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Author Topic: Greatest battles in fantasy  (Read 8119 times)

Offline Gothos

Greatest battles in fantasy
« on: February 03, 2012, 03:21:17 PM »
I think a good battle scene is something of a hallmark of a great writer. Battles are probably high up on the list of difficult scene's to make interesting for the reader. I can think of a few battles from some great books which in the end just ended up fading into the backround for me just because there was a lot of nothing going on. Sort of like a game of cricket, the commentators begin to jabber on about the surrounding foliage and wild life (oh look a bird just flew over head).

Anyway I was trying to sum up what I thought to be some of the greatest battle's in fantasy. To name an obvious one,

1)Helm's Deep

2)The battle at Pale, from Garden's of the Moon.

3)Dumai's Wells from Wot, LoC.

4)The war with the Ascians from Gene Wolfe's The Citadel of the Autarch

5) Black Fire Pass from the Time of Legends Heldenhammer.

Any others?
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the deepening pits of their gaze
vowed immortal war
against the sighing calm
of Jaghut seas . . .

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Offline Majin Paul

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2012, 05:50:43 PM »
I always liked the battle scene in Way of Kings where Kaladin 'lets loose',
as well as the scene with Vin versus all of the steel inquisitors in Hero of Ages, although this won't count if you mean huge battles.

Offline Gothos

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2012, 06:12:22 PM »
I always liked the battle scene in Way of Kings where Kaladin 'lets loose',
as well as the scene with Vin versus all of the steel inquisitors in Hero of Ages, although this won't count if you mean huge battles.

I was more going with big battles that are commanded by generals and such, yet Kaladan's battle in a way is a tactical one and Vin's battle with the Inquisitors was also epic.

The thing is battle's like Vin's and Kaladin's are really good to read because they are usually just from the POV perspective. I always find that battle's get more confusing and trickier to do when the grand scale is being laid out for you. When people talk about the west ridge being taken and the southern flank being unguarded I find it quite tricky to picture as I have (sadly and thankfully) never experienced real battle.

All though you jusy reminded me that Dalinar's battle alongside Sadeas was quite a good one so i'll put that in.

6) The Shattered Plain, Parshendi battle, The Way of Kings.

And even though we didn't see it, I'm sure that the battle that preluded the prologue of WoK would have been one of the greatest fantasy battle's of all time. Hopefully (through flashbacks) we will get to see this battle.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Possibly through Taln
I saw them on the shores
the deepening pits of their gaze
vowed immortal war
against the sighing calm
of Jaghut seas . . .

Gothos’ Folly
Gothos (b.?)

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2012, 10:26:34 PM »
The battle in Heroes by Joe Abercrombie? 

Though Bernard Cornwell is the master of writing battle scenes (shame he is not fantasy)
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Offline Gothos

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2012, 10:38:02 PM »
The battle in Heroes by Joe Abercrombie? 

Though Bernard Cornwell is the master of writing battle scenes (shame he is not fantasy)

Even though I've not gotten round to reading any Joe Abercrombie. I had a sneaking suspicion that there would be some good battle scenes in his books. All the more reason to get on it I suppose.
I saw them on the shores
the deepening pits of their gaze
vowed immortal war
against the sighing calm
of Jaghut seas . . .

Gothos’ Folly
Gothos (b.?)

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2012, 11:31:52 PM »
so far I have:

1)   Battle of Blackwater (Clash of Kings)
2)   Battle of Dros Dolnech (Legend)
3)   The Battle for the Hill Fort (Last Argument of Kings) what would that be called?  But Logen and co fighting off the rest of the Northmen. 
4)   The Battle of Dumai Wells (Lord of Chaos)
5) and that Way of Kings one!
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Offline Corvus

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2012, 01:15:56 AM »
Though Bernard Cornwell is the master of writing battle scenes (shame he is not fantasy)

Cornwell is brilliant - probably my favourite non-fantasy author (and the inspiration behind my take on fantasy).

Of course he writes about actual battles, but that doesn't make them any less well written.
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Offline mtgallowglas

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2012, 04:05:32 AM »
Pretty much any battle scene by Steven Erikson or Glen Cook.

Offline Bahl

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2012, 07:33:11 AM »
The Heroes - Joe Abercrombie. The whole book is a battle!
Loads of battles in Malazan book - Too many to mention, but any time the sappers and Quick Ben were involved.
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Offline JoshuaPSimon

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2012, 01:58:37 PM »
Paul Kearny is hands down the best at this in fantasy, IMO.  Great sea and naval battles in his Monarchies of God series.  His Macht Trilogy has some awesome "roman" style battle sequences which are heavily dependent on phalnaxes (sp?) as well.

Other notables...Erikson, Gemmell, Abercrombie and Martin.

Offline Dornish First Sword

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2012, 12:27:49 AM »
I may be wrong with the passage of time but I remember thinking a few battles I read in the Dragonlance sagas were "way cool" when I was younger.
 
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Offline EatthePen

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2012, 11:29:58 PM »
I actually think the battle of Cairhien trumps Dumai's Wells as far as the Wheel of Time goes; Dumai's Wells felt too much like a set-piece 'I'm going to show off these new wizards' thing, whereas the battle for Cairhien really just felt sprawling and huge, and I think it helped to have Mat in there along with Rand; we really got to see the franticness (if that's a word) of a field commander's tactical thinking.

There are some really good fragments of battles in Janny Wurts' Wars of Light and Shadow, but never enough to give you the complete picture of the battle (though she's unbeatable for first-point-of-engagement set-pieces).

I'd agree with pretty much all the battles in Way of Kings being awesome.
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Offline Bahl

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2012, 11:59:38 AM »
Not forgetting the start of Sam Sykes's - Tome of the Undergates. The whole first half of the book is a sea battle and some freaky monsters.
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Offline Carfax

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2012, 12:29:33 PM »
Ranked first in my list is Helm's Deep. Greatest battle scene ever. Then also Dumai's Wells and the Shattered Plain are epic battle scene. There was one battle scene in the Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney that I might add to the list too.

Offline Overlord

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2012, 02:20:51 PM »
Not forgetting the start of Sam Sykes's - Tome of the Undergates. The whole first half of the book is a sea battle and some freaky monsters.

That is a pretty damned cool battle and actually, I would say that is one of the finest I have read... his ability to keep it going for so long and yet, at the same time, keep it varied is brilliant! :)
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