This list consists of books feats only and disregard the show entirely. I will post a top 10 show characters aswell(characters shown in their prime in Game of Thrones). I refrained from including warriors from the Age of Heroes(such as Symeon Star-Eyes, Azor Ahai, Serwyn of the Mirror Shield, The Grey King, Clarence Crabb or Galladon of Morne) since they are as far removed from memory and surrounded in myth like Noah and Gilgamesh to present day, based on Martin's own admission. Only warriors after the Andal invasion have been included. I also eliminated fighters who are suspected of having unnatural aid, such as Coldhands or Jaqen H'ghar.
Honourable Mentions:(in no particular order)
-One of the best swordsmen still alive shown in the books.
Thoros of Myr
-Noted as a fierce warrior, especially when wielding his flaming sword. Won the meele in the Hand's tourney.
-Loras is a highly skilled knight and jouster. He is one of the most prodigious knights in history but hasn't reached his prime yet.
-He is called the most dangerous man in Dorne after Oberyn's death
-He is one of the best current warriors amongst the Ironborn
-Won the Melee at Bitterbridge defeating Ser Loars in the process, proves a proeficient warrior trought the books
-Member of King Aerys II Targaryen's Kingsguard, back when the white cloack was worn only by formidable warriors.
-Personal Guard of the Prince of Dorne. Defeated a Kingsguard.
-Jon is a large man, nearly seven feet tall. He is heavily muscled and is a formidable warrior. Jaime Lannister regards him as one of the strongest living men in Westeros when thinking of who could match him in a fight.
-Not as formidable as in the show but still one of the deadliest fighters in Daenerys' company.
-He is not included in the ranking because unsullied are said to be more proeficient as a unit than in single combat.
-The leader of an outlaw organization known as the Kingswood Brotherhood
-Described as a proficient and dangerous swordsman. Most notably a formidable dragon rider.
-Hosteen is a seasoned soldier and the fiercest fighter of Walder's brood. He is compared to a bull, slow to anger but implacable when aroused.
-A renowned knight during the events of "The Hedge Knight"
-AKA Strongboar, ser Jaime Lannister regards him as one of the strongest living men in Westeros when thinking of who could match him in a fight.
The Knight of the Laughing Tree
-He was a mystery knight who fought at the tourney at Harrenhal in 281 AC. He defended the honor of a crannogman by challenging and defeating three knights whose squires had bullied the crannogman, demanding that they chastise the squires in order to ransom back their horses and armor.
-“That one is more dangerous than any of his trueborn brothers."– Jaime Lannister's thoughts
-The Little Lion grew to be a tall, valiant knight. He saved the Reach by slaying the King of the Rock in slingle combat, albeit he died aswell(the king wielded a Valyrian steel sword).
-Hugh was tall and huge, with hands strong enough to twist steel bars. He wielded a warhammer.
Shagga son of Dolf
-Arguably the most feared warrior from the mountain clans
-He stood six and a half feet tall, and was both strong and fast.
-His prowess at arms was such that he was made the king’s champion and sworn shield under Gwayne V.
-He is one of the most feared living warriors of the Iron Islands
-He is a celebrated Meereenese pit-fighter of great skill and speed. His weapon of choice is a Dothraki arakh.
-"Bold" Jon slew Hugh Hammer when he least suspected it, splitting him from groin to throat with Orphan-Maker. Shortly thereafter he was killed by Hugh's men in a ten against one fight. Jon managed to kill three of them before he himself was killed. Legend says that he slipped on a part of Hugh's entrails in an ironic twist of fate.
-Harras planted his standard beneath Grimston, the Grimm castle on Greyshield, and fought and defeated seven men, slaying five in the process.
-Addison was chosen by Queen Visenya Targaryen to be one of the first knights of the Kingsguard when the order was founded in 10 AC by King Aegon I Targaryen. Despite his bastard origin, Addison eventually rose to become Lord Commander.
-He is a seasoned warrior, a veteran of half a hundred battles, and precise in his movements. Jaime Lannister notes that a single combat with the Balckfish would be a great fight.
-Ser Humfrey won a great melee at Maidenpool in 208 AC, and overthrew Ser Donnel of Duskendale and Lords Arryn and Royce in the lists.
