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How did Rhaegar get his reputation as a warrior?

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22 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Robert was forgiving to the point of lunacy and self-destruction (think of him actually pardoning Balon Greyjoy!). But Ned wasn't that kind of guy - he never forgave Jaime for Aerys or Tywin for Elia and the children or even Robert for tolerating both.

I agree that Robert was overly forgiving. But I think your examples of Ned disagreeing with him are telling: Ned is angry at Jaime Lannister for violating his vow to protect King Aerys by killing him. He's angry at Tywin for betraying Aerys as well. He's not angry at anyone who fought loyally for the Targaryens, even if they killed some of Ned's allies.

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Well, Tyrell sat on his ass during the war while the actual battles were fought somewhere else - just as Dayne did, actually. A siege is not a battle - and the fact that he didn't actually fight in a proper battle is the reason why Mace is dismissed as a general - but apparently a similar inaction did nothing to ruin the reputation of Ser Arthur Dayne.

Mace Tyrell seems to be risk avoidant. He is said to have "besieged the banquet table" outside Storm's End, which could possibly be construed as making the defenders envious of those with plenty to eat, but is also a rather comfortable way to sit out a war. He surrendered as soon as Ned came to relieve the siege, which was sensible since the Targaryen regime was no more. Arthur Dayne seems very different in this respect, as he put himself at risk in combat (and eventually died that way). That's separate from "generalship" though.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/18/2019 at 9:43 PM, Angel Eyes said:

He's known as a great warrior, but as far as the records show he only participated in tournaments (where it is unwise to injure the Heir) and only fought one battle where he lost his life to a dude with a hammer.

Mystery Knight had an example of Uthor running his scam.  Can anyone prove it was Rhaegar who won those tournaments?  Who was under that helmet?  

Edited by 867-5309

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Posted (edited)

Dayne's "inaction" did nothing to harm his reputation because it was understood that his lack of involvement was because as a Kingsguad he did as he was commanded, and it was simply assumed he was commanded in ways that kept him from the war.

Whereas Mace Tyrell wasn't really under anyone's command, and merely opted to sit around leading an interminable siege. He _could_ have chosen to march north to join Rhaegar with a  contingent from the Reach without compromising the siege, one supposes, but he did not. 

Accounts of Rhaegar's tourney victories or successes come from eyewitnesses who have no doubt that Rhaegar was the one who rode (Cersei, Barristan, Ned).

Edited by Ran

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Posted (edited)

I don't particularly see why tournaments hold such stigma on this board, they're using their martial prowess to compete against other skilled fighters. You don't see people watching top tier martial artists compete in competitions in the real world but then say yeah but they're not fighting to death in a muddy field and beyond that the melee is excellent practice for real battles anyway, in that it is essentially a mock battle. Real world tournaments heavily involved knights performing mounted manoeuvres in formation and other general practice for warfare, the pageantry grew out of that. 

If someone can kick all kinds of arse at a tournament against other skilled fighters then they've earned their reputation for martial prowess.

Edited by Trigger Warning

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5 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I agree that Robert was overly forgiving. But I think your examples of Ned disagreeing with him are telling: Ned is angry at Jaime Lannister for violating his vow to protect King Aerys by killing him. He's angry at Tywin for betraying Aerys as well. He's not angry at anyone who fought loyally for the Targaryens, even if they killed some of Ned's allies.

Is he? We don't know that. I mean, Ned actually opposed the murder of King Aerys II and his family despite the fact that said king did execute both his father and brother. We never hear Ned of being angry or having been angry about that in the past - but we can assume that he was, that he did not just rebel to fight for his own life but also wanted to avenge his father and brother.

If he was angry about that one should also assume he was angry about the deaths of close friends - friends who essentially died for nothing but the silly honor of some silly knights who were 'protecting' Ned's own sister against an imagined threat - because Ned would never harm either Lyanna or her child, no matter who his father may have been.

5 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Mace Tyrell seems to be risk avoidant. He is said to have "besieged the banquet table" outside Storm's End, which could possibly be construed as making the defenders envious of those with plenty to eat, but is also a rather comfortable way to sit out a war. He surrendered as soon as Ned came to relieve the siege, which was sensible since the Targaryen regime was no more. Arthur Dayne seems very different in this respect, as he put himself at risk in combat (and eventually died that way). That's separate from "generalship" though.

The comparison is just that Dayne and Tyrell are not that different insofar as actual important or impressive deeds are done. Dayne defeated some outlaws and then he (likely) killed some of Ned's companions - none of which are reckoned among the greatest warriors of their generations as far as we know at this point (and we can exclude Ned himself, Howland Reed, and Ethan Glover - who is young enough to have been Brandon's squire, a man who died at the age of twenty - as great swordsmen).

