Ethelarion

Does knighthood require a specific act/deed

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Since I lack (and envy) the encyclopedic knowledge some of this forum's most active users have, I thought I'd pose my relatively simple question to them. 

 

Does being granted a knighthood/being knighted require specific deeds, such as showing prowess on the battlefield or in a tourney? Jaime was knighted after a tourney, Bron after the Blackwater, Davos after the siege of Storm's End etc.

But could a knight/lord grant a knighthood to a talented swordsman, a really loyal squire or a lesser son of a lord, not based on a specific showcase of merit, but on their general skill etc. Something like this could have for instance happened to Beric Dondarion or Garth Greysteel Hightower.

This question popped into my brain when someone put forward the notion of the Tourney of the Hand being held partially to be able to knight the Hound. 

Thanks!

Edited by Ethelarion
autocorrect

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Nope. A random knight can make anyone a knight for any reason. In the Dunk and Egg series a knight agreed to knight a prostitute's son in exchange to her services. That's why some of the characters in the series don't put much stock into a knighthood. 

 

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Depende, qualquer cavaleiro ou nobre pode nomear algum cavaleiro. E os plebeus precisam de alguma façanha na batalha ou algo como

Edited by Ser Felipe Lannister

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in short, any gentleman does not care about social class, or whether he has done it or not, he can be a knight

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Like everything in life, it is complicated :)

Besides some "feat of arms" a Knight should also meet certain wealth criteria. He is expected to be able to equip himself as a knight (heavy cavalryman) and support himself as well. Hence there are characters who are squires as they more or less refuse to be knighted - they wish to avoid the "bother" and/or cannot afford to lead the expected lifestyle.

 

Edited by TMIFairy

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I personally believe that knighthood did at one point require some form of deed, but as we see, "knighthood has fallen on sad days".

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8 hours ago, Ethelarion said:

Since I lack (and envy) the encyclopedic knowledge some of this forum's most active users have, I thought I'd pose my relatively simple question to them. 

 

Does being granted a knighthood/being knighted require specific deeds, such as showing prowess on the battlefield or in a tourney? Jaime was knighted after a tourney, Bron after the Blackwater, Davos after the siege of Storm's End etc.

But could a knight/lord grant a knighthood to a talented swordsman, a really loyal squire or a lesser son of a lord, not based on a specific showcase of merit, but on their general skill etc.

Didn't you answer your own question? Davos didn't do anything knightly to earn his spurs. He smuggled onions.

At Ashford, Raymun Fossoway got knighted for no other reason that another ser was needed on Team Dunk.

The Knight of the Pussywillows has been already mentioned.

And, speaking of the Hound, they'd surely find something in his years of service to justify giving him gilt spurs, should any justification be necessary. But, one, nobody seemed especially interested on knighting Sandor Clegane any more than Sandor himself on being knighted. Ser Boros Blount protested once about a non-ser donning the white cloak, was told to STFU, and so he did.

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If you are from rich and powerful family you can be knight with Tyrion's fighting skills. If you are lowborn you need to save some noble ass or kill like 50 enemies in battle for a Lord.

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17 minutes ago, Tygett Greenshield said:

If you are from rich and powerful family you can be knight with Tyrion's fighting skills. If you are lowborn you need to save some noble ass or kill like 50 enemies in battle for a Lord.

This :)

Davos did something "knightly" in the broad sense of the word - he braved capture (and most probably death) to bring aid to a besieged fortress.

For a highborn sneaking in with an important message would had been cause good enough for a knighthood. Stannis deemed food - which allowed him to not surrender/not starve to death to be reason enough ...

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"Lord Frey's son Olyvar will be coming with us," she went on. "He is to serve as your personal squire. His father would like to see him knighted, in good time." 

Anyone can be knighted after some time spent as a squire.

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5 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Anyone can be knighted after some time spent as a squire.

Or without spending a single day in such role. Ser Bronn of the Blackwater, Sers Kettleblack from Here and There, Ser Davos the Onion Knight...

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Barry doesn't think so:

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As he watched them at their drills, Ser Barristan pondered raising Tumco and Larraq to knighthood then and there, and mayhaps the Red Lamb too. It required a knight to make a knight, and if something should go awry tonight, dawn might find him dead or in a dungeon. Who would dub his squires then? On the other hand, a young knight’s repute derived at least in part from the honor of the man who conferred knighthood on him. It would do his lads no good at all if it was known that they were given their spurs by a traitor, and might well land them in the dungeon next to him. They deserve better, Ser Barristan decided. Better a long life as a squire than a short one as a soiled knight.