-The singers tell how Roddy the Ruin fought valiantly in the First Battle of Tumbleton, and although Ser Bryndon Hightower(foremost knight of Oldtown) chopped off Roderick's shield arm, Lord Dustin was able to slay both Hightowers before dying himself.
Oldest brother of Ned Stark who according to GRR Martin, was the best swordsman and jouster amongst his siblings
"There are old sellswords and bold sellswords, but there are no old, bold Sellswords" - Brown Ben Plumm. Yet Aegor Rivers founded the greatest mercenary company of all time and fought trough numeours battles, serveing as the Golden Company’s captain for 29 years. He also dueled with his brother Bloodraven and took out one of his eyes.
In his youth, Dagmer Cleftjaw was the most dreaded warrior of the Iron Islands. He is the man Theon turns to in order to capture Winterfell.
Prince Lewyn Martell was a knight of House Martell who served as a member of Aerys II Targaryen's famed Kingsguard.
"Prince Lewyn was as valiant a brother-in-arms as any man could wish for"- Ser Barristan Selmy
Prince Daemon was the most experienced warrior of his time and wielded the Valyrian steel blade Dark Sister. He was mercurial and quick to take offense, but he was dashing, daring, and dangerous. He was knighted at six-and-ten, like Maegor I, and Jaehaerys I
himself gave Daemon the Valyrian steel blade Dark Sister for his prowess.
“Over the centuries, House Targaryen has produced both great men and monsters. Prince Daemon was both.”– writings of Gyldayn
"Prince Daemon had been the wonder and the terror of his age"- writings of Yandel
After Maegor the Cruel wiped out House Harroway, he decreed that only the strongest of his knights would have Harrenhal, though not all the lands. Twenty-three knights fought in the blood-soaked streets of Lord Harroway's Town for the prize. Walton, though gravely wounded in the melee, was the victor and became Lord of Harrenhal and the founder of House Towers of Harrenhal.
The Red Lion, was widely feared for his skill at arms with many considering him the deadliest sword in the westerlands.
A living legend in the Night's Watch, Qhorin is the best warrior the ancient order has in the beginning of A Song of Ice and Fire. He lost all the fingers on his right hand except his thumb and forefinger to a wildling axe. Because of this, he trained how to fight left-handed and became just as proficient with his left hand as he had been with his right. Essentially, wildling kids are taught to fear him among Others(pun intended).
Once a man of the Night's Watch, Mance is now "King-Beyond-the-Wall". A feat wich itself speaks volumes about Mance's prowess since the free-folk flollow only the strongest.
“He was the best of us, and the worst as well.”- Qhorin Halfhand, to Jon Snow
41.Andrik the Unsmiling
Andrik is described as having thick arms and being very big and powerful. According to singers, Andrik is the fiercest living ironborn warrior.
“The singers call Andrik best now. Andrik the Unsmiling, they name him. A giant of a man.”
– Dagmer to Theon Greyjoy
“Andrik the Unsmiling, a giant of a man with arms as thick as trees. It spoke well of the Drumm that such a man would stand for him.”
- thoughts of Aeron Greyjoy
Belwas is an ex pit fighter of Mereen having never lost a fight. Even more so, Belwas lets every oponent cut him once so people can count how many he has slain.
During Daenerys' siege of Mereen, the city sends forth its champion to fight one of Dany's choosing. Belwas is choosen because of his slave past. The enuch proceeds to make short work of the mereenes champion despite his adversary being mounted and with spear in hand, while Belwas was afoot and armed with arakhs.
Garlan the Gallant is the older brother of Loras Tyrell. He is taller, more broadly built than his younger brother, and has a beard. Garlan is an exceptionally skilled swordsman, preferring to train against three or four swordsmen, so as to better prepare himself for actual battle, but his lack of interest in gaining glory makes him less famous than Loras.
Loras himself admits that Garlan is a superior swordsman.
Leo Tyrell was Lord of Highgarden and head of House Tyrell during the reign of Daeron II Targaryen. Nearly a hundred years later Leo is still regarded as one of the finest knights ever produced from House Tyrell.
