Ser Arthur Dayne & Ser Gerold Hightower, A Game of Thrones
A Game of Thrones
Arya beating down Joffrey with a wooden stick when the latter was armed with a sword. She's 9, he's 12. She beats him down, scars him, disarms him, and makes him run to his mommy. Great Foreshadowing on her future badassness, and it was against one of the most sleazy characters of all time.
Made even better when you realize that Joffrey has been trained in fencing from around the time that he could walk and the only training Arya has had was with a butcher's son who probably knew less than her.
A great one one for Littlefinger is when he betrays Eddard Stark, saying "I did warn you not to trust me, you know."
Adds another layer of awesome when you look back at Cat's character and relationship with Littlefinger before her husband's death and realize that he would've had a chance at getting back with her if not for a Spanner in the Works by the way of Joffrey.
When foreign weapon-master Syrio Forel is confronted by five Lannister fully armoured men-at-arms and one of the knights of the Kingsguard, while he himself is armed with a wooden practice sword. The quote above was swiftly followed by the death of the men-at-arms. He only lost the fight because the knight had no gaps in his armor which Forel could use to kill him.
Yeah, I'm definitely expecting to see Forel again. Remember the fourth level of the Red Keep's dungeons oh-so-casually mentioned in the beginning of AFFC?
Never trust that a character is truly dead unless it is witnessed and confirmed by another POV character.
A Clash of Kings
Ser Robar Royce, after a little convincing from Catelyn, held off several of the South's best knights to allow two women he knew were innocent to escape Renly's camp.
Yoren's confrontation with a gold cloak asking for one of the boys in his charge made him pretty awesome:
Gold Cloak: I'll have the boy.
Yoren: You'll have no one. There's laws on such things.
Gold Cloak: *draws a shortsword* Here's your law.
Yoren: That's no law, only a sword. Happens I got one too.
And then the others all get their weapons - hammers, knives, walking sticks - and prepare to fight the Gold Cloaks. Even Hot Pie grabs a rock.
Another awesome moment for Arya is how she ropes in Jaqen H'Qar. She has an assassin on a leash who will give her three deaths, and she's already got two. When he won't go along with her plan, she asks him to kill himself.
Two Brave Companions climbed up the ramparts and ripped down the banners of the Lannister lion and Ser Amory Lorch's manticore, replacing them with the direwolf of Stark. And that evening, a page named Nan poured wine for Lord Roose Bolton and Vargo Hoat as they sat on the gallery, watching the Brave Companions parade Ser Amory Lorch naked through the middle ward. Ser Amory was sobbing and pleading and clinging to the legs of his jeering captors, until Shagwell pulled him loose and kicked him down into the bear pit. The bear is all black, Arya thought. Like Yoren. She filled Roose Bolton’s cup, and did not spill a drop.//
It also serves as a fantastic Kick the Son of a Bitch moment for the Brave Companions. You may end up hating them later, but there's no denying Lorch had it coming.
Tyrion nearly surpasses Littlefinger himself in a single damn chapter. He suspects that one of three councilors (Pycelle, Littlefinger, and Varys) is a spy for Cersei. To flush out the rat, he gives each of them a different story about the plans he has for two of Cersei's children. So when a furious Cersei comes to him ranting and raving about the plans he had "entrusted" to Pycelle, he instantly knows it was the Grand Maester spying for her. Game, set, match.
The deformed dwarf Tyrion Lannister rallying troops for the defense of King's Landing:
"They say I'm half a man. What does that make the lot of you?"
When Tyrion is planning the defense of King's Landing, and orders the troops to practice with the flamethrowers, starting with green paint and working their way up to lamp oil, by taking the advice of the expert. Don't see that nearly often enough in high adventure.
Tyrion coming to the defense of Sansa who was getting utterly humiliated by her husband-to-be definitely counts as well.
When Tyrion turns table on a knight who just unhorsed him by head-stabbing his horse is also a Moment of Awesome.
While we are at Wildlings, Osha's actions and loyality to the stark family during a Clash of Kings are quite awesome in their own way. Especially killing two armed Ironborn guards with a kitchen knife, if Theon's observation are to belief.
Strong Belwas, one of Daenerys' best Elite Mooks, gets one in the second half of A Storm of Swords, when he fights the champion of Meereen in single combat and knocks him from his horse, allows the champion to cut him once before he kills him and then drops his trousers, shits in the direction of the city and wipes himself with the Meereen champion's cape and then goes back to camp demanding to be fed.
