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Angel Eyes

How did Rhaegar get his reputation as a warrior?

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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.

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15 minutes ago, 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) 

While this can be true in some instances, its not always so. 

You are basically calling Barristan a liar, and many other famous and well respected knights and lords cheats and lickspittles. 

We know of three tourneys Rhaegar fought in. He didn't compete often.
At Lannisport he beat two Lannisters (Jaime's uncles Gerion and Tygett), 12 'of the best' westlands knights and Ser Barristan Selmy. But lost to Arthur Dayne.

At Storms End, he beat Steffon Baratheon (Robert's father), Jason Mallister (described elsewhere as a reknown tourney knight), Oberyn Martell (!), Simon Toyne* (possibly misremembered by Barristan), and defeated Arthur Dayne after breaking 12 lances together. But lost to Barristan Selmy.

At Harrenhal he defeated Yohn Royce (a well known Tourney knight who was good enough with a sword to beat Ned Stark and Rodrik Cassel together), Brandon Stark, Arthur Dayne and Barristan Selmy.

So basically the only people we know he lost to were Dane and Selmy, and each of those he's 2-1 vs.
Mocking his tourney record is a clear sign of Rhaegar Derangement Syndrome. You have to both believe that all those famous names, including the young and volatile Brandon Stark, and proud Oberyn Martell, would be willing to give way before him in public, and do it in a not-obvious way. You also have to believe that Dayne and Selmy would pick and choose when to risk hurting the prince and when not to - since they both won and lost against him. 

Plus you have the judgement of pretty much everyone in-world about how good he was, inclduing Barrista who was not afraid to bad-mouth other Targaryens. But I guess you know better than all of them.

15 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

and only fought one battle where he lost his life to a dude with a hammer.

True. 

We also wounded Robert first, and apparently dismounted after doing so - he fought valiantly, nobly, honourably (too honourably), and died. Various descriptions of them fighting have them fighting on horseback, but Rhaegar dies on his feet (falling to his knees). The most reasonable interpretation of the evidence is that they fought initially on horseback (where Rhaegar would be expected to have an advantage), Rhaegar wounded Robert  (he needed treatment after the battle and wasn't able to rush to Kings Landing) who presumably was dismounted. Rhaegar honourably dismounts and when Robert kills him he can then fall to his knees. Mid you, this is speculative trying to fit the evidence we have.

Whatever way, Robert was considered a fighter nearly without peer (at least in a melee). Its no great shame as a warrior to lose to him.

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Posted (edited)

Rhaegar was known as a great harpist and a good prince, not necessarily a great warrior. This is just what Dany thinks and asks Barristan about it. As a seasoned warrior, he corrects her misconception that skill alone can result in battle victories. 

I think people knew Rhaegar to be a honorable person above all. I don't think his popularity came from him winning battles (considering before the Rebellion, there weren't any battles during his lifetime for Rhaegar to fight. Even Arthur Dayne is known as the best "swordsman" in the realm, rather than as the best warrior). 

 

Edited by Ghost+Nymeria4Eva

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15 hours ago, 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.

I don't necessarily disagree with your overall point, but let's not use glib wording to downplay Robert Baratheon. He's probably the most effective soldier of his generation.

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Careful use of PR.  Rigged tournaments.  He was good enough to compete with Robert.  

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Surely those two brutes talked during the fight on the trident.  

Rhaegar says "She went willingly.  (if you believed she did)

Robert "She wouldn't go with the likes of you"

Don't you think it's crazy if they didn't talk.  They fought for hours.  Insults were thrown as well as blows.  Words are sure to have been exchanged.  Witnesses heard.  Maybe Rhaegar did kidnap Lyanna.  He did it on his own or he was ordered by his father.  Rhaegar didn't give his side of the story.  He would not if he kidnapped Lyanna.

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On 6/19/2019 at 7:43 AM, corbon said:

While this can be true in some instances, its not always so. 

You are basically calling Barristan a liar, and many other famous and well respected knights and lords cheats and lickspittles. 

We know of three tourneys Rhaegar fought in. He didn't compete often.
At Lannisport he beat two Lannisters (Jaime's uncles Gerion and Tygett), 12 'of the best' westlands knights and Ser Barristan Selmy. But lost to Arthur Dayne.

