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Prince of Ghost

R+L=J v 150

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"Kingsguard doesn't flee because we swore a vow" hasn't changed in any way, so regardless of any presumed succession swaps, they perceive their actions as in concord with their KG vow. And, even if they decided to ignore Aerys' decree (provided they knew about it in the first place), they are only supporting the customary succession, first son's son before a sibling. Nothing really treacherous in that, especially as Aerys never knew of Jon's existence and thus couldn't nullify his claim.

 

 

Which vow your paraphrase of Ned's dream refers to is a major part of understanding their motives isn't it? At the very least it is a major part of understanding Ned's understanding of their motives. It makes all the difference if they are following the first duty laid out for them by Aerys's decree or one they decide to substitute their own judgement for the King's order. In the latter they are following in the footsteps of Criston Cole in defying their kings orders to make a new king they prefer. It is a huge gap between that and the view they are just following their first duty. Some would call what Cole did, and what you call "only supporting the customary succession" treason. Certainly Princess Rhaenyra did. In the case of Hightower, Dayne, and Whent, we may agree there are good reasons not to blindly follow Aerys's new succession. Viserys evidently showed he was his father's son from early on, but it doesn't change the fact that if they are making a decision to not follow their first duty as laid out in their oaths. It is a decision that in the case of Ser Barristan he later regrets and thinks as sufficient to have him judge a traitor by Daenerys. So, yes, there is something "really treacherous" in this.

 

We agree that Aerys never nullified any claim Jon may have to the throne. Aerys is likely dead when Jon is born, or he dies very soon after Jon's birth and doesn't know anything about it.

 

 

It doesn't really take Ned Stark to tell if someone is following their duty or not.

 

Besides, it's not just Ned - multiple characters state on multiple occasions that the KG's purpose is to protect the king and die for him if need be. The KG trio put a great emphasy on being Kingsguard, which makes zero sense if they are not fulfilling their purpose.

 

 

The view of Hightower, Dayne, and Whent as men who are following their first duty to the letter is largely dependent on what Ned says about them. His view of their character has been the linchpin of the argument that their motives are those of "shining examples" of what it means to be a kingsguard. If we ignore his view, their moral character, and their motives can almost be from anywhere across the spectrum. It is not a question of what the wording of their oath tells them in the abstract to do - we agree on that - it is a question of what actually motivates these three men to do what they do. Are they really just following their first duty as the oath tells them? Are they acting in the same way Selmy does when he decides he doesn't want to try to get to Viserys? Have they set themselves up as new Criston Coles? Do they just see following Rheagar's last orders as their most honorable path? Or does the danger to the life of Lyanna, and maybe that of her newborn son, make them stand between the rebels and their deaths? 

 

 

Nice theorizing but rather irrelevant as you seem to approach the points one by one and not consider them together. Ned's dream accentuates certain aspects of the encounter with the KG, and they insist that they are at ToJ on behalf of their sworn duty, and that it is the sworn KG duty that forces them to fight Ned. They proclaim themselves Kingsguard, not Lyannasguard.

 

 

Of course part of being a member of the Kingsguard is swearing to follow orders given to them by the king or people he tells them they must follow. It means protecting the people the king, or in this case, the crown prince orders them to, and it includes, up to the inclusion of the Hound into the sworn brotherhood, men who have all taken knightly vows to do things such as protect the innocent. All of which would explain their actions in deciding to fight Ned and his men.

 

 

Those two would be valid explanations for staying on behalf of a KG duty. The rest, not really.

 

 

Aren't loyal Kingsguard bound by all parts of their oaths, and their knightly vows? Or do they get to forget some or all of those?

 

 

Jaime is undoubtedly bitter towards Hightower, but I don't think this necessarily means that Hightower is something else than has been presented. Blindly obedient men, even honourable men, are not any artificial construct and exist both in RL and in literature - remember Denethor's servants who were carrying out his orders that would have led to Faramir's death?

 

 

We agree that it doesn't "necessarily" mean Hightower is more than Jaime thinks, but I think it is likely we are going to learn more about these men's motivations and that might include more insight into what made Ser Gerold tick. I hope so anyway.

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I'm pretty sure i remember that Viserys was crown on Dragonstone, by his mother with her crown. Who knows if or how far that little piece of news got out,

Viserys had indeed been crownedon Dragonstone. He had been named heir before, though, by Aerys.

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On the first point, I can't imagine a scenario where Ned thinks that Aerys' murder of Rickard and Brandon, and the way in which it was done, was justified, just because Brandon challenged Rhaegar to a duel.  But it is clear that Ned thinks that Hightower was honor-bound, by his Kingsguard vow, to participate in those murders when Aerys ordered Hightower to do so.  That is the only way that Ned can still include Hightower in the group that were a "shining example to the world" in spite of what Hightower helped do to his father and his brother.  
 

[...]
 
I don't think Ned would draw the distinction you are trying to draw.  Rickard asked for, and was granted, trial by combat for Brandon's supposed "crime", which is a right that is well-recognized in Westeros.  Note that Brandon was merely accused of challenging the Prince of Dragonstone to a duel, while Tyrion was given a fair trial by combat when he was accused of the much worse crime of regicide.  
 
So Brandon, and his champion, Rickard, were entitled to fair combat.  But Aerys reneged and set up a grisly execution with Hightower's help (Hightower guarded the king throughout the torture and execution).  I don't think Ned would forgive Hightower for participating in that but then turn around and condemn him for obeying an order from Rhaegar to hold Lyanna against her will.  
 
What this tells us is that Ned respects the Kingsguard because they upheld their vow to obey orders even when the orders themselves (Aerys' order to torture and murder Rickard, and the possible order from Rhaegar to hold Lyanna against her will) were completely repugnant.  

How is Hightower guarding his King (and as far as we've been told, doing only that), him assisting in murdering Brandon and Rickard?

And Brandon might have meant his calling out as a challange to a duel, it did not come across like that to Aerys. He called for Rhaegar to 'come out and die'. Sounds a bit like 'come here, I am going to kill you!', which is a death threat, made against the crown prince. And that is treason. For which Aerys was in his full right to arrest Brandon.

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I think at the Trident he was a POW. I don't think he accepted Robert as his King until after the Sack of Kings Landing.

 

Right, but Viserys was still alive. Barristan chose not to remain faithful to the Targs. 

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Which vow your paraphrase of Ned's dream refers to is a major part of understanding their motives isn't it? At the very least it is a major part of understanding Ned's understanding of their motives. It makes all the difference if they are following the first duty laid out for them by Aerys's decree or one they decide to substitute their own judgement for the King's order.

...

Of course part of being a member of the Kingsguard is swearing to follow orders given to them by the king or people he tells them they must follow. It means protecting the people the king, or in this case, the crown prince orders them to, and it includes, up to the inclusion of the Hound into the sworn brotherhood, men who have all taken knightly vows to do things such as protect the innocent. All of which would explain their actions in deciding to fight Ned and his men.

...

Aren't loyal Kingsguard bound by all parts of their oaths, and their knightly vows? Or do they get to forget some or all of those?

...

 

I don't find it easy to reconcile their claims to be KG with the vow they reference being something other than their KG vow(s). As Jaime thinks, they swore many vows and sometimes they contradict each other.
But the KG vow is the highest they can take, and it seems to be the status they are claiming. They can't very well be proclaiming their status while following a different vow and abandoning their KG one, can they? 

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