It will help my research considerably if you list your top five battle scenes (army v army, not individual) in fantasy, either in comments or via email.
Mine are these, in no particular order:
Witches v Gobblers in Northern Lights
Dark v Light in Grunts
Dros Delnoch (Druss v Ulric)
I’m not really one for heroic fantasy (preferring the non-heroic brand), but this one’s pretty good – The Champion of Garathorm (Michael Moorcock).
And if you were allowing one-on-ones, then nothing beats Miracleman #15.
You need to read soem Steven Erikson. Yes, I know the books are interminably long, but Erikson understands military tactics and most fantasy authors don’t.
In no particular order:
1. Dros Delnoch (Legend)
2. Arborlon (The Elfstone of Shannara)
3. Minas Tirith (The Lord of the Rings)
4. Skeln Pass (The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend)
5. the neutral city (The Revenants)
Apart from Helm’s Deep, all my entries would be from George RR Martin’s superb “The Song of Ice and Fire” series. The guy really does the blood / gore part well. It is more historical fiction than high fantasy, though.
1. The polish wars described in bartimaeus
2. Stand by stephen king. Not exactly your conventional war scene, but stealth and horror
3. For space wars you could read the novel “Pandora’s star” by Hamilton. The confederation gets attacked
4. Another space opera is the nights dawn triology by Hamilton which has multiple interplanetory wars, including the famous one in which the hero uses lagrange point to escape with the children(Part 1 i presume).
5. Ramayana by Banter. This has war scene in which brahmastra is used by Ram/Laks to destroy ravana’s army.
Minas Tirith (Lord of the Rings)
Fall of Prague (Bartimeus)
1. The war of the ring and Sauron defeated (History of the LOTR vol 3, 4)
2. Helm’s Deep
3. Minas Tirith
4. Fall of Prague (Bartimeus)
5. The Battle of La Drang (We Were Soldiers Once…and Young by Hal Moore)
1. Minas Tirith (LOTR)
2. War in the Kingdom of Heaven in The Amber Spyglass
The one I can remember:
1. Helms Deep (LOTR)
2. All the battles in the Silmarillion (also by Tolkien)
3. Fall of Prague (Bartimeus)
4. The assorted cutscenes in Warcraft (I dont think that counts though!)
Cant think of anymore at the moment – will get back to you if I do though.
I know you’re going to puke at this, but none the less, any of the battle scenes in Wheel of Time. Especially part six, Lord of Chaos.
Kaashyapeya reads Robert Jordan. My world, it explodeth.
Beak is a disturbing creature as he has listed the EXACT same battles I was going to suggest, barring the last one. Creepy.
That David Gemmell writes some amazing battles/violence, whether one on one or army vs army.
If people are suggesting computer games I too will be unhelpful in sticking in the cut scenes from Starcraft.
Robert Jordan – The New Spring (battle aftermath, actually!)
Warcraft cutscenes rule! Check this out: http://www.blizzard.com/war3/movies/
If you aren’t disgusted already, that is,
Dont try a battle scene like Eldest. I found it very cliched for some reason.
always glad to have the blessings of brother louie.
1. Battle of Pelennor Fields (LOTR -Return of The King)
2. Battle of Helm’s Deep (LOTR – The Two Towers)
3. Battle Of Five Armies (The Hobbit)
4. Battle of the Kingdom of Heaven (The Amber Spyglass)
5. The Battle Of Waterloo (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel)
If one-on-one’s were allowed, then Fingolfin vs. Morgoth in the Silmarillion would be a shoo-in.
Also, the climatic duel in Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay.
Oh yeah, and Steven Erikson is absolutely brilliant.
All that said, here’s my five :
Pelennor Fields/Dagor Bragollach : Tolkien has to be up there.
Battle of Coral, Memories of Ice : Steven Erikson isn’t that far behind, mind you. Any battle in his books is awesome, especially those in Deadhouse Gates.
Dragons of Summer Flame, Dragonlance : The climatic battle in this book is brilliant.
Dune : Not exactly an outright battle and is sci-fi more than fantasy, but the ending deserves a mention.
Dros Delnoch, Legend : Although I don’t consider Gemmel as legendary as quite a few people seem to do, this battle speaks for itself.
Oh, and that ‘Dark vs Light in Grunts’? Would that be the book with Ashnak and the Orc Marines, by any chance?