Vorian Dayne, Sword of the Evening, was the last King of the Torrentine from House Dayne in Dorne. He was renowned as the greatest knight in all of Dorne.
Ser Ulrick Dayne was a knight of House Dayne. He was considered one of the greatest knights of his time, and had the title Sword of the Morning.
The Laughing Storm was widley regarded as one of the finest knights in the realm in his time. During jousting tilts, he would break into booming laughter the moment oponents touched his shield. If his challengers wore any sort of crest on their helm, Lyonel would strike it off and fling it into the crowd.
Probably the most famous character on the list so far, The Hound is considered one of the most dangerous fighters in Westeros. Same as in the show, Sandor is consistently portraied as a nigh unstopable killing machine.
Quentyn was the master-at-arms of the Red Keep during King Aegon IV Targaryen's days and produced some of the greatest fighters of all time. He fought in the Blackfyre Rebellion on the Bastard's side after being denied a place in the Kingsguard.
It was Fireball that rescued Daemon when King Daeron sent the Kingsguard to arrest him. He then fought valiantly in battles for the Black Dragon proving extraordinary skills, but was slain by a common archer on the eve of the battle of the Redgrass Field when he stopped for a drink of water.
Ser Harwin Strong, known as Breakbones, was a knight from House Strong and heir to Harrenhal. He also served as a captain in the City Watch of King's Landing.
Harwin was said to be the strongest man in the Seven Kingdoms in his day, tough this may reffer to phisical strenght only.
31.Robar II Royce
Robar Royce was the last Bronze King of House Royce of Runestone, who lived during the Andal invasion. He proved a mighty adversary for the Andals but was eventually defeated at the Battle of Seven Stars.
The King led the charge himself, slaying Torgold Tollett with Lady Forlorn. He also searched for the Andal leader, Artys Arryn trough the battle and slain him, only to be revealed as a decoy.
30.The Smiling Knight
The Smiling Knight was an infamous outlaw of the Kingswood Brotherhood. He was thought to be insane, but was also a deadly swordsman. Jaime Lannister recalls that the Smiling Knight was his generation's Ser Gregor Clegane in terms of men's eagerness to best him in combat.
He was eventually slain by Ser Arthur Dayne.
29.The Mountain That Rides
Ser Gregor is close to eight feet in height or 2,4 meters and weighs 190 kg, nearly all of it muscle, making him near inhumanly strong. Gregor's strength allows him to wield a six-foot, two-handed greatsword with just one hand, giving him enormous reach while still wielding a shield. Such is the power of Gregor's strength that he has been known to hack men in half with just a single blow.
In battle Gregor wears the heaviest, thickest plate armor in the Seven Kingdoms. His armor is so heavy that no ordinary man would be able to move, let alone fight effectively while wearing it, making him nigh-invincible in combat. Below the plate he wears chainmail and boiled leather. He also wears a plate helm with only a narrow slit for vision.
Despite being a dim and brutal man he has excellent warrior instincts and is faster than one would belive a man of his size to be.
28.Maelys the Monstrous
Maelys had a grotesquely huge torso and arms. He had a second head sprouting from his neck, no bigger than a child's fist. Maelys was inhumanly strong, able to kill a destrier with a single punch, and tear a man's head clean off his shoulders.
He was the last of the Blackfyre Pretenders and was slain by Ser Barristan Selmy.
One of the most popular characters in the series, The Red Viper of Dorne is amongst the top warriors alive during the events of A Song of Ice and Fire. His exceptional speed and skill are proven when Oberyn dominates The Mountain during Tyrion's trial by combat, and is only defeated because of his insistence to hear Gregor's confession.
Syrio Forel is a master fencer and former First Sword of Braavos. The title alone suggests legendary skill, and Syrio backs it up when armed only with a wooden practice sword, defeats five Lannister guardsmen.
Drogo is a powerful khal of the fearsome Dothraki nomads. He is tall, muscular, moves gracefully and has a long braid hung with tiny bells that hangs down to his thighs, symbolizing his status among the Dothraki as an undefeated warlord, wich is exceptionally impressive since the Dothraki only follow the strongest and are more fond of deathmatches than any other culture.
