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LynnS

Howland Reed is the KotLT - Proof by Canon

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Here are the current theories on the identity of the Knight of the Laughing Tree:

Knight of the Laughing Tree/Theories - A Wiki of Ice and Fire (westeros.org)

I'm going to present evidence, from the text, that Howland Reed is the Knight of the Laughing Tree.  Which I stumbled on by accident, while doing a search on bronze and iron, wondering what became of Mance's helm..

Meera's Greathelm:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Bran III

"Howland Reed was a great friend to your father," Ser Rodrik told him. "These two are his, it would seem."

As the newcomers walked the length of the hall, Bran saw that one was indeed a girl, though he would never have known it by her dress. She wore lambskin breeches soft with long use, and a sleeveless jerkin armored in bronze scales. Though near Robb's age, she was slim as a boy, with long brown hair knotted behind her head and only the barest suggestion of breasts. A woven net hung from one slim hip, a long bronze knife from the other; under her arm she carried an old iron greathelm spotted with rust; a frog spear and round leathern shield were strapped to her back.

I checked wikipedia to learn more about great helms:

Quote

The great helm or heaume, also called pot helm, bucket helm and barrel helm, is a helmet of the High Middle Ages which arose in the late twelfth century in the context of the Crusades and remained in use until the fourteenth century. The barreled style was used by knights in most European armies between about 1220 to 1350 AD and evolved into the frog-mouth helm[1] to be primarily used during jousting contests.

Great helm - Wikipedia

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Bran II

Bran nodded sagely. Mystery knights would oft appear at tourneys, with helms concealing their faces, and shields that were either blank or bore some strange device. Sometimes they were famous champions in disguise. The Dragonknight once won a tourney as the Knight of Tears, so he could name his sister the queen of love and beauty in place of the king's mistress. And Barristan the Bold twice donned a mystery knight's armor, the first time when he was only ten. "It was the little crannogman, I bet."

"No one knew," said Meera, "but the mystery knight was short of stature, and clad in ill-fitting armor made up of bits and pieces. The device upon his shield was a heart tree of the old gods, a white weirwood with a laughing red face."

"Maybe he came from the Isle of Faces," said Bran. "Was he green?" In Old Nan's stories, the guardians had dark green skin and leaves instead of hair. Sometimes they had antlers too, but Bran didn't see how the mystery knight could have worn a helm if he had antlers. "I bet the old gods sent him."

The only object the mystery knight leaves behind is the leather shield.  He took everything else with him.

Quote

 

A Storm of Swords - Bran II

"Whoever he was, the old gods gave strength to his arm. The porcupine knight fell first, then the pitchfork knight, and lastly the knight of the two towers. None were well loved, so the common folk cheered lustily for the Knight of the Laughing Tree, as the new champion soon was called. When his fallen foes sought to ransom horse and armor, the Knight of the Laughing Tree spoke in a booming voice through his helm, saying, 'Teach your squires honor, that shall be ransom enough.' Once the defeated knights chastised their squires sharply, their horses and armor were returned. And so the little crannogman's prayer was answered . . . by the green men, or the old gods, or the children of the forest, who can say?"

It was a good story, Bran decided after thinking about it a moment or two. "Then what happened? Did the Knight of the Laughing Tree win the tourney and marry a princess?"

"No," said Meera. "That night at the great castle, the storm lord and the knight of skulls and kisses each swore they would unmask him, and the king himself urged men to challenge him, declaring that the face behind that helm was no friend of his. But the next morning, when the heralds blew their trumpets and the king took his seat, only two champions appeared. The Knight of the Laughing Tree had vanished. The king was wroth, and even sent his son the dragon prince to seek the man, but all they ever found was his painted shield, hanging abandoned in a tree. It was the dragon prince who won that tourney in the end."

 

Howland not only passed on his shirt of bronze scales to Meera, but the prize he took from the tournament.  The great helm which Meera uses as a cooking pot.  Hat tip to Tucu!

