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Mark O'Kane

Why is Ned not thought of as the best?

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He beat Arthur Dayne who everyone acknowledges was the best, not to mention Whent and Hightower. No one knows Howland Reed helped him or played  major role. Why the heck does Westeros not hail him as the best now? 

Ps. He should have kept Dawn.....

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Ned was highly competent... But no one knows what happened in Dorne. Few people as is know that Ned slew Arthur Dayne and some probably just assume that's what happened. It's a complete mystery and Ned is the total opposite of a braggart as well as one of two people who survived; it was seven against three, and that speaks a lot more as to the skill of the three than the seven.

Jaime doesn't think twice about Ned's abilities, and part of that is having seen the greats at work like Gerold Hightower, Barristan the Bold, and Arthur Dayne. Jaime in fact is so skilled he can probably glean much and more just from seeing the way Ned moves within the first moments of combat.

Most people wouldn't challenge Ned, but we as the reader know much and more.

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I think Ned's reputation was based more on what an honorable person he was. And bragging about how he was better than the mighty Arthur Dayne would not have been honorable. Heck, I don't see any indication Ned wanted to be hailed as the man who slew the Sword of the Morning. He seems traumatised by the experience, not empowered by it. Plus, nobody aside from Ned and Howland really knows what went down at the Tower of Joy. And with Ned not telling anybody what happened, it isn't likely people would start hailing him as the next best thing.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Nathan Stark said:

I think Ned's reputation was based more on what an honorable person he was. And bragging about how he was better than the mighty Arthur Dayne would not have been honorable. Heck, I don't see any indication Ned wanted to be hailed as the man who slew the Sword of the Morning. He seems traumatised by the experience, not empowered by it. Plus, nobody aside from Ned and Howland really knows what went down at the Tower of Joy. And with Ned not telling anybody what happened, it isn't likely people would start hailing him as the next best thing.

But surely enough people knew that they fought and Ned came out alive while Arthur didn't? Cersei knew and would have heard from either Jaime or Robert and Jaime thought Arthur was a god with a sword.

From what Jaime said and thought about him, Arthur should have beat Ned and his friends by himself.

Edited by Mark O'Kane

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Even if it is widely known that Ned beat Arthur Dayne, people might have assumed Ned was lucky or that Dayne was having an off day. 

If Luxembourg beats Brazil in a football match, people don't automatically call Luxembourg a great footballing nation. Reputations are based on performances sustained over a long period of time, not one off matches.

I imagine the same principle is true for Westeros knights. 

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As members before me said: Ned does not talk about the Tower. Ned does not brag. People talk about Arthur Dayne, about his skill, it's remembered as he was a famous knight, Ned was not famous in that way, nor he wanted such fame. I already see him leaving if someone made a song about his epical skills or something.

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10 hours ago, Mark O'Kane said:

He beat Arthur Dayne who everyone acknowledges was the best, not to mention Whent and Hightower. No one knows Howland Reed helped him or played  major role. Why the heck does Westeros not hail him as the best now? 

Ps. He should have kept Dawn.....

Who would buy a story where Ned Stark beat the Sword of the Morning in a fair duel?  It doesn't really matter. Ice beat Dawn that day.  You might say it was the start of the Long Night.  Ned's Ice stopped Morning in its tracks and brought Darkness.  Ned is a good man but leave it to George to make a nice guy be the cause of extinction.  Loyalty to his family doomed the people of westeros.  

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1 hour ago, Rondo said:

Who would buy a story where Ned Stark beat the Sword of the Morning in a fair duel?  It doesn't really matter. Ice beat Dawn that day.  You might say it was the start of the Long Night.  Ned's Ice stopped Morning in its tracks and brought Darkness

Am i wrong but I thought Ice was purely a ceremonial sword for beheadings?  Its too big to be used in combat.  I didn't think would have used a 6 foot sword in a duel.

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Posted (edited)

I'd assume that there are two lines of thought regarding to what happened at the Tower of Joy.

The cynics will remind that it was a seven against three fight. Arthur Dayne may have been easily been killed while fighting several men at once. Even if we swallow the story that Ned killed Arthur in single combat, this would have taken place after Arthur had fought other oponents. He would likely be wounded and/or exhausted by then.

The romantics will claim that Arthur realized his fight was lost. Aerys and Rhaegar had died, an the loyalists had surrendered. Duty required him to die fighting, but he had no hopes of prevailing. Even if he managed to kill Ned and the others, many more would came for him. He knew Ned was honorable, that Ashara was in love with him, and that he only wanted to help Lyanna. So he decided to allow Ned to kill him.

On 6/26/2021 at 11:32 AM, Mark O'Kane said:

Ps. He should have kept Dawn.....

