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A truly just man? - a Stannis reread


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#1 theguyfromtheVale

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 01:07 PM

Rereading Stannis

We can read a Song of Ice and Fire as a story about the nature of power. Not exclusively so, but the issue comes up again and again: Ned's and Tyrion's tenures as Hands are central to their story lines; Cersei, Jon and Dany are portrayed as rulers we should compare. Varys' riddle features prominently in the minds of many readers, just as Tywin's ruthless realpolitik approach. But in many ways, they all have failed: Ned and Tywin are dead, Tyrion and Varys exiled, Cersei arrested, Jon assassinated and Dany alone in the wilderness.

Only one ruler has survived beyond all troubles he had: Stannis. I can't claim that he's been a smashing success so far, but neither has he lost his grip on power. How he managed to stay afloat when all others have failed so far is more than a little surprising, given that he had a small power base to start with, and lost most of his gains again durign the Battle of the Blackwater. Somehow, he has always managed to get back on his feet. How so is a question I would like us to explote in this reread.

There are no Stannis POV chapters, so we can't read his chapters directly. Instead, we see him from many angles: Davos' perspective on Stannis is perhaps the closest, giving us direct insights into what Stannis is doing. But we also get others to tell us about their encounters with Stannis: Cressen and Catelyn, Jon and Asha, even Tyrion and Sansa during the Battle of the Blackwater.

The starting posts on each chapter will be given by Kissdbyfire and me, but we are looking forward to analysis from everybody. Dr. Pepper has already offered to write a guest post. We will be reading the chapters mostly in order, but will be treating Davos' diplomatic mission to White Haven separately from the Stannis storyline at the Wall. We want to analyse Stannis both in his good and his bad moments; both his flaws and his strengths will feature prominently. Stannis is a divisive figure, and there are many possible perspectives on him.

Still, we will have some rules when discussing this stern character:
  • Please don't discuss future chapters. References to future events are fine if they serve the discussion, but we want to go through Stannis' story mostly step by step.
  • Agree to disagree with other posters. Discussion is fine, but most opinions have their merits. Constructive criticism is wanted, but please refrain from sniping back and forth about an issue.
  • Please compare and contrast Stannis' style of leadership to other characters. While we may be focusing on Stannis, GRRM gives us many parallel storyliens to keep in mind.
  • Provide quotes for your opinions; nothing is a better basis for discussion than the original text.
There is a number of themes we want to focus on specifically in order to understand Stannis better: his ruling style; his means of gathering and keeping support; the competing demands of duty, honor, family and doing the right thing; Stannis' pragmatism and hypocrisy; and lastly the discrepancy between the Stannis we are told about and the Stannis we see.

In terms of how we run this thread, Kissd and me will alternate giving chapter introductions. I will start by discussing the Stannis we are presented with by other nobles over the course of AGoT. Dr. Pepper will then post her guest post on the Cressen chapter before Kissdbyfire continues with ACoK Davos I.

Edited by theguyfromtheVale, 01 November 2012 - 02:11 PM.


#2 theguyfromtheVale

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 04:47 PM

Stannis in AGoT: The invisible player

There is no creature half so terrifying as a truly just man. - Varys

Stannis never appears in A Game of Thrones. All we hear are second-hand accounts by nobles. We can see the family dynamics of the Baratheon family, but we never get Stannis' perspective on them. Instead, we hear rumours of a harsh man, shunned by his brothers and feared by the schemers at the royal court.

Still, even if he never appears in person, Stannis is a very influential figure from the get-go. He was the man who pointed out to Jon Arryn that Cersei's children couldn't be Robert's, and when Arryn was murdered, Stannis escaped to Dragonstone, fearing for his life. Over the course of AGoT, we learn that Stannis is Robert's rightful heir and that he is gathering sellswords on Dragonstone, while many Small Council members try to dissuade Ned Stark from proclaiming Stannis king. Ned does his duty, but in doing so loses his life.

This post, by its very nature, is quite different from the other posts of this reread. There is no single chapter to read, no perspective to consider. Instead, I want to focus on the various mentions of Stannis by different people over the course of the book, and the image of Stannis we are presented with by his enemies.

Robert
King Robert and his younger brother Stannis have a deep-seated rivalry, and we are introduced to it very early on. Bran II shows us Cersei and Jaime discussing politics, and Jaime characterises Stannis as an ambitious figure, someone who could threaten the Lannisters' hold on the throne. Only a few chapters later, during Eddard II, Ned and Robert discuss the vacancy in the office of the Warden of the East. Robert doesn't want to appoint Jon Arryn's son Robert because he is too young and sickly, and wants to appoint Jaime Lannister instead. Ned fears an increase in Lannister power and suggests another path:

"Yet we still must have a Warden of the East. If Robert Arryn will not do, name one of your brothers. Stannis proved himself at the siege of Storm's End, surely."
[Ned] let the name hang there for a moment. The king frowned and said nothing. He looked uncomfortable.


Stannis is a celebrated military commander, both for holding Storm's End during Robert's Rebellion and for smashing the Ironborn Fleet during Balon's Rebellion. But Robert is uncomfortable with the idea of Stannis becoming Warden of the East, a purely military office. It seems pretty clear that Robert would prefer to just ignore his younger brother, if in any way possible. Robert would rather give the Lannisters free reign than hand Stannis any position of power beyond that of a minor Lord. He might fear his younger brother's ambition, but he is utterly unconcerned about the Lannister's ambitions, or Renly's, for that matter. Rather, I believe Robert sees this as personal, and doesn't want to give credit to Stannis for anything. This is furthered by Robert's disregard of Stannis' wedding, for example. More generally, though, I still don't think I really understand Robert's seeming resentment of Stannis. Anyone has any good ideas?

Littlefinger

While Robert lies dying, Ned writes a letter to Stannis (the letter will never arrive, but it isn't telling Stannis anything new. Still, having a letter from Ned would have strengthened Stannis' position towards the Starks early on). Directly afterwards, he is visited by Littlefinger. The two discuss the situation, and the talk turns towards the fact that Stannis is Robert's heir. Ned wants Baelish's support, but Petyr argues for supporting Joffrey instead, based on the following rationale:

"Stannis is no friend of yours, nor of mine. Even his brothers can scarcely stomach him. The man is iron, hard and unyielding. He'll give us a new hand and a new council, for a certainty. No doubt he'll thank you for handing him the crown, but he won't love you for it. And his ascent will mean war. Stannis cannot rest easy until Cersei and her bastards are dead."


