Daenerys Targaryen's slave

How Beautiful Was Ashara Dayne?

71 posts in this topic

I mean not on a rating scale or even a list.

But based on what little description we have of her, just how beautiful was she?

What did people feel whenever they saw her, and how intense were those feelings?

Edited by Daenerys Targaryen's slave

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Actually, almost everything we hear about her beauty comes from Barristan Selmy. Who thinks she's the most beautiful person who ever existed or could ever exist. I can't remember the wording (so I can't search for it), but I'm pretty sure that at some point, shortly after saying none of the women of Essos can compare to Elia's beauty, he thinks to himself that Ashara made Elia look like an old kitchen maid. And later he thinks that Dany is so beautiful she could almost be Ashara's daughter, but no, nobody's that beautiful.

But that's Barry; he's a little biased.

Most other people don't seem to comment on her looks at all. Cersei doesn't when she accuses Ned of sleeping with her (AGoT Eddard XII), Ned Dayne doesn't when he tells Arya about the Ned/Ashara rumors (ASoS Arya VIII), etc. Meera describes Ashara as "a maid with laughing purple eyes" but doesn't say she's beautiful (ASoS Bran II).

There is this from Cat's thoughts (AGoT Catelyn II):

Quote

Ned would not speak of the mother, not so much as a word, but a castle has no secrets, and Catelyn heard her maids repeating tales they heard from the lips of her husband's soldiers. They whispered of Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, deadliest of the seven knights of Aerys's Kingsguard, and of how their young lord had slain him in single combat. And they told how afterward Ned had carried Ser Arthur's sword back to the beautiful young sister who awaited him in a castle called Starfall on the shores of the Summer Sea. The Lady Ashara Dayne, tall and fair, with haunting violet eyes.

So, there's gossip all the way across the continent about her being beautiful. But what would you expect? A bunch of servants who've probably never even met anyone who's seen Ashara are sharing some juicy gossip about Mr. Honorable Stark cheating on his wife, of course they're going to call her beautiful.

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One of the things I dislike about this series is how so many characters are described as absurdly beautiful. How can their beauty be so rare if there are fifteen other characters described the same way? 

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Everyone has different preferences, from hair color, eye color, smile, etc. Maybe GRRM likes purple eyes.

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15 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

One of the things I dislike about this series is how so many characters are described as absurdly beautiful. How can their beauty be so rare if there are fifteen other characters described the same way? 

That is a good point. And, those gorgeous genes have to come from somewhere, so it has to be assumed that the parents would also be a high level of gorgeous to create such an absurdly beautiful baby.

In general to the op, maybe this is more of the individuals within the story are biased, just as we are in real life?

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1 hour ago, Daenerys Targaryen's slave said:

I mean not on a rating scale or even a list.

But based on what little description we have of her, just how beautiful was she?

What did people feel whenever they saw her, and how intense were those feelings?

she made ned and barristan rumble in their pants. That is about all we know 

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16 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

One of the things I dislike about this series is how so many characters are described as absurdly beautiful. How can their beauty be so rare if there are fifteen other characters described the same way? 

Remember that we're getting everything through POVs. Barry thinks Ashara is the most beautiful person who ever lived, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence that most people agree with him. Elia is called an uncommon beauty by one Maester, but everyone else calls her pretty of face but flat-chested and too frail. Ned agrees with Robert that Lyanna was a woman of surpassing beauty, but others describe her as boyish. Jon sees Ygritte as amazingly beautiful, but nobody else does, and even he doesn't when he first meets her.

I'm sure they're all attractive, but to objective eyes they're probably not absurdly beautiful. We'd probably get similar descriptions for Lynesse Hightower if we had Jorah's POV a few years back, or Cat if we had Littlefinger's.

Dany is, of course, amazingly beautiful, because she's amazingly amazing in every way, and Cersei's whole character is built on being beautiful. Beyond them, only Margy and Sansa are described by multiple people as being in Cersei's league (and if someone tells you a barely pubescent girl is absurdly beautiful, how seriously can you take that?). And maybe Alayaya?

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59 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

One of the things I dislike about this series is how so many characters are described as absurdly beautiful. How can their beauty be so rare if there are fifteen other characters described the same way? 

Yeah ditto. Like apparently Elia is beautiful yet absolutely ugly compared to Ashara, and plain next to Lyanna, who no one would think twice about if they saw how good-looking Cersei was. Jaime is so absurdly handsome that he's known for it the continent over yet Rhaegar made him look like a plain peasant. Loras is considered beautiful, and Garlan is a taller and buffer version of Loras. Margaery, Lyanna, Daenerys, Cersei, Catelyn, Arianne, and many others are described as near-peerless beauties, except for their five hundred peers. Just seems overdone.

