Ser Barristan Selmy, also known as Barristan the Bold and Arstan Whitebeard, is an anointed knight of House Selmy. He served as a member of the Kingsguard to Kings Jaehaerys II and Aerys II Targaryen. He was named Lord Commander under King Robert I Baratheon.
Appearance and Character[edit | edit source]
Barristan Selmy was tall and slender with very blue eyes. His hair has turned white and he has a long beard and very lined face. His face is often described as solemn, but he has a fierce and clear voice. Barristan, despite being past his prime, is exceptionally strong and fast, faster than anyone ever expects him to be. He wore plate armour and a white cloak while he was in the Kingsguard.
Barristan was a wise and strong man of extreme honour and devotion, who served as Kingsguard to three kings before he met Daenerys. He was a proud man who refused to shed the white cloak when Cersei deposed him, but also lamented his belief that he had never served a truly good king - also, he deeply regrets the failures he believes he has committed to the people of Westeros, and that he didn't realise the psychopath that Aerys was. As a young man, Barristan possessed courage and determination that can only be described as legendary: he carried out a one-man mission to rescue King Aerys from Duskendale, succeeding in retrieving his king despite being wounded in the attempt. He was a fierce man when crossed, especially with Jorah Mormont and Hizdahr zo Loraq.
He was an extremely watchful and observant man, due to his service as a Kingsguard, and he has a surprising understanding of politics and subterfuge, but lacks any interest or ambition in either field. He is trusted by many, and respected by even more, with the whole realm being in awe of him and his great accomplishments. When he shed his white cloak, both Tywin, Renly and Stannis feared that he would join the other's side in the War of the Five Kings, with Tywin especially recognising that dismissing Barristan in the first place was a colossal mistake.
Despite his great age and fatigue, Barristan was an incredibly skilled swordsman and warrior, who beat the Titan's Bastard with only a stick and killed a Meereenese pit fighter named Khrazz, despite the man being younger and faster than him. He slew the titanic Maelys Blackfyre in single combat when he was young, avenged Ser Gwayne Gaunt and killed Simon Toyne during the combat with the Kingswood Brotherhood. He has seen more battles than potentially any man alive, and has decades worth of experience as a result of this.
History[edit | edit source]
Barristan Selmy is the son of Ser Lyonel Selmy of Harvest Hall. He served as squire to Lord Manfred Swann of Stonehelm. He was named "the Bold" at the age of 10 when he wore borrowed armor to appear as a mystery knight in a tourney held at Blackhaven. At this tourney, he was defeated and unmasked by Prince Duncan Targaryen.
He was knighted at the age of 16 by Aegon V after his impressive display of martial prowess while competing as a mystery knight in a tourney held at King's Landing. Barristan defeated Prince Duncan Targaryen and Ser Duncan the Tall, then Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.
It has been said that Ser Barristan was the finest swordsman in the Seven Kingdoms during his youth. During the War of the Ninepenny Kings, Ser Barristan slew the last of the Blackfyre Pretenders, Maelys Blackfyre, in single combat, ending the final Blackfyre Rebellion.
At age 23, Ser Barristan was named to the Kingsguard by Lord Commander Gerold Hightower.
During the Defiance of Duskendale, Ser Barristan rescued the imprisoned Aerys II Targaryen, bringing him to safety despite being wounded in the chest by an arrow. During the course of the rescue, Ser Barristan slew Ser Symon Hollard in single combat, thus avenging the murder of Ser Gwayne Gaunt of the Kingsguard.
Ser Barristan fought on the side of the royalist forces during the War of the Usurper. At the Battle of the Trident, he was said to have cut down a dozen men. Grievously wounded and near death, Robert Baratheon had Ser Barristan treated by his own maester. Ser Barristan spent the rest of the conflict recuperating from his wounds.
Impressed by his immense courage, skill and loyalty, Robert Baratheon pardoned Ser Barristan. He elected to remain in the Kingsguard, and was named Lord Commander. He led the attack on Old Wyk during the Greyjoy Rebellion. At age 57, Ser Barristan was the champion of a tourney at King's Landing.
Books[edit | edit source]
A Game of Thrones[edit | edit source]
Ser Barristan rides out with Ser Ilyn Payne and Lord Renly Baratheon to escort King Robert and Queen Cersei Lannister along the Kingsroad to King's Landing. Here he meets Sansa Stark. He is present when Arya Stark is brought before Robert, and has a grave look on his face. He is asked to escort Renly from the room when the king's brother can't restrain his laughter.
Ser Barristan participates in the Hand's Tourney, where he rides several lists against Ser Jaime Lannister. He stands a night's vigil over the corpse of Ser Hugh of the Vale, as he had no-one else to do so, and speaks with Lord Eddard Stark about the boy the following day. He later supports Ned in his attempt to dissuade Robert from riding in the melee. He looks down on Ser Loras Tyrell for using a mare in heat to upset Ser Gregor Clegane's stallion, describing it as a trick. Ned suggests him as a potential tutor for Arya, but she dismisses this, preferring Syrio Forel.