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A truly just man? - a Stannis reread

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#81 The Drunkard

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:54 AM

Stannis seems more affectionate to Davos than he does to Selyse, heh. I wonder if... nah, couldn't be....

Anyway, great post kissdbyfire. Really liking this reread so far.

#82 Blisscraft


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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:55 AM

A Different Bird

Stannis is a man with a mission. The beginnings of the chapter reveal how far he is willing to go to accomplish it. He will sacrifice the "new gods" to his "new god." The end of the chapter tells us why: "[t]he Iron Throne is [his] by rights. . . ." The new god is the means. Stannis says:

There are four kings in the realm, three of them have more men and more gold than I do. I have ships. . . and I have her. The red woman. Half of my knights are afraid to even say her name, did you know? If nothing else, a sorceress who can inspire such dread in grown men is not to be dispised. A frightened man is a beaten man. And perhaps she can do more. I mean to find out.

Stannis tells Davos the story of Proudwing, his goshawk. (I agree with Kissbyfire that it is a sad tale). However, it is also a lesson learned. There is a moral to the story, according to Stannis, and that is, he is willing to let go of the past to achieve his future. Stannis will do this by following a bit of advise from his great-uncle Ser Harbert, to "try a new bird," and Mel is that new bird.

Birds are symbols of spirituality and/or spiritual aid. Also, birds are a symbol of the soul. In this case, Stannis not only refers to the color of his bird, a red one, but also the kind of bird, a goshawk. Both the color and the type of bird are signinficant as secondary symbols.

The color red is the color of life. It is the color of blood and fire. It is the color of passion. The color of anger as in, "seeing red." The new bird is a red bird, a red "sorceress." The color inspires both awe and fear. As clear from the above, Stannis means to take advantage of this fact.

As for the type of bird, a hawk is a bird of prey: sharp eyed and fast flying; meat eating, not seed eating. Hawks scream as opposed to sing. So the hawk's screaming becomes a clear message more akin to causing terror than to causing pleasure in the hearer. Like the color red, the hawk inspires awe and fear. Stannis means to take advantage of this as well.

ETA: A "bird" is also a slang term for a woman. Stannis is trying a new "woman."

Edited by Blisscraft, 11 December 2012 - 09:42 AM.

#83 Lummel


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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:57 AM

A goshawk is an interesting choice of bird, there's a medieval English poem that lists what bird of prey a man may keep based on his social estate (you might remember this if you've read "Kes":

"An Eagle for an Emperor, a Gyrfalcon for a King; a Peregrine for a Prince, and a Saker for a Knight; a Merlin for a lady, a Goshawk for a Yeoman, a Sparrowhawk for a Priest, and a Kestrel for a Knave"

A goshawk by medieval English standards would have been considerably beneath a man of Stannis' status. It suggests a lack of ambition and vision. A wounded Goshawk that wouldn't hunt shows that to be a pursuit that is futile and leads nowhere.

The abandonment of the low-status bird is a metaphor for abandoning his position as a Lord and pursuing the crown as well as for abandoning his old faith in favour of one that champions and asserts his role in the universe. It's as little as though in modern terms he's left the faith of his fathers in favour of one of those mega churches in which they preach that God wants the faithful to be rich and successful in this vale of tears. /wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />

#84 Fragon



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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:25 AM

I love this Davos chapter, as I love all interactions between Davos&Stannis and Jon&Stannis, they reveal so much about him and you begin to see Stannis in a very different way than the global impressions.

Great topic!

#85 starkalways



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Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:10 AM

I would love to see more stannis analysis. He's definitely a character I'm conflicted about. I want to love him but I have seen enough to make him unfavorable.

#86 Theda Baratheon

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:26 AM

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.

I really can't see Stannis as a tyannical maniac in any shape or form. He is all about duty. He listens to good men like Davos.

#87 SeanSnow



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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:24 PM

"Stannis is iron, hard but brittle. Robert was the true steel."

#88 Kate Poem

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:10 AM

Reasons for Littlefinger' and Varys's dislike for Stannis?
He - after his official coronation - probably will remove Littlefinger's and Varys's heads from their necks.
Both of them knew about it.

#89 eva-e



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Posted 22 August 2013 - 12:33 PM

“When I was a lad I found an injured goshawk and nursed her back to health. Proudwing, I named her. She would perch on my shoulder and flutter from room to room after me and take food from my hand, but she would not soar. Time and again I would take her hawking, but she never flew higher than the treetops. Robert called her Weakwing. He owned a gyrfalcon named Thunderclap who never missed her strike. One day our great-uncle Ser Harbert told me to try a different bird. I was making a fool of myself with Proudwing, he said, and he was right.”

I'm probably way too impressible, but reading that story this closely, it's more than just sad, it's tragic. Here's a young boy with compassion for a wounded being, who forms a real and close bond with his animal. Probably only takes her hawking in the beginning as one among many activities, because she's a bird of prey, after all. Only that's the game of his big brother, who is succeeding at it in the eyes of the adults. And he manages to make the little one play by his rules in the end, even though he has no chance of winning anyways. Stannis never says, but I'm pretty sure Robert's bird would have still been the most impressive one they had.