Edited by Nihlus

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36 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

Everyone has different preferences, from hair color, eye color, smile, etc. Maybe GRRM likes purple eyes.

How old was he when Liz Taylor's Cleopatra came out?

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1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

One of the things I dislike about this series is how so many characters are described as absurdly beautiful. How can their beauty be so rare if there are fifteen other characters described the same way? 

What one person finds absurdly beautiful another finds merely absurd.

And there are different kinds of beauty--dark beauty, fair beauty, beauty of symmetry, beauty of a striking feature or two, classic beauty, fresh and innocent beauty. I'd go on, but...I don't want to.

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The original question made me giggle like a loon :)

It reminded me of a computer RPG game from the early 90's. You had to identify magic items and learn of their properties  in the game by asking a "sage" about them.

For The Mighty Sword of Slaying (or something like that) the dialogue with the sage went like this:

Q: "how mighty is the The Mighty Sword of Slaying?"

A: "very mighty".

:D

 

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4 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

One of the things I dislike about this series is how so many characters are described as absurdly beautiful. How can their beauty be so rare if there are fifteen other characters described the same way? 

15 is not a lot concidering the age range is 15+ years and population is few millions and spans 7 countries.

I live in a fairly rural area with small villages a few miles apart and you get a good looking girl in most villages if you take a 15 year span.  Take the best looking girl in the county at her prime and it's not hard to imagine her being head and shoulders above the rest of the women especially as they would be toiling or welping daily/annually 

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I think doubting her beauty gets us no where since there isn't evidence against that but we do have Selmy saying that she is beautiful - and that Dany reminds him of her and we have a ton of different characters telling us that Dany is beautiful thus it'd be fair to assume that she is indeed, very beautiful.

I always envisioned her looking like Eva Green.

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7 hours ago, Daenerys Targaryen's slave said:

I mean not on a rating scale or even a list.

But based on what little description we have of her, just how beautiful was she?

What did people feel whenever they saw her, and how intense were those feelings?

Now that I think about it, we don't get much commentary about what Ashara looked like aside from Barristan and he was in love with her, so his view of her might be romanticised.

Aside from that, I can only think of Meera's story, which she presumably heard from her father originally, which bestowed on her the moniker of "the maid with the laughing purple eyes". So, this is presumably the thing that Howland noticed about her but that doesn't necessarily mean she's a great beauty. For an extremely case, Brienne is also said to have remarkably beautiful eyes despite being ugly in every other regard. 

While I do not doubt that Ashara was very attractive, it might have been more than she was striking rather than drop-dead gorgeous. 

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As others in this thread have pointed out, beauty is subjective in this series. While some characters are deemed universally beautiful (Daenerys, Cersei, Sansa, Loras, etc.), there are some characters whose looks can range from beautiful, plain or downright ugly depending on who is talking.

And a character's opinion of another character's looks can change, depending on their actions; Sansa at first thought Joffrey was handsome, but after he killed her father she begins to think of him as ugly and wonders how she ever thought him handsome.

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8 hours ago, falcotron said:

How old was he when Liz Taylor's Cleopatra came out?

15. Cleopatra came out in 1963, GRRM was born in 1948.

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1 hour ago, Angel Eyes said:

15. Cleopatra came out in 1963, GRRM was born in 1948.

Fap material, then?

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10 minutes ago, TMIFairy said:

Fap material, then?

I don't know.

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4 hours ago, Vaedys Targaryen said:

And a character's opinion of another character's looks can change, depending on their actions

Exactly! Also, when testosterone kicks in. Remember, Jon didn't think Ygritte was any great looker, until ... well, you know. Had Barristan the (b)Old not fallen for Ashara, he also might not have been struck by her good looks.

This brings up Lyanna / Arya. Lyanna is described as having a "wild beauty" - implying non-traditional. We know she's got a long narrow face, like Ned and Arya (and Jon). Probably Lyanna would have been described as "horse faced", if she'd had a nasty elder sister to tear down her sense of self. Lyanna / Arya were active and athletic, resulting in them looking "skinny" when compared with other females of their ages. Yet Arya is told by the Kindly Man that she could be a great courtesan, famed for her beauty. It would be the combination of decent looks with grace, prowess, and kindness that would make Arya and Lyanna "great beauties." Neither Cersei nor Sansa have these qualities, just their looks, which for most men is more than enough. (And it says a lot in favor of Rhaegar Targaryen.)

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