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General Discussions > Most Memorable Fight Scene in Fiction?

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message 1: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Mar 13, 2013 02:23PM) (new)

Terri | 19503 comments After reading this article in the Huffington Post today, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-...
it inspired me to start this thread.

Most memorable Fight Scenes in Literature


There's a quote in an old fighting manuscript from the fifteenth century fencing master Fiore de Liberi that my first instructor liked to drill into me over and over and over. It goes, roughly; "Train slow, because anger will give you speed in the fight." My first teacher drilled me with it so often because like any enthusiastic student with a sharp, pointy thing in his hand, I was prone to energetically trying to replicate what he was showing me at light-speed. That's not really conducive to learning how to do anything properly. Learning any sort of physical motion effectively requires you to calm down and understand the pieces of the movement, then practice them until they're programmed into muscle memory, then you should be able to replicate it effectively when you're in the adrenaline-driven insanity of fight or flight mode. It's also a good way to avoid cutting your own ear off.

There is another lesson I took from this quote, however: Sword fighting, and its pursuit, is about passion. It's this passion that drove our team of seven in the creation of The Mongoliad (Book Three available 2/26), and if you look closely you'll see that truth stamped in just about every fictional and real fight throughout history, and in both the symbology the sword represents in our collective cultural consciousness. The fight in fiction serves the very specific purpose, in most cases, of acting both as a vehicle for entertainment, and as a metaphor for the struggles between the characters. The Mongoliad is full of these fights, both as attempts to be true to the historical traditions from which the fiction draws its inspiration, and as expressions of the feverish intensity of emotion that these heated confrontations evoke in us as authors and as readers. As colossal sword-nerds, my fellow authors and I have a few fights from classical and contemporary literature that stand out as memorable (if not always accurate). Spoilers ahead!

Go to the website to see the TOP TEN that went with this article.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-...

What is your most memorable fight scene or battle?
It doesn't have to be historical fiction, although that would be preferred.


message 2: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments For me I think the most memorable fight scene that comes to mind is in two from the Grail Quest books by Bernard Cornwell
I have read a lot of fight scenes, but for some reason I never forget this one.

In book one Harlequin (The Grail Quest, #1) by Bernard Cornwell (aka as The Archer's Tale.
The woman nicknamed Blackbird firing arrows from the walls of La Roche-Derrien.

The other fight scene I think is also in Harlequin. At Caen. Others with a fresher mind on this series may recall better than I.
They assaulted the bridge and the dead were just piling up in the waters below.


message 3: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 1505 comments Glad he includes Malory and Homer and Shakespeare... however, I reckon Coriolanus has Shakespeare's hottest battles. Truly, great fight scenes in that. It is historical fiction. :]


message 4: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments I thought it was interesting that he included pulling Excalibur from the stone as a memorable fight scene in literature. But I agree.
That is a memorable one.


message 5: by Mark (new)

Mark | 1869 comments Got to with Legend the scene in the inn when druss fights the deserters. Sees him fight as an old man but still wins.


message 6: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments I think of my favourite authors and I can think of some great fight scenes that made my blood thrill. But I have to say, now I have thought about it, those two I mentioned from Harlequin are the two that still pop in my head quickly, despite all those other great fight scenes. I had to think to remember them. The two from Harlequin I do not have to.


message 7: by Nate (new)

Nate | 416 comments Some off the top of my head:

-Ethandun from The Pale Horseman
-Basically the entirety of Deadhouse Gates
-A certain spoilery duel in A Storm of Swords
-The end of Wolves of the Calla
-Thermopylae from Gates of Fire


message 8: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 1505 comments Recently, the fall of Sidon in The Last of the Templars. He always finds an original way to say things, that takes you by the throat. It's a very bloody book and tough to read. It's arty in style, but that only adds to the punch in the guts. That's why I like it.


message 9: by Nate (new)

Nate | 416 comments That one sounds like gritty goodness, Bryn.


message 10: by Eileen (last edited Mar 14, 2013 09:57AM) (new)

Eileen Iciek | 543 comments The most memorable fight scene that I can recall is the opening of Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. It was the first of the Uhtred of Bebbenberg books that I read, and I almost stopped at this scene, but kept on.

