Watchers on the Wall Awards Season 7: Best Fight – Preliminary Round

WotW season7-awards

FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT! Who doesn’t love a good fight scene? And Game of Thrones is packed with great ones, year after year. Season 7 was no exception, bringing us a wide variety of scenes that demonstrated danger, emotional catharsis, and physical finesse.

One clarification point: for our award and nomination purposes, we have two separate action categories. Best Fight, which we’ll do preliminary voting on today, celebrates smaller-scale action scenes, where opponents go head-to-head in small groups or one-on-one. The larger-scale sequences will fight it out in the Best Battle category, voted on further down the line. Sometimes fights will be part of the big battle sequences, which are much longer. Got it? Good! It’s time to narrow our favorite fights down to five!

The standard rules: Select up to FIVE nominees from each poll. You can choose fewer if you like, but you cannot choose more than 5 from each category. (Visit the initial WotW Awards post for a complete explanation of the rules and process.)

At the end of 72 hours (Wednesday 11/22/17 at 12PM Eastern Time), whichever five fights have the most votes will continue on to the finals. The results of the poll will be revealed when it’s time to choose the winners in a couple weeks.

Thanks to Greatjon of Slumber for tallying up the initial nominee suggestions!

32 responses

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    1. Theon stands up to Harrag of the Ironborn
      Brienne and Arya have a sparring match in Winterfell
      Euron battles Obara and Nymeria to the death
      Yara goes after her uncle Euron in the sea battle
      Surrounded on the tiny island, Jon and co. fight off the wights

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    2. Brienne & Arya sparring was the only one I found memorable enough to vote for. The rest was all kind of obligatory fighty-fighty to me.

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    3. Brienne and Arya have a sparring match in Winterfell (Joyful and delightful aren’t usually adjectives that spring to mind when describing what makes a fight scene so great, but in this case, they absolutely apply).

      The Eastwatch 7 fight off a snow bear

      The Eastwatch 7 take on a White Walker and his collection of wights

      Bronn takes on a Dothraki warrior in the battle

      Euron battles Obara and Nymeria to the death

      Honorable Mention:

      -Theon stands up to Harrag of the Ironborn
      -Surrounded on the tiny island, Jon and co. fight off the wights
      -Jaime fights off a Dothraki, with an assist from Dickon Tarly
      -Yara goes after her uncle Euron in the sea battle

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    4. • Theon stands up to Harrag; wins a fight by…getting kicked where his balls used to be? No thanks. Besides, the Ironborn raincoats made them look like Monty Python extras.

      • #1 ✔️ Brienne and Arya have a sparring match in Winterfell.This has got to be hands-down the runaway winner in this category. By itself, Arya’s dagger twirl at the beginning as she shows her new weapon to Brienne was amazing – surpassed only by the nifty dagger-flip at the end of the fight. And let’s face it, the fight choreography, the costumes, the dialogue, and the mutual smiles at the end, capped off by the “No one” quip were just perfect. I must have watched this scene thirty times. Gwen & Maisie: take a bow.
      Obviously, my top choice.
      🥇🤺⚔️🗡🏆

      • Bronn takes on Dothraki warrior. Must’ve been a blink-or-you-missed-it moment. (If this refers to the Dothraki getting impaled by the Scorpion bolt…over in a millisecond, and not really a “fight.” Bronn’s got the Vale trial by combat on his resume; his encounter with the Dothraki doesn’t quite measure up.)

      • Euron battles Obara and Nymeria…Nothing special. And Dorne still sucks.

      • Eastwatch 7 fight off a snow bear? That’s not a bear. That’s Toby.

      • Yara goes after her Uncle Euron. Blah. Ironborn/Greyjoy stuff is filler.

      • Surrounded on the tiny island, Jon & co. fight off the wights. Eh. Cheesy slow-mo kind of diluted this. The scene before this, when the Hound nailed the wight in the jaw with a rock, was better. Still, there were some individual noteworthy moments here, and you can never go wrong when Beric Dondarrion ignites his sword.
      Second Runner-Up. 🥉

      • Grey Worn uses his spear on the soldiers of Casterly Rock. But, but…that wasn’t really a fight. It was a fake-out: Jaime’s subterfuge.

