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Should Aerys had replaced the Kingsguard who remained in tower of Joy

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Should Aerys had replaced the Kingsguard who remained in tower of Joy for not being at the trident or guardian him and instead remained in a a unknown location to Aerys and charge them with desertion?

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Yes. He should have declared them oathbreakers and bid all loyal men to do them harm if they are able.

Setting aside the Aerys being a crazed madman factor, he was still their King. They were the KINGSguard, not the PRINCEguard. They had no business taking Rhaegar's orders unless they were in active rebellion (and thus declaring Rhaegar as the King instead).

It's one thing to side with a different King when there is confusion over who the rightful monarch actually is, but it's another to acknowledge someone as the King you are sworn to protect and obey and simply refuse to do it.

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Aerys originally sent Gerold Hightower to find Rhaegar and his missing Kingsguard members. When Rhaegar eventually came back to King's Landing he did so without any of the Kingsguard members who should have returned with him. I'm sure Aerys would have had them replaced if Rhaegar had killed Robert and ended the war, but that's not what happened.

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I think the assumption is that the three kingsguards at the tower of joy were acting "rogue".  And I'm not sure that this assumption is warranted.  After all, it seems that Aerys knew where Rhaegar was and how to contact Rhaegar when the situation grew desperate.  

Aerys' suspicion seemed to center on the Kingsguard who never left, and the Kingsguard who returned to help fight the war.  He always remained suspicious of Jaime's loyalties and kept him around as much as hostage as bodyguard.  And he remained suspicious of the Martells, including Lewyn, believing them to be uncertain allies.

We don't have any reason to think that Aerys believed any Kingsguards that left with Rhaegar were acting without his permission.

And it seems pretty apparent in Eddard's dream that the three Kingsguards seemed pretty comfortable with the fact that their duties required them to be at the tower of joy.  

So all in all, I think that Aerys knew about Rhaegar and the Kingsguard's activities at the tower of joy and either tacitly or explicitly approved.

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On 5/18/2021 at 11:56 AM, Frey family reunion said:

I think the assumption is that the three kingsguards at the tower of joy were acting "rogue".  And I'm not sure that this assumption is warranted.  After all, it seems that Aerys knew where Rhaegar was and how to contact Rhaegar when the situation grew desperate.  

Depending on where you fall regarding Rhaegar at the tourney at Harrenhal its not so strange to consider them going rogue. Varys was the mad kings spider at the time so it wouldn't be strange to assume Aerys was right that the tournament was a pretense for the prince to meet prominent lords in hopes of gaining support in replacing his unstable father.

One could also easily blame the war more on Aerys than Rhaegar, and its not out of character for member of the kingsguard to support different claimant based on the precedent set by lord commander Cole.

food for thought at least

 

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57 minutes ago, Targaryeninkingslanding said:

Depending on where you fall regarding Rhaegar at the tourney at Harrenhal its not so strange to consider them going rogue. Varys was the mad kings spider at the time so it wouldn't be strange to assume Aerys was right that the tournament was a pretense for the prince to meet prominent lords in hopes of gaining support in replacing his unstable father.

One could also easily blame the war more on Aerys than Rhaegar, and its not out of character for member of the kingsguard to support different claimant based on the precedent set by lord commander Cole.

food for thought at least

 

It would explain some things and I agree there's some basis for considering it as a possibility, but in Ned's memories the KG lament that Aerys would still sit on the Iron Throne if they had been at the Trident, attack Jaime as a "false brother," and in general play up their loyalty and oathkeeping as Kingsguard. That's pretty weird if they had turned cloak.

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On 5/17/2021 at 4:34 PM, Mrstrategy said:

Should Aerys had replaced the Kingsguard who remained in tower of Joy for not being at the trident or guardian him and instead remained in a a unknown location to Aerys and charge them with desertion?

What for?  His plan was to burn himself alive so no-one could dethrone him.   The flaws in his plan involve Jaime, and lack of direct access to the fuse.   You are focusing on the wrong kingsguard members.

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After sending Hightower to find Rheagar I doubt Aerys was even thinking about where and what they were doing. He probably just assumed they were all working to suppress the rebellion under Rheagar's orders, the guy was planning on immolating himself and the entire city anyway I doubt that he gave a shit where the Kingsguard were. 

