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Barristan Selmy... White Cloak of many Kings.


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#1 Starspear

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:21 PM

Barristan Selmy is a great character.

 

Yet - what to make of his shifting allegiances?

 

- Served Aerys, bent the knee to Robert, all other KG of Aerys excluding the KG who slayed him, died at their post.

 

- Served Robert, doesn't respect Robert's will.

 

- Serves Joffrey for the half-beat it takes Joffrey to release him from service.

 

- Now QG serving Daenerys.

 

Great swordsman, but lousy oathkeeper? Afraid of death? Why, Barristan?


Edited by Starspear, 08 May 2014 - 11:51 PM.


#2 Frey Pentos

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:34 PM

Barristan Selmy is a great character.

 

Yet - what to make of his shifting allegiances?

 

- Served Aerys, bent the knee to Robert, all other KG of Aerys excluding the KG who slayed him, died at their post.

 

- Served Robert, doesn't respect Robert's will.

 

- Serves Joffrey for the half-beat it takes Joffrey to release him from service.

 

- Now QG serving Daenerys.

 

Great swordsman, but lousy oathkeeper? Afraid of death? Why, Barristan?

 

After the way he schooled Khrazz I can forgive him anything. He means well. Wants to keep his oaths, yet events always overtake him.



#3 Mladen

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:36 PM

Lousy oathkeeper? Afraid of death?  :lmao:  :lmao:  :lmao: 

 

Barristan simply outlived his Kings. he served them faithfully as he could. What happened in RR is simply the natural thing. Barristan was wounded during the Trident and he couldn't have impacted what was going on in KL. After that, Robert became King and he was bound by his oath (that is the funny part about the OP) to serve him. KG doesn't choose the King, when the King changes, they swore the oaths to the new King. So, what Barristan did, when he became LC of Robert's Kingsguard was actually honoring his oaths. As for respecting Robert's will, do I need to remind you that Ned didn't write Joffrey's name, but the "rightful heir of the Throne" Barristan trusted Ned and his judgement regarding Lannisters (he shared the dislike, he didn't know the truth). Now, one can question his decision to go to Daenerys instead of Stannis. But, after Ned said what he said about Joffrey at Baelor's steps, and hom being discharged, he turned to the only thing he could have make his oaths fulfilled - Daenerys. Barristan is many things but lousy oathkeeper? Nope.



#4 Starspear

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:38 PM

 

After the way he schooled Khrazz I can forgive him anything. He means well. Wants to keep his oaths, yet events always overtake him.

 

I hear you. Duskendale, good dialogue, cool white beard at one point... lots of reasons to like him.

 

But the single vow of protecting the King with one's life... he drops the ball. He bent the knee to Robert... and then did not defend Ned after reading King Robert's will either...


Edited by Starspear, 08 May 2014 - 11:45 PM.


#5 Frey Pentos

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:40 PM

Lousy oathkeeper? Afraid of death?  :lmao:  :lmao:  :lmao:

 

Barristan simply outlived his Kings. he served them faithfully as he could. What happened in RR is simply the natural thing. Barristan was wounded during the Trident and he couldn't have impacted what was going on in KL. After that, Robert became King and he was bound by his oath (that is the funny part about the OP) to serve him. KG doesn't choose the King, when the King changes, they swore the oaths to the new King. So, what Barristan did, when he became LC of Robert's Kingsguard was actually honoring his oaths. As for respecting Robert's will, do I need to remind you that Ned didn't write Joffrey's name, but the "rightful heir of the Throne" Barristan trusted Ned and his judgement regarding Lannisters (he shared the dislike, he didn't know the truth). Now, one can question his decision to go to Daenerys instead of Stannis. But, after Ned said what he said about Joffrey at Baelor's steps, and hom being discharged, he turned to the only thing he could have make his oaths fulfilled - Daenerys. Barristan is many things but lousy oathkeeper? Nope.

 

Dany represents some form of redemption for Barristan. Her father was murdered by one his own KG. Barristen would have seen himself as partly to blame I think. Saving her will assuage the guilt over the death of Aerys.



#6 Roxy Carmichael

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:44 PM

To be fair, nobody knew about Robert's will until Ned pulled it out of his ass... there were no witnesses to its writing.  For all anybody present knew Stark was making a power grab.

 

Personally, I think that until Selmy was removed from office his loyalty was more to the Kingsguard itself than to any specific monarch.  I'm not saying he didn't do his job... he risked his life many times,  but when push came to shove he was willing to break his oath and switch allegiance if it meant maintaining his position.  That said, given the circumstances surrounding the end of Robert's Rebellion Selmy's actions were pretty understandable.

