A Game of Thrones
Strength and Skill Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
For a moment he was afraid the older man would go for his sword. It was a short, ugly thing, its grip discolored by sweat, its edge nicked from hard use, but Will would not have given an iron bob for the lordling's life if Gared pulled it from its scabbard. (1 Prologue.65)
A lot of power in A Game of Thrones goes to the nobles, like Ser Waymar Royce, without any particular consideration of skill or strength. We know that Gared, on the other hand, is good with a sword because his sword is well-used. Similarly, when Bronn fights for Tyrion's life, we know that he's a good fighter because his sword isn't very pretty (41 Catelyn 7.30).
"My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind... and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." (14 Tyrion 2.35)
Intelligence is certainly a skill, and Tyrion thinks of his mind as something to be trained by books. In fact, training will be one of the important recurring sub-themes to skill and strength.
The world was full of cravens who pretended to be heroes; it took a queer sort of courage to admit to cowardice as Samwell Tarly had. (27 Jon 4.52)
In a book filled with brute strength, it's easy to overlook another kind of strength: strength of character.