Clever, clever George!

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First off, there’s no guarantee that that’s the same helm.

Second off, just because Howland has the helm doesn’t mean he was the one who wore it as the KOTLT. 
 

Howland arguably does know who the knight was, he just didn’t want to tell us because PLOT. I wouldn’t be surprised if he, in an effort to conceal the identity of the knight, took that helm with him to the Neck. Who’s going to find it there? Yes, Howland might be the genuine article, but I’d much more easily believe that he was in cahoots with the person who really was the knight.

The main reason I will never believe that Howland was the knight was because it robs the Reed children of any reason to (a) be secretive about the knight’s identity, and (b) tell Bran the story in the first place. What relevance does that story have to Bran if all his family did was host Howland in their tent? It is essential that one of the Stark kids was the KOTLT because it establishes Howland’s diehard loyalty to House Stark. Specifically to Eddard. 
Eddard, the guy who graciously offered Howland a place in his own personal tent. The guy who is well known to be shy and modest, but who is also a capable fighter. The guy for whom Howland left the Neck to fight in the rebellion. The guy whom Howland accompanied to save Lyanna, even if it meant facing off against three Kingsguard.

And even after all that, it could just as easily be Lyanna. Her disappearance prompts Howland to leave the Neck. He keeps her secret for just as long as Ned has done. 
 

Either of those explanations justifies the existence of the story, it justifies the surprise of the Reed children that Eddard never told the story to his own children. It also explains why they feel the need to tell Bran about the story. Howland being his own saviour would be a cheap twist which undermines the character and the story.

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Posted (edited)

 

Quote

"It was the green men he meant to find. So he donned a shirt sewn with bronze scales, like mine, took up a leathern shield and a three-pronged spear, like mine, and paddled a little skin boat down the Green Fork."

Meera might have inherited the full set from Howland: bronze scale shirt, spear and greathelm.

Edited by Tucu

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But why would Howland reed hide his identity? he was an adult at the time 15-20ish and a lordling so he had the right to participate. if he was shamed he had all the reason in the world to show his face after his victories and had no obligation to keep joisting after the fact. 

im not saying its not the same armor. it could just as well not be, but even if it is 

doesn't it still make more sense that Lyanna was the mystery knight. she had already chased the squires away once. we know she was a very skilled equestrian and  was martial like Arya. and the ltk was described as having a booming deep voice. Howland would have a mans voice so he would have no real reason to fake a deep voice. And why else would Rheagar name her queen of love and beauty if he had not already figured out her identity? Rhaegar and lyanna only make sense if lyanna was the laughing tree knight (or at the very least make sense the best if).

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Targaryeninkingslanding said:

But why would Howland reed hide his identity? he was an adult at the time 15-20ish and a lordling so he had the right to participate. if he was shamed he had all the reason in the world to show his face after his victories and had no obligation to keep joisting after the fact.

Possibly because he was not a knight. Compare this to Barristan as a mystery knight when he was 10 or Duncan possibly lying about being a knight in the Hedge Knight to enter the tourney.

There is a long SSM on tourney rules here: https://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Tourney_Rules

Edited by Tucu

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Tucu said:

Possibly because he was not a knight. Compare this to Barristan as a mystery knight when he was 10 or Duncan possibly lying about being a knight in the Hedge Knight to enter the tourney.

There is a long SSM on tourney rules here: https://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Tourney_Rules

thanks for the link! 

considering it, it seems that tournaments do not always require knighthood (see Robert's tourney for ned). Given the Participation of Northmen (or at least the presence of northern houses like stark) - most of whom do not bother with knighthood, I think its safe to assume that the tourney at Harrenhal did not require knighthood to participate.

Edited by Targaryeninkingslanding

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7 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

First off, there’s no guarantee that that’s the same helm.

Second off, just because Howland has the helm doesn’t mean he was the one who wore it as the KOTLT. 
 

