In Season 1 Episode 5, A Golden Crown, Bronn fights Ser Vardis of the Vale as Tyrion's champion in a trial by combat.

(the rest of the question continues the spoiler)

Bronn Wins

Lysa Arryn: You don't fight with honor.

Bronn: No. He did.

nods head towards the rapidly descending Ser Vardis

What am I missing here? What was dishonorable about Bronn's fight?

  • Lysa was quite stupid to pick Ser Vardis who didn't want to fight, over the other knights who volunteered :-)
    – Tomas
    Oct 9 '20 at 12:40

He didn’t fight “traditionally”

The traditional duel is probably what you see in films and at re-enactment tournaments all the time. Two knights sparring, one attacks the other defends and then counter attacks and this goes on until one wins. Bronn clearly wasn’t doing that: he was running around, retreating and goading Vardis.

He uses other “things”

During the duel he knocks over objects to gain a small advantage and this is clearly not how he is meant to fight. He also gets the on lookers involved by moving between them and even throwing someone into the mix.

He doesn’t stay in the “arena”

Duels are generally supposed to take place in their dedicated area and not go outside of it i.e. The Mountian and The Viper. Bronn did not stay in the arena during the fight.

Stand and fight, coward!

Lysa refers to Bronn’s tactics as cowardice but how she words them makes it appear as though the above are in play too. After Bronn hops off the staircase Lysa screams.

Stand and fight, coward!

  • On my phone right now and I have a busy weekend but will update with quotes and references when I can.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Aug 18 '18 at 7:41
  • 9
    I took the liberty of fixing some typos. Impressively, your phone managed to autocorrect "Bronn" to 3 different wrong things. Aug 18 '18 at 8:57
  • 3
    @ApproachingDarknessFish autocorrect is context-dependent nowadays
    – FooBar
    Aug 18 '18 at 16:26

I can see two things that might be regarded as dishonourable:

  • Bronn spends much of the fight dodging and retreating in order to tire out Ser Vardis. It might be expected that a formal duel would involve more swordplay. Bronn is accused of cowardice for this by Lysa Arryn, although it is of course a sensible strategy when fighting a better swordsman when your opponent is the only one wearing plate.
  • The final attack is probably the most significant issue though. An honourable opponent would have allowed Ser Vardis to rise to his feet before continuing the duel. Bronn did not offer him that chance.
  • In addition to tiring out his opponent, I saw Bronn's constant retreating at an attempt to lure Ser Vardis into a false sense of security. Look at the (presumably exaggerated, if not faked) fear in his face. Aug 18 '18 at 7:08
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    It's certainly a possibility, but I think it's entirely possible Bronn was scared out of his wits. He has a very realistic approach to life, and must have known that his odds against a trained champion weren't all that great.
    – Christi
    Aug 18 '18 at 7:10
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    @christi Bronn would not have fought if he did not think he could win, not even if Tyrion offered him all the gold in Casterly Rock. What good is gold to a corpse?
    – Revenant
    Aug 18 '18 at 7:37
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    True, but Bronn is absolutely a calculating bastard. I think he knew what he was doing was very risky but did it anyway, possibly because Tyrion's fate if he failed to intervent did not sit well with him or possibly because he saw the possibility that he could gain great favour by saving a Lannister - maybe a bit of both. Bron must have believed he could win, but it's likely that he recognised this as the gamble it was, I think.
    – Christi
    Aug 18 '18 at 8:03
  • Ser Vardis is described as "heavy, square, plain-faced, silver-haired" in the book, Although a decent knight in his day he was long past his prime and Bronn knew he'd be a strong favourite. Aug 18 '18 at 15:42

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