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14 hours ago, ATaleofSalt&Onions said:

It would explain some things and I agree there's some basis for considering it as a possibility, but in Ned's memories the KG lament that Aerys would still sit on the Iron Throne if they had been at the Trident, attack Jaime as a "false brother," and in general play up their loyalty and oathkeeping as Kingsguard. That's pretty weird if they had turned cloak.

I agree. Which is why I suspect, that Aerys knew of why they weren't directly fighting the war in the Riverlands and he at the very least tacitly approved of what they were doing.  The Kingsguards seemed very comfortable that they were fulfilling their oaths to the Kingsguards by being "far away".

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Maybe Aerys was also thinking about competence for once? 

The three ToJ Kingsguard are all supposed to be exceptional knights and Aerys would have trouble replacing them with like for like. Particularly at that point when most of the decent knights were away at war. 

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On 5/17/2021 at 1:34 PM, Mrstrategy said:

Should Aerys had replaced the Kingsguard who remained in tower of Joy for not being at the trident or guardian him and instead remained in a a unknown location to Aerys and charge them with desertion?

Replaced them with whom?  I find this a rather bizarre question in the context of the actual situations Aerys faced.

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On 5/18/2021 at 4:56 PM, Frey family reunion said:

I think the assumption is that the three kingsguards at the tower of joy were acting "rogue".  And I'm not sure that this assumption is warranted.  After all, it seems that Aerys knew where Rhaegar was and how to contact Rhaegar when the situation grew desperate.  

Aerys sent Gerold Hightower to "find" Rhaegar. If you need to find someone that means you don't know where they are.

On 5/18/2021 at 4:56 PM, Frey family reunion said:

Aerys' suspicion seemed to center on the Kingsguard who never left, and the Kingsguard who returned to help fight the war.  He always remained suspicious of Jaime's loyalties and kept him around as much as hostage as bodyguard.  And he remained suspicious of the Martells, including Lewyn, believing them to be uncertain allies.

Aerys didn't trust Tywin, and elevated Jaime, Tywin's son and heir, to the Kingsguard to spite Tywin. Of course he would be suspicious of Jaime's loyalties. And his distrust of the Dornish is well known.

On 5/18/2021 at 4:56 PM, Frey family reunion said:

We don't have any reason to think that Aerys believed any Kingsguards that left with Rhaegar were acting without his permission.

The Kingsguard's job is to protect the king, and his heir if the king commands it. Not the heir's children. No one even knew that Lyanna was pregnant. The missing Kingsguard members should have returned with Rhaegar to King's Landing.

On 5/18/2021 at 4:56 PM, Frey family reunion said:

And it seems pretty apparent in Eddard's dream that the three Kingsguards seemed pretty comfortable with the fact that their duties required them to be at the tower of joy.  

Aerys and Rhaegar were dead by the time that Ned arrived at the Tower of Joy, and the three Kingsguard members knew that. If Rhaegar did indeed have a child with Lyanna then that child would be the king or queen in their eyes.

On 5/18/2021 at 4:56 PM, Frey family reunion said:

So all in all, I think that Aerys knew about Rhaegar and the Kingsguard's activities at the tower of joy and either tacitly or explicitly approved.

There's nothing to support this claim.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Corvus Black said:

Aerys sent Gerold Hightower to "find" Rhaegar. If you need to find someone that means you don't know where they are.

Sigh.  First let’s try to stick with the books.  What we know is that after the Battle of Bells Rhaegar returned from the South to take over the royal army.  So if you want to argue that Aerys perhaps didn’t even summon him, fair enough, because that’s not actually stated one way or the other.  But the idea of Gerold Dayne wandering around like Brienne trying to find Sansa is certainly not supported.

if we follow the books, then the most likely scenario is that Rhaegar’s return from the South was probably prompted by Aerys sending Lewyn to Dorne to summon their army, along with the reminder that he held Elia.  Since there isn’t that much south of King’s Landing, it’s fairly probable that Rhaegar was in Dorne when Lewyn was sent to gather their army.