Howland arguably does know who the knight was, he just didn’t want to tell us because PLOT. I wouldn’t be surprised if he, in an effort to conceal the identity of the knight, took that helm with him to the Neck. Who’s going to find it there? Yes, Howland might be the genuine article, but I’d much more easily believe that he was in cahoots with the person who really was the knight.

The main reason I will never believe that Howland was the knight was because it robs the Reed children of any reason to (a) be secretive about the knight’s identity, and (b) tell Bran the story in the first place. What relevance does that story have to Bran if all his family did was host Howland in their tent? It is essential that one of the Stark kids was the KOTLT because it establishes Howland’s diehard loyalty to House Stark. Specifically to Eddard. 
Eddard, the guy who graciously offered Howland a place in his own personal tent. The guy who is well known to be shy and modest, but who is also a capable fighter. The guy for whom Howland left the Neck to fight in the rebellion. The guy whom Howland accompanied to save Lyanna, even if it meant facing off against three Kingsguard.

And even after all that, it could just as easily be Lyanna. Her disappearance prompts Howland to leave the Neck. He keeps her secret for just as long as Ned has done. 
 

Either of those explanations justifies the existence of the story, it justifies the surprise of the Reed children that Eddard never told the story to his own children. It also explains why they feel the need to tell Bran about the story. Howland being his own saviour would be a cheap twist which undermines the character and the story.

Couldn't have said it better myself. The Knight of the Laughing Tree was either Eddard or Lyanna Stark, far as I'm concerned. The whole point of the story was that Howland Reed's honour was saved by the knight because Reed couldn't stand up for himself. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

Couldn't have said it better myself. The Knight of the Laughing Tree was either Eddard or Lyanna Stark, far as I'm concerned. The whole point of the story was that Howland Reed's honour was saved by the knight because Reed couldn't stand up for himself. 

Geezus R.R. Martin.  He won the goddam day  The greathelm is proof it was Howland.  The next question should be how did he win - not I still don't think he could stand up for himself.  He fucking stood up for himself. How?. 

It contradicts your head canon.  So get out of your goddam head canon and look at what's on the page in front of you. 

I've got news for you.  Martin isn't going to tell you anything.  He will show you instead.  He has said as much. The answer is also in the text and it's straight out of Bran's mouth.  What it looks like can be found in a Dance with Dragons.   If you can't accept this one straightforward fact about the great helm; you will not comprehend the answer.   

Edited by LynnS

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Posted (edited)

It's still kinda murky. It is just a helm, after all. But it does seem odd with the rest of Meera's dressing. First time I read that part, I thought she was going to gift it to Bran as a token of loyalty from House Reed. But the siblings did that weird ritualistic oath, and one element they mention is iron, so the greathelm takes a bit more sense in that way, since they both literally wear an avatar of each element when they arrive.

Edited by Jon Fossoway

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, LynnS said:

The greathelm is proof it was Howland. 

The Knight had mismatched armor, because Lyanna was gathering equipment for herself all over the place. She "borrowed" that helm, and shirt and other items from various people (unknowingly to them). And because all that was junk, the original owners didn't noticed that those items were missing. The only distinguishable item amongst the Knight's equipment was the shield, which Lyanna "borrowed" from Howland. He himself had no idea that she took it, until he saw it during the tournament held in hands of the mystery knight. Howland left all his belongings, including that shield, at Ned Stark's tent, so that's from where Lyanna took it. So afterwards Lyanna left all the other items from the knight's equipment scattered around, because they were indistinguishable - just a helm, with no special markings, like a sigil or a figurine; the same thing with the bronze shirt.

