I've been thinking about this for a while, but how effective is full plate armour? Was it actually a good way to defend yourself?
Short Answer: Yes.
Here’s a general rule: People in the past were ignorant about a lot of things, but they weren’t stupid. If they used something, chances are they had a good reason. There are exceptions, but plate armor is not one of them.
For a type of armor, no matter what it is, to be considered effective, it has to meet three criteria.
The three criteria are: Economic Efficiency, Protectiveness, and Mobility.
1. Is it Economically Efficient?
Because of the nature of society in the Middle Ages, what with equipment being largely bring-it-yourself when it came to anybody besides arrowfodder infantry who’d been given one week of training, economic efficiency was a problem for the first couple of decades after plate armor was introduced in France in the 1360s. It wasn’t easy to make, and there wasn’t really a ‘science’ to it yet, so only the wealthiest of French soldiers, meaning knights and above, had it; unless of course somebody stole it off a dead French noble. The Hundred Years War was in full swing at the time, and the French were losing badly to the English and their powerful longbows, so there were plenty of dead French nobles and knights to go around. That plate armor was not very economically efficient for you unless you were a rich man, though, it also was not exactly what we would call “full” plate armor.
Above: Early plate armor, like that used by knights and above during the later 1300s and early 1400s.
Above: Two examples of what most people mean when they say “full” plate armor, which would have been seen in the mid to late 1400s and early 1500s.
Disclaimer: These are just examples. No two suits of armor were the same because they weren’t mass-produced, and there was not really a year when everybody decided to all switch to the next evolution of plate armor. In fact it would not be improbably to see all three of these suits on the same battlefield, as expensive armor was often passed down from father to son and used for many decades.
Just like any new technology, however, as production methods improved, the product got cheaper.
Above: The Battle of Barnet, 1471, in which everybody had plate armor because it’s affordable by then.
So if we’re talking about the mid to late 1400s, which is when our modern image of the “knight in shining armor” sort of comes from, then yes, “full” plate armor is economically efficient. It still wasn’t cheap, but neither are modern day cars, and yet they’re everywhere. Also similar to cars, plate armor is durable enough to be passed down in families for generations, and after the Hundred Years War ended in 1453, there was a lot of used military equipment on sale for cheap.
2. Is it Protective?
This is a hard question to answer, particularly because no armor is perfect, and as soon as a new, seemingly ‘perfect’ type of armor appears, weapons and techniques adapt to kill the wearer anyway, and the other way around. Early plate armor was invented as a response to the extreme armor-piercing ability of the English longbow, the armor-piercing ability of a new kind of crossbow, and advancements in arrowhead technology.
Above: The old kind of arrowhead, ineffective against most armor.
Above: The new kind of arrowhead, very effective at piercing chainmaille and able to pierce plate armor if launched with enough power.
Above: An arrow shot from a “short” bow with the armor-piercing tip(I think it’s called a bodkin tip) piercing a shirt of chainmaille. However, the target likely would have survived since soldiers wore protective layers of padding underneath their armor, so if the arrow penetrated skin at all, it wasn’t deep. That’s Terry Jones in the background.
Above: A crossbow bolt with the armor piercing tip penetrating deep through the same shirt of chainmaille. The target would likely not survive.
Above: A crossbow bolt from the same crossbow glancing off a breastplate, demonstrating that it was in fact an improvement over wearing just chainmaille.
Unfortunately it didn’t help at all against the powerful English longbows at close range, but credit to the French for trying. It did at least help against weaker bows.
Now for melee weapons.
It didn’t take long for weapons to evolve to fight this new armor, but rarely was it by way of piercing through it. It was really more so that the same weapons were now being used in new ways to get around the armor.
Above: It’s a popular myth that Medieval swords were dull, but they still couldn’t cut through plate armor, nor could they thrust through it. Your weapon would break before the armor would. Most straight swords could, however, thrust through chainmaille and anything weaker.
There were three general answers to this problem:
1. Be more precise, and thrust through the weak points.
Above: The weak points of a suit of armor. Most of these points would have been covered by chainmaille, leather, thick cloth, or all three, but a sword can thrust through all three so it doesn’t matter.
To achieve the kind of thrusting accuracy needed to penetrate these small gaps, knights would often grip the blade of their sword with one hand and keep the other hand on the grip. This technique was called “half-swording”, and you could lose a finger if you don’t do it right, so don’t try it at home unless you have a thick leather glove to protect you, as most knights did, but it can also be done bare-handed.
Above: Examples of half-swording.
2.Just hit the armor so fucking hard that the force carries through and potentially breaks bones underneath.
Specialty weapons were made for this, but we’ll get to them in a minute. For now I’m still focusing on swords because I like how versatile the European longsword is.
