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Knight of the Laughing Tree Theory


Crona
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3 minutes ago, Crona said:

Well the interesting part is in the passage, it appears Meera believes the KOLT is her father (might have been a crannogman) but Jojen says maybe not, then assumes Bran would know the story, I believe Jojen thinks its Bran's family. But they both do not know the identity and Howland is holding back the identity. There is also another part that Ned doesn't speak of, its when Howland Reed saves him from Arthur, he stops speaking of it. I know that Ned was holding back in speaking of Lyanna to protect Jon. But, I don't see how concealing the KOLT identify (if its Lyanna) would matter cause Rhaegar and Lyanna had vanished together after Harrenhal.

If Howland had encountered Bran on Isle of Faces and it does seem to me that they are acquainted, given that the laughing tree is seen only in the mind's eye; then he would know why Ned must live at the ToJ. 

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7 minutes ago, Crona said:

Well the interesting part is in the passage, it appears Meera believes the KOLT is her father (might have been a crannogman) but Jojen says maybe not, then assumes Bran would know the story, I believe Jojen thinks its Bran's family. But they both do not know the identity and Howland is holding back the identity. There is also another part that Ned doesn't speak of, its when Howland Reed saves him from Arthur, he stops speaking of it. I know that Ned was holding back in speaking of Lyanna to protect Jon. But, I don't see how concealing the KOLT identify (if its Lyanna) would matter cause Rhaegar and Lyanna had vanished together after Harrenhal.

Except that if the Knight of the laughing tree was Howland (possessed by Bran) then why would Ned even know? And if he did why would Jojen expect Bran to have heard the story a hundred times?

Also, "might have been a crannogman" doesn't seem to me like something Meera would say about her dad, who is absolutely a crannogman, but maybe that's just my feeling.

As for the Tower of Joy, the obvious reason not to tell stories about what happened there is because Ned and Howland participated in a huge cover up about a possible Targaryen heir to the Iron Throne?

I'm inclined to think that Lyanna got pregnant with Jon at Harrenhall by Rhaegar (which is why she disappeared a few months later when she couldn't hide the pregnancy) and died at the Tower of Joy giving birth to a second child (this would also explains why the Kingsguard felt their duty was there, Jon was already born). However, it raises questions about Jon's age and opens a whole rabbit hole I'm not sure we want to dive down here...

Edited by Mourning Star
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5 minutes ago, LynnS said:

If Howland had encountered Bran on Isle of Faces and it does seem to me that they are acquainted, given that the laughing tree is seen only in the mind's eye; then he would know why Ned must live at the ToJ. 

Yea he even says he was going to die lol

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10 minutes ago, Mourning Star said:

Except that if the Knight of the laughing tree was Howland (possessed by Bran) then why would Ned even know? And if he did why would Jojen expect Bran to have heard the story a hundred times?

 

Ned does not speak of it, we do not why, same as in why we he does not speak of how Arthur died, perhaps he can't even explain it. Perhaps he does not want to think of anything close to Lyanna.  It is Howland who actually told the story. Because Bran's family was present at the tourney and it appears to be either Howland or the Starks as KOLT thats why they think Ned told Bran.

 

10 minutes ago, Mourning Star said:

 

As for the Tower of Joy, the obvious reason not to tell stories about what happened there is because Ned and Howland participated in a huge cover up about a possible Targaryen heir to the Iron Throne?

 

It still does not explain why he doesn't say how Arthur died? Everyone knows Arthur died by Ned.

 

Edited by Crona
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14 minutes ago, Crona said:

Ned does not speak of it, we do not why, same as in why we he does not speak of how Arthur died, perhaps he can't even explain it. Perhaps he does not want to think of anything close to Lyanna.  It is Howland who actually told the story. Because Bran's family was present at the tourney and it appears to be either Howland or the Starks as KOLT.

Ned doesn't seem to speak about anything related to Jon/Lyanna, so I don't see the conflict at the Tower of Joy or Arthur's death as an outlier there. I don't know what you mean by can't explain it...

Howland told the story to his children, but for Jojen to have such an expectation that Bran had heard the story so many times, indicates to me that Jojen thinks the Knight of the Laughing Tree was Bran's family member. Given the stature of the knight, the obvious option would appear to be Lyanna, and this fits with everything we know about her and riding/jousting, with her being crowned, Rhaegar loving her, ect. 

14 minutes ago, Crona said:

It still does not explain why he doesn't say how Arthur died? Everyone knows Arthur died by Ned.

I don't understand the question here, who doesn't say? Ned? Because he doesn't give any details about Jon/Lyanna, this fits with that. He does mention Arthur to Bran, though he doesn't say much.