While there is support that at least up to Harrenhal Aerys harbored suspicion regarding Rhaegar, any suspicion he had seemed to give way towards the events of the rebellion.  Notably Aerys listened to Rhaegar’s counsel and sent a raven to Casterly Rock, and further seemed to have no issue in turning the royal army over to Rhaegar.

As for any Kingsguards, we have zero evidence to support the fact that Aerys believed the three Kingsguards that Eddard later fought at the toj had betrayed him or deserted him.  There is simply nothing to indicate that.  

Nor is there anything to indicate in either the POV’s of Barristan Selmy or Jaime Lannister, etc that Gerold Dayne, Arthur Dayne, and/or Oswell Whent had deserted.

Notably the Maester “author” of the World of Ice and Fire seemed to believe that Arthur and his two fellow Kingsguards died in good standing:

Quote

Most famous of all was Ser Arthur Dayne, the deadliest of King Aerys II’s Kingsguard, who defeated the Kingswood Brotherhood and won renown in every tourney and mêlée. He died nobly with his sworn brothers at the end of Robert’s Rebellion, after Lord Eddard Stark was said to have killed him in single combat. Lord Stark then returned Dawn to Starfall, and to Ser Arthur’s kin, as a sign of respect.

 

2 hours ago, Corvus Black said:

The Kingsguard's job is to protect the king, and his heir if the king commands it. Not the heir's children. No one even knew that Lyanna was pregnant. The missing Kingsguard members should have returned with Rhaegar to King's Landing

The Kingsguard’s job is to protect the king.  Unless the King wishes them to do something else, which takes them away from the King.  Ultimately they serve at the whim of the King, even a king as mad as Aerys.  Which takes us back to the conversation Eddard had with the three Kingsguards:

Quote

“I looked for you on the Trident,” Ned said to them.
“We were not there,” Ser Gerold answered.
“Woe to the Usurper if we had been,” said Ser Oswell.”

“When King’s Landing fell, Ser Jaime slew your king with a golden sword, and I wondered where you were.”
“Far away,” Ser Gerold said, “or Aerys would yet sit the Iron Throne, and our false brother would burn in seven hells.”
“I came down on Storm’s End to lift the siege,” Ned told them, “and the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne dipped their banners, and all their knights bent the knee to pledge us fealty. I was certain you would be among them.”
“Our knees do not bend easily,” said Ser Arthur Dayne.
“Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him.”
“Ser Willem is a good man and true,” said Ser Oswell.
“But not of the Kingsguard,” Ser Gerold pointed out. “The Kingsguard does not flee.”
“Then or now,”
said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.
“We swore a vow,” explained old Ser Gerold.”

So clearly the Kingsguards believed that Aerys was the rightful King up until Aerys death.  And that if they had been present they would have protected the King, killed their false brother Jaime Lannister,  and kept King’s Landing from falling to the usurpers.

However, they were “far away”.  But despite the fact they were “far away”, it didn’t change the fact that they believed they were always true to their Kingsguard vows.

In fact it appears that they were “far away” because of a vow they swore.

In other words, the Kingsguards swore a vow to their king which took them away from King’s Landing and made them unavailable to either defend Aerys or fight his war.

2 hours ago, Corvus Black said:

Aerys and Rhaegar were dead by the time that Ned arrived at the Tower of Joy, and the three Kingsguard members knew that. If Rhaegar did indeed have a child with Lyanna then that child would be the king or queen in their eyes

Um, no.  Putting aside your fan fiction for a second, it appeared known that Aerys had made Viserys his heir when he sent them from King’s Landing.  

But even putting aside that inconvenient fact, it wouldn’t change the fact that they would have deserted long before any male child from Rhaegar’s alleged paramour was born.  So clearly, they would have soiled their white cloak long before Aerys, Rhaegar, and Aegon were killed.

Yet once again, there appears to be no indication of that.

2 hours ago, Corvus Black said:

There's nothing to support this claim.

 

I beg to differ.  There is plenty to support my claim.  There is nothing to support your claim other than the fact that any scenario of the Kingsguard’s having never violated their oath flies against the fan fiction you subscribe to.

So maybe, there is a problem with the fan fiction.

