Barristan Selmy

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House Selmy.svg Ser
Barristan Selmy
the Bold
Mike Capprotti Ser Barristan.jpg
Barristan Selmy, by Mike Capprotti ©

  • Barristan the Bold[1]
  • Barristan the Old[2]
  • Arstan Whitebeard[3]
  • Ser Grandfather[4]
  • Old Ser[5]
Culture Marcher[6]
Born 236237 AC[7]
Harvest Hall, the stormlands[3]
Father Ser Lyonel Selmy

Played by Ian McElhinney
TV series Game of Thrones:
Season 1 | 3 | 4 | 5

Barristan Selmy, called Barristan the Bold, is a knight from House Selmy and the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard of Robert I Baratheon.[8] A celebrated hero, he has served in the Kingsguard since a time when these knights were still considered to be the greatest of the Seven Kingdoms. Barristan becomes a POV character in A Dance with Dragons.

In the television adaptation Game of Thrones, he is played by Ian McElhinney.[9]

Appearance and Character

Barristan is tall and has pale blue eyes which some consider to be sad.[10][11] He is an older man, with white hair and lined features. When he was young, he had blond hair.[6] Some consider him handsome, at least for his age.[12][13] Despite his advanced age, Barristan looks strong and graceful and every bit the skilled knight he was in his youth.[14] He is taller than Ser Jorah Mormont but less muscular.[10]

Barristan is considered one of the most skilled and respected knights in the Seven Kingdoms,[1][15] considered to be made of the true steel that marks a Kingsguard knight.[16] Bran Stark believes him to be the greatest living knight.[1] According to a semi-canon source, he is comparable in skill to the acclaimed Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning.[17]

A dutiful[18] and gallant[19] man, Barristan dislikes tricks[16] and scheming.[6][5][20] Some do not consider him cunning.[15] Barristan can speak some of the High Valyrian of the Free Cities[3][21] and the mongrel Ghiscari of Slaver's Bay.[22]

Like other members of the Kingsguard, Barristan's plate armor, cloak, and shield are all in white.[23] His enameled scales have silver chasings and clasps.[14] He wields a longsword[5] and a dagger.[6]


Early life

Barristan and Maelys the Monstrous, by José Daniel Cabrera Peña in The World of Ice & Fire

Barristan was born the first son of Ser Lyonel Selmy, the Knight of Harvest Hall. He squired for Lord Manfred Swann in his youth.[24][25] At the age of ten, Barristan donned the armor of a mystery knight and entered a tourney at Blackhaven. Prince Duncan Targaryen took pity on the small mystery knight while others laughed. Duncan jousted Barristan when no one else would and it was Duncan who gave Barristan his epithet.[26][25][22] Barristan received his knighthood at the age of sixteen from King Aegon V Targaryen after unhorsing Prince Duncan and Ser Duncan the Tall, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, at a winter tourney in King's Landing.[25][6]

An eminently successful tourney knight throughout his career, Barristan also proved his worth on the battlefield. During the War of the Ninepenny Kings Barristan slew Maelys I Blackfyre in single combat, ending the male line of the Blackfyre Pretenders. Barristan cut a bloody path through the Golden Company to reach Maelys.[25][15][5][27] The remaining members of the Band of Nine had little to no interest in conquering Westeros, and soon returned to their own domains. Barristan's deeds during the war gained him undying fame and his name was well known throughout the Seven Kingdoms afterwards.[15][27]

Barristan was named to the Kingsguard at the age of twenty-three and swore his vows before Ser Gerold Hightower, while King Jaehaerys II Targaryen bestowed the white cloak on him.[6][28] In joining the Kingsguard, he gave up the claim to his family seat, and the girl he was to wed was married to his cousin instead.[23][25]

