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Why Gerold "Darkstar" Dayne is the most dangerous man in Dorne?


Willam Stark
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I tend to think that Doran views Darkstar as 'dangerous' because of what he knows rather than how many people he can kill with a sword.

Gerold Dayne is the right age to have been a squire to Arthur Dayne so maybe he know what happens at the Tower of Joy? Although I can't think how that would get back to Doran so maybe he knows another important secret?

Just to note that there are also quite a few 'dead before their time' Daynes in our story. We know how Arthur died and we've been told how Ashara died (however some readers question this). However, we don't know how Edric Dayne's father died. Gerold also appears to be the knight in charge of High Hermitage which means that his father and/or mother is dead too.

Maybe Darkstar is considered dangerous because there are rumours that he's a kinslayer? That he even went as far as to kill his own father and/or mother?

I have no evidence for this, of course, but its interesting to think about.

 

 

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47 minutes ago, Lady_Qohor said:

Maybe Darkstar is considered dangerous because there are rumours that he's a kinslayer? That he even went as far as to kill his own father and/or mother?

I have no evidence for this, of course, but its interesting to think about.

No man is so accursed as the kinslayer. If he had been one, he'd be named one.

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On 2/1/2022 at 12:37 PM, Jaenara Belarys said:

He's got a temper that fluctuates when the wind blows. Makes him hard to deal with, and he's fairly good with a sword.  

I'm inclined to agree it's something similar to this.   My guess is that his reputation is mostly temperament based, and not necessarily strictly based on his fighting prowess - we don't really know that he's any better than Areo Hotah, Daemon Sand, or even Archibald Yronwood for that matter.  

 

He seems to be viewed as unpredictable, and perhaps not as loyal/unquestioning/controllable as subjects are expected to be in this society.  Combine that with at least a decent swordsmanship reputation, and he's probably viewed as dangeous.  "The most dangerous" may be true, or an exaggeration.  I think we a readers sometimes forget we are getting most of our information from the POV of other characters, and those other characters may have flawed opinions or incomplete knowledge of other characters or the truth of what is occurring.  

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On 2/1/2022 at 8:49 AM, Damsel in Distress said:

I think he is a bastard of Aerys Targaryen. 

Yes

On 2/2/2022 at 4:00 AM, Falcon2909 said:

If darkstar is the most dangerous man in dorne, why hasn't doran put a bounty on him or an arrest warrant? 

Good question. I can only guess at an answer. Perhaps Darkstar has a loyal following among the lords who don’t like the Martells.  

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On 2/1/2022 at 5:20 PM, Mordred said:

Hyperbole.  Doran exaggerated.  Darkstar is a man of strong feelings.  Doran is not.  Darkstar is young, virile, and good at combat.  Doran is not.  Doran fears what he doesn't understand.  What Darkstar represents is the same to the Martells as was what the Blackfyres were to King Daeron Targaryen.  An ideological as well as a political threat.  Bravery is an admired quality and many warriors will follow Darkstar for that reason alone.  Doran is looked on with the same pity as Bran.  A bedridden man is not an inspiration to some. 

Darkstar is a pale imitation of Oberyn Martell, Doran's brother. Arianne even makes the direct comparison betwixt the two in her chapters. Doran goes on at length to Arianne and the sand snakes about him and oberyn working together like the snake and the grass.

He very would understand Darkstar in your scenario. He might very well fear what he represents, but for sure he understands the kind of man DS is.

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3 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Darkstar is a pale imitation of Oberyn Martell, Doran's brother. Arianne even makes the direct comparison betwixt the two in her chapters. Doran goes on at length to Arianne and the sand snakes about him and oberyn working together like the snake and the grass.

He very would understand Darkstar in your scenario. He might very well fear what he represents, but for sure he understands the kind of man DS is.

Before his attack (if he did slash at her) on myrcella, was he still the most dangerous man in dorne and why ?

 

On 2/6/2022 at 2:09 PM, Darth Sidious said:

Yes

Good question. I can only guess at an answer. Perhaps Darkstar has a loyal following among the lords who don’t like the Martells.  

Yronwoods come to mind. Why would these lords follow some edgy youth ?what does he have to offer ? He's not even from the famous Daynes - he's from its cadet branch and not even it's heir 

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7 hours ago, Falcon2909 said:

Before his attack (if he did slash at her) on myrcella, was he still the most dangerous man in dorne and why ?

Possibly? And we have no idea unless it was the fact he was a worthy, attractive consort to arianne albeit a particularly unsuitable one in Doran’s eye as it would undue the betrothal

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On 2/6/2022 at 11:33 PM, Falcon2909 said:

Before his attack (if he did slash at her) on myrcella, was he still the most dangerous man in dorne and why ?

 

Yronwoods come to mind. Why would these lords follow some edgy youth ?what does he have to offer ? He's not even from the famous Daynes - he's from its cadet branch and not even it's heir 

So far as we know. But look at it from a different side. Suppose he is a Blackfyre. I find this much more of a possibility but I don’t discount him being a bastard of King Aerys II. The latter would make him very dangerous beyond the boundaries of Dorne. His danger increases if he has Blackfyre in his possession. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/2/2022 at 1:55 PM, Lady_Qohor said:

I tend to think that Doran views Darkstar as 'dangerous' because of what he knows rather than how many people he can kill with a sword.