I admit I found it always interesting that Petyr's story is seen as meritocratic. Stannis seems to be the most meritocratic of all the contenders for the throne, far more so than Joffrey, but Baelish seems to regard Joffrey's rule as superior to Stannis'. Basically, I think there are two ways to look at this: Either Stannis isn't just, and doesn't reward merit. Or Baelish isn't actually thriving on merit, but rather on corruption. I feel that the latter explanation is more convincing, and indeed Littlefinger's rejection of Stannis' rule is the reason that I find the 'Baelish has earned his position' stance myopic. Baelish is corrupt, not the best man at his job.

It's also interesting to see Littlefinger comparing Stannis to iron; Donal Noye makes the same comparison when talking to Jon.

Varys

After his counter-coup failed, Ned finds himself in the Black Cells. Here, he is visited by Varys in the disguise of Rugen. The two men discuss the situation after Cersei has seized power, and after discussing Robb, Lysa and the Martells, the talk turns to Stannis:

"The king's brothers are the ones giving Cersei sleepless nights... Lord Stannis in particular. His claim is the true one, he is known for his prowess as a battle commander, and he is utterly without mercy. There is no creature on earth half as terrifying as a truly just man. No one knows what Stannis has been doing on Dragonstone, but I will wager you that he has gathered more swords than seashells."


Here, Stannis' lack of mercy is mentioned for the first time. It will not be the last time, though.

Just as his judgement of Stannis is, for me, a test of Baelish's true character, the same holds for Varys here. Neither Varys nor Baelish want Stannis on the Iron Throne, and in both cases their stance towards Stannis belies their official positions. Varys says, in the very same talk, that he 'serves the realm', and many seem to believe him. But the problem with this is that handing power to Joffrey the Sociopath and his mother means less stability for the realm than handing the reigns to Stannis. Of course, Varys isn't interested in stability, but that is precisely the point: 'For the Realm' would mean supporting Stannis both from a legalistic and from a stability-seeking position. Varys doesn't care either way.

Conclusion

Everybody in AGoT seems to regard Stannis as a bad choice as king. Only Ned supports him, more out of duty than anything else, but Ned is also the only one to have good words for Stannis from the beginning. But noone doubts Stannis' competence: The reasons against him lie more in the fact that he is too hard, too uncompromising and uncorruptible. That the men spouting these opinions - Robert, Baelish and Varys - are the most corrupt men in King's Landing, coupled with Ned's support, conversely paints Stannis in a way more favorable light. It's easy to root for Ned and Stannis here - but that's also because Ned is drawn in an extremely sympathetic light, and because we haven't seen Stannis yet. If we knew what Stannis is like in ACoK, I think it would have been much harder to unequivocally root for Ned to succeed in enthronign Stannis.

#3 Dr. Pepper

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 07:14 PM

Dissecting the invisible Stannis in AGoT is going to be even more interesting than I thought! I'll start with Robert for now. Heavy opinion down below.

Robert
King Robert and his younger brother Stannis have a deep-seated rivalry, and we are introduced to it very early on. Bran II shows us Cersei and Jaime discussing politics, and Jaime characterises Stannis as an ambitious figure, someone who could threaten the Lannisters' hold on the throne. Only a few chapters later, during Eddard II, Ned and Robert discuss the vacancy in the office of the Warden of the East. Robert doesn't want to appoint Jon Arryn's son Robert because he is too young and sickly, and wants to appoint Jaime Lannister instead. Ned fears an increase in Lannister power and suggests another path:

Yet we still must have a Warden of the East. If Robert Arryn will not do, name one of your brothers. Stannis proved himself at the siege of Storm's End, surely."
[Ned] let the name hang there for a moment. The king frowned and said nothing. He looked uncomfortable.



Stannis is a celebrated military commander, both for holding Storm's End during Robert's Rebellion and for smashing the Ironborn Fleet during Balon's Rebellion. But Robert is uncomfortable with the idea of Stannis becoming Warden of the East, a purely military office. It seems pretty clear that Robert would prefer to just ignore his younger brother, if in any way possible. Robert would rather give the Lannisters free reign than hand Stannis any position of power beyond that of a minor Lord. He might fear his younger brother's ambition, but he is utterly unconcerned about the Lannister's ambitions, or Renly's, for that matter. Rather, I believe Robert sees this as personal, and doesn't want to give credit to Stannis for anything. This is furthered by Robert's disregard of Stannis' wedding, for example. More generally, though, I still don't think I really understand Robert's seeming resentment of Stannis. Anyone has any good ideas?


My initial ideas are that Robert's uncomfortableness with Stannis has to do with jealousy. Stannis is the better leader. I'll explain.

On first glance, it's curious why Stannis was given Dragonstone, the seat that has traditionally been held by the Crown Prince. Yes, Stannis was Robert's heir when he first took the crown, but Robert was expected to sire heirs with his new wife. Naming Stannis as castellen, or some similar position, of Dragonstone until an heir was born would have made more sense.

I am not very schooled on monarchies, so next will be assumptions. The Crown Prince is the most threatening figure to the king. He's one breath away from the throne. Of course, there are things in place to ensure that an heir does not kill his relative (kinslaying curse, kingsguard), but the threat is still there. Dragonstone is an area poor in resources and vassals. It would be difficult for the Lord of Dragonstone to form an army sizeable enough to truly threaten the throne.

Stannis holding Storm's End showed him to be a successful leader, one so good that his men were set to starve and another man was willing to lose his fingers in order to serve him. He as a person may not be loved, but what he represents is something that is loveable. He represents stability, pragmatism and confidence. Regardless of how charismatic a person is, over the long run, stability and confidence in a leader will win out. I think people are more comforted when by stability than someone who offers a rowdy good time. Drinking beer and holding tourneys is all fun and games and makes people happy, but long-term happiness tends to involve knowing that business will run in a way to ensure fairness and longevity.

Robert had to fight a battle or two in order to win his own bannermen to his side at the start of the Rebellion. They didn't just do as he commanded. Several banner lords were sent as prisoners to Storm's End to ensure loyalty. He's got the charisma, but apparently not enough to get people to follow him regardless.

So back to the jealousy. Robert is a randy man. He's known for his battle prowess, but also for his drinking and whoring. He's not known for being a good ruler. He doesn't even seem to really desire it.

There are nights I wish we had lost at the Trident.

