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True Masters of the Blade

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Direct quotes identifying the order of the Blademasters is all well and good. However, its always better to show than tell.

 

Saying that Galad is better that Gawyn means very little, when the text appears to show the opposite is true. I will agree that, early on, the text supports the Galad is better truth. However, all the characters become more skilled as the books progress, but Gawyn's skill is shown to progress far more than Galad (I'd argue the text doesn't show Galad getting better in any particular way).

 

I'm not one of those people that would argue that Gawyn is truly better than Galad, but I can't wait to see the fight where Galad proves his rank. :-)

 

I'm of the opinion that, overall, Tam is the best fighter in the series. Not necessarily the best blade master, but he IS a blademaster in his own right, he's also the 2nd best staff fighter in the two rivers (where Mat, who (at best) is third, beat Galad AND Gawyn while sick), and is the best Archer of the best archers in the world.

 

Tam is better than Birgitte?

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Direct quotes identifying the order of the Blademasters is all well and good. However, its always better to show than tell.

 

Saying that Galad is better that Gawyn means very little, when the text appears to show the opposite is true. I will agree that, early on, the text supports the Galad is better truth. However, all the characters become more skilled as the books progress, but Gawyn's skill is shown to progress far more than Galad (I'd argue the text doesn't show Galad getting better in any particular way).

 

I'm not one of those people that would argue that Gawyn is truly better than Galad, but I can't wait to see the fight where Galad proves his rank. :-)

 

I'm of the opinion that, overall, Tam is the best fighter in the series. Not necessarily the best blade master, but he IS a blademaster in his own right, he's also the 2nd best staff fighter in the two rivers (where Mat, who (at best) is third, beat Galad AND Gawyn while sick), and is the best Archer of the best archers in the world.

 

Tam is better than Birgitte?

 

Touche on the archer bit, I always seem to forget her. So he's the second best archer in the world then - next to Birgitte Flaming Silverbow? ;-)

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I hadn't thought about Tam in that way; I would disagree simply because I think he's older than the rest of the people we are talking about (he's likely pushing 50 or so, the only one of the others we talk about who has any age is Lan) and has no Warder bond to strengthen him. Also, it is likely there was a long lag in there after he became a blademaster where he didn't practice the sword, as Rand had never seen the blademaster sword Tam possessed. He is nonetheless shown to be a very practiced warrior, one of the most well-rounded in the series. As he has practiced the bow the whole time and is widely recognized as the best of the Two Rivers, I'd put him as Birgitte's equal with their respective bows or near enough to make no substantive difference. I doubt she'd do as well with a Two Rivers bow, nor he with a normal shorter bow.

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I hadn't thought about Tam in that way; I would disagree simply because I think he's older than the rest of the people we are talking about (he's likely pushing 50 or so, the only one of the others we talk about who has any age is Lan) and has no Warder bond to strengthen him. Also, it is likely there was a long lag in there after he became a blademaster where he didn't practice the sword, as Rand had never seen the blademaster sword Tam possessed. He is nonetheless shown to be a very practiced warrior, one of the most well-rounded in the series. As he has practiced the bow the whole time and is widely recognized as the best of the Two Rivers, I'd put him as Birgitte's equal with their respective bows or near enough to make no substantive difference. I doubt she'd do as well with a Two Rivers bow, nor he with a normal shorter bow.

 

Tam is also skilled with the staff. It was said in the rare years Mat's Da didn't win the Bel Tine contest, Tam was the one who beat him.

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As for people saying Gawyn's skill is shown to progress "far more", how so? We have no idea how Galad would far against Bloodknives or how Gawyn would do against Valda.

 

 

This. Just because Galad didn't have an epic fight at the end of the last book suddenly Gawyn has surpassed him? Winning a battle doesn't = you gain a level up! You're now #2 best swordsmen!

 

 

The only real question is how does Gawyn now being a warder impact or improve his sword skill. If it's a huge boon then you MAY have a case that he's #2.