This is not so much different from Mace Tyrell's siege and his 'victory' at Ashford.

But the better comparison here certainly is Selmy-Dayne. The former is a warrior of true renown, who pulled off crazy things against nearly impossible odds whereas all we have as evidence that Dayne was as great a warrior as Selmy is the claim that Dawn is not given to bad knights and the claims of men who knew him to various degrees. But his record compared to Selmy looks, at this point, rather stale.

And as I think I said a lot of times in this thread already - expert judgment means little and less when it is based on a very slim basis of empirical facts. The idea that Tarly is 'the finest soldier in the Realm' is based on what exactly? On him excelling at Ashford? On him defeating a Northern host at Duskendale which effectively had no cavalry? I mean, how can a guy be 'the finest soldier' if he fought in 1-2 battles that we know of?

This is not the same as judging the qualities of fighters as such, since the practice yard also allows you to guess the dueling skills of a man. But if we talk Rhaegar we basically have only the practice yard. He never fought in any war or campaign that we know of until he rode to the Trident to die. He was unbloodied both as a fighter and a general, and that's certainly a huge part of the reason why he failed.

2 hours ago, 867-5309 said:

Mystery Knight had an example of Uthor running his scam.  Can anyone prove it was Rhaegar who won those tournaments?  Who was under that helmet?  

Uthor Underleaf is an example for a man who is an adequate to good tourney knight who is able of giving the crowd a good show. This certainly indicates that men can break quite a few lances against each other in a joust that has been rigged.

But I doubt that Rhaegar needed that kind of thing - however I certainly think that quite a few men may have been not exactly willing to their best to throw the Prince of Dragonstone into the dirt if they faced him in a tourney. Both to suck up to him - like Kyle the Cat tried to do - and to not raise the ire of House Targaryen. And Rhaegar's friends in the Kingsguard also two reasons - their duties as KG involving them doing their best to not harm or accidentally kill the Heir Apparent and their friendship to Rhaegar.

This doesn't mean Rhaegar wasn't a great jouster - I believe he was. But it certainly puts things into perspective. My take here definitely is that the suckers at the top can be adequate and still do well enough to be seen or hailed as great guys, or they can be good and be seen as the Warrior Incarnate. Vice versa, scum like Dunk - or men with as humble a background as Criston Cole - likely have to perform much, much better than high nobility or royalty to be judged as good or praised in the same fashion.

1 hour ago, Ran said:

Dayne's "inaction" did nothing to harm his reputation because it was understood that his lack of involvement was because as a Kingsguad he did as he was commanded, and it was simply assumed he was commanded in ways that kept him from the war.

The point is Dayne's overall lack of great heroic deeds. The rather narrow empirical basis for Dayne's acclaimed greatness as a warrior. I'm not saying he was bad, I just say it is odd that man with his reputation actually lacks the proper biography of such a man - since he never seems to have overcome a particularly fearsome guy aside from the Smiling Knight - who still was just an outlaw not a proper knight.

Bottom line is, we are just told that Aerys II's Seven (Barristan Selmy and Gerold Hightower, the confirmed veterans of the Stepstones aside) were such great knights. We never hear what they supposedly did to deserve that reputation. And we certainly know that no KG who gained his cloak during the reign of Aerys II can have fought in a war in Westeros before the Rebellion - because there were no wars.

How does a man acquire the reputation of being a deadly or dangerous warrior in peace time? This doesn't really work, does it? I mean, Garlan Tyrell is known as a great duelist and knight in the practice yard - but he doesn't really have the kind of reputation a man who has actually fought in war gets, does he? Garlan did fight in the Battle of the Blackwater, but incognito, so nobody knows how many he has slain.

1 hour ago, Ran said:

Whereas Mace Tyrell wasn't really under anyone's command, and merely opted to sit around leading an interminable siege. He _could_ have chosen to march north to join Rhaegar with a  contingent from the Reach without compromising the siege, one supposes, but he did not.

I brought up the Mace example simply to illustrate how 'experts' in this world can look down on a man who hasn't done much of note - while praising men who didn't do much of note, either (Arthur Dayne).

31 minutes ago, Trigger Warning said:

I don't particularly see why tournaments hold such stigma on this board, they're using their martial prowess to compete against other skilled fighters. You don't see people watching top tier martial artists compete in competitions in the real world but then say yeah but they're not fighting to death in a muddy field and beyond that the melee is excellent practice for real battles anyway, in that it is essentially a mock battle. Real world tournaments heavily involved knights performing mounted manoeuvres in formation and other general practice for warfare, the pageantry grew out of that. 

