Angel Eyes

So did Renly believe that Robert’s “children” were incest-born?

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Or did he honestly think they were Robert’s children and Stannis is trying to claim the throne on false pretenses? Can’t figure that one out, since it seems that he thinks that Stannis is being hypocritical, while he’s trying to get Robert to drop Cersei and marry Margaery, which would necessitate removing the “Baratheon” kids through some means or another... which implies he is aware, and makes him look much worse by comparison.

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Seems to me he doesn't really care. They may very well be incest born, or not, either way they are their mother's creatures and very Lannister indeed. Renly knows that Joffrey on the IT means Tywin ruling the Seven Kingdons, and that he does not want. I think that's the main purpose of Renly's - not to deliver the 7K to Lannisters or to Stannis, for he believes his brother will be a terrible king (and he's probably right). So he'd be OK with Ned as protector of the realm, but Stark is on it and he decides to do it himself... that's how I understood it when I was reading it for the first time, at least, but I might be wrong.

Edited by Lady Dacey

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He's Robert's brother and he knows how Robert won his throne: with strength. That's what's more important to him. He doesn't want Stannis or Lannisters ruling the 7K. He tells Ned "that who has the King has the Kingdom" - if he knows about the incest, and I believe he does, he's not really interested in exposing it yet, but he would at some point. He knows very well he doesn't have a claim but he's still trying to get to the IT. He's very smart and a good politician. I would have loved to see more of him. 

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He doesn't believe it. He wants to conquer the Throne, like Robert did. Even if he believed it, he didn't mean to support Stannis.

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I don't think he had so much as doubt about their parentage when he claimed the throne towards the end of game. He simply wanted to remove the Lannisters from power, saw Joff and Tommen as Lannister puppets and decided to claim it himself because of Tyrell influence mixed with his own ambition. I'm not sure whether he believed Stannis about the incest or not but either way by the time those raven's flew he had the Stormlands and the Reach behind him and thus didn't care. He had the biggest army. Nothing else mattered to Renly at that point.

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I always assumed that Ned had informed Renly of what he knew (though I don't have any basis for this assumption thinking back on it) and it confirmed what Renly had suspected about Cersei's kids belonging to Jaime (after all, there had been rumors).  Renly decided that with the kingdom vulnerable, it was imperative that he (as in his mind the most qualified person) usurp the throne to avoid Lannister tyranny and didn't care much for Stannis' claim (and possibly didn't expect Stannis to press it).  Renly thinks he is justified, and possibly has his heart in the right place - clearly ambitious and wanting power for himself but also concerned about "the people."

Good question @Angel Eyes.

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I think the answer to this question is pretty obvious "No, there is no indication Renly knew of Robert's children not being his".
First to the point that @Lucius Lovejoy presented, did Ned inform Renly of what he knew?
This is the last Ned saw of Renly as far as we can tell.

Quote
"Strike! Now, while the castle sleeps." Renly looked back at Ser Boros again and dropped his voice to an urgent whisper. "We must get Joffrey away from his mother and take him in hand. Protector or no, the man who holds the king (ie. Joffrey) holds the kingdom. We should seize Myrcella and Tommen as well. Once we have her children, Cersei will not dare oppose us. The council will confirm you as Lord Protector and make Joffrey your ward." Ned regarded him coldly. "Robert is not dead yet. The gods may spare him. If not, I shall convene the council to hear his final words and consider the matter of the succession, but I will not dishonor his last hours on earth by shedding blood in his halls and dragging frightened children from their beds."
Lord Renly took a step back, taut as a bowstring. "Every moment you delay gives Cersei another moment to prepare. By the time Robert dies, it may be too late … for both of us."

 

Ned refuses to act, or to inform Renly, as long as Robert was alive. The next we hear of Renly:

Quote

Varys entered in a wash of lavender, pink from his bath, his plump face scrubbed and freshly powdered, his soft slippers all but soundless. "The little birds sing a grievous song today," he said as he seated himself. "The realm weeps. Shall we begin?" "When Lord Renly arrives," Ned said. Varys gave him a sorrowful look. "I fear Lord Renly has left the city."

And of course we know Ned never got another chance to tell Renly what was going on, being beheaded and all. Renly left the city believing Cersei had in her hands the rightful heir. If Ned had told him the truth, and he had believed it, the two would had acted or at least discussed the situation according to that situation the last they saw one another but no.