 

The fact that BS stated that STILL Gawyn is #3 tells us that either it doesn't have that great of an impact (or at all) or that it may take time for him to advance his skills based on his new abilities.

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I think it could be better argued that is was Hammar and Coulin who didn't fight their best in the White Tower coup more than that they didn't during practice. It seems to me that the only way Gawyn could have beaten Hammar and Coulin, when he was just recently described as barely able to beat them 2 out of 5 in practice, is if Hammar and Coulin didn't take Gawyn seriously, held back due to his status as the prince of Andor, and/or were distracted by the fighting of Aes Sedai against Aes Sedai going on at the time.

 

Well that's ridiculous since it was Hammar who lectured Gawyn and Galad on underestimating Mat... so why would he turn around and make the exact same mistake? How about "the only way Gawyn could have beaten Hammar and Coulin" was because he was better than them in an actual life/death situation? Which is when it truly counts.

 

There's even a quote from Leane where she thinks she may have miss judged, and that Gawyn could be the more dangerous of the two. Basically asks the reader to also doubt all the previous quotes that have been mentioned.

 

“That might be a good idea,'' Leane said.' 'I always thought Galad was the more dangerous of those two, but I am no longer sure. Hammar, and Coulin. ..." She shivered.

 

 

On another subject, that mob that Galad faced? e didn't help defeat it, he destroyed it virtually by himself.As you will recall, he was way out in front and anyone who came near him died. As the book stated, it wqasn't Thom, Julian or the Shienarans the mob broke from, it was Galad. All by himself.

 

Well, he was a lot further ahead than the others. That just means he killed faster. And given what we know of Galad's right/wrong personality, I'm sure it's probably easier for him to hack down basically innocent (if somewhat riled up) people after he decides it needs to be done than it is for the shienarans. I mean, they wern't trollocs. Plus, no one is arguing that your average shienaran is anywhere near the sword skill levels we're talking about here.

 

Also, the following quotes support the idea that Gawyn worked his ass off because he perceived Galad to be better. While we also know Galad had stopped sparring. Makes sense a guy like Galad wouldn't take such pride in his skill, he'd just need to be as good as is required to get the job done.

 

“I will be in the practice yard. The only time I can stop worrying is when I am working the sword with

Hammar.” Hammar was a blademaster, and the Warder who taught the sword. “Most days I’m there until the

sun sets.

 

His eyes searched her face as if he had heard some of her deeper meaning. “I . . . will try,” he said

finally. He put on a grin, almost the grin she remembered, but the effort was plain. “I suppose I had better get

myself back to the practice yard if I expect to keep up with Galad. I managed two out of five against Hammar

this morning, but Galad actually won three, the last time he bothered to come to the yard.

 

And of course as much as some would like to suggest the difference between 2/5 and 3/5 is some exponential difference, it's exactly the same as the difference between 1/5 and 2/5 or 4/5 and 5/5. It's 1/5 -- 20% -- which is not actually a huge difference to overtake in the preceding books, particularly for a guy who works so hard at it.

 

Again, just supporting that the books suggest Gawyn is better.

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And of course as much as some would like to suggest the difference between 2/5 and 3/5 is some exponential difference, it's exactly the same as the difference between 1/5 and 2/5 or 4/5 and 5/5. It's 1/5 -- 20% -- which is not actually a huge difference to overtake in the preceding books, particularly for a guy who works so hard at it.

 

This statement is absolutely false. That is not how sporting contests work. Take any tennis Grand Slam. When you do something best out of 5 the more skilled will win the majority of the time. It is why you consistently see Djkovic, Federer and Nadal in every final when tournaments move from best of 3 to best of 5. As for Leanne's opinion she didn't even see the fight. She has no idea how it was won so why would her one opinion invalidate all of the people who have actually seen their skills in action?