"The finest knight I ever saw was Ser Arthur Dayne, who fought with a blade called Dawn, forged from the heart of a fallen star. They called him the Sword of the Morning, and he would have killed me but for Howland Reed." Father had gotten sad then, and he would say no more. Bran wished he had asked him what he meant.

I'm inclined to think Howland said something, rather than stabbed Arthur in the back.

Edited by Mourning Star
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4 minutes ago, Mourning Star said:

Ned doesn't seem to speak about anything related to Jon/Lyanna, so I don't see the conflict at the Tower of Joy or Arthur's death as an outlier there. I don't know what you mean by can't explain it...

 

The realm knows Arthur died, Ned tells Bran that he would have died by Arthur but for Howland Reed....then he just stops. Lets say he goes on to say Ned said Howland stabbed Arthur in the back or Howland told Arthur to stop and he killed himself (I don't think Howland talked him, I think Arthur died sword in hand like a knight defending his king). It still does not change the narrative of Lyanna, it does no affect on her storyline. Because he had already said that Arhur died, he just didn't explain how he died. 

8 minutes ago, Mourning Star said:

 

Howland told the story to his children, but for Jojen to have such an expectation that Bran had heard the story so many times, indicates to me that Jojen thinks the Knight of the Laughing Tree was Bran's family member. Given the stature of the knight, the obvious option would appear to be Lyanna, and this fits with everything we know about her and riding/jousting, with her being crowned, Rhaegar loving her, ect. 

 

Yes he does think its Bran's family, the reason he thinks of this is because the Stark family was present and in the story helping the cranogman. Jojen thinks Bran's family would tell the story just like Howland had told his children. 

 

11 minutes ago, Mourning Star said:

 

I don't understand the question here, who doesn't say? Ned? Because he doesn't give any details about Jon/Lyanna, this fits with that. He does mention Arthur to Bran, though he doesn't say much.

"The finest knight I ever saw was Ser Arthur Dayne, who fought with a blade called Dawn, forged from the heart of a fallen star. They called him the Sword of the Morning, and he would have killed me but for Howland Reed." Father had gotten sad then, and he would say no more. Bran wished he had asked him what he meant.

I'm inclined to think Howland said something, rather than stabbed Arthur in the back.

he would have killed me but for Howland Reed." Father had gotten sad then, and he would say no more. Bran wished he had asked him what he meant.

He just ends it here, usually you would say how this person died or what happened but he just ends it.  I just think its curious, its not part of my OP , but it is something with Howland that Ned does not speak of. 

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1 hour ago, LynnS said:

This would to make it easier to slip into Hodor's mind as Hodor becomes less afraid.  Who does the training in swordplay benefit?  Bran or Hodor? 

I’m talking more about how the complete lack of jousting training for Bran and Howland goes quite a long way to debunking the idea that Bran skinchanged Harrenhal Howland to be the KotLT.

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5 minutes ago, Macgregor of the North said:

I’m talking more about how the complete lack of jousting training for Bran and Howland goes quite a long way to debunking the idea that Bran skinchanged Harrenhal Howland to be the KotLT.

Well, I grant you we don't have much evidence for jousting. All I could say we do have this quote and Bran has time:

 A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. 

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58 minutes ago, Crona said:

I know that Ned was holding back in speaking of Lyanna to protect Jon. But, I don't see how concealing the KOLT identify (if its Lyanna) would matter cause Rhaegar and Lyanna had vanished together after Harrenhal.

'Cause Martin whats us to speculate KOLT's identity, maybe? And Ned might not have approved of Lyanna's actions in disguising herself as a knight and participating in a tourney and he didn't want anyone else to know.

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39 minutes ago, Crona said:

The realm knows Arthur died, Ned tells Bran that he would have died by Arthur but for Howland Reed....then he just stops. Lets say he goes on to say Ned said Howland stabbed Arthur in the back or Howland told Arthur to stop and he killed himself (I don't think Howland talked him, I think Arthur died sword in hand like a knight defending his king). It still does not change the narrative of Lyanna, it does no affect on her storyline. Because he had already said that Arhur died, he just didn't explain how he died. 

I would suggest that what Howland said caused Arthur Dayne to set aside Dawn, The Sword of the Morning, and this is why Ned was able to prevail. Obviously, this is not a supposition I can truly defend with the text. And I don't mean to completely derail the topic at hand...

But, I do think there is an odd similarity between the "Smiling Knight" and the "Knight of the Laughing tree". Not in who they are or the practical details, but in that this is the other case we get an account of Arthur fighting a duel.