Above: A longsword. They’re made for two-handed use, but they’re light enough to be used effectively in one hand if you’d like to have a shield or your other arm has been injured. Longswords are typically about 75% of the height of their wielders.
Assuming you’re holding the sword pointing towards the sky, the part just above the grip is called the crossguard, and the part just below the grip is called the pommel. If you hold the sword upside-down by the blade, using the same careful gripping techniques as with half-swording, you can strike with either the crossguard or the pommel, effectively turning the sword into a warhammer. This technique was called the Murder Stroke, and direct hits could easily dent plate armor, and leave the man inside bruised, concussed, or with a broken bone.
Above: The Murder Stroke as seen in a Medieval swordfighting manual.
Regular maces, hammers, and other blunt weapons were equally effective if you could get a hard enough hit in without leaving yourself open, but they all suffered from part of the plate armor’s intelligent design. Nearly every part of it was smooth and/or rounded, meaning that it’s very easy for blows to ‘slide’ off, which wastes a lot of their power. This makes it very hard to get a ‘direct’ hit.
Here come the specialized weapons to save the day.
Above: A lucerne, or claw hammer. It’s just one of the specialized weapons, but it encompasses all their shared traits so I’m going to only list it.
These could be one-handed, two-handed, or long polearms, but the general idea was the same. Either crack bones beneath armor with the left part, or penetrate plate armor with the right part. The left part has four ‘prongs’ so that it can ‘grip’ smooth plate armor and keep its force when it hits without glancing off. On the right side it as a super sturdy ‘pick’, which is about the only thing that can penetrate the plate armor itself. On top it has a sharp tip that’s useful for fighting more lightly armored opponents.
3. Force them to the ground and stab them through the visor with a dagger.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Many conflicts between two armored knights would turn into a wrestling match. Whoever could get the other on the ground had a huge advantage, and could finish his opponent, or force him to surrender, with a dagger.
By now you might be thinking “Dang, full plate armor has a lot of weaknesses, so how can it be called good armor?”
The answer is because, like all armor is supposed to do, it minimizes your target area. If armor is such that your enemy either needs to risk cutting their fingers to target extremely small weak points, bring a specialized weapons designed specifically for your armor, or wrestle you to the ground to defeat you, that’s some damn good armor. So yes, it will protect you pretty well.
Above: The red areas represent the weak points of a man not wearing armor.
Also, before I move on to Mobility, I’m going to talk briefly about a pet-peeve of mine: Boob-plates.
If you’re writing a fantasy book, movie, or video game, and you want it to be realistically themed, don’t give the women boob-shaped armor. It wasn’t done historically even in the few cases when women wore plate armor, and that’s because it isn’t as protective as a smooth, rounded breastplate like you see men wearing. A hit with any weapon between the two ‘boobs’ will hit with its full force rather than glancing off, and that’ll hurt. If you’re not going for a realistic feel, then do whatever you want. Just my advice.
Above: Joan of Arc, wearing properly protective armor.
An exception to this is in ancient times. Female gladiators sometimes wore boob-shaped armor because that was for entertainment and nobody cared if they lived or died. Same with male gladiators. There was also armor shaped like male chests in ancient times, but because men are more flat-chested than women, this caused less of a problem. Smooth, rounded breastplates are still superior, though.
3. Does it allow the wearer to keep his or her freedom of movement?
Okay, I’ve been writing this for like four hours, so thankfully this is the simplest question to answer. There’s a modern myth that plate armor weighed like 700 lbs, and that knights could barely move in it at all, but that isn’t true. On a suit of plate armor from the mid to late 1400s or early 1500s, all the joints are hinged in such a way that they don’t impede your movement very much at all.
The whole suit, including every individual plate, the chainmaille underneath the plates, the thick cloth or leather underneath the chainmaille, and your clothes and underwear all together usually weighed about 45-55 lbs, and because the weight was distributed evenly across your whole body, you’d hardly feel the weight at all. Much heavier suits of armor that did effectively ‘lock’ the wearer in place did exist, but they never saw battlefield use. Instead, they were for showing off at parades and for jousting. Jousting armor was always heavier, thicker, and more stiffly jointed than battlefield armor because the knight only needed to move certain parts of his body, plus being thrown off a horse by a lance–even a wooden one that’s not meant to kill–has a very, very high risk of injury.
Here’s a bunch of .gifs of a guy demonstrating that you can move pretty freely in plate armor.
Above: Can you move in it? Yes.
Here are links to the videos that I made these .gifs from:
So I just played the Witcher 3 game, and I was marveling at the fighting style Geralt uses. Obviously there are so many differences between that game and realistic swordplay, but the main one I wanted to know about was where you'd store your sword when you're not fighting. I know you've said storing a sword on your back isn't very practical, but what I'm wondering is where you'd store a long sword or a hand-and-a-half sword. Would it still be at the hip? Thanks in advance for the reply!