 

Also to clarify just because Galad does not spend as much time in the yard does not mean he has "stopped sparring" or even more so stopped training for that matter. He spends all his time with a military organization where that would be part of his daily regimen. He learns faster and is more skilled, just because Gawyn got the last fight scene does not make him better. The reason Gawyn works so hard is "They sweat me nearly to death to learn half what Galad does without trying".

Edited by Suttree

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Don't worry guys, Galad's going to get an epic fighting scene in the final book, then we can put it to rest.

 

Since people here won't take the list from BS as gospel, I don't think any amount of fight scenes short of Galad vs. Gawyn 1v1 will settle the dispute.

 

 

(and then Lan better show up and spank them both just to make sure we are all super happy with the order)

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And of course as much as some would like to suggest the difference between 2/5 and 3/5 is some exponential difference, it's exactly the same as the difference between 1/5 and 2/5 or 4/5 and 5/5. It's 1/5 -- 20% -- which is not actually a huge difference to overtake in the preceding books, particularly for a guy who works so hard at it.

 

This statement is absolutely false. That is not how sporting contests work. Take any tennis Grand Slam. When you do something best out of 5 the more skilled will win the majority of the time. It is why you consistently see Djkovic, Federer and Nadal in every final when tournaments move from best of 3 to best of 5. As for Leanne's opinion she didn't even see the fight. She has no idea how it was won so why would her one opinion invalidate all of the people who have actually seen their skills in action?

 

Also to clarify just because Galad does not spend as much time in the yard does not mean he has "stopped sparring" or even more so stopped training for that matter. He spends all his time with a military organization where that would be part of his daily regimen. He learns faster and is more skilled, just because Gawyn got the last fight scene does not make him better. The reason Gawyn works so hard is "They sweat me nearly to death to learn half what Galad does without trying".

 

Yes, 3/5 vs 2/5 means 3/5 is better. And yes 3/5 is better than half while 2/5 is less than half, but we're not comparing Galad and Gawyn to Hammar, we're comparing them to each other, and the difference is 1 win out of five. If Gawyn won one more time out of five, he'd be equal to Galad. That's 20% more of the matches he needs to win to catch up.

 

First, that's Gawyn's opinion again, which we know is flawed when it comes to judging himself against Galad. But I accept that Galad learns quickly. But we see no interest in him to learn anything, be it fast or slow. Otherwise he would show up. I'm sure it's part of the daily regime of warders-in-training too, that didn't get him to the yard very often. And you think your average whitecloak is going to interest him anymore than sparring with the warder trainers?

 

Even if we accept that Gawyn needs to work twice as hard, it's pretty easy to believe he works more than twice as hard at it, given the quotes we have about how he feels he has to work himself to death to keep up. But then as others have pointed out, he has not only kept up, it looks like he's surpassed.

 

It's a tortoise and the hare story.

Edited by Kael Pyralis

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First, that's Gawyn's opinion again, which we know is flawed when it comes to judging himself against Galad.

 

But Gawyn's opinion is verified by a number of other characters. We know it is correct.

 

Again when people say it looks like Gawyn has surpassed him, how so? There is no way to rate the difficulty and compare their perspective victories. For all we know Galad could have defeated the Bloodknives much easier and would not have needed to be "lucky". Additionally who knows how Gawyn would have faired against Valda?

Edited by Suttree

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I hadn't thought about Tam in that way; I would disagree simply because I think he's older than the rest of the people we are talking about (he's likely pushing 50 or so, the only one of the others we talk about who has any age is Lan) and has no Warder bond to strengthen him. Also, it is likely there was a long lag in there after he became a blademaster where he didn't practice the sword, as Rand had never seen the blademaster sword Tam possessed. He is nonetheless shown to be a very practiced warrior, one of the most well-rounded in the series. As he has practiced the bow the whole time and is widely recognized as the best of the Two Rivers, I'd put him as Birgitte's equal with their respective bows or near enough to make no substantive difference. I doubt she'd do as well with a Two Rivers bow, nor he with a normal shorter bow.

