Ned’s dream about the Tower of Joy is almost certainly not a strictly accurate representation of history: Ned’s exchange with the knights of the Kingsguard has a stagy, call-and-response quality uncharacteristic of dialog in the Song of Ice and Fire novels.
We do learn some basic facts about the situation, though:
- There were seven on Eddard’s side (including a Wull and a Dustin, names that will come to be meaningful only several books later!) versus three Kingsguard.
- Only Ned and Howland Reed survived.
This chapter also has the famous “I’ll honor you again” scene. My feelings about this are complicated. On the one hand, domestic violence (like most physical violence) is just plain not OK. And Robert is not an admirable guy, so the fact that the violence is committed by Robert highlights its wrongness. But Cersei does seem to be provoking and using the violence to her own ends. I don’t believe it’s automatically wrong or sexist to portray a woman as manipulative in this way, but it does hew closely enough to stereotypes used to justify domestic violence to make me uncomfortable.