 

After Joff retired him, however, I think Barristan realized that he wanted to serve somebody worth serving:  someone good.  And five books into the series Danaerys, regardless of whether or not you agree with all her choices or like her as a character, is a good person.  It's pretty clear from his POV that Barristan harbors a lot of doubts and regrets with regard to Aerys.  The author specifically uses him in contrast with Jaime.  Jaime is universally reviled for his finest act.  Selmy, on the other hand, regrets the act that cemented him as a national hero (single handedly saving Aerys at Duskendale).

 

I think that as long as Dany continues to be mostly benevolent - and Ashara Dayne doesn't waltz back into his life - that he'll be pretty loyal.



#7 Tommen's Kitten Mittens

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:44 PM

He has never violated any of this oaths.

 

1. He is wounded in battle during RR and doesn't recover until the war is over. He's spared by Robert - what's he supposed to do, ask Robert to kill him?

 

2. You can't quit the KG, and until Joffrey became King, you couldn't dismiss one either. Why wouldn't he bend the knee and serve Robert after Aerys died?

 

3. Joffrey was the king, and Cersei the regent. What does the dead king's will matter to a man who is now supposed to guard Joffrey with his life? And if you remember, he seemed upset that Cersei tore the will up, but there's nothing he could do about it.

 

4. He was dismissed from the KG and the Gold Cloaks tried to kill him. The man's been a knight his whole life, and knows pretty much nothing except serving a King. He's got no reason to join up with any of the Westerosi Kings, aside from maybe Stannis. He chooses Daenerys out of personal loyalty to the Targaryens, who he never betrayed.


Edited by Tommen's Kitten Mittens, 08 May 2014 - 11:46 PM.


#8 Mladen

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:45 PM

 

Dany represents some form of redemption for Barristan. Her father was murdered by one his own KG. Barristen would have seen himself as partly to blame I think. Saving her will assuage the guilt over the death of Aerys.

 

He wasn't the Lord Commander of Kingsguard in time Aerys was killed by Jaime. That was Gerold Hightower. Barristan was a knight just like Jaime and he wasn't even there. I think that Barristan is a bit delusional about the guilt given how he thinks about tourney of Harrenhal. I mean that is some weird notion of guilt.



#9 Starspear

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:49 PM

1. He is wounded in battle during RR and doesn't recover until the war is over. He's spared by Robert - what's he supposed to do, ask Robert to kill him?

 

Robert was a Usurper. The KG at the ToJ saw it as such and were willingly going to die (and did) before serving Robert.

 

3. Joffrey was the king, and Cersei the regent. What does the dead king's will matter to a man who is now supposed to guard Joffrey with his life? And if you remember, he seemed upset that Cersei tore the will up, but there's nothing he could do about it.

The King's will declared Ned Stark, Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm. Orders would come from Ned. Barristan had a choice. He chose Joffrey.


Edited by Starspear, 08 May 2014 - 11:49 PM.


#10 Tommen's Kitten Mittens

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:49 PM

Maybe he let Rhaegar win? I thought about that while reading Barristan's chapters, but if he did, it would make for sense for him to think "why did I let him win?" instead of "if only I was a better knight."



#11 Jon of the (Evil) Dead

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:50 PM

Well, where does the Kingsguard vows end? If serving Joff after Robert and Tommen after Joff is the right procedure, then technically Barristan broke his oath because he didn't go to Viserys after Aerys, Rhaegar and Aegon died



#12 Tommen's Kitten Mittens

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:51 PM

Um, he was wounded in battle. That strikes me as being pretty willing to die for your king, doesn't it? You don't think if the circumstances were different, he would've been just as defiant to Ned as Dayne, Hightower, and Whent?

 

He's the LC of the KG. Not the Lord Protector's Guard. He must do what Joffrey commands, or that would be breaking his oath. It wasn't even a choice for him.



#13 Starspear

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:53 PM

Personally, I think that until Selmy was removed from office his loyalty was more to the Kingsguard itself than to any specific monarch.  I'm not saying he didn't do his job... he risked his life many times,  but when push came to shove he was willing to break his oath and switch allegiance if it meant maintaining his position.

 

Yeah, I think this explains his character the best. The Kingsguard was a position for him more important than the actual vow. All types of Kingsguard after all.



#14 JonCon's Red Beard

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:54 PM

Well, where does the Kingsguard vows end? If serving Joff after Robert and Tommen after Joff is the right procedure, then technically Barristan broke his oath because he didn't go to Viserys after Aerys, Rhaegar and Aegon died

 

Viserys was never technically proclaimed King but Robert.