Gerold Dayne is the right age to have been a squire to Arthur Dayne so maybe he know what happens at the Tower of Joy? Although I can't think how that would get back to Doran so maybe he knows another important secret?

Just to note that there are also quite a few 'dead before their time' Daynes in our story. We know how Arthur died and we've been told how Ashara died (however some readers question this). However, we don't know how Edric Dayne's father died. Gerold also appears to be the knight in charge of High Hermitage which means that his father and/or mother is dead too.

Maybe Darkstar is considered dangerous because there are rumours that he's a kinslayer? That he even went as far as to kill his own father and/or mother?

I have no evidence for this, of course, but its interesting to think about.

 

 

Exactly, a lot of people take this as physically dangerous, but what if it is because what he KNOWS? If Arthur Dayne is in fact not dead what better place to have him hide than a castle named High Hermitage? 

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On 2/2/2022 at 3:00 AM, Falcon2909 said:

If darkstar is the most dangerous man in dorne, why hasn't doran put a bounty on him or an arrest warrant? 

I thought at the end of the last book that Doran sent Obara with Balon Swann to go hunt Mr. Dorkstar. (Sorry, I can't bring myself to say Darkstar. Anyone who calls themselves that is at best a dork.)

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On 2/1/2022 at 1:49 PM, Damsel in Distress said:

I think he is a bastard of Aerys Targaryen. 

On 2/2/2022 at 12:57 PM, three-eyed monkey said:

Yep, me too. Aerys and Ashara Dayne. Unlikely to have been consensual, and the reason Ashara was sent home from court. Timeline would fit.

On 2/6/2022 at 1:33 PM, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

Is there any solid evidence for this?

Nothing that can be considered solid evidence at this stage, but there may be some clues that Darkstar is the bastard of Aerys with Ashara.

Barristan describes Ashara as Princess Elia's companion, who had not been long at court by the time of the tourney in Harrenhal in 281.

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Rhaegar had chosen Lyanna Stark of Winterfell. Barristan Selmy would have made a different choice. Not the queen, who was not present. Nor Elia of Dorne, though she was good and gentle; had she been chosen, much war and woe might have been avoided. His choice would have been a young maiden not long at court, one of Elia's companions … though compared to Ashara Dayne, the Dornish princess was a kitchen drab.

Ashara went to King's Landing to wait on the princess. However, it seems Ashara was back in Starfall in 283 when Ned went there following the Tower of Joy, despite the fact that Elia was in King's Landing up until the sack. So when and why did Ashara go home?

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Sadly, the marriage between Aerys II Targaryen and his sister, Rhaella, was not as happy; though she turned a blind eye to most of the king's infidelities, the queen did not approve of his "turning my ladies into his whores." (Joanna Lannister was not the first lady to be dismissed abruptly from Her Grace's service, nor was she the last).

Aerys was known for his infidelities, and turning the queen's ladies-in-waiting into his whores. Elia and her ladies, like Ashara, would also have been located in the Red Keep and I doubt very much that Aerys restrained himself to his wives ladies only. Joanna Lannister was not the first lady to be dismissed, nor was she the last. But who was the last? I suspect it was Ashara Dayne.

Ashara Dayne is reported to have had a child, but there is much mystery and rumors around that child. The most common tale is that child is Ned's bastard.

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"Aye, he told me. Lady Ashara Dayne. It's an old tale, that one. I heard it once at Winterfell, when I was no older than you are now." He took hold of her bridle firmly and turned her horse around. "I doubt there's any truth to it. But if there is, what of it? When Ned met this Dornish lady, his brother Brandon was still alive, and it was him betrothed to Lady Catelyn, so there's no stain on your father's honor. There's nought like a tourney to make the blood run hot, so maybe some words were whispered in a tent of a night, who can say? Words or kisses, maybe more, but where's the harm in that? Spring had come, or so they thought, and neither one of them was pledged."

Barristan believes Ashara had a stillborn daughter, and thinks the father was Brandon Stark.

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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.

While both accounts greatly differ, a surviving son with Ned or a stillborn daughter by Brandon, they agree that Ashara's pregnancy coincides approximately with Harrenhal, so Ashara must have began showing signs of pregnancy in the months following the tourney. Regardless of who the father really was, this was probably enough to have Ashara dismissed by the queen. Aerys has a reputation and then one of Elia's companions, a very beautiful one at that, becomes pregnant. Even if Rhaella thought the father was a Stark and not her husband, she'd almost still have to have sweep Ashara away quickly for the sake of the gossip that would surely arise if she stayed.