Only the shield was unique, because it was a Cranogmen shield. Amongst all the people present at that tournament, only Howland had a shield like that, thus Lyanna had to get rid of that shield, because if someone found it amongst Howland's possessions, or lying somewhere in a tent of Starks, then people would have suspected either Howland or Starks. And then the King would have ordered to question all of them. And sooner or later either Howland would have had to take the blame and to lie that he was the mystery knight (which would have been easily disprooved, because people saw Howland at the time when the Knight was fighting against his (but actually hers) opponents (because it was Lyanna)), or Ned would have tried to say that it was him, not Howland, which also wouldn't have sailed. Because at the time of that Knight's appearance people saw Ned too, same as they saw Howland. Same thing with Brandon and Benjen, they were seen at that time.

At that time only Lyanna Stark was nowhere to be seen. That's why Rhaegar figured out who the Knight was. Because he noticed Lyanna during the feast, and since then he was always watching her. And thus he noticed her absence at the time when the mystery Knight had appeared.

Afterwards Howland took the helm and the bronze shirt, as mementos, or for practical use. That's why Meera has them. Howland is not KotLT. People saw Howland and KotLT at the same time.

"When his fallen foes sought to ransom horse and armor, the Knight of the Laughing Tree spoke in a booming voice through his helm, saying, ‘Teach your squire honor, that shall be ransom enough.’ Once the defeated knights chastised their squires sharply, their horses and armor were returned."

Chastised means punished or disciplined. When those three knights were told to do that, how do you think were they supposed to do that? Obviously they asked either the Knight or their squires for what reason are they supposed to be punished, what have they done. Or do you think that they just told to their squires - "You're a bad bad squire. Bad squire! Honor! Learn!" Or something like that? To chastise them, they had to know the reason what for. And it's likely that when those squires were punished for what they did to Howland, they were also made to apologize to him.

The Knight was observing over those three knights that were serving out punishment to their squires, and Howland was there receiving apologies from those squires. So the Knight and Howland were seen at the same time, and thus Howland is not KotLT.

Edited by Megorova

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20 minutes ago, Jon Fossoway said:

It's still kinda murky. It is just a helm, after all. But it does seem odd with the rest of Meera's dressing. First time I read that part, I thought she was going to gift it to Bran as a token of loyalty from House Reed. But the siblings did that weird ritualistic oath, and one element they mention is iron, so the greathelm takes a bit more sense in that way, since they both literally wear an avatar of each element when they arrive.

it's not an ordinary helm.  It's a greathelm, one that is used specifically for jousting.  One he acquired at the tournament.

Yes, I don't know what to make of the oath.  

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3 minutes ago, Megorova said:

The Knight was observing over those three knights that were serving out punishment to their squires, and Howland was there receieving apologies from those squires. So the Knight and Howland were seen at the same time, and thus Howland is not KotLT.

Howland was the KolLT.  The greathelm proves it because he left the tournament; took the borrowed equipment with him, leaving only the shield behind.  The greathelm is used in jousting tournaments and it shows up later in Meera's possession.

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My mayor problem with you theory is that the Starks actually offer Howland armor to participate in the tournament to take revenge and he refuses because he does not know how to joust. (see quote below)

This clearly shows there was no need for him to appear as a mystery knight, and doing it just to hide his identity in case he lost is also not a possibility because after defeat a mystery knight is unmasked so people would then still know it was him.

Honestly it makes more sence that he took  the stuff with him so however was the KotLT would not be found with them.

A Storm of Swords - Bran II
 "The wolf maid saw them too, and pointed them out to her brothers. 'I could find you a horse, and some armor that might fit,' the pup offered. The little crannogman thanked him, but gave no answer. His heart was torn. Crannogmen are smaller than most, but just as proud. The lad was no knight, no more than any of his people. We sit a boat more often than a horse, and our hands are made for oars, not lances. Much as he wished to have his vengeance, he feared he would only make a fool of himself and shame his people. The quiet wolf had offered the little crannogman a place in his tent that night, but before he slept he knelt on the lakeshore, looking across the water to where the Isle of Faces would be, and said a prayer to the old gods of north and Neck . . ."