(ADwD, Ch.67 The Kingbreaker)

He doesn't seem bothered by the lack of Westerosi-style religious ceremonies.

Knights like Jaime associate their knighthood with the religious rites- all that kneeling in the sept and being anointed with the seven oils, that deters the Northerners.

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It had been years since his last vigil. And I was younger then, a boy of fifteen years. He had worn no armor then, only a plain white tunic. The sept where he’d spent the night was not a third as large as any of the Great Sept’s seven transepts. Jaime had laid his sword across the Warrior’s knees, piled his armor at his feet, and knelt upon the rough stone floor before the altar. When dawn came his knees were raw and bloody. “All knights must bleed, Jaime,” Ser Arthur Dayne had said, when he saw. “Blood is the seal of our devotion.” With dawn he tapped him on the shoulder; the pale blade was so sharp that even that light touch cut through Jaime’s tunic, so he bled anew. He never felt it. A boy knelt; a knight rose. The Young Lion, not the Kingslayer.

(AFfC,Ch.08 Jaime I)

The Northerners are deterred by this palava, but it seems to be essential in the South

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“How many knights?”
“Few enough,” the maester said with a touch of impatience. “To be a knight, you must stand your vigil in a sept, and be anointed with the seven oils to consecrate your vows. In the north, only a few of the great houses worship the Seven. The rest honor the old gods, and name no knights … but those lords and their sons and sworn swords are no less fierce or loyal or honorable. A man’s worth is not marked by a ser before his name. As I have told you a hundred times before.”

(AGoT, Ch.53 Bran VI)

Barry finds no impediment in the absence of a septon, and Beric Dondarrion has completely abandoned the faith of the Seven when he starts making knights left right and centre, although religion is still an important part of his knighthoods:

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“We are brothers here,” Thoros of Myr declared. “Holy brothers, sworn to the realm, to our god, and to each other.”... “Any knight can make a knight,” said the scarecrow that was Beric Dondarrion

(ASoS, Ch.34 Arya VI)

Griff and Ser Rolly Duckfield seem to have dispensed with religion altogether.

Barry regards the horse and the golden spurs as essential, and makes a mental note to supply his squires with them when he knights them (ADwD, Ch.55 The Queensguard), Ser Dontos, to his shame, was stripped of his spurs (AFfC, Ch.04 Brienne I), and Ser Arys' last suicidal decision was to use them for a gallant death, even if he had soiled his vows in life (AFfC, Ch.21 The Queenmaker). Even trenchantly Old God Northern knights wear the golden spurs

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As for Lord Rickard, the steel of his breastplate turned cherry-red before the end, and his gold melted off his spurs and dripped down into the fire.

(ACoK, Ch.55 Catelyn VII)

Although Jorah Mormont is a Northener, he was annointed in the light of the seven, according to Illyrio, who, like Varys, excels at keeping track of things like that

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the man behind him is Ser Jorah Mormont.”
The last name caught Daenerys. “A knight?”
“No less.” Illyrio smiled through his beard. “Anointed with the seven oils by the High Septon himself.”

(AGoT, Ch.03 Daenerys I )

We don't hear much about Ser Jorah's spurs (or for that matter, his horse), but it seems he keeps his knighthood in spite of his issues with the Warden of the North, and his exile from Westeros.

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I am no lord. Bear Island was taken from me. I am but a knight.

(ACoK,Ch.63 Daenerys V) he tells Barry, who calls him Ser (ASoS, Ch.08 Daenerys I and Ch.23 Daenerys II) in spite of knowing his history better than most.  At the time, however, he was using an assumed name himself, and might have acknowledged Jorah's knighthood in deference to his Queen, who informed him when they first met that Jorah was the head of her Queensguard. However, he was not prepared to be re-knighted by Jorah, even assuming he was willing to do it, even if it meant blowing his cover.

Jaime 'earned' his spurs,  Alyn Ambrose intended to wed Elinor Tyrell as soon as he had 'won' his spurs(ASoS,Ch.16 Sansa II) although now her virtue has been called into question, he might hesitate to soil his knightly reputation by marrying her.