From an early age Drogo was an extraordinarily gifted warrior even among the fierce Dothraki; before the age of thirty he led a khalasar forty thousand strong, the largest on the Dothraki sea.
Ser Alyn Connington, also known as the Pale Griffin, was a celebrated Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.
23.The Demon of Darry
The Demon of Darry was a famous Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. When Jaime was recalling the greatest Lord Commanders of all time both alone and too ser Loras, The Demon of Darry was amongst them and both occasions.
The Greatheart was a member of the Kingsguard, wich by tradition consists of the finest knights in all The 7 Kingdoms. He is considered one of the greatest to ever don the white cloak.
The White Bull, was the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard during the reigns of Kings Jaehaerys II Targaryen and Aerys II Targaryen. Essentially the golden age of the noble order, consisting of legends such as Arthur Dayne, Barristan the Bold, Lewyn Martell, Oswell When and Jonothor Darry. Jaime admits that The White Bull was stronger than him but belives that he would have beaten him with skill.
Baelor was a warrior, and seemed to be all that could be wished in a knight, lord, or heir to the Iron Throne. He won the name "Breakspear" in 187 AC at the age of seventeen, following his famous victory at Princess Daenerys's wedding tourney, where he defeated Daemon Blackfyre in the final tilt.
In The Hedge Knight, he is described as the finest knight of his generation. Alltough he was killed by his brother in a 7 vs 7 trial by combat, it is possibly due to chivalry that Baelor wasn’t fighting with killing intent. As a personal note, Baelor Breakspear is arguably the greatest jouster of all time.
The oldest sibling of Daenerys Stormborn. He was by all accounts a formidable warrior who performed vailiantly in all the tourneys he ever participated, albeit he seldom did. Judging by his acomplishments in tourneys, Rhaegar is arguably the most talented jouster in history.
The prince met his end at the hands of Robert Baratheon, wich by all accounts was one of the greatest duels in the history of Westeros.
Cregan Stark was a Lord of Winterfell, Warden of the North, and head of House Stark. Cregan once fought Prince Aemon the Dragonknight. Aemon claimed he never faced a finer swordsman.
Ser Gwayne Corbray was a famous member of the Kingsgurad(one of the better ones, as accounted by Jaime) who fought during the First Blackfyre Rebellion. He dueled with Daemon I Blackfyre for nearly an hour before being defeated. Considering the legendary status of both, and the equipement and lenght of the matchup, it is most likely the greatest documented single combat of all time.
16.Duncan the Tall
Ser Duncan is the main protagonist of the "Tales of Dunk and Egg" novela series written by GRR Martin. From a thief in Flea Bottom, he eventually became the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard thanks to his honour and skill at arms. Ser Duncan will be more easly ranked once the novelas are finished and his placement now is only an intuitive EoS Dunc.
He was ironically called "the Grim" because he rode into battle laughing and naked above the waist. Tollett was a giant of a man who fought with an axe on each hand and alegedlly knew no fear and felt no pain.
According to accounts of the Battle of Seven Stars, though bleeding from a score of wounds, he fought through Lord Redfort's strongest warriors and took the lord's arm with a single cut. He also slew Ursula Upcliff, barehandedly tearing her head off.
He was slain by King Robar II Royce. King Robar slashed at his head with Lady Forlorn. Tollett grabbed for the blade, laughing, but the sword sliced through his hands and buried itself in his skull. According to song he died choking on his last laugh.
14.Benedict I Justman
As a boy, he was Benedict Rivers, despised by all(Rivers is a bastard name), but he grew to be the greatest warrior of his age, Ser Benedict the Bold. Benedict was able to defeat all petty kings in the riverlands over more than thirty years, after which he allowed himself to be crowned King of the Trident.
When the Andals united against Robar Royce they choosed a single warlord. Neither
king nor prince, nor even lord, but a knight named Ser Artys Arryn. A young
man, of an age with King Robar, he was esteemed amongst his peers as the finest
warrior of his day, a champion with sword and lance and morningstar, and a
cunning and resourceful leader of men, beloved by all who fought beside him. The matter is not clear but many say he was the one who slew King Robar.
