Posted 18 July 2011 - 08:42 AM
For me, the backstory of Robert's Rebellion is my favourite thing about the entire series. The way he's remembered by Ned as an antlered god, six and a half feet tall, wielding an enormous warhammer, it's just so evocative. His daring victories at Gulltown, Summerhall, Stony Sept and the Trident, and later, the amphibious assault on Pyke, Old Wyk, Great Wyk etc. are similarly awesome. He's the best pure fighter in Westeros at this time, and casts a long shadow over his two brothers (who are also awesome by the way). He was attractive, charismatic and even Selmy saw good reason to bend the knee and lead his kingsguard.
So he wasn't interested in being a king- but there are good reasons for this, the death of Lyanna, the Cersei-ness of Cersei. Jon Arryn could have reined him in a bit more, and Ned could have stuck around in KL a bit longer to settle Robert into "kinging".
Why all the Rhaegar love? He played the harp and read prophecies. Great. Yes, it's interesting to find out that he wasn't evil, as we think he is in book 1, but hell, I still mentally cheer at the description of Robert bashing in Rhaegar's chest with his hammer. Plus, the Starks, Baratheons and Arryns had good reason for rebelling, and the Lannisters had good reason to abandon Aerys too.
I know he doesn't always come across well in AGOT, but still, he's always entertaining, in mirth and rage, and with just a bit more time, I think Robert and Ned could've fixed things. Wouldn't have made as interesting a series though, of course, but I struggle to understand why other readers don't love Robert as I- and almost everyone who knew him bar Cersei- do.
Posted 18 July 2011 - 10:19 AM
Being weak and having Ned kill Lady, Sansa's innocent direwolf, to please Cersei, undoubtedly marked him as an unlikeable character. Knowing that he refused to reign and used his time to drink, have sex and hunt didn't help.
Probably if we had read about how Robert was when he was young would have soothed all those negative points, but the thing is - we only got to know him as an hedonistic man that had the Kingdom heavily indebted to others, especially the Lannisters, to pay for his lavish lifestyle, while letting the House Lannister grip firmly the Throne and neglecting his children (after all, Robert is partly responsible for Joffrey's upbringing). Not a good picture for a man at all.
Posted 18 July 2011 - 11:19 AM
A tragic character..
Posted 18 July 2011 - 11:20 AM
granted Cersi is an utter bitch so we can put aside how he insults and/or ignores her all the time, and the fact he only hit her once during the book/show (and apparently only once hit Joff and that was when he tortured a cat to death) shows remarkable restraint, but he put the kingdom into debt for his own greed, turned a blind eye to the murder of infants, had Lady killed when she wasn't even the wolf who had attacked Joff (and the one that did should have been given a knighthood) and showed more interest in drinking, whoring and hunting than in running his kingdom
apparently he was a good friend to Ned, but we never really saw that. apparently he was madly in love with Lyanna but Ned, quite accurately it seems, claims he didn't really know her that well
Posted 18 July 2011 - 01:23 PM
I think the main reason that Rhaegar gets more love than Robert is because Rhaegar tried to do more with his life then just be this or just be that, he put effort into it, where as Robert was a fighter, thats all he was good at. Robert is the frat boy, who says the best years of his life were in highschool. Rhaegar is the guy whose best years were still to come.
Posted 18 July 2011 - 03:34 PM
Posted 18 July 2011 - 05:08 PM
He only hit her once and that was because she deserved it. So that's okay!
I don't have strong dislikes or likes for characters per se; I let myself be guided by the vagaries of the plot. While I do like the image of Robert as a shadow of his former self, mourning his glory days and lost love, that level of pathetic is hard to empathise with. He says himself that he wasn't made to rule and he's not wrong, but he also makes no effort whatsoever to improve on his weaknesses. He has no foresight, he lets himself be manipulated by Lannisters and Littlefinger, and he runs a wealthy kingdom into debt. It would be one thing if his failings affected only himself, but they don't; they have direct and dire consequences for millions of people.
On a personal level, I hate that he fathered so many bastards. Lyanna might have been his One Twu Luv, but he couldn't even keep it in his pants for her. Some eternal and undying devotion that was.
Posted 18 July 2011 - 05:10 PM
While at the battle of the bells he had an orgy with dozens of whores there (supposedly when he believed th elove of his life was being raped and held against her will).
