8 Best Fights in ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘House of the Dragon,’ Ranked

“Game of Thrones” and “House of the Dragon” have proven time and again that it’s only a matter of time before things get bloody in Westeros.

The kingdom is full of renowned swordfighters itching for a fight, and the on-screen adaptation of the world has brought many of them to life. The two series have provided some of the best one-on-one action moments in the history of TV, but how do they stack up against one another?

Choosing just eight fights across the two shows does a disservice to the many sword fighting spectacles we’ve all enjoyed through the years. Some honorable mentions that just missed the cut include:Ned vs. Jamie (Season 1, Episode 5), Brienne vs. Jamie (Season 3, Episode 2), and Jon vs. Styr (Season 4, Episode 9).

These are the fights that made the cut – from the Hound and the Mountain having their much-hyped showdown, to a pair of famed and feared trial by combats.

These are the eight best fights in “Game of Thrones” and “House of the Dragon” ranked.

8. The Hound vs. The Mountain

“Game of Thrones”: Season 8, Episode 5 – “The Bells”

The Cleganebowl! Sibling rivalry, brother vs. brother, good(ish) vs. evil, life vs. death (basically) – these are the foundations great fights are built on. Did the much-hyped Cleganebowl live up to all the fans’ hopes and dreams? No, it didn’t. But like much of the final “Game of Thrones” season, it never really had a chance to meet the lofty expectations set by viewers.

That shouldn’t take away from the fact that what we got was still excellent payoff for the Hound’s eight season arc. He faces off his brother on the stairs of the Red Keep with dragonfire of all things roaring overhead. He goes out protecting people he managed to let into his life, and for him that was enough.

7. Erryk vs. Arryk

“House of the Dragon”: Season 2, Episode 2 – “Rhaenyra the Cruel”

There’s no decorum to the Cargyll’s fight in Rhaenyra’s chamber in the second season of “House of the Dragon.” It’s two brothers who don’t want to be there fighting for ideals they’re unsure about. Unlike The Hound and The Mountain, Erryk and Arryk love each other which makes this exhausting fight all the harder to watch.

6. The Hound vs. Beric Dondarrion

“Game of Thrones”: Season 3, Episode 5 – “Kissed By Fire”

We’d seen the Hound’s fear of fire at play during the Battle of Blackwater Bay in Season 2, but it hits a whole new level during his duel in front of the Brotherhood without Banners. Dondarrion employs his fiery tactics by light his blade afire at the start of the battle which rattles the Hound initially but not enough. The Hound ends the fight by victoriously killing Beric.

Although he technically wins his trial by combat, the Hound watches in terror as Thoros of Myr employs magic attained by the Lord of Light to revive Beric. It’s one of the first real magical flexes the show makes outside of dragons and it’s a lasting one.

5. Arya vs. Brienne

“Game of Thrones”: Season 7, Episode 4 – “The Spoils of War”

Arya and Brienne’s spar is great less so because of the fight choreography and more because of how every spectating character finally gets to see the journey viewers had witnessed the youngest Stark girl go on for seven seasons. Arya is quick, graceful, confident and lethal as she uses Needle and then the catspaw dagger to end in a draw with Brienne.

Brienne and Pod are amused but unsurprised at Arya’s newfound skill – having seen her on the road – but it’s Littlefinger and Sansa that make the fight memorable. Sansa looks almost terrified and the killing machine her sister has become in the years they’d been apart.

4. Bronn vs. Ser Vardis Egan

“Game of Thrones”: Season 1, Episode 6 – “A Golden Crown”

The first true one-on-one fight in “Game of Thrones” certainly didn’t disappoint. It introduced us to the concept of a trial by combat – something that would be enforced by Tyrion later in the series with less successful results – and a personal favorite Westeros scumbag Bronn. The fight culminating with Bronn tossing Ser Vardis’ body out the Eyrie’s moon door added an extra memorable flair to the affair.

The fight also solidified a concept fans unfamiliar with the series would need to get used to quick. Those who fight honorably (Ser Vardis) rarely come out on top against those who fight by any means to win (Bronn) in Westeros.

3. Ned Stark and Howland Reed vs. Arthur Dayne and Gerold Hightower

“Game of Thrones”: Season 6, Episode 3 – “Oathbreaker”

“Thrones” only implemented flashbacks a couple of times, and this Season 6 moment offered fans of the books and Westeros history quite a thrill. Not only do we get to see a young Ned Stark in his fighting prime, but more importantly we see Ser Arthur Dayne. Dayne also went by “The Sword of the Morning” thanks to him wielding the Valyrian steel sword “Dawn,” which was said to have been forged from a falling star.

Dayne was revered as the greatest knight of his age and one of the greatest swordfighters ever in Westeros, and this Season 6 fight lived up to it. Dayne dual-wields swords and even when he’s completely outnumbered he still proves more than a handful for Stark, Howland Reed and a group of other soldiers. It’s likely only because he was so outnumbered that the outcome ended the way it did.

2. The Mountain vs. The Viper

“Game of Thrones”: Season 4, Episode 8 – “The Mountain and the Viper”

A lesson in excessive monologuing – Oberyn Martell’s death at the (literal) hands of The Mountain during Tyrion’s second trial by combat is one of the most gruesomely memorable moments in “Game of Thrones,” and it seared Pedro Pascal’s face into the minds of viewers the world over just before he became a megastar. The stakes couldn’t be higher, with Tyrion’s life on the line, and the battle is a tense back and forth. The series smartly talks the Mountain up for a number of episodes and shows great fighters terrified to fight for Tyrion when asked.

“I’d be a bloody fool if he didn’t frighten me,” Bronn says of the Mountain when turning down Tyrion. “He’s freakish big and freakish strong.”

Oberyn takes Tyrion’s offer because he wants revenge on the Mountain for killing his sister. Despite all that strength, the Mountain proves no match for the Dornish prince’s quick spearwork. It’s only when Oberyn tries to get a confession out of the killer that he slips up and ends with his skull crushed in the Mountain’s hands.

1. Brienne vs. The Hound

“Game of Thrones”: Season 4, Episode 10 – “The Children”

Rarely did we get fights in “Thrones” where viewers could root for either side and be considered “right.” When Brienne and The Hound crossed paths in the Vale of Arryn at the end of Season 4, they both thought they were doing what was best to keep Arya safe. Both were right and both were wrong and it led them to crossed swords.

What followed was the most brutal fight in the show’s history. Its beautiful choreography was rooted in inelegance. It wasn’t just steel clashing, there was biting, shoving and genital punching. The rocky surface they fought on meant that both of these seasoned fighters were stumbling all over each other. In a world where TV magic means sword fights are “insane” or “incredible” or “awesome,” Brienne and the Hound’s clash felt horrifically real.

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