I think there is good reason to speculate that Ashara left King's Landing because she was dismissed when she became pregnant. So the question then becomes, who is the father of her child? Ned danced with Ashara at Harrenhal. Brandon was there too and he liked to bloody his blade, Lady Dustin recalls. Both are certainly possibilities, but they are not the only possibilities. Aerys was there too. Ashara may not even have conceived at Harrenhal, it might have happened back in the Red Keep weeks later for all we know.

Most of us are certain that Jon is the son of Lyanna, so that rules him out as Ashara's child. Does that mean she had a stillborn daughter then, as Barristan had heard? Not necessarily. It's possible, of course, as stillborn children are not uncommon in Westeros, but it's hard to see what the point of that would be other than building the character of Ashara, which is a perfectly legit reason if she's still alive. However, if she had a son after being raped by Aerys, and wanted to hide that fact and the boy, by having him raised as a Dayne of the cadet branch in High Hermitage, then Ashara having a stillborn girl makes for a good cover-story. Having the child raised at High Hermitage as opposed to Starfall, would also remove Gerold from the question of inheritance over a younger but legitimate Dayne like young Ned.

Being the son of Aerys would add a political layer to Darkstar, beyond what Ned or Brandon would offer. So if Aerys and Ashara did have a son, what might he look like? I think he could well look like Darkstar.

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If there was a handsomer man in Dorne, she did not know him. Ser Gerold Dayne had an aquiline nose, high cheekbones, a strong jaw. He kept his face clean-shaven, but his thick hair fell to his collar like a silver glacier, divided by a streak of midnight black. He has a cruel mouth, though, and a crueler tongue. His eyes seemed black as he sat outlined against the dying sun, sharpening his steel, but she had looked at them from a closer vantage and she knew that they were purple. Dark purple. Dark and angry.

I accept that the Dayne and Targaryen looks are similar, so Ser Gerold might just look like a Dayne. But it's equally as plausible that his silver hair comes from his father's side while the black streak comes from his mother, who had dark hair according to Barristan.

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Even after all these years, Ser Barristan could still recall Ashara's smile, the sound of her laughter. He had only to close his eyes to see her, with her long dark hair tumbling about her shoulders and those haunting purple eyes.

Arianne even contemplates what her children would look like if she married Gerold.

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Arianne watched him warily. He is highborn enough to make a worthy consort, she thought. Father would question my good sense, but our children would be as beautiful as dragonlords.

She thinks their children would be as beautiful as Targaryens. I think she's right. She's also right that Doran would question her good sense.

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He shook his head. "Would that we had. You were a fool to make him part of this. Darkstar is the most dangerous man in Dorne. You and he have done us all great harm."

If Darkstar is Aerys' bastard, then he would indeed be very dangerous to Doran's plan. The Prince of Dorne is planning on siding with a legitimate Targaryen, or so he thinks. First Viserys, then Dany, now Aegon, depending on Arianne's mission. A Targaryen bastard would obviously pose a threat to any such alliance in a way that no other man in Dorne could.

It raises a question as to why Doran didn't have Darkstar eliminated? I think he would if it came to it, he and Oberyn may even have discussed it, but as long as Darkstar doesn't know his real identity then the threat is negligible. He only knows what he's been told by the people who raised him at High Hermitage, who clearly raised him as a Dayne.

One big objection is that it would make Darkstar 17 or 18 years old, just a year or so older than Jon. I don't ever remember his age being mentioned, just that he's a man, which means 16+ in Westeros. A lot of readers feel he's older. I don't know if GRRM ever confirmed his age in an interview, but as far as I recall it's not in the books.

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On 1/31/2022 at 4:12 PM, Willam Stark said:

Gerold was first introduced to us during the Queenmaker's plot led by Arianne, and after his attempt to kill Myrcella, he finally fled.

It was when Arianne confronted her father that the famous sentence was said:

"You were a fool to make him part of this. Darkstar is the most dangerous man in Dorne. You and he have done us all great harm."

A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.

Do you have any ideas?

I would say based on what we've seen thus far. He is unpredictable. For some one like Doran who probably feels that he can predict most peoples actions, has a hard time predicting Darkstar. As Darkstar has few loyalties and belongs to a cadet branch of a major house. Meaning he's probably a schemer who is looking to rise in ranks. Meaning that the only thing Doran can count on with Dark Star, is that he is dangerous. Like how Roose should never have been trusted. Anything beyond that is hard to tell from the scant info we're given about him.

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I didn't found him unlikeable as a character. Certainly, GRRM had the intention of furthering Arianne's plot with him. Without the 5 years gap, which presumably -at least, to me- would have made Ned Dayne the Sword of the Morning, 'tis now p to Gerold Dayne to steal it and do some harm. But, honestly, reading some of Arianne's chapters, which I don't remember even mentioning him, well, who knows...

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The thing about Doran’s fear of ‘what Darkstar knows’ is that that’s a pretty easily solved problem if it represents a great danger. Especially if he is in fact not an especially great fighter. Unless the Adrianne/Myrcella fiasco was an elaborately orchestrated hit that went wrong. 
 

Luring a hot-headed brooder into a duel with a better fighter can’t be that difficult.

Edited by James Arryn
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