|“||Even now, I could cut through the five of you like carving a cake!||„|
|~ Ser Barristan Selmy to Joffrey's Kingsguard|
Ser Barristan Selmy is a character in the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series. He is a stormlander knight of House Selmy and the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard to King Robert I Baratheon, previously serving as a member of the Kingsguard to Aerys II Targaryen before Robert's Rebellion. He is well known for his fearsome accomplishments in battle, earning himself the nickname Barristan the Bold.
He is a minor character in A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, and a supporting character in A Storm of Swords and A Dance with Dragons. He will return in The Winds of Winter. He appears as a supporting character in the television adaptation, Game of Thrones.
He was portrayed by Ian McEllhinney.
Ser Barristan Selmy devoted the majority of his life to defending the king, as a member of the Kingsguard and later the Lord Commander, but both of the kings that he served drew complexities in him. When he served under the psychopathic King Aerys Targaryen, he was most likely conflicted about having to protect a madman like Aerys, who terrorised his people and abused his powers as king throughout his entire reign. When Robert Baratheon ascended to the throne, Barristan served him just as loyally and even maintained a friendship with Robert - indeed, before he became king, Robert respected Barristan enough to pardon him after the Battle of the Trident. He viewed Robert as a terrible king, though, and always strived to serve a greater ruler than both of his previous betters. The feeling of owing something to House Targaryen is what really drove him to seek out Daenerys Targaryen after Joffrey Baratheon dismissed him from the Kingsguard, instead of serving the other Baratheons. He also desires to serve a good ruler before dying and hopes to find that in Daenerys.
Though he was an old man when he came into the service of Robert and Daenerys Targaryen, Barristan was a courageous and fierce fighter who could duel evenly with much younger and skilled swordsman, once even claiming that he could cut into the five Kingsguard like "carving a cake" (Considering that barely any of the Kingsguard present were especially skilled warriors, this was probably true). He valued honour greatly and grew disgusted how Cersei and Joffrey were weeding the Small Council and court with sycophants; in rage he surrendered his title of Lord Commander but refused Varys' offer as he was a knight and would die a knights death. This shows that such devotion to his status as a knight has given him a supreme sense of loyalty and honour. Infuriated by Barristan calling him a boy and saying that Stannis Baratheon will defeat him, Joffrey had Lord Janos Slynt sending 2 of his gold cloaks to execute Selmy. They were found both dead, causing Cersei to regret listening to her son's idea of firing Barristan.
Barristan was also a deep supporter of House Targaryen. Though he was horrified regarding the acts that Aerys committed, he still fought to retain the Targaryen Dynasty during the Battle of the Trident and was close with Rheagar, Aerys' son whom he bodyguarded during the battle. He was spared of his life by Robert, despite Lord Roose Bolton's advice of killing him. Though he served under the man who killed Rheagar and stole Aerys' throne, he continued to respect and love Targaryens and finally assisted the Mad King's last living heir, Daenerys in helping her in her campaign to take the throne, as well as her campaign in Slaver's Bay. Ser Barristan Selmy was extremely brave, being completely able to confront a ring of Sons of the Harpy with only a sword and no armour, while his faceless opponents had the advantage of armoured faces, numbers and weapons. Barristan fought incredibly well for a man of his age, cutting down a great number of the Sons without even crossing swords twice, even continuing after he was severely disoriented - what is fitting is that one of the greatest warriors that the Seven Kingdoms knew died the way he always wanted to, fighting against the forces of a malevolent and dangerous enemy with a sword in hand.