So-Called Coward Samwell Tarly killing an Other. In this case, the awesome comes not so much because he was successful (that was mostly a fluke), but from the fact that he proved brave enough to try at all.
Also, when Sam manages to get Jon Snow voted as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
Oberyn Martell's duel with Gregor Clegane is another notable highlight for both combatants.
There's a reason that the former is called the Red Viper of Dorne and the latter is called The Mountain, especially this bit:
Her name was Elia of Dorne. If you die before you say her name, Ser, I will hunt you through all seven hells.
Tyrion is a walking Moment of Awesome. A particular favorite is when, after escaping from a cell, he sneaks into the Tower of the Hand, ambushes his own father, who has mistreated Tyrion his entire life for being a dwarf, and who most recently led to Tyrion getting imprisoned, and shoots him to death with a crossbow. While his father is taking a shit. In the balls, no less.
And finally proving that Lord Tywin does NOT shit gold.
Arya stabbing the Tickler to death, complete with Ironic Echo:
Is there gold hidden in the village? Is there silver? Gems? Is there food? Where is Lord Beric? Where did he go? How many men were with him? How many knights? How many bowmen? How many, how many, how many, how many, how many, HOW MANY?!IS THERE GOLD HIDDEN IN THE VILLAGE?!
Another of Littlefinger's best moments was his (indirect) killing of Joffrey. That was the moment where a significant portion of the fandom forgave his betrayal of Ned Stark.
That kinda went out the window when it was revealed he also plotted the death of Jon Arryn, kickstarting the entire shitstorm that was the war. Which is also kind of awesome, when you think about it.
At which point the fandom just kind of shrugged and agreed that yes, Littlefinger is a horrible human being, but damn,he's impressive!
How utterly cold he gets when trying to stop Lysa from killing Sansa. "I have only loved one woman." "Truly?" "Only Cat." *shove*
A Feast For Crows
Sam walks into a brothel and punches Dareon in the face for being a deserter. When a second person interferes, Sam fights him too, and only stops when he is thrown out. The other-killing was a fluke and the election more a result of cunning rather than courage (Sam himself points out that he is smart, even if he is craven, a fact also admitted by Mormont) but this is one occasion in which he throws his cowardice to the winds and starts a fight.
Apparently, what Sam really needs to overcome his cowardice is someone to fight for. He's too scared to defend himself, but when someone is threatening Gilly or selfishly leaving Maester Aemon to die, he goes (quite literally) medieval on them.
Jaime gets a moment when talking to Ryman Frey who has been threatening to hang Edmure Tully over and over again (Ryman was the then heir to the Twins, and the Freys, while disliked even by their allies - for good reason - are very important for the Lannisters): "Only a fool makes threats he's not prepared to carry out. If I were to threaten to hit you unless you shut your mouth, and you presumed to speak, what do you think I'd do?"
"Ser, you do not unders-"
Jaime backhands him. With his golden hand.
Jaime, who we've never really seen slap anyone in the first few books, suddenly seems to be finding lots of excuses to teach terrible people what the five golden fingers say to the face. You get the feeling he's happy he's finally found something that the useless hand is good for.
The best part of his To the Pain speech is arguably after the threats have finished. Jaime walks out and leaves Edmure in the bath, casually telling a bard to stay with him and serenade him... with The Rains Of Castamerenote the song describes the fate of a lord who defied Tywin Lannister. Gulp.
His final line in "A Feast for Crows", in which he definitively leaves Cersei to her own doing, realising that she's been using him all their lives.
Jaime gets another MOA when he calls Jeyne Westerling's mother, who actively prevented her daughter from siring a heir to the throne and plotted the death of her son-in-law, out for her general sliminess.
Speaking of Jamie and backhands, how about earlier when he backhands Ser Ronnet the same way for calling Brienne a freak? Especially since Jamie used to call her "wench" all the time, it makes his reaction even more freakin' golden (no pun intended):
"You are speaking of a highborn lady, ser. Call her by her name. Call her Brienne."
A Dance With Dragons
Victarion Greyjoy fucking up every single slaver he comes across in A Dance with Dragonsand not even breaking a sweat.
"Two gods are with me now," he told the dusky woman. "No foe can stand before two gods."
"No man calls Victarion Greyjoy a fool and lives to boast of it." *Vader Choke*
Arya takes a new face and performs her first sanctioned assassination in a way that echoes the prologue of A Feast For Crows.