The next we time we see Renly discussion his brother's children is when Stannis arrives:

Quote

“Joffrey is not my brother’s seed,” Stannis said bluntly. “Nor is Tommen. They are bastards. The girl as well. All three of them abominations born of incest.” Would even Cersei be so mad? Catelyn was speechless. “Isn’t that a sweet story, my lady?” Renly asked. “I was camped at Horn Hill when Lord Tarly received his letter, and I must say, it took my breath away.” He smiled at his brother. “I had never suspected you were so clever, Stannis. Were it only true, you would indeed be Robert’s heir.” “Were it true? Do you name me a liar?” “Can you prove any word of this fable?” --- “All this of snakes and incest is droll, but it changes nothing. You may well have the better claim, Stannis, but I still have the larger army.”

In his meeting with Stannis he attests that while he believes his brother has made up the story it doesn't really matter either way, as he is already committed to fighting the Lannisters. Again, if he believed/knew of the incest he might had as well admitted it as he was not in the war as rightful heir of Robert but as the strongest contender against Lannisters. So yet again, I don't think this indicates he had any prior knowledge.

 

Also it seems most of the people in this thread (though not all) go by the whole mistaken idea of "Renly wanted to be king because being king would be great/preferable/cool/etc." It is obvious from Renly's prior actions that he did not have any great desire for the throne before he was forced into rebelling. His first move was replacing Cersei with Margeary due to her being a clear and present threat to Renly (as Cersei confirms in her own chapters), his second move was to take his brother's children under control with Ned as the protector, again to minimize Cersei's power. And only his third option was to raise his own banners and make his bid to the throne, after Ned had been executed and Cersei had more-or-less consolidated her power in King's Landing. And, as a sidenote, at this point Stannis was still in his self-imposed exile on Dragonstone, not making any moves that Renly could had interpreted as Stannis rising up against Lannisters (other than gathering few thousand men). Renly did what he thought he had to stop Cersei from taking his title and his head and when Stannis actually started moving it was too late to stop the Renlytrain. Choo choo!

Edited by Humble Maester

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Might was his right. The last Lord of Storm's End became King of Westeros so why not him? He knew Joffrey and Cersei were tyrants and would most likely try to kill him after Robert died because the people loved him. Then the Lannisters killed a Stark like the Targaryens did before them. He wanted to recreate Robert's Rebellion and had the swords to win it. He was even going to let Robb Stark continue calling himself a King. He had done the Dornish no harm and the Vale believed the Lannisters killed their Lord. On paper he had a great chance of achieving his goal, had Stannis never had Melisandre, he probably would have.

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14 minutes ago, Humble Maester said:

Ned refuses to act, or to inform Renly, as long as Robert was alive.

Renly literally gave Eddard a life line and Ned spat on it. It was perhaps Ned's biggest mistake to trust Baelish over Renly. Renly was a walking talking representation of what Ned remembered Robert to be, the King he believed in. For whatever reason Ned chose to ignore this sign and it cost him his life.

Edited by Ralphis Baratheon

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As I read it Renly was suprised by Stannis' letter but didn't think much of it. He'd probably assume that the children were Roberts, problem was that Renly wanted to be king and he knew the Lannisters wouldn't allow him to keep hyis life and titles when he had such a poor relation with said Lannisters. But even if the children had been black haired, blue eyed 100% Baratheons, Renly would still have rebelled and slated them for death down the road.

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Renly believed Cersies children were REAL Baratheons by Robert but they were raised Lannister and thus far more Lannister then Renly would have liked, and Renly knew Joffrey on the throne means Tywin and the Lannisters ruling the kingdoms which Renly did NOT want. This fact makes Renly even more of a piece of shit, because he fully intended to ursurp the birth right of his newphews and nieces. When Stannis sent out the incest letters Renly was surprised by Stannis claims and was generally surprised Stannis took up arms to press HIS claim. 

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8 minutes ago, Stormking902 said:

Renly believed Cersies children were REAL Baratheons by Robert but they were raised Lannister and thus far more Lannister then Renly would have liked, and Renly knew Joffrey on the throne means Tywin and the Lannisters ruling the kingdoms which Renly did NOT want. This fact makes Renly even more of a piece of shit, because he fully intended to ursurp the birth right of his newphews and nieces. When Stannis sent out the incest letters Renly was surprised by Stannis claims and was generally surprised Stannis took up arms to press HIS claim. 