Aerys II

Barristan continued to serve in the Kingsguard after Jaehaerys died and Aerys II Targaryen ascended the throne. In 277 AC, during the Defiance of Duskendale, King Aerys had been held hostage inside of the town for half a year. Lord Tywin Lannister, Hand of the King, was planning to storm Duskendale, but Barristan offered to personally attempt to retrieve the captive Aerys himself. Tywin gave him a day.[29][6][30][25][5]

Disguised as a hooded beggar in the dead of night, Barristan climbed the walls of Duskendale, scaled the walls of the Dun Fort, and slew a sentry before the man could raise the alarm. Barristan freed Aerys from the dungeon and led him to the upper levels. During the escape attempt, Barristan slew two guards and Ser Symon Hollard, avenging the death of his sworn brother, Ser Gwayne Gaunt, who had been killed by Symon. Barristan and Aerys rushed to the stables, with the knight fending off those who tried to intervene. Mounted on stolen horses, the pair charged out the Dun Fort's gate and escaped through the streets of Duskendale.[29][25] Barristan took an arrow to the chest during the rescue.[31] Houses Darklyn and Hollard were destroyed by Aerys afterward, but the king acquiesced to Barristan's plea to spare the life of the child Dontos Hollard.[30] Many songs have since been sung of Barristan's deeds at Duskendale.[29]

When the band of outlaws known as the Kingswood Brotherhood caused problems, the king sent his Kingsguard on campaign in the kingswood. Barristan rescued Lady Jeyne Swann and her septa, and he killed the bandits' leader, Ser Simon Toyne, in single combat.[25] During a tourney at Storm's End, Barristan defeated Aerys's heir, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, in the final joust, winning the tourney.[31]

Barristan had greater difficulty keeping his vows in the later years of Aerys's reign, as the king became madder and crueler.[6] Like his other sworn brothers of the Kingsguard, Barristan was present at the tourney at Harrenhal. He was infatuated by the beautiful Lady Ashara Dayne, though he knew nothing could come of his desire for her. Barristan planned on naming her queen of love and beauty if he won the tournament, but the knight was unhorsed by Rhaegar.[5] The crown prince then crowned Lyanna Stark, setting off a chain of events that led to Robert's Rebellion.[32] Years later, Barristan wonders if he could have averted the war if he had defeated Rhaegar in the tournament. He also fantasizes that, if he had won the tourney and crowned Ashara, perhaps she would have turned to him "instead of Stark." He thinks of the consequences of his unspoken love for Ashara as one of his many failures.[5]

Robert's Rebellion

During Robert's Rebellion, after the defeat of Lord Jon Connington at the Battle of the Bells, Barristan and Ser Jonothor Darry of the Kingsguard were sent to rally the remnants of the loyalist army.[33]

Barristan fought in the Battle of the Trident, during which he was wounded by arrow, spear, and sword[25] while slaying a dozen friends of Lords Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark.[34] Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was killed by Robert in single combat in the ruby ford.[35] After the battle, Lord Roose Bolton counseled that Barristan's throat should be cut, but Robert instead called for his own maester to attend the knight.[34][5]

Because he had been wounded so badly, Barristan was not present in King's Landing when the bodies of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen's children, Princess Rhaenys and Prince Aegon—slain during the Sack—were presented to Robert by Lord Tywin Lannister. Barristan later felt that if he had been present and Robert had smiled at the bodies, nothing would have stopped him from killing the man.[5]

Robert I

Barristan by Romain Leguay © Fantasy Flight Games

Barristan considered seeking out Prince Viserys Targaryen, but the exile was too young to rule on his own and had already begun showing signs of Targaryen madness.[36] Because the lives of Barristan and many others had chivalrously been spared during the war by the new king, Robert I Baratheon,[36][37] Barristan instead took Robert's pardon and was named Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.[34]

Having already had reservations about Ser Jaime Lannister due to the youth's age and inexperience, Barristan did not approve of Robert allowing Jaime to continue his service after having killed King Aerys II Targaryen in the Sack of King's Landing. Barristan was known to say that the Kingslayer's white cloak should be traded for a black one.[38]

Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, knew Barristan when he was younger.[39] During Greyjoy's Rebellion, Barristan led the attack on Old Wyk.[25] He has remained a formidable fighter even in his advanced years, winning the championship of a tourney at King's Landing at the age of fifty-seven, and unhorsing Sandor Clegane in a tilt in the tourney on Prince Joffrey's name day in 297 AC.[40]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

As the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Barristan travels together with Lord Renly Baratheon and Ser Ilyn Payne to the inn at the crossroads, to serve as an honor guard to the procession led by King Robert I Baratheon and his new Hand of the King, Lord Eddard Stark, on their way back to King's Landing from Winterfell.[14] He later accompanies the king during his travels through the city.[41]

During the Hand's tourney, Barristan is defeated by Ser Jaime Lannister after three tilts, having defeated men thirty and forty years younger in his first two contests.[42] When Ser Hugh of the Vale is killed in the tournament by Ser Gregor Clegane, Barristan stands vigil over the young knight himself, as the boy had no one else.[16] Barristan and Eddard advise Robert against participating in the melee.[16]

Barristan's dismissal from the Kingsguard, by Ryan Valle © Fantasy Flight Games

As Lord Commander, Barristan is present at the small council meeting when King Robert orders the death of the pregnant Daenerys Targaryen, daughter to the late King Aerys II Targaryen. He and Eddard are the only council members who protest the move.[34]

Barristan accompanies Robert on his hunt for a white hart in the kingswood.[43] The king is mortally wounded by a boar during the hunt,[44] however, and Robert is succeeded by his eldest son, King Joffrey I Baratheon.[45]

In an unprecedented move, as per Lord Varys's suggestion,[46] Barristan is dismissed from the Kingsguard and the small council on grounds of old age, the implied accusation being that he did not keep King Robert safe.[23] The Lannisters' motivations, however, are to allow Joffrey to give a white cloak to his "dog," Sandor Clegane, and to allow Queen Cersei Lannister to place her brother Jaime as the new Lord Commander with a seat on the small council.[46] Outraged by his removal, Barristan throws down his sword and leaves the throne room.[23]

Joffrey orders the knight seized and questioned for a perceived threat uttered in the heat of his dismissal. Barristan enters the White Sword Tower to edit his White Book entry, dutifully recording his own dismissal.[25] Janos Slynt and three gold cloaks attempt to seize Barristan in the stables. Though he does not have his sword, Barristan kills two guards and flees the Red Keep.[19]

While his kin at Harvest Hall would welcome Barristan back home, Barristan does not want to inflict Joffrey's displeasure on them. Instead, once outside of King's landing, Barristan sells his horse and disguises himself as a commoner, cloaked in his old age. He returns to the city in a stream of smallfolk, pretending to be fleeing from the war. Having grown a long white beard, Barristan is present in the crowd when Eddard Stark is executed before the Great Sept of Baelor. Following Lord Stark's death, Barristan goes to the sept to pray for Eddard's soul and thank the gods that he himself had only been dismissed. Reevaluating his years of service in Robert's Kingsguard, he admits that Robert had been a good knight, but a poor king. Barristan decides that he must find his true king and die in his service.[19]

Lord Tywin Lannister considers Barristan's dismissal a folly. While Barristan is old, he still commands enough respect to make him a threat in case he chooses to back Stannis Baratheon or Robb Stark, and he cites it as one reason why he sends his son Tyrion as acting Hand to King's Landing to keep Joffrey better in check than Queen Cersei is capable of.[47][46]

