With Anzac Day coming up later this week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect on some of my all-time favourite battles in fiction. I LOVE fight sequences, but the following ten made a particular impression on me. What are your favourite fictional battles? →
BATTLE FOR ILIN ILLAN
This battle forms the climax of James Islington’s debut novel The Shadow of What Was Lost, where the Blind, the mysterious invasion force from beyond the Boundary, launch their attack on Ilin Illan, the capital of Andarra. So much happens in these chapters: MCs are reunited, other characters die, plot twists are revealed, and right when it all seems lost, You-Know-who shows up with You-Know-What, and…well. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens next!
BATTLE OF THE BURREN
Fans of the Shadowhunters universe will know that the Battle of the Burren is the name given to the epic fight that occurs at the end of City of Lost Souls, the fifth book in The Mortal Instruments series. I love this battle for a number of reasons, and was on the edge of my seat as the Endarkened were created, but what I adored most was the way Simon fought his way across the battlefield to deliver the sword Glorious into Clary’s hands…and all that happened after that!!
BATTLE OF CHARCY
To be honest, I thoroughly enjoyed every scene in the Captive Prince trilogy where we saw Damen fight, but there was something particularly enthralling about the Battle of Charcy at the beginning of Kings Rising. Damen falls into a bit of a killing rage, and when his best friend finally tells him it is over, he looks across the battlefield and realises he’s decimated the enemy forces almost by himself. And then he receives that message…
MASSACRE AT HARDHOME
I switch here from books to TV shows, but how can you not when it’s Game of Thrones? One of my all-time favourite battles in this epic series is the Massacre at Hardhome, which occurs in episode 8 of season 5, titled Hardhome. Despite all the bloodshed that occurs in other battles throughout the show, there is something especially chilling about this fight against the White Walkers…and that moment when the Night King raises his arms and You-Know-What rises with them!
BATTLE OF HELM’S DEEP
Here is another of my favourite on-screen fight sequences: the Battle of Helm’s Deep (a.k.a. the Battle of the Hornburg) which takes place in The Two Towers, second in the Lord of the Rings film series. There’s so much to enjoy during this clash between the Rohirrim and the Uruk-hai, from the timely arrival of the elves, to Gimli’s and Legolas’ counting competition, to Gandalf’s last-minute save as he races down the slope with the dawn!
BATTLE AT GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL
This battle is a little different than the others, as it occurs in a low fantasy novel rather than one set in a secondary world. I simply LOVED the fight that takes place in Grand Central Terminal at the conclusion of All Souls Near and Nigh, the second novel in Hailey Turner’s Soulbound series. The imagery of the struggle between the gods is stunning, and I was holding my breath as MC Patrick is forced to do something forbidden to break a dark spell and save millions of lives!
ATTACK ON MISTWARD
There are quite a few battles that take place in Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series, but when I think about it, the attack on Mistward at the end of Heir of Fire had the greatest impact on me. Celaena’s physical and metal struggle against the Valg princes was so POWERFUL, the arrival of the cadre had me on the edge of my seat, and I was positively jumping for joy when her carranam bond with Rowan was realised and they fought back the tide together!
BATTLE OF FALME
I haven’t finished reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series yet, but I feel I’ll be hard-pressed to find a battle as thrilling and emotional as the Battle of Falme at the climax of The Great Hunt. Apologies for a few spoilers ahead, but come on! This battle is EPIC! Perrin raises the Dragon Banner (no jokes, I cried), Mat blows the Horn of Valere and summons the legendary Heroes, and Rand al’Thor literally fights Ishamael across the sky!!
RINGIL vs CORMORION
Perhaps A Land Fit for Heroes by Richard Morgan is a lesser-known fantasy series, but the struggle at the conclusion of The Dark Defiles, the final instalment, is absolutely breathtaking! There are many aspects I could discuss here, but my favourite part is where Ringil battles Cormorion for possession of the “throne” (which is more than it seems)…and we finally come to understand the meaning of the full name of the Ravensfriend, Ringil’s Kiriath sword!
BATTLE OF NARAK
And at last, my all-time favourite fictional battle! I cannot even begin to describe my adoration for the Battle of Narak, the sequence at the end of Words of Radiance, the second novel in Brandon Sanderson’s epic series The Stormlight Archive. From the summoning of the Everstorm, the Stormfather’s interference, the discovery of the Oathgate, Kaladin’s internal struggle with the Third Ideal and subsequent battle with Szeth, I could barely BREATHE from all the excitement!