In a vision witnessed by Bran Stark and the Three-eyed Raven, Ser Arthur Dayne wields Dawn alongside a second sword in his fight against Lord Eddard Stark and his bannermen during their encounter, slaying most of them and wounding Lord Howland Reed. He duels with and disarms Ned Stark, but before he can kill him, Howland Reed stabs him through the back of his neck. Ned Stark then takes up Dawn and slays the mortally wounded knight with his own blade.
When Bran continues his vision of the Tower of Joy some weeks later, he sees Ned holding Dawn, still covered in Ser Arthur Dayne's blood, as he climbs the stairs of the Tower of Joy. Ned then rests the sword at the foot of the bed in which Lyanna Stark is laying.
In the booksEdit
After the showdown at the Tower of Joy, Eddard returned the blade to House Dayne at Starfall; he presumably does this in the TV series as well, as he makes sure to take the sword with him when he leaves the battle.
According to George R.R. Martin, Dawn remains at Starfall castle during the War of the Five Kings, because no new warrior of House Dayne has yet proven himself worthy to wield it as a new Sword of the Morning.
In the novels, Dawn is a Greatsword similar to Ice, which Ser Arthur wields with both hands, whereas in the show, it is portrayed as a Longsword which can be wielded alongside a second blade in the off-hand. There is no mention in the novels that Ser Arthur ever used Dawn in this fashion.