at Duskendale 
  3. Ser Jaime Lannister 
    1. His level of ability at a young age gives him an advantage or most of the older ones. 
  4. Brandon Stark/Rickard Stark 
    1. Apparently did fairly well at Harrenhal. Joint mention because we don't know which was better, but they both thought they could take #'s 1-3 in a trial by combat 
  5. Rhaegar Targaryen, the Prince of Dragonstone 
    1. Squired with #1 and trained with the KG. Won multiple tourneys. Was trained by a brother of the KG who was possibly better than the man who trained Robert or Jaime. There's so many factors in a fight that his one loss doesn't mean he wasn't better. (ex. Ned killed #1)
  6. Ser Martyn Cassel. 
    1. This is probably gonna be my first really unpopular one, but Ned only took his best and closest with him to ToJ. No matter what happened, someone had to take down Hightower and Whent. Judging from Rodrik's ability as a trainer and Jory's ability as a fighter. I think we can make a pretty good statement that one of the five casualties at ToJ deserves to be on the list and I'm putting up Cassel. (Note, the Greatjon was NOT chosen to come.) 
  7. Lord Commander Gerold Hightower, the White Bull. 
    1. Made it into the KG in the days of Duncan the Tall, chosen as the LC, commanded respect from Jaime Lannister. Dropped so low due to old age and a wound in the hand he sustained in recent years. 
  8. Lord Robert Baratheon, the Demon of the Trident 
    1. Did decently well in the tourneys, strong and fast, killed #5 after having sustained at least two wounds. (Ashford and Trident.) So low because he hasn't shown any real versatility besides wear good armor and swing a big hammer. 
  9. Bronze Yohn Royce,
    1. Still kicking ass in his old age, we haven't really seen the best he could do, but I'll agree in 281 he was probably a beast. 
  10. Prince Oberyn of House Nymeros Martell, the Red Viper 
    1. Was approaching thirty at this point, meaning what we saw against the Mountain was probably not his peak. Guy is fast, strong and most importantly cunning. He shows versatility in his weapons and 100% could have ended #'s 8 & 9 spear v hammer or sword. But, not enough evidence to say. 

Honorable mentions: The other three KG, Jonothor Darry, Oswell Whent, and Prince Lewyn Martell. We honestly don't know enough about them to place them, so consider them interchangeable with the last four. Tygett Lannister, "You (Jaime) fight like Tyg." Mance, Qhorin, Areo Hotah, Strong Belwas, and maybe Khal Drogo or his dad also get honorable mentions. 

I want to defer to something that either Robert Jordan or his character Lan mentioned. The top tier blademasters all are so close as to almost make no difference. Small factors like who got the most sleep, what they ate for dinner the knight before, the weather, whether one is better armed than the other, whether one could potentially slip on the guts of a deceased foe etc. make a huge difference. 

Another point from author and martial artist Jim Butcher goes something like this "Really good fighters don't need to flaunt it, and they never show all of their tricks." Which is why we can't place Ned on this list, we've literally never seen him fight. (The ambush in KL counts as much as me hitting a drunk one handed Jaime with a big stick.) 

Bells and battle followed, and Robert emerged from his brothel with a blade in hand, and almost slew Jon on the steps of the old sept that gave the town its name.

Robert came out of hiding to join the fight when the bells began to ring. He slew six men that day, they say. One was Myles Mooton, a famous knight who'd been Prince Rhaegar's squire.

Robert Baratheon had been an indifferent jouster, in truth. During tourneys he had much preferred the mêlée, where he could beat men bloody with blunted axe or hammer.

Roberts more versatile than most. He was good with knives too.

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On 4/11/2019 at 1:42 PM, CAllDSmith said:

I'm not the only one listing Brandon here. Working with the general consensus 

Actually they aren't false. He squired WITH Arthur Dayne who is a member of the Kingsguard, not FOR. His master-art-arms was a brother of a KG (Willem Darry is Jonothor Darry's brother.) You are correct I did mistype when I said he won multiple tourneys. He merely placed second against Arthur Dayne in 276 when  both were teenagers, then beat Dayne in 277/8 where he took second to Barristan, and then beat them both at Harrenhal. So while not winning multiple, he's still won more than Robert. And you're presupposition that Rhaegar was only a very skill fighter while Robert was one of the best makes no sense. If we're being honest, from reputation alone Robert could never hit above top 8 below the 7KG. 

