A legend in his own time, Ser Barristan Selmy—known far and wide as Barristan the Bold, a byname dating from when he rode as a mystery knight at the age of 10—is the Lord Commander of King Robert’s Kingsguard. He has served four kings faithfully and with great distinction, and though he was captured and almost mortally wounded at the Battle of the Trident, Robert sent his own maester to tend to him because of how honorably and loyally he had fought on the behalf of House Targaryen. Robert chose to name Barristan head of the Kingsguard, in lieu of his good-brother Jaime.
In his youth, Ser Barristan was considered the finest swordsman in the Seven Kingdoms. Though he may have lost half a step in the intervening years, he is still an exceptional warrior, able to readily beat men 30 and even 40 years his junior in the lists. His almost superhuman longevity means he is still tall and straightbacked, with white hair. He is as chivalrous as a knight can be, and would never act to dishonor himself.
Ser Barristan stands vigil for Ser Hugh of the Vale, as he had no one in the city. He speaks with Lord Eddard about the young knight’s death, and then joins him in speaking to a drunken King Robert who insists on fighting in the melee. After the king and the Hand quarrel, Barristan joins King Robert on his fateful hunt. Following the king’s death, Ser Barristan is present when Eddard Stark attempts to carry out Robert’s last wishes, and stands in shock as the gold cloaks murder Stark’s men and seize Lord Eddard. Soon after, Barristan is forced out of the Kingsguard at the command of King Joffrey. Angered, Barristan throws his sword down in the king’s throne room after insulting his erstwhile sworn brothers. He departs from the throne room, and is not heard from again.