To gain the respect of your peers and to contribute to heal the wounds of a civil war is probably much more valuable than a famed sword.

On 6/26/2021 at 10:14 PM, Rondo said:

Who would buy a story where Ned Stark beat the Sword of the Morning in a fair duel?  It doesn't really matter. Ice beat Dawn that day.

Ned didn't use Ice at the Tower of Joy. Ice is a two-handed ceremonial sword, used only for beheadings. George confirms it here:

2) Asked if Ned ever used Ice in battle. George points out it was a greatsword, very large and cumbersome, a ceremonial sword for beheading people more than a fighting sword, so he suggests that it was "probably too heavy and clumsy" to use unless you're the Mountain. So, I think that's a pretty clear "no".

Edited by The hairy bear

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16 hours ago, Lady_Qohor said:

Reputations are based on performances sustained over a long period of time, not one off matches.

I imagine the same principle is true for Westeros knights. 

It certainly isn't. Reputations are time after time built upon single actions.

Both Stannis and Tarly are perhaps the most blatant examples of this.

In Westeros one victory does turn you into a legend. 

10 hours ago, Rondo said:

Who would buy a story where Ned Stark beat the Sword of the Morning in a fair duel? 

Who wouldn't?

 

 

24 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

The cynics will remind that it was a seven against three fight.

Are the hows of the battle widely known??

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6 minutes ago, frenin said:

Are the hows of the battle widely known??

Probably not. But the fact that Willam Dustin, Ethan Glover, Martyn Cassel, Theo Wull and Mark Ryswell died there has to be.

Eddard departed from his camp with them one day, and returned without them. He returned Arthur's sword to the Daynes, Dustin's steed to his wife, and surely the personal effects of the rest were also given back to their families. Stone cairns were build for all the decesased.

Yandel's World Book records that Arthur Dayne "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." Even if Eddard's companions are not mentioned, at least in the North everyone would know that five other men died there that day.

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43 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

Probably not. But the fact that Willam Dustin, Ethan Glover, Martyn Cassel, Theo Wull and Mark Ryswell died there has to be.

As far as I can tell, it's known that their tombs are there, not so much about where exactly they died. 

The official story is still that Ned beat Dayne in single combat and only Ned seems to have contradicted that anyway.

 

 

45 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

Even if Eddard's companions are not mentioned, at least in the North everyone would know that five other men died there that day.

I mean, judging from Lady D's account Ned was as vague as possible so...

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16 minutes ago, frenin said:

The official story is still that Ned beat Dayne in single combat

Yandel reports a rumor, not "official story". And in any case, he reports that Hightower and Whent died with Dayne. Of course Yandel does not intend to imply that Eddard killed all three singlehandedly. That would be an epic feat that would merit a whole chapter of his book. The presence of more people in Eddard's side is implicit, as I see it.

And in any case, what other explanation could there be for the deaths of those five noblemen? After the fall of King's Landing, there was no further violence. The lords of the Reach had bent their knee as soon as Ned arrived at Storm's End. Now, imagine if you are a part of Ned's army. Ned departs with six lords one morning. After a few days, he returns without them and anounces that they are dead. You hear that the three remaining KG have been killed. Even if Ned and Howland do not give detailed explanations of what has happened, I think that most people around could conect the dots easily and assume that the five dead guys were killed fighting the KG.

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6 hours ago, frenin said:

It certainly isn't. Reputations are time after time built upon single actions.

Both Stannis and Tarly are perhaps the most blatant examples of this.

In Westeros one victory does turn you into a legend. 

Apologies for any confusion, I meant that victory in one instance of single combat probably doesn't forge instant legendary status.

Battles and sieges are much different and are a lot less dependent on luck and chance. Stannis and Tarly formed their reputations on large complicated acts of war, not a random single combat fight. What's more neither were one hit wonders. By the time we meet Stannis he's proven himself in the Siege of Stormsend, taking Dragonstone and victories in the Greyjoy Rebellion. We don't hear much about Tarly's victories but it seems unlikely that a Lord or his age and status doesn't have anything but the Battle of Ashworth to his name. 

Meanwhile there are other instances when one off single combat matches fail to affect the lasting reputations of their combatants. For instance Loras Tyrell beats the Mountain at the Hands Tourney but everyone still views the Mountain as the more fearsome foe. Also Jorah Mormont defeats Jaime Lannister at the Lannisport Tourney yet afterwards Jaime still seems to have a better reputation as a fighter. 