“What do you say, Ned? Just you and me, two vagabond knights on the kingsroad, our swords at our sides and the gods know what in front of us, and maybe a farmer’s daughter or a tavern wench to warm our beds tonight.”

Robert seems to be the type who is good at nearly all he does. He's a good fighter, a good drinker, a good bedmate, a good friend-maker. The one thing he isn't good at is the one thing in which Stannis excels - leading. During Robert's lifetime, Stannis has proven that he has battle and leadership skills.

Making Stannis Warden of the East would (1)acknowledge that Robert recognizes Stannis' skills and (2)give Stannis control of a rather large army. Everyone seems to know that Stannis always felt slighted by his brother. Surely Robert was aware as well. He may have feared that Stannis would become more ambitious and retaliate for those slights. Would Robert have won against Stannis? I think that Robert is interested in separating himself from Stannis as much as possible so as not to highlight his failure at kinging. I may be reading too much into this, but Robert also seemed interested in keeping Jon Arryn and Stannis from becoming too friendly. The whole 'who will Sweetrobin foster with' was a big deal and if I recall correctly, Robert decided to send him to Casterly Rock after Jon Arryn died. There's no real purpose in him doing so except to prevent Stannis from developing a relationship with the Arryns.

I do wonder, however, what would have happened if Stannis had asked. Robert seems easily persuaded. As of AGoT, there isn't any mention of Stannis vocalizing his annoyance at being slighted. He just took what Robert gave or commanded, grinded his teeth and moved on to it.

#4 total1402

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 09:15 PM

I think Rbert didn't like Stannis because he had to deal with him on the small council. Most likely Stannis spent years belittling and angering Robert by trying to clamp down on his behavior. It probably goes back to chidhood. They just don't like eachother and have very different attitudes to life which breeds unhealthy contempt of the other. I can't see Robert as jealous or fearful of Stannis. More likely he just plain hated the man and saw him as a loudmouth ass

#5 redviper9

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 01:34 AM

First and foremost, my thanks to theguyfromtheVale, Kissedbyfire, and Dr. Pepper for organizing this thread. Stannis is one of my top three favorite characters (the other two are Ned and Tyrion), and while he is discussed a lot on this forum, I can't recall seeing a thread dedicated to a close reread.


Robert
King Robert and his younger brother Stannis have a deep-seated rivalry, and we are introduced to it very early on. Bran II shows us Cersei and Jaime discussing politics, and Jaime characterises Stannis as an ambitious figure, someone who could threaten the Lannisters' hold on the throne. Only a few chapters later, during Eddard II, Ned and Robert discuss the vacancy in the office of the Warden of the East. Robert doesn't want to appoint Jon Arryn's son Robert because he is too young and sickly, and wants to appoint Jaime Lannister instead. Ned fears an increase in Lannister power and suggests another path:



Stannis is a celebrated military commander, both for holding Storm's End during Robert's Rebellion and for smashing the Ironborn Fleet during Balon's Rebellion. But Robert is uncomfortable with the idea of Stannis becoming Warden of the East, a purely military office. It seems pretty clear that Robert would prefer to just ignore his younger brother, if in any way possible. Robert would rather give the Lannisters free reign than hand Stannis any position of power beyond that of a minor Lord. He might fear his younger brother's ambition, but he is utterly unconcerned about the Lannister's ambitions, or Renly's, for that matter. Rather, I believe Robert sees this as personal, and doesn't want to give credit to Stannis for anything. This is furthered by Robert's disregard of Stannis' wedding, for example. More generally, though, I still don't think I really understand Robert's seeming resentment of Stannis. Anyone has any good ideas?


I too have always wondered why exactly Robert chose to name Jaime Lannister Warden of the East over Stannis. Not naming Robert Arryn does make sense: he's a young boy, he's sickly, and Lysa's deep hold and influence on him seem to be less than beneficial. But, as Ned rightly thinks to himself, placing Jaime in the position is also problematic, namely because it gives the Lannisters control of half the armies in the realm.

As I think about it, perhaps Robert not naming Stannis to the position indicates that he might be more politically and personally astute than we thought. Robert was concerned about the "flatterers and fools" -- many of them Lannisters -- that he was surrounded by at court; it's in large part because of that concern that he turned to Ned when Jon Arryn died. No one in the realm would have blinked if Robert had named Tywin his new Hand. After all, Tywin had proven himself an effective, albeit ruthless, administrator during Aerys II's reign, and he was Robert's father-in-law. But Robert turned to Ned, thus, at least in theory, placing some limits on Lannister power.

Now, once Ned becomes Hand, Robert confesses to him that he has considered abdicating the Iron Throne and taking up a career as a sellsword in the Free Cities. However, Robert doesn't do it because he knows the throne would pass to Joffrey, and Robert already seems to realize that his oldest "son" is a monster in the making. Not only that, but Robert also realizes that Cersei would be calling the shots as regent until Joffrey comes of age. Perhaps Robert fears what the rigid Stannis might do as Warden of the East. Or, could it be that word had already reached Robert's ears of Melisandre and Selyse's conversion to the faith of R'hllor? It is implied in Maester Cressen's ACOK prologue (I know this is looking ahead a bit, but I think it's relevant to the discussion) that Melisandre has been around for a while. And, as I recall, Varys also mentions rumors in AGOT that Stannis had brought an Asshai'i shadowbinder to Dragonstone. If those whispers managed to reach Robert while he was alive, then maybe he feared giving the Warden of the East title to someone who was increasingly under the influence of a foreign religion. Granted, Robert got along famously with Thoros of Myr; but, as Gendry points out to Arya, that friendship was based on Robert's and Thoros's shared love of drinking and fighting, not because Robert ever seriously considered converting to R'hllor. If Robert had misgivings about the faith of the Fire God and its possible influence on Stannis, then maybe he decided that Jaime was the lesser of two evils.

As I think about it, another possible reason for Robert not giving the title to Stannis comes to mind: Storm's End. Or, to be more precise, the fact that Robert had given Storm's End to Renly following the rebellion. We come to find out later that Stannis was never happy that he didn't receive what in his mind rightfully belonged to him, and that he wasn't shy about bringing the subject up with Robert. We know that Robert wasn't exactly fond of meeting non-battlefield confrontations head on (remember his reaction to the brawl between Ned's and Jaime's men and to Catelyn taking Tyrion hostage: he wanted it all swept under the rug and to move on as if nothing had ever happened). Robert may well have feared that giving Stannis the East would have opened up the old wound again. Or, maybe Robert came to realize that he had indeed slighted Stannis, and that Warden of the East title was too little, too late.