#15 Tommen's Kitten Mittens

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:55 PM

No, because Viserys wasn't the King anymore. The KG doesn't serve any family, or any one king - conceptually speaking, they serve whoever sits the Iron Throne. Robert was declared king by the whole of the 7K, so Barristan's vow to protect the King would be to protect Robert now, not some kid whose family had just been deposed. No one recognized him as King, and he wasn't even in Westeros, let alone the 7K.


Edited by Tommen's Kitten Mittens, 08 May 2014 - 11:58 PM.


#16 Mladen

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:56 PM

 

Robert was a Usurper. The KG at the ToJ saw it as such and were willingly going to die (and did) before serving Robert.

 

He fought the Usurper on Trident. He served the King on Iron Throne later. As was repeatedly said, Kingsguard doesn't choose.

 

The King's will declared Ned Stark, Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm. Orders would come from Ned. Barristan had a choice. He chose Joffrey.

 

 

He didn't choose. He was obliged by oath to protect and obey the King - in this case, Joffrey. It is funny how you claim he betrayed the King in one instance and served the other in different. Consistency, much?



#17 Starspear

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:56 PM

Um, he was wounded in battle. That strikes me as being pretty willing to die for your king, doesn't it? You don't think if the circumstances were different, he would've been just as defiant to Ned as Dayne, Hightower, and Whent?

 

He's the LC of the KG. Not the Lord Protector's Guard. He must do what Joffrey commands, or that would be breaking his oath. It wasn't even a choice for him.

The questions above were to stimulate conversation, not my personal beliefs about Barristan Selmy.

 

Bold 2: Yes it is. He chose to bend the knee to Robert. He chose Joffrey over his King's last decree. These are choices. Nowhere does he bend the knee to Joffrey.



#18 Jon of the (Evil) Dead

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:01 AM

Um, he was wounded in battle. That strikes me as being pretty willing to die for your king, doesn't it? You don't think if the circumstances were different, he would've been just as defiant to Ned as Dayne, Hightower, and Whent?

 

He's the LC of the KG. Not the Lord Protector's Guard. He must do what Joffrey commands, or that would be breaking his oath. It wasn't even a choice for him.

 

I mean when he recovered after the battle. No one is denying he fought till the end for Rhaegar, but right there and then he did have a choice: serve Rhaegar's brother and heir or Rhaegar's killer. He chose the latter. So he did have a choice, since I don't think Robert forced him to join the KG (because that's impossible) and he didn't choose to follow the Targs into exile

 

 

 

Viserys was never technically proclaimed King but Robert.

 

Wasn't he proclaimed king in Dragonstone, for a while? I thought I read that, but in any case, following the Targ hereditary line, Viserys was the de facto king

 

 

No, because Viserys wasn't the King anymore. The KG doesn't serve any family, or any one king - conceptually speaking, they serve whoever sits the Iron Throne. Robert was declared king by the whole of the 7K, so Barristan's vow to protect the King would be to protect Robert now, not some kid whose family had just been deposed. No one recognized him as King, and he wasn't even in Westeros, let alone the 7K.

 

No, they do serve a family. That's why Barristan and Lewyn Martell were fighting alongside Rhaegar on the Trident, and that's why Dayne, Whent and Hightower were guarding Lyanna. Neither Lyanna or Rhaegar sat the IT, but the KG served them anyway

 

As Cat says, men give their allegiance where they want to, so in the end there is a choice



#19 Starspear

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:01 AM

 

He fought the Usurper on Trident. He served the King on Iron Throne later. As was repeatedly said, Kingsguard doesn't choose.

I don't agree, but regardless of that... do you then consider Hightower, Dayne, and Whent as oathbreakers? They did not and were not going to bend the knee to Robert (regardless of who was in the ToJ).

 

"Woe to the Usurper if we had been,” said Ser Oswell.

 

“I came down on Storm's End to lift the siege,” Ned told them, and the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne dipped their banners, and all their knights bent the knee to pledge us fealty. I was certain you would be among them.”

 

Our knees do not bend easily,” said Ser Arthur Dayne.


Edited by Starspear, 09 May 2014 - 12:03 AM.


#20 Starspear

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:04 AM

 

Wasn't he proclaimed king in Dragonstone, for a while? I thought I read that, but in any case, following the Targ hereditary line, Viserys was the de facto king

 

Exactly (ignoring ToJ). It was a choice for Barristan to swith allegiance.