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24 minutes ago, direpupy said:

My mayor problem with you theory is that the Starks actually offer Howland armor to participate in the tournament to take revenge and he refuses because he does not know how to joust. (see quote below)

This clearly shows there was no need for him to appear as a mystery knight, and doing it just to hide his identity in case he lost is also not a possibility because after defeat a mystery knight is unmasked so people would then still know it was him.

Honestly it makes more sence that he took  the stuff with him so however was the KotLT would not be found with them.

A Storm of Swords - Bran II
 "The wolf maid saw them too, and pointed them out to her brothers. 'I could find you a horse, and some armor that might fit,' the pup offered. The little crannogman thanked him, but gave no answer. His heart was torn. Crannogmen are smaller than most, but just as proud. The lad was no knight, no more than any of his people. We sit a boat more often than a horse, and our hands are made for oars, not lances. Much as he wished to have his vengeance, he feared he would only make a fool of himself and shame his people. The quiet wolf had offered the little crannogman a place in his tent that night, but before he slept he knelt on the lakeshore, looking across the water to where the Isle of Faces would be, and said a prayer to the old gods of north and Neck . . ."

There is a lot of equipment lying around at a tourney including the armory at Harrenhall.  Just because because he refused the Starks doesn't mean there wasn't any available for the taking.

The KotLT left the tourney because Aerys was offended saying the knight was no friend of his.  Then everyone set about trying to find him.  So he left in a hurray.  

We can't ignore the fact that he left and took the equipment, including the greathelm and then it later shows up in Meera's possession.   What throws people for a loop is that Howland was afraid and not trained as a knight.  (Another reason to keep his identity hidden.)  But the fact remains that he found his courage and won the day.  The real question is how did that happen, not that it couldn't happen..

 

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, SocratesSnow said:

A possible reason for the disguise is that he used some Old Gods magic to win. 

Bingo!  

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Bran II

"No one knew," said Meera, "but the mystery knight was short of stature, and clad in ill-fitting armor made up of bits and pieces. The device upon his shield was a heart tree of the old gods, a white weirwood with a laughing red face."

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - The Prince of Winterfell

"I take this man," the bride said in a whisper.

All around them lights glimmered through the mists, a hundred candles pale as shrouded stars. Theon stepped back, and Ramsay and his bride joined hands and knelt before the heart tree, bowing their heads in token of submission. The weirwood's carved red eyes stared down at them, its great red mouth open as if to laugh. In the branches overhead a raven quorked.

Quote

 

A Storm of Swords - Bran II

"The porcupine knight, the pitchfork knight, and the knight of the twin towers." Bran had heard enough stories to know that. "He was the little crannogman, I told you."

"Whoever he was, the old gods gave strength to his arm. The porcupine knight fell first, then the pitchfork knight, and lastly the knight of the two towers. None were well loved, so the common folk cheered lustily for the Knight of the Laughing Tree, as the new champion soon was called. When his fallen foes sought to ransom horse and armor, the Knight of the Laughing Tree spoke in a booming voice through his helm, saying, 'Teach your squires honor, that shall be ransom enough.' Once the defeated knights chastised their squires sharply, their horses and armor were returned. And so the little crannogman's prayer was answered . . . by the green men, or the old gods, or the children of the forest, who can say?"

 

 

Edited by LynnS

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16 hours ago, LynnS said:

Here are the current theories on the identity of the Knight of the Laughing Tree:

Knight of the Laughing Tree/Theories - A Wiki of Ice and Fire (westeros.org)

I'm going to present evidence, from the text, that Howland Reed is the Knight of the Laughing Tree.  Which I stumbled on by accident, while doing a search on bronze and iron, wondering what became of Mance's helm..

Meera's Greathelm:

I checked wikipedia to learn more about great helms:

Great helm - Wikipedia

The only object the mystery knight leaves behind is the leather shield.  He took everything else with him.