The Winds of Winter
Stannis deducing that Arnolf Karstark is The Mole, getting him and his nephew arrested and bullying several Karhold men into fighting for him instead of House Bolton.
Anytime Davos Seaworth opens his mouth long enough to deliver a speech of awesomeness! The following two stand out:-
"I don’t doubt Lord Celtigar bent the knee to the boy Joffrey. He is an old done man, who wants no more than to end his days in his castle, drinking his fine wine out of his jeweled cups.” He turned back to Stannis. “Yet he came when you called, sire. Came, with his ships and swords. He stood by you at Storm’s End when Lord Renly came down on us, and his ships sailed up the Blackwater. His men fought for you, killed for you, burned for you. Claw Isle is weakly held, yes. Held by women and children and old men. And why is that? Because their husbands and sons and fathers died on the Blackwater, that’s why. Died at their oars, or with swords in their hands, fighting beneath our banners. Yet Ser Axell proposes we swoop down on the homes they left behind, to rape their widows and put their children to the sword. These small-folk are no traitors."
“Death,” he heard himself say, “there will be death, aye. Your lordship lost a son at the Red Wedding. I lost four upon the Blackwater. And why? Because the Lannisters stole the throne. Go to King’s Landing and look on Tommen with your own eyes, if you doubt me. A blind man could see it. What does Stannis offer you? Vengeance. Vengeance for my sons and yours, for your husbands and your fathers and your brothers. Vengeance for your murdered lord, your murdered king, your butchered princes. Vengeance!”
Jaime killing Aerys. At 17 doing the most unbelievable crime of all time. Killing a king, a king he was sworn to defend. And his reasons make him a total woobie (at least initially).
One that happened offscreen - when he was a squire with Merrett Frey, Merrett used to bully the other squires. Then he tried to bully Jaime. Guess what happened next...
Tyrion becoming a Magnificent Bastard (arguably) in his own right: He manages to escape certain execution by demanding a trial by combat and turns Bronn, a dangerous and highly skilled mercenary, to his cause. And when Lysa Arryn makes him go down a mountain pass inhabited by Proud Warrior Race Guys who have been the scourge of the Vale of Arryn for centuries, he manages to convince them to let him safely go through the pass and serve him as bodyguards and enforcers. And he actually upholds the promises he made to them instead of saying "Suckers!" once he's safely in his own army.
It gets better. The Promise he made was to ARM the Mountain Clans with steel armor and swords who then go back and use them to raid the Vale of Arryn. So he gets through the pass, gets body guards and enforcers, and his payment gets revenge on the woman who imprisoned him, all at the same time!
Joffrey boasts about how intends to torment Sansa by stripping her naked for the bedding ceremony with her new husband. Tyrion, now Sansa's husband, threatens to geld Joffrey, and tells him that he'll have to service his betrothed with a wooden prick. He does all of this in front of Tywin and Cersei, and Tywin seems to almost approve of Tyrion's intolerance of Joffrey's cruelty.
Saving the life of Aegon Targaryen VI by bodily ramming a Stone Man off their boat.
Which comes right after he convinces Aegon to abandon the plan he's been coached in for his entire life, pointing out that it clearly hasn't been working. And that is after he discovers Aegon's true identity in the first place, wagering the reveal of the secret over a cyvasse game, with the implication that he'd deliberately lost several earlier games to get his opponent confident enough to accept that bet.
And, even better, when he hears that Aegon has actually taken his advice, his inner reaction is along the lines of "Ha, the idiot actually fell for it." He not only convinced him to abandon his lifelong plan, he convinced him to abandon his lifelong plan FOR A WORSE PLAN — and he did it while playing a cyvasse game with him that ended with Aegon losing BECAUSE HE TOOK TYRION'S ADVICE ABOUT HOW TO PLAY.
YMMV on that one. First Tyrion's surprised (he nearly chokes on the food he's eating when he hears the news). Second, Accidental Truth/Backup plan is in full effect here: Jon Connigton and the Golden company arrive just to find out that the Lannister/Tyrell powerblock eroding/on the verge of collapse.
Escaping slavery to buy the help of an entire sellsword company. No, not the other way around, he signed with a sellsword company and bought their wares after escaping his master.
The Red Wedding is a villainous one for Tywin Lannister. All that time, he'd just been sitting there, waiting and watching, because he had already won, just no one else knew it at the time.
