Would Game of Thrones' armour be viable in actual combat?

Illustration for article titled Would Game of Thrones' armour be viable in actual combat?

The armour worn by Westeros' soldiers can look absolutely beautiful - but would it have protected them in Medieval warfare? The Metropolitan Museum of Art is going to be holding a talk on just that as part of a new series of Lectures at the institute.


The talk, 'Dressed to Kill' is part of a new Lecture series called SPARK starting next month, and will see Michele Clapton, the show's costume designer, discuss how history has influenced the look of the beautiful armour worn by Brienne, Jamie and more in Game of Thrones, and if it really could stop all their fleshy bits from being hacked apart in swordfights. She'll be joined by Artist Miya Ando, who looked to ancient Japanese armour designs to create a bulletproof, steel Kimono for an art display (which sounds both rad and incredibly impractical!) as well as Pierre Terjanian, the Museum's curator for their Arms and Armour department.

So what do you guys think? Does Game of Thrones depict a realistic approach to amour in its design? I mean, from a cursory glance it at least seems practical - Brienne isn't running around in a steel bikini or whatever - or is it just all for show (well, of course it is, it's a TV show, but you get what I mean)?

If you're in NYC and interested in attending the lecture, it takes place on December 2nd at 6pm, and the $30 tickets for seats can be purchased at the Museum's website. I'd definitely check it out if there wasn't an ocean between me and the museum!


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Oh goodie, an article for which I can comment and be an expert. Okay I am mostly educated in the fighting side but I have learned abou the defensive bits as well. The competition between weaponsmith and armoursmith is well documented, and we HEMA folks tend to be exposed to both sides.

First: GoT is pretty good with the armour. We see plate reinforced with mail and we see brigandine, and this is good. There are some artistic aspects that give weak points, but it's not Medieval Europe and Asia, it's Westeros and Essos, so, we can overlook it. There is a lack of helmets, but it is television, and we need to see faces, so helmets are sacrificed.

The real problem would be use of scale. Scale is an older armour, no so widespread as we think from movies and video games, and it has a weakness. Thrust upward. The weapons of Westeros are very good at defeating scale, so it is a nice ceremonial item, but in combat, a rondel dagger slipped up under scales is deadly, and the overlapping won't help. The more common type called lamellar (made in the east of our Middle Ages moe than the west) was more common than scale early on as it is laced together with more anchor points, but that is more work to make than scale, and scale is pretty.

Second: the Met is a great place to be involved in this. You can find lectures on YouTube about armour and they feature film footage from the 1920s that show people wearing plate armour and doing all of the things that most people are only learning about now. They have a long histor of understandthe reality of arms and armour, so their involvement is wonderful. If I wasn't on a mobile type device I'd link the video lecture.

Finally: I think GoT has done well to avoid the silly fantasy ideals of armour, even reinforced a point about it when Ser Jorah spars with a Dothraki in ine of the early episodes. There's no need for boob armour, no need to reveal things. In war, you dress for success, and that means armour!