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In my opinion, there is a possibility that amongst those three Kingsguards there was a Faceless Man, or maybe even two of them - Whent and Hightower, or just Hightower, or just Whent. Could be that Arthur Dayne was killed by a Faceless Man who was intending to take Arthur's sword. Because FM knew that Dawn is Azor Ahai's Lightbringer and that Jon is the Prince that was Promised. So they wanted to steal both the sword and the child and to deliver them to Braavos to the Sealord who owned three dragon eggs. According to the prophecy about Azor Ahai Reborn, the Promised Prince was supposed to bring dragons back, to hatch them from petrified eggs, and then using Lightbringer to defeat the Others. So by seizing both the future Messiah and the magic-weapon, the Faceless Men were intending to conquer the world. So whatever actually happened at the Tower of Joy is connected to all that, and it wasn't Ned who killed Arthur, thus he never bragged about it, because it was not his doing. Or something like that. But that's just my opinion.

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30 minutes ago, Megorova said:

In my opinion, there is a possibility that amongst those three Kingsguards there was a Faceless Man, or maybe even two of them - Whent and Hightower, or just Hightower, or just Whent. Could be that Arthur Dayne was killed by a Faceless Man who was intending to take Arthur's sword. Because FM knew that Dawn is Azor Ahai's Lightbringer and that Jon is the Prince that was Promised. So they wanted to steal both the sword and the child and to deliver them to Braavos to the Sealord who owned three dragon eggs. According to the prophecy about Azor Ahai Reborn, the Promised Prince was supposed to bring dragons back, to hatch them from petrified eggs, and then using Lightbringer to defeat the Others. So by seizing both the future Messiah and the magic-weapon, the Faceless Men were intending to conquer the world. So whatever actually happened at the Tower of Joy is connected to all that, and it wasn't Ned who killed Arthur, thus he never bragged about it, because it was not his doing. Or something like that. But that's just my opinion.

Does that mean you think that Ned actually killed a Faceless Man, given that he ended up with both the sword and the child? 

If so, that's impressive. 

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Lady_Qohor said:

Does that mean you think that Ned actually killed a Faceless Man, given that he ended up with both the sword and the child? 

If both Hightower and Whent were FM, then could be that when the fight started, 7 VS 3, the Kingsguards killed Ned's 5 companions and then one of them (Whent or Hightower) suddenly attacked Arthur (and seriously wounded him, because he wasn't expecting to be attacked by one of his sworn brothers), while the other one was supposed to kill Ned and Howland (which would have been easy even in 1 VS 2 scenario, because Howland was not a good fighter and Ned also was so so). Though even wounded Arthur was able to defeat his opponent and afterwards even managed to kill the remaining one, the one who was attacking Ned and Howland. So Ned's 5 companions were killed by 3 Kingsguards, 2 of which were Faceless Men, and then those FM were killed by Arthur Dayne, though before he killed them, they managed to mortally wound him.

Or only Hightower was an FM, and he's the one who mortally wounded Arthur and was then killed by Arthur. In case if Whent was not an FM, then could be that he got killed by one of those 7 opponents, and then when FM-Hightower saw an opportunity when the number of combatants lessened, he attacked Arthur, struck him with a sword in the back. Then mortally wounded Arthur killed Hightower; Whent and the other 5 were already dead at that moment, and afterwards there were only Ned and Howland left, so Arthur asked Ned to take the sword and bring it back to Starfall.

So no, I don't think that Ned managed to kill an FM. Eitherway whether there was only one FM or there were two of them, I think that they/or him were killed by Arthur, because he was the greatest swordsman. And if he knew that they were FM, then they wouldn't have managed to strike him. The Sword of the Morning in a open combat would have been able to defeat even a dozen of Faceless Men, because that sword is THAT good (magical) and because Daynes are Azor Ahai's direct descendants, so they are also very special - nearly god-like warriors.

Edited by Megorova

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15 minutes ago, Megorova said:

If both Hightower and Whent were FM, then could be that when the fight started, 7 VS 3, the Kingsguards killed Ned's 5 companions and then one of them (Whent or Hightower) suddenly attacked Arthur (and seriously wounded him, because he wasn't expecting to be attacked by one of his sworn brothers), while the other one was supposed to kill Ned and Howland (which would have been easy even in 1 VS 2 scenario, because Howland was not a good fighter and Ned also was so so). Though even wounded Arthur was able to defeat his opponent and afterwards even managed to kill the remaining one, the one who was attacking Ned and Howland. So Ned's 5 companions were killed by 3 Kingsguards, 2 of which were Faceless Men, and then those FM were killed by Arthur Dayne, though before he killed them, they managed to mortally wound him.