A Clash of Kings

Barristan as Arstan Whitebeard, by Amok ©

Tyrion Lannister compares Ser Barristan's reputation among smallfolk to that of Serwyn of the Mirror Shield and Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, and warns Cersei that Robb Stark or Stannis Baratheon will benefit if Barristan publicly supports him.[46] Their rival Renly Baratheon hopes that Barristan's announcement that he is going to serve the true king refers to him. Renly keeps a cloak in his Rainbow Guard ready for Barristan in case the old knight offers him his sword. When he concludes that his hopes have been futile, Renly gives Barristan's spot on his Kingsguard to Brienne of Tarth, believing that the knight may support the Starks.[48] However, Lady Catelyn Stark informs him that Barristan is not with Robb. Renly concludes that Barristan must have decided to support his brother Stannis, and he orders his knights to spare Barristan's life.[49]

Following his decision to find his true king, Viserys Targaryen, Barristan crosses the narrow sea and travels to Pentos.[19] Barristan eventually ends up in contact with Magister Illyrio Mopatis, and he learns of Viserys's death in Vaes Dothrak. Illyrio sends Barristan, disguised as the old squire Arstan Whitebeard, alongside the huge eunuch Belwas to Qarth to bring Queen Daenerys Targaryen back to Pentos.[50]

Barristan and Strong Belwas sail east on the three ships of Captain Groleo, which visit New Ghis before arriving at Qarth.[51] They follow Daenerys and Ser Jorah Mormont, who are trying to find passage on the ships docked at the port of Qarth. Jorah notices them and becomes suspicious. When a Sorrowful Man attempts to assassinate Daenerys by presenting her with a box containing a manticore, Barristan knocks the manticore from her hands and kills it.[50] Barristan introduces himself as Arstan Whitebeard, and together with Belwas tell Daenerys that Illyrio had sent them to serve her, and bring her back to Pentos, as there were four kings in Westeros when they left Pentos, and no justice.[50]

A Storm of Swords

Rather than sail to Pentos, Daenerys chooses to sail on Groleo's ships to Astapor to buy Unsullied. Barristan, still keeping his true identity a secret, discusses with Daenerys her dragons, her father, King Aerys II, and her brother, Prince Rhaegar. Ser Jorah Mormont distrusts Barristan and Belwas, pointing out that Barristan speaks out too brazenly for a mere squire.[10]

Barristan is with Daenerys in the Plaza of Pride when they meet with Kraznys mo Nakloz, the Good Master selling Unsullied. Barristan disapproves of buying slaves, and when Daenerys asks how she is to win Westeros without an army, he replies that half of Westeros would support her because of Rhaegar. When she asks about her father, however, Barristan has little positive to say. He advises Daenerys that she should send envoys, and that even those that opposed her father might support her.[52] He also objects to Daenerys's plan to pay for the Unsullied with one of her dragons, but she conquers Astapor by ordering her new Unsullied to attack the slavers,[53] after which she frees them from slavery.

When Daenerys announces her plan to take Yunkai, Barristan agrees with Jorah that she is Rhaegar's sister, adding that she is also a queen. While waiting for the results of the battle near Yunkai, Barristan and Daenerys discuss Rhaegar, the tourney at Harrenhal, and Summerhall.[31]

Arstan Whitebeard kneels at Daenerys Targaryen's feet, by Sara K. Diesel © Fantasy Flight Games

During the siege of Meereen, Oznak zo Pahl rides out of the city on a white charger with a fourteen-foot lance, challenging the besiegers to send forth a champion. Barristan tells Daenerys that this challenge must be met, after which Daenerys decides that Belwas is the best choice.[31]

Daenerys later decides that she will ride out amongst her people with only a limited guard. She is attacked by Mero, the former commander of the Second Sons, but Barristan easily dispatches him. The sellsword falls into the water and the freemen fall on his body.[24] Daenerys wishes that Baristan be knighted in gratitude, but both Barristan and Jorah Mormont refuse this at the same time. Jorah, highly suspicious, questions how an old squire with a stick could have been capable of killing Mero, the Titan's Bastard, and asks Barristan who he is, to which Barristan replies "a better knight than you, ser".[24]