But but...Stannis is a kinslayer! (While Renly was ready to kill his (what he believed them to be) nephews and his brother in the process of taking the Iron Throne). 

 

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48 minutes ago, Stormking902 said:

Renly believed Cersies children were REAL Baratheons by Robert but they were raised Lannister and thus far more Lannister then Renly would have liked, and Renly knew Joffrey on the throne means Tywin and the Lannisters ruling the kingdoms which Renly did NOT want.

You got it mostly right until here, but the part that follows about Renly's motivations is 100% incorrect, motivations that mostly absolve Renly of any assholeness of usurping what he thought was his flesh and blood.

As I quoted above, when Renly and Eddard are talking about Robert dying, Renly states that

Quote

"Strike! Now, while the castle sleeps." Renly looked back at Ser Boros again and dropped his voice to an urgent whisper. "We must get Joffrey away from his mother and take him in hand. Protector or no, the man who holds the king holds the kingdom. We should seize Myrcella and Tommen as well. Once we have her children, Cersei will not dare oppose us. The council will confirm you as Lord Protector and make Joffrey your ward."

and

Quote

Lord Renly took a step back, taut as a bowstring. "Every moment you delay gives Cersei another moment to prepare. By the time Robert dies, it may be too late … for both of us."

If we ignore the fact that even here Renly was prepared to 1) let Joffrey ascend the throne after his "father" and 2) he was willing to have Ned play the primary part afterwards as Lord Protector, thus proving he wasn't a power hungry dolt, the main point I would wish to underline (and bold!) is that what he feared was Cersei, not Joff or Tywin. Okey, so what of it you may ask, maybe Renly was lying about the threat of Cersei to force Ned to act?

Well Cersei, in Feast confirms that she was planning to go after Robert's brothers

Quote

Eddard Stark took up right where Arryn had left off; his meddling had forced her to rid herself of Robert sooner than she would have liked, before she could deal with his pestilential brothers.

It was obvious for both Renly and Cersei that they were going to be coming to blows sooner or later. As I stated in a post above Renly's moves to disarm Cersei included: 1) Getting Margeary to be Queen instead of her (a poor plot at best, I admit), 2) Getting Eddard to take charge so that Cersei could not (a plan that may have well worked if Ned wasn't a dumbdumb) and 3) only after all else had failed rebelling, which to get Tyrell support also forced him to don the crown. From Cersei's point of view we do not know how exactly she had planned to rid herself of Robert's "pestilential brothers" but I am sure if her hand had not been forced she would had come up with something.

Thus it becomes obvious that Renly's "piece of shit" behaviour in going against the heirs he believed to be true heirs was not, indeed, because he was a power hungry dolt but because his own survival was at stake. Cersei would not had allowed a lord paramount hostile to her to remain so close to her base of power, and she had the perfect tool, Joffrey, to get rid of him.

 

37 minutes ago, The Sunland Lord said:

But but...Stannis is a kinslayer! (While Renly was ready to kill his (what he believed them to be) nephews and his brother in the process of taking the Iron Throne).

Well I think the reason most people who don't feel hugely invested in any single character think that Stannis was an asshole is not because he killed Renly (all's fair in love and war after all) but because he completely abandoned his brother and king to be killed by a plot he was more or less aware of, and then only started acting when it was guaranteed to bring him to war against his younger brother. Renly stayed in King's Landing doing what he could to help Robert (and to curtail Cersei's influence), Stannis fled to save his ass.

Edited by Humble Maester
dem typos

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27 minutes ago, Humble Maester said:

Well I think the reason most people who don't feel hugely invested in any single character think that Stannis was an asshole is not because he killed Renly (all's fair in love and war after all) but because he completely abandoned his brother and king to be killed by a plot he was more or less aware of, and then only started acting when it was guaranteed to bring him to war against his younger brother. Renly stayed in King's Landing doing what he could to help Robert (and to curtail Cersei's influence), Stannis fled to save his ass.

This is a valid argument against Stannis. Mostly, I have a mixed opinion on all the Baratheon brothers, so I decide that they are all flawed and limited, with having somewhat good intentions for the realm at the same time. 

