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three-eyed monkey

Qhorin Halfhand was Ser Arthur Dayne - Revisited.

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2 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Gwayne Gaunt died in Duskendale in 277 AC. We’re not told who replaced him but we know it was not Hightower or Selmy, who had served King Jaehaerys, and it was not Arthur Dayne, already a renowned member of the kingsguard by 276 AC as mentioned. 

Fair enough. I did not look at the World of Ice and Fire. So Arthur became a Kingsguard earlier than 277 AC, but it doesn't mean he'd be some fifty-something year old man currently, if he had lived.

How do you explain that no one on the Wall would recognize the great Arthur? He would have been recognized by at least two people, Alliser Thorne and Ulmer of the Kingswood (Jaremy Rykker, but he's dead). Arthur was the one leading the royal detachment against the Kingswood Brotherhood after Gerold Hightower was injured. And Arthur's journey would have started at Castle Black before he would have been dispatched to the Shadow Tower.

Qhorin as Arthur serves no purpose. Qhorin's arc in the story was about getting Jon to join the wildlings, which he did. 

Edited by Alexis-something-Rose

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I find this a nicely pieced attempt to provide some of the reasoning and possible pointers to this theory, and it might have gotten me excited after the publishing of aCoK and aSoS not yet published.

Several issues are raised:

  • why would Arthur even need to fake his identity
  • if Arthur was willing to fight to the death at the start of the fight, then what could possibly change his mind
  • if Arthur was Qhoryn, then it's narrative purpose seems to be lost, since he's long dead

Upon first read of those arguments, I agreed with those at "face value". But I have a habit of questioning my own initial responses, and wondered whether I could come up with potential answers to those questions IF we for a moment assume that Arthur survived the fight of the ToK and took the identity of Qhoryn.

Before I give the potential answers to this, I must explain my take on the sequence of events at the ToJ. Kingmonkey's "Eddard in Wonderland" analysis about the dream of the ToJ from a typical arthurian guardsmen motif points out that there is a strange consistent reversal in the dream. In such quests the guards normally ask the questions, while the quester has to give the right answers. Monty Python's scene with the guard at the bridge and the knights being asked about their favourite colour and how a swallow manages to carry a coconut in flight in "The Holy Grail" is a humorous example of this motif. But in Ned's dream it's Ned asking the questions while the guards answer. One of the speculated literary answers to this reversed motif is that Ned's disagreement that led to a fight with the three KG was not about being allowed to see Lyanna, but his intentions to take Jon to WF and raise him as his bastard son. That the fight happened after Lyanna's death and that Ned wanted to leave the location of the ToJ.

My own analysis on the dream from a chthonic angle and in reverse- parallel to Ned's fight with Jaime (such as matching numbers, Jaime's secrets: see https://sweeticeandfiresunray.com/2015/10/30/the-cursed-souls-of-eddard-and-robert/ ) also came across several symbolic pointers and suggestions that best fit with a scenario where the fight took place after "they found him [at the side of his dead sister].

The assumption that Ned fought the KG to be allowed to see his sister, has raised questions with many and seemed illlogical. I had no particular motive to be partial to that seuence  other than the many symbolic stuff that George incorporated in that dream. So, I've been leaning to believing the KG did alow Ned to visit his dying sister and the deadly fight occurred afterwards for several years now. When he promised to protect Jon, Ned interpreted it as "I'm taking him home and claim he's my own son." The 3 KG had other plans. And thus the actual fight was over opposing plans with Jon.

Once that is the sequence you may be open to, then the above scepsis questions can be answered.

A CONFLICT OF VOWS

The 3KG must have had plans to whisk Jon away with them three as his KG, where two have a lot of connections to raise armies willing to fight for Jon when he's off age. Gerold Hightower is the uncle of Lord Leyton Hightower, and the Hightowers have a very large force that has been stupendously underutilised so far. The Hightowers are also hugely interconnected with Rowans, Tyrells, Ambroses and even House Florent. So, even if the 3KG departed to Essos with baby Jon, Gerold could hope to raise most if not all of the Reach to fight for Jon. Meanwhile Whent also had quite an influence in the Riverlands, and could be certain to bring house Darry and Mooton at the very least to fight for Jon as well. They're the obvious 2 PR guys, even if they fled to Essos.

But Ned doesn't know any of this yet, when he meets the dying Lyanna. He makes his promise to protect Jon, but I very much doubt that Lyanna asked him to raise Jon as his bastard son. Both Barra's mother as well as Robert have quite different meanings, goals and intentions behind their requests for Ned to promise them something. Ned promises, understanding full well what they aim for, but then reinterpretes it and attempts to execute the promise in a manner that befit his convictions better. Since this has been the case with any promises he made in aGoT in the current events, I think it's likeliest that Lyanna was no exception to this. So, in his mind, "protecting Jon" meant "raise him at WF with a secret identity, as my own son."

There's no way that the 3 KG together and all still living would have agreed to such a plan. And Ned never wanted to agree to any plans that would mean warring against Robert. And "so it [the fight] begins".

5 of of Ned's men are killed in the fight, but so are 2 of the KG, and Arthur is about to kill Ned. And here's the argument that Howland Reed could make at this point:

"Arthur, if you kill Ned, you might as well kill the baby here and now. Both Hightower and Whent are dead. So any hope of using their connections in the Reach and the Riverlands to raise an army for Jon is dead. And you cannot hope to persuade the Martells to fight for Jon. It'll be just you and Jon, being hounded in Essos or leading a poor life." At this time of the body counts, Howland could possibly make Arthur see that Ned was the best chance for Jon to survive, to live and live a good life even. Ned's plan automatically is the safest option left once Hightower and Whent are dead.  Such a pragmatic argument would trigger a conflict in Arthur's vows. He can stick to Gerold's sense of duty and plan, but thereby directly endanger his baby king's life, which conflicts his vow to protect his king (kingslayer parallel). In order to protect the life of his king, he would have to let Ned live, and allow him to leave with the child, claim it for his own.

