Dawn

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Dawn, wielded by Arthur Dayne. By Henning Ludvigsen © Fantasy Flight Games

Dawn is the famous ancestral greatsword of House Dayne, whose wielder is given the title Sword of the Morning.[1]

Description

The sigil of House Dayne, depicting Dawn and a falling star.

Dawn is a greatsword.[1] Its blade is as pale as milkglass,[1] unlike dark Valyrian steel, but is similar in strength and sharpness.[2] Per legend, it was forged from the heart of a fallen star,[3] likely meteoric iron. The coat of arms of House Dayne depicts the white sword and falling star.[4] Unlike other houses who have ancestral swords, House Dayne does not pass its sword from lord to heir. Only a knight of House Dayne who is deemed worthy can wield Dawn, and the Sword of the Morning is envied throughout the Seven Kingdoms.[2]

History

Origin

A Sword of the Morning gripping the hilt of Dawn, by Jose Daniel Cabrera © for The World of Ice & Fire

According to legend, the founder of House Dayne tracked a falling star to an island at the mouth of the Torentine. He discovered there a stone with magical powers, and the castle of Starfall was constructed on that spot.[5] The greatsword Dawn was forged from the heart of this fallen star,[3] and has possibly been wielded by Daynes for ten thousand years.[6]

Arthur Dayne

The last known wielder of Dawn was Ser Arthur Dayne, a chivalrous knight in the Kingsguard of Aerys II Targaryen.[7] The Smiling Knight of the Kingswood Brotherhood tried to claim Dawn from Arthur through combat, but the robber knight was killed by the Sword of the Morning.[8] Arthur granted knighthood to Jaime Lannister after the battle. When Arthur tapped Dawn on the youth's shoulder, the blade went through Jaime's tunic and caused him to bleed.[9]

After Arthur died in combat at the tower of joy during Robert's Rebellion, Lord Eddard Stark rode to Starfall to deliver Dawn to Arthur's sister, Ashara Dayne.[10][2]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

At the Red Keep, Lord Eddard Stark has a fever dream, which includes Ser Arthur Dayne wielding Dawn at the tower of joy.[1]

Quotes

The blade was pale as milkglass, alive with light.[1]

—thoughts of Eddard Stark

The finest knight I ever saw was Ser Arthur Dayne, who fought with a blade called Dawn, forged from the heart of a fallen star. They called him the Sword of the Morning, and he would have killed me but for Howland Reed.[3]

Smiling Knight: It's that white sword of yours I want.
Arthur: Then you shall have it, ser.[8]

Oh, I'd say Dawn goes back a couple thousand years... and before that, things get a little fuzzy anyway.[11]

Dawn remains at Starfall, until another Sword of the Morning shall arise.[12]

Behind the Scenes

House Dayne's sword Dawn may have been inspired by the Ebony Blade, a sword carved from a fallen meteor and wielded by Dane Whitman, a comic book superhero known as the Black Knight. George R. R. Martin grew up a fan of Marvel Comics, including the Avengers.[13]

When asked which sword he would wield if he could, Martin said he would choose Dawn.[14]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: The Andals Arrive.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 21, Bran III.
  4. The Citadel. Heraldry: Houses from Dorne
  5. The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Kingdoms of the First Men.
  6. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
  7. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  8. 8.0 8.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
  9. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 8, Jaime I.
  10. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
  11. So Spake Martin: Concerning Dorne (October 28, 2001).
  12. So Spake Martin: Valyria-related Subjects (January 1, 2002).
  13. Not A Blog: Farewell to a Marvel, November 16, 2018
  14. So Spake Martin: Waterstones Event (August 8, 2019).