Edited by Frey family reunion

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

Sigh.  First let’s try to stick with the books.  What we know is that after the Battle of Bells Rhaegar returned from the South to take over the royal army.  So if you want to argue that Aerys perhaps didn’t even summon him, fair enough, because that’s not actually stated one way or the other.  But the idea of Gerold Dayne wandering around like Brienne trying to find Sansa is certainly not supported.

"First, let's stick with the books." Lol. I'll come back to this later. 

What on earth are you talking about? I'm not arguing that Aerys didn't summon Rhaegar to King's Landing. I'm arguing against your assertation that "Aerys knew where Rhaegar was and how to contact Rhaegar when the situation grew desperate." The idea that Aerys knew for a fact where Rhaegar was and then allowed him to stay there and sit out the war he started is not supported by the books.

3 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

if we follow the books, then the most likely scenario is that Rhaegar’s return from the South was probably prompted by Aerys sending Lewyn to Dorne to summon their army, along with the reminder that he held Elia.  Since there isn’t that much south of King’s Landing, it’s fairly probable that Rhaegar was in Dorne when Lewyn was sent to gather their army.

Saying you are "following the book" and then speculating is not, in fact, following the book. If you actually want to do that then you'll know that Rhaegar was in King's Landing at the same time as Lewyn and that Aerys sent Lewyn to meet up with the ten thousand Dornishmen already marching up the kingsroad.

3 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

While there is support that at least up to Harrenhal Aerys harbored suspicion regarding Rhaegar, any suspicion he had seemed to give way towards the events of the rebellion.  Notably Aerys listened to Rhaegar’s counsel and sent a raven to Casterly Rock, and further seemed to have no issue in turning the royal army over to Rhaegar.

It was only after the Battle of the Bells that Aerys realised he could lose the war, and so began the wildfire plot. Asking for Tywin's help to avoid dying is common sense. Who else is going to lead the army at that point? And again, Rhaegar started this war. Of course Aerys will want him to face the consequences and participate in the war. Neither action denotes complete trust on Aerys's part.

3 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

As for any Kingsguards, we have zero evidence to support the fact that Aerys believed the three Kingsguards that Eddard later fought at the toj had betrayed him or deserted him.  There is simply nothing to indicate that.

We have zero evidence to support the opposite either.

3 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

Nor is there anything to indicate in either the POV’s of Barristan Selmy or Jaime Lannister, etc that Gerold Dayne, Arthur Dayne, and/or Oswell Whent had deserted.

Yes there is. Aerys named Viserys as his heir and sent him to Dragonstone. The three Kingsguard members are aware of this and explicitly state that Viserys is not their king.

Quote

“Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him.”


“Ser Willem is a good man and true,” said Ser Oswell.


“But not of the Kingsguard,” Ser Gerold pointed out. “The Kingsguard does not flee.”


“Then or now,” said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.


“We swore a vow,” explained old Ser Gerold.”

Obviously the vow they swore was to Rhaegar.

3 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

Notably the Maester “author” of the World of Ice and Fire seemed to believe that Arthur and his two fellow Kingsguards died in good standing:

"First, let's stick with the books." I told you I'd come back to this. AWOIAF is not the books, and the in-universe author is not omniscient.

3 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

The Kingsguard’s job is to protect the king.  Unless the King wishes them to do something else, which takes them away from the King.  Ultimately they serve at the whim of the King, even a king as mad as Aerys.  Which takes us back to the conversation Eddard had with the three Kingsguards:

3 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

So clearly the Kingsguards believed that Aerys was the rightful King up until Aerys death.  And that if they had been present they would have protected the King, killed their false brother Jaime Lannister,  and kept King’s Landing from falling to the usurpers.

However, they were “far away”.  But despite the fact they were “far away”, it didn’t change the fact that they believed they were always true to their Kingsguard vows.

In fact it appears that they were “far away” because of a vow they swore.

In other words, the Kingsguards swore a vow to their king which took them away from King’s Landing and made them unavailable to either defend Aerys or fight his war.

According to Aerys's command Viserys is his heir and thus the new king, yet here the three Kingsguard members are, not protecting their new king.

Clearly the vow they are talking about is one sworn to Rhaegar.