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2 hours ago, Humble Maester said:

Also it seems most of the people in this thread (though not all) go by the whole mistaken idea of "Renly wanted to be king because being king would be great/preferable/cool/etc." It is obvious from Renly's prior actions that he did not have any great desire for the throne before he was forced into rebelling. His first move was replacing Cersei with Margeary due to her being a clear and present threat to Renly (as Cersei confirms in her own chapters), his second move was to take his brother's children under control with Ned as the protector, again to minimize Cersei's power. And only his third option was to raise his own banners and make his bid to the throne, after Ned had been executed and Cersei had more-or-less consolidated her power in King's Landing. And, as a sidenote, at this point Stannis was still in his self-imposed exile on Dragonstone, not making any moves that Renly could had interpreted as Stannis rising up against Lannisters (other than gathering few thousand men). Renly did what he thought he had to stop Cersei from taking his title and his head and when Stannis actually started moving it was too late to stop the Renlytrain. Choo choo!

Exactly! I completely agree with your analysis. Renly wanted to get rid of the Lannisters because he perceived them as a threat (correctly), especially Cersei. He also was very geniune in wanting to ally with Eddard Stark, and I personally think Eddard's greatest mistake was not allying with Renly.

 

14 hours ago, Lady Dacey said:

Seems to me he doesn't really care. They may very well be incest born, or not, either way they are their mother's creatures and very Lannister indeed. Renly knows that Joffrey on the IT means Tywin ruling the Seven Kingdons, and that he does not want. I think that's the main purpose of Renly's - not to deliver the 7K to Lannisters or to Stannis, for he believes his brother will be a terrible king (and he's probably right). So he'd be OK with Ned as protector of the realm, but Stark is on it and he decides to do it himself... that's how I understood it when I was reading it for the first time, at least, but I might be wrong.

Again, I totally agree. He reaches out to Eddard several times!

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5 hours ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

Renly literally gave Eddard a life line and Ned spat on it. It was perhaps Ned's biggest mistake to trust Baelish over Renly. Renly was a walking talking representation of what Ned remembered Robert to be, the King he believed in. For whatever reason Ned chose to ignore this sign and it cost him his life.

Exactly. Because of Ned's total unfamiliarity with the backstabbing, cutthroat politics of King's Landing, he was inclined to trust Baelish because Catelyn vouched for him, having known Petyr as a callow, foolish boy. She had no clue as to what Baelish had grown to, and neither did Ned. Meanwhile, Ned was turned off by Renly's flippant attitude, his many irreverent jokes, his fancy clothing, and apparent frivolousness. He thus failed to see the shrewd politician beneath the rainbow banners.

Eddard Stark was an honest, decent man thrown into a pit of snakes. He knew something like this would happen, but felt compelled by honor and long-ago friendship to go south and try.

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20 hours ago, Lady Dacey said:

Seems to me he doesn't really care. They may very well be incest born, or not, either way they are their mother's creatures and very Lannister indeed. Renly knows that Joffrey on the IT means Tywin ruling the Seven Kingdons, and that he does not want. I think that's the main purpose of Renly's - not to deliver the 7K to Lannisters or to Stannis, for he believes his brother will be a terrible king

This....

Quote

"You are very free to name others traitor and usurper, my lord, yet how are you any different? You say you alone are the rightful king, yet it seems to me that Robert had two sons. By all the laws of the Seven Kingdoms, Prince Joffrey is his rightful heir, and Tommen after him . . . and we are all traitors, however good our reasons."

Renly laughed. "You must forgive Lady Catelyn, Stannis. She's come all the way down from Riverrun, a long way ahorse. I fear she never saw your little letter."

"Joffrey is not my brother's seed," Stannis said bluntly. "Nor is Tommen. They are bastards. The girl as well. All three of them abominations born of incest."

Would even Cersei be so mad? Catelyn was speechless.

"Isn't that a sweet story, my lady?" Renly asked. "I was camped at Horn Hill when Lord Tarly received his letter, and I must say, it took my breath away." He smiled at his brother. "I had never suspected you were so clever, Stannis. Were it only true, you would indeed be Robert's heir."

"Were it true? Do you name me a liar?"

"Can you prove any word of this fable?"

Stannis ground his teeth.--A Clash of Kings - Catelyn III

Quote

"Say your say, Lady Stark," Renly said. Brienne swept his cloak over his broad shoulders. It was cloth-of-gold, heavy, with the crowned stag of Baratheon picked out in flakes of jet.

