WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon and George R.R. Martin’s book, Fire & Blood!As proven in the many battles and duels in the shows, there are 10 strong warriors who stand out above the rest in Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon. Both of the HBO shows take place during devastating wars and times of realm-wide distress, meaning the strongest warriors of Westeros (and Essos) emerge to prove their battle prowess. While not every warrior’s greatest strength is seen in action during Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, the shows often describe the impressive ferocity and power of certain characters in their primes.
In addition to the strong warriors who appear in Game of Thrones and its prequel, George R.R. Martin’s books about the lore of Westeros dive deeper into many of the realm’s fabled knights and fighters, such as Daemon I Blackfyre. However, only a few key warriors are depicted on-screen in the HBO TV shows, ranging from members of the Kingsguard and sworn protectors to Targaryen royalty themselves. Here’s a breakdown of the 10 strongest warriors featured in HBO’s Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon.
The Mountain is perhaps the strongest character in Game of Thrones canon, whose size and vigor were feared both before he died and after he was reanimated. Ser Gregor Clegane’s nickname was earned for a reason, with very few having the bravery to face the knight in battle, much less challenge him to a duel. In terms of sheer strength, The Mountain is the most fearsome fighter in Game of Thrones history, with his extremely lethal fighting tactics and excessive violence taking many characters to an early grave.
While Clegane was outwitted by Oberyn Martell’s swiftness and skill when fighting with dance-like grace, his improbable strength allowed him to crush Oberyn’s skull before dying from his wounds. In Game of Thrones season 8, Sandor Clegane wasn’t able to defeat his resurrected brother in combat, only being successful in killing him by making Gregor fall from the tumbling Red Keep alongside him. Even in House of the Dragon, no warrior’s pure strength parallels that of The Mountain.
In his prime, Game of Thrones‘ King Robert Baratheon was considered one of the strongest and most formidable warriors of Westeros, with his fearlessness and brawn contributing to his triumph in the historic Robert’s Rebellion. Even Robert himself reflects on his youthful strength, remarking to Barristan Selmy about the Rebellion, “Gods, I was strong then.” While Robert grew plump and overindulgent after becoming King of Westeros, no man could deny the Baratheon warrior’s physical force before sitting on the Iron Throne.
The strongest warrior in House of the Dragon is Harwin “Breakbones” Strong, who was certainly born in the right house. According to George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood book, Rhaenyra’s lover Harwin Strong was regarded as the strongest man in the Seven Kingdoms during his prime. Harwin’s strength and ferocity as a warrior led him to become the sworn protector of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in Fire & Blood, as well as the Lord Commander of the City Watch in House of the Dragon. However, even the strongest warriors can’t simply defeat flames, with Harwin Strong being killed in the fire at Harrenhal (organized by his brother Larys) before the Dance of the Dragons.
While he was only featured in Game of Thrones season 6’s flashback to the Tower of Joy, Ser Arthur Dayne is one of the most legendary knights in Westerosi history. Also known as the Sword of the Morning, Arthur Dayne was described as the deadliest knight of the Mad King Aerys’ Kingsguard. If not for Howland Reed stepping in, Dayne would have killed Ned Stark when the two battled at the Tower of Joy. In the Song of Ice and Fire books, Jaime Lannister remarks that Arthur Dayne was stronger than he, with others elaborating that his strength as a swordsman was unmatched in his generation.
While older than Arthur Dayne, Barristan Selmy served in the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen‘s Kingsguard alongside the Sword of the Morning, with both being legendary warriors. Game of Thrones’ Barristan Selmy is regarded as one of the greatest fighters in Westerosi history. Though Barristan has already reached old age during Game of Thrones’ timeline, he proves his ferocity in battle time and again while serving under Daenerys Targaryen’s Queensguard. In his prime, Selmy defeated numerous fabled warriors, won several tourneys in which he displayed incredible feats of strength and skill, and had sword-fighting talents nearing those of the fabled Arthur Dayne.