Howland not only passed on his shirt of bronze scales to Meera, but the prize he took from the tournament.  The great helm which Meera uses as a cooking pot.  Hat tip to Tucu!

Clever, clever George!

First of all, I cosidered Howland being the KOTLT a ppssibility before this post as well, somewhat at the same page as Lyanna (50%-50%). I still cosider both of them a great possibility, but this is serious evidence, and if not, too much coincidence for my liking.

The thing is: The plot (I mean RLJ) doesn't require Lyanna to be this mistery knight, and it would've raised suspicion if Lyanna was missing every appearance of the KOTLT, wouldn't it? Maybe not because they did not consider a woman a possibility for this secret identity, but the daughter of the Lord of the Winterfell dissapearing everytime this mistery knight appears, that's still suspicious, for any other reason as well.

And while the jousting helm supports Howland, the knight's voice supports Lyanna still. But then presenting the story to Bran the way Meera did also doesn't make much sense if Lyanna was the TKOTLT.

Yes, I still can't decide.

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4 minutes ago, Daeron the Daring said:

And while the jousting helm supports Howland, the knight's voice supports Lyanna still. But then presenting the story to Bran the way Meera did also doesn't make much sense if Lyanna was the TKOTLT.

Yes, I still can't decide.

The Booming voice you mean?  That always sounded more male than female to me.  For me it's not a question of who anymore. but how.

 

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Posted (edited)

Here is an excerpt from the book "Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon" by James Hibberd that should be considered.  The Pack Survives, page 295

Spoiler


Quote

While taking refuge in a cave, Bran used his seer powers to travel into the past and saw Hodor as a young boy, then named Willis.  In the present, the Army of the Dead attacked, and Hodor was ordered to "hold the doo" to allow Bran and Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) to escape.  While back in his vision, Willis has an epileptic-like fit, repeating "hold the door" over and over.  Gradually the phrase morphed into just one word.  "Hodor which became the name everybody called him.  Hodor spent years loyally looking after Bran, saving him countless times and keeping him safe, and all the while it was Bran who was inadvertently responsible for his friend's mental debilitation

Martin conceived of Hodor's backstory when writing the first book in his saga, and t was one of the ideas he told the show's producers about during their session three meeting in Santa Fe.

GEORGE R.R. MARTIN (author, co-executive producer).  It's an obscenity to go into somebody's mind.  So Bran may be responsible for Hodor's simplicity, do to going into his mind so powerfully that it ripped back through time.  The explanation of Bran's powers, the whole question of time and causality -- can we affect the past?  Is time a river you can only sail one way or an ocean that can be affected wherever you drop into it?  These are issues I want to explore in the book, but it's harder to explain in a show. 

At this point, we really don't know what Bran's powers will become.  It's interesting that Martin has been exploring these ideas since Game of Thrones.

Page 296

Martin said the "hold the door " scene in the forthcoming book will play out differently than in the show.

Quote

GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: I thought they executed it very well, but there are going to be differences in the book.  They did it very physical --  "hold the door" with Hodor's strength.  In the book Hodor has stolen one of the swords from the crypt.  Bran has been warging into Hodor and practicing with his body, because Bran has been trained in swordplay.  So, telling Hodor to "hold the door" is more like "hold the pass" -- defend it when enemies are coming -- and Hodor is fighting and killing them.  A little different, but same idea.   


 

In the books Bran has always wanted to be a Knight and he practices swordplay using Hodor.  At the entrance to the cave of Skulls, Bran is ambushed by the wights and suddenly he finds himself in Hodor who has reached the limits of his strength and endurance:

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Bran II

"Hoooodor" came a whimper, from somewhere down below.

