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kyleM

The Knight of the Laughing Tree

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I wanted to discuss with you guys and gals about Meera Reed's story in aSoS about the Knight of the Laughing Tree. I think the main bulk of the story isnt too hard to decipher, but there are several things about the story that I'm not sure about or curious about.

1. Is the Knight of the Laughing Tree actually Howland Reed. Meera begins her story by saying that he could have been a crannogman, to which Jojen replies "Or not." Jojen seems to me to be a pretty blunt kid who says the truth no matter who it hurts. So him saying maybe it wasnt a crannogman leads me to think maybe it isnt Howland. I'm pretty sure that it is, but with GRRM you never know for certain.

2. "...the little crannogman spied the three squires who attacked him. One served a pitchfork knight, one a porcupine, while the last attended a knight with two towers on his surcoat,..." The last one is obviously the Freys, but what are the first two?

3. "The crannogman saw a maid with laughing purple eyes dance with a white sword, a red snake, and the lord of griffins, and lastly with the quiet wolf..." I'm pretty certain the maid is Ashara, the white sword is Ser Arthur Dayne and the red snake is Oberyn Martell, but who is the lord of griffins?

4. "The storm lord drank down the knight of skulls and kisses in a wine-cup war". The storm lord must be Robert Baratheon, but who is the knight of skulls and kisses. The only banner with a skull I recall is the Manwoody's from Dorne who have a crowned skull. (P.S. I feel bad for them. Having the name Manwoody. Poor guys.)
The storm lord and the knight of skulls and kisses get mentioned togther one more time aswell.

5. Not a question but I find it interesting that Benjen Stark (called the young pup) gets mentioned and then immediatly after comes "A black brother spoke, asking the knights to join the Night's Watch". Leads me to think Benjin decided then he was going to take the Black.

So overall I'm just wondering what the significance of the story is. At first I thought the Knight of the Laughing Tree was Ned and that him helping Howland to get revenge of the squires was what formed their friendship, but Ned would have been much bigger than Howland at this time. So that doesnt make sense. I believe this story is put in the begin the tale of Howland Reed's friendship with the Starks and thus why he would travel with Ned to the Tower of Joy to save Lyanna. Lyanna saved Howland from the squires' attack so he is in her debt. It seems like Benjen and Howland get along better than Ned and Howland. Uhhh I dont know. I know this post is a bit scattered but I just wanted to open it up to discussion.

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1. In my opinion, the KotLT is either Howland Reed or Lyanna Stark, both of whom would have been small of stature. It has been suggested that it could also have been Ned or Benjen Stark but I don't think so because of lack of fulfilling story direction. It's a better story, if nothing else, if it's either Lyanna or Howland. I don't know why Jojen would have said what he said if it [i]was[/i] Howland, so Lyanna is my top pick.

2. Pitchfork is House Haigh, porcupine is House Blount.

3. Griffin is Jon Connington.

4. Skulls and kisses is Richard Lonmouth

5. That could be, but Benjen would also have been exposed to the Nights Watch and its importance his whole life long. The Starks actually seem to consider it a worthy cause, this could have been just one of many times Benjen has thought about it. No real reason it couldn't be as you said though.

ETA: Welcome to the board.

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Thank you Lady Blackfish. I have quite a bit of knowldege to learn about the land of Westeros, but with nice people such as yourself I'm sure I'll have a good time doing it.

What do you think the overall significance of the story is?


Also I forgot to mention that during the entire telling of the story Meera and Jojen keep asking Bran; Are you sure you havent heard this? You must have heard this one. I cant believe you dont know this one. Your father must have told you this tale. These comments make me think that the story meant quite a lot to Howland Reed, enough to make him tell his kids the story over and over again. The same should be true for Ned Stark. Why didnt he tell his kids this story? I would assume it's because Ned doesnt wish to talk about R+L or Ashara around Catelyn or her children. Just seems weird that you ask your best friend not to discuss something and then he turns around and tells his kids that story every other night before they go to bed.

