Warning: Our Game of Madness articles will include content from the five currently released A Song of Ice and Fire books and seasons 1-5 of HBO’s adaptation Game of Thrones. Some material from A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons has not been covered in the show yet, but may be in season 6. If you aren’t caught up with the books and/or show, read on with care.
The Warrior’s Spirit
Yesterday, we set the regional finals for the North and West as we kicked off round two of our Game of Madness contest. Qhorin Halfhand will face off against the Greatjon Umber after the pair took down the remaining Starks, Eddard and Jon Snow, while Jaime Lannister will battle the Hound Sandor Clegane after they defeated Thoros of Myr and Gregor Clegane respectively. Today, we’ll set the stage for the final matches in our Islands and East regions, matches highlighted by those who have the warrior’s spirit, a strong thirst for battle and a hearty hunger for glory.
1. Rhaegar Targaryen vs 5. Brienne of Tarth
Rhaegar was known to have excelled at everything he put his mind to, while he didn’t gain an interest in fighting until later in his life after being inspired by something he read, we know he excelled there too according to Barristan Selmy. The Last Dragon still remains mostly a mystery, what we know was enough to survive his first round match against Asha/Yara Greyjoy but we’ll need to dig a little deeper now that he’s facing a much tougher opponent. We can start with the obvious, what inspired him to take up fighting? We don’t know what he read but we do know two things; he became obsessed with prophecies and he suddenly appeared on the training grounds one morning stating:
“I will require a sword and armor. It seems I must be a warrior”
It’s likely Rhaegar believed he was the prince that was promised and if he believed it was his destiny to fulfill that prophecy, he probably trained confidently and intensely. Rhaegar didn’t seem too concerned when his conflict with Robert Baratheon came to a head on the Trident and he planned on surviving the faceoff. If he truly was the prophetic prince, why should he worry? There’s a chance Rhaegar thought he was invincible because his destiny wasn’t to defeat the Usurper, there was much and more for him to do after settling the rebellion like saving all of humanity. This was all foolish, as we know. Rhaegar was smashed on the Trident by Robert’s mighty war hammer.
Regardless of what Rhaegar thought of prophecies or what exactly he read that inspired him, one big difference separated him and the Usurper that fateful day; the warrior’s thirst for battle. Rhaegar just didn’t have it, he never did. That combined with his confidence that he was unbeatable was ultimately his downfall. An exceptional swordsman, no doubt, but it’s hard to say he could defeat a top level opponent without the drive the likes of Bobby B have. His opponent here, Brienne of Tarth, is most certainly top level and there’s little she desires more than the life of a knight. We summarized the maid of Tarth’s battle credentials in round one and it was easy to see there’s no reason to doubt her strength or ferocity, and there’s no doubting she could take down the Last Dragon.
Winner: Brienne of Tarth
2. Victarion Greyjoy vs 6. Euron Greyjoy
Euron is a major player, and wildcard, in the series. He gifts Victarion with a dragonbinding horn and sends his brother off to fetch him his future bride, Daenerys Targaryen. Victarion plans his revenge, still enraged by the affair Euron had with his own saltwife, but it’s more likely the Crow’s Eye is five steps ahead which means the odds of Victarion surviving The Winds of Winter are slim to none. Every gift from Euron is poisoned, the Iron Captain’s trip to Meereen is most likely designed so that he never returns, and it’s hard to think Victarion is smart enough to pull one over on his brother. Even with that raging volcano arm that sadly is of no use in our contest until we get to see it in action. When it comes to brains, Vic simply stands no chance against his exiled brother. On the other hand, when it comes to brawn, it’s Euron who pales in comparison.
Some circumstances can’t come into play in our contest. For instance, Robert Baratheon was unstoppable on the Trident, he needed to kill Rhaegar and he fought for Lyanna Stark. Jorah Mormont seems to fight at completely new levels when a love interest of his is somehow involved. In our contest, though, these warriors aren’t fighting for lost or living loved ones that need to be defended. Two brothers coming together, with such vitriol between them, is a different story. This played a role in the West where we held our own Cleganebowl and now it comes back for round two in the Islands region. No matter the context, Victarion is entering this fight enraged and motivated, a deadly combo. One of the best may be able to avoid Victarion’s fury but that fury may as well be as unstoppable as Robert on the Trident when it comes to getting a shot at the Crow’s Eye.
Euron could easily out smart and manipulate his oafish brother, ending him as soon as his usefulness runs dry. In our contest, however, there’s no time for games. It’s just two fighters and their weapon of choice. Euron is finished.
Winner: Victarion Greyjoy