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Friday, May 20, 2011

The Greatest Warriors of the Westeros- #10 The Blackfish

Starting off, if you didn't know: I'm a huge fan of GRR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire (or ASOIAF as us fans call it.

Within the pages of the four books, soon to be five, there are awesome combats depicted and amazing, cunning and downright devious warriors.

So with this in mind I'm going to count down the 10 Best Warriors of A Song of Ice and Fire starting with #10. For criteria I selected only warriors from the time-frame of Robert's Rebellion going forward on the current timeline (generally speaking). I did this to avoid the comparisons to the "Great Knights" of lore in the deep history of the Westeros. Too much about them is Ipso-Facto as to how great, manly or fierce warriors they were. It's too tough to reliably and accurately gauge their prowess.

I should add that I'm also taking into account tactics on the battlefield as consideration. It's one thing to be great with a weapon individually or even with a unit. It's entirely another thing to be able to lead in tactics and strategies. Some few possess all of them. It's not the sole, overriding factor, but it does matter.

Bear in mind I don't think everyone will agree with my choices, but you'll have the opportunity to make your case here on the blog. So without further delay it's time to kick things off with warrior #10 on the list.

#10- Brynden Tully, "The Blackfish"

It seems that all of the cool warriors of Westeros have great nick-names and Brynden Tully is no different. Gaining his nickname for defying his family (namely is older brother Hoster Tully) he garners the name "Blackfish". Brynden takes this supposed insult and adopts the black fish as his personal emblem. Eventually "The Blackfish" leaves the Riverlands of his home and eventually by the time we first meet him in A Game of Thrones he is in the service of the Vale.

Brynden makes the list not just for his list of exploits in the book, but for perhaps one reason alone: When the forces of the Lannisters have Riverun under siege its the Blackfish that is guarding the place as his brother Lord Holster is dying in bed.

In A Feast for Crows, Jaime Lannister of whom I'm sure I'll write more about later rides to parley. The Blackfish rides out and coolly meets him and is largely unimpressed with the Kingslayer. Jaime engages in a fair bit of banter and all the while the Blackfish sits there and sizes up the Kingslayer with barely a concern. That right there puts you in the realm of bad-ass. The Kingslayer who is one of the finest swords in the realm and your not concerned in the slightest? And on top of that he inspired Jaime to be a knight in the first place after fighting in the War of the Ninepenny Kings. The Blackfish is even willing to let his nephew Edmure die by hanging thus calling the Lannisters bluff. In short the Blackfish doesn't bend a knee to anyone.

We do not get any scenes of the Blackfish in battle (at least not yet- here's to hoping that it happens in A Dance of Dragons), but everyone who talks about him all comes to the same conclusion that he is one of the better knights and warriors in the Seven Kingdoms. His actions speak loudly and people know of him in the same breath as Ser Barristan Selmy.

And if that were not enough he stubbornly refuses to give up the war even after Robb is killed at the Red Wedding. He still is ready to go to war and not bend even after there is no need to. If you looked up uncompromising in any dictionary there would be his face. When Riverrun is surrendered he swims out through the Water Gate rather then give up!

The Blackfish ranks at #10 and is perhaps the best well-rounded of any of the characters in the books, certainly the knights.

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