#6 theguyfromtheVale

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 02:59 AM

I think you're onto something here, Dr. Pepper. This also ties in with my position on Varys: making Stannis king would be the ultimate stabilizing move for the realm. He isn't likeable, but he is a military man and reliable like no other contender. While Robert founded the Baratheon dynasty, Stannis would be the one to give it legitimacy if in power. Varys can't have that, and Robert might well be envious of Stannis' skill at what is Robert's duty.

Interestingly enough, I wonder what would have happened if the birth order of Robert and Stannis had been reversed. Would the rebellion have happened in the first place, at least the way it did? And, assuming it had happened and succeeded, what would have been the result for the Lannisters after the Sack, or the realm at large?

#7 Lummel

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 03:16 AM

When I first heard of the rumoured Stannis reread I wondered how you would do it - it's looking pretty impressive so far!

...On first glance, it's curious why Stannis was given Dragonstone, the seat that has traditionally been held by the Crown Prince. Yes, Stannis was Robert's heir when he first took the crown, but Robert was expected to sire heirs with his new wife. Naming Stannis as castellen, or some similar position, of Dragonstone until an heir was born would have made more sense.

I am not very schooled on monarchies, so next will be assumptions. The Crown Prince is the most threatening figure to the king. He's one breath away from the throne. Of course, there are things in place to ensure that an heir does not kill his relative (kinslaying curse, kingsguard), but the threat is still there. Dragonstone is an area poor in resources and vassals. It would be difficult for the Lord of Dragonstone to form an army sizeable enough to truly threaten the throne...


There's this conversation from Tyrion VI ACOK between Cersei and Tyrion which seems pertinent to the discussion:

"And Stannis has always felt he was cheated of Storm's End," Cersei said thoughtfully. "The ancestral seat of House Baratheon, his by rights...if you you knew how many times he came to Robert singing that same dull song in that gloomy aggrieved tone he has. When Robert gave the place to Renly, Stannis clenched his jaw so tight I thought his teeth would shatter."
"He took it as a slight."
"It was meant as a slight"


You'd expect as Dr.Pepper said, that Joffrey would have been given Dragonstone and Stannis Storm's End. The decision to give the wardenship of the East to Jaime Lannister and to foster Sweetrobin with Lord Tywin looks like a further slight from Robert. I do wonder if Robert suspected that Stannis might make an attempt on the throne. Certainly the acquisence to Lannister greed on the one hand sits strangly with giving the Handship to The Ned on the other.

The antipathy between the two characters is clear, but then presumably Stannis may have been the only man who wasn't charmed by Robert. If Robert saw his brother as a constant nagging reminder that he should give up his whoring and save money when he just wanted to have fun it's easy to imagine Robert striking back by slighting him in a socially acceptable way whenever possible.

#8 Blisscraft

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 09:19 AM

Sibling rivalry is a major theme within the series, especially when there are three brothers as is the case with Robert, Stannis, and Renly. The three brothers contemporary with the Baratheons in the books are the three Starks: Brandon, Ned, and Benjen. As DP noted above the Heir is always a threat, explicit or implicit, to the Crown. This is a reflection of how sibling rivalry works in families as well. There is the Heir and then there are the spares; the oldest and then the youngers(est) which may, but probably won't inherit unless something happens to the older(est). This is no small matter in a society which practices primogeniture as is practiced in Westeros.

Ned's investigation into Jon Arryn's death brings us some important information regarding Stannis and his relationship not only with his older brother, Robert, but also with his younger brother, Renly. We learn from Ned that Stannis had accompanied JA on his visits to the armorer, Tobho Mott, and to the brothel. Ned learns that Jon wants to foster his son, Robert, on Dragonstone with Stannis. Ned "finds this curious" because Stannis and Jon "had been cordial, but never friendly." Also, Ned is taken aback by Stannis going to a brothel and "wonders what Lord Renly will make of this" because "Robert's lusts were the subject of ribald drinking songs throughout the realm. But Stannis was a very different sort of man; bare a year younger than the king, but utterly unlike him, stern, humorless, unforgiving, grim in his sense of duty." (Some of these qualities Ned shares with Stannis). FInally, during Ned's investigation, we learn that Stannis is not only a different type of personality than Robert and Renly are, but also very different physically: Stannis is "the bald one" (Gendry's description). Robert and Renly are both noted for their beautiful thick black hair. Renly is "the image of Robert" when he was younger and less dissipated by fast living.

Stannis being "the bald one," is a significant detail. It not only sets him apart physically, but also psychically from Robert and Stannis. Hair is associated with beauty and vigor in men. Baldness is associated with bareness and drought and a lack of sexual vigor. However, baldness is also a sign of intelligence, like the term "egghead," meaning a genius or as a friend of mine used to say, "green grass doesn't grow on a busy street." There is a difference between shaving one's head and going bald, but the effect is very similar in that we can see the exposed surface of the head, we can see its structure, the outline of what lies beneath, the mystery of the bald one's thoughts, imagination, and creative prowess laid bare before us.

Robert and Renly, the oldest and the youngest are more alike than Stannis. Stannis is the odd man out in the family; the monkey in the middle. From Renly, during the council meetings, we learn that Robert is bored by governance and would rather be out and about, but Stannis, Renly is amused to report is stern and once proposed "to outlaw brothels. . . The King asked if perhaps he''d like to outlaw eating, shitting and breathing." Much later in GoT, Varys describes the differences between Stannis and Renly as Stannis is like "an iron gauntlet" and Renly is "a silk glove."

One other aspect of Stannis it seems is that Robert, can't "stomach" him. This is repeated in GoT at least twice. The idea of not being able to "stomach" someone is a powerful image. If you can't "stomach" someone, they must be ejected, like vomit. They cannot be a part of you. You cannot assimilate them within you. Robert expresses his distain towards Stannis not only with intentional "slights" by not giving him Storm's End, as noted above, but also, according to Renly, by "breaking in" Stannis' marriage bed at his wedding to Selyse. It's ironic that Robert is gored by the boar through his stomach.

