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Ser Leftwich

Howland Reed during the Robellion

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Other topics have brought up the question of where people were during the Robellion. Reading over the entry for Howland Reed it states that he " Howland fought alongside Eddard during Robert's Rebellion," but that is based only on the recurring dream of the ToJ fight.

Do we know that Howland was with The Ned during the war? The whole war?

Different assumptions can say that Howland joined Ned either when Ned marched south through the Neck or possibly when he called his banners. Though the former seems the more likely of the two, since Greywater Watch doesn't do ravens.

But, we don't know that Howland was with him at all, until he was with Ned at the ToJ.

What about before the fighting?

Did Howland help Lyanna during any shenanigans around her disappearance "not ten miles from Harrenhal?" " Lyanna had a touch of it (the wolf blood - wildness)," that does not sound like someone who is 'kidnapped.' That sounds like someone with agency. Was she out taking action of her own? Did she enlist the aid of someone indebted to her? Perhaps a little crannogman?

This goes back to a very old idea that was floated by a few people years ago: while dear friends, Ned and Howland had a falling out at some point. We never hear of Ned visiting Howland or vice versa. We never hear tell of the Reed children being brought up to spend time at Winterfell. Why?

If Ned and Howland were so close, why not more contact between the families? Because they had a falling out. Howland is clearly free with telling his children all manner of stories about the past and the events surrounding the Tourney at Harrenhal and the Robellion. Ned is absolutely not forthcoming at all, other than "My father knew the worth of Howland Reed," we get from Robb. Why?

That being said, Meera and Jojen are cautious with what they tell Bran. Why? One thought is that Bran is young, 9-10 in the time he spends with the Reeds. They are wiser and older, Bran may not be able to understand the romantic and adult aspects of the story, so they keep it as metaphors and more of a fable for a child. But is it more? Are they telling the story vaguely in order to honor some promise that their father made to Ned and Howland is making them keep?

We all know that Howland knows most, if not all. He was there at Harrenhal. He was there with Lyanna. He heard what she asked and said. He knows what Ned promised and what promises he didn't keep. Did Howland want to keep those promises to? Did Howland and Ned have a falling out over promises not kept.

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Brilliant topic and lots of food for thought here. I love speculating about the Wizard of the Neck with his Moving Castle and oh-so-mysterious past!

6 hours ago, Ser Leftwich said:

Other topics have brought up the question of where people were during the Robellion. Reading over the entry for Howland Reed it states that he " Howland fought alongside Eddard during Robert's Rebellion," but that is based only on the recurring dream of the ToJ fight.

Do we know that Howland was with The Ned during the war? The whole war?

Different assumptions can say that Howland joined Ned either when Ned marched south through the Neck or possibly when he called his banners. Though the former seems the more likely of the two, since Greywater Watch doesn't do ravens.

But, we don't know that Howland was with him at all, until he was with Ned at the ToJ.

2

Well, we know that Howland was part of the Northern host during Robert's Rebellion though whether he was with Ned is a different matter. I have long suspected that the men who went with Ned to the Tower of Joy were chosen based on their closeness and loyalty to Ned. For that reason, I would not be surprised if Howland was a constant (or at least frequent) companion of Ned's throughout the war, probably with him from the Bells onwards when the Northern host properly was able to enter the war. Bran thinks of Howland as one of his father's "staunchest companions" during the war, which might indicate people - Ned himself, Old Nan, Rodrick, etc - all reinforced this idea that Howland with Ned a lot of the time. At least, it's the image I ended up with. Whether it's true, I'm not sure.

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What about before the fighting?

Did Howland help Lyanna during any shenanigans around her disappearance "not ten miles from Harrenhal?" " Lyanna had a touch of it (the wolf blood - wildness)," that does not sound like someone who is 'kidnapped.' That sounds like someone with agency. Was she out taking action of her own? Did she enlist the aid of someone indebted to her? Perhaps a little crannogman?

 

It is certainly something to think about.