Daenerys Frakkin' Targaryen. Dany is like a Crowning Person of Awesome all on her own after about the midpoint of A Game of Thrones, but here are a few highlights:
First, when she kills Mirri Maz Duur and hatches her dragon eggs, and WALKS INTO THE FIRE TO PULL THEM OUT and comes out unscathed (except for her hair)at the end of A Game of Thrones
Then, when she burns down the House of the Undying AND outwits the Qaartheen to escape after leading her people through a desert death march mostly intact during A Clash Of Kings
Finally, she turns her small group of Dothraki into a large group of warriors by freeing the Unsullied she just bought by ordering them to kill the men who owned them five minutes ago, then leading them on a rampage through the East, freeing slaves and leaving burning ruins of what had once been decadent, immoral, evil cities in her wake during A Storm of Swords. Put simply, she is the most badass fourteen-year-old in, well, EVER.
And this is after she shredded half his face off with the whip he just gave her.
Of course, this being a World Half Empty, after Daenerys accomplishes the events described above, it falls apart. But instead of pulling a Karma Houdini—or letting the author throw one on her behalf—she decides to stay and learn from her mistakes. For a girl of sixteen, that's another Moment of Awesome right there.
Drogon in A Dance with Dragons. If you've gotten to the scene, no further explanation will be necessary.
When Brienne hopped off the boat while transporting Jaime Lannister out of Riverrun, scaled up a cliff, then dropped a boulder off of it on top of the boat pursuing them. Then she jumped off the cliff, almost landing in the boat.
And her killing Shagwell the fool - "Laugh!" but Shagwell could only moan and cry.
"Sapphires." Finally, Rorge gets what is coming to him. Also qualifies as a CMOA for Gendry, who rids the world of Biter a few minutes later
Discouraging Vargo Hoat from raping her. By biting off his ear.
Even better, Jaime later learns that the wound festered and drove him so mad that he didn't even noticed his fortress getting stormed.
Davos Seaworth spiriting away Edric Storm and then heading straight to King Stannis to confess and convince him to give his strength to the Night Watch.
In A Dance with Dragons, Strong Belwas saves Daenerys from death by poisoning because he eats all the poisoned food that she was intended to eat. He only gets mildly sick.
No, he almost dies. The key word is almost, seeing how he ate all the poisoned locusts.
Ser Cortnay Penrose, castellan of the castle Storm's End, facing Stannis, who's trying to convince to surrender by telling him there will be no mercy if he has to take the castle by force -
Penrose: "Very well, Ser. Bring on your storm. And remember, if you will, the NAME of this castle."
And earlier — all of Stannis' men are scared shitless of Melisandre; Penrose openly tells her that the Others can wipe their ass on the Lord of Light's flag.
Seeing Podrick Paynereveal that he is in fact a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass by killing a member of the Kingsguard and then getting Tyrion to safety.
Podrick gets better, he's still loyal after all this time to Tyrion, long after Tyrion left him behind.
Later, he distracts Shagwell by throwing rocks at him, so that Brienne only has to face one of the Bloody Mummers at a time.
"I told you I could fight!"
Hodor breaking out of the crypt at the end of A Clash of Kings. Really makes you glad he's a Gentle Giant.
Sandor Clegane's trial by combat with Beric Dondarrion is a big one for both, though Sandor comes out a bit ahead with his preceding What the Hell, Hero? speech about how they're laying all the crimes of the Lannisters on his head when he didn't take part in any of them.
Especially powerful because as he points out they're shirking responsibility for their own crimes.
To add to the awesomeness, Arya even noted that Dondarrion's group had found Clegane was he was drunk. In other words, even drunk and terrified of Beric's flaming sword, Clegane still won. Holy shit.
Jon Snow takes an arrow in the leg while escaping the Wildlings and Thenns, and painfully takes it out himself. He then manages to ride the miles back to the Wall with this increasingly painful injury to deliver his warning about the attack. His leg isn't much better by the time the attack comes, but he still manages a few nice kills.
Of course, that's just the beginning of the awesome, culminating in Jon gaining leadership of the Night's Watch during the attack on the Wall.
Jon's public execution of Janos Slynt for disobedience, even giving him a Hope Spot which is actually just Jon deciding to do the honors himself, like his father would.
Jon: Take Lord Janos out in the yard...and hang him.
