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A knight in the midst of battle lands a heavy blow with his morningstar while also wielding a bloodied sword - by Tomasz Jedruszek. © FFG
Northmen readying for battle
House Stark cavalry, by graikfaik ©


While Westeros is a continent wholly created from the imagination of George R. R. Martin, the nature of the armies is firmly based on historical precedent. Those of the Northmen for example are apparently based on northern English medieval armies (with an eastern European influence regarding knights), while those below the Neck appear to be rooted in English, German, and French practice, though the Westerosi culture is sufficiently too different to make any single comparison solid.


The weapons carried generally reflect those of the prototype armies and by far the most common is the sword. This is to a very real extent the mark of a soldier and so carried by all, although it may not necessarily be the soldier's primary weapon.

Castle-forged weapons are of high quality, generally better than those produced by smiths in the cities. However, usually only knights and nobles can afford them. The rarest and most desired swords are those forged in Old Valyria, of Valyrian steel. These swords are stronger, lighter, and sharper than all others (except perhaps for Dawn), and the steel is typically dark, almost black. The secrets of forging them have been lost and there are perhaps only a couple of hundred of them left in Westeros, mostly as prized heirlooms by noble houses.

Other weapons are also common. Almost everyone carries a knife or dagger, as they are useful and practical in many circumstances. Effective spears and mauls are relatively cheap to make and are, thus, popular weapons for men-at-arms. A cheap spear can still be a good weapon; the same cannot be said of a cheap sword.

Known Weapon Types


Axes & Hammers


Projectile Weapons


Dornish spear phalanx. © FFG
Unsullied pike phalanx. © Fantasy Flight Games
Battering ram. © Fantasy Flight Games


Special Items

See also List of known Valyrian and famous Swords


Armour in Seven Kingdoms is commonly forged from iron and steel. Occasionally one may find an ancient piece of armour forged from bronze, but that is a great rarity today. Advanced full plate and scale armour, made of relatively light weight steel, is also available to those with the proper funds.

Additional ornamentation can be quite elaborate. Common methods involve paints, enamels, or bluing the steel. A truly skilled blacksmith, however, can work colour into the metal itself to ensure that it does not chip or flake off. Such work is expensive and can be afforded only by the nobility. In the real world, the technological level is comparable to the late medieval and early renaissance, which is quite advanced "for the time" in Westeros.

The most effective, and expensive, armour is plate armour, which consists of a number of shaped plates of steel fitted to the body. Plate is normally worn over chainmail and an undercoat padded leather. Those who cannot afford plate may wear chainmail and leather, and this coverage still provides good protection. It is also common to wear only partial plate; a plate helm, for example, is common, as are breastplates and gorgets. Scale armour is also known but considerably less common. Armour made of boiled leather is sometimes worn by itself, particularly by scouts and levied men-at-arms. While better than nothing, it cannot stop an on-target sword blow, whereas plate armour can.

Plate armour is more common in the Reach, while mail is more the rule in the North, and the wildlings beyond the Wall are much more primitively armored. [16] The Dornish use a lot of copper armour, but mainly for ornamental purposes. It's very pretty flashing in the sun - as pretty as gold - but cheaper. [17]

Known Armour Types

Plate armour schematic

Specific Parts


Westeros has a varied collection of Shields, from simple Wooden Shields, which are light, easy to use but don't provide much protection, to heavy triangular shields, almost four feet tall, made of heavy oak and studded with iron.[22] Stretching layers of hardened leather over the shields[18] and adding metal thin strips for reinforcements[29] improve durability and protection, without adding much weight. In Dorne and probably in Braavos small light weight round metal shields called bucklers are used. This is about the size of a plate and held in the left hand to parry sword blows in fencing.