      • Jaime fights off a Dothraki, with an assist from Dickon. Another blink-or-you-missed it moment.
      (If Jaime grabbing a spear and attempting to take out Dany qualified, I would’ve voted for that.)

      • The Eastwatch 7 take on a White Walker and his wights. Really? The WW disintegrated, and the wights promptly dropped dead (again), except for one wight conveniently left standing for Sandor to babysit.

      • Benjen swoops in to save Jon and fight the wights. Benjen ex machina. Unsatisfying end to Uncle Benjen. After worrying for seven years what happened to his uncle, their “reunion” lasted ~ 15 seconds and 14 words:

      Jon: Uncle Benjen! How?
      Benjen: You ride the horse.
      Jon: Come with me.
      Benjen: There’s no time. Go!

      And BTW, two people can ride on a horse. Benjen proved that when he rescued Meera AND Bran from the pursuing wights in S6.
      Whenever a character is brought back like this for what amounts to a glorified cameo, I can’t help hearing Groucho Marx as Captain Spalding in “Animal Crackers” (1930) singing, “Hello I Must be Going” when arrives at a celebration in his honor…just to say he’s leaving:

      (Speaking): “Now I’d like to say a few words… “

      (Sings) 🎶”Hello, I must be going.
      I cannot stay, I came to say
      I must be going.
      I’m glad I came, but just the same
      I must be going.”🎵🎶

      • Jon vs. the wights after Viserion dies. Wait…didn’t he just get dragged under the water? Did I miss something?

      • Gendry takes a hammer to two KL guards: This was okay. Over in a flash. Callback to Robert I guess, plus a setup for Tyrion’s line: “He’ll do.” Not sure blindsiding two doofuses is a great “fight” though.

      • The Hound versus a wight in the Dragonpit. Awww. So sad to see Captured Wight cut in half and dismembered. I thought the Hound & Captured Wight Road Show had real potential. Good all-around scene though.
      This is my First Runner-Up. 🥈

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    5. Ten Bears: Theon stands up to Harrag; wins a fight by…getting kicked where his balls used to be? No thanks.

      Am I the only one who’s getting weary of all the eunuch jokes? It feels to me like the showrunners are missing GRRM’s narrative point in creating a lot of characters who need to redefine their male selves after being bereft of their genitalia. I don’t think for a minute that the author thinks that genitals define the person. That’s why I get annoyed when I see these popular “Ex-Men” memes of Theon and Varys and Grey Worm. They’re traumatized and they have to negotiate the world differently, certainly, but they’re still men (just as a woman who has had a hysterectomy doesn’t stop being a woman, even if her subsequent hormone mix is somewhat different). Slapstick inspired by the nonexistence of Theon’s balls just strikes me as half a level of sophistication above those memes, if that. Certainly gets no guffaws out of me.

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    6. Theon stands up to Harrag of the Ironborn – An untidy fight, but one with a satisfying end for Theon, and for the audience. This was Theon finally proving his worth to his people, and doing so to help not himself but his sister. This fight showed how far the Theon of season seven was from the Theon of season two.

      Brienne and Arya have a sparring match in Winterfell – The two best fighters in Winterfell, and a great contrast in styles. This was an intricately crafted scene I’ve watched again and again. A lot of work went into it, and that shows.

      Surrounded on the tiny island, Jon and co. fight off the wights – The choreography for this was fantastic. It was an intense sequence that showcased how humanity will survive the coming war – by fighting together, alongside strangers with whom they’ve previously shared no allegiance.

      The Eastwatch 7 take on a White Walker and his collection of wights – Jon became the first character to get multiple White Walker kills, and we got an insight into how multiple wights can be killed at once. It also allowed some of the characters who had never been Beyond the Wall before a chance to fight the Army of the Dead. Again, the choreography was great.

      Gendry takes a hammer to two King’s Landing guards – I loved this bit! Davos and Tyrion’s exchange after – This is Gendry/He’ll do – was priceless. It was a demonstration of Gendry’s strength and fighting prowess and a small glimpse of what Robert might have been like as a young man.

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    7. -Theon stands up to Harrag of the Ironborn
      -Bronn takes on a Dothraki warrior in the battle
      -Euron battles Obara and Nymeria to the death
      -The Eastwatch 7 fight off a snow bear
      -Yara goes after her uncle Euron in the sea battle (I can see how Gemma got injured–she really put her all into this. Yara for the win. The Greyjoys were on fire this season in terms of action sequences.)

