While everyone else is focusing on the Loot Train Attack, I was left with a burning question after the Arya-Brienne sparring session: who?s the best fighter?
Fighting is a staple of Game of Thrones and has been since we saw the young Stark boys training waaaayyy back in Season 1, Episode 1. It?s a harsh world in Westeros and you can be killed for looking at someone the wrong way. You can get paid to kill or you can get paid to train others to do so. Becoming a knight is one of the highest honors in the Seven Kingdoms and could mean that you?ve committed a high act of valor, or are just really good at killing. We?ve seen plenty of deaths and plenty of triumphs in combat.
During Spoils of War (S7, E4) we were treated to not only Arya returning to Winterfell, but also a display of her newly acquired skill set against Brienne of Tarth in a friendly scrimmage. They were so evenly matched, it got me to thinking: Who is the best fighter in Westeros? We?ve had some great ones and have even heard of legendary fighters of the past (Ser Arthur Dayne; sober, in-shape Robert Baratheon; Ser Barristan Selmy).
In order to figure out who is top dog, I set some ground rules for myself.
- I kept these power rankings made up of the living/survivors. Arthur Dayne, Loras Tyrell, and Oberyn Martell would all likely make the list, but I figured more points had to go to those who?ve been in fights and survived in this world. Survival is what the great game is all about. This also disqualified The Mountain for me. The Mountain is essentially a zombie and so are Wights. Neither are eligible in my eyes. Pre-Qyburn experiment, then yes, The Mountain is a heavyweight champ.
- The combatants must have engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Meaning that Daenerys riding a Dragon doesn?t count and Sam stabbing a Whitewalker in the back also doesn?t count towards their rankings.
- Piggy-backing off of the first rule. The character has to be involved with the show currently. Daario is great, but not sure if he?s coming back. Jaqen H?ghar is also out despite the fact that he could probably end any war easily.
- Also, they should be human. Ghost is definitely someone you want in the trenches with you and Drogon is a cheat code, but we?re focusing on the humans.
And that?s it! Let?s look at the top fighters in Westeros starting at number 10 in order to build suspense:
10. Jorah Mormont
Jorah?s history as a fighter is well known throughout the Seven Kingdoms, despite his Lordship being stripped and banished from Westeros. He was knighted by King Robert for his part in the Siege of Pyke during the Greyjoy rebellion and even spent time fighting in the renowned Golden Company. Despite not being as young as some on this list, Jorah proved his skill in Season 5, when he was battling in the fighting pits to earn back his way into Daenerys? inner circle. If only the Greyscale didn?t slow him down.
9. Euron Greyjoy
Euron is a new character to the show, but he?s already shown his fortitude as a combatant. The Iron born respect strength over anything else and there?s a reason he?s the leader of them and an entire Naval fleet. In one battle during season 7, he defeated 2 Sand Snakes at once (Dornish women that were trained to kill) and took down Yara Greyjoy quite easily. He also fights with a battle ax like a madman, but damn it?s effective.
8. Jaime Lannister
This positioning for Jaime has a lot to do with respect. We?ll never get to truly see how legendary of a fighter pre-hand-removal Jaime was in Westeros. Jaime was raised to knighthood by the time he was 15 and was sworn into the Kingsguard of Aerys Targaryen. Early in the series, Jaime almost defeats Brienne (who?s definitely on this list) in single combat after being tied up in a cage for months after months and his hands tied together. He?s also survived several battles despite having to switch his dominant sword hand and essentially having to fight every battle one-handed. Never forget:
Tywin: You?ll never be as good.
Jaime: No, but as long as I?m better than everybody else I suppose it doesn?t matter.
7. Tormund Giantsbane
Tormund is another who has survived several battles and it?s really amazing how he has. During the siege of Castle Black, he?s marching through the castle grounds without any regard for his own protection. He?s also wearing minimal, if any, armor. Toughness and fearlessness make him a fierce warrior. With some formal training, my bet is that this scruff Wildling would be an elite fighter. He?s a raw prospect with a high ceiling.
6. The Hound
The Hound has taken some L?s during his time on the show, but he?s also won plenty of battles when the numbers weren?t in his favor. His fear of fire has held him back from reaching his true fighting potential. However, he was an unofficial member of the Kingsguard (because he refuses to take vows) and has a more level head when fighting than his brother, Gregor Clegane. He?s a towering figure who?s intimidation can stop fights before they even happen. But he likes when they do happen.
5. Bronn of the Blackwater
Bronn is a sellsword with seemingly questionable morals, but deep down, we know this ladder climber really cares about his friends. Bronn has an impressive record and that?s earned him this fifth spot. He fought for Tyrion during his first Trial by Combat in the Eyrie. He?s trained Jaime Lannister to use his left hand for fighting. He?s shown bravery on the battlefield during the Battle of Blackwater. He?s even shot a dragon out of the sky followed up by dodging dragon fire twice. Guess that strategy of not wearing armor to remain nimble is paying off.
4. Arya Stark
The youngest Stark girl has received probably the most elite training in this world. She?s learned the water-dancing style of sword fighting from the former First Sword of Braavos, Syrio Forel. And also learned the skills of the faceless men along with fighting blind from as she?ll tell you: No One. She?ll beat you with or without Needle in her hand. This undersized assassin is sure to add to her win column very soon.
3. Grey Worm
Early on, Grey Worm didn?t impress me. He looked small, only wielded a spear, and had the mortality of your basic Stormtrooper. Since we first saw him, though, Grey Worm has impressed almost as much as anybody on this list. He?s a warrior that fears nothing (except losing Missandei) (Awwwww!) and he?s also skilled with a blade. He?s the lead commander of Daenerys? armies and his soldiers believe in him too. I?ll forever want to watch him javelin throw a spear into a Lannister soldier, pinning him to a door. Grey Worm is badass and worthy of #3.
2. Brienne of Tarth
We were first introduced to Brienne way back when Renly Baratheon was alive and hosting tournaments with the Knights of Summer. She was kicking ass and has been ever since. Brienne has to fight with a chip on her soldier, but that chip allows her to conquer those who take her abilities for granted. She fights quite honorably, but isn?t afraid to muck it up, if necessary. Just ask The Hound. She?s a good fighter on foot and horseback. The only thing she?s missing is the war time pedigree which leads us to #1?
1. Jon Snow
Jon freaking Snow. May come as a surprise, but maybe not. Those who are surprised hear me out. Jon has been teaching others how to fight since he first stepped onto the Night?s Watch grounds. So not only does he know how to fight, but he knows how and why a fighter should move the way they should. And the biggest thing that puts you at the top? He fought a White Walker in hand-to-hand combat and WON. Yes, Jon Snow technically died later, but that wasn?t the result of losing a sword fight or anything like that. He?s survived the battle at Crastor?s Keep, Hardhome and #BastardBowl2016. Which is quite miraculous because he should have died during the Battle of the Bastards and numerous other times. But like your favorite football player, sometimes you need a little luck with injury to go along with elite skill.
He?s King in the North for a reason and King of these rankings. Let me know if you disagree in the comments, but I hope you understood my reasoning throughout. Who knows? Maybe someone else will need to be top dog by the end of the season.
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