On last thing, sibling rivalry creates a need for surrogates, substitute siblings, like brothers or sisters, but without the motive to remove the older(est) as king or heir. Ned is a surrogate brother to Robert. Robert chose Ned to be his Hand and Ned is much more like Stannis than Robert's other brothers. Ned can be "grim" and dutiful. When Ned does not agree with Robert about ordering the execution of Dany, Robert calls Ned, a "frozen-faced fool." Sounds like one he could have used on Stannis. Also, like Stannis, Ned is the middle brother. Ned has Brandon, the oldest and Benjen the youngest.

Edited by Blisscraft, 02 November 2012 - 09:27 AM.


#9 theguyfromtheVale

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 07:03 AM

Interesting take on the brother rivalry theme, blisscraft. It is indeed interesting that the second brothers (Ned and Stannis) are the calm, dutiful kind, while the oldest brothers are hot-headed and sensual. And if we forget about gender, we see the same in contemporary Dorne: dutiful Quentyn and willful Arianne... This pattern seems to be strong indeed, and I wonder where this is coming from, in GRRM's mind.

And while Stannis is quite unlike his brothers in terms of his stance on pleasure and duty, it's still interesting that the elder Baratheon brothers share a certain choleric attitude. Our is the Fury fits both of them, (Robert and the dragonspawn, Stannis and his rights). In this sense, Renly seems like the odd man out - we see him as vain but also politically astute, but for some reason, I don't think we ever see him angry.

#10 LuisDantas

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:11 AM

I admit I found it always interesting that Petyr's story is seen as meritocratic. Stannis seems to be the most meritocratic of all the contenders for the throne, far more so than Joffrey, but Baelish seems to regard Joffrey's rule as superior to Stannis'.


At that point those other contesters are only Joffrey and his Lannister supporters and Renly. I don't think Petyr Baelish really meant anyone else with his comments, and I doubt he meant Renly either, since he is not the kind of man who risks life and limb to help someone else without some expectation of personal gain.

All we can really infer from that statement is that Petyr would rather deal with Joffrey than with Stannis. Given later developments, it is reasonable to infer that this preference was at least in part because he believed (correctly, I wager) that Stannis would be far harder to manipulate or predict.

So I guess I agree that this statement isn't very meritocratic except by accident.

Of course, Ned doesn't go out of his way to present Stannis as deserving the throne either. For all we know there are very good reasons to think of Stannis as underserving of the throne and Ned and Petyr don't talk of it because both are all too aware of those reasons. Ned's support of Stannis always struck me as motivated more by a sense of duty than by any real appreciation of Stannis. In fact, I don't see much if any indication of how Ned feels about Stannis in AGOT. He is aware that Robert dislikes him and would rather support Stannis than any Lannister, but that really isn't saying much.






Varys

After his counter-coup failed, Ned finds himself in the Black Cells. Here, he is visited by Varys in the disguise of Rugen. The two men discuss the situation after Cersei has seized power, and after discussing Robb, Lysa and the Martells, the talk turns to Stannis:



Here, Stannis' lack of mercy is mentioned for the first time. It will not be the last time, though.

Just as his judgement of Stannis is, for me, a test of Baelish's true character, the same holds for Varys here. Neither Varys nor Baelish want Stannis on the Iron Throne, and in both cases their stance towards Stannis belies their official positions. Varys says, in the very same talk, that he 'serves the realm', and many seem to believe him. But the problem with this is that handing power to Joffrey the Sociopath and his mother means less stability for the realm than handing the reigns to Stannis. Of course, Varys isn't interested in stability, but that is precisely the point: 'For the Realm' would mean supporting Stannis both from a legalistic and from a stability-seeking position. Varys doesn't care either way.



That is one possible reading, but I don't think it is the most natural one, at least from what we have learned since. Varys may or may not be sincere about wanting to serve the realm, but he has a specific agenda that does not really fit with Stannis'.

Even so, there is no real reason to assume that Varys thought of Stannis as someone who could lead Westeros to more stable times. If anything, his talk with Ned is indicative that he doesn't and that Ned doesn't really disagree. Neither one betrays much of a belief that Stannis could be a good ruler. Just as happened with Petyr Baelish previously, this talk with Varys implies that both men have enough of a consensus of what Stannis is like and how deserving he is, and any disagreements that follow come mainly or even entirely from divergent goals as opposed to divergent readings of Stannis himself.

In fact, one gets the feeling that Stannis is far less controversial in Westeros than he is in the real world.



Conclusion

Everybody in AGoT seems to regard Stannis as a bad choice as king. Only Ned supports him, more out of duty than anything else, but Ned is also the only one to have good words for Stannis from the beginning.


And he seems to fully expect Robert, Petyr Baelish and Varys to be considerably less supportive of Stannis, I can't help but notice. He even seems to consider Renly's offer of a coup.

It is implied that he knows and expects Stannis to be disliked and probably knows of good reasons for that to be so, to the point that he attempts to remind Robert of facts that he is all too aware of in order to make Stannis appear more palatable as an alternative to Jaime Lannister. The text even has him giving Robert a moment to let his suggestion sink in, implying that he expects resistance.

All signs point towards something in the as-yet unrevealed past of Stannis giving him a bad reputation as of AGOT. A reputation that is hardly ever contested even by his supporters, who end up reminding people of his military competence and hearing reminders of how merciless and unbending he is.


But no one doubts Stannis' competence:


That is tentative at best. While they are all questionable for one reason or another, most everyone does in fact doubt Stannis' competence, at least as a political ruler as opposed to a military general: Robert, Renly, Petyr Baelish and Varys, even Ned himself - not one word about how trustworthy or competent he is among all of them. Ned comes the closest but actually ends up silent. And as it turns out, he is the most suspect among them all, because he has big trouble with the Lannisters' rise to power and sees Stannis as much the only alternative. Ned is well-meaning, but also emotionally involved and not too well-informed when it comes to choosing whether to support Joffrey, Stannis or Renly.


The reasons against him lie more in the fact that he is too hard, too uncompromising and uncorruptible.


No one says or even implies that Stannis is incorruptible, however. Hard to manipulate to their own ends, yes, but not incorruptible. That would be an extrapolation, albeit a popular one.


That the men spouting these opinions - Robert, Baelish and Varys - are the most corrupt men in King's Landing, coupled with Ned's support, conversely paints Stannis in a way more favorable light. It's easy to root for Ned and Stannis here - but that's also because Ned is drawn in an extremely sympathetic light, and because we haven't seen Stannis yet. If we knew what Stannis is like in ACoK, I think it would have been much harder to unequivocally root for Ned to succeed in enthronign Stannis.