Ser Lyn Corbray of the Vale won his spurs, too, and keeps them in spite of his reputation.  'Earn' and 'won' here seem to be euphemisms for killing an armed combatant in some battle or skirmish. Jamie and Alyn lived in times that were well provided with opportunities to earn and win, and they were well connected, which seems a pertinent factor in earning a knighthood too.

How pertinent is variable. Ser Sumner Crakehall was Merett Frey's uncle or grandfather, and

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everyone had assumed he would be Ser Merrett in no more than a few years, but the outlaws of the Kingswood Brotherhood had pissed on those plans. While his fellow squire Jaime Lannister was covering himself in glory, Merrett had first caught the pox from a camp follower, then managed to get captured by a woman, the one called the White Fawn. Lord Sumner had ransomed him back from the outlaws, but in the very next fight he’d been felled by a blow from a mace that had broken his helm and left him insensible for a fortnight. Everyone gave him up for dead, they told him later.
Merrett hadn’t died, but his fighting days were done. Even the lightest blow to his head brought on blinding pain and reduced him to tears. Under these circumstances knighthood was out of the question, Lord Sumner told him, not unkindly.

(ASoS, Epilogue)

Although other knights were not so fastidious, knighting men like Ser Balman Byrch and Ser Harys Swyft

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a shameless lickspittle whose greatest accomplishment was marrying his equally chinless daughter to Ser Kevan, and thereby attaching himself to the Lannisters.

(AGoT, Ch.69 Tyrion IX)

according to Tyrion, who had himself not yet been active in a war at the time, although he had killed a half-dozen clansmen in the Mountains of the Moon, and found a way to win the rest to his side nonetheless.

His opinions are not unbiased, but his bias is shared by the cooks at Harrenhal, who dare to spit in Ser Harys' food as they never would Hoat's (ACoK, Ch.30 Arya VII), and by Lady Genna Frey who calls Harys chicken:  

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“Well, I would never presume to tell you how to fight a war. I know my place … unlike your sister. Is it true that Cersei burned the Red Keep?”
“Only the Tower of the Hand.”
His aunt rolled her eyes. “She would have done better to leave the tower and burn her Hand. Harys Swyft? If ever a man deserved his arms, it is Ser Harys."

(AFfC, Ch.33 Jaime V)

Ser Tywin values him, though. He didn't have to give Ser Kevan's father-in-law talking room in his war councils but he did. So I assume he had his reasons.

Then there are the distinctly unaristocratic knights like Ser Creighton and Ser Illifer, who might have 'won' their spurs at tourney, if not on a battlefield. Among the many who 'earned' their spurs at the battle on the Blackwater was

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the freerider Lothor Brune, who’d cut his way through half a hundred Fossoway men-at-arms to capture Ser Jon of the green apple and kill Ser Bryan and Ser Edwyd of the red, thereby winning himself the name Lothor Apple-Eater

he 'won' not only a whole heap of dead bodies and a knighthood but also was

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to be raised to the estate of knighthood, and granted land and keep in the riverlands at war’s end.

(ACoK, Ch.65 Sansa VIII)

The holdfast they had in mind was nothing so grand or as important as the Darry land, that went to Ser Lancel, squire to King Robert, who we know was 

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upjumped to knight at his widow’s insistence.

  (ACoK, Ch.17 Tyrion IV)

if not who by. It seems that as soon as he became a knight, the sixteen year old Ser Lancel had started gathering knights under him, if not creating them. At least, by the siege of Kings Landing we learn

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the young bride of one of Ser Lancel’s knights began to weep uncontrollably.

(ACoK, Ch.60 Sansa VI)

into her salad, when the news was on the whole positive -the Hound had cut down the archers, Tyrion's chain was being raised, some drunks in fleabottom were being dealt with by the goldcloaks, and the sept was packed.

Perhaps Ser Lothar might usurp the lands of a quarrelsome minor lord of doubtful loyalty - a family serving Vance or a Piper, perhaps,  that Ser Lothar might be sent to 'win' , if they chose to continue to be loyal to the North. Still, he gets a better deal than the badly wounded Goodman Willet, who gets for himself the armour he really needed earlier and now hasn't the strength to stand up in, and instead of having his boys to hand to care for him while he recovers, he is obliged to hand his sons over to the tender care of Lord Tywin, to be squire or page, with only the chance to progress to knighthood at the discretion of the unashamedly snobby Lord of Casterley Rock. Earnt by killing a dozen men at arms and moving a dying horse, it seems a steep price to pay for saving the life of Ser Harys Swyft.

