The Knight of the Laughing Tree was a mystery knight that appeared at the tourney at Harrenhal in 281 AC. Though his identity never got uncovered, many theories about him began spreading, and King Aerys II Targaryen even suspected he was Ser Jaime Lannister, who got knighted. However, his details did not match Jaime, as he got sent to King’s Landing to guard Queen Rhaenys. After Lord Walter Whent organized a tourney at Harrenhal, many nobles attended the event. Among them was Lord Howland Reed, a little crannogman. At the event, he got bullied by three squires larger than him. Later, a mysterious knight arose during the tournament and fought for him.
The Tale of the Knight of the Laughing Tree
After Robb Stark marches out to deliver his fathers and sisters from captivity, he gets crowned King, and Bran Stark and Rickon become the princes of Winterfell. The Harvest Feast holds, and during the event, Meera Reed and her brother Jojen Reed attend and swear their allegiance to the Starks.
With time, Meera and her brother become friends with Bran. One day, Meera asks the young prince if he knows about the tale of the Knight of the Laughing Tree. She gets shocked when he reveals he has never heard of the story. When she explains his father, Lord Eddard Stark, should have narrated it to him, Bran states that Old Nan does the storytelling, not his father.
Meera then narrates that in 281 AC, a curious lad attended the tourney at Harrenhal. He saw the King, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, the Dragon Prince, his wife Elia Martell, Wife of the Dragon Prince, her lady companions, and the members of the Kingsguard, the White Swords, who had attended to welcome their new brother Ser Jaime Lannister into their ranks.
According to the tale, the knights of the Kingsguards present were Lord Commander Gerold Hightower, Ser Barristan Selmy, Arthur Dayne, Jonothor Darry, Lewyn Martell, and Oswell Whent. Many lords attended the event, including Robert Baratheon, the Storm Lord, and Mace Tyrell, the Rose Lord. However, Lord Tywin Lannister, the Great Lion of the Rock, did not attend the event. Lord Walter’s daughter was the Queen of Love and Beauty at the tourney’s opening, and her champions were her brothers and famous Uncle Oswell Whent.
Before the tournament’s first day, a crannogman who had arrived at Harrenhal was enjoying the warm spring day when he got attacked by three quires because he was smaller than them. Though he tried fighting with his three-pronged spear, he was no match for them as he was short of stature. They threw him to the ground and mocked him.
However, Lyanna Stark, the she-wolf, came to his rescue with a tourney sword as he was her father’s bannerman. She pursued the bullies and took the crannogman to her lair, where she tended to his wounds with linen. She introduced him to her brothers, Brandon Stark, the wild wolf, Ned Stark, the quiet wolf, and Benjen Stark, the pup, as her father’s man. At the tent, Lyanna convinced the man to attend the feast held for the tourney, and he joined the Starks and its bannermen.
Prince Rhaegar Targaryen sang a sad song that made Lyanna cry at the feast. When Benjen mocked her, she poured her glass of wine on him. A drinking contest got held, and Lord Robert Baratheon contested against Richard Lonmouth and won. Eddard Stark, Barrsiatn Selmy, Oberyn Martell, Jon Connington, and other men danced with Ashara Dayne at the feast.
As the event pushed into the night, Lyanna, the wolf maid, recognized the three squires who bullied the crannogman. Brandon gave the crannogman a horse and armor for vengeance. However, he was too scared as he was no knight and had never ridden a horse or used a lance. He prayed to the old gods before sleeping.
For the first two days of the tournament, the knights of the squires, the Pitchfork Knight, the Knight of the Two Towers, and the Porcupine Knight won their jousts. However, a Mysterious Knight appeared on the second day of the event. He had ill-fitting armor, and his shield had the image of a white weirwood with a laughing red face.
After defeating all three knights, he earned their possessions and got cheered for by the smallfolk who nicknamed him the Knight of the Laughing Tree. When the defeated knights tried to ransom back their properties, the mysterious fighter, through his helm in a booming voice, declared the knights must discipline their squires, which they did.
Because of his fame, Lord Robert Baratheon and Richard vowed to unmask the mysterious fighter. King Aerys II Targaryen grew suspicious and claimed he was Jaime Lannister, who got sent to guard Queen Rhaella and Prince Viserys. Aerys sent his son and men to search for him, but they failed to find him. Later, Rhaegar allegedly kidnapped Lyanna, and Robert’s Rebellion against the Iron Throne began.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
A Game of Thrones
While Arya Stark plays at Winterfell and behaves wild, her father remembers how similar she was to his sister Lyanna. He remembers how stubborn his sister was and how she would have wielded a sword if possible.
Though many do not know the Knight of the Laughing Tree’s identity, many signs point to the answer. First, he prayed to the old gods in the direction of the Isle of Faces, meaning he was a northerner. Some sources claim he knew the magic of the crannogs and lived with the green men.
Secondly, he fought against the knights of the squires for the honor of the man they had beaten. Thirdly, he did not appear to be an exceptionally skilled knight; this leads to the conclusion that the fighter could have been none other than Lyanna Stark.
The Knight of the Laughing Tree: A Valiant Warrior
The true purpose of a knight is to defend the weak against evil. Though most soldiers in A Song of Ice and Fire were greedy, the Knight of the Laughing Tree stood up for what was right in a world filled with decadence.
Was Jaime Lannister the Knight of the Laughing Tree?
No. Though Aerys thought Jaime was the Mysterious Knight that appeared at the tourney, he was not. If it were Jaime, the Knight would have been exceptionally skilled. However, the mysterious Knight was not an incredible fighter.
Who is the Knight of the Laughing Tree?
Most evidence points to Lyanna Stark as the Knight of the Laughing Tree. The similarities come from the Mysterious Knight fighting against the knights of the squires who bullied a crannogman.
Did Eddard Stark know the Knight of the Laughing Tree?
Even if he knew the Mysterious Knight, no evidence shows that Eddard knew who fought during the tourney at Harrenhal. However, he may have realized his sister was missing and made sense of the situation.
What happened after the tourney at Harrenhal?
One year after the tourney at the greatest castle in Westeros, Rhaegar Targaryen allegedly kidnapped Lyanna Stark; this led to Robert’s Rebellion and Aerys II Targaryen’s death.