 

Tam is also skilled with the staff. It was said in the rare years Mat's Da didn't win the Bel Tine contest, Tam was the one who beat him.

 

I'm aware. Could he beat the two or even Lan using the staff? It's entirely possible. A staffman has an inherent advantage over a swordsman in most circumstances, unless he doesn't have room to swing his staff; it's just the way the fight works, that a staff has a longer reach and is a lighter weapon that carries the added advantage of having two ends and so forth. The greatest swordsman of all time is said to have lost once to a quarterstaff wielding farmer in the WoT world, which lends credence to it not being a balanced fight; it's kinda like playing chess where one side has a bunch of pawns and the other has a bunch of rooks and bishops - the latter has a much more varied mode of attack and defense. Short spears and buckler likely carry a similar advantage, which would be why the Aiel are so deadly against swordsmen in general. But there are other things to consider.

 

For one, it's very abundantly clear that Gawyn and Galad severely underestimated Mat with a staff; by the time they wise up, Gawyn is out of the fight and Galad is too far on the defensive to recover. For another, all we know is that Mat claims to be less skilled than his father, but we don't know how big the gap is. If it's a big gap, well, Abell Cauthon might just be the best in the world at single combat. If it's a small gap, then given the pointed lesson Gawyn and Galad received, I think they would be much more likely to win the rematch, though I still think Mat would win the majority in a repeated series of bouts, assuming they progressed in skill somewhat equally. It also may be that given another chance to look at how a staff user fights, they could exploit openings more readily.

 

So, Tam with a staff? Probably equal, maybe better, against a blademaster level sword user; probably depends on the sword user and the fight. Tam with a sword? No way. And to be clear, I'm not saying he's bad, just nowhere near at the level of the others we have spoken of, because he put the thing away for decades. It's clear he remembers how well enough and is a good teacher of the sword, but you don't just shake 20+ years of rust without significant work, work he's not likely to put in since he favors the bow and probably the staff after it.

 

It boils down to it being hard to compare people when you're not exactly comparing apples to apples. Which is what this whole thread is about anyway. :D

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Depends on the situation. In a battle, against a constantly shifting group, most with some form of armour, then yes, a sword would serve you better. One on one? Blademaster vs. quaterstaff master?

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Let's see so I'm going into battle, and I'm offered a stick or sword as a weapon..... Erm I'll take the sword.

And if you did so without years and years of training in how to use the sword, you'd probably die. The stick on the other hand, sharpen one end of it and poke people with it, or stick a blade, spearpoint or hook on the end of it and slash away. Any moron with two hands can attack well enough to kill someone with it, and defend against a couple of attacks. Get a whole bunch of you guys with sticks together and point 'em up in the air, and they even make a pretty good defense against arrows.

 

Swords are just not a very effective military weapon. They lack range, provide limited defense and require insane amounts of training to use effectively. They're better for last-ditch self defense or highly structured combat scenarios like a duel. That's why the swords were usually reserved for the officers, while the grunts doing the actual fighting got spears and halberds.

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Im sorry how is having abunch of people with sticks pointed in the air going to be "Pretty good defense against arrows".

 

Also same could be said with a sword give any moron with 2 hands a sword and they can kill another man. Honestly give a untrained man a spear and another a sword and I wouldnt bet on one side definately beating the other same goes for trained people too.

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The stick on the other hand, sharpen one end of it and poke people with it, or stick a blade, spearpoint or hook on the end of it and slash away.

 

Then it is no longer just a stick, but a spear.

Edited by damandred

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So, Tam with a staff? Probably equal, maybe better, against a blademaster level sword user; probably depends on the sword user and the fight. Tam with a sword? No way. And to be clear, I'm not saying he's bad, just nowhere near at the level of the others we have spoken of, because he put the thing away for decades. It's clear he remembers how well enough and is a good teacher of the sword, but you don't just shake 20+ years of rust without significant work, work he's not likely to put in since he favors the bow and probably the staff after it.