I don't think Robert, or even Varys, can be included in a list of the most corrupt men in King's Landing. For one, Pycelle would rate higher than either.

#11 theguyfromtheVale

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:45 AM

Ah, Luis! I had hoped you would join this thread, and I'm happy you're providing your perspective. I have always loved debating Stannis with you, and hope we will have great discussions during this reread, too.

At that point those other contesters are only Joffrey and his Lannister supporters and Renly. I don't think Petyr Baelish really meant anyone else with his comments, and I doubt he meant Renly either, since he is not the kind of man who risks life and limb to help someone else without some expectation of personal gain.

All we can really infer from that statement is that Petyr would rather deal with Joffrey than with Stannis. Given later developments, it is reasonable to infer that this preference was at least in part because he believed (correctly, I wager) that Stannis would be far harder to manipulate or predict.

Yes. All I'm saying is that there are some Baelish fans out there who feel he deserved all he gained so far, fair and square. I think his workings against Stannis demonstrate that for Littlefinger, it's better to support Lannister cronyism than Stannis - and I think it is an interesting question how these positions can be reconciled. Wouldn't a stable government be better for legitimate business and trade than civil war and dynastic instability?

So I guess I agree that this statement isn't very meritocratic except by accident.

Of course, Ned doesn't go out of his way to present Stannis as deserving the throne either. For all we know there are very good reasons to think of Stannis as underserving of the throne and Ned and Petyr don't talk of it because both are all too aware of those reasons. Ned's support of Stannis always struck me as motivated more by a sense of duty than by any real appreciation of Stannis. In fact, I don't see much if any indication of how Ned feels about Stannis in AGOT. He is aware that Robert dislikes him and would rather support Stannis than any Lannister, but that really isn't saying much.

I don't think Ned thinks about who deserves to be on the throne all that much. Doing so opens up a whole can of worms that I feel will be dissected in way more detail once we're reading the chapters at Storm's End and consider the merits of Stannis versus those of Renly. But for Ned, this question never arises. As long as a ruler doesn't absolutely discredit himself (Aerys comes to mind), it's not about whether he deserves his position. In this sense, Ned is more aristocratic than most other characters we see - and it is a good question to ask if we should really see that as a good trait in him.

That is one possible reading, but I don't think it is the most natural one, at least from what we have learned since. Varys may or may not be sincere about wanting to serve the realm, but he has a specific agenda that does not really fit with Stannis'.

Even so, there is no real reason to assume that Varys thought of Stannis as someone who could lead Westeros to more stable times. If anything, his talk with Ned is indicative that he doesn't and that Ned doesn't really disagree. Neither one betrays much of a belief that Stannis could be a good ruler. Just as happened with Petyr Baelish previously, this talk with Varys implies that both men have enough of a consensus of what Stannis is like and how deserving he is, and any disagreements that follow come mainly or even entirely from divergent goals as opposed to divergent readings of Stannis himself.

In fact, one gets the feeling that Stannis is far less controversial in Westeros than he is in the real world.

I think serving the realm is diametrically opposed to having a specific, pre-conceived agenda. You're basically making my point here.

Also, is that following instability Stannis' fault or Cersei's? Stannis is the primary victim of Cersei's treason, and I feel like you're blaming him for fighting back.

And he seems to fully expect Robert, Petyr Baelish and Varys to be considerably less supportive of Stannis, I can't help but notice. He even seems to consider Renly's offer of a coup.

It is implied that he knows and expects Stannis to be disliked and probably knows of good reasons for that to be so, to the point that he attempts to remind Robert of facts that he is all too aware of in order to make Stannis appear more palatable as an alternative to Jaime Lannister. The text even has him giving Robert a moment to let his suggestion sink in, implying that he expects resistance.

All signs point towards something in the as-yet unrevealed past of Stannis giving him a bad reputation as of AGOT. A reputation that is hardly ever contested even by his supporters, who end up reminding people of his military competence and hearing reminders of how merciless and unbending he is.

There might well be such an event in Stannis' past, but we don't know about it yet. However, since Robert's dislike of Stannis goes back to their youth (remember that Robert deliberately insulted Stannis at his wedding!) I feel you might be too biased against Stannis here. We have no idea what this event would have looked like, no insinuations what it might be.

That is tentative at best. While they are all questionable for one reason or another, most everyone does in fact doubt Stannis' competence, at least as a political ruler as opposed to a military general: Robert, Renly, Petyr Baelish and Varys, even Ned himself - not one word about how trustworthy or competent he is among all of them. Ned comes the closest but actually ends up silent. And as it turns out, he is the most suspect among them all, because he has big trouble with the Lannisters' rise to power and sees Stannis as much the only alternative. Ned is well-meaning, but also emotionally involved and not too well-informed when it comes to choosing whether to support Joffrey, Stannis or Renly.

As I tried to demonstrate, none of the people above - neither Robert nor Varys nor Baelish - deny Stannis' competence. The reasons they give for opposing him are, in all cases, that he would make their scheming harder. I wonder if that's a bad thing, since I can see no good coming out of Varys' and Baelish's plots.

No one says or even implies that Stannis is incorruptible, however. Hard to manipulate to their own ends, yes, but not incorruptible. That would be an extrapolation, albeit a popular one.




I don't think Robert, or even Varys, can be included in a list of the most corrupt men in King's Landing. For one, Pycelle would rate higher than either.


I believe the triad of Robert, Varys and Littlefinger is a great image of what is wrong with Robert's reign. We might include Cersei here, of course, and by extension all the other Lannisters, but I can't shake the feeling they are only profiting from Robert's mistakes and Varys' and Littlefinger's political games.

#12 Uncle Stannis

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:46 AM

Sigh, the "as-yet unrevealed past of Stannis giving him a bad reputation as of AGOT" strikes again....

#13 LuisDantas

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 10:30 AM

Ah, Luis! I had hoped you would join this thread, and I'm happy you're providing your perspective. I have always loved debating Stannis with you, and hope we will have great discussions during this reread, too.



Why, thanks!


Yes. All I'm saying is that there are some Baelish fans out there who feel he deserved all he gained so far, fair and square. I think his workings against Stannis demonstrate that for Littlefinger, it's better to support Lannister cronyism than Stannis - and I think it is an interesting question how these positions can be reconciled.


Agreed.


Wouldn't a stable government be better for legitimate business and trade than civil war and dynastic instability?


