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kyleM

The Knight of the Laughing Tree

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I think it's most likely Lyanna, but the argument that Benjen or Howland would have unmasked themselves doesn't make sense to me. The reason why Howland might not do such a thing is outlined above.

Benjen could have a good reason not to, as well. He's pretty young at that point (can't remember if he's older or younger than Lyanna), but I believe around 15? in any case, not really old enough to be in the lists. However, there is precedent for masked underage participants, mainly Barristan at the age of 10. However, usually, the masked participant, like Selmy, doesn't unmask themselves until forced to, after they've lost a match.

So, suppose it was Benjen. He wins the three "revenge" tilts, but after having such success decides to continue on, therefore doesn't unmask himself. That night at the feast, however, everyone hears the Mad King state the masked "man" is a traitor to the realm. Now, what would you do in Benjen's situation? Pretend it never happened, not reveal yourself, and not continue on in the lists, that's what.

However, despite all that I put above, as I said it's most likely Lyanna. The horseriding comments and the slight stature of the KotLT are what convince me, though. That, and that it provides a way for Lyanna and Rhaeger to meet, which presumably they did before he crowed her Queen of Love and Beauty.

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I love this idea, works great and adds another level to the Tower of Joy story. I'd never really considered that it might NOT be Howland.

Has anybody considered that Ned may not have told the story because he didn't think it horribly significant? Reed is such a perceptive man that he pieced this together as the start of a chain of events which eventually led to the rebellion. He's probably the only man in Westeros who understood what happened at Harrenhall, and how important it really was.

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[quote name='The Czar' post='1351377' date='May 11 2008, 19.25']The question here is by when? For all we know the moment Reed saved Ned could have been the first strike of the fight.[/quote]

Yeah I wonder how the whole sequence of the battle went. It can't have lasted more than a couple minutes. I can even see it lasting less than a minute - very fast, quick and brutal.

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It was Lyanna Stark.

Raegar was sent to find out who it was, then the next day he wins the tourney, the Laughing Tree Knight never showed up for day two, but Raegar crowns her the queen of Love and Beauty.
I think he found her, fell for her..... Fire and Ice gets steamy and along comes Snow.


my only question is, How in the world did she make her voice deep, and Didn't anyone notice she wasn't around?

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I doubt that Howland was the only one to notice that Rhaegar stalked past his own wife to crown Lyanna Stark the Queen of Love and Beauty. I don't think anyone at that time thought, 'Well, that's gonna start a war," but in retrospect I doubt that anyone--certainly not Ned--could have missed it. It cost him two of his three siblings, his father, and--ultimately--Ashara, since he took dead Brandon's place as Catelyn's husband.

Benjen is the youngest Stark of his generation.

If Lyanna was wearing a helmet, that would make her voice deeper and kind of echo-y. Harrenhal was crowded and I doubt if anyone would wonder where she was--it would be so easy to assume she was hanging out somewhere else on the grounds. At that point--before she was crowned as Queen of the tournament--she was just the Stark girl, not particularly significant. I doubt that anyone but her family was interested in where she was at any given moment.

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[quote name='Shewoman' post='1352274' date='May 12 2008, 12.44']I doubt that Howland was the only one to notice that Rhaegar stalked past his own wife to crown Lyanna Stark the Queen of Love and Beauty. I don't think anyone at that time thought, 'Well, that's gonna start a war," but in retrospect I doubt that anyone--certainly not Ned--could have missed it. It cost him two of his three siblings, his father, and--ultimately--Ashara, since he took dead Brandon's place as Catelyn's husband.[/quote]

I agree that no one could have seen a war being the end result, but, even at the time, folks noticed it and didn't really regard it as a good or even a harmless move on Rhaegar's part. In AGoT, Ned recalls that this moment (when Rhaegar crowned Lyanna) was when "all the smiles died." It could have been viewed as a slight to Elia and a direct insult to Robert. If no one had paid much attention to Lyanna before that moment, Rhaegar's actions made [b]everyone[/b] notice.