3 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

Um, no.  Putting aside your fan fiction for a second, it appeared known that Aerys had made Viserys his heir when he sent them from King’s Landing.  

But even putting aside that inconvenient fact, it wouldn’t change the fact that they would have deserted long before any male child from Rhaegar’s alleged paramour was born.  So clearly, they would have soiled their white cloak long before Aerys, Rhaegar, and Aegon were killed.

Yet once again, there appears to be no indication of that.

"Fan fiction." Lol.

They deserted when they chose to honour Rhaegar's command rather than Aerys's command. You know, their king.

3 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

I beg to differ.  There is plenty to support my claim.  There is nothing to support your claim other than the fact that any scenario of the Kingsguard’s having never violated their oath flies against the fan fiction you subscribe to.

So maybe, there is a problem with the fan fiction.

"Fan fiction" again lol.

Try again. Even you admit that they knew of Viserys being named Aerys's heir and ignored it to protect what, a girl from her brother? That's definitely suspect. What, do they think Ned is going to kill his own sister?

Edited by Corvus Black

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Corvus Black said:

What on earth are you talking about? I'm not arguing that Aerys didn't summon Rhaegar to King's Landing. I'm arguing against your assertation that "Aerys knew where Rhaegar was and how to contact Rhaegar when the situation grew desperate." The idea that Aerys knew for a fact where Rhaegar was and then allowed him to stay there and sit out the war he started is not supported by the books.

You probably should argue that point, because it’s the one assertion I made that’s not backed up by any text.  But if Aerys is able to summon Rhaegar than Aerys knows where Rhaegar is.  Otherwise it’s a fairly laughable scenario where Aerys tells Gerold to ride around Westeros until he finds Rhaegar.

2 hours ago, Corvus Black said:

Saying you are "following the book" and then speculating is not, in fact, following the book. If you actually want to do that then you'll know that Rhaegar was in King's Landing at the same time as Lewyn and that Aerys sent Lewyn to meet up with the ten thousand Dornishmen already marching up the kingsroad.

Please cite your source for that.  Per Jaime Lannister, hanging out in his hot tub:

Quote

“He had finally realized that Robert was no mere outlaw lord to be crushed at whim, but the greatest threat House Targaryen had faced since Daemon Blackfyre. The king reminded Lewyn Martell gracelessly that he held Elia and sent him to take command of the ten thousand Dornishmen coming up the kingsroad. Jon Darry and Barristan Selmy rode to Stoney Sept to rally what they could of griffins’ men, and Prince Rhaegar returned from the south and persuaded his father to swallow his pride and summon my father. But no raven returned from Casterly Rock, and that made the king even more afraid.”

So the sequence of events told by Jaime seems pretty clear.  Aerys sent Lewyn to take command of the Dornish host, Darry and Selmy sere sent to gather the Stoney Sept troops, and Rhaegar returned from the “south”.  Now the narrator of this bit of info may be a bit suspect, since he was fairly delirious at the time, so I’m more than willing to listen to a more reliable narrator.

 

2 hours ago, Corvus Black said:

First, let's stick with the books." I told you I'd come back to this. AWOIAF is not the books, and the in-universe author is not omniscient.

I’ll let you in on a secret.  None of the information we learn in the books is told through an omniscient narrator.  If there is a source that claims to be from an omniscient narrator, then disregard it, because Martin specifically wishes his story to be told through  a subjective POV format where some of the info we get may not always be terribly reliable.  

2 hours ago, Corvus Black said:

According to Aerys's command Viserys is his heir and thus the new king, yet here the three Kingsguard members are, not protecting their new king.

Clearly the vow they are talking about is one sworn to Rhaegar.

Once again, the Kingsguard have more duties than just protecting the king.  That’s the fallacy that you’re falling for.  You are assuming that the presence of the Kingsguard means they are protecting a king.  The Kingsguard’s primary duty is to obey the commands from the king.  If the Kingsguard directly receives a command from someone other than the king, and they appear comfortable that they are doing their sworn duties as a Kingsguard in fulfilling that duty, then rest assured they believe the command was at the very least authorized by the king.

2 hours ago, Corvus Black said:

"Fan fiction" again lol.