Not to be confused with his namesake from the Age of Heroes. As it is written by Maester Yandel “King Artys was undoubtedly a real man, albeit an extraordinary one.”
Artos the Implacable has a statue in the crypts beneath Winterfell despite never being Lord of Winterfell. He slew the King-Beyond-the-Wall Raymun Redbeard, ending the wildling threat in his day.
Artos was accounted the most fearsome warrior of his age.
Also known as Aegon the Conqueror and Aegon the Dragon, was the first Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and king on the Iron Throne, having conquered six of the Seven Kingdoms during the Conquest. He is basically Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Napoleon all rolled into one.
Aegon was tall, broad shouldered and powerful in appearance, by all accounts a great warrior who wielded a sword called Blackfyre but only rode his dragon for battle or travel and never entered tourneys.
When looking at his more frail son Aenys, rumors abounded that this could be no true son of Aegon the Conqueror, who had been a warrior without peer. I do not include him in top 10 because the praise may refer only to his leadership in battle.
10. Lo Bu
Introducing arguably the greatest warrior outside of Westeros, Lo Bu was a God-Emperor of the Golden Empire of Yi Ti and the forty third and final ruler of his dynasty. He is described as having no peer in courage, valor, and skill at arms.
He is based on the real military general Lu Bu, who is also portraied in history as a nearly invincible warrior but an incapable leader.
Ser Ryam Redwyne was a famed knight who served as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. He was considered the greatest knight of his day, accomplished at sword and lance.
He is often compared with legendary warriors from the Age of Heores such as Symeon Star-Eyes and Serwyn of the Mirror Shield.
Criston Cole was a member of King Viserys I Targaryen's Kingsguard, eventually rising to Lord Commander. He won a melee at the tourney at Maidenpool to celebrate the ascension of Viserys I Targaryen, drawing the attention of the royal court by knocking Dark Sister from the hands of Prince Daemon Targaryen with his morningstar. Cole wore Rhaenyra's favor in a tournament in 111 AC where he unhorsed Ser Gwayne Hightower, brother and champion to King Viserys's second wife and queen, Alicent Hightower. In 114 AC, Ser Criston attended the wedding of Rhaenyra to Laenor, which included seven days of feasting and jousting. Cole fought with Queen Alicent's token, and during a melee left Breakbones with a broken collarbone and shattered elbow, prompting Mushroom to call him "Brokenbones" thereafter. Criston's morningstar also cracked the helm of the Knight of Kisses, Laenor's favorite Ser Joffrey Lonmouth, which he died from six days later. Cole became a staunch supporter of Queen Alicent ever after.
7.Maegor I Targaryen
Maegor was larger than his father, King Aegon I. He was bull-like, with heavy shoulders, a thick neck, and huge arms. Though he was on the heavy side, he was not fat, but more massive and square.
Maegor was a born warrior who rose to become one of the youngest knights of his time. He was given the Valyrian steel sword, Dark Sister, as a nameday present when Maegor turned thirteen. That same year, Maegor defeated hardened knights in a melee. Maegor had more success in his military accomplishments. In 28 AC, he won renown a tourney by defeating three knights of the Kingsguard in the joust, and next winning the męlée. He was knighted by his father, King Aegon I, at the age of sixteen, making his the youngest knight in the realm at the time.
Robert was the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and the head of House Baratheon of King's Landing at the start of A Song of Ice and Fire.He has been described as “The peerless Robert Baratheon, demon of the Trident, the fiercest warrior of the realm, a giant among princes.” The high point of his outstanding military career is the single combat against Rhaegar Targaryen in wich Robert has emerged as the victor.
Jaime is widley regarded as the greatest swordsman in all of Westeros during the events of A Song of Ice and Fire. At the age of 15, he fought against the Kingswood Brotherhood, crossing swords with the Smiling Knight himself. He was thereafter knighted by Ser Arthur Dayne, and later the same year admited in the Kingsguard.
GRR Martin himself states that Jaime is one of the greatest swordsmen of all time.
Prince Aemon has been referred to as the noblest knight who ever lived, and his skill with a sword is legendary throughout Westeros. Even over a hundred years after his death, he is a popular figure among the highborn and smallfolk in songs, stories, and fables.