Especially considering the number of knights made that day:

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More than six hundred new knights were made that day. They had held their vigil in the Great Sept of Baelor all through the night and crossed the city barefoot that morning to prove their humble hearts. Now they came forward dressed in shifts of undyed wool to receive their knighthoods from the Kingsguard. It took a long time, since only three of the Brothers of the White Sword were on hand to dub them. Mandon Moore had perished in the battle, the Hound had vanished, Aerys Oakheart was in Dorne with Princess Myrcella, and Jaime Lannister was Robb’s captive, so the Kingsguard had been reduced to Balon Swann, Meryn Trant, and Osmund Kettleblack. Once knighted, each man rose, buckled on his swordbelt, and stood beneath the windows. Some had bloody feet from their walk through the city, but they stood tall and proud all the same, it seemed to Sansa.

(ACoK, Ch.65 Sansa VIII)

It seems that a King can order a knight of the Kingsguard to make a knight, but if the king is not a knight, he can't make a knight himself.

ETA: So it seems GRRM's idea of what a knight is, is not monolithic, and has evolved as the series developed.

Edited by Walda

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55 minutes ago, Ferocious Veldt Roarer said:

Or without spending a single day in such role. Ser Bronn of the Blackwater, Sers Kettleblack from Here and There, Ser Davos the Onion Knight...

They would be the exceptions, not the rule. It's not like there's a major battle fought that frequently, nor people performing great feats in those battles or big acts of bravery as in Davos' situation. As for Kettleblacks, weren't theirs just for bribes? Even Jaime, son of a great lord, didn't get his spurs immediately for the tourney he won at 13, he spent many years as a squire.

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Just my 2 cents for all that's worth.    I've imposed a year long ban on any and all rereads of the series--a sanity break, if you will--my memory is not as sharp as it once was.   Please correct if I am in error.    Jamie at the age of 15 or 16 fought with Kingsguard and famous knights against the Kingswood Brotherhood and earned his knight rights there, in the esteem of the valiant knights present.   Aerys officially knighted him, but he had already won the respect of the real bad asses.     Davos saved an entire garrison including the new king's brother and the Baratheon ancestral home.   His efforts were not slight.   He earned something in that smuggling enterprise.   Jorah won his knighthood in a tournament, for his prowess as a fighter and presumably, a rider.   Where Jamie was already talented and Davos was decidedly valiant, Jorah seemed to gain confidence and fame with each victory.    He grows with his knighthood and seems to have a far keener understanding of knighthood than most North men. 

Dawn is not passed down generationally by the Daynes.   To wield Dawn, perhaps to earn the title Sword of the Morning or Evening, a Dayne appears to require extraordinary ability.  I am under the impression that Dawn may go years even generations without being "held" by any man and that there is something specifically "Dayne" required.   I'm looking for some sort of rite of passage in this here thing that definitely requires knighthood.      

By all accounts Yohn Royce is a great fighter and respected knight, participating and winning in tournaments against younger men. Lyn Corbray is a war hero and wields Lady Forlorn much to his elder brother's chagrin.   Blackfyre is traditionally passed from (knighted) Targaryen ruler to heir apparent, for fighting prowess whereas Dark Sister is usually given to the next bad ass Targ not in direct succession.    See Daemon Blackfyre and Brynden Rivers for an excellent illustration of the knights/warriors/rulers as held by Targs.   

Probably in error, but I've always thought Sandor Clegane was offered knighthood and declined--vehemently.   In the same breath we have Gregor Clegane being knighted by Rhaegar himself and ultimately causing The Hound's disdain for knights.   All in all I get the feeling there are categories of knighthood...sports heroes (Jorah, Loras Tyrell), religious order (Thoros of Myr), familial (Royce), natural (Barristan, Jamie), social (Dondarian, Davos), territorial (Nights Watch), and maybe even magical (Dayne).

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Thank you all for your answers! It confirmed my suspicions that a knighthood can be awarded for anything and everything. 

 

@Curled Finger wasn't Thoros knighted for the Siege of Pyke and him being through the wall first. The fact he's a Priest of R'hollor is pretty weird if he's a 'Knight of the Seven'. 

 

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30 minutes ago, Ethelarion said:

Thank you all for your answers! It confirmed my suspicions that a knighthood can be awarded for anything and everything. 