Try again. Even you admit that they knew of Viserys being named Aerys's heir and ignored it to protect what, a girl from her brother? That's definitely suspect. What, do they think Ned is going to kill his own sister?

See above.  You’re making my argument for me.  The Kingsguard tells Ned that they were acting in the performance of their duties by not being at King’s Landing, by not being at the Trident, and by not being at Dragonstone with Viserys.

Which can mean only one thing.  That they swore a vow for King Aerys (whether or not it was directly from the mouth of Aerys to them) and they had not yet accomplished the vow.  

And Eddard makes it very clear that he has come to put an end to it.

The assumption you are making is that the Kingsguard took a vow to protect someone.  But Kingsguards are more than bodyguards.  

And while you seem to have a problem with the Worldbook, you may want to check with Ran, but I believe that the chapters of the False Spring, Robert’s Rebellion & the End were directly written by GRRM.

And it was in Robert’s Rebellion where we learn that:

Quote

From Dorne, in defense of Princess Elia, ten thousand spears came over the Boneway and marched to King’s Landing to bolster the host that Rhaegar was raising. Those who were there at court during this time have recounted that Aerys’s behavior was erratic. He was untrusting of any save his Kingsguard—and then only imperfectly, for he kept Ser Jaime Lannister close at all hours to serve as a hostage against his father.

So while this may be hearsay info given to us by an imperfect narrator, it shows once again, that not only do we not have any evidence that Aerys thought the Kingsguard three had deserted him, we are in fact given evidence to the opposite.  That these three Kingsguards were some of the last people Aerys still trusted.

Edited by Frey family reunion

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Corvus Black said:

"First, let's stick with the books." Lol. I'll come back to this later. 

When we do, let's remember that we know very little about what happened at the TOJ.  It is virtually impossible to discuss that situation without making unproven assumptions.

Quote

I'm arguing against [...] "Aerys knew where Rhaegar was and how to contact Rhaegar when the situation grew desperate." The idea that Aerys knew for a fact where Rhaegar was and then allowed him to stay there and sit out the war he started is not supported by the books.

Seems fair to me.

Quote

Aerys named Viserys as his heir and sent him to Dragonstone. The three Kingsguard members are aware of this and explicitly state that Viserys is not their king.

I think you mis-spelled "implicitly".  It is spelled with an "im", not an "ex".

Quote

Obviously the vow they swore was to Rhaegar.

The Kingsguard serve for life.  Context suggests they are referring to their Kingsguard oath, not some new oath we must infer.

Quote

They deserted when they chose to honour Rhaegar's command rather than Aerys's command. You know, their king.

They seem to think they are honoring their oath.  It is odd to take this as evidence they are breaking their oath.  

We know so little about the ToJ.  How many months, exactly, has Aerys been dead?  Aerys is not their king any more, that's for sure.  Viserys might be their king, but that is debatable and based on assumptions.    Do the Kingsguard believe that the declared whim of a dead former King takes precedence over established rules of succession.

Edited by Mister Smikes

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54 minutes ago, Frey family reunion said:

See above.  You’re making my argument for me.  The Kingsguard tells Ned that they were acting in the performance of their duties by not being at King’s Landing, by not being at the Trident, and by not being at Dragonstone with Viserys.

Any number of explanations for each of these things are possible.

54 minutes ago, Frey family reunion said:

Which can mean only one thing.  That they swore a vow for King Aerys (whether or not it was directly from the mouth of Aerys to them) and they had not yet accomplished the vow.  

I believe the Kingsguard swears an oath to an office, not to a person.  And since the Kingsguard serves for life, members outlive specific persons.  Context suggests they are referring to their Kingsguard oath, and not to some specific oath to some specific person.  Ser Gerold, the one who says "We swore a vow", is the one of the three who swore his vow before Aerys was even king.

54 minutes ago, Frey family reunion said:

And Eddard makes it very clear that he has come to put an end to it.

Whatever it is.  And Eddard and the Kingsguard may not have the same understanding of the situation.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Mister Smikes said:

I believe the Kingsguard swears an oath to an office, not to a person.  And since the Kingsguard serves for life, members outlive specific persons.  Context suggests they are referring to their Kingsguard oath, and not to some specific oath to some specific person.  Ser Gerold, the one who says "We swore a vow", is the one of the three who swore his vow before Aerys was even king.