As others have said, Uhtred is a compelling character, but I'm not sure I would actually want to meet him. Sword Song (The Saxon Stories, #4) by Bernard Cornwell


message 11: by Kate (new)

Kate Quinn A question to ask for a good fight scene is whether it's a one-on-one fight, or a battle of some kind. Cornwell's Excalibur (and you'll see his name a lot in this question, because he writes terrific battle scenes!) has two of my favorites, one in each category: first, a standoff at the beginning between the hero Derfel and a professional duelist; fascinating not just for the swashbuckling but because of the hero's mental calculations as he realizes he has to adjust his usual fighting style on the fly. And second, the final battle where Arthur's warriors stand off, a lot of grizzled old warriors who are vastly outnumbered who know they are about to die, but march in fighting and singing and ready.

There's also the question, if it's a battle, of what kind. C.S. Forester's Ship of the Line concludes with a riveting sea battle in which not one enemy personally crosses swords with another - and yet, the scene where an English ship takes on four French ships and beats three into wrecks before being forced to surrender is some of the most exciting stuff you'll ever read.


message 12: by John (new)

John Phillips | 63 comments Can't remember which Sharpe book it was, but the one where he fights a expert swordsman, and wins by impailing his own leg , love that fight scene.


message 13: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments John wrote: "Can't remember which Sharpe book it was, but the one where he fights a expert swordsman, and wins by impailing his own leg , love that fight scene."

lol! Sounds like a Cornwell fight scene for sure. :D


message 14: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Nate wrote: "Some off the top of my head:

-Ethandun from The Pale Horseman
-Basically the entirety of Deadhouse Gates
-A certain spoilery duel in A Storm of Swords
-The end of Wolves of the Calla
-Thermopylae ..."



Oh man, the Hot Gates. How could I forget that fight.
That is one of my most memorable too. Thanks for reminding me. Gates of Fire


message 15: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Kate wrote: "A question to ask for a good fight scene is whether it's a one-on-one fight, or a battle of some kind. Cornwell's Excalibur (and you'll see his name a lot in this question, because he writes terri..."

Any fight. So battles, sword fights, chick fights. :)

I think that Cornwell Excalibur scene is one that was listed in the Article I linked to in the first post.
I will have to double check.


message 16: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments RE Excalibur:
The one that made the top ten in that article was (view spoiler)


message 17: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments John wrote: "Can't remember which Sharpe book it was, but the one where he fights a expert swordsman, and wins by impailing his own leg , love that fight scene."

Isn't that Sharpe's Sword?


message 18: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments I remembered yesterday a fight scene that has always stuck with me...only for some reason the other day when I was thinking of memorable fight scenes I forgot it. :)

The fight scene that 'usually' sticks with me is two fights scenes during one event in The Whale Road (Oathsworn, #1) by Robert Low by Robert Low.

The scenes when Pinleg the Beserker fights (in the village and then later on the beach). Wow, that was some crazy fighting.


message 19: by Nate (new)

Nate | 416 comments John wrote: "Can't remember which Sharpe book it was, but the one where he fights a expert swordsman, and wins by impailing his own leg , love that fight scene."

That is awesome and very Sharpe.


message 20: by Nate (new)

Nate | 416 comments Terri wrote: "For me I think the most memorable fight scene that comes to mind is in two from the Grail Quest books by Bernard Cornwell
I have read a lot of fight scenes, but for some reason I never forget this ..."


That sounds intense. I'm gonna get around to starting on that series soon, running out of Cornwell stuff :(


message 21: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Mar 22, 2013 06:38PM) (new)

Terri | 19503 comments There are definitely some gruesome and intense battle and fight scenes in the Grail Quest. I am sure they will make you wince.

You will have to move onto Robert Low stuff when you run out of Cornwell stuff. :)


message 22: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments I would put M.C. Scott (aka Manda Scott) up there with the best of them when it comes to battle scenes and fights.

