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Alyn Oakenfist

Besides Jaime all the Kingsguard were cowards

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So I think a point that gets overlooked, is that honor is it's own kind of cowardice, avoiding doing a hard decision by hiding behind honor. The best examples are Ned, that refuses to make several hard choices due to honor, but more than anything it's Barristan, who changes teams harder than a football ball. And yet he still hides behind honor refusing to make any hard choice and judging Jaime. So, given that Jaime was the only one brave enough to do what's right, were all the other Kingsguard cowards?

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Every one was brave as a lion.  The three who died at the Tower of Joy demonstrated that, as did Ser Barristan, breaking into the Dun Fort.

But, what you highlight is the distinction between physical and moral courage, which is not well understood in popular culture.  History is full of men who were willing to brave bullets, but did nothing to stop injustice, when they could have done.

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

Every one was brave as a lion.  The three who died at the Tower of Joy demonstrated that, as did Ser Barristan, breaking into the Dun Fort.

But, what you highlight is the distinction between physical and moral courage, which is not well understood in popular culture.  History is full of men who were willing to brave bullets, but did nothing to stop injustice, when they could have done.

I concur. They were physically brave but their moral values were questionable at best. At least Arthur and Barristan able to be very kind and morally upstanding but they were also able to stand aside when the King was killing innocents and raping his sister wife. Which makes me wonder if Jaime was right when he said that the white cloak soiled him and the same happened to the rest of them. They had forsaken their chivalric code for their oaths to the King.

Edited by Lilac & Gooseberries

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6 minutes ago, Lilac & Gooseberries said:

I concur. They were physically brave but their moral values were questionable at best. At least Arthur and Barristan able to be very kind and morally upstanding but they were also able to stand aside when the King was killing innocents and raping his sister wife. Which makes me wonder if Jaime was right when he said that the white cloak soiled him and the same happened to the rest of them. They had forsaken their chivalric code for their oaths to the King.

It can be difficult when a society doesn't give you examples to follow or positive reinforcements. The songs and stories are all about physical bravery and the Kingsguard are all praised for it. They're also constantly told that nothing is more important than loyalty to the king. You're correct about the moral failure but the internal hurdles are even higher when you have few examples to follow, won't be rewarded for it, and it seems to contradict the absolute loyalty you're supposed to give the king. On a related note, Jamie could have turned this all around if he'd bothered to tell everyone why he killed Aerys. It would have been easy to prove and he could have been called a hero. I guess his pride got in the way.

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3 hours ago, Groo said:

It can be difficult when a society doesn't give you examples to follow or positive reinforcements. The songs and stories are all about physical bravery and the Kingsguard are all praised for it. They're also constantly told that nothing is more important than loyalty to the king. You're correct about the moral failure but the internal hurdles are even higher when you have few examples to follow, won't be rewarded for it, and it seems to contradict the absolute loyalty you're supposed to give the king. On a related note, Jamie could have turned this all around if he'd bothered to tell everyone why he killed Aerys. It would have been easy to prove and he could have been called a hero. I guess his pride got in the way.

Definitely, especially in this series many times the honourable people are portrayed as naive. It seems like honour in Westeros is at the best case gullibility. As for the knights I think that we see the moral decline from the start of the books. Even in Dunk and Egg novels the knights didn’t fulfil their role and they were called out both by the smallfolk and by Breakspear. Which brings me to my next question also inspired by Jaime. Where their too many vows? Did they had to balance between all of their responsibilities and if they had to choose their honour or duty what they should chose?

Edited by Lilac & Gooseberries

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4 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

The best examples are Ned, that refuses to make several hard choices due to honor,

Are we reading the same books?? The hardest and more costly choices Ned ever made, trying to protect the twincest kids and protecting Jon, had him leaving his honor behind and doing what's morally good.

Ned is the very opposite of this.

 

 

4 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

And yet he still hides behind honor refusing to make any hard choice and judging Jaime

I'd say that because killing the King you have sworn to defend the very minute he runs out of option is a very bad look.

 

Regardless, all the Kingsguard are indeed moral cowards.

 

 

 

 

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Oaths are oaths. Just because you don’t wish to break an oath, it dosent make you a coward. This world is defined by oaths.

A Lord most keep to his oaths because if he has a habit of breaking oaths then what stops his men at arms and vassals from breaking their oaths with him.

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36 minutes ago, The Young Maester said:

Oaths are oaths. Just because you don’t wish to break an oath, it dosent make you a coward. This world is defined by oaths.