"The Lannisters tried to kill my son Bran. A thousand times I have asked myself why. Your brother gave me my answer. There was a hunt the day he fell. Robert and Ned and most of the other men rode out after boar, but Jaime Lannister remained at Winterfell, as did the queen."

Renly was not slow to take the implication. "So you believe the boy caught them at their incest . . ."

"I beg you, my lord, grant me leave to go to your brother Stannis and tell him what I suspect."

"To what end?"

"Robb will set aside his crown if you and your brother will do the same," she said, hoping it was true. She would make it true if she must; Robb would listen to her, even if his lords would not. "Let the three of you call for a Great Council, such as the realm has not seen for a hundred years. We will send to Winterfell, so Bran may tell his tale and all men may know the Lannisters for the true usurpers. Let the assembled lords of the Seven Kingdoms choose who shall rule them."

Renly laughed. "Tell me, my lady, do direwolves vote on who should lead the pack?" Brienne brought the king's gauntlets and greathelm, crowned with golden antlers that would add a foot and a half to his height. "The time for talk is done. Now we see who is stronger."

--A Clash of Kings - Catelyn IV

It's seems from the first quote that Renly thought Stannis' letter was a lie, but when Catelyn brought him her suspicions, further bolstering the letter, it was plain that he did not care either way.

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9 minutes ago, Wolf of the Steppes said:

This....

It's seems from the first quote that Renly thought Stannis' letter was a lie, but when Catelyn brought him her suspicions, further bolstering the letter, it was plain that he did not care either way.

He probably thought it was great news. Removing his nephews and niece would be a stain on his reputation and make him look like the villain, them being bastards can only be a good thing for the popular Renly. 

 

8 hours ago, The Sunland Lord said:

But but...Stannis is a kinslayer! (While Renly was ready to kill his (what he believed them to be) nephews and his brother in the process of taking the Iron Throne). 

 

He wasn't prepared to kill Stannis. He was surprised that Stannis, and his tiny army, had turned up to siege his lands and even more surprised when Stannis challenged him to battle. Renly offered Stannis Storm's End, just like he was willing to let Robb keep his new lands and his 'crown' in exchange for fealty. It is actually possible he would have came to some compromise with the Lannisters as well, though it would seem that Tywin, like Stannis, would insist on battle. 

 

Stannis is a kinslayer. Not only did he have his brother assassinated but he was willing to sacrifice his bastard nephew because a priestess promised him power.  

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It depends at which point you meant. Originally he had no idea. Then when he received Stanis' letter he assumed it was propaganda. After speaking to Stannis, I believe he realised that Stannis actually believed what he was saying, but he was still unsure himself.

 

Quote

Catelyn and Lord Renly returned together to the camp where his thousands and her few waited their return. "That was amusing, if not terribly profitable," he commented. "I wonder where I can get a sword like that? Well, doubtless Loras will make me a gift of it after the battle. It grieves me that it must come to this."

"You have a cheerful way of grieving," said Catelyn, whose distress was not feigned.

"Do I?" Renly shrugged. "So be it. Stannis was never the most cherished of brothers, I confess. Do you suppose this tale of his is true? If Joffrey is the Kingslayer's get—"

"—your brother is the lawful heir."

"While he lives," Renly admitted. "Though it's a fool's law, wouldn't you agree? Why the oldest son, and not the best-fitted? The crown will suit me, as it never suited Robert and would not suit Stannis. I have it in me to be a great king, strong yet generous, clever, just, diligent, loyal to my friends and terrible to my enemies, yet capable of forgiveness, patient—"

"—humble?" Catelyn supplied.

Renly laughed. "You must allow a king some flaws, my lady."

 

He is a guy who makes jokes to conceal his feelings. It gave him pause and I believe it troubles him somewhat. We see him making an argument to excuse his actions, although we can't see his thoughts to be sure. At this stage he is already committed and can't realistically back down. Highgarden is the real power and they want Margaery as queen, they will not follow Stannis even if Renly declared for them. His meeting with Stannis came too late.

Edited by Makk

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Even if he did why should he care he jumped the gun on Stannis and then mocked him about his info regarding Jon Arryn.
Just seems like a john the fiddler but with less of a claim 

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