      Honorable Mentions:

      -Brienne and Arya have a sparring match in Winterfell (Despite being well-executed I found the whole scene a bit too corny for my tastes, which is not a word I generally use to describe GoT. The way it was edited and the emphasis on Arya’s ninja-like speed make it come off more as a simplistic, fanservicey “Look how badass Arya is!” scene rather than a test of skill between the two. Loved how it ended, though.)
      -Jon versus the wights after Viserion dies (Nothing we haven’t seen before, but still well done as always!)

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    8. I think Theon’s fight and the way the tables were turned was quite satisfactory to watch, especially since it was a nod to Bronn’s and Jaime’s little “maybe it’s all about cocks in the end” conversation. Because it clearly isn’t about cocks at all, and yes, you can win a fight, cocks and balls or not. And my god, Theon’s smile as his lack of genitals turns out to be in his favor was so gratifying to watch. Definitely my favorite fight of the season.

      Bronn and the dothraki fight comes in at 2nd for me. It was beautifully executed but not as moving to watch as Theon’s win.

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    9. Arya and Brienne was the only one really worth voting for, but Theon being kicked in the no-nuts and his Euron-like response was worth a vote too.

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    10. Firannion,

      The “cockless” jokes have gotten real tiresome – and gratuitous. I’ve started wincing when Tyrion keeps making fun of Varys having “no cock” for no reason; it makes Tyrion look stupid and crass, unlike his (former) witty self. Same thing with Bronn’s “life without cocks” supposed humor standing with Jaime on a castle’s battlements earlier this past season.
      I’m not sure whose bright idea it is that the brutality of genital mutilation should be played for laughs.

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    11. Ten Bears: it makes Tyrion look stupid and crass, unlike his (former) witty self.

      I absolutely agree that it’s out of character. For all his wry sense of humor and his straightforward attitude toward sex, Tyrion is supposed to be a guy who totally understands what it means to be bullied for a physical trait over which you have no control, and who has a soft spot in his heart for Broken Things. They’ve abandoned character nuance for cheap yuks in this case.

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    12. Ten Bears,

      It’s very much in character for Bronn, but not for Tyrion–we all know Tyrion is capable of so much better than that. Overall I agree that this line of humor has been played out, but Westeros is a fictionalized medieval society in which that sort of crass humor is obviously common, so I would caution against applying any modern sensibilities regarding genital mutilation to it in the first place.

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    13. Azor Asshai,

      They’re just not funny. All of the cockless “jokes” fall flat. It’s really not a question of “applying modern sensibilities.”

      They’re getting tiresome. It’s as if castration and disfigurement have become the “go-to” subject to resort to in the absence of actual humor. Perhaps a subset of teenaged boys might find this a comical subject. I don’t. It’s become stale and overused.

      It seems like Missandei is the only character who acknowledges the realities of this barbarism.

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    14. Up until Series 7, I thought the best duel was between the Hound and Brienne. And for sheer graphic, almost prehistoric mano-a-mano combat, it still is. But her sparring with Arya had flash, dash, surprise, style, zest, joy and was also a dramatic catalyst. Arya used the fight to start the ball rolling toward Littlefinger’s demise by showing him her skills with his dagger and then gives him the death glare. After that they go after each other via Sansa until one of them is dead. In a manner of speaking, the sparring scene, which was about at the middle of the season’s middle episode, was a pivot point of the season and certainly of the Winterfell plot.

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    15. Erica: Firannion:
      Brienne & Arya sparring was the only one I found memorable enough to vote for. The rest was all kind of obligatory fighty-fighty to me.

      ghost of winterfell:

      Same. It was the only one I voted for.

      Me, too.

      Without reading the comments first, it was the only one I voted for too!

      In terms of isolated fight scenes, this season didn’t have anything as iconic as Viper vs Mountain, Brienne vs Hound, or TOJ…

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    16. Firannion: out of character. For all his wry sense of humor and his straightforward attitude toward sex, Tyrion is supposed to be a guy who totally understands what it means to be bullied for a physical trait over which you have no control, and who has a soft spot in his heart for Broken Things.