I had speculated in the Harrenhal through the eyes of LCM thread @Curled Finger started that perhaps Lyanna went to Harrenhal with the intention of meeting with Howland initially, or that she used him as an excuse. However, as we chewed the fat a little there, people reminded me that from Meera's story (which isn't accurate but it is the best we've got), that Howland appears to have decided after spending winter at the Isle of the Faces that he was ready to leave, suggesting he probably was not in the area after the tourney broke off. Either he went exploring further or went home to Greywater. The whole "heard the world calling" means he could be anywhere.

Honestly, as fun as it would be if Howland was responsible for everything in a "How Howland Reed Started A War" way, I never really pegged him as someone who has been "pulling strings" some of these Howland theories suggest. I mean, he could be - we don't know enough either way so it's possible - but in an odd way, I sort of just want him to be "a guy". A guy who happened to be present for a lot of events and is very good at what he does: being a leader of the crannogmen. That said, by virtue of his connection to the Isle of Faces and the God's Eye, we cannot completely rule out a wider conspiracy...

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This goes back to a very old idea that was floated by a few people years ago: while dear friends, Ned and Howland had a falling out at some point. We never hear of Ned visiting Howland or vice versa. We never hear tell of the Reed children being brought up to spend time at Winterfell. Why?

If Ned and Howland were so close, why not more contact between the families? Because they had a falling out. Howland is clearly free with telling his children all manner of stories about the past and the events surrounding the Tourney at Harrenhal and the Robellion. Ned is absolutely not forthcoming at all, other than "My father knew the worth of Howland Reed," we get from Robb. Why?

 

In all fairness, the crannogmen seem to be isolated and secretive by nature because of where they are. Meera said she'd never even left the Neck prior to going to Winterfell. They are also hard to find and get to, which makes popping in for a visit very difficult. Bran does confirm that Ned "sent letters to the Lord of Greywater over the years" so, Ned has been in touch with him. That said I agree in principle we cannot rule out that perhaps another negative feeling is there. 

It is interesting to think that something might have happened to bring about them not meeting in person. I vaguely remember reading the threads before making an account that argued they might have had a falling out and Ned's thinking of him as "the little crannogman" seemed cold or distant. To the latter, I disagree - to me, it sounds more like a term of endearment, as in "the little guy" of the gang. That's what I got from it though I see the other side, too.

With the former, upon a re-read the only thing that made me think they could have grown distant was this bit:

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"The finest knight I ever saw was Ser Arthur Dayne, who fought with a blade called Dawn, forged from the heart of a fallen star. They called him the Sword of the Morning, and he would have killed me but for Howland Reed." Father had gotten sad then, and he would say no more. Bran wished he had asked him what he meant. Bran III, ACoK

 

Upon reading the text at first, I always assumed that Ned was sad over the death of Arthur Dayne because he later had to take the sword back to Ashara Dayne, who it was indicated he fancied a bit and then she killed herself etc, and well as the scene that followed with Lyanna, since it consumes him so much in his own chapters when he recounts the past. However, given that Bran thinks about "what [his father] meant" made me lean more towards the Arthur explanation for a long time because the line is essentially: "What did Howland do to save you?" To which the answer I typically came to is "Killed Arthur first." So, perhaps Ned disliked the manner in which Arthur was killed (Howl is a crannogman, so he was probably using a net and spear rather than a sword), and thought it was dishonourable... though I would disagree. Howland has every right to fight how he knows -- it wasn't a tourney.

Then on a re-read where I was looking for indications as to why Howland might not have left the Neck in years, it occurred to me for the first time that Ned never actually said that Howland killed Arthur -- only that he saved him. Silly, I know! 

So then Bran's question became in my head, "What do you mean 'but for Howland Reed'?" and I started to wonder if Howland was somehow injured trying to protect Ned. Perhaps Howland received a wound from Arthur that never healed or festered, leading him permanently damaged or to even lose a limb. Again, pure speculation but an interesting idea to consider. I've seen this idea tossed around a few times by other posters (likewise some have speculated he's trapped in a weirwood like BR but I really don't think so myself), and it would be interesting if the father of Bran's loyal companions is himself a "broken thing". 