 And he'd held his own against the Smiling Knight, though it was Ser Arthur who slew him. What a fight that was, and what a foe. The Smiling Knight was a madman, cruelty and chivalry all jumbled up together, but he did not know the meaning of fear. And Dayne, with Dawn in hand . . . The outlaw's longsword had so many notches by the end that Ser Arthur had stopped to let him fetch a new one. "It's that white sword of yours I want," the robber knight told him as they resumed, though he was bleeding from a dozen wounds by then. "Then you shall have it, ser," the Sword of the Morning replied, and made an end of it.
The world was simpler in those days, Jaime thought, and men as well as swords were made of finer steel. Or was it only that he had been fifteen? They were all in their graves now, the Sword of the Morning and the Smiling Knight, the White Bull and Prince Lewyn, Ser Oswell Whent with his black humor, earnest Jon Darry, Simon Toyne and his Kingswood Brotherhood, bluff old Sumner Crakehall. And me, that boy I was . . . when did he die, I wonder? When I donned the white cloak? When I opened Aerys's throat? That boy had wanted to be Ser Arthur Dayne, but someplace along the way he had become the Smiling Knight instead.

Three of those graves seem to be at the Tower of Joy.  Jaime got his white cloak at Harrenhall.

I suspect that Arthur, in this final duel, refused to use Dawn because of what Howland said. Did it have to do with Ashara Dayne, and whatever happened to her at Harrenhall? Did Howland say something that made Arthur feel unworthy to fight with Dawn? Or a reason to make it a "fair fight"? I can only wildly speculate further! haha

But Ashara's daughter had been stillborn, and his fair lady had thrown herself from a tower soon after, mad with grief for the child she had lost, and perhaps for the man who had dishonored her at Harrenhal as well. She died never knowing that Ser Barristan had loved her. How could she? He was a knight of the Kingsguard, sworn to celibacy. No good could have come from telling her his feelings. No good came from silence either. If I had unhorsed Rhaegar and crowned Ashara queen of love and beauty, might she have looked to me instead of Stark?

Edited by Mourning Star
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Just now, Odej said:

'Cause Martin whats us to speculate KOLT's identity, maybe? 

Usually makes things in-universe sense. Like when Illyrio says to Varys, if one hand can go then you can do it again. The reader is lead to think of Jon Arryn, but it is actually Jon Connington. 

4 minutes ago, Odej said:

And Ned might not have approved of Lyanna's actions in disguising herself as a knight and participating in a tourney and he didn't want anyone else to know.

But it was known already by Howland Reed, did Howland Reed swear secrecy over the KOLT? Why specifically that? Because if they just said it was Lyanna, it does not change her story. 

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12 minutes ago, Crona said:

But it was known already by Howland Reed, did Howland Reed swear secrecy over the KOLT? Why specifically that? Because if they just said it was Lyanna, it does not change her story. 

It might very much change the "official" story that Rhaegar abducted and raped Lyanna... especially if in pursuing the Knight of the Laughing Tree is how Rhaegar fell in love with her.

I know it's probably not popular, but I don't think Rhaegar's love of Lyanna had anything to do with prophesy.

Edited by Mourning Star
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9 minutes ago, Mourning Star said:

It might very much change the "official" story that Rhaegar abducted and raped Lyanna... especially if in pursuing the Knight of the Laughing Tree is how Rhaegar fell in love with her.

Not necessarily, Lyanna and Rhaegar vanished months later...and just because they liked each other earlier does not mean he can't take her without consent later. 

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2 minutes ago, Crona said:

Not necessarily, Lyanna and Rhaegar vanished months later...and just because they liked each other earlier does not mean he can't take her without consent later. 

Certainly true, I am only speculating.

I just have never gotten the feeling from this story that Rhaegar actually abducted Lyanna, or even that prophesy had anything to do with their relationship. I've long suspected it was Lyanna who ran off...

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36 minutes ago, Macgregor of the North said:

I’m talking more about how the complete lack of jousting training for Bran and Howland goes quite a long way to debunking the idea that Bran skinchanged Harrenhal Howland to be the KotLT.

The gods gave him strength to his arm:

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?"

Some quotes about Bran:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Bran IV

"I wish you were our wards instead of the Walders." He began to struggle toward the nearest tree. His dragging and wriggling was unseemly to watch, but when Meera moved to lift him he said, "No, don't help me." He rolled clumsily and pushed and squirmed backward, using the strength of his arms, until he was sitting with his back to the trunk of a tall ash. "See, I told you." Summer lay down with his head in Bran's lap. "I never knew anyone who fought with a net before," he told Meera while he scratched the direwolf between the ears. "Did your master-at-arms teach you net-fighting?"