There's also this exchange between him and Bowen Marsh in A Dance With Dragons, that cements his point in accepting the wildlings through the Wall:
Marsh: "The lord commander must pardon my bluntness, but I have no softer way to say this. What you propose is nothing less than treason. For eight thousand years the men of the Night’s Watch have stood upon the Wall and fought these wildlings. Now you mean to let them pass, to shelter them in our castles, to feed them and clothe them and teach them how to fight. Lord Snow, must I remind you? You swore an oath."
Jon: "I know what I swore. 'I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men'. Were those the same words you said when you took your vows?"
Marsh: "They were. As the lord commander knows."
Jon: "Are you certain that I have not forgotten some? The ones about the king and his laws, and how we must defend every foot of his land and cling to each ruined castle? How does that part go?" Jon waited for an answer. None came. "'I am the shield that guards the realms of men'. Those are the words. So tell me, my lord— what are these wildlings, if not men?"
Kevan Lannister's Refuge in Audacity telling off of Cersei after she asks him to become the new King's Hand. Then he leaves her with a hint that he believes the accusation of incest between her and Jaime.
Ser Kevan also flat out calls her a poor ruler and when she argues that Joffrey was alive she ruled through him and intends to do the same through Tommen he simply points out that she is also a bad mother. Cersei is so enraged that she throws her wine in his face.
Robb's continuing victories over the Lannisters, culminating to the King of the North!! moment at the end of the first book
Donal Noye: A one-armed smith defeating Mag the Mighty, King of the Giants in a tunnel beneath the Wall. There'll be songs about that one.
Doran Martell reveals his master plan to destroy the Lannisters and put the Targaryens on the throne, complete with those chilling words: Vengeance. Justice. Fire and Blood.
In the next book, he gets wind of Cersei's plan to kill his son, with himself as a witness that she wasn't involved, and quickly alters his years-long plan by sending three of the Sand Snakes out to further keep an eye on everything in King's Landing. The man is officially a Magnificent Bastard to rival Littlefinger; not bad for someone who's long been crippled by gout.
Oberyn may be the deadly viper, but as Doran rightly boasts, he is the grass that hides the snake, and thus far more dangerous. He's been patiently plotting against the Lannisters for years, hiding this even from his own family.
How have we gotten this far without mentioning everything Eddard Stark did in a single book that could make him awesome! I mean, the first thing he is seen doing is proving that hands on justice is the greatest. He has the honor to accept his bastard child in Jon Snow, and my personal favorite parts, his What the Hell King speech to King Robert when he orders that Dany and her brother are killed to protect the Seven Kingdoms from the dragons and voluntarily giving up what could be considered the strongest political position in the entire world just to prove a point that he wouldn't go along with it!
What about Asha, sister to Theon Greyjoy who, after his return, completely and utterly humiliates him? She pretends to be a shipwright's wife and mock seduces him to learn his nature. When he finds out, he's gobsmacked, remembering her as a plain child, not a beautiful, intelligent, tough woman. Then, when he confronts her about her deception, she claims she does have a husband and child... and reveals an axe and a small dagger.
The latest High Septon, as of A Feast For Crows, gets one when talking to Cersei:
High Septon: No.
Cersei proceeds to get imprisoned and unable to invoke a trial by combat she might actually win, guarded by the militant orders of the church against any rescue attempt. Her own actions are directly responsible for the restriction on her champions and the existence of said militant orders.
The one-chapter character Thistle deserves one for stopping an evil skinchanger from using her body, by biting off her tongue and clawing her eyes out when she feels him taking over. And then she gets to kill him for good as a wight.
She doesn't actually. Varamyr lives on in One-Eye, as we find out when Summer takes over his pack.
Followed by Bran taking over that skinchanger's wolf pack while inside Summer.
Wyman Manderly, primarily known for being hugely fat and not particularly warlike, explains his true plans for the Freys and Boltons to Davos Seaworth. He's going to send Davos to find Rickon Stark, having discovered the survival of him and Bran from Wex Pyke by patiently questioning the mute. He'll ally with Stannis, providing him with a fleet, then help wipe the Boltons and Freys from the earth and make Robb Stark's heir a lord.The North remembers.
And his delicious Pay Evil unto Evil line that Little Walder's death was a mercy, as he would have grown up a Frey.
And then the fattie survives getting his throat slashed open by an enraged Hosteen Frey. HOLY CRAP, Wyman. HOLY CRAP.
Ser Barristan trying to direct Drogon's attention away from Dany.