At Storms End, he beat Steffon Baratheon (Robert's father), Jason Mallister (described elsewhere as a reknown tourney knight), Oberyn Martell (!), Simon Toyne* (possibly misremembered by Barristan), and defeated Arthur Dayne after breaking 12 lances together. But lost to Barristan Selmy.

At Harrenhal he defeated Yohn Royce (a well known Tourney knight who was good enough with a sword to beat Ned Stark and Rodrik Cassel together), Brandon Stark, Arthur Dayne and Barristan Selmy.

So basically the only people we know he lost to were Dane and Selmy, and each of those he's 2-1 vs.
Mocking his tourney record is a clear sign of Rhaegar Derangement Syndrome. You have to both believe that all those famous names, including the young and volatile Brandon Stark, and proud Oberyn Martell, would be willing to give way before him in public, and do it in a not-obvious way. You also have to believe that Dayne and Selmy would pick and choose when to risk hurting the prince and when not to - since they both won and lost against him. 

Plus you have the judgement of pretty much everyone in-world about how good he was, inclduing Barrista who was not afraid to bad-mouth other Targaryens. But I guess you know better than all of them.

True. 

We also wounded Robert first, and apparently dismounted after doing so - he fought valiantly, nobly, honourably (too honourably), and died. Various descriptions of them fighting have them fighting on horseback, but Rhaegar dies on his feet (falling to his knees). The most reasonable interpretation of the evidence is that they fought initially on horseback (where Rhaegar would be expected to have an advantage), Rhaegar wounded Robert  (he needed treatment after the battle and wasn't able to rush to Kings Landing) who presumably was dismounted. Rhaegar honourably dismounts and when Robert kills him he can then fall to his knees. Mid you, this is speculative trying to fit the evidence we have.

Whatever way, Robert was considered a fighter nearly without peer (at least in a melee). Its no great shame as a warrior to lose to him.

this is basically what i would write. Actually I mentioned this in my top fighters list that Rhaegar was a Top tier tourney fighter,defeating many big names including Selmy and Dayne, but he lost the first real fight he fought. If he had fought another 2-3 battles where he had own then I think he would be perceived WAAAYYYY better and most would compare him to a Daemon Blackfyre

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Fully agree with @corbon. I might only add that ever since Rhaegar decided to become a warrior, people would see him practice sparring many times. That would give a pretty good idea how good with a sword he was.

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Being a great tourney knight doesn't mean you are a great warrior.

We don't know anything about Rhaegar winning any melées, do we? That could have established a reputation as a great warrior in a non-lethal setting, but pushing men in the dirt with a stick shouldn't.

But even winning melées doesn't make you a great warrior, because you are not fighting to the death. As far as we know Rhaegar never killed a man - which means by the time he rode to face Robert - who had bathed in blood winning the battles of the Rebellion - he was about as experienced a warrior as Brienne when she faced the Bloody Mummers in AFfC. It is one thing to be good in the practice yard, and another thing entirely to actually kill people.

Ironically, it seems Aerys II was more bloodied than beloved Rhaegar, considering the man fought alongside Tywin and Steffon on the Stepstones. The War of the Ninepenny Kings seems to have been pretty bloody.

But Rhaegar is not the only one who gets undeserved fame. People like to tell Randyll Tarly is 'the finest soldier of the Realm' - but in how many actual wars did the man fight prior to the War of the Five Kings? As far as we know only in the Rebellion, and there he just won one battle. Just as Stannis is not this great veteran of a hundred battles - he just sat through a siege, won one naval battle, lost his first proper battle, and dispersed a crowd of savages who didn't see him coming nor expected him to show up.

How experienced can the great knights and warriors of ASoIaF actually be if most of them never fought in any proper wars? Tourneys and melées don't prepare you for the clash of vast armies and the confusion and death of an actual battlefield. And hunting down outlaws and rebels certainly isn't the same as fighting in a great battle or war.

It is clear that the tourney life is supposed to prepare you for war, but while it is, for the most part, just a game you really can't call yourself a proper warrior while you have never fought in one.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

 

But Rhaegar is not the only one who gets undeserved fame. People like to tell Randyll Tarly is 'the finest soldier of the Realm' - but in how many actual wars did the man fight prior to the War of the Five Kings? As far as we know only in the Rebellion, and there he just won one battle. Just as Stannis is not this great veteran of a hundred battles - he just sat through a siege, won one naval battle, lost his first proper battle, and dispersed a crowd of savages who didn't see him coming nor expected him to show up.

