Thoughtful Thursday: Love is a battlefield

This week’s column is for Greg.  Two weeks ago we talked about love in books, and how it works, to which Greg responded that he didn’t know much about love “but if you have a discussion for most bad-:censored:  fight scene, I could post pages and pages of comments…”fantasy and science fiction book reviews

So, Greg, and the rest of you out there, what is the best fight scene in a fantasy novel?  We may need to have sub-categories for this one.  Epic, urban, military… As for me, I don’t think many writers out there do military fantasy better than Elizabeth Moon.  Her personal history as a Marine helps out in this regard a lot.

Let us know what you think the best fight scene is, and we’ll enter you in a contest to win Kelly Meding’s Three Days to Dead. (Read about Three Days to Dead on our Kelly Meding page. You can also read Meding’s serialized fiction at Suvudu.) Or, if that book isn’t to your fancy, we’ll let you pick one out of our stacks.


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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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27 comments

  1. Best fight scene: Eowyn kills the Witch-King in The Return of the King:
    Witch-King: “..no living man may hinder me”
    Eowyn (taking off her helmet): “But no living man am I! You look upon a woman.”

    I loved Peter Jackson’s version: “I am ‘no man'”
    You go girl!!

  2. Ruth..you’re the bestest ever :kiss:
    Well I’ll try not to go nuts and stick to what immediately comes to mind; The running fight scene in Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself, with Logen Ninefingers, Maljinn and the Inquistor Practicals.. That series has a lot of good fights in it.
    And almost any battle and fight scenes – because many of them start out as battles that end up down to one survivor who refuses to submit- in Robert E. Howard’s tales. And not just the Conan stories, Kull, Bran Mak Morn, etc…too. I’ve sometimes caught myself gritting my teeth when reading a Howard battle/fight scene.

  3. Great one Kat!!.. One of my favorite scenes too.

  4. I actually considered finding the Eowyn versus the Witch King clip on youtube and embedding it, but I didn’t. I want to be Eowyn when I grow up.

  5. Wow, best fight scene, what a great question. I think two that pop to my head is in Gemmel’s ‘Lord of the Silver Bow’ Helikaon and Argurios fighting off the Mykenes on the stairwell. Two men fighting off a entire small army, very intense. The second is when Logen Ninefingers fights the duel at the end with the Eternal. The scene with all the northmen in a circle holding their shield, Logen fighting an unstoppable opponent that probably isn’t even human, and just wondering when the Bloody Nine is going to show up. I was so tense reading that, ridiculous.

  6. Logen Ninefingers aka “The Bloody Nine” is straight-up bad-:censored: and so were all his Named Men. No two-ways about it. :chase:

  7. I have to second the Eowyn scene, which combines two of my favorite things: women kicking ass, and ambiguously worded prophecies coming home to roost!

    I also like GRRM’s battles and fights. I often get confused during fight scenes, but I can follow his. Ooh, and Jacqueline Carey’s fight scenes. At least one awesome one per book: d’Aiglemort’s redemption, Joscelin’s duel with the bad Casseline in La Serenissima, Joscelin’s fight with what’s his name in Kushiel’s Avatar (“not a battle of which poets sing”)…

    And I’m discovering that I have a thing for gladiatorial combat. The Hunger Games, Magic Strikes, and that scene at the end of The Light Bearer… (which also has a misinterpreted prophecy! For the win!)

  8. I must completely agree that I loved all fight scenes with
    1. Joscelin (I’m in love with Joscelin)
    2. Logen “The Bloody Nine” Ninefingers

    How about this for a potentially awesome fight: Joscelin vs. Logen
    …but that wouldn’t actually work because I wouldn’t want either one to lose!

  9. From RA Salvatore’s Icewind Dale trilogy — the climactic fight between Drizzt Do’Urden and Artemis Entreri, two of the most evenly matched (and just plain bad-ass) fighters my impressionable young mind had yet seen…

  10. Oh yeah, I think I remember GRRM’s battles in ASoIaF being really good too..It’s hard to be sure now since its been soooo long ago that the last book came-out :wall:

    A notable fight from a newer book that I just read a couple months ago, is in All the Windwracked Stars by Elizabeth Bear. In the very beginning, two survivors of Ragnorok (although I don’t think Bear actually comes out and says that)The last valkrie named, Muire and valraven -a two-headed and winged war-stead, make a savagely desperate last stand against some zombie-like wolf creatures. It was almost painful, because the wounds the two already carried from the battle.

