An example of this is- what is the role of the Kingsguard in protecting the royal family? Are they beholden to the entire family, or the king alone? Well I think to some extent that depends on what the king says. We have examples of Mad King Aerys apparently raping his wife, and yet senior Kingsguard (and notably well- respected members) told Jaime to stand down.
"We are sworn to protect her as well." Jaime says to Ser Darry as they guard the bedroom
"We are, but not from him." replies Darry.
Also when Aerys has Brandon Stark and his father put to death in a particularly gruesome way, Jaime is advised by Hightower.
"You swore a vow to guard the king, not to judge him."
So here you have the great and noble knights, the ones Jaime and everyone looks up to, basically telling Jaime that the king can do whatever he wants. It's not for them to intervene. And maybe that's right, technically- but how ironic is it that Jaime wanted to act, and the great knights said no, when the great knights are lionized and Jaime is reviled?
It's also interesting that just as Jaime looked up to those great knights, years later he would appear to many as the epitome of what a knight should be. Here's what a young Jon Snow thinks the first time he sees Jaime.
They called him the Lion of Lannister to his face and whispered "Kingslayer" behind his back. Jon found it hard to look away from him.
Jaime at one point recalls the summer he was knighted for his actions against the Kingswood Brotherhood, a notorious outlaw band. He was a squire to the Kingsguard.
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 somplace along the way he had become the Smiling Knight instead.
The other thing I want to look at with the Kingsguard is their actions at the Tower of Joy. This is where three Kingsguard stood against seven as Ned Stark came down to rescue his sister Lyanna. There is some disagreement as to whether Lyanna was taken by Rhaegar or went with him- regardless Rhaegar was away fighting Robert and three of the greatest Kingsguard were left to guard her. Even from her brother? These three were Ser Arthur Dayne, Ser Gerold Hightower and Ser Oswell Whent.
"I came down on Storm's End to lift the siege," Ned told them, "and the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne dipped their banners, and all their knights bent the knee to pledge us fealty. I was certain you would be among them." "Our knees do not bend easily," said Ser Arthur Dayne.
"Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him."
"Ser Willem is a good man and true," said Ser Oswell. "But not of the Kingsguard," Ser Gerold pointed out. "The Kingsguard does not flee."
"Then or now," said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.
"We swore a vow," explained old Ser Gerold.
"And now it begins," said Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. He unsheathed Dawn and held it with both hands. The blade was pale as milkglass, alive with light.
"No," Ned said with sadness in his voice. "Now it ends."
I've only read the first 3 books and we've only recently started watching the tv series (I know! What's WRONG with us??) But I really struggle with all the violence. My husband enjoys it though, so I just close my eyes!ReplyDelete
I'm not a huge fan of the show (and it is violent) but I LOVE the books.Delete
This again proves to me that Jaime at heart is a good man who ends up somewhat corrupted by his family and their actions. You can see history repeating itself in wanting to stop the King raping his wife and what Brienne was saved from later. Does that make him in some ways more honourable than the knights he so admires? Possibly. I do agree that he gets the rough end of the deal. Nobody cared about the end of the Mad King but Jaime is still mocked for killing him. He just can't win...ReplyDelete
I think so. Jaime has done bad things, but like he says he wanted to be the best. And that was the point I was going for- this guy that everyone reviles now wanted to do the right thing then, and the "great" knights said no.Delete
One day I'll have to try this author, I don't even have tried the TV show but one day one day!!! right I need to do a lot of thingsReplyDelete
Not enough time right?Delete
Am I the only one that hasn't read or seen any Game of Thrones? LOLReplyDelete
sherry @ fundinmental
No, you're not alone. :) I didn't want the show for several seasons but since they've passed the books I watch now.Delete
Your practically encyclopedic knowledge of this series never fails to impress me, Greg! Even though I've read (almost) all the books, I hardly remember most of the things you're referencing. Maybe my memory is starting to go already, haha!ReplyDelete
Aw I don't know about that but thanks! And there is so much stuff it's so easy to forget- I had to really do a little digging because I remembered some things but couldn't remember all the quotes!Delete
I have yet to pick up any of these books. I don't get to see the series except on free weekends but honestly I think your digging is more interesting. :) You have me more curious about the books.ReplyDelete
Thanks. The books are awesome and while I like the show in some ways I mainly watch to see how they interpret, but I'm not a HUGE fan of the show...Delete
I'm still resisting reading these...lolReplyDelete
Ha ha... they're so long you almost have to dedicate a month to read them lol.Delete
Great post! I really love how you're delving into such important aspects of the series. I hadn't really given it much thought before, but you're right. The Kingsguard are definitely put into some pretty difficult, morally ambiguous situations at times.ReplyDelete
Thank you! I don't think the Kingsguard are given much attention on the show, which is understandable since they have limited time, but in the books with Jaime you get more about them.Delete
I love just how complex a character Jaime is and while I can't condone all of his actions I can definitely understand his motivations.ReplyDelete
I'm also at an odds with the books and TV series at the moment because - Selmy? What's going on there?
Both he and Jaime to me were amazing Kingsguards and neither of them were cut and dried characters.