I love the Witcher 3′s combat system, so you get no arguments from me.
The sword is called a sidearm, you may have heard that term before in reference to handguns. It’s the same, the modern handgun has replaced the sword as a weapon but serves a similar purpose both functionally in combat and culturally. You wear it buckled on your hip.
For a weapon to function, it needs to be in a place that’s easily reached and at the ready. Whether it’s a sword buckled on our back or the staff we left in our room or the pepper spray buried at the bottom of our purse. A weapon doesn’t do us a lot of good if we don’t have access to it.
When you’re trying to come up with ways your character might store or what places on their body they carry their weapons, here’s some simple rules.
2) Easily drawn
3) Nowhere that hinders
4) Sensible i.e. not annoying
The action of drawing your weapon, whether it is a knife, a gun, or a sword should be one smooth motion that transitions quickly into a defensive stance. If you’re about to be attacked or in process of being attacked then time is a luxury you don’t have.
On to the Witcher:
The Sword’s Path has a great breakdown on The Witcher 3 combat vs HEMA (Historical Martial Arts) fencing. I would give it a look. He talks a lot about the fundamentals of sword combat and how you could use techniques similar to what we see in the Witcher 3 but would actually work. He also does a great job of explaining the fundamentals and logic behind it. He’s got a nice video for beginners interested in HEMA with a great breakdown of the longsword and lots of resources.
I’d also checkout sieniawskifencing, a channel run by
Sztuka Krzyżowa dedicated to the Polish fencing discipline called Cross-Cutting, Sabre Cross-Cutting, or Polish Sabre Cross-Cutting. Compare with Scholagladiatoria duelingwith what will be probably be the more familiar 19th century British military sabre.
The Witcher 3 is a video game made by Polish developers. The games are loosely based on The Witcher series. The books are written by a Polish author, Andre Sapkowski and are basically the Polish Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. If you ever want to hear Sapkowski get testy about the video games, you can find it. (Read his books, you’ll understand.)
Both draw heavily on Polish history, Polish culture, Polish fairy tales/mythology, and the Polish approach to medieval/renaissance/longsword combat in their design rather than what we see from Western Europe like France, Germany, England, etc. They’re Polish. Sword combat in Western and Eastern Europe is not unified, it varies culture to culture, sometimes a lot within the same culture, and the limitation in HEMA is that its a historical reconstruction based on the sources available. The only documentation we have is from the people who bothered to write it down, and were lucky enough to have their writings survive. So, pointing to a historical text and saying “that’s how this German swordmaster did it” doesn’t help us that much when it comes to looking at Poland.
Geralt’s fighting style is obviously over the top and built on flourishes, but I remember seeing that The Witcher 3′s combat was based off a fencing style or there were fencers who consulted. I unfortunately can’t source it. However, if you look at Polish Sabre Cross-Cutting you may see some move sets that are similar even though they’re performed with a sabre instead of a longsword.
The combat in The Witcher 3 is not quite as far out of reach as you might think. It just needs a little tweaking and less spinning.
Claire had arrived at the village three days prior and the tension that ran through it was palpable. She’d heard the stories of how the little hamlet had sided with one Earl over another. Two brothers vying for power; one ascended, the other roamed the lands wreaking havoc on those deemed his brother’s sympathizers. Rumours had the wannabe-Earl headed for them next.
She had only meant to stay a day or two before moving on, but there were more people that needed her help than she had anticipated. Rumours or not, she was more than eager to be gone; the villagers’ fear seeped through her, Claire had resolved to leave early the next morning, come what may.
They heard them just before daybreak.
A high pitch, blood curdling screech pierced the early misty dawn. Claire sat bolt upright, the sound going straight up her spine, making her entire body unpleasantly tingle. There was a moment, where the entire world stopped in silence. For a heartbeat after the cry, nothing moved, nothing breathed, nothing dared. Then the screaming started.
It was sheer pandemonium. Everyone seemed to burst out of their beds and crofts at once and ran every which way, but the marauders were far too organized for the farmers and crofters. They fell where they stood, no match for the violence that befell them.
Claire kept to the shadows, skirting her way tightly along the houses, trying to make it to the safety of the treeline and beyond, from whence the marauders had come. She tried to focus on the directions the sounds came from, but it was no use, there was just too much noise and carnage to focus on anything but keeping her heart from exploding out of her chest.
She found herself outside a stable, the horses frightened, neighing frantically, kicking at their stalls trying to get away from the shouts outside. Take a horse! she thought, you’ll get away quicker! But no sooner had the thought entered her mind, when a group of men burst into the stable, dragging women in with them - spoils of war. Claire pushed back into the shadows, praying they’d swallow her whole.