Sure, but that leaves the matter of deciding how exactly Petyr and Stannis both fit among those choices. Not a really answerable question at that point in AGOT, except to the extent that we have little reason to trust in Petyr and it is therefore conceivable that he sees benefit in turmoil. Again, later events reinforce that he probably does indeed see such a benefit. If nothing else, he is certainly very skilled in navigating through troubled times and surving and thriving through them.

ETA: And there is one more factor to consider; personal merits aside, Stannis' claim is inherently bound to create some instability, since it is not possible to prove that Cersei's sons are not Robert's children. That is not a really avoidable circunstance, and although it would be unfair to blame Stannis for it, he must still consider it.



I don't think Ned thinks about who deserves to be on the throne all that much.


Except for believing that no Lannister does, you mean? Otherwise I agree. It seems to be intentional from GRRM, even.


Doing so opens up a whole can of worms that I feel will be dissected in way more detail once we're reading the chapters at Storm's End and consider the merits of Stannis versus those of Renly. But for Ned, this question never arises. As long as a ruler doesn't absolutely discredit himself (Aerys comes to mind), it's not about whether he deserves his position. In this sense, Ned is more aristocratic than most other characters we see - and it is a good question to ask if we should really see that as a good trait in him. I think serving the realm is diametrically opposed to having a specific, pre-conceived agenda. You're basically making my point here.


When you speak of a pre-conceived agenda, do you mean allegiances to a specific leader or House no matter the actual merits and ruling decisions? ETA: "Serving the realm" can also be understood as an agenda, after all.

Varys' allegiances are definitely very clouded in AGOT, to the point that it is in fact impossible to guess what he wants besides that he is not too attached to the status quo or to Robert's Hands (either Jon Arryn or Ned Stark). Neither does he ever shows much of a strong emotion against anyone, IIRC. On the other hand, he does give Ned some advice that would be valuable if Ned had listened, and he seems to sincerely want to avoid his disgrace, if it doesn't cost him too much personally.


Also, is that following instability Stannis' fault or Cersei's? Stannis is the primary victim of Cersei's treason, and I feel like you're blaming him for fighting back.


Not really. I blame the instability mainly on Aegon I Targaryen, truth be told. Westeros isn't really viable as an unified country. Robert was a less than competent ruler and, to be sure, many of his advisors had their own share of blame for the situation, but ultimately I don't think Westeros could be fully spared a civil war.

I do however wonder what you mean by Stannis being a primary victim. He was a target of sorts, I suppose, in that Cersei's ambitions could only be fulfilled at the expense of Stannis' claim. I don't blame Stannis for fighting against a plot that he had good reason to believe to be both treacherous and harmful, both to himself personally and to Westeros as a whole. What I do question is his self-image, his methods and the convenience of lending him the support he earns for. It is one thing to fight Joffrey and Cersei; it is another entirely to present his own claim in quite the way that Stannis did.


There might well be such an event in Stannis' past, but we don't know about it yet.


It is probably more a general tendency than a specific event; Stannis' attitude seems quite consistent through the books to me, even if it was only barely hinted at during AGOT.


However, since Robert's dislike of Stannis goes back to their youth (remember that Robert deliberately insulted Stannis at his wedding!)


You mean that incident that begat Edric Storm? I never got the feeling that it was particularly intentional as a slight to Stannis. Robert did not take much convincing to lie with a woman. And of course, even Stannis admits that he did not love Robert either.



I feel you might be too biased against Stannis here. We have no idea what this event would have looked like, no insinuations what it might be.


I beg to differ. The books consistently give plenty of hints that Stannis was never a very likeable or admirable man, even if AGOT specifically almost seems to make a point of keeping us quite in the dark about him.


As I tried to demonstrate, none of the people above - neither Robert nor Varys nor Baelish - deny Stannis' competence. The reasons they give for opposing him are, in all cases, that he would make their scheming harder.


In the case of Petyr Baelish, sure, no argument there. Robert however was a very poor schemer and seemed even incapable of thinking in those terms. He seemed to simply dislike his brother for as yet unspecified reasons. Then again, Robert had plenty of dislike for other people that he kept around as councilors, and wasn't all that fond of the Lannisters either. It seems clear to me that his feelings for Stannis go at least a bit beyond just vanilla dislike and involve some degree of belief that Stannis isn't trustworthy, at least for him personally. The exact reasons are arguable and in fact largely unrevealed, but the lack of trust and of love is pretty well established.


I wonder if that's a bad thing, since I can see no good coming out of Varys' and Baelish's plots.


Varys is still largely a cypher.


I believe the triad of Robert, Varys and Littlefinger is a great image of what is wrong with Robert's reign. We might include Cersei here, of course, and by extension all the other Lannisters, but I can't shake the feeling they are only profiting from Robert's mistakes and Varys' and Littlefinger's political games.


One thing that I want to point out is that while Stannis is often regarded as hard to manipulate and incorruptible, that must be taken with a grain of salt and weighted against what we do know or can guess of how exactly his dealings with R'hllor and Melisandre work. Sometimes it seems like people want to have their cake and eat it too, by claiming that Stannis is incorruptible and honorable and his most questionable acts are somehow actually Melisandre's fault. I'm not sure that can quite be made to work. We don't excuse Robert for hearing the counsel of Petyr Baelish or Varys, and I don't think we can excuse Stannis with Melisandre either.

Edited by LuisDantas, 03 November 2012 - 10:44 AM.


#14 butterbumps!

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:10 AM

Littlefinger

While Robert lies dying, Ned writes a letter to Stannis (the letter will never arrive, but it isn't telling Stannis anything new. Still, having a letter from Ned would have strengthened Stannis' position towards the Starks early on). Directly afterwards, he is visited by Littlefinger. The two discuss the situation, and the talk turns towards the fact that Stannis is Robert's heir. Ned wants Baelish's support, but Petyr argues for supporting Joffrey instead, based on the following rationale:

I admit I found it always interesting that Petyr's story is seen as meritocratic. Stannis seems to be the most meritocratic of all the contenders for the throne, far more so than Joffrey, but Baelish seems to regard Joffrey's rule as superior to Stannis'. Basically, I think there are two ways to look at this: Either Stannis isn't just, and doesn't reward merit. Or Baelish isn't actually thriving on merit, but rather on corruption. I feel that the latter explanation is more convincing, and indeed Littlefinger's rejection of Stannis' rule is the reason that I find the 'Baelish has earned his position' stance myopic. Baelish is corrupt, not the best man at his job.