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[quote name='DocBean' post='1352250' date='May 12 2008, 14.22']Fire and Ice gets steamy and along comes Snow.[/quote]

Lol. That is awesome. Yeah I think it was Lyanna as well.

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[quote name='DocBean' post='1352250' date='May 12 2008, 13.22']my only question is, How in the world did she make her voice deep, and Didn't anyone notice she wasn't around?[/quote]

This is one of the main clues that cinches it for me.
How could she *not* have a deep voice? A lady -- actually a girl's voice would be a dead giveaway. She has no choice but to disguise her voice by faking it. Making it as deep as she can, it would have to be notably deep, perhaps even obviously fake -- further enraging the King's paranoia to discover the traitorous knight mocking the sport of his knights.

If it were Benjen or Howland -- the deep voice would still be possible -- but not necessary to the story. In Lyanna's case, it is a necessity to remaining undiscovered (and a necessary clue to determining the identity of the mystery knight in the story).

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The theory that Lyanna was the Knight of the Laughing Tree makes sense to me. She certainly had the personality for it and the motive. And it would explain why Rhaegar crowned her. Perhaps he discovered who she was and either A. fell in love with her and gave her the roses after winning or B. simply gave her the roses to show he knew who really won the tournament

The only thing that seems odd is that Lyanna would have such skill at jousting. That's where my doubt comes from. Although Harwin's comment to Arya says she was a good rider, which is in her favor, and Loras is evidence that you don't necessarily need to be super brawny to be a good jouster. Could she have trained at this the way Arya trained with the sword?

Another argument would be for Benjen, I guess. I do wonder if the tale has any bearing on why he joined the NW. I've always thought he did so when Aerys demanded Eddard's head so as not to be dragged in. Although on retrospect, Benjen doesn't seem like the type who would take an oath to avoid a fight. I'm wandering a little off topic, but now it comes to me that we never hear mention of Benjen during Robert's rebellion. Did he already take his oath? If so, why? Was it to escape Aerys? Perhaps he was a page somewhere and the noble family in charge of him gave him the choice of taking the NW oath or being sent to Aerys. Or maybe it was before that, and had something to do with the Harrenhal tourney. Any thoughts?

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[quote name='Nadie' post='1352364' date='May 12 2008, 14.03']'m wandering a little off topic, but now it comes to me that we never hear mention of Benjen during Robert's rebellion. Did he already take his oath? If so, why? Was it to escape Aerys? Perhaps he was a page somewhere and the noble family in charge of him gave him the choice of taking the NW oath or being sent to Aerys. Or maybe it was before that, and had something to do with the Harrenhal tourney. Any thoughts?[/quote]

I can't be certain, but I think it mentions that Benjen joined or decided to join the NW during the feast, when the Nights Watchman spoke up, looking for recruits.

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I believe Benjen spent the war caretaking Winterfell, and joined the NW only after Ned returned. It seems likely his decision to join the NW was made earlier though, and that the war made him postpone joining until he could be spared.

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as an alternative explanation for Ned's relative silence on the Knight of the Laughing Tree, consider the isolation of Greywater Watch.

first of all, I don't think Ned would have ordered Howland Reed, possibly he closest friend in the whole world, to do anything. he would have trusted Howland to do the right thing, and he probably considered Howland's judgment at least as good as his own.

second, because no one ever talks to the crannogmen, its probably not that difficult to keep national secrets. I suspect Ned asked Howland to protect Jon's secret, and to do that how he see fit. In keeping with that, Howland told his isolated, trustworthy children the story.

peripherally, do we actually know whether Howland Reed is still alive? I suspect he is, but it is definitely possible that his children know all the secrets.

