In this you are right. I was wrong when I wrote this.
I don't understand what you mean. Are you saying that Stannis was the one who decided that there was to be a Baratheon VS Baratheon battle, and not Renly? If so, where is your source for that?
It is classical logic. I have very recently studied philosophy including logic at university level so I know how it works and it is the most legitimate kind of logic.
I did not think about the possibility of Renly rebelling against Joffrey despite believing him to be legitimate, however. Thus my argument is flawed because of my faulty assumption. Since writing the post I have read and realised that Renly believed Joffrey to be legitimate. I did not know this before, or otherwise I had forgotten it.
So essentially Renly is rebelling against Stannis since he is rebelling against everyone in general, regardless of their legitimacy, just because he wants the throne for himself. That is a fairer treatment of Stannis than I thought, but it is still a bad, illegal and irrational thing to do. That means Renly is not being unfair and unlawful against Stannis, he is being unfair and unlawful to everyone by not following the laws - and without any reasonable motivation of being unfairly treated or having family members imprisoned that other people like the Starks had for rebelling. His motivation is just his own will to be king, and that is in my opinion a bad one that does not justify his rebellion against everyone else.
Renly does not care about the law in the case of kingship. He just wants power for himself. That is bad. And one can argue back and forth about the question of whether Renly crowning himself is an altruistic thing, since he thinks he will make the best king, but I think he would not make a better king than Stannis. Many Targaryen kings, like Viserys II, were a bit asocial or "grumpy" like Stannis but were still great kings and hands. Stannis is just and fair and is good at kingly responsibilities such as keeping order in a strict and dutiful way, unlike Renly. And there are several more examples of this with the good "grumpy" Targaryen kings other than Viserys II. But this is of course not an absolute truth so we can continue arguing about this if you do not agree with me about Stannis being better for kingship than Renly.
Renly crowning himself and rebelling against the other kings or potential kings is a bad action according to me. It is selfish, irrational and dangerous. If he had not done it there would not have been the Baratheon VS Baratheon conflict.
Even if Stannis was the one who initiated the specific battle by Storm's End (As I said, I do not know who it was. Please write information about it in quotes if you have information that I do not. I think that it is not stated who started it in the books, but I am not sure.), Renly initiated the possibility of there being such a battle. If Renly had not crowned himself there would not have been a need or reason for such a battle. But by crowning himself, Renly steals the men of the Stormlands that should belong to Stannis, and it is obvious that Stannis then will have to initiate a fight to get those men back or defend his claim. Renly should have known this. So even if Renly did not initiate that specific battle, he did initiate the Baratheon VS Baratheon conflict. And that is bad.
Okay, you are right in this to a high degree.
It is a matter of degrees, of course, but yes, there are actually big signs that Stannis is preparing himself for Robert's death. I admit that. And Stannis's silence and actions during AGOT does indeed lead to the War of the Five Kings. He is indeed guilty of a large part of that. Not all of it, since he could not have known exactly what would happen between House Stark and House Lannister and not even be entirely sure of Robert dying, but a large part of it. So yes, maybe that makes him ultimately worse than Renly. It is actually possible. That would make the entire discussion end there. Maybe it is so. It is not only Stannis's actions that lead to the War of the Five Kings, but yes, he does have a large part of the blame in it. Because of this, I now see him as roughly equal to Renly. Congratulations, you may have won or at least evened out the entire argument of who is better of Stannis and Renly by that. I did not realise that Stannis' actions were so causally related to the War of the Five Kings. And they are not to 100 %, as I have said. But yes, to a very significant degree. In conclusion, I like Renly more and Stannis less after this. As I said, roughly equal, but I may still like Stannis better and feel like I can justify this, since Stannis' actions are not the only thing leading to the War of the Five Kings and he could not 100 % know about Robert's death beforehand etc etc.
(I am sorry about repeating myself, by the way, but I have to make myself clear over and over again and also kind of explain it or summarise it to myself.)