They spoke a tongue she didn’t recognize, a deep guttural sort of language, as rough as the men themselves. they were big and utterly savage. One man stood apart; a giant of a man, towered over the others, as drenched in blood as the rest. Something about him drew her gaze. Bloody sword in hand, shirt half-torn down the front, a gaping wound beneath, he had no woman of his own and didn’t seem all that pleased with those that did.
One of the other men pushed a woman toward him, forcing him to grab her by the shoulders and set her aside. He said something, fiercely glaring at the other man, who had stepped forward, his back to Claire, and stood an inch from him - he would have blocked out any other man from sight, large as he was, but he was no match the giant Berserker - glaring back. A fire blazed outside the stable, silhouetting the redheaded giant in a fiery haze.
His eyes suddenly flicked up over the man’s shoulder, as if he could feel the intensity of her gaze on him. His eyes locked with hers, fear paralyzing her to the spot. His face was a iron mask, she could read nothing whatsoever on it. Then, with an infinitesimal of head shakes; don’t scream, it said, gesturing her to the deeper shadows on her right. She did as he bid, crouching low into the corner and held her breath.
It felt like a lifetime, hands pressed against her ears, filled with pain and misery before the group was done and had moved on, but Claire had been too afraid to stand back up, to move, to even open her eyes, till she felt the gentlest of touches. Hands on her elbows urged her to her feet, yet she still didn’t dare open her eyes. A hand moved from her elbow and light a feather, brushed an unruly curl back behind her ear. A voice deep and soothing said something she didn’t understand, but knew from the tone of his voice, he meant nothing threatening. Slowly she opened her eyes and looked up into the face of the bloodied Berserker.
He spoke again, but she shook her head, “I don’t understand you,” she said, barely above a whispered breath. He looked surprised. It wasn’t something he was expecting.
“Don’t…” he said halting, “Don’t be afraid. I mean you no harm.”
She stared at him astonished. No one here spoke her language - herself only speaking their common tongue in bits and pieces, ‘where does it hurt?’ the only thing she truly needed to know how to say after all, to heal.
“What do you mean to do?” she asked shakily. His hands on her elbows tightened a fraction. She was still in her night shift, the cold morning air and the shock of the dawn’s savagery, had her shaking uncontrollably, yet she could feel the heat emanating from him and seep into her, as if he burned from within.
“See you safe,” she said, looking over his shoulder. Voices and hurried footsteps sounded from outside, moving to and fro. “If I can.”
“Why would you help me?”
He looked down at her, eyes soft, almost pleading. “There’s been enough death and pillaging tonight. If I can save just one, I will. They will not dishonour you, I won’t let them.”
She felt truly safe for the first time since it had all began, something about the young Berserker comforted her.
“You aren’t like the others. You’re not one of them, are you?” she said with a surety that surprised even her.
“You ask a lot of questions, do you know that,” he said, smiling a crooked smile at her that she couldn’t help but return.
Then they came. Footsteps rushing back into the stable. They had no time whatever to conceal themselves; the men upon them in a flash.
“Do my eyes deceive, or has young Jamie found himself a woman,” said one of them, voice dripping with contempt.
“This is none of your concern,” the Berserker replied, turning to face them, shielding her from view at the same time. He felt her fingers take a handful of the back of his shirt, holding fiercely to him.
“Easy! It isn’t like we’ve come to watch - though I have half a mind to - just glad to see you’ve taken to our ways at last. Your uncle will be pleased. Just remember to leave some for him when you’re done,” he smirked.
Claire had understood not a word of their conversation, but felt the burning fury of the Berserker’s last word and whatever the men he faced saw in his face was enough to have them back away from him and out of the stable. She kept her hands on his waist as he turned back to her. “What did you say to-” but her question was cut off as her hands came in contact with the wound across his torso, making him wince. “You’re hurt, “ she remembered, stupidly, peeling the blood soaked shirt away from the wound,
her fingers already drenched crimson.
“It’s nothing. We need to get you away from here! Now!” he said urgently. She could see his mind working as he thought of an escape route.
He closed his eyes trying to control his racing mind and heart. The men would have told his uncle already about the woman. And he knew his uncle well enough to know he’d covet her for nothing more than to spite him - to take what was his. He needed to get her away before they returned.
“Come! This way!” He said, and not waiting for any more questions, he grabbed her arm and rushed them out the stables and into the rising sun.
The DM had our party meet in jail and our goal was to escape before being sent to a work camp to die. When the game started our Half-orc Barbarian (ooc my husband) tried to make conversation with my High Elf Sorcerer/failed pickpocket. He tell me to “prop you shit bucket against a cell wall so it doesn’t spill on you” the DM never intended for us to have buckets to shit in but it was funny dialogue so he let it slide. A thief got himself caught so he could escape, and steal something important from the head guard. He let’s us out so we can help him fight the guards on the way.