We care about the differences between staged battles (tourneys) and actually battles because that's what the author does, too. He reinforces that, for instance, when he has Brienne confidently beat Loras into the mud in a tourney setting but behave and feel rather differently when she finally gets to make her first kills.

Or take Arya's entire story - the message the author sends with her certainly is that the more experienced you are at killing the easier it goes - being good at killing certainly isn't the same as being good at fighting, but the practice yard still doesn't prepare you to deliver the killing blow. And that's crucial. In that sense Rhaegar is still nothing but a rather experienced green boy at the Trident.

Nobody doubted that tourneys give you crucial skills you will need as a knight riding in pitched battle - that's clear. But it is quite clear that the author does not want to send the message that men who excel at tourney also have to be great warriors - especially not those who focus on jousting.

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13 hours ago, Trigger Warning said:

I don't particularly see why tournaments hold such stigma on this board, they're using their martial prowess to compete against other skilled fighters. You don't see people watching top tier martial artists compete in competitions in the real world but then say yeah but they're not fighting to death in a muddy field and beyond that the melee is excellent practice for real battles anyway, in that it is essentially a mock battle. Real world tournaments heavily involved knights performing mounted manoeuvres in formation and other general practice for warfare, the pageantry grew out of that. 

If someone can kick all kinds of arse at a tournament against other skilled fighters then they've earned their reputation for martial prowess.

Because Rhaegar seems to be relatively untested in the field of actual combat.

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49 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

Because Rhaegar seems to be relatively untested in the field of actual combat.

I think we have a small sample size to grade Rhaegar's skill in actual combat, but that one duel with Robert at the Trident should remove any thoughts Rhaegar's skills were mere puffery from rigged tourneys. Tourney wins and displays of skill in the practice yard certainly built Rhaegar's reputation, and deservedly so. But it is at his death that Rhaegar proves he is a great warrior.

Robert came to destroy Rhaegar, and it very nearly turned out to be the opposite. Personal Bravery? Master level skill with sword and lance? I think we can check all those boxes while acknowledging Rhaegar was up against a better foe.

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Where is it said that Rhaegar has a reputation as a warrior?

Daenerys is the only one I can recall claiming such a thing, and that is likely what Viserys taught her.

Rhaegar only really fought in one real battle. From the bits and pieces we have, he didn't embarrass himself, but he died.

Perhaps we will learn that he skillfully killed a number of men before finally falling to Robert.

But for now, we only have one known fight for him, wounding Robert, but ultimately falling to him.

We have more evidence of his skill in tourneys, though his participation in those was also infrequent.

He is known to have participated in three tournies, making it to the finals in each, losing two and winning one.

But he doesn't really have a reputation as an amazing warrior as far as I can tell, probably for lack of a fighting record.

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4 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Where is it said that Rhaegar has a reputation as a warrior?

 Daenerys is the only one I can recall claiming such a thing, and that is likely what Viserys taught her.

Rhaegar only really fought in one real battle. From the bits and pieces we have, he didn't embarrass himself, but he died.

Perhaps we will learn that he skillfully killed a number of men before finally falling to Robert.

But for now, we only have one known fight for him, wounding Robert, but ultimately falling to him.

We have more evidence of his skill in tourneys, though his participation in those was also infrequent.

He is known to have participated in three tournies, making it to the finals in each, losing two and winning one.

But he doesn't really have a reputation as an amazing warrior as far as I can tell, probably for lack of a fighting record.

Yeah, now that I think of it I get the impression that Barristan does not really think that highly of Rhaegar's martial prowess, but I may be wrong. I'll have to reread those passages.

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2 hours ago, Aldarion said:

Yeah, now that I think of it I get the impression that Barristan does not really think that highly of Rhaegar's martial prowess, but I may be wrong. I'll have to reread those passages.

He tells Dany that Rhaegar was a most puissant warrior, but disputes the idea that he was a warrior without peer. Actually, he seems to object to the idea of anyone being a peerless warrior, and goes on about how there is always someone who can match a warrior, whether in tourneys or battles. So he very well could have thought highly of his skill, but ultimately, he lost and died, and it remains to be seen how.