Kite shields, considered old-fashioned since the Conquest, carried by the Warrior's Sons.[30]


War Horses & Transportation

See also: Horse types

Mounts and Pack Animals

Siege Weapons

Besieging armies use a wide variety of siege engines such as: scaling ladders, battering rams on wheels, wheeled siege towers covered in rawhide and various types of catapults, trebuchets, mangonels, spitfires, and scorpions. Some are mounted on warships. [2]

Scorpions and spitfires are used in the defense of a city.[32] Steel caltrops are used in warfare and the defense of encampments, and can be flung with trebuchets at enemies (II: 375. III: 721) Scorpions shoot out yard-long iron-headed shafts[33] and can be prepared with fire, making fire spears[34], Additionally Iron spikes may be set underwater to hamper crossings.[35]


Stark and Greyjoy Bannermen sketches by Tribemun©
Tully and Lannister Bannermen sketches by Tribemun©
Free Folk by Mike S Miller ©





Cavalry figure prominently in the story and a good mediaeval model for Westerosi troops raised between the Neck and the Dornish Marches is provided by a 1364 muster of the troops belonging to the Duchy of Burgundy (the original French one before it expanded):

The troops comprised one chevalier banneret - in Westerosi terms a sworn bannerman

134 chevaliers/knights

105 ecuyers/squires

19 mounted archers

1 trumpeter

1 farrier

The only infantry were those 19 archers who rode horses to keep up with the rest on the march but dismounted to shoot.

Light Cavalry

Light cavalry consisted usually of lighter armed and armoured men, who could have lances, javelins or missile weapons, such as bows. they tend to be in leather and mail.[44] Light cavalry was used as scouts, outriders, skirmishers or outflankers. Many countries developed their own styles of light cavalry, such as Dothraki and Dornishmen.

Knights and Heavily Armed Cavalry

Knights are usually the best outfitted and trained soldier in the field, who could afford plate armour and a varied assortment of hand weapons. They are usually deployed as Heavily armed cavalry armed with lances. It Consisted of wealthy knights and noblemen who could afford the equipment and non-noble squires employed by noblemen.

"Common Outfitting"

Of Old


Forging Techniques

See Also

References and Notes

Note, Weapon/Armour types references refer to where these type where mentioned in the book, while some of their desription are based on real-life equivalents.

  1. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 22, Catelyn.
  3. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn, 585.
  4. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 61, Daenerys.
  5. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 11, Daenerys.
  6. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 10, Jon.
  7. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 60, Jon.
  8. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 68, Jon.
  9. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion.
  10. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran.
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Game of Thrones, Prologue.
  12. 12.0 12.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 21, Bran.
  13. The Hedge Knight,56.
  14. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard, 261.
  15. A Feast for Crows, Prologue, 6.
  16. SSM
  17. So Spake Martin November 09, 2002, Ibben and Armor .
  18. 18.0 18.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 26, Jon.
  19. 19.0 19.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 31, Catelyn.
  20. 20.0 20.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa.
  21. 21.0 21.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 22.6 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn.
  23. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 61, Daenerys, page 556.
  24. The Hedge Knight page 481
  25. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 31, Tyrion.
  26. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73, Jon.
  27. 27.0 27.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 35, Eddard.
  28. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 63, Catelyn.
  29. 29.0 29.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 62, Tyrion.
  30. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei, page 536.
  31. The Hedge Knight page 466
  32. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion.
  33. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 57, Sansa.
  34. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 64, Jon.
  35. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 39, Catelyn.
  36. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 57, Daenerys.
  37. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 69, Jon.
  38. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard.
  39. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 36, Daenerys.
  40. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 37, Bran.
  41. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 39, Arya.
  42. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell, page 523.
  43. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 38, Jaime, page 566.
  44. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 59, Catelyn.
  45. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73, Jon, page 841.
  46. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 9, Brienne, page 133.
  47. 47.0 47.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya.
  48. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 29, Tyrion.
  49. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 39, Arya, page 440.
  50. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran, page 616.
  51. A Clash of Kings, Bad reference param2.
  52. Bad reference param1, page 10.
  53. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 37, Theon.
  54. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon.
  55. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 42, Tyrion.
  56. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard, page 235.
  57. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion, page 359.
  58. SSM
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