Ser Arthur was the second son of Beric Dayne, Lord of Starfall. As the wielder of the sword Dawn, which had been forged from the metal of a fallen star, he bore the title of "the Sword of the Morning".
While checking The Book of Brothers, King Joffrey Baratheon passingly reads through the entry on Ser Arthur Dayne, mentioning his leading of the attack on the Kingswood Brotherhood and his defeat of the Smiling Knight, one of its members, in single combat. The Book of Brothers also mentions he was granted temporary command over the Kingsguard after Lord Commander Gerold Hightower suffered injuries. He perished in Robert's Rebellion alongside Ser Gerold and Ser Oswell Whent at the Red Mountains of Dorne, fighting Lord Eddard Stark.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Ser Arthur Dayne was a knight who had achieved legendary status by the time the events of the books take place. As the wielder of the greatsword Dawn, a blade said to have been forged from metal from the heart of a fallen star, he bears the title of "the Sword of the Morning". He was a close friend of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.
It was Arthur Dayne who knighted Jaime Lannister as a reward for his valor at the battle against the Kingswood Brotherhood. Dayne himself slew an infamous member of the Brotherhood, a fearsome swordsman known as the Smiling Knight, in single combat. During their duel, the Smiling Knight's sword broke in half, and Dayne backed off to allow his foe to take a new weapon. The Smiling Knight remarked that he really wanted Dayne's own sword, to which Dayne replied, "then you shall have it, Ser." When the fight resumed, Dayne killed him.
Arthur Dayne is remembered as the greatest knight of his generation, not only in martial skill but in value and virtue as a true knight. Even Barristan Selmy, a living legend in his own right, thought that Ser Arthur surpassed himself in all respects. Ser Barristan, Jaime Lannister, and even Eddard Stark were all in awe of Ser Arthur, and recall him with nothing less than complete reverence. Jaime tells Loras Tyrell (a member of the Kingsguard in the books) that Dayne "could have slain all five of you with his left hand while he was taking a piss with the right". The fact that Arthur Dayne used to stand by and do nothing while the Mad King performed his atrocities did not taint his reputation at all.
When Rhaegar's apparent abduction of Lyanna Stark helped provoke Robert's Rebellion, he left Dayne and his fellow Kingsguard, Gerold Hightower and Oswell Whent, to guard Lyanna at the Tower of Joy in Dorne. After the Battle of the Trident, Eddard Stark and six companions arrived at the Tower to rescue her, and were confronted by the three Kingsguard, who refused to yield. Only Eddard and his friend Howland Reed survived the battle that followed. Bran Stark recalled his father telling him that Dayne would have killed him if not for Howland Reed. As a mark of respect, Eddard returned Dayne's famous sword to his relatives at Starfall.
When asked who would win in a duel, George R.R. Martin said that if Arthur Dayne and Barristan Selmy fought with any swords it would be a very even fight - but if Dayne was armed with his sword Dawn, he would narrowly have the advantage over Selmy.
Behind the scenes
In order to keep the Tower of Joy scene a secret during production, Luke Roberts was announced as playing Lord "Rowland Selwyn" instead of Arthur Dayne.
|Title(s):||Lord of Starfall|
|Deceased members:||Dyanna Dayne · Beric Dayne · Arthur Dayne|