Interesting.  You see the vow that Gerold references as part of the original vows he took when he was first sworn in as a Kingsguard.  As opposed to a subsequent vow he would have made in direct response to an order given to him from the King.

Unlike the Night's Watch, we're never actually made privy to the actual vows the Kingsguards give when they are sworn in, are we?  

The closest we get is this from Jaime:

Quote

Jaime reached for the flagon to refill his cup.  "So many vows ... they make you swear and swear.  Defend the king.  Obey the king.  Keep his secrets.  Do his bidding.  Your life for his.  But obey your father.  Love your sister.  Protect the innocent.  Defend the weak.  Respect the gods.  Obey the laws.  It's too much.  No matter what you do, you're foresaking one vow or the other"

So I assume that the first five vows are vows specifically tailored to the vows he took as a Kingsguard.  Defend.  Obey.  Keep secrets.  Do bidding. Your life for his.  The other vows seem to be those of the general knightly category.  Jaime's quandry seems to be what happens when your vows as a Kingsguard conflicts with your vows as a knight.  Which take precedence?

The next best thing we have is when Ser Jorah is sworn in as the first of Dany's Queensguard:

Quote

"You have it, my queen," Ser Jorah said, kneeling to lay his sword at her feet.  "I vow to serve you, to obey you, to die for you if need be."

"Whatever may come?" 

"Whatever may come."

So if Gerold is referring to one of his original vows, which is it?  Is it defend or obey?  Those seem to be the big two.

Since Gerold and company did a pretty piss poor job in defending the king, or in defending his named heir, then I suggest that the vow that Gerold is referring to is of the obey category.

So what happens if you vow to carry out a command from the King, but the king dies before you finish the task?  If you are a good Kingsguard what do you do?  What if you knew that the king wished this task to be carried out even in the event of his death or the death of his heirs?  

If it's a task you don't want to do, are you off the hook because the King died before that tasked was finished.  Or are you duty bound to see your vow/oath to the King fulfilled?

I don't think the Oath of Office argument necessarily lets the Kingsguards off the hook.  Ser Barristan seemed very conflicted about the fact he swore a new oath to the new King.  

But regardless, there are two things that appear consistent:

1.  Even though Eddard perhaps tried to shame the Kingsguard by pointing out that they weren't fighting, the King's battle at the trident, and they weren't at King's Landing protecting the King, and they didn't leave for Dragonstone to protect the new King, the Kingsguards seemed to remain very selfsure (almost smug) that they remained good, loyal Kingsguards throughout.  So in other words, if they were obeying an order from the King, then that order was one that kept them from fighting in the war in the Riverlands, and kept them from being with the King to protect him or his family from harm. 

2.  We don't have any evidence that Aerys ever considered their absence as a sign of desertion or treachery.  In fact the only evidence we have is that they were some of the last people that Aerys still trusted.  Which also seems to imply that Aerys knew he gave them a task that would have kept them from being around him, the royal family, or fighting Robert's army.  

I think that the only other possibility we have could probably be discounted from the conversation in Eddard's dream.  (assuming of course that this conversation has a basis in reality).  The possibility that the three Kingsguard had already left Aerys service and taken up Rhaegar as their new King.  The reason I discount this, is that Gerold point blank tells Eddard that if they were at King's Landing, Aerys would still sit on the Iron Throne.  So I think it's doubtful that there was a hidden coup, that we don't know about.  Perhaps Rhaegar was planning on calling a Great Council to depose Aerys after the war, and perhaps the Kingsguard may have all secretly been in favor of it.  But until that happened, my guess is that he Kingsguard were very secure in the knowledge that they were obeying Aerys in whatever they were doing that kept them from the War and kept them from defending the King and his family.

Edited by Frey family reunion

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1 hour ago, Mister Smikes said:

Whatever it is.  And Eddard and the Kingsguard may not have the same understanding of the situation.

Very possible.  Even though, it seems there is almost an unspoken agreement between all parties that this meeting was always going to be a battle to the death.  Which makes me think that everyone was pretty much on the same page at this point in time.

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