 

Do you work at the Peach? Or maybe Chataya's? It seems like you're just getting more aggressive in your Robert shilling. I even mention that Martyn is a place holder for all five who fell, because three men who would have slain Robert at the Trident are dead at their feet. Martyn seemed the most plausible because his younger brother became master-at-arms of Winterfell, and his son was a decent knight. Looking at Rodrik's work, the men he's trained, and how he trained them shows someone who actually knows what he is doing.  Theon was one of the best archers in Westeros, Robb one of the best battle commanders, with nothing to suggest he was a bad fighter for a pubescent boy, Jon Snow is counted among the best in a non-canon work GRRM wrote. 

The logic follows that the White Bull was stronger than Jaime, that we've all agreed Dayne was better than Robert; that Whent was better than Loras or Balon Swann, that Loras is a copy of Jaime at seventeen, and per their word they would have been able to kill Robert at the Trident or Jaime at KL. And someone at ToJ killed them. 

Is it possible he was the MVP because he's the one who ends up with the crown and the throne and the money to pay the singers? He never "defeated" Jon Connington, Jon merely says that he nearly killed him. Remembering back seventeen years, when everyone else says they never even met. He defeated Jon like Jaime defeated Robb in the Whispering Wood.  As far as we know from the circumstances he popped out of an brothel behind them and took them by surprise. Am I saying that Robert is a bad fight? No. Am I saying he's the god you're making him out to be? No. 

Again I go to Martin's friend and colleague Jordan to find an example of just how flexible this type of ranking can be. Over the course of just the first six books, a tall teenager who has never held a sword learns enough to become master rank, a man only a few years older goes from training under some of the best to slaying them within a short period of time, and that second man and his much better brother get their asses kicked by a teenager fresh out of a sick bed using only a quarter staff. 

Your last point is not only the most illogical, but also the most absurd and asinine thing I've seen written on this topic. 

That doesn't even make sense. So Robert, per your flawed definition of what makes a better fighter, is better than 1. Barristan Selmy, 2. Jonothor Darry 3. Lewyn Martell and 4. Every single other person who happened to be on that battle field that day because why exactly? Because fate brought Rhaegar and Robert together with a sword and a hammer and not lances in their hands? Because if it had been lances Rhaegar would 100% have killed Robert since Robert has been regularly beaten in jousts. Robert took wounds at least twice during the war. Oberyn Martell with a spear beats Robert every time simply from that fact. That's what I mean by Robert lacking versatility. He muscles through and takes blows on his armor. Barristan killed three men with a dagger while wearing no armor fifteen years later, and then killed a man forty years younger without a helmet on. 

 

This last point is for everyone that is saying "Robert killed Rhaegar so Robert must always be listed as better than Rhaegar" Ned. Stark. Killed. Arthur. Dayne. We don't know all of the details, we really don't know any of the details. We can't take GoT's horribly choreographed version of events with any credibility. Sure, Ned says that Dayne would have killed him if it weren't for Howland Reed. But that can mean anything, it could mean Reed warged into Dayne, it could mean he hamstrung him from behind, he tossed Ned a sword, he tripped Dayne with his (Reed's) own entrails, that he happened to bleed into his eye, that he pulled a Whispering Wood and caught Dawn in his gut for a few seconds. There are so many variables we don't know about the fight at ToJ same as there are many variables we don't know about the Trident. Robert was a great fighter, I'm not denying that. Robert was one of the best, I'm also not denying that. This is a list of the top 10. We're measuring in millimeters of difference in skill if not smaller.  

