I thought of a new story idea for my fantasy series. It will be a war story that has a similar feel to 1917 and Saving Private Ryan except it will take place in a medieval-style fantasy world. The story will revolve around a squad of peasant conscripts as they traverse a war-torn battlefield. Along the way, they will encounter fields of corpses, burned villages, and besieged towns. In addition, they have encounters with both their countrymen and enemy soldiers. To make the journey even more hazardous, these soldiers won’t have the best armor and weapons. This is due to the fact that they are peasants and can only afford cheap weapons and bring equipment from home. Meanwhile, they encounter soldiers who are better equipped and more battle-hardened than they are. They will also catch glimpses of dragons and magic. Overall, it is going to be a story with a lot of moving parts.
I am looking forward to the upcoming final battle of Winterfell in Game of Thrones Season 8. If the rumors can be believed, then this one battle is going to be the longest battle ever filmed in either movie or television. Like many battles we saw in the series, we will be seeing that battle unfold from the point of view of several characters. The filmmakers said they drew inspiration from the Battle of Helms Deep in The Lord of the Rings.
Now let us take a look at the numbers and advantages of both sides are. For the White Walkers, Daenerys claimed that their army consisted of at least 100,000 wights, at least three giants, at least 99 White Walkers, and one undead dragon that is powerful enough to breach the Wall. Now that the Wall is breached, the Army of the Dead will continue to grow in number with each castle, town, and village that crosses their path. By the time they reach Winterfell, the Army of the Dead may number to about 120,000 or 130,000 strong.
For the living, the White Walkers will be up against the combined armies of the North, Vale, Unsullied, and Dothraki. Due to the casualties they sustained throughout the War of the Five Kings, the North’s current military strength has been stated to be less than 10,000. Due to remaining neutral throughout the War of the Five Kings and participating in only a single battle, the Knights of the Vale are still at full strength at 20,000 strong. Due to the casualties they sustained while occupying Meereen and taking Casterly Rock, the Unsullied’s numbers have shrunk from 8,000 to between 7,500 and 7,000. The Dothraki participated in a single battle when they numbered 100,000, but they still have a respectably big army between 90,000 to 80,000 strong. There are rumors that Jaime Lannister will try to rally of the remaining Riverland armies on his way to the North. Since the Riverlands was where the bulk of the fighting took place in the War of the Five Kings, it is likely they can only muster between a few hundred or a few thousand at best. In total, Winterfell will be garrisoned by an army that was between 120,000 to 130,000 strong. Also, this alliance will be armed with dragonglass, two dragons, and a few Valyrian steel blades. In addition, there have been reports that Wintefell’s defenses will be greatly increased as well.
Due to these numbers and advantages, it looks like the armies of the living and the dead are evenly matched and it could be anyone’s fight. One way for another, the fate of the Seven Kingdoms and probably the Known World will be decided at Winterfell. And the heroes still have Cersei Lannister to deal with afterwards. It is going to be an epic final season!
At the end of my first spin-off fantasy book, there will be a brutal battle that takes place in a swamp. It will pit 1,200 infantry and archers against 6,000 cavalry as they try to overpower one another in a bottleneck. Like the Scots and the Welsh in medieval times, one army will consist of guerrilla fighters who use the terrain to their advantage. At one point, the swamp will be on fire! It is going to be a bloody battle that will serve as a turning point in the war one way or another. I will be basing some of the tactics of this battle from the Battle of Loudon Hill and the Battle of Agincourt. Both of these battles involved a small army that was outnumbered five to one and found ways to negate their enemies’ numerical superiority and defy the odds.
While researching medieval warfare, I came to discover a vast arsenal of various weapons. Some of those weapons most people don’t know of. I even included these weapons in my fantasy series to make the battles more authentic by medieval standards. Here are some examples of the weapons I discovered. In case you read my fantasy series and don’t know what a weapon is, you can find it here. In the first volume of my spin-off fantasy series, there will be a grueling pitched battle that involves the use of many of the weapons pictured above. Due to one misfortune after another, this small army won’t have access to standard issue polearms and shields. Instead, they will have access to a diverse collection of polearms and shields. Rather than just using spears as polearms, this small army will use halberds, poleaxes, glaives, pikes, bills, and bardiches. Instead of using one kind of shield for the whole army, they will use a mixture between round, heater, and kite shields. Imagine a shield wall with all those kinds of shields locked together, bristling with all those different kinds of polearms. Now imagine a row of archers behind the wall of shields and polearms. Even though it would be a mismatched battle formation, I can envision it as a formidable foe for any army to face.
One of my new favorite battles from the Scottish War of Independence is the Battle of Loudoun Hill. This battle was depicted at the end of the film The Outlaw King. I researched the actual battle and the film depicted the battle very accurately despite a few changes that were made. After my ancestor, Robert the Bruce, was crowned King of Scots, he suffered serious defeats while fighting the English. After evading the English and rivals Scots, Robert the Bruce rallied 600 infantry to his cause to combat 3,000 English knights and cavalry. The location of the battle was right in the middle of a road that had thick marshlands on either side. In a direct contest of brute strength, the Scots stood no chance against the English. In order to negate the English’s numerical advantage, the Scots used the road as a bottleneck and dug ditches to hinder the charges from English cavalry. If the English tried to flank the Scots, their horses would be stuck in the deep marshes and English knights would sink in the bog due to their heavy armor. Soon the battle turned into a one-sided massacre. Despite outnumbering the Scots five to one, the English were defeated and forced to retreat to the nearest castle to avoid being hunted down by battle-crazed Scots. Overall, the tactics of this battle were nearly identical to the Battle of Stirling Bridge, which also used a bottleneck tactic to beat the English. For my spin-off fantasy trilogy, I will be depicting a similar battle.