So essentially, depending on how accountable Stannis is for the War of the Five Kings erupting, which is a very complex question, I might have changed my mind and consider Stannis to be worse than Renly. Maybe. It is possible. But it is not certain, since Stannis' blame in the matter is not a 100 % simple and clear thing. So yeah, maybe we can continue arguing about this, but I think it would be extremely hard or impossible to conclusively determine exactly how guilty Stannis is for this. And in any case, even if he is objectively very guilty for it, I will still answer your other arguments or general sentences down below here.
Maybe that is so, that Renly sees crowning himself as his only way out. If he does, he is wrong and endangering people with this wrong analysis of the situation. It is far from his only way out. He is in one of the absolutely best positions one can possibly be in. He is the lord of the Stormlands, has lots of money, the friendship of Ser Loras and a potential political ally in House Tyrell, etc etc. He does not need to fear for his own life or anything like that. Crowning himself is absolutely not "his only way out".
If he thinks that Stannis can not get many men by his own, he should either use his charm to convince the men who would follow him that Stannis is a good king or otherwise kneel to Joffrey and combine his forces with the Lannisters to defeat Stannis. That would likely be extremely easy, or at least Renly would think so, since he doesn't know about Stannis' magic. Anyone could realise that the Stormlands plus Joffrey's forces could defeat Stannis. But Renly crowns himself because he does not want to kneel to Joffrey.
If you really believe that he crowned himself because he saw himself as in trouble and was scared of the Lannisters coming to get him, then we can continue arguing about that. I think that he should not need to fear that if he just kneels to Joffrey and then lives out his life in Storm's End, staying a loyal liege lord to Joffrey, but maybe he has more reason to fear the Iron Throne and should be afraid. Tell me if you think that he does. I cannot really see it.
You say that Renly rightfully believes that Stannis could not get the job because people simply disliked him. That is not necessarily true. I think it is false and that Renly is wrong or underestimating Stannis in this.
A lot of the Stormlanders came to him after Renly's death and his current new followers from the mountain clans of the North in ADWD and so forth proves that Stannis can get people to follow him. And it would probably have worked even better if Renly had supported him and shown/told people that Stannis was a good king instead of doing the opposite. So I do think that Stannis could have gathered enough support and good will from people if Renly had supported him.
Yes, Stannis may have killed more men at the Blackwater than Renly could have at Storm's End. But that is after Renly has died so you cannot legitimately compare the two of them at that point. Renly is dead and can no longer kill anyone. There is a high chance that Renly could have killed just as many if he had led the Baratheon forces at the Blackwater instead of Stannis. Just because Stannis was the one that survived, he became the one who led all those men to their deaths at the Blackwater. If Renly had survived, it is very likely that he would have killed as many men/led as many men to their deaths in a similar attack or an even worse idea - especially since Renly is not a good strategist like Stannis. So it is not right or reasonable to judge Stannis for how many people died at the Blackwater and say with certainty that Renly would not have led his forces to a similar catastrophy. It is very likely that he would have.
As I said, maybe maybe Renly does crown himself out of survival sense. Please elaborate on this if you want to. I still don't think that he is in that much of a troublesome or dangerous position. He could just kneel to Joffrey and/or flee to Storm's End, which is literally impregnable. Etc etc...
Yes, Stannis wants Renly's army, since he knows that it should be his, since he is the rightful king and all the kingdoms' armies should belong to him. It is not wrong for Stannis to want Renly's army. It should belong to him. Yes, he kills Renly for it since Renly has already shown that he is willing to kill Stannis. Renly is the one who creates the unnatural position wherein the younger brother rebels against the older one, forcing a conflict. If the younger brother kneels, none of them has to die. If the younger brother rebels, one of the brothers eventually has to die or kneel. And it is not right that Stannis should kneel to Renly.
