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Tourneys play a central role in A Song of Ice and Fire. Large parts of the plot are arranged around a number of major tourneys, and stylistically, they are used as an evocative medieval trope.


The continent of Westeros, where the largest parts of the books take place, has a culture and level of technology that is based on Northwestern Europe in the Middle Ages. The dozens of tournaments that are described or mentioned in the series are important social events, and form the background of many of the major plot developments. For the knights, the tourney outcomes are an important part of their personal history.

Martin's descriptions of these tournament vary wildly. Some, like the Hand's tourney in A Game of Thrones or the Ashford tourney in The Hedge Knight are part of the basic plot, and narrated first hand. Martin describes their spectacular pageantry in vivid detail that is characteristic of his style in A Song of Ice and Fire, often mentioning of the heraldry and the armour of individual entrants, and the results of every tilt. Other tourneys of pivotal significance, like the Harrenhal Tourney, are described piecemeal in flashbacks by various characters, and the reader must assemble the information from numerous small fragments.

Formats and rules

The central event of most Westerosi tournaments is w:jousting, where two armoured knights aim to knock each other off their mounts with a w:jousting lance, continuing on foot with a variety of blunted weapons. However, many forms of tournaments are known, including mock battles between teams of knights, archery competitions or mêlées, where many warriors fight individually in one large battle. Many tournaments are large events that take several days and may include several different competitions.

Many tournaments pit pairs of warriors in rounds, where the loser is eliminated and the winner proceeds to the next round. The winner of the last round is declared champion. This is similar to how many tournaments in real life were performed, with exception of the best-of-three rule; see w:jousting. Another popular format was used at Ashford. This type of tournament starts with five champions who defend the honour of a woman, often a daughter of the Lord who arranges the tournament. Other participants can challenge one of the champions to a joust, and if successful take his place. At the end of the tournament, the five remaining champions either confirm the original Queen of Love and Beauty, or chose a new.

In many tournaments, the loser of a joust forfeits his horse and armour to the winner, thus jeopardizing a considerable part of his possessions.

Some Westerosi tournaments are open only to anointed knights, whose privileges are jealously guarded; this forms an important plot element in The Hedge Knight. Indeed, tournament culture is closely connected to chivalric tradition and its spiritiual basis, the Andal Faith in the Seven Gods. These traditions dominate southern and central Westeros, and are uncommon in the North, where many follow the Old Gods. However, the rules for entering tournaments vary with time and place, and there have been many events where freeriders, squires, or followers of the Old Gods have entered the lists.

Individual tourneys

The ordering below is roughly chronological. The dates are given in years after Aegon's Landing (AL).

Tourney at Lannisport

Tourney at King's Landing

Date: 193 AL

Hastilude for Lord Baratheon's grandson

Date: 200 AL

  • Baelor Targaryen defeated Arlan of Pennytree. (7 tilts according to Arlan, 4 according to Baelor)

Tourney at King's Landing

Date: 206 AL

Continuing the age-old feud between houses Blackwood and Bracken, Ser Otho "the Brute of Bracken" slew Lord Blackwood at this tourney, smashing his helm and face with a blow from a blunted longaxe.

Maidenpool tourney

Date: 208 AL

Mêlée champion: Humfrey Hardyng

  • Humfrey Hardyng defeated Donnel of Duskendale
  • Humfrey Hardyng defeated Lord Royce
  • Humfrey Hardyng defeated Lord Arryn

Ashford tourney

Date: 209 AL

The Ashford tourney provides the setting for The Hedge Knight and is presented in great detail in the short story, as well as in a graphic novel adaptation. The tournament was arranged by Lord Ashford in honour of his daughter, who reigned as Queen of Love and Beauty and was defended by five champions. The outcome of the tournament is unknown to us, and the event itself came to be overshadowed by the trial by battle that developed out of a confrontation between Duncan the Tall and Prince Aerion Brightflame, resulting in the death of crown prince Baelor Breakspear.

Whitewalls Tourney

Date: ca. 212 AL

The tourney at Whitewalls provides the setting for The Mystery Knight and the second Blackfyre rebellion. It was arranged by Lord Ambrose Butterwell to celebrate his second marriage, to a daughter of House Frey. The format was a standard knock-out tournament; only few outcomes are known to us, and the tourney was aborted prematurely when an army led by Bloodraven attacked Whitewalls. Two knights entered the lists under false names: Duncan the Tall as the mystery “Gallows Knight,” Daemon II Blackfyre as “John the Fiddler.”