Jon Connington and Robert never met? Jon was directly sworn to Robert. Robert defeated him in combat with a sword after cutting through half a dozen men including a famous knight while wounded. And the only Kingsguard that you can really argue are better than Robert are Hightower, Jaime, Dayne and Selmy. Even then, only Selmy really has the feats for it.

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On 4/12/2019 at 9:59 AM, Free Northman Reborn said:

Worth pointing out that Robert was also knighted. And Ned - Robert’s closest friend - said the greatest knight he ever saw was Arthur Dayne.

And we know Barristan is Dayne’e equal in raw skill, using equal swords.

So I think there is no question both these two outrank prime Robert as fighters. And with Jaime being one of the greatest swordsmen in the 10,000 year history of Westeros, according to George himself, he must be VERY close behind the top two in skill.

As for Robert - he comes across as more of a brawler. I say again, he will be in the league of the Hound, the Greatjon, the Mountain etc. Not in the top three.

Why are you leaving out the fact that Ned called Robert a peerless warrior in his prime even though he fought Arthur Dayne?

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19 hours ago, Laughing Storm Reborn said:

Prime Robert is a genetic freak who was called a peerless warrior by the guy who fought prime dayne, he has the book feats, weapon and genetic advantage while dayne has the experience advantage. No sword, even VS/dawn (who couldn't cut the SK sword in several hits) is deadlier than a warhammer in 1v1 armoured combat, Bob only needs one hit anywhere to disable daynes arms or legs or subdue dayne and break his neck to kill him, and dayne has to find a gap while avoiding all this in armour, so it's a toss up

I have some disputes with this. The first is something that I think shows both Dayne and Brandon's skill versue Robert's strength. Honestly the best visual example in recent years for my point is The Last Jedi, the rock that Rey and countless Jedi before her have used to train their lightsaber skills. They're not learning how to swing a blade, they're learning to stop. Both Brandon and Arthur Dayne wound an opponent anywhere between six and a dozen times before finishing the fight. This is a matter of incredible skill, as the scene I'm referencing shows. It is much easier to land a finishing blow than it is to cut that finishing blow short. Compare just trying to cut halfway through a steak with a meat cleaver. 

The second point is the idea of Dawn cutting through the Smiling Knight's sword. Swords breaking on each other is a Hollywood fantasy. (I know we're talking about a fantasy story, but if we're going to have this conversation it needs to be ground at least partially in reality.) Unless the sword was poorly made or had some form of imperfection the sword will not break. Donal Noye talks about this a bit when he compares the Baratheon brothers. Breaking a sword by hitting it with another sword would be similar to breaking a stick by hitting it with another stick. If the stick's are good wood they won't break on each other unless both ends of the stick are braced. What happened with the SK's sword is that it became chipped and blunted, most likely from parrying and being parried. 

Third, the lethality of Robert's iron warhammer in comparison to the greatsword Dawn. It is true that war hammers were designed to counter the issue of heavier and heavier plate. When it comes to fighting Robert I would put Barristan, Jaime or someone of their skill level fighting with sword and shield at a win maybe 6/10 or 7/10 times. I would give the Red Viper and his poisoned eight foot spear with a two foot blade at a win 9/10 times. Dayne versus Robert is different because neither possesses the reach advantage due to both using two handed weapons. I will suspend disbelief for Robert's strength and the weight of his hammer, however I will not give him the edge on deadliest weapon straight away. Dayne's weapon has a six foot reach that can injure or kill anywhere in that range, Robert's weapon has a similar reach but only a small location where he can deal damage. In order for Robert to damage Dayne he needs to expose himself and his weakest areas, namely his fingers. In order to block Robert also has to put his iron weapon into a position where it can be bent or broken (holding it from both ends.) As for the lethality of the war hammer, I will give you the crippling blow to the arms. Taking a leg might actually benefit Dayne (better angle for those knees and codpiece.) as for chest, Robert only has a back handed swing to get a near instant kill with his spike to the torso. As for the blow to the head, no swing opens Robert up to more danger from Dayne and Baelor Breakspear (and people who have been run over by a train.) show that a crushing would like that isn't a guaranteed instant kill. 