Barristan begs forgiveness from Daenerys for withholding truths from her. Jorah recognizes Barristan and informs Daenerys that Barristan had betrayed House Targaryen to serve Robert I Baratheon. Barristan tells her that he is hers, if she will have him. He also explains he took Robert's pardon and served with men not worthy of a place in the Kingsguard, and that, when Joffrey Baratheon dismissed him aside and sent men to kill him, he realized that he had to find his true king. Barristan tells Daenerys he kept his identity a secret because he wanted to prevent the Lannisters from learning he had joined her. When Barristan insinuates that Jorah has been spying on Daenerys for Varys since her wedding to Drogo, Jorah affirms the accusation is true.[24]

Daenerys captures Meereen by having Barristan, Jorah, and Belwas infiltrate the city through the sewers and release slaves. Afterward, Barristan shaves his beard and looks ten years younger. Daenerys reveals she had hoped that they would die in the sewers. Barristan admits he had kept his identity hidden to be certain that she did not have the taint of madness like her father had. Barristan tells the queen that her brother, Viserys, had more of the taint of her father, the Mad King. Rhaegar did not, and he sees no taint in her. He further tells her that he will do whatever she asks, and if she will not have him he would continue to serve Belwas. Daenerys accepts him in her service, and Barristan receives a sword from her, refusing to take one from anyone else. In contrast, Jorah is exiled from Meereen.[36]

Daenerys realizes that Barristan had personally known her grandfather, King Jaehaerys II, and he could tell her more about where she came from. After he has been pardoned, Barristan tells Daenerys that her father's secrets, which he had overheard as a Kingsguard knight, now by rights belong to her. He explains that Aerys had not been mad initially, but that his lapses became worse over time, while her mother, Queen Rhaella, did her best to shield Viserys from his father's insanity. Daenerys decides she does not want to hear it at that moment, but that he should tell her more some other time. Barristan is among her advisors when she states she will not leave but stay and rule as a queen in Meereen.[36]

A Dance with Dragons

Daenerys names Barristan the Lord Commander of her Queensguard[54] and gives him new gold-and-silver armor.[12] The mail is gilded and finely wrought, with supple links and hard enamel plates. His longsword hangs from a white leather belt with golden buckles, and he also wields a dagger.[5] Barristan wears a long white cloak about his shoulders and carries a white shield.[13] His helm has a narrow eye slit and ornate dragon's wings.[5] His horse is a dapple grey.[12]

Barristan attempts to lead his queen down an honorable path towards the safety of Meereen. Barristan distrusts Daenerys's paramour, Daario Naharis, and he unsuccessfully suggests holding a tourney.[19] Groleo and Barristan inspect the ships brought to Meereen by Xaro Xhoan Daxos. Daenerys rejects Barristan's advice to leave Meereen for Westeros.[55]

Barristan instructs Grazhar zo Galare and other noble boys in western chivalry.[56] The Lord Commander also begins training more than sixty freed slaves, with thirty of them persevering.[6] The most promising of them become Barristan's squires, including Tumco Lho, Larraq, the Red Lamb, and three Ghiscari brothers.[5][57]

When Yunkai marches on Meereen, Skahaz mo Kandaq advises Daenerys to remain within Meereen's strong walls while Barristan suggests defeating the Yunkai'i in the field. Selmy objects to allowing into Meereen refugees from Astapor, because of the danger of the bloody flux,[11] and the knight also objects when Daenerys meets the refugees outside of the walls.[4] The Lord Commander does not approve of Daenerys wedding Hizdahr zo Loraq, since the man would not be accepted in the Seven Kingdoms.[56] Barristan is supportive of Quentyn Martell when the prince informs Daenerys of the secret marriage pact, but Daenerys weds Hizdahr instead of Quentyn to ensure temporary peace within Meereen.[12]

When Drogon begins attacking people in Daznak's Pit, Barristan tries to protect Daenerys by drawing the dragon's attention to himself. The queen ends up fleeing Meereen atop Drogon.[13]