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1 hour ago, Bael's Bastard said:

He tells Dany that Rhaegar was a most puissant warrior, but disputes the idea that he was a warrior without peer. Actually, he seems to object to the idea of anyone being a peerless warrior, and goes on about how there is always someone who can match a warrior, whether in tourneys or battles. So he very well could have thought highly of his skill, but ultimately, he lost and died, and it remains to be seen how.

I just checked the definition of "puissant" and yeah, it appears that he does say Rhaegar was able warrior (apparently, puissant means able, mighty, powerful). But he definitely doesn't hold him on pedestal as Daenerys does.

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It might be Rhaegar rode in some more tourneys than the one we have heard so far, but him actually only winning Harrenhal implies he wasn't necessarily the greatest of jousters, either - especially if we were to parallel him to Jorah Mormont who was apparently also carried to the greatest heights by love and luck, not because of his skills.

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There is no "greatest" jouster. Barristan did not win every tourney he rode in, Arthur Dayne didn't, etc.

We do know that he defeated many notable knights in various tournaments, and appears to have always been a genuine contender for winning any tourney he entered. We know of three tourneys in which he rode, and he was second place in two of them (losing to Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Barristan Selmy respectively) and the champion at Harrenhal.

 

 

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On 7/14/2019 at 11:00 AM, Trigger Warning said:

I don't particularly see why tournaments hold such stigma on this board, they're using their martial prowess to compete against other skilled fighters. 

They don't hold a stigma, generally. Its just a small number of particularly silly posters, plus some Rhaegar Derangement Syndrome sufferers.

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5 hours ago, Ran said:

There is no "greatest" jouster. Barristan did not win every tourney he rode in, Arthur Dayne didn't, etc.

We do know that he defeated many notable knights in various tournaments, and appears to have always been a genuine contender for winning any tourney he entered. We know of three tourneys in which he rode, and he was second place in two of them (losing to Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Barristan Selmy respectively) and the champion at Harrenhal.

We are not sure that the guys outside the KG Rhaegar defeated were particularly good/famed jousters, do we? Not saying they were bad, either, but we don't know how impressive the competitors he defeated actually were.

Rhaegar died rather young. And since he wasn't exactly a tourney junkie chances are not that high that he had that much experience with all of that. His true interests lay elsewhere - we can be pretty sure that men like Maegor the Cruel, Aemon and Baelon, Prince Daemon, the Dragonknight, Daemon Blackfyre, Baelor Breakspear, etc. never wasted time going to lonely places to sing sad songs. Rhaegar was a melancholic at heart, not a warrior or jouster. And that should have had an effect on his abilities.

And the amount of tourneys he may have fought at as a knight should actually have been comparably low. His father seems to have had no tourneys at KL after the anniversary tourney. The first tourney he rode in that we know of was that of Lannisport celebrating the birth of Viserys, then there is the convoluted matter of Lord Steffon's Tourney at Storm's End, which could have been part of the arrangements made for Lord Steffon mission as envoy to Volantis or to celebrate Renly's birth). There is no mentioning of any tourneys that Rhaegar organized on Dragonstone. And then comes Harrenhal. Rhaegar certainly should have attended tourneys as a squire before, but Rhaegar doesn't strike as being the kind of guy who pulled off things like Jaehaerys' sons, say.

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On 7/13/2019 at 6:38 PM, Lord Varys said:

Is he? We don't know that. I mean, Ned actually opposed the murder of King Aerys II and his family despite the fact that said king did execute both his father and brother. We never hear Ned of being angry or having been angry about that in the past - but we can assume that he was, that he did not just rebel to fight for his own life but also wanted to avenge his father and brother.

If he was angry about that one should also assume he was angry about the deaths of close friends - friends who essentially died for nothing but the silly honor of some silly knights who were 'protecting' Ned's own sister against an imagined threat - because Ned would never harm either Lyanna or her child, no matter who his father may have been.

I don't think Ned regards honor as "silly". He's a man of his time, even if he's a northman rather than a knight. Ned also seems to retain some anger toward the Lannisters for their part in the rebellion.

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The comparison is just that Dayne and Tyrell are not that different insofar as actual important or impressive deeds are done. Dayne defeated some outlaws and then he (likely) killed some of Ned's companions - none of which are reckoned among the greatest warriors of their generations as far as we know at this point (and we can exclude Ned himself, Howland Reed, and Ethan Glover - who is young enough to have been Brandon's squire, a man who died at the age of twenty - as great swordsmen).

The Smiling Knight is remembered by Jaime as being the Mountain of his generation.