And suddenly he was not Bran, the broken boy crawling through the snow, suddenly he was Hodor halfway down the hill, with the wight raking at his eyes. Roaring, he came lurching to his feet, throwing the thing violently aside. It went to one knee, began to rise again. Bran ripped Hodor's longsword from his belt. Deep inside he could hear poor Hodor whimpering still, but outside he was seven feet of fury with old iron in his hand. He raised the sword and brought it down upon the dead man, grunting as the blade sheared through wet wool and rusted mail and rotted leather, biting deep into the bones and flesh beneath. "HODOR!" he bellowed, and slashed again. This time he took the wight's head off at the neck, and for half a moment he exulted … until a pair of dead hands came groping blindly for his throat.

Bran backed away, bleeding, and Meera Reed was there, driving her frog spear deep into the wight's back. "Hodor," Bran roared again, waving her uphill. "Hodor, hodor." Jojen was twisting feebly where she'd laid him down. Bran went to him, dropped the longsword, gathered the boy into Hodor's arm, and lurched back to his feet. "HODOR!" he bellowed.

Here is supercharged Bran/Hodor, seven feet of roaring, bellowing fury. 

Here's Bran at the end of Meera's story:

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Bran II

"She was," said Meera, "but that's a sadder story."

"Are you certain you never heard this tale before, Bran?" asked Jojen. "Your lord father never told it to you?"

Bran shook his head. The day was growing old by then, and long shadows were creeping down the mountainsides to send black fingers through the pines. If the little crannogman could visit the Isle of Faces, maybe I could too. All the tales agreed that the green men had strange magic powers. Maybe they could help him walk again, even turn him into a knight. They turned the little crannogman into a knight, even if it was only for a day, he thought. A day would be enough.

One has to wonder if Howland has become something of a green man when he went to the Isle of Faces.  What magics he might have learned from them. One of the magics of his people is 'talking to trees". We know Bran can travel the wiernet and see events in the past.  Can he also talk to the green men?  To Howland Reed?   Can he enter Howland's mind in the similar manner that tree-Bran enters Jon's mind at the Skirling Pass?  Can he give the KotLT a power-up in the same manner as Hodor at the Cave of Skulls?

Did Bran get his wish to be a Knight for one day?

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Bran II

"No one knew," said Meera, "but the mystery knight was short of stature, and clad in ill-fitting armor made up of bits and pieces. The device upon his shield was a heart tree of the old gods, a white weirwood with a laughing red face."

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - The Prince of Winterfell

"I take this man," the bride said in a whisper.

All around them lights glimmered through the mists, a hundred candles pale as shrouded stars. Theon stepped back, and Ramsay and his bride joined hands and knelt before the heart tree, bowing their heads in token of submission. The weirwood's carved red eyes stared down at them, its great red mouth open as if to laugh. In the branches overhead a raven quorked.

Howland prays to the gods:

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A Storm of Swords - Bran II
 "The wolf maid saw them too, and pointed them out to her brothers. 'I could find you a horse, and some armor that might fit,' the pup offered. The little crannogman thanked him, but gave no answer. His heart was torn. Crannogmen are smaller than most, but just as proud. The lad was no knight, no more than any of his people. We sit a boat more often than a horse, and our hands are made for oars, not lances. Much as he wished to have his vengeance, he feared he would only make a fool of himself and shame his people. The quiet wolf had offered the little crannogman a place in his tent that night, but before he slept he knelt on the lakeshore, looking across the water to where the Isle of Faces would be, and said a prayer to the old gods of north and Neck . 

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A Storm of Swords - Bran II

"The porcupine knight, the pitchfork knight, and the knight of the twin towers." Bran had heard enough stories to know that. "He was the little crannogman, I told you."

"Whoever he was, the old gods gave strength to his arm. The porcupine knight fell first, then the pitchfork knight, and lastly the knight of the two towers. None were well loved, so the common folk cheered lustily for the Knight of the Laughing Tree, as the new champion soon was called. When his fallen foes sought to ransom horse and armor, the Knight of the Laughing Tree spoke in a booming voice through his helm, saying, 'Teach your squires honor, that shall be ransom enough.' Once the defeated knights chastised their squires sharply, their horses and armor were returned. And so the little crannogman's prayer was answered . . . by the green men, or the old gods, or the children of the forest, who can say?

