Ashara Dayne

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Ashara Dayne
Ashara Dayne, by Elena María Vacas

Allegiance House Dayne
Died In 283 AC, at Starfall
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (mentioned)
A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)

Ashara Dayne was a noblewoman of House Dayne, a sister of the famous knight Ser Arthur Dayne. She committed suicide shortly after the end of Robert's Rebellion.


Ashara was tall, with long dark hair and haunting violet eyes.[1][2] She had a reputation for great beauty. Many men were infatuated with her, including Barristan Selmy and, according to rumor, Eddard Stark.[3]


Ashara was a lady-in-waiting to Princess Elia Martell. She was present at the Tourney at Harrenhal, where she danced with several men, including Eddard Stark after his brother Brandon spoke with her.[4]

After the events of the Tower of Joy, Ned Stark went to Starfall to inform House Dayne of Ser Arthur's death and return to them his greatsword, Dawn. Ashara jumped from the top of one of the towers of Starfall, called the Palestone Sword, on the cliff atop the sea. Her body was never recovered.[3] After these events, Ned Stark returned to Winterfell with the infant Jon Snow, whom he claimed as his bastard son, refusing to name the child's mother. This sparked rumors that Ashara had been the mother of Stark's bastard,[5] and that grief at learning that her lover had been responsible for her brother's death was the cause of her suicide.[1][3]

Ser Barristan Selmy believes that Ashara gave birth to a stillborn daughter. According to Selmy, a man dishonored her at Harrenhal during the tourney. Selmy's account is ambiguous. In his account, it was grief over the death of her child, and perhaps grief at the loss of the man who "dishonored" her or shame of the "dishonoring" that led to Ashara's suicide. Selmy also wonders whether Ashara would have looked to him, instead of "Stark", if she had known of his feelings for her.[2]

References in the books

A Storm of Swords

Meera Reed tells Bran Stark the story of the Knight of the Laughing Tree, a tale of the Tourney at Harrenhal. She mentions that "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... but only after the wild wolf spoke to her on behalf of a brother too shy to leave his bench."[4]

Edric Dayne tells Arya Stark about his aunt Ashara who died before he was born, having committed suicide because "her heart was broken". He is surprised that Arya has never heard of Ashara and that Arya's father Ned had never spoken of her. Edric tells Arya that his aunt Allyria says that Ashara and Ned fell in love at Harrenhal. This upsets Arya, who insists that her mother was the only one her father loved. Harwin confirms that he has heard the story as well, at Winterfell when he was young, but that he doubts there's any truth to it. He says that even if the story were true, it would not be a stain on Ned's honor as he was not betrothed at the time. Harwin believes that Ashara killed herself because she was grieving for her dead brother Arthur.[3]

A Dance with Dragons

In Meereen, alone on the terrace of the Great Pyramid, Ser Barristan remembers Old Lord Whent’s tourney at Harrenhal and thinks of whom he would have chosen as Queen of Love and Beauty,

Rhaegar had chosen Lyanna Stark of Winterfell. Barristan Selmy would have made a different choice. Not the queen, who was not present. Nor Elia of Dorne, though she was good and gentle; had she been chosen, much war and woe might have been avoided. His choice would have been a young maiden not long at court, one of Elia’s companions … though compared to Ashara Dayne, the Dornish princess was a kitchen drab.

Even after all these years, Ser Barristan could still recall Ashara’s smile, the sound of her laughter. He had only to close his eyes to see her, with her long dark hair tumbling about her shoulders and those haunting purple eyes. Daenerys has the same eyes. Sometimes when the queen looked at him, he felt as if he were looking at Ashara’s daughter ...

But Ashara’s daughter had been stillborn, and his fair lady had thrown herself from a tower soon after, mad with grief for the child she had lost, and perhaps for the man who had dishonored her at Harrenhal as well. She died never knowing that Ser Barristan had loved her. How could she? He was a knight of the Kingsguard, sworn to celibacy. No good could have come from telling her his feelings. No good came from silence either. If I had unhorsed Rhaegar and crowned Ashara queen of love and beauty, might she have looked to me instead of Stark?

He would never know. But of all his failures, none haunted Barristan Selmy so much as that.[2]


Unknown Dayne

References and Notes

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