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But the better comparison here certainly is Selmy-Dayne. The former is a warrior of true renown, who pulled off crazy things against nearly impossible odds whereas all we have as evidence that Dayne was as great a warrior as Selmy is the claim that Dawn is not given to bad knights and the claims of men who knew him to various degrees. But his record compared to Selmy looks, at this point, rather stale.

True. Selmy living much longer plays a part in that. And in case you hold Dayne's death against him compared to Selmy, Barristan was severely wounded but assisted by Robert's own maester. There presumably weren't any maesters around for Dayne.

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And as I think I said a lot of times in this thread already - expert judgment means little and less when it is based on a very slim basis of empirical facts.

We don't just have those "experts", we have GRRM's word-of-God that Dayne was the equal of Selmy, having an advantage over him if he got to wield Dawn. And people within Westeros take the word of those regarded as experts seriously.

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The point is Dayne's overall lack of great heroic deeds. The rather narrow empirical basis for Dayne's acclaimed greatness as a warrior. I'm not saying he was bad, I just say it is odd that man with his reputation actually lacks the proper biography of such a man - since he never seems to have overcome a particularly fearsome guy aside from the Smiling Knight - who still was just an outlaw not a proper knight.

Outlaws can also be knights. Beric Dondarrion is one, and the books make clear there are some obvious parallels between his Brotherhood and that of the Kingswood.

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I brought up the Mace example simply to illustrate how 'experts' in this world can look down on a man who hasn't done much of note - while praising men who didn't do much of note, either (Arthur Dayne).

The main people I recall looking down on Mace are Tyrion & Stannis, who are both thinking in terms of generalship. Ned Stark & Jaime Lannister saw Arthur Dayne in action and thought highly of him on that basis. It's less obvious why Jon Connington thinks he sets the standard for military camps.

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We care about the differences between staged battles (tourneys) and actually battles because that's what the author does, too. He reinforces that, for instance, when he has Brienne confidently beat Loras into the mud in a tourney setting but behave and feel rather differently when she finally gets to make her first kills.

Brienne really is a great warrior, including against men who've seen more combat than her. She might not feel great after killing people, but she still kills them.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I don't think Ned regards honor as "silly". He's a man of his time, even if he's a northman rather than a knight. Ned also seems to retain some anger toward the Lannisters for their part in the rebellion.

Sure, but it is somewhat inconsistent to find men great who butcher your friends to keep you from your own sister and despise men who betrayed and killed your enemies. Ned certainly can also honor men who did their duty, but he should also resent and hate them for killing his friends - assuming he cared about them.

And we don't know why Ned thinks Arthur Dayne was such a great guy. There is no elaboration whether this has something to do with honor or fighting skills or other factors. There is likely some unknown connection there, something that has to do with Ned's very own Dayne connection (Ashara Dayne).

Because Ned clearly never thinks highly of either Gerold Hightower or Oswell Whent.

28 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The Smiling Knight is remembered by Jaime as being the Mountain of his generation.

Sure, which makes Dayne the victor in exactly one important duel of note. Does one such victory make a legend? I don't think so.

I want to see Dayne as the great guy he is supposed to be. I just would like to have more actual great deeds the man supposedly did. That's not so hard to understand, is it?

28 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

True. Selmy living much longer plays a part in that. And in case you hold Dayne's death against him compared to Selmy, Barristan was severely wounded but assisted by Robert's own maester. There presumably weren't any maesters around for Dayne.

I'd say the issue simply is the author failing at giving Arthur Dayne the opportunity to become a proper legend, just as he failed to make Randyll Tarly 'the finest soldier in the Realm'. He is just a guy who won two battles as far as we know.

Tarly would need to have fought ten years as the commander of a very successful sellsword company to deserve such a flattery description.

28 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

We don't just have those "experts", we have GRRM's word-of-God that Dayne was the equal of Selmy, having an advantage over him if he got to wield Dawn. And people within Westeros take the word of those regarded as experts seriously.

Ah, well, if J. K. Rowling tells us that Albus Dumbledore is gay outside her novels then I say she sucked at portraying a gay Albus Dumbledore in her novels. If George wants us to really believe Dayne was as good as Barristan Selmy he should have given Dayne the opportunities to shine the way Selmy did.

And frankly, Selmy's long life doesn't have that much to do with it. Duskendale and the Rebellion took place during Aerys II's reign. Selmy didn't do any heroic deeds thereafter before the main series started. Sure, Dayne doesn't have the Ninepenny Kings, but there was and still is ample opportunity for great Kingsguard heroics during the twenty years Aerys II ruled.

But I guess another issue revolves around Ser Arthur's age. Is close in age to Rhaegar - which one would like to believe considering they were best friends - but if he were a decade or more older he could have gone to the Stepstones as a squire to do heroic deeds there.