"

Edited by Ran
TV show spoilers in the non-TV section.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, LynnS said:

A greathelm is not something that any crannogman would have any use for or likely come across unless they were at at tourney.  This is something that has been given to her along with her shirt of bronze scales.  It's amusing that she uses it as a cooking pot but its also serves as memento of the KotLT.  Her father who has regaled her with this tale again and again.

I think you’re right, that the great helm is evidence that Howland was very much connected with the Harrenhal mystery knight.  I’m not sure that it is dispositive though, that he was the one in the armor, riding the horse.  But that still might not completely close the door on the idea that he may have also contributed to the Mystery Knight’s victories.

In other words, the idea of the Mystery Knight being either Howland or Lyanna may be present a false choice.  It’s possible that the Mystery Knight was an amalgram  of both Howland and Lyanna’s skill sets.  In other words, I think it’s highly possible that they cheated.

We’re well aware of Lyanna’s skill sets.  She’s a very accomplished rider.

Notably Howland isn’t a good rider, he hasn’t had much experience with it.  But Howland does have other skill sets that could contribute.

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“He was small like all crannogmen, but brave and smart and strong as well. He grew up hunting and fishing and climbing trees, and learned all the magics of my people.”

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“No,” said Meera, “but he could breathe mud and run on leaves, and change earth to water and water to earth with no more than a whispered word. He could talk to trees and weave words and make castles appear and disappear.”

And we’re given an idea that Crannogmen don’t fight fair:

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“We won’t find them,” the Frey boy said suddenly. “Not so long as the frogeaters are with them. Mudmen are sneaks, they won’t fight like decent folks, they skulk and use poison arrows. You never see them, but they see you.”

While I like LynnS’ idea of Bran contributing to the KOTLT, it’s doubtful that Bran could contribute the horsemanship necessary to win a joust.  And it’s a skill that Howland lacks as well.  Which is where I think Lyanna comes in.

Lyanna is the rider, while Howland’s skills are used to fix the matches.  Barristan’ lessons about jousting may be insightful:

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“A man will win one tourney, and fall quickly in the next. A slick spot in the grass may mean defeat, or what you ate for supper the night before. A change in the wind may bring the gift of victory.” He glanced at Ser Jorah. “Or a lady’s favor knotted round an arm.”

A slick spot in the grass:

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and change earth to water and water to earth with no more than a whispered word

What you ate for supper the night before:

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they won’t fight like decent folks, they skulk and use poison

A change in the wind:

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talk to trees

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“No, stay,” Bran commanded her. “Tell me what you meant, about hearing the gods.”
Osha studied him. “You asked them and they’re answering. Open your ears, listen, you’ll hear.”
Bran listened. “It’s only the wind,” he said after a moment, uncertain. “The leaves are rustling.”
“Who do you think sends the wind, if not the gods?”

While I like your idea of Bran lending a hand, any help he can lend probably lies with a “change in the wind”.  He’s not going to be able to turn Howland into a horse rider. At least not one skilled enough to look competent in a joust.

I think we’re looking at a tag team effort with Howland and Lyanna, both acting in concert to make up the KOTLT.  (And cheating to ensure victory).

Having Lyanna act alone makes Howland too much of a passive actor in his own revenge scheme.  Likewise not including Lyanna at all doesnt’ add much to her character development regarding her boldness, and loyalty.

And practically, neither one alone possesses the requisite skills to defeat three experienced jousters.  

So I think both contribute to the Knight.  And it may have even been Howland magically (or skillfully) throwing his voice to provide the voice for the Laughing Tree Knight at the end.  

As for the great helm, Lyanna probably couldn’t have taken it with her without some questions being raised from her family.  But Howland could.  Which may explain why Meera wanted to bring this particular souvenir back to Winterfell.

 

Edited by Frey family reunion

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