Tourney at Blackhaven

Date: 248 AL

This tournament is notable as the first appearance of Barristan Selmy. Selmy, then a squire of ten years, acquired a suit of armor and entered the lists as a mystery knight. He jousted well until being defeated by Duncan Targaryen and unmasked. He was dubbed Barristan the Bold for his deeds that day.

  • Prince Duncan Targaryen defeated Barristan Selmy (mystery knight)

Winter Tourney at King's Landing

Date: 254 AL

King Aegon V knighted the 16-year old Barristan Selmy for his great acts of prowess at this event.

  • Barristan Selmy defeated Duncan the Tall
  • Barristan Selmy defeated Prince Duncan Targaryen

Tourney at Silver Bridge

Only Ser Barristan's entry in the White Book tells of this tourney. He defended the passage against all comers.

Champion: Barristan Selmy

Tourney at Maidenpool

Champion: Barristan Selmy (mêlée)

Oldtown tourney

  • Barristan Selmy defeated the Blackshield, unmasking the mystery knight and revealing him to be the Bastard of Uplands

Tourney at Lannisport

Date: ca. 276 AL

Melee at ???

Date: ca. 279 AL

This may have been a squires-only melee.

  • Champion: Jaime Lannister

Tourney at Storm's End

Date: between 277 AL and 280 AL

The information about this tourney is problematic because some details in A Storm of Swords conflict. The author has confirmed that the outlaw Simon Toyne did not attend this tourney, he was dead at that time and the elderly Ser Barristan misremembered.

Champion: Barristan Selmy

The Great Harrenhal tourney

Date: 281 AL

Possibly the most pivotal event prior to A Song of Ice and Fire, this tourney took place more than a decade before the events in A Game of Thrones, and only few details have been disclosed so far. The tourney was held by Lord Whent in honor of his daughter and to show off his house's power; it was the greatest tourney of its time and perhaps ever. Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was champion, and in the end chose Lyanna Stark as Queen of Love and Beauty. This was scandalous in that, not only was Rhaegar already married (to Elia of Dorne), but Lyanna herself was betrothed to Robert Baratheon. Rhaegar's indiscretion culminated in his abduction of Lyanna a year later, which touched off the War of the Usurper and brought an end to Targaryen rule. Also at this occasion, 15-year-old Jaime Lannister was admitted into the order of the Kingsguard, and a mystery knight, the "Knight of the Laughing Tree", appeared in the lists to fight for the honour of Howland Reed of Greywater Watch.

Champion: Rhaegar Targaryen.

  • Unknown jousters defeated the 4 sons of Lord Whent of Harrenhal
  • The Knight of the Laughing Tree defeated a member of House Haigh
  • The Knight of the Laughing Tree defeated a member of House Blount
  • The Knight of the Laughing Tree defeated a member of House Frey
  • Rhaegar Targaryen defeated Yohn Royce
  • Rhaegar Targaryen defeated Brandon Stark
  • Rhaegar Targaryen defeated Arthur Dayne
  • Rhaegar Targaryen defeated Barristan Selmy

Other participants: Gerold Hightower, Oswell Whent, Robert Baratheon, and Richard Lonmouth.

King Robert's wedding

Date: 284 AL

A tourney was held in celebration of King Robert Baratheon's marriage to Cersei of House Lannister.

Champion: Jaime Lannister

Unnamed tourney

Date: Between 285 and 290 AL

Tourney in celebration of Balon Greyjoy's defeat

Date: 289 AL.

After King Robert's forces defeated the rebel Balon Greyjoy, a tourney was arranged in celebration at nearby Lannisport. Jorah Mormont, recently knighted for his valorous acts in the final battle at Pyke, won the tournament and with it the hand of Lynesse of House Hightower, whose favor he wore.

Champion: Jorah Mormont

  • Jorah Mormont defeated Jason Mallister
  • Jorah Mormont defeated Yohn Royce
  • Jorah Mormont defeated Ryman Frey
  • Jorah Mormont defeated Hosteen Frey
  • Jorah Mormont defeated Lord Whent
  • Jorah Mormont defeated Lyle Crakehall
  • Jorah Mormont defeated Boros Blount
  • Jorah Mormont defeated Jaime Lannister in the final tilt. After 9 broken lances, King Robert awarded Jorah the victory.
  • Also jousting: Lynesse's brothers

Lord Mace Tyrell's name day Tourney

Date: ca 294 AL

Champion: William Rykker

Unnamed tourney

Date: ca 296 AL

Champion: Barristan Selmy (aged 57)