Anyway, the reason Ned was not as forthcoming about Harrenhal might be because it is more a source of pain for him than for Howland? At least, that's what I got from reading his chapter where he remembered it in AGoT. For Howland, it is clearly a good memory if just because the events prior to the crowning of Lyanna were fond memories for him where he met the Starks and was treated with kindness rarely afforded crannogmen, based on what we've been told.

The fact that Robb refers to Howland as "father's old friend" and that "my father knew the worth of Howland Reed" suggests he has repeatedly told his children that Howland Reed is a reliable man. This is reinforced by Bran remembering that Howland "had been one of Father's staunchest companions during the war for King Robert's crown". Again, he also freely told Bran that Howland saved his life.

So, I don't think there is any bad feeling there on Ned's part. Perhaps Howland is upset with Ned over something (again, speculation) but we really cannot say either way without actually meeting Howland.

Either way, it is fun to think about.

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That being said, Meera and Jojen are cautious with what they tell Bran. Why? One thought is that Bran is young, 9-10 in the time he spends with the Reeds. They are wiser and older, Bran may not be able to understand the romantic and adult aspects of the story, so they keep it as metaphors and more of a fable for a child. But is it more? Are they telling the story vaguely in order to honor some promise that their father made to Ned and Howland is making them keep?

 

1

To be honest, I never really got the notion that the Reedlings are purposely holding things back from Bran. That said, it might be because Bran never actually asks them about anything to do with what they "might" know. I think George indicated they "might" know some things about the Tower of Joy but that could mean anything. It doesn't go much further than that for me, though. Jojen is still a child and only appears wiser because of his dreams while Meera, despite being close to Robb and Jon in age, has lived a very sheltered life prior to going to Winterfell.

Again, they "could" know more but nothing really has ever set off big, massive alarm bells for me. I know there is Meera's "that's a sadder story" or something to that effect at the end of TKotLT story about the wolf-maid being crowned queen of love and beauty but that tells us nothing in particular. Given Bran himself knows the story of Lyanna being abducted and raped by Prince Rhaegar, that could very well have been the version Howland told her too. Again, maybe Jojen knows more but it doesn't mean he's told his sister. I also wouldn't be surprised if the two children know different parts about the war as a whole because they simply asked their dad about different things.

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We all know that Howland knows most, if not all. He was there at Harrenhal. He was there with Lyanna. He heard what she asked and said. He knows what Ned promised and what promises he didn't keep. Did Howland want to keep those promises to? Did Howland and Ned have a falling out over promises not kept.

 

 

 

This is an interesting idea. I have often wondered... how much of the Ned/Lyanna exchange was Howland witness to? We know he was there and he was the one who finally took Ned's hand from Lyanna. Was Howland asked to promise something? Howland follows up on Robb's orders and continues the assault on the Ironborn even after the Red Wedding. Robb's two-messages are interesting "to double the chances of my message reaching Howland Reed" really seems like a detail he probably  learned from Ned. A sort of, "Look, if the time comes when you need to send a message to Howland, here's what you need to do..." So, I really don't think they have had a long-standing falling out though it is interesting to consider whether Ned might have done something where he cannot bring himself face Howland. As for Howland, he had such wanderlust in his youth and a love of adventure from Meera's story that his unwillingness to leave the Neck feels like a sad revelation is waiting in the wings.