So, this is the argument that could stop Arthur in his tracks, stop him from killing Ned and relent. But it is only an argument, if indeed the real ToJ sequence is as how I have proposed.

FAKE IDENTITY MOTIVATION

Once Arthur agrees to Ned's plan, we would also have Arthur's need to conceal his identity.  It is the same reason that Ned shuts down any questions and inquiries about Jon and anyone else potentially connected to it (such as Ashara). While Ned as Robert's friend and Lord of WF has the means to sidestep questions and would be believed at his word, if he claims Jon as his bastard child, Ser Arthur Dayne cannot appear before Robert. He would be questioned by Robert about Rhaegar, about Lyanna, etc. Ned could use the cloak of grief to keep Robert from prying too much at the time. But Robert would never hold back with Arthur. And the best way to avoid dangerous questions that could endanger the life of Jon is indeed taking on another identity, and for Ned to proclaim to the world that Arthur's dead (so nobody goes looking for him).

WHY THE BLACK

I'm not conviced by the OPs arguments that Arthur took the black in preparation of the prophecy, let alone that he knew of a threat like the Others. Even if he knew of the prophecy, I'm sure that with Rhaegar, Lyanna, Aegon and his fellow KG dead he was probably convinced that Rhaegar must have been wrong about the PtwP. No, in parallel to Jaime, his choice imo would have been a personal one related to knighthood. Surrending Jon to Ned was not the glorious choice. Having his king raised as a bastard never able to claim his throne, never knowing his parentage hardly would have felt honorable either (unless he was of Ned's mind - even lies can be honorable at times). A way to reclaim honor for himself was by taking the black. He would serve the realm of his king, fight wildlings from raiding the North and could never endanger the secret there.

NARRATIVE PURPOSE

I still struggle with that. It is indeed true that if Qhoryn was Arthur, that he died without having any point to Jon's story or to the reader as a potential revealer of Jon's parentage. Qhoryn has a purpose to Jon's plot, but so far it has nothing to do with the ToJ.

It would however make for a nice arc for Arthur: fought for a baby's rights to be king, then faced the conflict of being his indirect slayer like the kingslayer if he did kill Ned, as the last KG standing with no significant political and military connections of his own to raise an army for his king, took the black to reclaim some of his honor and somehow still serve his king, and then ends up facing him (also having taken the black) at the Fist, around the age he and his two other KG planned to reclaim his throne. By then he has heard strange stuff and rumours of recent events north of the Wall, that even the Free Folk are scared of something to amass in such a way. So, if he knew of the prophecy it's solely around the recent events that he might have started to think, "Hmm, Rhaegar may have been wrong with his interpretations, but there might be something to this prophecy and it might be about what's going on up here north and Jon is part of it." Regardless, since he knows Free Folk well enough and had an inkling of the host that Mance was gathering, Qhoryn Dayne saw a chance to finally protect his king personally - by keeping him away from the Fist, as well as get a chance to get to know him better. And then Qhoryn would gladly have surrendered his life for Jon. It would be his redemption.

Why does he never tell Jon about the ToJ or his true identity: he did become a man of the NW mostly and it's pretty pointless to tell Jon who said the vows. I can see Arthur as the older Qhoryn ending up agreeing that Ned's plan was for the best.

But if that is indeed the backstory, then this somehow needs to be unearthed. I don't think it'll be HR telling it i that's the case. No, I think the connection to this is Mance. Qhoryn and Mance knew one another.

MANCE

The very first thing we hear Mance do on page is sing the Dornishman's wife, before we even know who he is of the men gathered in the tent. So George introduces Mance to us as having a Dornish connection. But we know, he himself cannot be Dornish. On top of all, it's the strangest place to hear it be sung (Jon remarks on this). The Free Folk don't care about the Dornish. Mance never even went there. And who taught him the song? Once Mance learns the crow taken into his tent by Rattleshirt is Jon Snow, the bastard of Winterfell, the first thing he wants to know is what Jon thinks of the song.

The theory of Mance being Rhaegar also has been around for a while, citing several parallels, but I always believed those pointers and parallels between Mance and Rhaegar had a more symbolical purpose. But what if he's actually the man who knows both Qhoryn's and Jon's identity? Mance has had a keen interest in Winterfell and Jon from before aGoT timeline. He was Qhoryn's friend at the Shadow Tower. Mance is also smart and picks up clues and can make people talk and reveal stuff about themselves. So, even if Arthur as Qhoryn managed to keep his and Jon's secret for years, mead or Dornish red to keep warm while ranging might have let Qhoryn slip some stuff, like ask Mance to sing the Dornishman's wife, etc...

This could explain why after Jon switches the babies and saves Mance's son that Mance had "this plan of his" and chose to go to Winterfell, even though the plan to save Arya only required him to find a girl on a grey horse fleeing towards the Wall as far as he knew. And it's why he partially wanted access to the crypts, see whether he could find something there to corroborate Qhoryn's story.

And then it also makes sense why George would want Arthur to live on under a different name - so the reader wouldn't know for a long time. And it even makes sense why George  did not have Qhoryn reveal anything to Jon when he could. It was too early for George's liking. And as he hyped up HR for the reader to be the revealer of secrets to the reader, George already introduced us to the man he planned to be the actual revealer - Mance.