6 hours ago, Lee-Sensei said:

Jon Connington and Robert never met? Jon was directly sworn to Robert. Robert defeated him in combat with a sword after cutting through half a dozen men including a famous knight while wounded. 

Robert and Jon never met in battle. They never crossed blades or jousted against each other that we know of.  

Quote

"He would have slain the Hand too, but the battle never brought them together. " Arya V ASOS 

Harwin's father Hullen was possibly at the battle, Jory Cassel most likely squired there and many of the other men Harwin served with and drank with were there. He would know. 

Quote

 Bells and battle followed, and Robert emerged from his brothel with a blade in hand, and almost slew Jon on the steps of the old sept that gave the town its name. - The Griffin Lord ADWD 

Jaime Lannister almost slew Robb in the Whispering Wood, but they never crossed blades. This also wasn't a one on one fight but a chaotic brawl in the streets. Also interesting is the distance from the Peach to Stoney Sept, the Peach is in the eastern part of the market square and Stoney Sept is on top of the hill.  Robert had the advantage of surprise when it came to slaying Ser Myles Mooton and six other knights and the nature of his wound was obviously not bad enough to prevent him from boinking the entire Peach.  

7 hours ago, Lee-Sensei said:

 And the only Kingsguard that you can really argue are better than Robert are Hightower, Jaime, Dayne and Selmy. Even then, only Selmy really has the feats for it.

Highly disagree with this. We can say for a certainty that all seven of the Kingsguard in 281 could kill Robert on horseback (which is one of the criteria we have to consider.) As for "having the feats for it" Robert has no feats to his name in 281, he's never been in a battle or an actual fight to the death. Expanding to 283 because that's how this entire discussion has gone any of the four mentioned could have beaten Robert. (I'll give Hightower the lowest odds for age and hand wound, but still great odds.) The only reason that we can say for a certainty about Barristan is because he's the only one we actually have a full biography for. Hightower is anywhere between sixty and eighty at the time of his death.  At worst he earned his spurs during the various rebellions Aegon V had to put down, led the troops during the War of the Ninepenny Kings, embodied chivalry during the period of peace following the death of Maelys the Monstrous, and led the early war against the Kingswood Brotherhood. Hightower certain has the feats. Every one of the sworn brothers has a similar pedigree, while you're right we cannot say for certain that Jonothor Darry, Oswell Whent, or Prince Lewyn Martell were better than Robert we also cannot dismiss them out of hand. 

9 hours ago, Lee-Sensei said:

Why are you leaving out the fact that Ned called Robert a peerless warrior in his prime even though he fought Arthur Dayne?

Both because "finest knight I ever saw" trumps Robert being a peerless warrior and that Arthur Dayne was dead by the time Robert was in his prime.  He did not peak at 21 during the Rebellion, and had not degraded to what he was when he visited Winterfell by the time of Greyjoy's Rebellion. Robert's prime (his peak, best) was when he was at 27 during the Greyjoy Rebellion and no warrior was his peer. "Peerless" also doesn't always mean without peer, same as scarcely doesn't always mean "barely there" it could also mean "only just made it"

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4 hours ago, CAllDSmith said:

I have some disputes with this. The first is something that I think shows both Dayne and Brandon's skill versue Robert's strength. Honestly the best visual example in recent years for my point is The Last Jedi, the rock that Rey and countless Jedi before her have used to train their lightsaber skills. They're not learning how to swing a blade, they're learning to stop. Both Brandon and Arthur Dayne wound an opponent anywhere between six and a dozen times before finishing the fight. This is a matter of incredible skill, as the scene I'm referencing shows. It is much easier to land a finishing blow than it is to cut that finishing blow short. Compare just trying to cut halfway through a steak with a meat cleaver. 