Soon we are breaking out but we don’t have any weapons. Our cleric says we should use our shit buckets and throw our shit on the guards when they come in. So we do. Our 3 players armed with buckets of shit plus the 3 other prisoners who were let out also have buckets of shit. The first guard has his mouth open when he rushed in, gets stunned long enough for me to take his sword, hand it off to the Half orc and he kills him with advantage. We proceeded to throw shit on and slaughter every guard in sight. At one point we come to a door and open it to find 5 guards in the room. I use magic to snuff out the light. The Half orc laughs, steps into the room and closes the door behind him. He has dark vision. The guards are human and do not. He slaughters all 5 guards singlehandedly and slams on into the wall with enough force to cracking his skull. We find the head guard’s office and i splash my shit bucket on the walls just for fun. We escape the prison, kill more guards and travel though the sewers until we can get the thief’s hide out.
We have had a hard tme coming up with a name for what we did. They like The Shitty Escape. I call it the Fecal Massicure.
This isn't even a topic that is discussed but I have a theory about what weapon a bayard would form in Shiros hands. We know is fighting style is based on momentum. Either rolling over enemies or charging them constantly to where them. down. These are tactics in our world that were used by moubted warriors. They would use spears to charge an enemy and kill them. So I think Shiro would use a polarm. a pike or a spear maybe. This also overcomes his greatest weakness, the lack of reach his hand has
Personally I have three takes on what form Shiro’s bayard is going to take:
1. Hand-and-a-half sword: Grants a very knightly image- while Zarkon’s ‘official’ weapon is a mace his bayard takes many swordlike forms, allows for adaptible one-or-two-handed wielding meaning he could change his fighting style to either fight with a sword in one hand and the cutting abilities of his prosthetic on the other, or use both hands on a single sword. A sword is also the weapon he’s shown using in flashbacks as a gladiator.
2. Spear: Outside of what you said, thematically there appears to be a connection between the arm pilots and their bayards, and the leg pilots and their bayards- both Lance and Hunk use long-range weapons suitable for cover fire or distance sniping- hence support, comparable to their lion positions- while Keith and Pidge use small, light, bladed weapons for getting right up in an enemy’s business and rushing them, suitable for the direct-engagement-heavy arm pilots.
In that sense, it would make sense for Shiro, who is in many ways thematically a balancing act between arm and leg philosophy, to use specifically a spear as it’s a mid-range weapon suitable for close combat but also capable of attacking at range by throwing- which would seem like a bad plan except as Keith demonstrated in s3e6 bayard wielders can just call their weapon nicely back to hand, so, endless throwing spears.
3. By Your Powers Combined I Am Captain Voltron: basically instead of having an individual weapon (or possibly in conjunction with an individual weapon) Shiro’s bayard is able to take the form of any of the bayard forms of his team.
Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court, now stood beside me, darkness leaking from him like ink in water.
He angled his head, his blue-black hair shifting with the movement. Those violet eyes sparkled in the golden faelight as they fixed on Tamlin, as he held up a hand to where Tamlin and Lucien and their sentries had their swords half-drawn, sizing up how to get me out of the way, how to bring him down—
But at the lift of that hand, they froze.
Ianthe, however, was backing away slowly, face drained of color.
“What a pretty little wedding,” Rhysand said, stuffing his hands into his pockets as those many swords remained in their sheaths. The remaining crowd was pressing back, some climbing over seats to get away.
Rhys looked me over slowly, and clicked his tongue at my silk gloves. Whatever had been building beneath my skin went still and cold.
You are tired of hearing the stupid fucking wind howling all the damn time. Your
feet ach and you’re starving. Hearing Jon complain wasn’t the worst thing in
the world, the enjoyment you did find was looking at the beautiful landscape beyond
You've written about Dark Sister before. Do you think it'll come back in the books? Who will wield it? Is there a possibility that it's Lightbringer come again, and do you think Jon will get it since he's a secret Targaryen?
I have written about Dark Sister before! I like Dark Sister the most of the Valyrian steel swords, mostly because Visenya wielded it, and Visenya was awesome. So to start, I’m going to talk about the descriptions of three swords: Dark Sister, Blackfyre, and Longclaw, and then a bit about Dark Sister’s history, then get to predictions for the sword.
I’ve heard the (wrong) theory that Longclaw is Dark Sister before, from people who probably didn’t pay attention to the description of the blades. This mistake is made because people assume that any Valyrian steel sword at the Wall (where Dark Sister was presumed to be) must be the sword that is given to Jon Snow. To clear things up…it’s not. When looking at the description of the blades, you can see that they are not, in fact, one in the same. Longclaw is a big, long sword- a bastard sword, which is hand-and-a-half. On the other hand, Dark Sister was forged to be used by a woman. It is described as having a smaller grip and being a slender blade when compared to Blackfyre, its brother sword. So, right off the bat we know that Dark Sister and Longclaw are different swords.