GEROLD DAYNE

Now, Mance may not be the first man to reveal the story or make the claim. Gerold Dayne may know stuff too. And George might have set him up to give part of the clues on the Dornish end, and for the reader. BTW I liked the Sarella/Alleras hint. So, while Mance may reveal Jon's parentage, Alleras would be the one to drop hints for Samwell as well as making a connection to the Hightowers, while Gerold may end up tieing it together with revealing something about Arthur.

CONCLUSION

I'm not yet convinced that Qhoryn is Arthur. I started this post with the intent to write why I was not convinced. But ended up writing arguments that could make this work, and now I think it actually might have some potential, logic and purpose to it.

Edited by sweetsunray

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2 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

What is the point of it all? What is the point of having Dayne fake his death, join the NW as Qhorin, and then having Qhorin die as well, w/o ever revealing his true identity and his purposes? 

Yeah, my feelings on this theory basically boils down to this.

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3 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Another great question. We don't know how old either Arthur or Qhorin are, so I guess that's the absolute answer, but I think we might have a vague picture if we just join a few dots.

The earliest record we have of Ser Arthur Dayne is when he championed the tourney at Lannisport in 276 AC in the white of the kingsguard. Jaime was the youngest ever member of the kingsguard at fifteen, the previous record holder being Roland Crakehall of unknown age, who served in the kingsguard of Daeron II and Aerys I. Even if Arthur received his white cloak at the age of sixteen, and if he was newly appointed at the tourney in Lannisport, then he would have been born around 260 AC. This is the latest possible year of his birth, and it’s about all we can determine as fact when it comes to Arthur’s age.

This would make him of an age with Rhaegar, who was born in 259 AC. Given that Arthur and Rhaegar were close friends, many accept they were also close in age, but I’m not so sure. Let me explain why.

As far as we know there were nine knights who served as kingsguard to Aerys II. They were Gerold Hightower, Barristan Selmy, Arthur Dayne, Harlan Grandison, Gwayne Gaunt, Jon Darry, Oswell Whent, Lewyn Martell, and Jaime Lannister.

Gwayne Gaunt died in Duskendale in 277 AC. We’re not told who replaced him but we know it was not Hightower or Selmy, who had served King Jaehaerys, and it was not Arthur Dayne, already a renowned member of the kingsguard by 276 AC as mentioned. In 279 AC, Rhaegar was betrothed to Elia Martell and Prince Lewyn accompanied her to court as part of her Dornish entourage so it is most likely that he took the vacant spot as part of the marriage arrangement. Then in 281 AC, Jaime replaced old Harlan Grandison who died in his sleep.

They are the only changes to the kingsguard during Aerys’ reign that we know of. I think it’s very likely that Aerys’ original seven were inherited from Jaehaerys, as kingsguard serve for life, just as Rhaegar would have inherited Aerys’ seven if the throne had passed to him peacefully. That would mean Ser Arthur was already a member of the kingsguard when Aerys ascended to the throne in 262 AC.

Barristan Selmy received his white cloak in 260 AC, at the age of twenty-three. Twenty years later, when Lord Commander Gerold Hightower was injured fighting the Kingswood Brotherhood, command passed to Arthur not Barristan. This further supports the notion that Arthur, despite being potentially younger than Barristan, had seniority as a kingsguard over the others, with the exception of Harlan Grandison who was aged and close to his natural death.

From a storytelling point of view it’s tempting to think that Arthur may have been appointed to the kingsguard after the fire at Summerhall in 259 AC, when Rahegar was born. We don’t know how many of Aegon’s seven perished in the flames, there was at least one vacancy created by the death of Ser Duncan the Tall, but there may have been as many as five. If Arthur was appointed after Summerhall but before the appointment of Barristan, and he was a young man at the time, between the age of seventeen and twenty, then he would have been born in the early 240’s AC. This would make him around forty years-old at the Tower of Joy, give or take a few years.

I suspect that’s older than many readers imagine, but I don’t think it is out of place with what we know. Ser Barristan tells us that Ser Arthur Dayne was Rhaegar’s oldest friend, meaning Rhaegar had been friends with Arthur longer than anyone else, probably since the prince was a child. However, that doesn’t mean that Arthur was a child at the time. As a young boy Rhaegar was bookish to a fault, the maesters were awed by his wits, and he took no interest in the play of other children. I think it’s more likely that the young prince struck a friendship with one of his father’s ever-present kingsguard instead.

Rhaegar did have some friends of an age, like Jon Connington, Myles Mooton, and Richard Lonmouth, but those relationships seemed to centre on being squires. Jon Connington was a year or two younger than his silver prince. He and Rhaegar squired together in King’s Landing. When Jon visited the Golden Company he remarked upon the orderly nature of their camp and how Arthur Dayne would have approved. It suggests Ser Arthur was a mentor to Jon, which again supports the idea that Ser Arthur was older than Jon and Rhaegar. 

If Arthur Dayne was around forty at the Tower of Joy then he would be in his mid to late fifties when he died in the Frostfangs. I feel that is a very plausible age range for Qhorin Halfhand.

I must say, despite not believing in your OPs because of points made by @frenin, @Ygrain and @kissdbyfire regarding the lack of a concrete purpose in the story, this is excellently argued and well written and put together. I am not certain if I truly believe it since my gut feeling was indeed Arthur was of age with Rhaegar and I vaguely (mis)remember there being a quote about Rhaegar being surrounded by friends of a similar age, but that could actually be about Aerys. Very interesting!