Conclusion

Everybody in AGoT seems to regard Stannis as a bad choice as king. Only Ned supports him, more out of duty than anything else, but Ned is also the only one to have good words for Stannis from the beginning. But noone doubts Stannis' competence: The reasons against him lie more in the fact that he is too hard, too uncompromising and uncorruptible. That the men spouting these opinions - Robert, Baelish and Varys - are the most corrupt men in King's Landing, coupled with Ned's support, conversely paints Stannis in a way more favorable light. It's easy to root for Ned and Stannis here - but that's also because Ned is drawn in an extremely sympathetic light, and because we haven't seen Stannis yet. If we knew what Stannis is like in ACoK, I think it would have been much harder to unequivocally root for Ned to succeed in enthronign Stannis.


On LF:
Others touched on this, but I am almost certain that LF is anti-Stannis because Stannis is the "incorruptible" leader, and LF rose through the ranks, essentially, by corruption. LF wouldn't be endured by Stannis; had Stannis successfully taken the Throne, I'm pretty sure that LF would have become a head on a spike, and LF knows this. Generally speaking, I don't believe Stannis exactly "plays" the game of Thrones, so I think LF sees him as a threat both personally, as well as to LF's aims at creating chaos between the major families.

On Varys:
I'm more interested in Varys' perceptions of Stannis than LF's. I do think that there is something implicitly more threatening about Stannis than other contenders, and that some of the same issues LF has with him are the same for Varys (Stannis would not endure the master of whispers, and would have little interest in "playing"), but the factor of magic adds another level of complication to this dynamic. This will come up in future chapters so I don't want to get ahead, but I think Melisandre weighs on Varys' mind.

I happen to think that Stannis comes across as the sort of leader who would bring stability and order (if not prosperity) to KL and the realm generally. I know that Ned is the only one to support him, and that it's for procedural reasons, but I think it's fair to say that even at this early stage Stannis is introduced as someone who probably would be good for the Throne. We're initially introduced to so much corruption and intrigue, that those who dislike Stannis appear to dislike him for reasons that actually make Stannis look better-- that he's not endorsed by the corrupt players speaks well for his abilities.

Regarding Robert's slight of giving Stannis Dragonstone, I don't actually think it was a slight at all. Renly was a child at the time, and Dragonstone was basically "enemy" territory. It needed a more able and mature leader, while Storm's End- as the Baratheon seat- was a more tractable place for Renly to preside over. Plus, Robert kind of named Stannis his next of kin by giving him Dragonstone-- it's the seat of the Targs who created the concept of the Iron Throne, and by giving this to Stannis, it puts him next in line-- it's creating a new "family seat" that ends not at Storms End but the Iron Throne directly.

Edited by butterbumps!, 03 November 2012 - 11:11 AM.


#15 Lummel

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:36 AM

On Dragonstone it made sense, I agree, to send Stannis there and to govern there in the aftermath of the defeat of the targaryens. But as the years go by its purely an empty honour and one that alienates him from the ancestral lands. Doubly so since Joffrey was regarded as heir.

Dragonstone is a white elephant and so ideal for an heir to the throne. It is obviously honourable because of the Aegon the Conquer association but it ensures that the heir doesn't have the resources to challenge the iron throne if they feel that they have waited too long for their inheritance.

#16 Tagganaro

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:49 AM

Wow, great reread idea. Very interesting and thanks to all involved.

I'd say the Robert/Stannis rivalry is mostly a personal one. Cersei says later on that Robert needed to be loved by everyone, he wanted drinking buddies who didn't take life too seriously and laughed a lot. Stannis is obviously the opposite of that. Although he does have a good sense of humor and witty one-liners, Stannis is not capable of showing love to anyone, nor is he capable of really laughing and enjoying himself. I could only imagine the interactions that actually took place between Robert and Stannis pre-AGOT. Stannis would have taken the duty to rule very seriously, he dislikes and is uncomfortable with women in general and prostitutes in particular (I'm guessing), and I'm sure the same holds for alcohol. That is of course essentially what Robert's rule boiled down to: Women and alcohol. So I can sort of see how those interactions would play out over the course of Robert's rule pre-AGOT. I see a lot of teeth-grinding and extreme condescension from Stannis, and I see Robert holding a serious grudge against him for it and using any opportunity he can get to slight and piss off Stannis in return. I'm sure that pattern actually didn't even arise from Robert getting the Throne, but was probably a lifelong pattern for 2 brothers who are so diametrically opposed in every aspect.

#17 R'hllor's Bastard

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 04:28 PM

I think there was a legitimate caution in giving men like Stannis too much power. And yes Robert had next to no skill or desire at running a kingdom, but he was no tyrant. While the council members arent particularly heroic, I can see LF while counciling Ned, picturing Stannis attending every single council meeting overruling everybody else's ideas in favor of what his own personal version of what is just and fair. I think Robert provided a climate of "at least hes not Aerys". Men like Stannis and Tywin have potential to be great and effective leaders, but there is just as much potential to become tyrannical maniacs. I think this was why a lot of the uneasiness about Stannis, from not just Robert but others as well.

Edited by R'hllor's Bastard, 03 November 2012 - 04:30 PM.


#18 redviper9

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 07:02 PM

<snip>


Very interesting post on the sibling rivalry and Robert's inability to "stomach" Stannis. You're right in that that is a very powerful word to use in this context.

An unbridgable personality gap could easily account for why Robert refused to name Stannis his Warden of the East. And the gap fits in with what we learn about Stannis in AGOT; by all accounts in that book, he seems to be the polar opposite of Robert in every way.

#19 the titan of westeros

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:10 PM

This topics is a tough one there's a lot to interpret. We can't be sure exactly how Robert thinks, though it seems easy enough to know what Stannis is thinking. I had thought originally that during the rebellion Robert put Stannis in charge of holding Storms End because he knew it would come under siege and Stannis would not give up. But on second thought maybe Robert had wanted Stannis to lose. It may well have been some type of petty jealousy that made him charge stannis with holding storms end. Odds are they had tons of jealous arguments when they were younger over who would have made the better lord and this probably got on Roberts nerves. I think Robert had the thought in the back of his head that Stannis would either lose or be killed and he was ok with that which is sorta F-d up.

#20 Lummel

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 02:07 AM

I don't think Robert put Stannis in charge of Storm's End during the rebellion - he was just there and in command by default. Robert was fostered out to Jon Arryn, Stannis lived in Storm's End.