Blackfyre and Dark Sister are ancestral Targaryen blades given to Aegon and Visenya Targaryen. They were probably a matched set, seeing as they were forged for a man and a woman, and Aegon and Visenya were meant to be married. Rhaenys, for instance, was not meant to be married to Aegon, and did not get a sword, which may back up this assumption. Dark Sister is first described in A World of Ice and Fire as follows:
Visenya, eldest of the three siblings, was as much a warrior as Aegon himself, as comfortable in ringmail as in silk. She carried the Valyrian longsword Dark Sister, and was skilled in its use, having trained besides her brother since childhood.
Blackfyre was usually the sword that went to the king. What’s interesting about Dark Sister, though, is that it was used by a woman, possibly even by two women. After Queen Visenya dies and Maegor (the cruel) becomes king over his elder brother, Dark Sister is taken by Queen Alyssa.
Aenys’s widow, Queen Alyssa, slipped away from Dragonstone with her children, as well as with Dark Sister, Visenya’s Valyrian steel sword.
Following this, Dark Sister was wielded predominantly by men (or at least, only the men are written about in A World of Ice and Fire. I, for one, like to think there were some other Targaryen girls that handled it.) It was owned by Aemon Dragonknight, described as “a knight worthy to bear Dark Sister” and Daeron the second. The last known owner of Dark Sister was Brynden “Bloodraven” Rivers. Bloodraven, who was later sent to the wall for killing a Blackfyre pretender and became the three-eyed raven. This is the point at which the location of Dark Sister becomes murky.
After the sentence of death was pronounced, Aegon offered Bloodraven the chance to take the black and join the Night’s Watch. This he did. Ser Brynden Rivers set sail for the Wall late in the year 233 AC. (No one intercepted his ship). Two hundred men went with him, many of them archers from Bloodraven’s personal guard, the Raven’s Teeth. The king’s brother, Maester Aemon, was also amongst them.
Bloodraven would rise to become Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch in 239 AC, serving until his disappearance during a ranging beyond the Wall in 252 AC.
We know what happens to Bloodraven. He becomes the three eyed raven, who Bran later meets. However, the question is: What happened to Dark Sister? Did Bloodraven take the sword with him?
It’s one of two possibilities. Let’s assume that yes, Bloodraven did take the sword to the Wall (and that it doesn’t end up at Summerhall, which is the other possibility.) If he went on a ranging, he would have taken that sword with him. Which means that it’s beyond the Wall.
Now, Dark Sister may actually be in the cave with Bran and co. It would make sense. Valyrian steel is a great instrument against the others, and so deep in the Night King’s territory, it’s great insurance. If the sword does make an appearance in the books again, there’s a great possibility that Bran or Meera or Jojen (or even Hodor) may use it in a fight against the Others. I’ve seen possible theories that say that Arya will come to use it…but unless Arya ends up beyond the Wall fighting Others, that seems unlikely. I’ve also seen theories that say Jon will wield Dark Sister, which would be awesome, since it’s an ancestral blade, but Longclaw is his sword, and I don’t see him needing another Valyrian steel sword. And as for Lightbringer…I generally like to think that Longclaw is Lightbringer, but it would be amazing if Dark Sister was. I just don’t know that the text points to that. In fact, I don’t know that the books really even talk that much about Dark Sister. We actually do know more about where Blackfyre ends up. Bittersteel takes it with him to Essos when he forms the Golden Company, and it’s possibly hinted that it’s in the presents that Aegon/Young Griff is given by Illyrio (which may serve to legitimize his claim as a lost Targaryen). In comparison, we don’t really know which direction Dark Sister went: North or South? Despite that, it is my favorite sword in the books, because Visenya Targaryen is such a Character™, and she uses Dark sister in the best, most dramatic ways.
On one occasion in 10 AC, Aegon and Visenya were both attacked in the streets of King’s Landing, and if not for Visenya and Dark Sister, the king might not have survived. Despite this, the king still believed that his guards were sufficient to his defence; Visenya convinced him otherwise. (It is recorded that when Aegon pointed out his guardsmen, Visenya drew Dark Sister and cut his cheek before his guards could react. “Your guards are slow and lazy,” Visenya is reported to have said, and the king was forced to agree.)
I really wish further games included more weapon types/styles than just two classes with two each. There’s so many - hand-and-half weapons like in the Witcher, dual-wielding without daggers, sword/dagger fencing, staff-fighting, polearms, shield-using rogues. But I know we’ll just get the old four styles divided into two classes again.