She can really thrill me with her fight scenes.

For example, this excerpt from the book of hers that I am reading now. Rome: The Coming of the King


In the dark and flying shadows around the synagogue's porch, the war bow sang three times. Three men died with arrows in their throats before the rest realised they were under fire and dropped out of sight.
In the clot of heaving bodies at the back, only Estaph was clearly visible, a mountain of muscle, flanked on either side by shimmering iron as his axes spun and spun and now and then impacted with a skull, breaking it open with a noise that was audible far down the street in a fight that was otherwise marked by its lack of noise.
Even close to, Pantera heard little beyond the contained grunts of the battling men, none of whom wanted to attract the wrong attention and the majority of whom wanted to escape as soon as they realised whose side the bow was on. Hunting men as they fled was a sordid task at the best of times, made harder now by the necessity to be sure that each shape seen in the dark was not Mergus.
Pantera shot three more times, and then dropped the bow and drew his Saba blade and sliced forward and outward, fast and fast and fast, and a man was dead and another had lost half the skin of his scalp and was blinded by his own blood so that Menachem, fighting with a ruthless efficiency at Pantera's side, was able to kill him without fuss and then the one that came after.
Somewhere on Menachem's other side, Moshe acquitted himself well, which is to say, he killed and did not die.



I must admit, I have a little bookie crush on the Pantera character. :)


message 23: by Nate (new)

Nate | 416 comments We need a Your Biggest Fictional Crush thread.


message 24: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments Oh, that reminds me....I was gonna mention how we need a Most Memorable Love Scene thread. ;)


message 25: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Mar 23, 2013 12:41AM) (new)

Terri | 19503 comments I will slice your Most Memorable Love Scene thread with my Saba blade in the blink of an eye.

Biggest fictional Crush though.....Uhtred, Pantera, yummy. :)


message 26: by Jean (new)

Jean Gill (jeangill) | 227 comments Some fantasy writers do good medieval fight scenes - I've just finished George R.R. Martin's 'A Game of Thrones' (I know, I must be the last person on the planet to read it) and thought his fight and battle scenes were very good.

You're a gory lot :) You find fight scenes thrilling and love scenes ... not.


message 27: by Nate (new)

Nate | 416 comments Jean, I agree that there are some great ones in AGOT. Whispering Woods was cool because you didn't get the typical perspective of someone involved. The cover of the trees and general confusion made it really tense. I still remember it well. Still not my favorite Ice and Fire battle however, that one's in the second.


message 28: by Jean (new)

Jean Gill (jeangill) | 227 comments I'm hoping to read that soon but have a few books I've promised to read before that...will note the fight scenes!


message 29: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Jean wrote: "Some fantasy writers do good medieval fight scenes - I've just finished George R.R. Martin's 'A Game of Thrones' (I know, I must be the last person on the planet to read it) and thought his fight a..."

No, I haven't read any yet. :) So you aren't the last. But I watch the tv series and that means I will never read them now.



You're a gory lot :) You find fight scenes thrilling and love scenes ... not

Well, I must say, there is a huge difference between love scenes and fight scenes. lol.
One is emotional melodrama and one is not. :)


message 30: by Jean (new)

Jean Gill (jeangill) | 227 comments You won't read the books now because you know the story or because you were put off by the series? I don't know whether to watch the series or not!


message 31: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments No, I don't watch anything I have read, or read anything I have watched. For me it feels like rereading. Even if the series/movie differs to the book, the story is basically the same and I don't want to read or watch the same story all over again.

If i am a fan of something, that is different. If they made a movie or series on the Bernard Cornwell saxon books, I would definitely watch it even though I have read all the books.


message 32: by Simona (new)

Simona | 1447 comments I tried the series on TV, but I couldn't watch it because it's so poor confronted with the baroqueness of the books (or maybe it's me, I've got a fervid imagination).
So I'd try one episode, Jean. I'd be curious to hear your opinion.


message 33: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Just wanted to mention that the GoT series 3 starts in 4 days over here. :)


message 34: by Simona (last edited Mar 25, 2013 03:24PM) (new)

Simona | 1447 comments I'd be more interested in knowing if the man will be able/intentioned in reaching a conclusion to the series.
I feel pessimist. GRRM opened so many different threads that I can't imagine that he'll succeed in getting a satisfactory conclusion.
And I'm not getting any younger, you know!


message 35: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments HE'S not getting any younger!!!!

