9 Most Memorable Fight Scenes in Literature

There's a quote in an old fighting manuscript from the fifteenth century fencing master Fiore de Liberi that my first instructor liked to drill into me over and over and over. It goes, roughly; "Train slow, because anger will give you speed in the fight." My first teacher drilled me with it so often because like any enthusiastic student with a sharp, pointy thing in his hand, I was prone to energetically trying to replicate what he was showing me at light-speed. That's not really conducive to learning how to do anything properly. Learning any sort of physical motion effectively requires you to calm down and understand the pieces of the movement, then practice them until they're programmed into muscle memory, then you should be able to replicate it effectively when you're in the adrenaline-driven insanity of fight or flight mode. It's also a good way to avoid cutting your own ear off.

There is another lesson I took from this quote, however: Sword fighting, and its pursuit, is about passion. It's this passion that drove our team of seven in the creation of The Mongoliad (Book Three available 2/26), and if you look closely you'll see that truth stamped in just about every fictional and real fight throughout history, and in both the symbology the sword represents in our collective cultural consciousness. The fight in fiction serves the very specific purpose, in most cases, of acting both as a vehicle for entertainment, and as a metaphor for the struggles between the characters. The Mongoliad is full of these fights, both as attempts to be true to the historical traditions from which the fiction draws its inspiration, and as expressions of the feverish intensity of emotion that these heated confrontations evoke in us as authors and as readers. As colossal sword-nerds, my fellow authors and I have a few fights from classical and contemporary literature that stand out as memorable (if not always accurate). Spoilers ahead!

Most Memorable Fight Scenes In Books