After Daenerys's departure, Hizdahr replaces the royal advisors, but Barristan meets with Skahaz and Grey Worm.[6] He is present when Bloodbeard presents the court with the head of Groleo, who was slain in response to the death of Yurkhaz zo Yunzak. Barristan is enraged and wants to kill Bloodbeard, but stops because the act would break his queen's peace. Barristan advises Quentyn and his companions to leave Meereen for their own safety,[22] but the Dornishmen remain in the city.[58]

Barristan and the Brazen Beasts, by Urukki Saki ©

Convinced that Hizdahr had attempted to assassinate Daenerys with poisoned locusts,[22] Barristan decides to work with Grey Worm and Skahaz, despite his loathing of the latter and his own inhibitions about making decisions of state in the absence of his queen.[6] Barristan leads with honor and refuses Skahaz's suggestion to kill the Ghiscari cupbearers, the children of powerful Meereenese nobles. Barristan and the Brazen Beasts plan to take King Hizdahr hostage, but he fears that if Hizdahr is harmed the Yunkai'i will kill their remaining hostages—Daario, Jhogo and Hero—just as they killed Groleo. When Barristan goes to capture Hizdahr, he slays the king's protector, the formidable pit fighter Khrazz.[5] Meanwhile, Quentyn attempts to tame one of dragons, but Rhaegal and Viserion break free from their imprisonment and Quentyn is mortally wounded by dragonflame.[59][20]

Barristan assumes the title of Hand, sending a reluctant Galazza Galare an envoy to the Yunkai'i and preventing Skahaz from executing hostages. Barristan refuses to hold court, instead holding a council session which plans for battle with Yunkai. A beacon system will be used to call the attack should the fragile peace between the sides be broken.[20] Barristan discretely meets with Ser Gerris Drinkwater and Ser Archibald Yronwood, the late Quentyn's companions. Tasking them with speaking on his behalf with the Tattered Prince, Barristan offers to grant Pentos to the sellsword captain if he protects the remaining hostages in the Yunkish camp.[20] During a meeting between Barristan and Galazza after she returns, Skahaz notifies Barristan that the Yunkish catapults are flinging corpses infected with the pale mare into the city.[20]

The Winds of Winter

This information has thus far been released in a sample chapter for The Winds of Winter, and might therefore not be in finalized form. Keep in mind that the content as described below is still subject to change.

The Yunkish threat in the second siege of Meereen has been augmented by the presence of the bloody flux. Ser Barristan notes that under normal circumstances, he would defend Meereen from behind its strong walls. However, because the Yunkish introduced the pale mare into Meereen by catapulting infected corpses over the walls, he resolves to ride out and meet his enemy on the field rather than watch the impending outbreak annihilate Meereen. On the eve of the offensive, he gives a pep talk to his newly anointed knights and soldiers. When his talk is interrupted by the arrival of dawn, Barristan orders the Red Lamb to "sound the attack".[60]

Quotes by Barristan

Varys: We are not unmindful of your service, good ser. Lord Tywin Lannister has generously agreed to grant you a handsome tract of land north of Lannisport, beside the sea, with gold and men sufficient to build you a stout keep, and servants to see to your every need.
Barristan: A hall to die in, and men to bury me. I thank you, my lords, but I spit on your pity ... I am a knight. I shall die a knight.[23]

Varys and Barristan

Have no fear, sers, your king is safe... no thanks to you. Even now, I could cut through the five of you as easy as a dagger cuts cheese. If you would serve under the Kingslayer, not a one of you is fit to wear the white. Here, boy. Melt it down and add it to the others, if you like. It will do you more good than the swords in the hands of these five. Perhaps Lord Stannis will chance to sit on it when he takes your throne.[23]

I took Robert's pardon, aye. I served him in Kingsguard and council. Served with the Kingslayer and others near as bad, who soiled the white cloak I wore. Nothing will excuse that. I might be serving in King's Landing still if the vile boy upon the Iron Throne had not cast me aside, it shames me to admit. But when he took the cloak the White Bull had draped about my shoulders, and sent men to kill me that selfsame day, it was as though he'd ripped a caul off my eyes. That was when I knew I must find my true king, and die in his service...[24]