He was a small man on the inside. A small pathetic man
Posted 18 July 2011 - 05:53 PM
I totally fell in love with the Robert of the Rebellion on my first read of AGOT seven years or so ago, and have never changed my opinion. The Targ children incident makes me love Ned for being the honourable man he was rather than dislike Robert. Anyway, that was Tywin's fault, and Jaime's killing of Aerys was justified even BEFORE we find out about the pyromancer plot. Why do I love Stannis? He is the best stand up in the seven kingdoms! Such one liners! And he smashed Victarion at Fair Isle. Renly mocking Joff over Arya disarming him is another favourite scene of mine. Baratheons are awesome!
Posted 18 July 2011 - 06:35 PM
Robert didn't condemn the whole thing. He didn't even protest, even when Ned was enraged by the slaughter, or else they wouldn't have quarrelled about it. He didn't make a move or say a word against Lord Tywin, so Robert was basically an accomplice. He took profit of the deaths, married the daughter of the man that issued the orders, and allowed the men that executed those orders to go back to their lands unpunished. At that moment, Robert shared the fault with Tywin for condoning it.
Posted 18 July 2011 - 07:35 PM
Posted 18 July 2011 - 07:50 PM
I have sympathy for him, but it's clear he was not cut out to be a king and the realm was far worse off because of his reign.
Posted 18 July 2011 - 08:55 PM
Robert's problem was that he had absolutely no interest in being king. The rebellion for him was about Lyanna and avenging the murder of the Starks. The throne didn't really mean anything to him, but someone had to take over so they figured since he was a good war leader and he has some distant Targaryen blood that he was the only logical choice. So basically he ended up with a throne he didn't really want and married to a woman he hates, with a bunch of children who aren't even his. Kind of sad.
I'm sure if the series introduced Robert as a young man, he would be a popular character, but he's completely let himself go by the time the story begins.
Posted 18 July 2011 - 09:31 PM
The first and foremost among these is that he was actually quite merciful. The Tyrells, the Dornish, Barristan, and most of the lords who fought him in the rebellion were pardoned instead of exiled or killed. The only people he couldn't bring himself to forgive were the Targs. Even then, he did ultimately find it in him to spare Dany on his deathbed. Not many people can admit to making mistakes and actually let go of their hate.
I think that Robert is supposed to be a tragic figure. He was a good guy that made a bad king. He was simply unable to overcome his despair and allowed it to take it's toll on him.
Posted 18 July 2011 - 10:37 PM
Other characters taking pot shots at the guy probably spend their whole lives criticising the behaviours of others rather then doing something of worth or value themselves.
Yes, we missed his glory days, but they did exist. He led a rebellion and crushed his enemies. He achieved... but the candle that burns brightest burns fastest and all that.
He took on a duty that went against his nature. Take a look around at people you know that have done the same. Forced into a lifestyle that did not suit surrounded by people who loved him not he acted out. Who here among us claims to be any better.
Edited by Howl and Read, 18 July 2011 - 10:42 PM.
Posted 18 July 2011 - 10:55 PM
I think that's an important part of his leadership that people tend to forget about. They see his rule as 15 years of whoring, drinking and spending, which I'm sure was a big part of it, but he also kept the kingdoms in relative peace for all that time. The only conflict was the Greyjoy rebellion, which he crushed like a bug and then he got them to bend the knee without any more problems. Oddly enough, I think he would've been a better king if he actually had conflicts and battles to fight. If Robert had an enemy to fight, he would've put all his strength behind that and I doubt his enemies would've stood a chance. Instead, he has to rule in kind of quiet times where a lot of this administrative stuff probably bored him so instead, he drinks and parties to avoid his sad personal life.
Posted 18 July 2011 - 11:07 PM
Posted 18 July 2011 - 11:45 PM
His battlefield success notwithstanding,Robert was an incredibly Kind, honorably, Noble, and lenient warrior. He refused to have Selmy murdered, forgave most enemies, and was peerless in single combat. True, I believe that Ned was the brains behing the grand scheme things, almost a yin to his yang, none can deny his prowess. He was not cut out to rule. He simply didn't care. The booze, womanizing, debauchery, none of those could replace how alive he felt on the battlefield. I forget whom Ned cows by telling them the thing Robert most loves is dealing with lords that defy him, but a few more rebellions and minor skirmishes would have ultimatiely been better for the realm.
Tragic figure-yes. He wasn't meant to rule. He was meant to win crowns, not rule under them.
Posted 18 July 2011 - 11:54 PM
Interesting comparison. The prominent warrior who gets leadership, and drinks himself into oblivion while a bunch of corrupt arseholes loot the place.