Also, Dex being hella doubtful of Nursey's abilities as a fighter and writes him off as lazy and/or pretentious and then watching Nursey fuckin slay all graceful and shit boi just swoons, but simultaneously Nursey writes him off as a grouch and an ass and then one day watches him work in his little workshop on something he really loves and is gone once he sees Dex smile really big and his eyes light up at making a successful thingy That was articulated horribly but I have lots of dexnursey feels
You didn’t ask this as a prompt but I just really wanted to write something for this AU so here we go. There will be a part two whenever I get the time/motivation. For now, have this weird rough little ficlet I wrote in like an hour.
for the drabble thingy, "don’t you dare walk away" for Lucio?
by this post
by @justmaghookit lol. so yeah this isn’t a drabble! lucio’s ego is too big for just a couple hundred words soooo here’s about 1500 of ‘em! still I hope you enjoy!]
been dropping hints throughout the month he’s traveled with you.
Rumors of the man who took out a whole group of infamous marauders by
only using his wit. The cunning devil who’s talked his way out of an
execution and into the favor of an affluent royal. You’ve listened to
his tales in earnest, nodding your head here and there. It’s been
clear to him, however, that you simply don’t know of him. To you,
he’s not the stuff of legends. You only know him as Lucio, the man
who’s been chatting your ear off about adventure and exotic animals.
don’t know his greatness and it bothers him. Burns him up
does the attention of a typical magician shopkeeper matter to him?
Shockingly, he’s not so sure of himself to provide that answer. The
uncertainty doesn’t faze him in the slightest. He’s a man with a goal
to pursue and that’s all he needs to drive him. These thoughts are on
his mind as he steps off the boat, welcomed by new sights and sounds
he hasn’t seen before. You had told him earlier that this is a
particular part of town where mercenaries loiter for leisure and that
he’d have to trek a little farther to get to his destination.
try and fight the whole neighborhood,” you’d playfully warned him
earlier in the day. Inspiration strikes in this moment and a haughty
smirk lands on his face.
to Vesuvia,” you say with a heavy sigh, adjusting the bulging pack
on your back. You’ve got wares to add to your stock, but first…you
need to rest in your own bed. Raising a hand to bid farewell to the
oddly focused blonde, you smile. “I guess this is where we part
you dare walk away.”
tone is full of an authority that you knew he had no business using
on you. Yet, you don’t dare take a step. A bit agitated at the
inconvenience, you shift your weight back and forth. “What…what
do you want?”
want you to watch and be amazed, my dear,” Lucio demands.
sleeves of his shirt billow as he beckons you with impatient
flicks of his finger. You’re scrutinized once you’re next to him, his
hand wandering unrestrained over your form until he finds what he
wants. He leaves you confounded and consumed by embarrassment, unable
to protest making off with your money and presenting it as he makes
an announcement in the middle of the square. The mercenary ties the
bag of coins on his waist then draws his sword.
challenge anyone interested in this generous pouch of coins here to a
duel. First to lay a blow on the other gets the whole thing and
something extra.” Sunlight glints off of the polished blade while
it’s pointed at various passersby and a cocky grin quirks his lip.
“Don’t worry, I won’t leave you with any career-ending injuries
when you lose. I hope you extend the same courtesy to me. Not that
you’ll be able to touch a hair on my head, of course.”
cannot believe him. Everything you’ve just witnessed, to be frank.
You’ve been on dry land for a few moments and your funds are in
jeopardy. And for what? To fortify the ego of some handsome braggart
that might get trounced and leave you penniless? You’ve got to put a
stop to this. If he wants to pick some fights, let it be on someone
else’s time and money.
to your disappointment, it’s already too late.
only challenger spring into action and in your opinion, he has no
chance. They wield a frighteningly large Zweihander that you can
imagine does not feel very nice once even a slight impact is made.
Their arms look like they’re built to break apart conceited men like
him. Seeing the obvious difference in size doesn’t leave a good taste
in your mouth. Your nerves start firing off as a crowd gathers,
you, though, Lucio is brimming with confidence and an almost
infectious energy. He doesn’t flinch or shake as his opponent makes
their first move. He remains steadfast as the heavy iron of his
opponent’s weapon comes crashing down on the ground in front of him.
The earth erupts in a cloud of dirt and for a moment, all you see are
the fighters’ silhouettes. It quickly dissipates with another swing
of the sword, which the mercenary dodges without problem.
that supposed to scare me?” he queries, rolling to the side when
the blade threatens to bury itself into his side. A bark of laughter.
“Come on! You can try much harder than that!”
watch in wonder as Lucio dares to lunge toward his adversary and take
advantage their weak spots. Where they had raw power, your travel
companion had speed and precision. Your hands clasp the straps of
your pack, the skin over your knuckles stretched taut. He’s light on
his feet, possessed with an elegance that you would’ve thought was
unlike him. You’re captivated by him and his display of ability.