—Barristan to Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys: Can we win this fight?
Barristan: Men can always fight, Your Grace. Ask rather if we can win. Dying is easy, but victory comes hard.[11]

Daenerys Targaryen and Barristan

Duskendale had been his finest hour, yet the memory tasted bitter on his tongue. It was his failures that haunted him at night, though. Jaehaerys, Aerys, Robert. Three dead kings. Rhaegar, who would have been a finer king than any of them. Princess Elia and the children. Aegon just a babe, Rhaenys with her kitten. Dead, every one, yet he still lived, who had sworn to protect them.[6]

—thoughts of Barristan

You kill men for the wrongs they have done, not the wrongs that they may do someday.[5]

—Barristan to Skahaz mo Kandaq

I am no Hand, a part of him wanted to cry out. I am only a simple knight, the queen's protector. I never wanted this. But with the queen gone and the king in chains, someone had to rule, and Ser Barristan did not trust the Shavepate.[20]

—thoughts of Barristan

I am an old man, an old knight, and I have seen more battles than most of you have years. Nothing is more terrible upon this earth, nothing more glorious, nothing more absurd. You may retch. You will not be the first. You may drop your sword, your shield, your lance. Others have done the same. Pick it up and go on fighting. You may foul your breeches. I did, in my first battle. No one will care. All battlefields smell of shit. You may cry out for your mother, pray to gods you thought you had forgotten, howl obscenities that you never dreamed could pass your lips. All this has happened too.[60]

—Barristan addressing his men in the second siege of Meereen

Quotes about Barristan

Sansa: Even in the far north, the singers praise the deeds of Barristan the Bold.
Renly: Barristan the Old, you mean. Don't flatter him too sweetly, child, he thinks overmuch of himself already.[14]

Eddard: Ser Barristan is as valiant and honorable as any man in King's Landing.
Petyr: And as tiresome.[61]

Of these seven, only Ser Barristan Selmy is made of the true steel.[16]

And dismissing Selmy, where was the sense in that? Yes, the man was old, but the name of Barristan the Bold still has meaning in the realm. He lent honor to any man he served. Can anyone say the same of the Hound?[47]

Tywin Lannister to Tyrion Lannister after learning of Barristan's dismissal from the Kingsguard

The smallfolk talk of him the same way they talk of Serwyn of the Mirror Shield and Prince Aemon the Dragonknight.[46]

He has a good face, and great strength to him.[52]

—thoughts of Daenerys Targaryen

I saw him perhaps a dozen times ... from afar, most often, standing with his brothers or riding in some tourney. But every man in the Seven Kingdoms knows Barristan the Bold ... Khaleesi, before you kneels Ser Barristan Selmy, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, who betrayed your House to serve the Usurper Robert Baratheon.[24]

I learned from the White Bull and Barristan the Bold. I learned from Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, who could have slain all five of you with his left hand while he was taking a piss with the right. I learned from Prince Lewyn of Dorne and Ser Oswell Whent and Ser Jonothor Darry, good men every one.[25]

Ser Barristan is a valiant knight and true; but none, I think, has ever called him cunning.[62]

We should be heeding Selmy. When Barristan the Bold tells you to run, a wise man laces up his boots.[58]

Queen's Hand. An old woman's hand, I am thinking, wrinkled and feeble.[20]