The Black Dragon was the first of the Blackfyre pretenders and alltough a bastard, rallied half of the realm to his side because of his valor.
Daemon was tall and powerful, with broad shoulders, muscular arms, and a flat stomach. Almost inhumanly beautiful, Daemon looked every inch the warrior, and many thought that he strongly resembled portraits of Aegon the Conqueror. Daemon matured into a man of considerable charm and strength, mastering all weapons of the battlefield, but with the sword Blackfyre in hand he was said to fight like the Warrior(one of the 7 Gods).
To summarise his acts of valor, here is his entry in the White Book:
“Ser Barristan of House Selmy. Firstborn son of Ser Lyonel Selmy of Harvest Hall. Served as squire to Ser Manfred Swann. Named "the Bold" in his 10th year, when he donned borrowed armor to appear as a mystery knight in the tourney of Blackhaven, where he was defeated and unmasked by Duncan, Prince of Dragonflies. Knighted in his 16th year by King Aegon V Targaryen, after performing great feats of prowess as a mystery knight in the winter tourney at King's Landing, defeating Prince Duncan the small and Ser Duncan the Tall, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Slew Maelys the Monstrous, last of the Blackfyre Pretenders, in single combat during the War of the Ninepenny Kings. Defeated Lormelle Long Lance and Cedrik Storm, the Bastard of Bronzegate. Named to the Kingsguard in his 23rd year, by Lord Commander Ser Gerold Hightower. Defended the passage against all challengers in the tourney of the Silver Bridge. Victor in the męlée at Maidenpool. Brought King Aerys II to safety during the Defiance of Duskendale despite an arrow wound in the chest. Avenged the murder of his Sworn Brother, Ser Gwayne Gaunt. Rescued Lady Jeyne Swann and her septa from the Kingswood Brotherhood, defeating Simon Toyne and the Smiling Knight, slaying the former. In the Oldtown tourney, defeated and unmasked the mystery knight, Blackshield revealing him to be the Bastard of Uplands. Sole champion of Lord Steffon's tourney at Storm's End, whereat he unhorsed Lord Robert Baratheon, Prince Oberyn Martell, Lord Leyton Hightower, Lord Jon Connington, Lord Jason Mallister, and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Wounded by arrow, spear, and sword at the Battle of the Trident whilst fighting beside his Sworn Brothers and Rhaegar Prince of Dragonstone. Pardoned, and named Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, by King Robert I Baratheon. Served in the honor guard that brought Lady Cersei of House Lannister to King's Landing to wed King Robert. Led the attack on Old Wyk during Balon Greyjoy's Rebellion. Champion of the tourney at King's Landing, in his 57th year. Dismissed by King Joffrey I Baratheon in his 61st year, for reasons of advanced age.”
I draw attention on the Duskendale feat, where he basically entered a fortress solo and rescued the king fending off all attackers. Some feats performed after his dismissal as a Kingsguard are cutting his way out of Kingslanding, defeating a mercenary captain with a staff and slaying a champion from the pits of Mereen(albeit better equipped).
Ser Arthur Dayne is remembered to have been the most chivalrous warrior of the Seven Kingdoms and the deadliest of the seven knights of Aerys's Kingsguard, wich consisted solely of outstanding warriors.
The Sword of the Morning is a title of House Dayne bestowed on the knight who bears the ancestral greatsword Dawn. Only a knight of House Dayne who is deemed worthy can carry it. For this reason, the Swords of the Morning are all famous throughout the Seven Kingdoms. If there is no Dayne knight considered worthy, the title lies dormant.
But even in such exalted company, Darkstar complain that no one remembers anyone else from the ancient House of Dayne(allegedly 10.000 years) because of the shadow cast by the superlative knight.
“The finest knight I ever saw was Ser Arthur Dayne, who fought with a blade called Dawn, forged from the heart of a fallen star. They called him the Sword of the Morning, and he would have killed me but for Howland Reed.”– Eddard Stark to Bran Stark
"I learned from Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, who could have slain all five of you with his left hand while he was taking a piss with the right."- Jaime Lannister to Loras Tyrell
Game of Thrones show Top 10:
10.Jon Snow(possibly future 1)
8.The Mountain(pre transformation)