When I see the little grey bearded fellow that he is I often find myself hoping he has a healthy lifestyle so he completes his series before....well...you know...


message 36: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments p.s (off topic briefly) Simona, my parents are going to be in Italy for a few weeks on holiday in October. :)

Closer to the date I shall have to contact you and ask what they should see if they are in your area.


message 37: by Mark (new)

Mark | 1869 comments Rumours are 7 books but I reckon more than that, it's too much going on as you say.


message 38: by Jean (new)

Jean Gill (jeangill) | 227 comments I felt panicky about Dorothy Dunnett and the Niccolo series, as I was grabbing each one as it was published, and I kept imagining it from her viewpoint - so, I can't die until after I've written another 3 books...

I like watching TV/film and reading the book, either so I can complain throughout :) or because they give different kinds of enjoyment of the same characters and story. Haven't tried the GOT series yet but someone said 'Sean Bean' ...


message 39: by Simona (new)

Simona | 1447 comments Terri wrote: "p.s (off topic briefly) Simona, my parents are going to be in Italy for a few weeks on holiday in October. :)

Closer to the date I shall have to contact you and ask what they should see if they ar..."


I'd be happy to be of help.


message 40: by Richard (new)

Richard Lee (histnovel) | 67 comments I have enjoyed the books and series of Game of Thrones. GRRM does some things spectacularly well with dialogue and plotting. The dialogue is not any attempt at realism, but it works in its own stagey way (and this translates to the TV series). The plotting, as everyone knows even if they haven't read him, can be brutal.

That said, I dropped Book 4 half way through. The books have lost or mislaid a lot of the characters I cared about, and there are new characters, and it all requires more effort and feels like a different book. I'll go back to them if he finishes it off.


message 41: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Mar 26, 2013 02:12PM) (new)

Terri | 19503 comments So, since you all have read some of the ASOIAF series by Martin.....memorable fight scenes or battle scenes? There must be some for you all in that series.
In the tv series. To0 me there hasn't been any memorable ones yet for me, and as far as I know each series is devoted to one book.

p.s if you think the fight or battle scene is a spoiler make sure you mark it as a 'spoiler'. :)


message 42: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments Terri wrote: "So, since you all have read some of the ASOIAF series by Martins.....memorable fight scenes or battle scenes? There must be some for you all in that series.

p.s if you think the fight or battle s..."


Blackwater is all that is needed to be said.


message 43: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Blackwater? And in which book is this Blackwater? :)


message 44: by Darcy (last edited Mar 26, 2013 02:27PM) (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments It is in the third book? Damn...this is not a good question for me, I read them a long time ago. I'm pretty sure it is in the third book. Actually, all the best fight/battle scenes for that series are in that book (I've not read the 5th yet though)

ETA: Probably why it's called A Storm of Swords


message 45: by Mark (new)

Mark | 1869 comments One of the game of thrones books it's key battle scene in the book.


message 46: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Oh good, then that means there will be some kick arse fight scenes in Season 3 of the tv series. :] Finally!


message 47: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments Yes, the actors were all very pleased to film that one :)


message 48: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments I was watching Peter Dinklage on the John Stewart show last night. He wouldn't give anything away about this coming season.
I was saying to the tv screen "oh come on...I only need check out the book...is there a big battle or not?? Cough it up."


message 49: by Nate (new)

Nate | 416 comments The Blackwater was in A Clash of Kings. It was the penultimate episode of season 2 I believe. I can honestly say Storm of Swords was my favorite and this season is gonna be awe-inspiring.


message 50: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Was there a big battle in season 2??

(view spoiler)


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