Skahaz mo Kandaq to Barristan

Entry in the White Book

Ser Barristan of House Selmy. Firstborn son of Ser Lyonel Selmy of Harvest Hall. Served as squire to Ser Manfred Swann. Named "the Bold" in his 10th year, when he donned borrowed armor to appear as a mystery knight in the tourney of Blackhaven, where he was defeated and unmasked by Duncan, Prince of Dragonflies. Knighted in his 16th year by King Aegon V Targaryen, after performing great feats of prowess as a mystery knight in the winter tourney at King's Landing, defeating Prince Duncan the small and Ser Duncan the Tall, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Slew Maelys the Monstrous, last of the Blackfyre Pretenders, in single combat during the War of the Ninepenny Kings. Defeated Lormelle Long Lance and Cedrik Storm, the Bastard of Bronzegate. Named to the Kingsguard in his 23rd year, by Lord Commander Ser Gerold Hightower. Defended the passage against all challengers in the tourney of the Silver Bridge. Victor in the mêlée at Maidenpool. Brought King Aerys II to safety during the Defiance of Duskendale despite an arrow wound in the chest. Avenged the murder of his Sworn Brother, Ser Gwayne Gaunt. Rescued Lady Jeyne Swann and her septa from the Kingswood Brotherhood, defeating Simon Toyne and the Smiling Knight, slaying the former. In the Oldtown tourney, defeated and unmasked the mystery knight, Blackshield revealing him to be the Bastard of Uplands. Sole champion of Lord Steffon's tourney at Storm's End, whereat he unhorsed Lord Robert Baratheon, Prince Oberyn Martell, Lord Leyton Hightower, Lord Jon Connington, Lord Jason Mallister, and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Wounded by arrow, spear, and sword at the Battle of the Trident whilst fighting beside his Sworn Brothers and Rhaegar Prince of Dragonstone. Pardoned, and named Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, by King Robert I Baratheon. Served in the honor guard that brought Lady Cersei of House Lannister to King's Landing to wed King Robert. Led the attack on Old Wyk during Balon Greyjoy's Rebellion. Champion of the tourney at King's Landing, in his 57th year. Dismissed by King Joffrey I Baratheon in his 61st year, for reasons of advanced age.[25]

—the achievements of Barristan as recorded in the White Book by Gerold Hightower and Barristan himself




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 8, Bran II.
  2. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 15, Jon II.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 63, Daenerys V.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 36, Daenerys VI.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 55, The Queensguard.
  7. See the Barristan Selmy calculation.
  8. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  9. Game of Thrones Cast & Characters |
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 30, Daenerys V.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 52, Daenerys IX.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  17. So Spake Martin: The Sword of the Morning vs. Barristan the Bold (September 02, 2011)
  18. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 70, The Queen's Hand.
  21. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 22, Arya IV.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 59, The Discarded Knight.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 57, Daenerys V.
  25. 25.00 25.01 25.02 25.03 25.04 25.05 25.06 25.07 25.08 25.09 25.10 25.11 25.12 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
  26. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24, Bran II.
  27. 27.0 27.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys II.
  28. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  30. 30.0 30.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 9, Brienne II.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
  32. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
  33. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 33, Eddard VIII.
  35. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
  37. The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: Robert's Rebellion.
  38. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 57, Tyrion XI.
  39. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 52, Jon VII.
  40. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
  41. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  42. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
  43. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
  44. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
  45. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 46.4 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
  47. 47.0 47.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
  48. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 22, Catelyn II.
  49. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 33, Catelyn IV.
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 64, Arya X.
  51. The Lands of Ice and Fire, Journeys.
  52. 52.0 52.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  53. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 27, Daenerys III.
  54. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
  55. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 16, Daenerys III.
  56. 56.0 56.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 23, Daenerys IV.
  57. A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
  58. 58.0 58.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 60, The Spurned Suitor.
  59. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 68, The Dragontamer.
  60. 60.0 60.1 The Winds of Winter, Barristan I
  61. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
  62. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.

External Links

Preceded by Lord Commander of the Kingsguard
283299 AC
Served under: Robert I Baratheon
Joffrey I Baratheon
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lord Commander of the Queensguard
300 AC–present
Served under: Daenerys Targaryen
Preceded byas King of Meereen Leader of the ruling council of Meereen
300 AC–present