August 08, 2020, 10:37:39 AM

Author Topic: Greatest battles in fantasy  (Read 9146 times)

Online ScarletBea

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Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2018, 02:42:16 PM »
I was going to start a new topic, but did a quick search and found this!

One of the things I'm really admiring in the Malazan books is the way that battles are written: awful and captivating at the same time, I keep wanting them to end, but at the same time hanging on every word. And they just seems so realistic, in the sense of little battles within the city or the event, people having to stop and rest, advances and retreats, etc.

Other battles that I think were greatly written are the ones in Abercrombie's Heroes and Sanderson's Way of Kings.
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Offline Jake Baelish

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2018, 03:52:47 PM »
All the battles in Stormlight are fantastic.

Helm's Deep always stands out but that's also largely due to it being the first big battle scene I read in fantasy AND the fact it then became the great cinematic battle I've ever seen.

But number one, and it is also Abercrombie, is the Battle of Adua in TLAOK.
That battle has EVERYTHING! Character arcs, tragedy, deception, spectacle (that box!), deaths, heroism, the lot. And the utter devastation of the major hub of that world. Must've been a hundred pages long too, at least. Loved every one of them.
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2018, 04:06:30 PM »
Battles vary in their "greatness", some are gritty and captivate the reader in the blow-by-blow as a single character tries to survive or overcome. Others are distinctly vast and epic in their scale, and for those, there are no peers to the battles in the Silmarillion.

When the tide turns unexpectedly: “But now a cry went up, passing up the wind from the south from vale to vale, and Elves and Men lifted their voices in wonder and joy. For unsummoned and unlooked for Turgon had opened the leaguer of Gondolin, and was come with an army ten thousand strong, with bright mail and long swords and spears like a forest. Then when Fingon heard afar the great trumpet of Turgon his brother, the shadow passed and his heart was uplifted, and he shouted aloud: 'Utulie'n aure! Aiya Eldalie ar Atanatari, utulie'n aure! The day has come! Behold, people of the Eldar and Fathers of Men, the day has come!’ And all those who heard his great voice echo in the hilss answered crying: 'Auta i lome! The night is passing!’” - Of the Fifth Battle

The greatest last stand, though futile, in Fantasy: “Last of all Hurin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed; and it is sung that the axe smoked in the black blood of the troll-guard of Gothmog until it withered, and each time that he slew Hurin cried: 'Aure entuluva! Day shall come again!’ Seventy times he uttered that cry; but they took him at last alive, by the command of Morgoth, for the Orcs grappled him with their hands, which clung to him still though he hewed off their arms, and ever their numbers were renewed, until at last he fell buried beneath them.”

And my favorite - the original Duel of the Fates, where Fingolfin, High King of the Noldor, dared challenge Morgoth, the greatest evil and master to Sauron:

Now news came to Hithlum that Dorthonion was lost and the sons of Finarfin overthrown, and that the sons of Fëanor were driven from their lands. Then Fingolfin beheld... the utter ruin of the Noldor, and the defeat beyond redress of all their houses; and filled with wrath and despair he mounted upon Rochallor his great horse and rode forth alone, and none might restrain him. He passed over Dor-nu-Fauglith like a wind amid the dust, and all that beheld his onset fled in amaze, thinking that Oromë himself was come: for a great madness of rage was upon him, so that his eyes shone like the eyes of the Valar. Thus he came alone to Angband's gates, and he sounded his horn, and smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come forth to single combat. And Morgoth came.

 That was the last time in those wars that he passed the doors of his stronghold, and it is said that he took not the challenge willingly; for... alone of the Valar he knew fear. But he could not now deny the challenge before the face of his captains; for... Fingolfin named Morgoth craven.... Therefore Morgoth... issued forth clad in black armour; and he stood before the King like a tower, iron-crowned, and his vast shield, sable unblazoned, cast a shadow over him like a stormcloud. But Fingolfin gleamed beneath it as a star; for his mail was overlaid with silver, and his blue shield was set with crystals; and he drew his sword Ringil, that glittered like ice.

 Then Morgoth hurled aloft Grond, the Hammer of the Underworld, and swung it down like a bolt of thunder. But Fingolfin sprang aside, and Grond rent a mighty pit in the earth.... Many times Morgoth essayed to smite him, and each time Fingolfin leaped away...; and he wounded Morgoth with seven wounds, and seven times Morgoth gave a cry of anguish, whereat the hosts of Angband fell upon their faces in dismay, and the cries echoed in the Northlands.

 But at the last the King grew weary, and Morgoth bore down his shield upon him. Thrice he was crushed to his knees, and thrice arose again and bore up his broken shield and stricken helm. But the earth was all... pitted about him, and he stumbled and fell backward before the feet of Morgoth; and Morgoth set his left foot upon his neck.... Yet with his last and desperate stroke Fingolfin hewed the foot with Ringil, and the blood gushed forth black and smoking and filled the pits of Grond.

 Thus died Fingolfin, High King of the Noldor, most proud and valiant of the Elven-kings of old. The Orcs made no boast of that duel at the gate; neither do the Elves sing of it, for their sorrow is too deep. Yet the tale of it is remembered still, for Thorondor King of Eagles brought the tidings to Gondolin, and to Hithlum afar off. And Morgoth took the body of the Elven-king and broke it, and would cast it to his wolves; but Thorondor came hasting from his eyrie among the peaks of the Crissaegrim, and he stooped upon Morgoth and marred his face. The rushing of the wings of Thorondor was like the noise of the winds of Manwë, and he seized the body in his mighty talons, and soaring suddenly above the darts of the Orcs he bore the King away. And he laid him upon a mountain-top that looked from the north upon the hidden valley of Gondolin; and Turgon coming built a high cairn over his father. No Orc dared ever after to pass over the mound of Fingolfin or draw nigh his tomb, until the doom of Gondolin was come and treachery was born among his kin. Morgoth went ever halt of one foot after that day, and the pain of his wounds could not be healed; and in his face was the scar that Thorondor made.

 Great was the lamentation in Hithlum when the fall of Fingolfin became known....

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Offline JMack

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Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2018, 04:12:34 PM »
Tolkien. God, that’s wonderful stuff.

And to the earlier post, I loved the battles in Abercrombie’s Heroes.
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Offline Yora

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2018, 08:09:46 PM »
For me it's easily Cold Light by Karl Wagner.

The meanest and most ruthless bastards in all the lands have banded together to get their revenge on Kane, a man who everyone considers to be evil incarnate. They track him down and set an ambush, but they really don't know what kind of creature they are dealing with.

Kane is not in danger. He is the danger.
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Offline Bender

Re: Greatest battles in fantasy
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2018, 03:25:46 AM »
1) Final Battle in Memory of Light (WoT)
2) Pale (Malazan)
3) ...
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