The second point is the idea of Dawn cutting through the Smiling Knight's sword. Swords breaking on each other is a Hollywood fantasy. (I know we're talking about a fantasy story, but if we're going to have this conversation it needs to be ground at least partially in reality.) Unless the sword was poorly made or had some form of imperfection the sword will not break. Donal Noye talks about this a bit when he compares the Baratheon brothers. Breaking a sword by hitting it with another sword would be similar to breaking a stick by hitting it with another stick. If the stick's are good wood they won't break on each other unless both ends of the stick are braced. What happened with the SK's sword is that it became chipped and blunted, most likely from parrying and being parried. 

Third, the lethality of Robert's iron warhammer in comparison to the greatsword Dawn. It is true that war hammers were designed to counter the issue of heavier and heavier plate. When it comes to fighting Robert I would put Barristan, Jaime or someone of their skill level fighting with sword and shield at a win maybe 6/10 or 7/10 times. I would give the Red Viper and his poisoned eight foot spear with a two foot blade at a win 9/10 times. Dayne versus Robert is different because neither possesses the reach advantage due to both using two handed weapons. I will suspend disbelief for Robert's strength and the weight of his hammer, however I will not give him the edge on deadliest weapon straight away. Dayne's weapon has a six foot reach that can injure or kill anywhere in that range, Robert's weapon has a similar reach but only a small location where he can deal damage. In order for Robert to damage Dayne he needs to expose himself and his weakest areas, namely his fingers. In order to block Robert also has to put his iron weapon into a position where it can be bent or broken (holding it from both ends.) As for the lethality of the war hammer, I will give you the crippling blow to the arms. Taking a leg might actually benefit Dayne (better angle for those knees and codpiece.) as for chest, Robert only has a back handed swing to get a near instant kill with his spike to the torso. As for the blow to the head, no swing opens Robert up to more danger from Dayne and Baelor Breakspear (and people who have been run over by a train.) show that a crushing would like that isn't a guaranteed instant kill. 

 

Regarding the first point:

"In his youth Robert Baratheon was a paragon of a man, stronger and larger than most others on the battlefield. His chosen weapon was a war hammer of such immense size his friend Ned Stark could not wield it. The hammer was forged by Donal Noye while he was still the smith at Storm’s End, and Robert’s prowess with it was legendary. In tournaments he was never much for jousting, preferring a melee where he could bludgeon his opponents senseless." GRRM 

Robert is not just unusual strenght, wich in armoured combat means power and also speed, strenght is needed to move around fast as a knight full of armour weight, he has also legendary prowess with his warhammer per grrm, he is as skilled with his weapon as dayne is with his own.

Regardind the second point, i agree with you that some reality is needed and the story respects that many times, Dawn/VS swords are sharper and lighter but can´t break other swords in one hit or cut plate armour like a lightsaber, a spiked warhammer in vastly powerful hands in a duel with heavy clothing is a deadlier weapon, not by a mile but deadlier

That being said, yes prime Robert might be the Bob a few years after the Trident so he is slightly below Selmy and Dayne at harrenhall but only just because of experience levels with his weapon.

Barristan, Robert, Arthur and agot Jaime are the most skilled with their weapons ever IMO, when skill is elite goat tier it's in the details but i'm not going to give dayne an advantage with prime robert unless he agreed to fight a sword duel or on horseback, 1v1 on foot with their personal equipment if i'm going to bet on one it's Bob, he has the physical advantages armed and especially unarmed and we see how many duels end in the series and in dunk&egg novels. I'm not disputing preferences on these four but anyone else of great renown in history (present time trumps past to me in knowledge and nutrition) i put slightly below.

To me personaly prime barristan is the epitome of personal combat (sword, lance, stealth, knife, experience), the solid snake of this world who not only has jaw dropping feats but has no one better than him with sword or lance, but even he can lose to another goat tier.

The "greatest knight he ever saw" is as valid a quote as the "peerless warrior" one, a knight can mean a combination of skill chivalry and honour, not just the most skillful, but Dayne was a goat tier only equaled by barristan in sword skill, but swords aren´t the only weapons or means of combat.

About Jon Con i can only see in the quote text that he did fight robert and almost died, "he almost slew jon in the steps" is a given they traded blows imo

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