Or only Hightower was an FM, and he's the one who mortally wounded Arthur and was then killed by Arthur. In case if Whent was not an FM, then could be that he got killed by one of those 7 opponents, and then when FM-Hightower saw an opportunity when the number of combatants lessened, he attacked Arthur, struck him with a sword in the back. Then mortally wounded Arthur killed Hightower; Whent and the other 5 were already dead at that moment, and afterwards there were only Ned and Howland left, so Arthur asked Ned to take the sword and bring it back to Starfall.

So no, I don't think that Ned managed to kill an FM. Eitherway whether there was only one FM or there were two of them, I think that they/or him were killed by Arthur, because he was the greatest swordsman. And if he knew that they were FM, then they wouldn't have managed to strike him. The Sword of the Morning in a open combat would have been able to defeat even a dozen of Faceless Men, because that sword is THAT good (magical) and because Daynes are Azor Ahai's direct descendants, so they are also very special - nearly god-like warriors.

That's a very risky strategy though. Wouldn't it make more sense for the FM to carry on pretending to be Kingsguard while fighting the Northerners with Dayne and then defeat whoever emerges victorious. 

What would be the benefits of opening up a second front mid battle? Why opening go against Dayne the moment when it is most useful to have him on your side? 

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, Lady_Qohor said:

What would be the benefits of opening up a second front mid battle? Why opening go against Dayne the moment when it is most useful to have him on your side? 

They were intending to kill Arthur eitherway. I think that at the time when Ned found them at the Tower, the other two were ready to ditch Arthur, take his sword and the child and to go to Braavos. They were intending to retreat from their assignment as Kingsguards, they were intending to take off those faces and to depart Westeros while wearing new faces. It's just so happened that Ned found them before they managed to do so.

So they were going to kill Arthur and when Ned found them, they decided to use that fight as a distraction for Arthur and to strike him while he is fighting with other people. Though at first they waited while the numbers of opponents became lesser and when Arthur was already off guard thinking that he won.

44 minutes ago, Lady_Qohor said:

That's a very risky strategy though. Wouldn't it make more sense for the FM to carry on pretending to be Kingsguard while fighting the Northerners with Dayne and then defeat whoever emerges victorious. 

It was obvious that Arthur will be victorious. Whether in a fight against those 7 Northerners, in 7 VS 1, or Arthur VS 2FM.

In my opinion Jon was born at Starfall, and those 3KG departed from there and Arthur thought that they will go either to King's Landing or to Dragonstone, but the other two were planning to kill Arthur on the way from Starfall, and they were planning afterwards to go Braavos. Though all the way from Starfall to the Tower of Joy they didn't found an opportunity to get rid of Arthur. And then came Ned and his companions, and that's when the FM in a spur of the moment decided to use that fight as an opportunity to strike Arthur, while he is distracted by the others. Though they were also waiting while Arthur will kill as many of those Northerners as possible. If he will be tired from fighting them, then his reaction will be slower, and also if he will kill nearly all of them and then there were remaining only 2 (Howland and Ned) and Whent and Hightower told Arthur that they will deal with those two, but then instead of attacking them, one of KG attacked Arthur, while the other one was facing off against Ned and Howland.

So it makes sense for FM to attack Arthur while the previous fight was still in the process.

In an open fight against Arthur they wouldn't have won, even if he fought against the other 7 and killed all of them and then fought against 2 Faceless Men. He would have won even if all 9 would have attacked him at once. Arthur is the Sword of the Morning and he is Azor Ahai's descendant, and Azor Ahai with that sword fought against the Others and defeated them all (at least in Essos). Reread the scene from AGOT's Prologue, the one where the Others were showing off their fighting skills. Azor Ahai defeated monsters like that, and Arhur was the same as Azor. Those two FM were aware of what Arthur is capable of, so it made no sense for them to wait for the end of Arthur's fight against Northerners, because even if they did waited and then attacked him, then he still would have defeated them. Their only opportunity was to strike him then, while he is still in the middle of the battle against Northerners. Because I think that under normal circumstances, even if those Kingsguards weren't found by Ned, and instead those two FM tried to attack Arthur out of the blue, they still would have failed to defeat him. Even under conditions when he was fighting against 7 Northerners, and he was suddenly attacked by his sworn brothers, still they didn't managed to kill him at once, even mortally wounded he managed to defeat both of them, he was THAT good.

Edited by Megorova

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On 6/26/2021 at 10:32 AM, Mark O'Kane said:

He beat Arthur Dayne who everyone acknowledges was the best, not to mention Whent and Hightower. No one knows Howland Reed helped him or played  major role. Why the heck does Westeros not hail him as the best now? 

Ps. He should have kept Dawn.....

It was 7 vs 3. The 3 fought 7 and 2 of the 7 survived. It is not quite the accomplishment, by itself, that would mark Ned as the greatest ever swordsman especially as Ned's prowess in the field, in tourneys or practice would be known to others.

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