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Bran VII

He remembered who he was all too well; Bran the boy, Bran the broken. Better Bran the beastling. Was it any wonder he would sooner dream his Summer dreams, his wolf dreams? Here in the chill damp darkness of the tomb his third eye had finally opened. He could reach Summer whenever he wanted, and once he had even touched Ghost and talked to Jon. Though maybe he had only dreamed that. He could not understand why Jojen was always trying to pull him back now. Bran used the strength of his arms to squirm to a sitting position. "I have to tell Osha what I saw. Is she here? Where did she go?"

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Bran IV

"Summer, to me." Bran spread his arms. "Watch," he said, an instant before the wolf bowled into him. He clung with all his strength as the wolf dragged him bumping through the grass. They wrestled and rolled and clung to each other, one snarling and yapping, the other laughing. In the end it was Bran sprawled on top, the mud-spattered direwolf under him. "Good wolf," he panted. Summer licked him across the ear.

 

Edited by LynnS
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5 minutes ago, Crona said:

But it was known already by Howland Reed, did Howland Reed swear secrecy over the KOLT? Why specifically that? Because if they just said it was Lyanna, it does not change her story. 

The point isn't whether or not to change Lyanna's story, it's simply Ned not wanting to comment on something his sister did that he probably didn't approve of and that would still be considered scandalous by most people, a woman pretending to be a knight. He asked Howland to keep it a secret? Maybe. But if the KOLT were Howland himself, there's less reason why he shouldn't reveal it.

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8 minutes ago, LynnS said:

The gods gave him strength to his arm:

Some quotes about Bran:

 

I think this fits with Crannogpeoples not knowing anything about jousting... strength is not presented as much of a help:

Dunk watched a server fill his wine cup. "I am better with a sword than with a lance," he admitted, "and even better with a battleaxe. Will there be a melee here?" His size and strength would stand him in good stead in a melee, and he knew he could give as good as he got. Jousting was another matter.

Riding, which Crannogpeoples don't do, but Lyanna is talented at, is:

Jousting was three-quarters horsemanship, Jaime had always believed.

Edited by Mourning Star
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3 minutes ago, Mourning Star said:

Certainly true, I am only speculating.

I just have never gotten the feeling from this story that Rhaegar actually abducted Lyanna, or even that prophesy had anything to do with their relationship. I've long suspected it was Lyanna who ran off...

Oh I agree! I think they really did like each other, but I am not sure exactly what happened. It could be that Lyanna ran off because she didn't want to marry Robert and Rhaegar found her and they developed feelings. I believe the TOJ is where Lyanna will finally tell Ned what happened between her and Rhaegar. I feel like the Tourney of Harrenhal is more akin to how Loras crowned Sansa, it was sort of a political move. But of course, I could be completely wrong :)

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4 minutes ago, Odej said:

The point isn't whether or not to change Lyanna's story, it's simply Ned not wanting to comment on something his sister did that he probably didn't approve of and that would still be considered scandalous by most people, a woman pretending to be a knight. He asked Howland to keep it a secret? Maybe. But if the KOLT were Howland himself, there's less reason why he shouldn't reveal it.

Well you are certainly entitled to your opinion there. I frankly don't think Ned would disapprove of Lyanna in jousting, I would think his father would, but Rickard is dead. Ned does not talk much of what happened in that time, it has been a sadness in him because of all the tragedies during this time which is the reason he doesn't talk about it. I think Howland knew what was happening, and he does not want to take the credit. 

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4 minutes ago, Mourning Star said:

I think this fits with Crannogpeoples not knowing anything about jousting... strength is not presented as much of a help:

Dunk watched a server fill his wine cup. "I am better with a sword than with a lance," he admitted, "and even better with a battleaxe. Will there be a melee here?" His size and strength would stand him in good stead in a melee, and he knew he could give as good as he got. Jousting was another matter.

Riding, which Crannogpeoples don't do, but Lyanna is talented at, is:

Jousting was three-quarters horsemanship, Jaime had always believed.

They don't ride much that isn't to say they don't know how to ride.  Riding skills in jousting have more to do with controlling a stallion than anything else.  It's more likely that Lyanna found Howland a good horse, most likely a mare.  Strength of arm does make a difference if you mean to unseat three grown men in armor.  For whatever riding skills or practice at rings, I doubt Lyanna had the strength in her arm to knock them off their horses.  It's more likely that the impact would have knocked her off her own horse.

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