is one of the most exciting and action-packed series in television history, and it has 10 sword fights that stand out as the show's finest. Although proved controversial and the show received increasing amounts of criticism as it approached that point, the first four seasons are widely considered to be among some of the best ever made. A big part of ' attraction is its first-class action sequences, including some of the .
is loaded with dangerous characters who are incredibly skilled with a blade, and the violent nature of the narrative leads to no shortage of intense fight scenes. Many of the show's best scenes are rooted in drama and dialogue, but the dramatic build-up is what makes the fight sequences so impactful. These are, of course, aided by and crew, with some great stunt choreography alongside the acting, writing, and direction.
fans waited a long time for the Cleganebowl, and though their fight hovers just above absurdity, it still ends up being a unique clash of the titans. The Hound and The Mountain trade blow after lumbering blow, and though Sandor Clegane seems to get the best of his brother on numerous occasions, Gregor refuses to die. Ultimately, The Hound ends up grabbing hold of his brother and jumping into the burning ruins of the Red Keep hundreds of feet below, and the brothers die together. It may not feel realistic, but it's one of the grandest spectacles in history.
Brienne of Tarth's fight with Jaime Lannister is a hard one to judge since Jaime is in manacles during their duel, but it ends up feeling like Brienne is going easy on him in the beginning, fearing she might kill him and fail in her mission to return him to King's Landing. By the end of the duel, Brienne manages to pummel Jaime into the river, knocking his sword out of his hand. Though the end comes swiftly once Brienne unleashes her full effort on him, the fight is highly entertaining, and it's hard to know which way it's going to swing, which makes it truly riveting.
Styles make fights, and Arya Stark's duel with Brienne of Tarth is one of the most entertaining fight scenes in because of the differences between them. Brienne is massive, and she wields a huge sword, whereas Arya is small, and she fights with her thin Braavosi blade. Arya's dancing movements and quick jabs also contrast sharply with Brienne's powerful slashes and parries, making for an incredible display of skill. Their fight is also shot well enough that it looks completely feasible, despite the huge difference in their sizes.
In season 5, Jon Snow fights a White Walker at the wildling settlement known as Hardhome. Jon is on the ropes for most of their fight, and when he tries to use a normal blade against the creature, it shatters against the icy sword wielded by the White Walker. Luckily, Jon is able to recover Longclaw, his Valyrian steel blade, which allows him to defeat the White Walker and escape Hardhome. This fight is incredibly tense, there's a real sense of peril, and the shock of makes it one of the best sword fights in .
Another of Jon Snow's best fights in comes in the battle against the wildlings at Castle Black during season 4. Jon loses his sword again in this fight, and he is pummeled badly for a time by the massive Styr, but he manages to regain his footing and drive a hammer into the Magnar's skull. This duel is one of the most exciting parts of the battle, and it's filmed with an expert's touch that conveys the chaos and fear of such a wild moment without making it impossible to follow.
Tyrion Lannister has two trials by combat in , and the one between Bronn and Ser Vardis Egen goes much better for Tyrion than the next one. Bronn smartly decides not to wear heavy plate armor in this duel, choosing instead to tire his opponent out by dancing around and dodging his blows. Eventually, Ser Vardis tires himself out, and Bronn makes short work of him from there. This fight is intense though, and it's crafted carefully to avoid giving away the outcome too early. It also has massive stakes since Tyrion will be executed if Bronn loses.
The Hound fights Beric Dondarrion in a trial by combat during season 3, and it's another of the best fights in the show. The Hound is terrified of fire, and Beric sets his blade aflame before the duel, taking advantage of that fear. However, the fire on Beric's sword ends up weakening the blade, causing it to shatter when The Hound unleashes a viscous downswing at him. The Hound ends up winning their duel, cleaving Beric from shoulder to navel. This fight is one of the best-looking in terms of cinematography, both men illuminated by an orange glow that really suits the fear and rage of Sandor, and it's loaded with dramatic tension and excellent swordsmanship.
Ned Stark is one of the , and his fight with Jaime Lannister in season 1 is one of the most exciting. Though one of Jaime's men interferes by spearing Ned in the leg, their brief duel is a tight-run thing. Jaime is supposed to be the best swordsman in Westeros at this point, but Ned holds his own against him. Getting to see Ned in action is exciting, and even more so is watching Jaime at his peak; it's more grounded than many later clashes, but that helps in this case. The fight is shot with careful detail that makes it look highly realistic, and the stakes feel enormously high.
Oberyn Martell's fight with The Mountain, during Tyrion Lannister's trial by combat, is one of the tensest sequences in . The stakes couldn't be higher in this duel considering Tyrion's life is on the line, and the dramatic tension throughout their fight is palpable. It's another incredible contrast of styles, and Oberyn is clearly the better fighter of the two despite Gregor's size and strength, and he seemingly has The Mountain beaten until he's suddenly pulled to the ground and crushed like a melon. This is one of those , and it's one of the best, most shocking fights in the series.
Brienne of Tarth fights Sandor Clegane, or The Hound, at the end of season 4 in an epic duel somewhere in the rocky Vale of Arryn. Part of what makes this duel great is that they both think they're doing what's best to protect Arya Stark, and audiences are invested in both characters, giving this extra heft. Brienne and the Hound's fight is also a brutal, vicious, visceral experience, as each of them is one of the elite fighters in Westeros. They trade powerful blows in a masterfully shot sequence until Brienne finally overpowers The Hound and kicks him off a small cliff.