 

@Curled Finger wasn't Thoros knighted for the Siege of Pyke and him being through the wall first. The fact he's a Priest of R'hollor is pretty weird if he's a 'Knight of the Seven'. 

 

He's called a warrior priest, so I always considered him to be a knight of religious order 1st then becoming a war hero knight.   I wish I could remember the name of the R'hllor warrior priests, but it escapes me just now.    Someone will pop in with it with a more extensive explanation as well.   Let me offer up my lame qualifier here:   these warrior priests are R'hllorists.   This Knight of the Seven may not apply to him or any of the BWB.     This is what he says, if it helps:

"We are brothers here," Thoros of Myr declared. "Holy brothers, sworn to the realm, to our god, and to each other."

"The brotherhood without banners." Tom Sevenstrings plucked a string. "The knights of the hollow hill."

I wasn't able to cite Thoros in relation to Knight of the Seven at all, but it sure would be an interesting thing.   

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14 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

He's called a warrior priest, so I always considered him to be a knight of religious order 1st then becoming a war hero knight.   I wish I could remember the name of the R'hllor warrior priests, but it escapes me just now.    Someone will pop in with it with a more extensive explanation as well.   Let me offer up my lame qualifier here:   these warrior priests are R'hllorists.   This Knight of the Seven may not apply to him or any of the BWB.     This is what he says, if it helps:

"We are brothers here," Thoros of Myr declared. "Holy brothers, sworn to the realm, to our god, and to each other."

"The brotherhood without banners." Tom Sevenstrings plucked a string. "The knights of the hollow hill."

I wasn't able to cite Thoros in relation to Knight of the Seven at all, but it sure would be an interesting thing.   

I thought every Westerosi knight was at least in form a knight of the seven since they swear a vow to the seven. Clearly not all of these knights are (devout) followers of the Seven. 
I never realized/considered he was a warrior priest (which seems to be really similar to a knight sworn to R'hollor) and not a priest+Westerosi knight. 

So if Beric has knighted all the BWB as knight of the hollow hill, swearing their oaths to the Red God, they might not be automatically considered knights by the rest of the realm right?

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4 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

They would be the exceptions, not the rule. It's not like there's a major battle fought that frequently, nor people performing great feats in those battles or big acts of bravery as in Davos' situation.

Exceptions may they be, but such exceptions apparently can be made whenever the people concerned just feel like it. Ser Glendon's "great feat" was offering his little sister's cherry in trade (an accompanying remark: "when he was squiring for Ser Arlan, Dunk had heard tales of other men who’d bought their knighthood with a kindness or a threat or a bag of silver coins, but never with a sister’s maiden-head").

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3 hours ago, Ethelarion said:

I thought every Westerosi knight was at least in form a knight of the seven since they swear a vow to the seven. Clearly not all of these knights are (devout) followers of the Seven. 
I never realized/considered he was a warrior priest (which seems to be really similar to a knight sworn to R'hollor) and not a priest+Westerosi knight. 

So if Beric has knighted all the BWB as knight of the hollow hill, swearing their oaths to the Red God, they might not be automatically considered knights by the rest of the realm right?

I think that's a very fair assumption.  The thing with knights in this story is you have them showing up long before the Andals brought them with their 7 pointed star indicating that there were knights running about doing valiant deeds during the Age of Heroes.  What is the Order of the Green Hand?   What is the Order of Green Men?   Maybe not knights, but something for sure.   The point is there are many cultures at play in Westeros with each bringing their own ideals to define knights.  (And kings and women and marriage and faith and learning and medicine...)   The BWB or knights of the hollow hill are considered outlaws by many, certainly by those with the highest power.   But look at their supporters and you will see they are knights after a fashion, at least to the extent that they have taken up the cause of the small folk.   What other orphanages have we read of being established in the wake of TWO5K?   Who's running the single 1 I can recall?    Who's out exacting revenge for the atrocities committed at the Red Wedding?   The BWB is up to so many things.   These knights of the hollow hill are doing the work of real knights in my estimation at any rate.   Knights of the Seven are likely just the popular order.   The other orders need not be considered less if they are not anointed in the light of the Seven.   Is a regular fire fighter any less brave or skilled than a stunt man or spy or trauma nurse? 

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7 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Qualquer um pode ser cavaleado depois de algum tempo gasto como um escudeiro.

Some men remain as squires for lack of money, as for example some Manderlys over the age of forty

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