That's not out of the question if Connington's camp remark were supposed to imply that he may have trained under Dayne as a squire (alongside Rhaegar, perhaps - they were squires together). I don't see how Connington could have ever been in a camp raised by/at the command of Ser Arthur if hadn't been serving under him.

28 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Outlaws can also be knights. Beric Dondarrion is one, and the books make clear there are some obvious parallels between his Brotherhood and that of the Kingswood.

Sure, but one would still not make that much of a deal out of an outlaw hunting operation. Sure, it might be good material for songs and the like in peace times, but it is not a proper military campaign. Not comparable to what counts as real war in Westeros.

28 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The main people I recall looking down on Mace are Tyrion & Stannis, who are both thinking in terms of generalship. Ned Stark & Jaime Lannister saw Arthur Dayne in action and thought highly of him on that basis. It's less obvious why Jon Connington thinks he sets the standard for military camps.

If Ned holds Arthur in high esteem because of his fighting abilities he didn't say so - but even if he did, while we don't know who he killed or how good his opponents were compared to him - Ned's opinion there isn't worth all that much. I mean, it is a rather striking thing that Ned and Howland survived. Seven men were facing three supposedly great Kingsguard and three of the Northmen (Ned himself, Howland, and Ethan Glover) are either confirmed or very likely to not exactly the greatest of swordsmen. Howland wasn't trained as a knight, Ned is confirmed to be a mediocre swordsman, and Ethan Glover was the former squire of Brandon Stark, a man who died at the age of twenty, meaning Ethan himself was likely considerably younger (perhaps 16, possibly younger than that) - that doesn't make it likely he was the kind of guy who could challenge legendary Kingsguard.

Which basically means the KG may have faced only four really good swordsmen - if we assume the rest was that great. Considering they are the ones who died one can doubt that.

28 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Brienne really is a great warrior, including against men who've seen more combat than her. She might not feel great after killing people, but she still kills them.

And Rhaegar didn't. Which was my point in that comparison. If your standards are great warriors are people who successfully kill then Rhaegar doesn't fit the bill.

However, it isn't just how Brienne feels after killing people, but also how she feels while fighting for her life for the first time. She doesn't enjoy this - which Rhaegar likely didn't, either. But Robert and Sandor and Gregor and many other warriors in Westeros actually do enjoy that. And that's what makes them excel at what they do in the end.

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11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Sure, but it is somewhat inconsistent to find men great who butcher your friends to keep you from your own sister and despise men who betrayed and killed your enemies. Ned certainly can also honor men who did their duty, but he should also resent and hate them for killing his friends - assuming he cared about them.

I wouldn't say that's actually inconsistent, it just means placing more importance on the abstract ideal of "honor" than your personal relationship to any of the people involved. Robert is more cynical in regarding Lannister betrayal as simply a win for him, and it arguably makes him more inconsistent since he keeps both traitors & loyalists in his small council/kingsguard and appears to reserve his animus solely for Targaryens (of which he himself is partially by descent).

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Ah, well, if J. K. Rowling tells us that Albus Dumbledore is gay outside her novels then I say she sucked at portraying a gay Albus Dumbledore in her novels. If George wants us to really believe Dayne was as good as Barristan Selmy he should have given Dayne the opportunities to shine the way Selmy did.

I only read up through Goblet of Fire, but one could reply that she did a good job of writing a character who didn't need to announce to the students at his school what his sexual orientation was. In that case my understanding is that his sexuality is entirely Word-of-God rather than part of the canon of the books. In the case of Arthur Dayne & Randyll Tarly, I think GRRM believes that the historical bits he gave us should be good enough and we should just accept the judgement of the characters telling us about their prowess because these are books rather than reality. Similarly, I agree with Sean Collins that Edmure Tully fighting the Battle of the Fords was an entirely reasonable thing to do and that Robb Stark & Brynden the Blackfish are wrong to chew him out. But I think GRRM wants us to accept their arguments at that point even if he hasn't done a good job of making it for them.

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Sure, but one would still not make that much of a deal out of an outlaw hunting operation. Sure, it might be good material for songs and the like in peace times, but it is not a proper military campaign. Not comparable to what counts as real war in Westeros.

It's actually common in war for irregular forces to be dismissed as "outlaws" and "bandits". Admittedly, in the case of the Kingswood Brotherhood we don't hear about them conducting military operations comparable to the Brotherhood Without Banners.