Edited by Faera

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5 hours ago, Ser Leftwich said:

snip

Of course we do not know for sure. There are mysteries that the author intended to reveal to us near the end, at least until the show came along, and the biggest one is the events during the rebellion. We are told limited things, not so we can speculate rampantly with no basis for the assumptions, but so it will be revealed later 

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3 hours ago, Faera said:

This is an interesting idea. I have often wondered... how much of the Ned/Lyanna exchange was Howland witness to? We know he was there and he was the one who finally took Ned's hand from Lyanna. Was Howland asked to promise something? Howland follows up on Robb's orders and continues the assault on the Ironborn even after the Red Wedding. Robb's two-messages are interesting "to double the chances of my message reaching Howland Reed" really seems like a detail he probably  learned from Ned. A sort of, "Look, if the time comes when you need to send a message to Howland, here's what you need to do..." So, I really don't think they have had a long-standing falling out though it is interesting to consider whether Ned might have done something where he cannot bring himself face Howland. As for Howland, he had such wanderlust in his youth and a love of adventure from Meera's story that his unwillingness to leave the Neck feels like a sad revelation is waiting in the wings

Nice commentary Faera.  Interesting and full of vim! :D

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8 hours ago, Ser Leftwich said:

Other topics have brought up the question of where people were during the Robellion. Reading over the entry for Howland Reed it states that he " Howland fought alongside Eddard during Robert's Rebellion," but that is based only on the recurring dream of the ToJ fight.

Do we know that Howland was with The Ned during the war? The whole war?

Different assumptions can say that Howland joined Ned either when Ned marched south through the Neck or possibly when he called his banners. Though the former seems the more likely of the two, since Greywater Watch doesn't do ravens.

But, we don't know that Howland was with him at all, until he was with Ned at the ToJ.

What about before the fighting?

Did Howland help Lyanna during any shenanigans around her disappearance "not ten miles from Harrenhal?" " Lyanna had a touch of it (the wolf blood - wildness)," that does not sound like someone who is 'kidnapped.' That sounds like someone with agency. Was she out taking action of her own? Did she enlist the aid of someone indebted to her? Perhaps a little crannogman?

This goes back to a very old idea that was floated by a few people years ago: while dear friends, Ned and Howland had a falling out at some point. We never hear of Ned visiting Howland or vice versa. We never hear tell of the Reed children being brought up to spend time at Winterfell. Why?

If Ned and Howland were so close, why not more contact between the families? Because they had a falling out. Howland is clearly free with telling his children all manner of stories about the past and the events surrounding the Tourney at Harrenhal and the Robellion. Ned is absolutely not forthcoming at all, other than "My father knew the worth of Howland Reed," we get from Robb. Why?

That being said, Meera and Jojen are cautious with what they tell Bran. Why? One thought is that Bran is young, 9-10 in the time he spends with the Reeds. They are wiser and older, Bran may not be able to understand the romantic and adult aspects of the story, so they keep it as metaphors and more of a fable for a child. But is it more? Are they telling the story vaguely in order to honor some promise that their father made to Ned and Howland is making them keep?

We all know that Howland knows most, if not all. He was there at Harrenhal. He was there with Lyanna. He heard what she asked and said. He knows what Ned promised and what promises he didn't keep. Did Howland want to keep those promises to? Did Howland and Ned have a falling out over promises not kept.

Ah Ser, you certainly know how to throw a hook out.   This is our quandary, isn't it?  What does Howland Reed know and where has he been?  Does he know even more than Ned?  What current top secret intel does he have?   Though the OP offers up mysteries abundant, there may be more than we can answer.   Wait.  There are definitely more than I can answer.    I do wonder the extent of HR's knowledge and what he pieced together, if anything at all.  I wonder why HR didn't just take Jon himself for all the trouble Ned went to?   Would a non-crannog bastard stand out so apparently in the Neck?   

What other promises could have Ned made to Lyanna?  Jon?  It's a bit like Jamie and all those vows, isn't it?  Poor Ned has to marry his brother's betrothed and essentially live Brandon's life.   He has to rule when he wasn't born to rule.   He has to care for his sister's child by pawning him off as his own bastard.   This is an odd choice, if I have any voice in it.   Why not just deliver the babe to the NW and have them raise him?   It ends up the same in the end doesn't it?    

A very clever if twisted poster told me once that the promise to Lyanna might have been to kill her baby.  Try that on for size!   

You've asked many questions and I see so many of our finest minds are in here sharing their thoughts.   I will sign off to the OP now, but you can bet I will be lurking.   Well done, Ser.