 

It boils down to it being hard to compare people when you're not exactly comparing apples to apples. Which is what this whole thread is about anyway. :D

 

I'd pick Tam with a staff over any swordsman in Randland. Not only is he great with the staff (we know he's better than Mat, and Mat is better than Couladin, and Couladin was known to be great among the Aiel - just as a quick direct comparison), but he KNOWS the sword. That means he can anticipate the forms and moves that another blademaster would use. Include the reach, and the ability for the Quarterstaff to act as two weapons, and I just don't think any swordsman in the book would stand a chance.

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First, that's Gawyn's opinion again, which we know is flawed when it comes to judging himself against Galad.

 

But Gawyn's opinion is verified by a number of other characters. We know it is correct.

 

Again when people say it looks like Gawyn has surpassed him, how so? There is no way to rate the difficulty and compare their perspective victories. For all we know Galad could have defeated the Bloodknives much easier and would not have needed to be "lucky". Additionally who knows how Gawyn would have faired against Valda?

 

It's not comparable -- I agree with that. But that doesn't mean you throw out the whole fight as red herring. There is hype for Gawyn's opponents, actually written in the books, that suggest his wins are impressive feats, and Galad has done significantly less. You can argue it's indeterminable because the fights aren't comparable, but you cannot argue that Galad must still be better after so much has happened. The only thing your argument has going for it, is that the authors back it up outside the books. While that might make it right, it doesn't make it the obvious logical conclusion from in-text evidence.

 

Someone else said if they wanted it to be true, they should show it, not just tell us. I agree. We can see that Gawyn works hard, but the only suggestion we get about Galad is that he doesn't show up to practice. You choose to assume he probably does work at it.. but then tell me the fights that are actually in the books with supporting hype are less relevant than your out-of-thin-air assumption? The authors could have easily made sure the reader understood that Galad works hard enough to stay ahead of Gawyn if they had chosen.

 

And the "other characters" could be just as blinded by the "Galad Hype", just as Leane suspected she might have been. Which is an "other character" you simply dismiss because she doesn't agree with you, I get that. But, everyone is going to underestimate the other, meeker, differential brother.

 

Also, and you could probably spin this against me but I'll say it anyway because I like completeness, she says "more dangerous" not "more skilled". As if she thought Galad's skill made him more dangerous, but possibly Gawyn's... passion maybe(often misdirected), somehow makes up some ground.

Edited by Kael Pyralis

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Direct quotes identifying the order of the Blademasters is all well and good. However, its always better to show than tell.

 

Saying that Galad is better that Gawyn means very little, when the text appears to show the opposite is true.

Does it really? We have no real way of comparing their later accomplshments against one another, not in any meaningful sense. Galad beats a blademaster, Gawyn beats some bloodknives. Fine. Now, how does Valda compare to three bloodknives? If we have no way to answer that we have no way to say one is better than the other. Perhaps the bloodknives would have torn Valda to shreds if he was in Gawyn's position. On the other hand, he might have despatched them with no trouble. The text in no way shows Gawyn to be worse. It shows Galad was considered the better, but it gives us nothing to say the positions are the same or reversed since. The author's comments are the only reliable evidence we have - and they say Galad is better. So the evidence in book says he was better, since then it is inconclusive, but out of text we know he is better still.

 

Let's see so I'm going into battle, and I'm offered a stick or sword as a weapon..... Erm I'll take the sword.

I'll take a third option - flamethrower!

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Direct quotes identifying the order of the Blademasters is all well and good. However, its always better to show than tell.

 

Saying that Galad is better that Gawyn means very little, when the text appears to show the opposite is true.