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If Ned holds Arthur in high esteem because of his fighting abilities he didn't say so - but even if he did, while we don't know who he killed or how good his opponents were compared to him - Ned's opinion there isn't worth all that much. I mean, it is a rather striking thing that Ned and Howland survived. Seven men were facing three supposedly great Kingsguard and three of the Northmen (Ned himself, Howland, and Ethan Glover) are either confirmed or very likely to not exactly the greatest of swordsmen. Howland wasn't trained as a knight, Ned is confirmed to be a mediocre swordsman, and Ethan Glover was the former squire of Brandon Stark, a man who died at the age of twenty, meaning Ethan himself was likely considerably younger (perhaps 16, possibly younger than that) - that doesn't make it likely he was the kind of guy who could challenge legendary Kingsguard.

Which basically means the KG may have faced only four really good swordsmen - if we assume the rest was that great. Considering they are the ones who died one can doubt that.

Numbers matter in warfare, and not just arithmetically. The larger side can more easily surround/flank the other, and by concentrating their attack they can diminish the size of the enemy force, thus compounding their advantage over the course of the battle. A situation like Thermopylae where a smaller force is able to prevent a larger one from bringing all its force to bear against them is atypical. We discussed Brienne above, who was able to defeat Rorge in one-on-one combat but was then surprised by Biter. She likely could have defeated him in one-on-one combat, but her concentration on Rorge allowed him to get the jump on her.

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And Rhaegar didn't. Which was my point in that comparison. If your standards are great warriors are people who successfully kill then Rhaegar doesn't fit the bill.

However, it isn't just how Brienne feels after killing people, but also how she feels while fighting for her life for the first time. She doesn't enjoy this - which Rhaegar likely didn't, either. But Robert and Sandor and Gregor and many other warriors in Westeros actually do enjoy that. And that's what makes them excel at what they do in the end.

We get her POV the first time she kills. None of them get a POV chapter. We don't even meet them until years after they fought in the rebellion. Furthermore, Robert got to enjoy the cameraderie of fighting alongside his peers, and was famous for making friends of everyone he fought against. Brienne is much more isolated. By the way, there is a theory that Pretty Meris of the Windblown began as GRRM's conception of how Brienne could wind up after his 5 year gap.

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7 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I wouldn't say that's actually inconsistent, it just means placing more importance on the abstract ideal of "honor" than your personal relationship to any of the people involved. Robert is more cynical in regarding Lannister betrayal as simply a win for him, and it arguably makes him more inconsistent since he keeps both traitors & loyalists in his small council/kingsguard and appears to reserve his animus solely for Targaryens (of which he himself is partially by descent).

I'd say it is inconsistent that there seems to be no anger there, both for his dead friends and against Aerys II for killing his father and brother.

But then, the idea that Ned puts the KG at the tower on some kind of honor pedestal is actually not in the text (he singles out Dayne for an unknown reason, not Whent or Hightower), so perhaps his anger and resentment are just missing.

And I don't think Robert is particularly inconsistent there - he doesn't really hate 'the Targaryens' as such (then he would have to hate himself and his brothers and children, too), he hates Rhaegar and transferred the hatred he felt for Rhaegar also to Rhaegar's children. He doesn't hate Viserys III and Daenerys to the same degree - these two, and Dany's unborn son by Khal Drogo, he actually fears more than that he hates them. Because he knows the descendants of Aerys II have a better claim to the Iron Throne than he and his children or brothers have. Allowing them to live endangers his dynasty.

Just like Ned never mentions any anger/hatred for the Mad King, Robert never expresses hatred for the man, either. He points out that the man had to die, but it is not accompanied with the kind of rage he feels when he discusses Rhaegar.

7 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I only read up through Goblet of Fire, but one could reply that she did a good job of writing a character who didn't need to announce to the students at his school what his sexual orientation was. In that case my understanding is that his sexuality is entirely Word-of-God rather than part of the canon of the books. In the case of Arthur Dayne & Randyll Tarly, I think GRRM believes that the historical bits he gave us should be good enough and we should just accept the judgement of the characters telling us about their prowess because these are books rather than reality. Similarly, I agree with Sean Collins that Edmure Tully fighting the Battle of the Fords was an entirely reasonable thing to do and that Robb Stark & Brynden the Blackfish are wrong to chew him out. But I think GRRM wants us to accept their arguments at that point even if he hasn't done a good job of making it for them.

If an author presumes to tell me crucial information about fictional characters outside actual published material then he or she do suck. It is irrelevant what he or she say as a private person.