  11. I like my fight scenes to be directly related to plot and character and to not be too overdescribed. The action sequences in Ilona Andrews come to mind.

  12. The very best fight scenes I have read of last were in Cheyenne McCray’s Magic series. These are awesome books, filled with action. I would highly recommend them!

  13. Anonymous /

    How about the best known line from a fight scene? “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” And I’m quoting the book here really.

    Or if we get to quote movies there is always ‘Madam, I am a germ, and you caught me.’

    Sorry, it’s been a long week and I’m probably a little too tired to be trying to post here. :-))

  14. Anonymous /

    gah! you keep taking my fight scenes…

    Logan nine fingers, The Feared, and a circle of shields…nuff said.

    The duels between Drizzt and Artemis are so much fun…Salvatore writes sword play like no other.

  15. I will say the most epic fight I can think of is from an unpublished work by author Larry Correia titles “The Christams (Noun)”

    There was a scream of incomprehensible terror from the portal to hell. “HO HO HO” Then a sleigh made of bone and chaos exploded into our world in a flash of fire and a stink of corruption, pulled by eight tiny Hell-Deer, being whipped onward by a horned demon in a jolly red suit wielding a cat-o-nine tails made of Christmas lights and barbed wire.

    “On Stalin! On Hitler! On Sodom and Fred!” shouted the demon at its hell-deer. “On Carrot-Top! On O.J. Simpson! On Rosanne Barr! Move your lazy ass, Ted Kennedy! Ho Ho Ho!” His belly shook like a bowl full of jelly. Poison jelly-fish that is!

    “Santa?” Sally asked stupidly, as Sally was actually pretty dim-witted, but she was really easy on the eyes.

    “No,” Tim said as he pumped another 12 gauge slug into the chamber. “It’s the Anti-Clause.”

    “I’m checking my list, and checking it twice, and now I’m going to swallow your souls,” bellowed the Anti-Clause.

    “Not if the Christmas (Noun) and my Black Tiger Style Kung-Fu can help it!” Tim shouted.

    ***
    From Chapter 8.

    The last of the zombies burst into flames and collapsed around the mall.

    Tim slowly lowered the dripping chainsaw. “I think we did it!” he shouted. “We saved Christmas.”

    Well, I guess there actually is not fight scene but you get the point.
    http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2008/12/22/the-christmas-noun/

  16. A couple of memorable ones were in Guy Gavriel Kay’s Lions of al-Rassan. They were actually memorable for their understatedness. There was one fight that was often mentioned but never actually shown — the fight that brought the three(? it’s been way too long since I read it) protagonists together. And the climactic duel was described from the POV of a watcher who, for much of it, couldn’t actually tell who was winning and who was losing — the duellists were silhouetted against the sky and moved so quickly she lost track of which was which.

  17. I loved the fighting scenes in Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniel series, they are action packed and sometimes funny at the same time.

  18. Just for something different, a fight scene that has stuck in my mind over the years was that between the two polar bears in Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass.

  19. Eowyn and the Witch King but Merry too–gotta get the little guy in there!

    While we’re there–the whole damn Pellenor fields with the horns at the start, the sails revealed . . .

    while we’re there–the balrog (in the famous words of my health teacher “You shall not pass!”)

    Mhoram and the siege of Revelstone in the Power that Preserves

    just about any Black Company or Erikson battle scene with the grunts

    the break-your-heart scene in Alexander’s The High King with Coll

    the end of Rohan’s the Hammer of the Sun (I think–may be over-remembering that one)

  20. Rebekah…that was awesome. It’s as if each line were spoken by Bruce Campbell himself.

  21. Oh, for funny fight scenes, I know it’s a movie…, but you have to give props to Yoda for his infamous showdown duel to the death. “Be decided by our skill with the force, this contest will not, but by our skill with the light sabre…” (misquoting badly).

  22. Best fight scene : Maliha and her nemesis in Dark Time by Dakota Banks. It’s just awesome!

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  23. I like fighting scenes with flirting.

  24. cait, give an example. What’s the best flirting fight scene?

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