 

I don't think anyone calls Tarly the finest soldier of the realm, but the best general. Also the soldier is not meant in the fighting skill but the discipline and strategic mind

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1 hour ago, Baelor 'Breakspear' said:

I don't think anyone calls Tarly the finest soldier of the realm, but the best general. Also the soldier is not meant in the fighting skill but the discipline and strategic mind

That was a direct quote from the books. They also praise his strategic abilities, of course. But where did he show them? The only battle we know of the man fought in was Ashford. Does one victory make you a great general?

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Robert Baratheon and his war hammer isn’t really the same thing as some “dude with a hammer.” Robert loved using his war hammer, which was created specifically for him by Donal Noye, just as Needle was created specifically for Arya. Losing to Robert and his war hammer is not an indication of being a lesser warrior. 

However, IIRC, the discussions of Rhaegar being a great warrior mostly come from Dany’s chapters, and Dany’s source was Viserys, who was biased to the extreme, and just like with her beliefs about her father, Barristan has to delicately set the record straight. 

Quote

Daenerys: Ser Jorah named Rhaegar the last dragon once. He had to have been a peerless warrior to be called that, surely?

Arstan: Your Grace, the Prince of Dragonstone was a most puissant warrior, but...
Daenerys: Go on. You may speak freely to me.

Arstan: As you command. A warrior without peer... those are fine words, Your Grace, but words win no battles.

(grabbed from the wiki, from ASOS chapter 8)

Rhaegar was not a great warrior prince, but that does not mean he was unskilled. 

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Posted (edited)

None of these people mentioned as far as we know had fought in any wars until Robert's Rebellion. Stannis's reputation as a commander for instance rested on his victory at Fair Isle, but he lost at the Blackwater and that's what people who talk about him remember now.

Except for Randyll Tarly's bullying and awful treatment of his son, we really don't know all that much about his past. We don't know if his reputation rests solely on beating Robert at Ashford or if there are some other battles he took part in that have contributed to this. Did he also fight during the Greyjoy Rebellion?

Rhaegar went toe to toe with Robert at the Trident in a fight that could have gone either way. I think the difference was the weapon Robert was wielding at the time. 

Any chance Rhaegar actually fought during the campaign against the Kingswood Brotherhood? I mean that was the big thing during his time and I wonder if that's where Gregor Clegane received his knighthood.

Edited by Alexis-something-Rose

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Op

The same reason Jon gets a reputation. He looks like a hero so people assume he is. Like father like son.

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13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Just as Stannis is not this great veteran of a hundred battles - he just sat through a siege, won one naval battle, lost his first proper battle, and dispersed a crowd of savages who didn't see him coming nor expected him to show up.

He also seized Deepwood Motte from the Ironborn prior to heading to Winterfell.

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He was not a great warrior, I think the right word for him is a 'valiant' warrior. This is how people viewed him.

To begin with, tournaments prove nothing in the sense of war, it's the knights' pissing contest, and worse, we know that they were events meant as a front for plots, schemes, corruption, and even for rebellions, in the true southern Westerosi manner, where nothing is like it appears. 

Because GRRM adopted the 'died valiantly fighting till the end' thing from antiquity and Middle Age, one can be misled that Rhaegar was a great warrior, but I don't think it was the author's intention.

Rhaegar was a bookish and romantic guy, learned to fight decently at some point, died fighting on the field, and this was used by both his friends and enemies alike to show respect for his final act when he bravely faced Robert Baratheon.  

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2 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

He also seized Deepwood Motte from the Ironborn prior to heading to Winterfell.

To be fair, the ironborn have been abandoned there.

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19 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

That was a direct quote from the books. They also praise his strategic abilities, of course. But where did he show them? The only battle we know of the man fought in was Ashford. Does one victory make you a great general?

It is how you win the battle too . For the soldier thing I believe in is referring is warrior skills, but discipline and that stuff

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I doubt Barristan would fake it and let Rhaegar win. Even if he did, Robert took wounds from Rhaegar in return during the battle, I doubt anyone without a skill could do that to the ''legendary warrior'' Robert Baratheon.

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