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6 hours ago, Faera said:

 

This was so well written and explained I read it twice, today at work and tonight just now.   You tell this in the way so many of us struggled with misunderstanding.   You are on fire today, Lady!

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On 18/01/2018 at 11:20 PM, LynnS said:

Nice commentary Faera.  Interesting and full of vim! :D

On 19/01/2018 at 1:40 AM, Curled Finger said:

This was so well written and explained I read it twice, today at work and tonight just now.   You tell this in the way so many of us struggled with misunderstanding.   You are on fire today, Lady!

Awww shucks... :blush: Coming from you two, that means a lot! 
 

On 19/01/2018 at 1:30 AM, Curled Finger said:

Wait.  There are definitely more than I can answer.    I do wonder the extent of HR's knowledge and what he pieced together, if anything at all.  I wonder why HR didn't just take Jon himself for all the trouble Ned went to?   Would a non-crannog bastard stand out so apparently in the Neck?

Ah, there is the rub! It is something I have always questioned myself. Why didn't Howland take Jon and hide him? If you wanted to hide a secret Targ, wouldn't Howland make a better bet?

Truth is, I think the story was always going to be that Jon was Ned's bastard son and that is what Howland would have told his vassals upon his return. He could raise the child as his ward alongside Meera and Jojen. Maybe even Jon would have married Meera one day. They could still pass the kid off as Ned's bastard regardless, but the child would be out of sight and mind, as Cat always wanted. 

Crannogmen tend to not leave the Neck nor do people tend to just "pop-in" to Greywater. Even if someone tries, they do not live to tell the tale. So, the notion that a non-crannogman would "stand" out is a bit of a non-issue because no one is going to see him.

As for the crannogmen themselves... they seem to be very pro-Stark or at the very least Pro-Reed (who are Pro-Stark) or even just Pro-Howland, as they are following Robb's orders even after his death. So, I see no reason why Howland bringing back a Stark bastard to raise in the Neck would make them uneasy. Like Moses in his reed (heh!) basket: "We shall raise him as one of our own!" (Imagine all those high shelves he could reach for them!) Cue 15 years later -- Jon turns up with Meera and Jojen to see Bran at the Harvest Feast. No problem.

So, what gives? Tinfoil time: maybe the plan was for Howland to take Jon, but Ned changed his mind because on that long trip back - by land or sea (George indicated there was a big ol' trip back he might go into one day) - he couldn't bear to let the child go. He loved that baby, his sister's child, and didn't want to send him away. Cat talks about how protective Ned is of Jon and how no matter how much she begged, she could never convince Ned to send him away. Warding Jon somewhere else would not have been out of the question. Yet Ned would never send the child away -- this feels like it is coming from both love and also fear.

IDK, it is something to think about for sure. Either way, I think perhaps Ned just couldn't bear the thought of sending Jon away to anyone be it a trusted friend or even Benjen at the Night's Watch because he was the last living piece of Lyanna he had. 

On 19/01/2018 at 1:30 AM, Curled Finger said:

A very clever if twisted poster told me once that the promise to Lyanna might have been to kill her baby.  Try that on for size!   

 

:blink: 

Well, it can't be ruled out but I really, really hope that isn't true.

Edited by Faera

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On ‎1‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 10:04 AM, Ser Leftwich said:

Did Howland help Lyanna during any shenanigans around her disappearance "not ten miles from Harrenhal?" " Lyanna had a touch of it (the wolf blood - wildness)," that does not sound like someone who is 'kidnapped.' That sounds like someone with agency. Was she out taking action of her own? Did she enlist the aid of someone indebted to her? Perhaps a little crannogman?

There is considerable symbolic evidence for this, actually, but timewise (so far that I've noticed) the connections occur slightly after her disappearance.   

On ‎1‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 0:25 PM, Faera said:

I have long suspected that the men who went with Ned to the Tower of Joy were chosen based on their closeness and loyalty to Ned.