Does it really? We have no real way of comparing their later accomplshments against one another, not in any meaningful sense. Galad beats a blademaster, Gawyn beats some bloodknives. Fine. Now, how does Valda compare to three bloodknives? If we have no way to answer that we have no way to say one is better than the other. Perhaps the bloodknives would have torn Valda to shreds if he was in Gawyn's position. On the other hand, he might have despatched them with no trouble. The text in no way shows Gawyn to be worse. It shows Galad was considered the better, but it gives us nothing to say the positions are the same or reversed since. The author's comments are the only reliable evidence we have - and they say Galad is better. So the evidence in book says he was better, since then it is inconclusive, but out of text we know he is better still.

 

Let's see so I'm going into battle, and I'm offered a stick or sword as a weapon..... Erm I'll take the sword.

I'll take a third option - flamethrower!

 

 

LOL

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You gotta love a place where this topic is a good debate...Regardless of what you believe, thanks for participating...Because I can't think of anyone else that I personally know who would understand the reason for the debate. :biggrin:

 

I gotta be honest though, I nearly gave up when I read someone post that practice matches were a better indicator of prowess than life or death fights...Then we had someone bring up tennis matches...Wow, a sword fight compared to tennis matches, not even fencing, but tennis. :laugh:

 

I still contend that Lan is the best, but, and I base this on what is written, I gotta give the nod, for now, to Gawyn. Just because the author says it, doesn't mean I'm going to fall all over myself to believe him...

 

Show me, don't snow me.

 

Maybe in WoT Galad is the better swordsman, but if so, both authors have done a poor job of showing it. That's a fact. It is what it is. Make your own list if you don't believe me, or refute mine.

 

Look at it this way...If we were in the final book and everyone kept saying Rand was the Dragon, but he had done absolutely nothing that indicated this, then we'd be having a debate over whether he was the Dragon. If, as an author, you want to make a claim, be prepared to validate it, or don't bother.

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I just made microwave popcorn.

 

It's the best. Disregard what anyone else tells you, or any other conflicting personal accounts of authority to the contrary. It's here now and in my face, and like so fresh on my taste buds that it's so obviously the most-best.

 

 

*tongue in cheek

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I agree. We can see that Gawyn works hard, but the only suggestion we get about Galad is that he doesn't show up to practice. You choose to assume he probably does work at it..

 

Because there is nothing to suggest he doesn't. The quote doesn't say he never practices. For a small period of time in which he was deeply conflicted over the direction of his life his attendance record was spotty. He moves on and continues his life with a military organization and you try and make the assumption that he never practices again while Gawyn does so enough to surpass him although his skill is shown to be less and and he doesn't learn near as quickly.

 

And the "other characters" could be just as blinded by the "Galad Hype", just as Leane suspected she might have been.

 

Leane says nothing about hype and most importantly she did not SEE the fight. She has no idea how Gawyn won it, nor do we. As such how is her opinion more relevant than multiple characters that have seen him in action?

 

Wow, a sword fight compared to tennis matches, not even fencing, but tennis. :laugh:

 

Any contest of skill, regardless of what it is, with a large sample size such as Galad and Gawyn dueling Hammar best of 5 will be won by the more skilled opponent the "majority" of the time. Same goes for boxing or any 1 on 1 sport. Not sure what about that is difficult to understand.

 

Show me, don't snow me.

 

Maybe in WoT Galad is the better swordsman, but if so, both authors have done a poor job of showing it. That's a fact. It is what it is. Make your own list if you don't believe me, or refute mine.

 

Look at it this way...If we were in the final book and everyone kept saying Rand was the Dragon, but he had done absolutely nothing that indicated this, then we'd be having a debate over whether he was the Dragon. If, as an author, you want to make a claim, be prepared to validate it, or don't bother.

 

Ok, let's go with the show me. Show us where Gawyn is describe in a way that he is unarguably the better fighter than Galad. Face time has nothing to do with who is better again just because Gawyn had the last fight, written in an entirely new style by BS does not mean he is better. Far from "doing nothing" Galad is talked about by all the characters as being better, he is better in the two objective results(duel with Mat and Hammar), and he beat Valda(life or death and to me the most impressive feat).

Edited by Suttree

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