If falling in with Melisandre really is equivalent to letting go of Proudwing, then Stannis has just basically lost his humanity to a doomed ambition. Sound about right?

#90 Ser Pounce FTW

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 03:01 PM

If falling in with Melisandre really is equivalent to letting go of Proudwing, then Stannis has just basically lost his humanity to a doomed ambition. Sound about right?

Yes. Butterbumps discusses the Faustian symbolism in Stannis' story in her thread The Paradox that is Stannis. It is a sad story. His ambition and desperate need for recognition (which is he has rightfully earned!) pushed him to do things he would not normally. It does make me think that he will have to pay for bartering his soul, in the long run.

#91 Stan the Man Baratheon

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 11:41 PM

Bumping up this brilliant thread!

#92 BrightStar Of The Day

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 05:33 AM

Bumping up this brilliant thread!

Yea indeed, where are the rest of the chapters? I enjoyed reading the first 3.

#93 Badal



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Posted 23 February 2014 - 05:56 AM

stannis <3

#94 Paper Waver

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 03:33 PM

Mel wears scarlet robes. All she does is to tempt Stannis and make him commit ever greater sins. She is the Great Harlot.


Scarlet is also often associated with immorality and sin, particularly prostitution or adultery, largely because of a passage referring to "The Great Harlot", "dressed in purple and scarlet", in the Bible (Revelations 17: 1-6).


The color is also mentioned several times in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testament; in the Latin Vulgate version of the book of Isaiah (1:18) it says, "If your sins be as scarlet (si fuerint peccata vestra ut coccinum) they shall be made white as snow", and in the book of Revelation (17:1-6) it describes the "Great Harlot" (meretricius magnus) dressed in scarlet and purple (circumdata purpura et coccino), and riding upon a scarlet beast (besteam coccineam).


For some reason, Mel believes Stannis is the AAR (=tPtwP). However, she plays a mummer's farce to make Stannis fulfill the Lightbringer element of the prophecy. We can be sure that the sword of his carries a big fat glamor.


In this Davos chapter where the Seven was burned, the prophecy Mel told does not contain the element of waking dragons from stone. It only appears after the defeat of Stannis at Blackwater. Surely Stannis is in need of a great power. Mel foresees the death of the kings and plays another mummer’s farce by burning the leeches on a grill. That was only to give Stannis hope and make him sure of Mel’s power because shortly after that, Mel urges him to allow her burn Edric. She wants to use the blood sacrifice to summon a shadow dragon.


If Mel is forcefully fulfilling the elements of the prophecy, then what the hell is Stannis supposed to do?


Mel genuinely believes what she does. However, all she does seem to me like she is pushing Stannis to a darker path, making him commit greater sins. She said Mance wearing the ruby is completely under her control. Is she secretly being controlled by the same ruby around her neck and she does not even realize it?

#95 bloody_mummer


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Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:29 AM

Stannis is is interesting, as he combines the traits of so many other characters.  He has Ned's sense of "justice" (doing what is right in spite of popularity or other repurcussions); Twyin's machievelian "the ends justify the means" philosophy, and the grit and determination of a young Robert.


Two of these traits are in constant tension:  his sense of justice (each act deserves its own punishment/reward on its own), and his belief that the he is entlted to the Iron Trone by right and that he will use whatever means to accomplish those ends.   His whole chracater arc is the second overtaking the first.  He is willing to abandon his old gods and adopt a new religion to motivate his troops and give him an advantage in morale and devotion (much like Constantine did when adopting Christianity under similar circumstances), he accepts kinslaying both as a means to an end and as justice for Renly's usurpation.  Once he has crossed the kinslaying bridge, he is willing to kill Robert's bastard to further his ambitions, despite the fact the kid (forget his name) did nothing to "deserve" death. 


By the time he reaches the Wall, his "justness" has been completely overwhelmed by his obsession to take what is rightfully his by any means necessary, whether that means burning people alive, destroying the Night's Watch, etc.

#96 Ser Carson

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:51 AM



I disagree with his sense of Justice. If he really wanted to do what was right it would've been to help Ned and Robert take down the Lannister in aGoT. Stannis knew about the twincest. He knew he needed Jon Arryn to tell Robert because Robert may have killed Stannis if he had suggested it. Justice would've been sentencing Cersei and Jamie to death for high treason. Stannis after Jon Arryn's death runs away to Dragonstone and does nothing to save his brother or give out justice to the Lannisters. This could of been out of fear or just precaution thinking he had more time, but if he had talk to Ned just once they could've changed everything and probably for the better.


Since we don't see Stannis during aGoT it's hard to judge, but his inaction doesn't come off as this great act of justice despite the consequences. I think it comes off as a pity move its like well I tried to warn Robert by getting Jon Arryn involved, but they killed him and I can't/won't tell Robert myself because he hates me/I'm afraid of what he might do to me, so now I will just wait for the Lannister's to kill him and then I will be the rightful King and will be able to deliver Justice.

Edited by Ser Carson, 25 February 2014 - 09:53 AM.