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49 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

The assumption that Ned fought the KG to be allowed to see his sister, has raised questions with many and seemed illlogical. I had no particular motive to be partial to that seuence  other than the many symbolic stuff that George incorporated in that dream. So, I've been leaning to believing the KG did alow Ned to visit his dying sister and the deadly fight occurred afterwards for several years now. When he promised to protect Jon, Ned interpreted it as "I'm taking him home and claim he's my own son." The 3 KG had other plans. And thus the actual fight was over opposing plans with Jon.

 

I don't see why it's illogical, the KG are follow orders don't think type, if Rhaegar had ordered them to stay put and not letting anyone suspicious in, they would do it, as stupid as it might be. Why would Ned told them his plans anyway?? He might've respected them but they were still his enemies??  I certainly doubt Lyanna ever asked him to make Jon king or something similar.

 

 

53 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

The 3KG must have had plans to whisk Jon away with them three as his KG, where two have a lot of connections to raise armies willing to fight for Jon when he's off age. Gerold Hightower is the uncle of Lord Leyton Hightower, and the Hightowers have a very large force that has been stupendously underutilised so far. The Hightowers are also hugely interconnected with Rowans, Tyrells, Ambroses and even House Florent. So, even if the 3KG departed to Essos with baby Jon, Gerold could hope to raise most if not all of the Reach to fight for Jon. Meanwhile Whent also had quite an influence in the Riverlands, and could be certain to bring house Darry and Mooton at the very least to fight for Jon as well. They're the obvious 2 PR guys, even if they fled to Essos.

But Ned doesn't know any of this yet, when he meets the dying Lyanna. He makes his promise to protect Jon, but I very much doubt that Lyanna asked him to raise Jon as his bastard son. Both Barra's mother as well as Robert have quite different meanings, goals and intentions behind their requests for Ned to promise them something. Ned promises, understanding full well what they aim for, but then reinterpretes it and attempts to execute the promise in a manner that befit his convictions better. Since this has been the case with any promises he made in aGoT in the current events, I think it's likeliest that Lyanna was no exception to this. So, in his mind, "protecting Jon" meant "raise him at WF with a secret identity, as my own son."

There's no way that the 3 KG together and all still living would have agreed to such a plan. And Ned never wanted to agree to any plans that would mean warring against Robert. And "so it [the fight] begins".

5 of of Ned's men are killed in the fight, but so are 2 of the KG, and Arthur is about to kill Ned. And here's the argument that Howland Reed could make at this point:

"Arthur, if you kill Ned, you might as well kill the baby here and now. Both Hightower and Whent are dead. So any hope of using their connections in the Reach and the Riverlands to raise an army for Jon is dead. And you cannot hope to persuade the Martells to fight for Jon. It'll be just you and Jon, being hounded in Essos or leading a poor life." At this time of the body counts, Howland could possibly make Arthur see that Ned was the best chance for Jon to survive, to live and live a good life even. Ned's plan automatically is the safest option left once Hightower and Whent are dead.  Such a pragmatic argument would trigger a conflict in Arthur's vows. He can stick to Gerold's sense of duty and plan, but thereby directly endanger his baby king's life, which conflicts his vow to protect his king (kingslayer parallel). In order to protect the life of his king, he would have to let Ned live, and allow him to leave with the child, claim it for his own.

So, this is the argument that could stop Arthur in his tracks, stop him from killing Ned and relent. But it is only an argument, if indeed the real ToJ sequence is as how I have proposed.

This assumes that Jon was indeed legit after a marriage that somehow happened and somehow was valid, but why would both Ned and the KG tell each other their respective plans?? The kid was under Ned's protection and by that time Viserys was already heir to the Throne. While one can make the, dubious, case of Gerold rasining some houses in the Reach for Jon, Whent had less o a case, the Reach had stilla very large army and was "too big to let it fall" but the Riverlands did not, it's unlikely anyway that the most hardcore loyalist could ever be pardoned, as it happened with the Connigtons and Darrys who were severaly weakened for their former ties, the rest were left alone, because they did not showed a particular love to the Targs or were able to make theur peace with Robert and a very powerful Hoster, we've seen Mooton anyway, if Whent knew him, the idea that the Riverlands backeed any ither dragon anytime soon was very far fetched. When ordered to protect Jaegara Targ, Ser Willis Fell didn't feel the urge to crown her Queen, he indeed returned her to the Blacks.

 

 

1 hour ago, sweetsunray said:

FAKE IDENTITY MOTIVATION

Once Arthur agrees to Ned's plan, we would also have Arthur's need to conceal his identity.  It is the same reason that Ned shuts down any questions and inquiries about Jon and anyone else potentially connected to it (such as Ashara). While Ned as Robert's friend and Lord of WF has the means to sidestep questions and would be believed at his word, if he claims Jon as his bastard child, Ser Arthur Dayne cannot appear before Robert. He would be questioned by Robert about Rhaegar, about Lyanna, etc. Ned could use the cloak of grief to keep Robert from prying too much at the time. But Robert would never hold back with Arthur. And the best way to avoid dangerous questions that could endanger the life of Jon is indeed taking on another identity, and for Ned to proclaim to the world that Arthur's dead (so nobody goes looking for him).

WHY THE BLACK

I'm not conviced by the OPs arguments that Arthur took the black in preparation of the prophecy, let alone that he knew of a threat like the Others. Even if he knew of the prophecy, I'm sure that with Rhaegar, Lyanna, Aegon and his fellow KG dead he was probably convinced that Rhaegar must have been wrong about the PtwP. No, in parallel to Jaime, his choice imo would have been a personal one related to knighthood. Surrending Jon to Ned was not the glorious choice. Having his king raised as a bastard never able to claim his throne, never knowing his parentage hardly would have felt honorable either (unless he was of Ned's mind - even lies can be honorable at times). A way to reclaim honor for himself was by taking the black. He would serve the realm of his king, fight wildlings from raiding the North and could never endanger the secret there.