Ser Barristan: Me! Try me. Over here. Me!
Ser Barristan and Drogon both have numerous ones throughout, not just in their scene together. Drogon is the first wild Dragon in years, making his lair in the Dothraki sea and leaving wide scars across the landscape. Ser Barristan takes on a pit fighter not half his age as though it were nothing and takes Hizdahr prisoner, then becomes acting Hand until Dany returns. Granted, he doesn't want to rule and his city is under siege, but he tries.
Ser Barristan: Then, come.
Rattleshirt getting his Lightning Bruiser on in a duel with Jon. Gets even better when you learn it was really Mance Rayder.
The Blackfish verbally abuses Jaime Lannister when the latter tries to parley during the siege of Riverrun. And then he escapes the siege by swimming down a river. For least 10 miles. At night. Did we mention that he's 60 years old?
In A Dance with Dragons, the entire plan to rescue Jeyne from Ramsay, involving numerous murders by the Beneath Notice wildling spearwives disguised as washerwomen, under the command of Mance Rayder disguised as a minstrel, and culminating in Theon jumping off of Winterfell's outer wall with her.
Followed by a Tear Jerker moment when Theon proudly states his real name upon being reunited with Asha.
Jon Connington and the Golden Company taking back Griffin's Roost.
Griff expected to lose a hundred men, perhaps more. They lost four.
Jon Connington in general. He has Greyscale but all he wants is for his dead best friend and idol's son to assume his rightful place on the throne. That requires devotion.
Varys finally being proactive about his plots and killing Kevan Lannister and Grand Maester Pycelle because they were threatening to stabilize the realm too much.
And thoroughly regretting its necessity the entire time.
Let's not forget that earlier in the same book we learn he was able to save the life of Aegon Targaryen VI, and arranged for him to get a thorough education in everything he would need to be the kind of leader the Seven Kingdoms need when he comes of age and returns to take the Iron Throne. Fans had been waiting five books and fifteen years to learn what Varys has really been up to, and it fully lives up to that buildup.
Anytime in Game of Thrones that Dany humiliates Viserys, first by shoving him away and forcing him to walk behind the Dothraki khalasar for an entire day, then hitting him with a gold-plated belt. Considering that when we first see her she's merely a scared fourteen-year-old girl, this is some majorly quick character development.
Bronn's ever more jaw-droppingly brazen rise to power.
To elaborate, Cersei arranges for Bronn to have an unfortunate accident with his underlings, Ser Balman and Lady Falyse. Instead, Balman challenges to a jousting match on horseback (thinking that Bronn, not having any jousting experience, will get knocked off his horse and can be killed while he's lying stunned on the ground), only for Bronn to kill Balman's horse instead and kill him while he's lying stunned on the ground. Bronn then kicks out Lady Falyse. Note that this is after Bronn has named his adopted son "Tyrion" when it would be suicide to do so, and has gotten away with it.
Even earlier than that, Bronn begins life as just a normal sellsword, smart enough to believe that when Tyrion says A Lannister always pays his debts he means it. He then kills a seasoned knight in single combat, traverses bandit-filled country unscathed (in no small part with Tyrion's help, granted), fights in several battles, saves a city, THEN does the above jousting trick then, to top it all off, declares himself lord protector of his wife's lands with no protest from anyone.
Surely Stannis Baratheon deserves some kind of nod on this page? His determintion in spite of repeated blows and failures is nothing short of impressive. His biggest moment has to be his Big Damn Heroes moment in the battle of the wall against the wildlings. To clarify, Stannis at this point is very much the underdog in the war of the five kings, and yet he is the only one who recognizes that it's his duty as king to protect the realm against the greater threat and sends reinforcements to the wall with some encouragement from Davos.
Margaery Tyrell gets an amazing moment in A Feast for Crows. After Cersei, in a fit of staggering paranoia, frames her for adultery and treason and has her arrested by the Faith. She goes to visit Margaery in her cell to show support (i.e., stealth gloating), but Margaery is having precisely none of Cersei's bullshit:
Cersei donned a look of hurt. “You wrong me, daughter. All I want—”
The scenes in ADWD that show Arya Stark isn't the only Plucky Girl in the North. We have ten year old Lyanna Mormont sending a message to King Stannis that her family will only bend their knee to a Stark, Wylla Manderly being the only member of her house willing to stand up and say what everyone's thinking about the Frey's and Ramsey Bolton, and Alys Karstark escaping from a forced marriage to her Evil Uncle by riding an exhausted horse to the Wall, and then calmly agreeing to marry a wildling lord, who's more scared on her than she is of him.