This may be true as well, but also look to the geography of the lands that these men represent.   There's a peculiar pattern in play here.

On ‎1‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 0:25 PM, Faera said:

Again, pure speculation but an interesting idea to consider. I've seen this idea tossed around a few times by other posters (likewise some have speculated he's trapped in a weirwood like BR but I really don't think so myself), and it would be interesting if the father of Bran's loyal companions is himself a "broken thing". 

Heh - I'm one of the speculators who believes that Howland doesn't leave the Neck because he CAN'T leave the Neck...he is physically incapable of it in some way.  Now whether that's because he's dialed into a weirwood or somesuch, I don't know - a poster on Heresy speculated that Howland may have undergone some sort of "transformation" as a result of his time with the Green Men on the Isle of Faces, and I personally think that's quite plausible.     If his physical form has changed in some way and made him not quite...normal...anymore, then he could technically be classified as a 'broken thing' although IMO he is FAR from being actually broken - like Bran, he is probably 'improved' in a sense.    

My guess would be that Ned is fully aware of this, hence his "knowing the worth of Howland Reed".    It's telling that <<<that statement also comes from Robb, who was being groomed (ramped up after Ned's departure for King's Landing) as future Lord of Winterfell....a role that comes with not only the responsibilities but also its secrets. "Maester Luwin, I trust you as I would my own blood. Give my wife your voice in all things great and small. Teach my son the things he needs to know. Winter is coming."     I wonder if Luwin imparted "the worth of Howland Reed" upon Robb as part of Ned's request.

On ‎1‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 10:04 AM, Ser Leftwich said:

We all know that Howland knows most, if not all. He was there at Harrenhal. He was there with Lyanna. He heard what she asked and said. He knows what Ned promised and what promises he didn't keep. Did Howland want to keep those promises to? Did Howland and Ned have a falling out over promises not kept.

This is an interesting idea - although I suspect that both men may have some broken promises to atone for, actually.   It would give weight to Ned's sadness after his telling Bran about the great knight Ser Arthur Dayne....the sadness may not have been about Dayne at all.

Edited by PrettyPig

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21 hours ago, PrettyPig said:

This may be true as well, but also look to the geography of the lands that these men represent.   There's a peculiar pattern in play here

You mean the whole "They're all from the West" thing?

21 hours ago, PrettyPig said:

Heh - I'm one of the speculators who believes that Howland doesn't leave the Neck because he CAN'T leave the Neck...he is physically incapable of it in some way.  Now whether that's because he's dialed into a weirwood or somesuch, I don't know - a poster on Heresy speculated that Howland may have undergone some sort of "transformation" as a result of his time with the Green Men on the Isle of Faces, and I personally think that's quite plausible.     If his physical form has changed in some way and made him not quite...normal...anymore, then he could technically be classified as a 'broken thing' although IMO he is FAR from being actually broken - like Bran, he is probably 'improved' in a sense.    

3

Hmmm well I guess it would be interesting although I'm a little apprehensive about it actually happening. I can't say I buy it myself.

Quote

 

My guess would be that Ned is fully aware of this, hence his "knowing the worth of Howland Reed".  It's telling that <<<that statement also comes from Robb, who was being groomed (ramped up after Ned's departure for King's Landing) as future Lord of Winterfell....a role that comes with not only the responsibilities but also its secrets. "Maester Luwin, I trust you as I would my own blood. Give my wife your voice in all things great and small. Teach my son the things he needs to know. Winter is coming."    I wonder if Luwin imparted "the worth of Howland Reed" upon Robb as part of Ned's request.

 

 

I suspect Ned primed Robb for leadership himself as much as entrusting his education to Luwin. The relationship between Ned and Howland is an odd one because while we know about letters being sent, it is unlikely they were ever put into Luwin's hands because Greywater has no maester nor are ravens able to go to it -- meaning Ned probably had to use a similar system to Robb (though perhaps a little less extreme)...

That said, we don't know either way. Luwin is an interesting character I wish we could have learned more about.

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