Exhilarated, even. Lucio’s bravado should’ve made you nervous yet you
feel your heart pound with excitement. Maybe you didn’t have to worry
about your money, after all.
if sensing your faith in him, Lucio sends a charming wink your way.
Everything is going his way far as he can tell. The brute he’s up
against relies on stamina and strength. However, the weight of their
weapon slows them down just enough so he can perform swift escapes.
His only task is to find an opening and exploit it. Get them to slip
of a sudden, the challenger changes their stance. The Zweihander no
longer is scraping along the dirt. Its wielder directs it to their
right side and begins to charge. He begins to think that perhaps he
shouldn’t have goaded them on before. He holds up his own sword to
guard the coming blow. A resounding clang rings throughout the air
and makes the crowd gasp. Lucio feels the reverberation in his hands,
threatening his fingers to go numb. His heels dig into the ground as
his knees buckle. His arms tremble from exertion. If he’s not
careful, he could lose your favor…and your funds. There’s no time
to deliberate any further.
swordsman is relentless, striking at Lucio with surprising velocity
and accuracy. He could only dodge for so long and he can’t allow his
grip to be weakened much more. Multiple close encounters with the
Zweihander’s blade are bearing down on him. He’s drenched in sweat
and his muscles ache and damn, is he going to make a fool of
himself in front of you?
makes one erroneous prediction about the blade’s path—one—and
he’s unarmed. His sword goes flying into the alarmed crowd. He’s
uninjured. However, he pays a small price. His shirt. There’s a tear.
A tear in his most finest shirt. One of the more pricey things he’s
ever bought in his life. The mercenary turns still as a statue and
the most beast-like snarl twists his features. It’s enough to freeze
the swordsman in place, their hands loosening around the Zweihander’s
hilt. Amazingly, like some provoked goat, Lucio grabs them by the
collar and knocks them flat on their back by slamming his head
that, the fight is over.
collects his earnings from his challenger’s prone body, humming a
tune as though his head doesn’t pound like hell. You come up behind
him and hand him his sword, surprised he had half a mind to express
for not emptying my pockets.” You observe him thoroughly, as though
inspecting a rare tome for wear and tear. Not a scratch on him, save
for the angry red mark on his forehead. A grin on your lips, you give
a shrug then take your money. “Your swordplay is as impressive as
your eyebrows, I’ll give you that.”
watches you saunter walk your way home, his mouth slightly ajar. His
fingers swipe self-consciously over his eyebrows as he pouts.
am I supposed to take that?” he mutters to himself, laying a hand
on the hilt of his sword. His fingers rub against a vial of herbs,
one he recognizes that helps remedy headaches. Along with a note that
displays directions of some kind. When did all this get here?
if on cue, a shrill whistle sounds. He looks ahead and sees you now
walking backwards, waving and smiling.
me impressed!” you shout, giving him a wink before turning back
around. “See you later!”
eyebrow—along with the corner of his lip—raises, his chest
filling with pride. He’s accomplished what he’s set out to do.
However, it turns out that there’s a
lot more impressing that
needs to be done.
can’t wait to show you what else he has in store.
Hand and a Half Sword dated about 1510 from Germany on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London
Combat was deemed an essential part of a nobleman’s education. A 15th century fencing master insisted knights should ‘skillfully wield spear, sword and dagger in a manly way’ Though it is unlikely all knights were trained to the same level.
The Hand and a Half sword (or Bastard Sword as it is often called), when gripped with both hands, was a potent weapon against armour. Though the finely chiselled pommel hints to the more decorative hilts produced later that century.
You talked a lot about the Blackfire and Darksister swords recently. I asked in the past what was the difference between the two, what type of sword each one was, but it wasnt answered. Could you talk about that?
Blackfyre was a hand-and-a-half sword, about six inches longer than the standard Westerosi arming sword. Double-edged, cruciform pattern, like most Westerosi swords. Longclaw and Blackfyre are probably very similar in dimensions.
Dark Sister was “made for a woman’s smaller hand,” and is listed as a “longsword,” though that probably means an arming sword, given that the popular conception of the name longsword is a long one-handed sword, not a two-handed sword (I blame Dungeons and Dragons). The blade is also remarked as slender, though it is still a dual-edged cruciform blade, though it is probably a smidge shorter and noticeably thinner.
“But you can tell me one thing, sarge. How do you know all this?” Vimes hesitated. But at a time like this, what difference did it make? “I’m from this city,” said Vimes. “But, oh, there was a hole in time, something like that. You want to know? I traveled here in time, Ned, and that’s the truth.” Ned Coates looked him up and down. Blood covered Vimes’s armor, and his hands, and half his face, and he was holding a bloody sword in his hand. “From how far back?” he said.
– an honest conversation |
Terry Pratchett, Night Watch