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[quote name='Sleipnir' post='1352398' date='May 12 2008, 15.25']I can't be certain, but I think it mentions that Benjen joined or decided to join the NW during the feast, when the Nights Watchman spoke up, looking for recruits.[/quote]

I don't think it does. It mentions the NW brother asking for men to join, but that's about it.

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[quote name='A wilding' post='1352399' date='May 12 2008, 15.25']I believe Benjen spent the war caretaking Winterfell, and joined the NW only after Ned returned. It seems likely his decision to join the NW was made earlier though, and that the war made him postpone joining until he could be spared.[/quote]

Is this speculation or do you have evidence in the text?

It does make sense that Benjen would be sent to stay at Winterfell during the war, so at least an heir to House Stark was safe. (although hadn't Catelyn already been pregnant with Rob?)

I'm just wondering if this actually happened.

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[quote name='Nadie' post='1352485' date='May 12 2008, 15.25']Is this speculation or do you have evidence in the text?

It does make sense that Benjen would be sent to stay at Winterfell during the war, so at least an heir to House Stark was safe. (although hadn't Catelyn already been pregnant with Rob?)

I'm just wondering if this actually happened.[/quote]

Found this in the Citadel:

"Benjen Stark joined the Night's Watch shortly after Lord Eddard had returned to Winterfell and Lady Catelyn had taken up residence with the infant Robb." (SSC: 89) i.e. from So Spake Martin.

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We don't hear about Benjen during the war because he was the Stark at Winterfell then. Rickard and Brandon were dead and Ned was one of Robert's generals; there was no one but Benjen to do it. I do think the mention of the NW recruiter at Harrenhal may be a clue that that's when he decided to go to the Wall, but since Ned went to war he had to wait until the war ended.

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I'm all for Lyanna being the Knight of the Laughing Tree.

A comment on how Howland saved Ned's life. Crannogmen fight with three-pronged spears and nets. Imagine a knight of the Kingsguard fighting in battle, only to be defeated because he got tangled in a net, and possibly killed while in it. While not technically dishonorable, I think Ned would think it quite a shameful way for such a great knight, and someone who Ned seemed to really respect, die.

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[quote name='telobsidion' post='1352803' date='May 12 2008, 22.44']I'm all for Lyanna being the Knight of the Laughing Tree.

A comment on how Howland saved Ned's life. Crannogmen fight with three-pronged spears and nets. Imagine a knight of the Kingsguard fighting in battle, only to be defeated because he got tangled in a net, and possibly killed while in it. While not technically dishonorable, I think Ned would think it quite a shameful way for such a great knight, and someone who Ned seemed to really respect, die.[/quote]

It's not dishonorable to win by net and spear. All's fair in love and War, in this case Love cause the war, and Arthur had to die.

Someone said they thought that Howland and Ned may have killed The Sword of the Morning first, but with those type of odds you have to think that the Sword of the Morning took some people out, and he was the only one left against Ned and Howland.

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[quote name='Nadie' post='1352364' date='May 12 2008, 15.03']The only thing that seems odd is that Lyanna would have such skill at jousting. That's where my doubt comes from. Although Harwin's comment to Arya says she was a good rider, which is in her favor, and Loras is evidence that you don't necessarily need to be super brawny to be a good jouster. Could she have trained at this the way Arya trained with the sword?[/quote]

Ned told Arya that she reminded him of Lyanna, I think it's been pointed out that she was a bit of a Tom Boy.
I'd have to think she's jousted a time or two against her brothers. and she's small which makes for a hard Target.
If she is indeed like Arya it would be hard to keep her out of that tournament if she got her head set on it.

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Oba--of course everyone was aware of Rhaegar's bypassing his wife to crown Lyanna. It was a big deal. Someone had suggested earlier that maybe Ned hadn't told Bran about Harrenhal because he didn't think what happened there was all that significant--but as you point out with the "all smiles died" comment, obviously Ned did realize at the time what a faux pas Rhaegar had committed and he could hardly have missed the deaths of his father and brother resulting from that incident.

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