But once in the Wall there is no reason to conceal his identity, unless you're arguing that Ned didn't know about it. Ned could've suggested a done man to take the Black, once in the wall, there is nothing Ned or anyone well, Cersei does not count ofc to change that or hunt him down.

 

 

1 hour ago, sweetsunray said:

I still struggle with that. It is indeed true that if Qhoryn was Arthur, that he died without having any point to Jon's story or to the reader as a potential revealer of Jon's parentage. Qhoryn has a purpose to Jon's plot, but so far it has nothing to do with the ToJ.

It would however make for a nice arc for Arthur: fought for a baby's rights to be king, then faced the conflict of being his indirect slayer like the kingslayer if he did kill Ned, as the last KG standing with no significant political and military connections of his own to raise an army for his king, took the black to reclaim some of his honor and somehow still serve his king, and then ends up facing him (also having taken the black) at the Fist, around the age he and his two other KG planned to reclaim his throne. By then he has heard strange stuff and rumours of recent events north of the Wall, that even the Free Folk are scared of something to amass in such a way. So, if he knew of the prophecy it's solely around the recent events that he might have started to think, "Hmm, Rhaegar may have been wrong with his interpretations, but there might be something to this prophecy and it might be about what's going on up here north and Jon is part of it." Regardless, since he knows Free Folk well enough and had an inkling of the host that Mance was gathering, Qhoryn Dayne saw a chance to finally protect his king personally - by keeping him away from the Fist, as well as get a chance to get to know him better. And then Qhoryn would gladly have surrendered his life for Jon. It would be his redemption.

Why does he never tell Jon about the ToJ or his true identity: he did become a man of the NW mostly and it's pretty pointless to tell Jon who said the vows. I can see Arthur as the older Qhoryn ending up agreeing that Ned's plan was for the best.

But if that is indeed the backstory, then this somehow needs to be unearthed. I don't think it'll be HR telling it i that's the case. No, I think the connection to this is Mance. Qhoryn and Mance knew one another

Why does Arthur need an arc at all??  Why his arc would be any different than his brothers??

 

 

 

1 hour ago, sweetsunray said:

Mance has had a keen interest in Winterfell and Jon from before aGoT timeline. He was Qhoryn's friend at the Shadow Tower. Mance is also smart and picks up clues and can make people talk and reveal stuff about themselves. So, even if Arthur as Qhoryn managed to keep his and Jon's secret for years, mead or Dornish red to keep warm while ranging might have let Qhoryn slip some stuff, like ask Mance to sing the Dornishman's wife, etc...

This could explain why after Jon switches the babies and saves Mance's son that Mance had "this plan of his" and chose to go to Winterfell, even though the plan to save Arya only required him to find a girl on a grey horse fleeing towards the Wall as far as he knew. And it's why he partially wanted access to the crypts, see whether he could find something there to corroborate Qhoryn's story.

And then it also makes sense why George would want Arthur to live on under a different name - so the reader wouldn't know for a long time. And it even makes sense why George  did not have Qhoryn reveal anything to Jon when he could. It was too early for George's liking. And as he hyped up HR for the reader to be the revealer of secrets to the reader, George already introduced us to the man he planned to be the actual revealer - Mance.

What could've Qhorin ever told that led Mance to know about Jon??

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1 hour ago, frenin said:

I don't see why it's illogical, the KG are follow orders don't think type, if Rhaegar had ordered them to stay put and not letting anyone suspicious in, they would do it, as stupid as it might be.

That explanation never cut it for me. Works for Gerold, but not Whent nor Arthur imo who were part of Rhaegar's circle.

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Why would Ned told them his plans anyway?? He might've respected them but they were still his enemies?? 

The moment he picks up Jon and tells his men to pack, make ready and leave, the 3 KG would stop him immediately and ask about his intentions. At that point Ned would say, "I'm taking my nephew home." At this point a disagreement ensues, because the 3KG won't allow that, and it evolves into a fight.

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I certainly doubt Lyanna ever asked him to make Jon king or something similar.

I made no such claim about Lyanna. I'm pretty sure that dying Lyanna asked Ned to help raise him, teach him, protect him. But that doesn't mean that Lyanna was asking it without it being clear how she assumed he would do it. Take Robert's extracted promises of Ned about his son. Robert never says "Joffrey". He makes general interpretative requests about Ned being there for his son, but it's quite clear from the context that Robert means Joffrey and that he expects Ned to be Joffrey's regent. Ned promises, but in his head thinks of Gendry. The way Ned intends to fulfill that promise is very different from the way Robert meant it.

Just as certain I am that Lyanna never asked Ned "make him a king", I'm also quite sure that Lyanna never asked Ned, "pretend he's your bastard son".

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This assumes that Jon was indeed legit after a marriage that somehow happened and somehow was valid,

Yup

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but why would both Ned and the KG tell each other their respective plans?? The kid was under Ned's protection and by that time Viserys was already heir to the Throne.

See reply two quotes higher. But I agree that wouldn't have been a nice conversation where they sat at a table and had a friendly chat over a beer, laying all their ideas on the table. But one can glean much of remarks made. The 3 KG protest against Ned taking off with the baby. Without the 3KG telling their plans to Ned explicitly, at least he would have remarked, "He's not your concern anymore. You're KGs and your king is Viserys." At least from the dream we know that didn't compel them. He'd say at some point, "Well Robert is a forgiving type. He forgave Selmy and now Selmy is his kingsguard," and they answer "Our knees do not bend that easily." From these type of answers, Ned begins to understand what their intentions are with Jon and why they refuse to leave the baby's side.