I think one of the key points GRRM makes is that perhaps it shouldn't be. Things are not always black and white.

In terms of this topic in general I think we can also give Arthur Dayne, Oswell Whent, and maybe Gerold Hightower the benefit of the doubt. We don't know exactly what happened nor their motivations for doing so, but they did seem to be defying Aerys in some way. 

 

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1 hour ago, The Young Maester said:

Oaths are oaths.

And orders and orders.

 

1 hour ago, The Young Maester said:

it dosent make you a coward.

If you follow an oath that you know it's unjust and inmoral and irrational. It sure as hell makes you a coward.

 

1 hour ago, The Young Maester said:

This world is defined by oaths.

Every world is.

 

 

1 hour ago, The Young Maester said:

A Lord most keep to his oaths because if he has a habit of breaking oaths then what stops his men at arms and vassals from breaking their oaths with him.

We're not talking about breaking oaths willy nilly. But the very idea that Jon Arryn was obliged to kill Ned and Robert because an oath is absurd.

Let's not talk about allowing genocide just cause your liege is salty.

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3 minutes ago, frenin said:

And orders and orders.

 

If you follow an oath that you know it's unjust and inmoral and irrational. It sure as hell makes you a coward.

 

Every world is.

 

 

We're not talking about breaking oaths willy nilly. But the very idea that Jon Arryn was obliged to kill Ned and Robert because an oath is absurd.

Let's not talk about allowing genocide just cause your liege is salty.

If Jon Arryn had killed Robert and Ned, RR would not have happened, and tens of thousands wouldn't have died. I'm not saying that RR was not justified, but that it is not so simple to break an solemn oath and there are consequences.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Muffin King said:

If Jon Arryn had killed Robert and Ned, RR would not have happened, and tens of thousands wouldn't have died. I'm not saying that RR was not justified, but that it is not so simple to break an solemn oath and there are consequences.

Wasn't Aerys the one who broke his oaths first?

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22 minutes ago, Lilac & Gooseberries said:

Wasn't Aerys the one who broke his oaths first?

Absolutely. Feudalism is a two way contract. The King offers protection in exchange for taxes, service from his subjects, and obediance. The same rule applies to the lords and their bannermen. Aerys murdering Rickard and Brandon and ordering Jon Arryn to send his wards to their likely execution is a clear violation of that contract.

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1 hour ago, Muffin King said:

but that it is not so simple to break an solemn oath and there are consequences.

There are consequences for everything but the scare of such consequences is what makes us eat so much bullshit.

Killing innocent people for the crime of existing is a tad absurd.

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Jaime was as much of a coward as the others.  He didn't kill Aerys for the wildfire, he did it for his own personal gratification, ignoring his duty in the process, like Jon at the Wall.

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4 minutes ago, Ewan McGregor said:

Jaime was as much of a coward as the others.  He didn't kill Aerys for the wildfire, he did it for his own personal gratification, ignoring his duty in the process, like Jon at the Wall.

I think you are overlooking the important factor that Jaime was ordered by Aerys to bring back Tywin's head. It wasn't strictly individual interest vs serving the king, there was also familial/filial loyalty. And this is also the lens by with Ned views the Lannisters' actions: they did nothing before the rebels had the upper hand, then Tywin feigned support for Aerys in order to enter the city and sack it, at which point Jaime betrayed his sacred oath by killing the king he swore to protect (even as Tywin's men were murdering the king's helpless grandchildren) and then sitting down on the throne himself with some Lannister soldiers holding the room until Ned arrived.

The factor I always hear left out in comparing Jaime to the other members of Aerys' kingsguard is that he was the only KG who knew about the wildfire plot. Jaime being forced to make a decision about that would be considered an instance of "moral luck".

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7 hours ago, frenin said:

Are we reading the same books?? The hardest and more costly choices Ned ever made, trying to protect the twincest kids and protecting Jon, had him leaving his honor behind and doing what's morally good.

The hard choice would have been to let the children to Robert. It would have been awful but it would have prevented civil war.

6 hours ago, frenin said:

Let's not talk about allowing genocide just cause your liege is salty.

Something, something Carthage and salt

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48 minutes ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

The hard choice would have been to let the children to Robert. It would have been awful but it would have prevented civil war.

I don't think Tywin would be cool with Robert killing his daughter and grandkids? Unless Ned is also plotting to kill Tywin. And Jaime? 

 

 

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