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The Reeds do seem to be surprised by Ned's silence on the story, so I think that A) the story has to have important bearing on Ned's life, which is not to hard to see since it touches on Rhaegar and Lyanna first meeting each other and B) that Ned didn't tell Howland to be quiet about the story. I think that is reasonable, Ned was in a state of incredible stress leading an army and dealing with his brother's, father's, and sister's death. He maybe told Howland to not speak a word about what happened at the Tower of Joy, but didn't think to include the Harrenhal tale. I can see that happening. I don't think Ned ever planned on any of his kids trekking through the wilderness with the Reeds, so to me its a realistic omission. What were you thinking it might mean?

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[quote name='Lady Blackfish' post='1350308' date='May 10 2008, 13.43']The Reeds do seem to be surprised by Ned's silence on the story, so I think that A) the story has to have important bearing on Ned's life, which is not to hard to see since it touches on Rhaegar and Lyanna first meeting each other and B) that Ned didn't tell Howland to be quiet about the story. I think that is reasonable, Ned was in a state of incredible stress leading an army and dealing with his brother's, father's, and sister's death. He maybe told Howland to not speak a word about what happened at the Tower of Joy, but didn't think to include the Harrenhal tale. I can see that happening. I don't think Ned ever planned on any of his kids trekking through the wilderness with the Reeds, so to me its a realistic omission. What were you thinking it might mean?[/quote]

It is possible that Ned's reluctance doesn't spring from the delicate nature of the topics discussed, but simply from personal pain: he seems to have fallen in love at that tourney, and Harrenhal was certainly the indirect origin of Robert's Rebellion.

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It's a story in which Ned apparently fell in love with Ashara, Lyanna apparently fell for Rhaegar (she cried when he sang), and Rhaegar walked past his wife, Elia of Dorne, to crown Lyanna Stark as the Queen of Love and Beauty. Ned later remembers that as the moment when "all smiles died."

It has been argued that Lyanna is the Knight of the Laughing Tree. Ned tells Arya that she's like Lyanna, and it's not hard to imagine Arya going after people who didn't act as she thought they should. If Lyanna was the KoLT and Rhaegar knew it, her bravery and sense of justice might be part of what attracted him to her.

The Harrenhal tournament is quite possibly also the occasion on which Benjen decided to join the NW, since the recruiter is specifically mentioned. (Benjen would have been taught to honor the NW, but the mention of the recruiter sounds like he played a role in Benjen's decision.) It was, therefore, a crucial moment in the lives of the Stark children of that generation--and one that led to the deaths of Brandon, Lyanna, and their father. I can see the Reeds assuming that the current Stark children would have heard it. Harrenhal was a huge affair; probably the things that happened there were much discussed among the nobility.

One thing that intrigues me: Ned says that Howland Reed saved his life in the battle with the KG by the ToJ (I believe he specifically says Reed saved him from Arthur Dayne, but I'm not sure). If that's so, how come a year and some months earlier at Harrenhal Reed wasn't able to deal with a couple of squires?

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[quote name='Minchandre' post='1350331' date='May 10 2008, 14.44']It is possible that Ned's reluctance doesn't spring from the delicate nature of the topics discussed, but simply from personal pain: he seems to have fallen in love at that tourney, and Harrenhal was certainly the indirect origin of Robert's Rebellion.[/quote]
Ashara could have easily been omitted from the story though, she didn't actually do anything in the main plot of that tale.

[quote name='Shewoman' post='1350358' date='May 10 2008, 15.31']If that's so, how come a year and some months earlier at Harrenhal Reed wasn't able to deal with a couple of squires?[/quote]I had thought that there was speculation that either magic or some kind of trickery was involved? There's also adrenaline and luck.

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Some have suggested that Reed saved Ned by warging into one of the KG--but if he could do that, why didn't he do it at Harrenhal?

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Also remember it was what, 7on3? Surely Dayne was injured by then. I doubt any of the 3 could have killed 5 of Ned's party without getting injured (obvious - two of them died).

All I have to say is I hope Martin has the story of what happened here written down somewhere, because it is probably the best bit of lore in all of Westeros, as far as I'm concerned. I would probably wet myself if I saw it on tv (say on HBO).