      I’ve got to differ here. Book Tyrion was indeed big on constantly mocking Varys for being a eunuch. And his sympathy for “broken things” and not mocking people for a physical trait? Really selective. He never showed any “sympathy” or empathy with the Hound, who comes up as Exhibit A of broken things and being constantly mocked for his burns. Teevie Tyrion matches Book Tyrion in this regard.

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    17. Mr Derp:
      I also used a single vote and it was cast for Brienne and Arya’s sparring session.

      ditto ditto.

      It was my only nomination as well considering the category description: “Best Fight: smaller-scale fights, 1 on 1, small groups, etc.” Much of the other stuff I look at as elements of the large scale “Best Battle” category. Of those that weren’t I just enjoyed Arya & Brienne more. I do wish they would have included the backflip that was seen in the behind the scenes vid, but still very fun.

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    18. Clob,

      I didn’t know about a backflip. Definitely wished they would’ve included it! I assume it was Arya doing the flip? It’s hard for me to imagine Brienne pulling it off, but damn, if she’s the one who did it then I’m even more pissed the flip wasn’t included!

      I know that everyone can choose up to 5 nominations, but if I think one of the options is above and beyond the rest of the choices then I’m going to cut to the chase and select the one option I thought was better than the rest. No need to choose other nominations when I don’t think they should win in the first place.

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    19. Here’s my selection with no particular order of preference.

      1. Theon stands up to Harrag of the Ironborn

      2. Brienne and Arya have a sparring match in Winterfell

      3. Surrounded on the tiny island, Jon and co. fight off the wights

      4. The Eastwatch 7 fight off a snow bear

      5. Jon versus the wights after Viserion dies

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    20. In no particular order:

      Theon vs Harrag
      Arya vs Brienne
      Euron vs Yara
      Eastwatch 7 vs Snow Bear
      Jon and co vs wights

      HM: Euron vs Obara and Nymeria (I went back and forth between this and the bear fight, but I chose the bear because I already voted for a Euron fight)

      Incidentally, I’ve had trouble deciding whether the Eastwatch 7’s conflict with the Army of the dead is a battle or just a fight. On the one hand, there’s only 7 of them, so they can’t really be classified as an army, but they are fighting an army, so that muddies the waters, lol. Reminds me of that scene in season 2 where Hot Pie is arguing with someone else (I forget who) over what counts as a battle.

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    21. Haven’t been able to check in for a few days, so I missed voting on this one.

      I must agree with zandru about Tyrion’s obliviousness to the Hound’s position as a “broken thing”; as much as I (usually) love Show!Tyrion, I was always confounded by his dismissal of Sandor Clegane. Given their exchange when the latter saved Sansa from the mob in KL (“Well done, Clegane!” “I didn’t do it for you“), this was one of the many, many reunions/conversations in S7 that I was looking forward to that, alas, did not materialize.

      On another note, while I do understand several viewers’ (and personal-favorite posters’) distaste for Theon’s scene, given that it makes light of his castration, I also see it as a really big fuck-you to the notion that, in order to fulfill his “duty” as a man and a brother, he must have a cock. Genital mutilation is no laughing matter, but I saw this particular scene as a subversion of the idea that manhood is intrinsically related to possession of a penis. In my mind, it was a bookend to the romantic scene with Grey Worm and Missandei: where one showed that a man can fulfill the traditional role of pleasing a woman sexually without a penis, the other showed that a man may fulfill the traditional role of saving a woman without having one.

      Hope that makes sense. As per usual, it’s pushing 10 p.m. and I’m full of whiskey.

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    22. zandru: I’ve got to differ here. Book Tyrion was indeed big on constantly mocking Varys for being a eunuch. And his sympathy for “broken things” and not mocking people for a physical trait? Really selective. He never showed any “sympathy” or empathy with the Hound, who comes up as Exhibit A of broken things and being constantly mocked for his burns. Teevie Tyrion matches Book Tyrion in this regard.

      Did he in fact mock Varys for being a eunuch in the books? I don’t recall that. And they didn’t have all that many scenes together, since in the books, Varys doesn’t travel to Essos with Tyrion.

      But as for the Hound, Tyrion’s contempt for him always seemed to me to be based on Sandor’s unquestioning obedience to Joffrey (up to the point where the kicked dog finally bit back). I never got the impression that it had anything to do with his being scarred.

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