Discussing a recent question on M&TV, It occurred to me that the duel between Ser Arthur Dayne and the Smiling Knight isn't all that clear.

The passage says:

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.

When reading this, I always thought it meant that Arthur handed over his sword to his foe but still won. But there are those who read it as Arthur Dayne killing the Smiling Knight right there, denying his request for Dawn. My understanding is based on the following reasons:

  1. Arthur Dayne had the reputation of being the finest and most chivalrous Knight who ever lived.
  2. Jaime remembers both men and their fight with admiration. It would have been very dishonourable and unchivalrous of him to mislead his opponent that he was considering his request. Jaime would have made some cynical comment about it then. Like he made about Ser Gerold Hightower on his response to Jaime on Aerys burning Rickard Stark to death and Ser Oswell Whent on his refusal to do something about protecting the Queen from savagery of the King. As he notes right after his recollection of the duel, men were made of finer steel back in those days, there is nothing fine about relying on superior quality of your sword rather than your skill. That too in face of an enemy bleeding from a dozen wounds taken from that very sword, who also happens to be more or less equally chivalrous.
  3. It makes no sense for Arthur Dayne to stop the fight to allow his opponent to rearm himself if he was just going to kill him anyways.

So is there any official, explicit indicator as to what really happened there? Did Arthur Dayne really give his sword to the Smiling Knight and finish the job with a new sword? Or did he just kill the robber Knight with Dawn?

  • 8
    I think it's quite clear. He killed him, with Dawn.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 9:25
  • @Edlothiad He did. But with what sword?
    – Aegon
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 9:25
  • I don't know why you need extra clarification, hmmm ;;;;;;)
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 9:28

1 Answer 1


There are three interpretations from the quote "Then you shall have it, ser" and they are:

  1. Here, take it, I don't like it anymore
  2. You will have to pry it from my dead body!
  3. You will get it but it will be buried in your skull!

Now from the initial quote alone they all appear to be equally likely. However, you need to take into the surrounding words of the quote to work out what happened.

Ser Arthur had stopped to let him fetch a new one

If he was going to give him Dawn for the rest of the duel, even as a slither of a thought, I doubt he would have told the other knight to fetch a new sword.

"It's that white sword of yours I want," the robber knight told him as they resumed

When Arthur told the knight he "can have it" they'd already resumed their fighting, I doubt they'd pause again to trade swords. This is also similar to the Tower of Joy with Ned saying "Noh nowy tends" (No, now it ends).

and made an end of it.

With the fact that Dayne killed the knight after he said he can have it I find it highly likely he was meaning it by interpretation number 3.

It's also worth noting if Dayne had given the knight Dawn for the rest of the fight it would highly likely have been retold in the stories. Such a big event missing from the story seems very unlikely to me. It's also worth noting that Dawn is a very superior sword to normal ones and so Dayne putting himself at a disadvantage is also unlikely.

  • Ahh as they resumed is the key I was missing somehow. I was somehow thinking (Especially embarrassing given that I have read the book a lot of times) that this whole conversation happened after the first exchange and before the second one. I somehow did not realize that their second bout was already on and so in that context SK's comment was more like "I am gonna take your shiny sword after I kill you, mate" instead of "I don't want a new sword, I want your sword to make it more of a fair contest".
    – Aegon
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 9:51

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