No love for Sansa? In book one after realising what Joffery really is she almost pulls a Taking You with Me and is only stopped by the Hound. Book two she saves Ser Dontos life which allows for her eventual escape from Kings Landing. And in book four she's showing real signs of Magnificent Bastard potential.
Her defiant refusal to kneel at her forced wedding to Tyrion was a brave bit of resistance in a scenario where she had virtually no capacity to refuse her captors anything.
The backstory featured a confrontation between Aegon the Conqueror's sister-wife Rhaenys and the Ruling Princess of Dorne, Mariya "The Yellow Toad" Martell. The Dornish had used guerilla tactics to destroy the invading Targaryen armies little piece by little piece, at the same time negating them a target for their dragons. When Rhaenys got fed up and flew straight to the Dornish capital the following (paraphrased) exchange took place:
Mariya: This is Dorne. You are not wanted here, return at your peril.
Made even more awesome by the fact that Mariya was an 80 year old woman, nearly blind, and she still dared to spurn a freaking dragon rider who had burned an army to cinders a few days back. The Dornish (even women)must have balls of Valyrian steel!
"You raped her! You murdered her! You killed her children!" Made no less awesome by the fact that he lost the duel and died. Died *first*, anyway...
When naive, green boy Tris Botley, who is looked down upon by other Ironborn for his southron sensibilities (especially by Asha, who disapproves of his fawning over her), kicks crazy ass at the fall of Deepwood Motte, very clearly willing to give his life for the sake of Asha and his comrades, and to die like a true ironborn.
The taking of Deepwood Motte is one for Stannis as well.
Even after being filled with enough booze to knock out any mortal man, the Greatjon still has to be subdued by eight men, of whom he manages to kill one, wound two others and bite half the ear off Ser Leslyn Haigh. That's right, even with his arms and legs restrained, the Greatjon is still fighting with his teeth! Tough meat indeed.
Earlier in the series, he laughs off having two fingers bitten off by a direwolf. Then and there while he's still bleeding.
Olenna Redwyne's poisoning Joffrey is arguably a CMOA, considering it happens at Joffrey and Margaery's wedding, the point at which the Lannisters are at the height of their power. And The Rains of Castamere has been playing throughout. And she gets away with it.
While the Red Wedding is most horror and tragedy, Greatjon Umber's Defiant to the End moment stands out as awesome. The Lannisters want the Freys and Boltons to take him alive, as he's a valuable political hostage, so the Freys try to trick him into drinking to unconsciousness... it doesn't work. Greatjon then proceeds to fight several Frey soldiers while completely shitfaced, and while he is ultimately subdued and captured, it takes eight men to do so, two of them die in the struggle, and another loses half an ear.
Catelyn Stark successfully holding off an assassin that is attempting to kill her recently crippled son that is lying in a coma, with her even stopping a Valyrian Steel dagger with her bare hand.
From "The Hedge Knight", many moments relating to Dunk's Trial of Seven:
The smallfolk all being on Dunk's side even though his opponents include three princes of the blood and three members of the Kingsguard because he was "a knight who remembered his vows".
Baelor Breakspear himself, Hand of the King and heir to the Iron Throne, volunteering to be Dunk's final champion, even though it means going against his own brother and two of his nephews.
Ser Humphry Hardyng fighting at Dunk's side even though he already had a broken leg from his earlier clash with Aerion.
Raymun Fossaway being knighted on the spot to take Dunk's cause after his treacherous cousin Steffon betrays Dunk to fight for the other side. During the battle he gave his cousin a fwe bruises to remember and afterwards went on to found the cadet branch of House Fossoway based on his repainted "green apple" banner which would grow to become the equals of the main "red apple" branch.
Finally, his acceptance of Prince Maekar's offer to let him take his son Aegon as his squire- on the condition that the two of them roam the country living the low life a simple hedge knight and his common squire. When Maekar incredulously reminds Dunk that Egg is a prince of the blood, Dunk points out to the prince and now heir to the throne that neither of his other two sons ever learned humility or decency, so maybe it's time to try things a different way. Maekar doesn't answer, but Dunk gets his way. (And if you know about the history of the series, you know Aegon V grows up to be a fair, honourable and beloved ruler, so Dunk knew what he was talking about.)