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While one can make the, dubious, case of Gerold rasining some houses in the Reach for Jon, Whent had less o a case, the Reach had stilla very large army and was "too big to let it fall" but the Riverlands did not, it's unlikely anyway that the most hardcore loyalist could ever be pardoned, as it happened with the Connigtons and Darrys who were severaly weakened for their former ties, the rest were left alone, because they did not showed a particular love to the Targs or were able to make theur peace with Robert and a very powerful Hoster, we've seen Mooton anyway, if Whent knew him, the idea that the Riverlands backeed any ither dragon anytime soon was very far fetched. When ordered to protect Jaegara Targ, Ser Willis Fell didn't feel the urge to crown her Queen, he indeed returned her to the Blacks. 

Doesn't matter whether they would have succeeded or not in reality. All it takes is for them to believe they can. When believed he can have his father organize a big tourney to arrange for Rhaegar to warm the lords to doing something about Aerys. Whent's plan with that didn't succeed. But that doesn't take away that he had plans. 

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But once in the Wall there is no reason to conceal his identity, unless you're arguing that Ned didn't know about it. Ned could've suggested a done man to take the Black, once in the wall, there is nothing Ned or anyone well, Cersei does not count ofc to change that or hunt him down.

If Arthur survived, let Ned live and did not opposite Ned further about taking Jon with him and agreed that Arthur should be dead to the world to avoid people seeking him out for questions, and the lie is told that Arthur died at the ToJ, then it's plain stupid to go to the Wall with another identity, but once at the Wall return back to his own name.

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Why does Arthur need an arc at all??  Why his arc would be any different than his brothers??

I'm not convinced Arthur needs an arc myself. Doesn't mean he couldn't have one.

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What could've Qhorin ever told that led Mance to know about Jon??

If Qhorin was Arthur he could have told all, some parts, just a bunch of comments here or there. I don't know. But if Qhorin is Arthur then he knows who Jon is, and then there's always the possibility that Arthur in a moment of weakness or under influence slipped and revealed enough to Mance, if George wants it. I reread the chapter where we meet Mance to check it out and here's my observation:

  • Dornishman's wife and Jon thinking how odd it is to hear it there, and Mance asking how Jon likes it.
  • Mance being informed that Jon killed Qhorin, Mance ordering everyone out but Dalla to ask Jon about it, confirming that Qhorin was a friend of his from his POV too... and sure they're enemies now, but that didn't kill his frienship feelings for Qhorin, because he asks whether he should hate Jon for killing his friend.
  • Immediately after this, Mance informs Jon that he's seen Jon twice before: when Jon was a kid and Mance still a young man of the NW escorting the LC to WF. He remembers still how Jon and Robb intended to prank people with a snow heap and that he promised to keep their secret. And then he reveals he was at WF to see Robert, "king to king", but just as well paid attention to Jon sitting in the back of the hall, far away from his "siblings".

Without that particular song, I'd agree people might be reading too much into it. But George put in the Dornishman's wife as a strong hint, stressing through Jon it's an out of place song. And those three topics one after the other in the one and the same chapter, before we learn why Mance turned his cloak makes me understand way better why people start to wonder about Qhorin and what this Dornish connection may be.

Edited by sweetsunray

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18 hours ago, Ygrain said:

I have never killed anyone, in fight or otherwise, but I imagine there is a difference, and we know from Cat's PoV that every time Ned executed someone, he went to the godswood, and those were criminals and deserters. Here he had to do the same with a man whom he most likely respected and admired - I suppose that might be a memory he wouldn't have wanted to revisit or spread. - It is possible, of course, that it was Howland himself who did the kill and it was ascribed to Ned because no-one could imagine a mere crannogman taking out someone like Arthur.

Ned took no enjoyment from killing, and he respected and admired Arthur, that is all the more reason for him to give Arthur an out.

For me, it comes back to the withheld information. The tales say Ned killed Arthur. Ned hints it might have been Howland. The dilemma is presented on the page early, while we are left to wait for the reveal. If we explore both sides of the dilemma, neither seems like a pay off that deserves such a wait, which indicates to me that we might have been presented with a false dilemma.

19 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Not to mention that there is still Viserys and Rhaella who need protection, and his best friend's newborn son, bastard or not. Disregarding these three, who were his duty, doesn't sound like something Arthur should do. If Ned offered him to yield and take the black,it basically means that he is asking Arthur to abandon his duty, as well as his friend's son. Why should Arthur be compelled to abandon them? 

If Arthur is trapped in a net and at Ned's mercy, then he's no good to Viserys or Rhaella or Jon. His choice at that stage is comply with Ned's demands or die.

No doubt people will claim he chose death, but it would not be the death of a kingsguard, dying to protect his king or heir, it would just be the execution of a trapped and defeated man.

No doubt some will say this is why Ned considered Arthur so fine a knight, because he died before he surrendered. This is a key question here because it is the subject of Ned's statement to Bran, and the reveal should tell us why Ned considered him the finest. There is a strong theme about what it means to be a true knight, and I'm sure suicide in the name of a bad cause is not what GRRM is aiming for in that regard.

19 hours ago, Ygrain said:

A problem here: what about the Targ loyalists sent to the Wall? Did they never encounter "Qhorin"?

I answered that in the OP.

19 hours ago, Ygrain said:

While ignoring the possibility that Rhaegar may have been onto something? Never trying to look out for Rhaegar's son and even requesting him for a highly dangerous mission? I really fail to see the logic behind Arthur's actions if he is Qhorin.