Anyway, I do have a feeling that Lyanna was the Knight of the Laughing Tree and Rhaegar knew it. He crowned her because she was a champion too, in his eyes....but he also loved her. Plus, if Arya is just like Lyanna, I could see Arya doing something like that.

edit- Also, I didn't think about the name "Knight of the Laughing Tree". Maybe there is some significance to it. /shrug

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Shewoman,

[quote name='Shewoman' post='1350358' date='May 10 2008, 14.31']It's a story in which Ned apparently fell in love with Ashara, Lyanna apparently fell for Rhaegar (she cried when he sang), and Rhaegar walked past his wife, Elia of Dorne, to crown Lyanna Stark as the Queen of Love and Beauty. Ned later remembers that as the moment when "all smiles died."[/quote]

Now that you remind me, I remember that line, but I don't remember where it happened. AGoT, obviously, but which chapter?

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It's a Ned PoV that in my American paperback is on pp. 650-1: Ned has a memory of Harrenhal: Robert berserk in the melee, Jaime being made a member of the KG, Rhaegar defeating Brandon and Arthur Dayne in the armor in which he died, passes Elia to give the crown of winter roses to L: “The moment when all smiles died.”

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Another thing. When Harwin chases down Arya after she runs away he says "You ride like a Northman, milady. Your aunt, Lady Lyanna, was the same". Later Jaime says that jousting is for the most part good horsemanship.

The fact that the knight refused to unmask him/herself rules out Howland and Benjen, IMO. The knight had to have a reason to remain a mystery. Being a highborn girl who shouldn't be knocking knights off their horses is a reason.

Also, I remember Howland had barely ever ridden a horse before the war. I doubt he could have held his seat in a joust.

Lyanna however, would have been small compared to the other knights, showed prowess with a sword, and was a great horserider. I picture a 14/15 year old Arya, and am sure that she could pull this off.

About the TOJ, if Howland was as good with a net as Meera, I think he could have saved Ned from Ser Arthur.

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[quote name='cygmund' post='1350487' date='May 11 2008, 03.45']Also remember it was what, 7on3? Surely Dayne was injured by then. I doubt any of the 3 could have killed 5 of Ned's party without getting injured (obvious - two of them died).[/quote]
The question here is by when? For all we know the moment Reed saved Ned could have been the first strike of the fight.

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It is said, Aerys sent out Prince Rhaegar to unmask the knight, so it's likely that he was Lyanna. If he found her, it would mark the start of their relationship.

I assume that Howland Reed killed Arthur Dayne by using poison.

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[quote name='Lord Varys' post='1351394' date='May 11 2008, 18.53']It is said, Aerys sent out Prince Rhaegar to unmask the knight, so it's likely that he was Lyanna. If he found her, it would mark the start of their relationship.

I assume that Howland Reed killed Arthur Dayne by using poison.[/quote]


I always assumed Rhaegar never found the night, but if he did and found him to actually be Lyanna....hmm thats very interesting.

What leads you to think he killed Dayne? And what makes you think he used poison?

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[quote name='Sarella' post='1351350' date='May 11 2008, 17.40']The fact that the knight refused to unmask him/herself rules out Howland and Benjen, IMO. The knight had to have a reason to remain a mystery. Being a highborn girl who shouldn't be knocking knights off their horses is a reason.[/quote]


Nothing in the rest of the story leads me to think that Howland is some sort of show boat who would want to take off his helmet and reveal himself (if it was infact him). All he set out to do was teach the squires a lesson. He did that and then took off. He didnt have any reason at all to reveal himself.

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Guest Other-in-law
[quote name='kyleM' post='1351486' date='May 11 2008, 21.50']Nothing in the rest of the story leads me to think that Howland is some sort of show boat who would want to take off his helmet and reveal himself (if it was infact him). All he set out to do was teach the squires a lesson. He did that and then took off. He didnt have any reason at all to reveal himself.[/quote]
Enough of a showboat to teach them a lesson in the most extravagant, conspicuous way possible, before the entire realm, though? I think it's worth noting who lay into those squires in the first place...it wasn't fish out of water Howland.

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[quote name='Other-in-law' post='1351495' date='May 11 2008, 21.02']Enough of a showboat to teach them a lesson in the most extravagant, conspicuous way possible, before the entire realm, though? I think it's worth noting who lay into those squires in the first place...it wasn't fish out of water Howland.[/quote]


Be as extravagant and conspicous as you possibly can be. I wont call you a showboat till you take off your mask and say hey look everybody its me who did all that stuff!

Yeah it certainly is worth noting Lyanna was the first one to lay into those squires. You've all convinced me. I'm on the Lyanna side of the Laughing Tree now.

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