I don't dispute that George wants us to believe that Tarly and Dayne are great at what they do - I just point out that he didn't do a great job at establishing this.

I mean, this is just symptomatic of the fact that he has a setting of a manly warrior culture whose members literally fought only civil war (Dorne aside) since the Conquest. If you don't have a lot of wars to fight you also don't have all that many great warriors and veterans - and those who think they are great are not by the standards of men who make a living fighting wars constantly.

7 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

It's actually common in war for irregular forces to be dismissed as "outlaws" and "bandits". Admittedly, in the case of the Kingswood Brotherhood we don't hear about them conducting military operations comparable to the Brotherhood Without Banners.

We have no indication whatsoever that the Kingswood Brotherhood was ever more than a nuisance. And we certainly can refer to those outlaws as outlaws because that's how they are presented - as a bunch of no-names with fancy outlaw names who did outlaw stuff. They never marshaled a proper army and threatened Storm's End or King's Landing.

7 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Numbers matter in warfare, and not just arithmetically. The larger side can more easily surround/flank the other, and by concentrating their attack they can diminish the size of the enemy force, thus compounding their advantage over the course of the battle. A situation like Thermopylae where a smaller force is able to prevent a larger one from bringing all its force to bear against them is atypical. We discussed Brienne above, who was able to defeat Rorge in one-on-one combat but was then surprised by Biter. She likely could have defeated him in one-on-one combat, but her concentration on Rorge allowed him to get the jump on her.

Sure, that's all correct, but there is no indication that the three KG from the fever dream where surprised or outflanked. I mean, the kind of miracle man Barristan Selmy is strongly implies that Arthur Dayne alone should have been able to dispatch Ned's Seven. In a scenario where three such supermen fight against seven (and three of those are definitely no supermen) we have a ratio of 2,3:1 for the Northmen. In light of the fact that a man like Garlan Tyrell - who may not even be Selmy/Dayne material - trains against multiple opponents one should imagine that a man like Dayne should be able to kill defeat 3-4 attackers, depending how capable they are.

7 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

We get her POV the first time she kills. None of them get a POV chapter. We don't even meet them until years after they fought in the rebellion. Furthermore, Robert got to enjoy the cameraderie of fighting alongside his peers, and was famous for making friends of everyone he fought against. Brienne is much more isolated. By the way, there is a theory that Pretty Meris of the Windblown began as GRRM's conception of how Brienne could wind up after his 5 year gap.

Robert could befriend men. But he also liked to kill them. He was always first in battle, he really liked to use his war hammer. He was very quick to forgive you after you yielded, but when you face him in battle the hammer will beat you to bloody pulps.

This is both a trait you need to have, or something you have to acquire with time. Robert had that. Rhaegar did not. Rhaegar was neither a jouster/tourney knight at heart, nor was he an experienced warrior/killer. He was a melancholic singer and scholar who was fed/developed the notion that he had to be a warrior. That sets him apart from basically every warrior in the series who liked what he does - which are basically all the great warriors we meet (Jaime, Gregor, Sandor, Robert, Barristan, etc.).

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On 7/20/2019 at 6:21 PM, Lord Varys said:

I'd say it is inconsistent that there seems to be no anger there, both for his dead friends and against Aerys II for killing his father and brother.

I agree Ned doesn't seem to express anything negative about the Kingsguard who killed his seven companions at the Tower of Joy. But he does have a very negative opinion of Aerys, asking Robert why they overthrow him if not to put an end to the murder of children (which is odd since it was adult victims that actually sparked the rebellion).

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And I don't think Robert is particularly inconsistent there - he doesn't really hate 'the Targaryens' as such (then he would have to hate himself and his brothers and children, too), he hates Rhaegar and transferred the hatred he felt for Rhaegar also to Rhaegar's children. He doesn't hate Viserys III and Daenerys to the same degree - these two, and Dany's unborn son by Khal Drogo, he actually fears more than that he hates them. Because he knows the descendants of Aerys II have a better claim to the Iron Throne than he and his children or brothers have. Allowing them to live endangers his dynasty.

Just like Ned never mentions any anger/hatred for the Mad King, Robert never expresses hatred for the man, either. He points out that the man had to die, but it is not accompanied with the kind of rage he feels when he discusses Rhaegar.

When Ned asks why they overthrew the Mad King, Robert replies it was "to put an end to Targaryens", which does sound like a generalized hatred (even if it makes little sense). When Ned says it's unspeakable to send an assassin after Aerys' children, Robert replies that what Aerys did to Rickard & Brandon was unspeakable, as was Rhaegar's rape of Lyanna.

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