I'm curious as to why you think Qhorin requested Jon for the mission?

20 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Eh... and does Arthur need to get an arc? We already have two KG PoVs, with Barristan and Jaime, who both come to realize that the white cloak is not what it is made to be. Arthur was a tragic character, a man of honour sworn to a dishonorable liege, bonded with a man who opposed the king and who doomed them all, most likely while having best intention. That's one hell of a story even without changing cloak colours

That could be Whent or Hightower's story. There are many good men in service to bad causes. I don't think every character needs an arc but if you want to connect character and theme then I would say yes. It is character progress that brings themes to life, and a character that goes from white cloak to black resonates perfectly with the main plot, theme and conflict of the series.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

Fair enough. I did not look at the World of Ice and Fire. So Arthur became a Kingsguard earlier than 277 AC, but it doesn't mean he'd be some fifty-something year old man currently, if he had lived.

Most of the information I used is actually spread throughout the main series. I did lean on the world book a few times but I'm a fan of novels rather than world books and fantasy histories, etc.

18 hours ago, Davjos said:

I am not certain if I truly believe it since my gut feeling was indeed Arthur was of age with Rhaegar and I vaguely (mis)remember there being a quote about Rhaegar being surrounded by friends of a similar age,

The question I would ask is why do people always think of Arthur as being the same age as Rhaegar? I used to think this too, but then I realized it was a belief based on nothing in particular.

You do remember a quote about Rhaegar having friends of an age, who are listed as Jon Connington, Myles Mooton, and Richard Lonmouth. (It's in the world book iirc) Arthur is not listed with them, which further supports the notion that he was not of an age with Rhaegar. We are only told that he was Rhaegar's oldest friend, which means the friend Rhaegar knew longest, but Rhaegar showed no interest in the play of other children.

 

 

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Just for the sake of nitpicking (sorry), is there anything that makes us think Qhorin was significantly older than someone of Rhaegar's age group would be other than Qhorin having grey hair and being already a legend in the Watch? Fifteen years in the Watch could be more than enough to turn someone into a living legend - or grey. People become grey at different ages. Eddard is 35 when his beard is beginning to turn grey, making him look older than his age. Rhaegar was a few years older than Ned, and someone around Rhaegar's age could be a year or two older than Rhaegar. Some people have white hair as early as in their thirties for no known reason, while others get prematurely grey due to a great tragedy or a trauma occurring in their lives. Qhorin may well be around 40 and grey-haired at the same time.   

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22 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

I do have a question though...

What is the point of it all? What is the point of having Dayne fake his death, join the NW as Qhorin, and then having Qhorin die as well, w/o ever revealing his true identity and his purposes?  

Sorry, hope you didn't think I forget you. It's a good question.

21 hours ago, Ygrain said:

As far as I can see, none. And GRRM is not famous for purposeless writing.

Yet you propose a rather purposeless reveal about Arthur's death and a rather purposeless Arthur who could just be Whent or Hightower instead.

What is the point of Dayne becoming Qhorin, a number of people have asked. So what is the point of Arthur or Qhorin? Do they exist just to move the plot? Whatever purpose you attach to them individually, their purpose as the same person is greater than the sum of those parts from a literary point of view because you create a character with an arc that migrates along the same course of the whole series.

 

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59 minutes ago, three-eyed monkey said:

The question I would ask is why do people always think of Arthur as being the same age as Rhaegar? I used to think this too, but then I realized it was a belief based on nothing in particular.

Because it is more likely. We know that Edric Dayne was born in 287 AC. If Arthur had been a kingsguard in 262 AC, he would have been born in 244 AC the latest, so his older brother would have become a father at the age of 45. And we have good reason to assume Allyria is not that old (she was betrothed to Beric Dondarrion for some years), so Arthur's father would have had children 40 years apart. While it is certainly not impossible to find a way to make that work, it is nothing you would come up with on your own. Unless you need it for some theory.

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Just now, three-eyed monkey said:

Sorry, hope you didn't think I forget you. It's a good question.

:cheers:

Just now, three-eyed monkey said:

Yet you propose a rather purposeless reveal about Arthur's death and a rather purposeless Arthur who could just be Whent or Hightower instead.

What is the point of Dayne becoming Qhorin, a number of people have asked. So what is the point of Arthur or Qhorin? Do they exist just to move the plot? Whatever purpose you attach to them individually, their purpose as the same person is greater than the sum of those parts from a literary point of view because you create a character with an arc that migrates along the same course of the whole series.

But they're dead, both of them, and nothing came of it. So I fail to see what would be the point. 

Let me ask you something that's marginally related... do you believe Ashara is dead, or that she faked her death and is still alive?

And just b/c I'm such a pain in the arse, I have a presie for you. You left the Best. Quote. Ever. out, so here it is:

ACoK, Jon VI

Dawn and Qhorin Halfhand arrived together. The black stones had turned to grey and the eastern sky had gone indigo when Stonesnake spied the rangers below, wending their way upward. 

I still don't buy it, not for a second. :P

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12 minutes ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

Because it is more likely. We know that Edric Dayne was born in 287 AC. If Arthur had been a kingsguard in 262 AC, he would have been born in 244 AC the latest, so his older brother would have become a father at the age of 45. And we have good reason to assume Allyria is not that old (she was betrothed to Beric Dondarrion for some years), so Arthur's father would have had children 40 years apart. While it is certainly not impossible to find a way to make that work, it is nothing you would come up with on your own. Unless you need it for some theory.

Not really, not in the context of this series. Walder Frey had his first child in 234 AC and his latest wife is with child 66 years later. That's something the author came up with because lords having children years apart with younger wives is not that unusual in medieval society.