Crown Prince Joffrey's 12th name day

Date: 298 AL

Champion: Loras Tyrell

  • Barristan Selmy defeated Sandor Clegane
  • Some hedge knight defeated Danwell Frey
  • Loras Tyrell defeated Hosteen Frey
  • Loras Tyrell defeated Jaime Lannister
  • Yohn Royce defeated Thoros of Myr (mêlée)

The Hand's tourney

Date: 298 AL

This tourney is described in great detail over a number of chapters in A Game of Thrones. It was held at King's Landing in honor of Eddard Stark, the newly appointed Hand of King Robert Baratheon. It included an archery tournament, a w:mêlée, and a round-based jousting competition. The jousting competition ended when Gregor Clegane attacked Loras Tyrell after their tilt. Sandor Clegane stepped in and saved Loras's life, fighting his own brother to an impasse. After King Robert put a stop to the fighting, Loras yielded the final tilt to Sandor in gratitude.

Champion: Sandor Clegane

  • Jory Cassel defeated a member of House Frey
  • Jory Cassel defeated Horace Redwyne
  • Lothor Brune defeated Jory Cassel. After 3 tilts Lothor was awarded the victory.
  • Meryn Trant defeated Harwin of Winterfell
  • Balon Swann defeated Alyn of Winterfell
  • Jaime Lannister defeated Andar Royce
  • Jaime Lannister defeated Bryce Caron
  • Jaime Lannister defeated Barristan Selmy
  • Gregor Clegane defeated Hugh of the Vale, killing him in the process
  • Gregor Clegane defeated Balon Swann
  • Beric Dondarrion defeated a hedge knight in checkers, after the knight disgraced himself
  • Thoros of Myr defeated Beric Dondarrion
  • Aron Santagar jousted against Lothor Brune, but after 3 tilts they were awarded a draw
  • Jason Mallister defeated Aron Santagar
  • Robar Royce defeated Lothor Brune
  • Loras Tyrell defeated a knight of the Kingsguard
  • Loras Tyrell defeated another knight of the Kingsguard
  • Loras Tyrell defeated a third knight of the Kingsguard
  • Loras Tyrell defeated Robar Royce
  • Loras Tyrell defeated Gregor Clegane in the semi-final tilt. Loras rode a mare in heat that distracted Gregor's stallion.
  • Sandor Clegane defeated Renly Baratheon
  • Sandor Clegane defeated Jaime Lannister in the semi-final tilt
  • Sandor Clegane defeated Loras Tyrell in the final tilt, as Loras yielded the match

Other participants: Yohn Royce, Hobber Redwyne, Patrek Mallister, Jared Frey, Hosteen Frey, Danwell Frey, Emmon Frey, Theo Frey, Perwyn Frey, Martyn Rivers, Jalabhar Xho, Arys Oakheart, Mandon Moore, Preston Greenfield

Archery champion: Anguy the Archer, defeating Balon Swann and Jalabhar Xho at the final distance

Mêlée champion: Thoros of Myr

Tourney for King Joffrey's 13th name day

Date: 299 AL

This tourney happens in the first Sansa chapter of A Clash of Kings. It was held at King's Landing in honour of the young King Joffrey Baratheon. It was called off prematurely by the King after the knight Ser Dontos Hollard shamed himself by appearing drunk.

  • Meryn Trant defeated Hobber Redwyne (2 tilts)
  • Balon Swann defeated Morros Slynt (1 tilt)
  • Lothor Brune defeated Dontos Hollard (by forfeit)

Bitterbridge tourney

Date: 299 AL

Only the end of this event, a large mêlée of 116 knights, is described in the books, a Catelyn chapter in A Clash of Kings. The tourney was arranged by the self proclaimed king Renly Baratheon (younger brother of the late Robert Baratheon) on his march towards King's Landing during the War of the Five Kings.

Champion: Brienne of Tarth.

  • Brienne of Tarth defeated Richard Farrow, Edmund Ambrose, Big Ben Bushy, Mark Mullendore, Raymond Nayland, Will the Stork, Harry Sawyer, Robin Potter, Ronnet Connington, and Loras Tyrell.

Melee at Runestone

Date: 300 AL

This was a melee for squires only.

  • Champion: Harrold Hardyng.

Miscellaneous results

The remaining results cannot be tied to a specific event. These encounters may have happened at the same tourney or not.

Champion: Denys Mallister.

  • Thoros of Myr defeated Kevan Lannister (melee)
  • Thoros of Myr defeated Sandor Clegane thrice (melee)
  • Denys Mallister defeated Randyll Tarly's father
  • Denys Mallister defeated Alester Florent
  • Daven Lannister defeated Marq Piper (melee)


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