The greatest warrior during the Dance of the Dragons is Ser Criston Cole. The brutality and strength of Ser Criston have already been controversially demonstrated in House of the Dragon season 1, which led to him being named Lord Commander of Aegon II’s Kingsguard. Criston beat the greatly skilled Daemon Targaryen at Prince Baelon’s tourney, had plenty of battle experience in the Dornish marches, savagely crushed in the head of the knight Ser Joffrey Lonmouth at Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding, and turned Aemond Targaryen into a fierce fighter before the Targaryen civil war.
While Criston was beaten by Harwin Strong in House of the Dragon season 1, episode 6, Harwin exhibited only pure strength brought on by intense anger, while Criston more often excels in strategic battles. Throughout the Dance of the Dragons, Ser Criston Cole’s exceptional strength as a warrior will be proven time and again as he leads King Aegon II Targaryen’s armies on the ground. While it wouldn’t normally say much about his strength that Criston Cole killed a defenseless elderly man, his physical power proves uncontrollable when mixed with fury, as he unintentionally killed Lyman Beesbury when slamming him back down at the small council table.
Jaime Lannister was one of the deadliest men in Westeros when he had both hands, and still maintained impressive strength after learning to fight single-handed in Game of Thrones. At Jaime’s full strength before Game of Thrones, no other living knight could have faced him in one-on-one combat and won. Jaime’s skills with a sword make him one of the greatest warriors of his generation, with Jaime even nearly overpowering the strong Brienne of Tarth when malnourished, weak, and chained. While he lost much of his prowess as a warrior after losing his sword hand, young Jaime Lannister of Aerys’ Kingsguard wasn’t a man who other knights would readily duel.
The Rogue Prince is known for his hot temper and ambition, which combine to make him one of the most feared men in Westeros during House of the Dragon. While Criston Cole is a stronger fighter and even beat him in a tourney, Daemon Targaryen is the most experienced and renowned warrior of his time, whose skills lay both in physical feats and sword-fighting. House of the Dragon season 1 gave numerous glimpses into Daemon’s ruthlessness, primarily in his ability to plow through the Crabfeeder’s army by himself. Daemon beheaded numerous men with Dark Sister, prevailed against many warriors in tourneys, and won fights in the War for the Stepstones on his dragon Caraxes and on foot.
Daemon Targaryen will continue to live up to his nickname and fearsome reputation during the Dance of the Dragons. While leading the army of his wife Rhaenyra, Daemon will be successful in his many campaigns in the Riverlands, while later showing a final feat of strength by driving Dark Sister through the eye socket of his warrior nephew Aemond Targaryen. Given Daemon was a second son, his strength in battle was the way he made his name and earned respect in Westeros. While Daemon’s brother gained power through his title, King Viserys admitted that Daemon was their mother’s favorite child due to his strength as a warrior.
While the Khal’s power in action wasn’t often seen due to his death in Game of Thrones’ season 1 finale, the series clearly establishes him as one of the strongest warriors in his lifetime. Had he come to Westeros, Khal Drogo undoubtedly would have overpowered many of the knights serving in the Kingsguard. Unlike Westerosi knights, Khal Drogo’s warrior strength was proven by the braids on his hair, with Jason Momoa’s Game of Thrones character never once being defeated in battle. Daenerys Targaryen’s famed warlord husband was relentless in combat, legendary as a warrior among the Dothraki, and the most powerful Khal in the Dothraki sea.
Brienne Of Tarth
Game of Thrones continually demonstrated the stunning strength of Brienne of Tarth, who is indisputably the strongest female warrior of her age. Some Targaryen women of past generations have been known as renowned warriors, such as Aegon the Conqueror’s sister-wife Visenya, but Brienne of Tarth is the first woman to be accepted not only as a knight, but a knight of the Kingsguard. Like Visenya, who was the first Targaryen to wield Daemon’s sword Dark Sister, Brienne of Tarth’s power as a warrior was increased by her Valyrian steel sword Oathkeeper.
Brienne would fight incredibly well in the battles she participated in, and even overpowered the Hound and held her own against the two-handed chained Jaime Lannister (who was still remarkably skilled). She may not be the strongest fighter of her generation, but Brienne is still one of the greatest warriors alive during Game of Thrones. Following Brienne’s battle prowess in Game of Thrones, more female warriors like Sabitha Frey and Alysanne Blackwood will prove their strength against male knights in House of the Dragon’s war.