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7 minutes ago, three-eyed monkey said:
27 minutes ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

Unless you need it for some theory.

Not really, not in the context of this series. Walder Frey had his first child in 234 AC and his latest wife is with child 66 years later. That's something the author came up with because lords having children years apart with younger wives is not that unusual in medieval society.

And how many Walder Freys are there? Just because it is possible does not mean it is likely. You asked why people assume that Arthur is of Rhaegar's age, and that is one of the answers: because it is more likely.

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8 minutes ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

And how many Walder Freys are there? Just because it is possible does not mean it is likely. You asked why people assume that Arthur is of Rhaegar's age, and that is one of the answers: because it is more likely.

You claim it is more likely but the text says different. It is unlikely Rhaegar and Arthur were friends as children because we are told Rhaegar had no interest in the play of other children. We are told that Rhaegar had friends of an age but Arthur is not listed as one of them. We are told Jon Conn and Rhaegar squired together, and we know they are of similar age so it makes sense, but no mention of Arthur squiring with them. I think it is unlikely they were of similar age.

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2 minutes ago, three-eyed monkey said:

You claim it is more likely but the text says different. It is unlikely Rhaegar and Arthur were friends as children because we are told Rhaegar had no interest in the play of other children. We are told that Rhaegar had friends of an age but Arthur is not listed as one of them. We are told Jon Conn and Rhaegar squired together, and we know they are of similar age so it makes sense, but no mention of Arthur squiring with them. I think it is unlikely they were of similar age.

You asked a question, I gave you an answer. That's all. Since I already noticed your way of reasoning, I did not expect you to agree. In the end all I can see here is just another Jacobs: lot of efforts and lot of wishful thinking and over-interpreting. That is totally fine as long as you have fun, but in my opinion there are enough flaws (other users have pointed them out) to make a discussion about Arthur's age rather secondary.

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48 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

Let me ask you something that's marginally related... do you believe Ashara is dead, or that she faked her death and is still alive?

Ha. I don't know. You're not one of those crackpots who believe everyone is dead are you?;)

1 hour ago, kissdbyfire said:

And just b/c I'm such a pain in the arse, I have a presie for you. You left the Best. Quote. Ever. out, so here it is:

ACoK, Jon VI

Dawn and Qhorin Halfhand arrived together. The black stones had turned to grey and the eastern sky had gone indigo when Stonesnake spied the rangers below, wending their way upward. 

I still don't buy it, not for a second. 

I put that quote in there somewhere. But I appreciate the kind thought.

Talkin' about Stonesnake, is he alive? Might have been Ashara. That bitch was stone cold and snakey.

 

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Just now, three-eyed monkey said:

Ha. I don't know. You're not one of those crackpots who believe everyone is dead are you?;)

:lol:

No, I am not.  Misspoke here, because I misread whatt you said. :dunce:

You can probably tell by now that I'm one of those boring people who thinks most things are much simpler than lots of readers make them out to be. 

About Ashara - IF you believe she faked her death - wouldn't it be a tad much? Two siblings faking their deaths and living under assumed identities?

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I put that quote in there somewhere. But I appreciate the kind thought.

Did you? I missed it then, my apologies. 

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Talkin' about Stonesnake, is he alive? Might have been Ashara. That bitch was stone cold and snakey.

I would love for Stonesnake to be alive tbh. 

Edited by kissdbyfire

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9 minutes ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

You asked a question, I gave you an answer. That's all. Since I already noticed your way of reasoning, I did not expect you to agree. In the end all I can see here is just another Jacobs: lot of efforts and lot of wishful thinking and over-interpreting. That is totally fine as long as you have fun, but in my opinion there are enough flaws (other users have pointed them out) to make a discussion about Arthur's age rather secondary.

It's not very nice of you to compare me to Preston. He doesn't deserve to be trashed like that when he's not here to defend himself.

 

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On 1/20/2020 at 1:21 PM, kissdbyfire said:

But we don’t know any of this. What we do know is that Rhaegar was obsessed w/ prophecies, and I don’t even think “obsessed” is the best choice of word here. And that’s it. IIRC there’s nothing in the text linking Rhaegar and a new Battle for the Dawn, or the WWs, or anything of the sort. If I’m misremembering, can you please point me to where I can find more on this? 

We can extrapolate it pretty easily based on what Aemon believes about the Prince that was Promised:

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But all of them seemed suprised to hear Maester Aemon murmur, "It is the war for the dawn you speak of, my lady.  But where is the prince that was promised.

In other words, Aemon not only links the prince that was promised to the War for the Dawn, but he assumes that Melisandre will make the link as well.  And in fact, back on Dragonstone, Melisandre had already equated the prince that was promised with the chosen of R'hllor who is meant to to fight against the Long Night:

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"It means that the battle is begun," said Melisandre.  "The sand is running through the glass more quickly now, and man's hour on earth is almost done.  We must act boldly, or all hope is lost.  Westeros must unite beneath her one true king, the prince that was promised, Lord of Dragonstone, and chosen of R'hllor."

Rhaegar had long associated first himself then his son with the role of the Prince that was Promised:

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"He has a song," the man replied.  "He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire."

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"It was a prince that was promised, not a princess.  Rhaegar, I thought ... the smoke was from the fire that devoured Summerhall on the day of his birth, the salt from the tears shed for those who died.  He shared my belief when he was young, but later he became persuaded that it was his own son who fulfilled the prophecy, for a comet had been seen above King's Landing on the night Aegon was conceived, and Rhaegar was certain the bleeding star had to be a comet."

 

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