Knights are expected to train and lead a group of men-at-arms. Unlike mercenary sellswords, men-at-arms remain in the service of a master, such as lords or landed knights, and they can wear the badge or livery of the men they serve. Armament of men-at-arms includes axes, daggers, longaxes, spears, swords, and warhammers. Some use shields. They can be mounted on horses or march on foot. Men-at-arms can also serve as warriors on the decks of ships.
Besides fighting on campaign during wartime, men-at-arms can also serve in the garrisons of castles, as household guards, or as guards at city gates. Some Kings of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men have used men-at-arms and household knights to protect members of the royal family, while others have used the Kingsguard.
Prince Maegor Targaryen was able to defeat seasoned men-at-arms in the yard when he was only twelve. When King Maegor the Cruel asked for champions to defend him in a trial of seven, the simple man-at-arms Dick Bean was the first to volunteer. During the Faith Militant uprising, knights and men-at-arms disappeared in the countryside after being sent to apprehend Dennis the Lame and Ragged Silas.
After the ascension of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, Queen Elinor Costayne departed King's Landing for the Eyrie with only a handmaid and a loyal man-at-arms as her companions. A dozen knights and forty men-at-arms protected Lord Rogar Baratheon and Queen Alyssa Velaryon when they sailed to Dragonstone to confront Jaehaerys after he wed his sister, Alysanne Targaryen. When Rogar and Alyssa returned to Storm's End, they were escorted through the kingswood by a hundred men-at-arms. Lord Maegor Towers resided at Harrenhal with only a cook and three older men-at-arms. Because men-at-arms often guarded river fords and charged travelers for the right to cross, King Jaehaerys desired to build more durable roads throughout the Seven Kingdoms.
Thousands of knights, men-at-arms and peasants from the riverlands rose in support of Rhaenyra Targaryen during the Dance of the Dragons. Ser Criston Cole marched against Rosby and Stokeworth with a hundred knights and five hundred men-at-arms from the household of Aegon II Targaryen, and three thousand men-at-arms were in the army of greens led by Ormund Hightower, Lord of the Hightower. Ulf the White was a man-at-arms who mounted Silverwing during the Sowing of the Seeds. Vhagar killed six knights and twoscore men-at-arms in the service of Lady Sabitha Frey when Prince Aemond Targaryen attacked Harrenhal. During the riots of King's Landing, only sixteen of Ser Lorent Marbrand's hundred knights and men-at-arms survived an expedition into Flea Bottom. Twenty men-at-arms were with the Seven Who Rode to rescue Prince Joffrey Velaryon from the mob. An unknown man-at-arms is remember as one of the possible killers of Prince Daeron Targaryen during Second Tumbleton. Lady Jeyne Arryn assembled fifteen hundred knights and eight thousand men-at-arms in support of the blacks.
In the aftermath of the Dance, men-at-arms were among the condemned who begged to take the black during the Hour of the Wolf. Some northmen who did not marry at Widow Fairs chose to instead become men-at-arms and guards to river lords. A hundred knights and three housand men-at-arms were organized by Lady Johanna Lannister in an attempt to retake Fair Isle from the ironborn, but the campaign was crushed by Lord Dalton Greyjoy. Sandoq the Shadow single-handedly defended King Aegon III Targaryen and Prince Viserys Targaryen from Ser Amaury Peake and a dozen men-at-arms at the start of the secret siege.
When King Aerys II Targaryen ordered his pyromancers to enact the wildfire plot during the Sack of King's Landing, Lord Rossart disguised himself as a common man-at-arms. Rossart was caught and slain by Ser Jaime Lannister, however, before the wildfire could be set afire.
A Game of Thrones
When Robb Stark divides his host at the Twins, a great mass of men-at-arms marches on foot in the portion led by Lord Roose Bolton. Masterless men-at-arms join Robb's force after fleeing the battle under the walls of Riverrun.
A Clash of Kings
During the Battle of the Blackwater, the royal fleet of Stannis Baratheon carries steel-clad men-at-arms on its decks for the attack on King's Landing. Fury, for instance, is slowed by carrying an abundance armored knights and men-at-arms. Lothor Brune cuts his way through half a hundred Fossoway men-at-arms during the battle. The man-at-arms Willit saves the life of his master, Ser Harys Swyft, during the battle.
A Storm of Swords
According to Varys, several thousand common men-at-arms lost their lives in the battle while fighting for Stannis. Thousands of House Tyrell men-at-arms remain in King's Landing after the Blackwater, and King Joffrey I Baratheon learns jokes about Dornishmen from them.
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons
The Bastard's Boys are men-at-arms in the service of Ramsay. One of them, Yellow Dick, is murdered at Winterfell. Also at Winterfell, Grey Jeyne eats the face of a man-at-arms in service to Roger Ryswell after he falls to his death.
Clement: Five knights and twenty men-at-arms went with Marq to the Twins. Are they your guests as well, Frey?
Edwyn: Some of the knights, perhaps. The others were served no more than they deserved. You'd do well to guard your traitor's tongue, Piper, unless you want your heir returned in pieces.
- So Spake Martin: Some Info About Knighthood, July 30, 1999
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 63, Catelyn X.
- The Hedge Knight.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 62, Jaime VII.
- The Mystery Knight.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 62, Tyrion VIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 37, Theon III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 58, Davos III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 34, Catelyn VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 59, Catelyn IX.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 55, The Queensguard.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 13, Tyrion II.
- Fire & Blood, A Surfeit of Rulers.
- Fire & Blood, The Year of the Brides - 49 AC.
- Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
- Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - A Son for a Son.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.
- Fire & Blood, Aftermath - The Hour of the Wolf.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
- Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Prologue.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 31, Tyrion IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 28, Bran IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 26, Arya VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 30, Arya VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 36, Tyrion VIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 61, Tyrion XIV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 65, Sansa VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 65, Arya XII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 10, Sansa I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 49, Jon X.
- A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 38, Jaime VI.