Even though I found the Dance of the Dragons to be a senseless war, there were quite a few epic battles and intriguing cutthroat politics. My favorite battle from the war that did not include a dragon would be the Battle of the Kingsroad. It was the very last battle of the Dance of the Dragons and ultimately decided the fate of the Targaryen Dynasty. After Rhaenyra Targaryen died, Lord Borros Baratheon of Storm’s End finally emerged with his army to support King Aegon II. Even though Lord Baratheon sided with Aegon II, he stayed out of most of the war in order to avoid the dragons. With Rhaenyra dead and most of the dragons gone, Lord Borros saw this as his chance to support his king. By the time he reached King’s Landing, word reached the Red Keep that one of Rhaenyra’s last supporters, Kermit Tully of Riverrun, was leading an army of riverlords towards the capital in the name of Rhaenyra’s last son, Aegon the Younger. Aegon II sent Borros Baratheon to defuse this threat and bolstered Borros’s army until it was between seven to eight thousand strong. As he marched, Lord Baratheon had six hundred knights and four thousand infantry from the Stormlands and soldiers from the Crownlands. Lord Baratheon met the Tully host along the Kingsroad between a hill on one side and a forest on the other. After learning that the Tully army was being led by two boys and a woman, Lord Baratheon was arrogantly confident that he would win. However, because Borros and his men stayed out of the war, they did not participate in a single battle, which left them green, undisciplined, and inexperienced. Even though Borros was older than the Tullys and outnumbered their army two to one, Kermit Tully and his men were far more battle-hardened. One could argue that Kermit Tully was the Tully version of Robb Stark, a young man who was a natural as both a warrior and military commander. In the middle of the Kingsroad, Kermit Tully assembled an impregnable shield wall while his archers were perched on top of the hill. Lord Baratheon led his knights and infantry in a brute force attack against the shield wall, but the archers under the command of Alysanne Blackwood killed the Baratheon horses, collapsing the Baratheon vanguard as it struck the shield wall. Once the shield wall held the Stormlanders in place, Alysanne’s young nephew Benjicot “Bloody Ben” Blackwood emerged from the forest and outflanked the Baratheon soldiers with his own men. When the Crownland levies saw the battle was lost, they either fled or defected to the Tullys and attacked the Baratheons from behind. With Borros and his men trapped in a pincer movement, the battle quickly turned into a one-sided massacre. Even after losing his horse, Borros Baratheon refused to yield and kept fighting until he was confronted by the teenage Kermit Tully himself. The Trout faced off against the Stag in the middle of the battlefield. Kermit gave Borros one final chance to yield, but Borros cursed him instead. In response, Kermit Tully caved in Borros’s skull with his morningstar. With Borros dead, the remainder of King Aegon II’s army fled and King’s Landing was wide open to attack from Kermit Tully’s battle-hardened riverlords. Even with the last of his armies defeated and the armies of the North, Riverlands, and Vale closing in, Aegon II refused to surrender, which led to his poisoning by his own courtiers. The Battle of the Kingsroad led to the end of Aegon II’s reign and paved the way to the reign of Aegon III AKA the Dragonbane.
I had a frightening and epic idea for a future fantasy work. It will involve three armies, each one with at least 40,000 men and four dragons, fighting one another in an apocalyptic battle that takes place throughout an entire day. By the time the battle is over, most of the men and dragons involved in the battle will be dead. The dragon fire used in the battle would be so intense that the battlefield will burn nonstop for days. Plants will be turned to dust, rocks will be superheated and melted, and the remains of man and dragon alike will be mummified like the victims of Pompeii. It is going to be unlike any other battle I ever wrote and I can’t wait to write it. Wish me luck!
I just fought my first battle in the Total War game and it was more than I expected. I could feel the fear of defeat, the confusion of directing my men, and the satisfaction of winning. I am planning to include these elements in future battles in my fantasy series. I had an army of 861 strong while my opponent had me outnumbered by more than 400 men with a grand total of 1,281 strong. The battle was chaotic and it was hard to tell who was winning until it was over. Fortunately, I won the battle much to my surprise. I lost 656 of my men-at-arms while my foe lost 1,021. I had 205 men left while my adversary had 260. My total kills were 708 while my enemy had 579 kills. It was an engaging experience and was super fun for my first time. I will definitely play this more in order to get more of that thrill of battle. I will keep you updated on both my victories and my defeats.
For the next few days, I will be playing the computer game known as Total War. The reason for this is because I still have much to learn in terms of medieval battle tactics despite all the research I had done. There are some things I need to actually see in action. Hopefully, by playing this game I can get a better understanding of how medieval armies fight. If I fight any battles that are worthy of note, I might include certain details in my fantasy book. I will keep you all updated and maybe I can upload videos of my progress.
I had an interesting idea for a battle tactic in medieval warfare. Imagine sending your armies against your enemies in waves. The first few waves would consist of light infantry and cavalry, which have inferior armor and weapons than heavy infantry and cavalry. These first waves would be used to test your enemy’s defenses as well as wear them down with each wave. Meanwhile, you keep your heavy infantry and cavalry in reserve until your enemy is too weak and tired to fight back. When your light infantry and cavalry are spent and your foe’s defenses are exhausted, then you send in the rest of your forces to wipe out the survivors. I am thinking of including a tactic such as this in my new fantasy book in a number of battles.