I do not think that Stannis would have killed Renly to get his army even if Renly had not crowned himself. They used to love each other and Stannis is not that terrible. Okay, it is possible that Stannis would have killed Renly if Renly had kneeled to Joffrey but if he had done that it would mean that he would be equally okay with Stannis' death since he did not side with him and since he knows that Stannis is extremely weak without the Stormlands army. So it is still a draw between them. Either Renly kneels to Stannis and therefore Renly's army goes to Stannis, their king, or Renly sides with Joffrey and thereby is fine with Stannis being defeated and killed by the combined force of Renly and Joffrey. In this case Renly and Stannis are equally murderous and terrible, and they both do it from a position of thinking that their side is Robert's lawful heir. So it's a draw in that scenario.
Yes, it may be hypocrisy to accuse Renly of the Baratheon VS Baratheon conflict while Stannis is partly responsible for the entire War of the Five Kings. As I said above, I admit that I may be at least partly wrong in this.
No, the reason why I keep saying that Stannis' actions are legitimate is not because he let Robert die for it. It is because I think (/thought, in some cases) that Stannis' actions in fact are legitimate.
I clearly wrote "at the time of Renly's death", not afterwards. Blackwater and the thing with Stannis happens after Renly's death. Please read more carefully.
Yes. But isn't it still the right thing to do, if it is for the greater good, with the unjustified death of one person leading to thousands of lives spared, Stannis winning the crown and then being a good king and saving the kingdom and so forth?
Maybe. Maybe not. We can continue arguing about this.
1. You do not know that. Do you seriously believe that Stannis is such a terrible person that he does not care about sparing lives at all??? I think Stannis does care. He does moral actions from time to time and I think he is a good person at heart who cares about the lives of the people. And there was no guarantee that telling people about the incest was going to save thousands of people or that the opposite would lead to thousands of deaths. Stannis is not a psychic, he could not predict the exact future and exactly what terrible things would come.
2 & 3 It is possible that you are right in this. I did not think of this actually. Yes, you are right. Renly did not necessarily prepare to kill Stannis by declaring himself king. All right. You are right in that. And the offer of Storm's End was a good and fair one in such a position.
Once again, I very clearly said "at the time of Renly's death". Your question and mentioning of the Blackwater is irrelevant.
But since you asked I will answer it anyway.
Stannis' spending of thousands of lives in his failure at the Blackwater is Renly's fault by Renly declaring himself king instead of kneeling to Stannis, leading Stannis to kill Renly as almost the only option he has for winning the war and therefore being left alive and having to take the blame for leading Baratheon men into Tyrion's unexpected wildfire apocalypse. And if Renly had killed Stannis it would have been Stannis' fault that Renly led men to their deaths against the Lannisters afterwards. As I have said, it is irrelevant since it happened after Renly's death and we can not know how Renly would have acted if he had survived (and won against Stannis). But it is likely that Renly could have suffered a similar defeat.
(1) Did he really say that he intended to burn or kill a great amount of his enemies with those dragons? Maybe he would use them as a deterrant, and make people kneel when they saw his power. Or maybe he would just use the dragons on a small few of his enemies. It is not certain that he would kill a great amount of people with the dragons. Many would likely surrender just from hearing about their existence, thus leading to Stannis winning the war with minimal bloodshed.
(2) No, of course it does not. But at least Stannis is not betraying someone he loves deeply. That would be worse. Edric is his nephew but it would have been worse if they had truly known each other. That is what I mean.
(3) Stannis's status as a grown man does not alter the fact that he is a fictional character without an ability to express his voice and defend his own actions on this Internet forum. Thus, if I am to win the argument, I have to defend him, and it is also reasonable to do so. A good and very common way of arguing about which one of two persons is worse and which one is better is to compare them side by side. So you should not have a problem with me comparing Stannis's bad actions to Renly's bad actions. Such a comparison is in the nature of good and rational argumentation.
(4) Yes. You are right in this.
I am ambivalent towards your first sentence. You may be more or less right, you may be more or less wrong.
Regarding your second sentence: Yes, Renly did start something. Sure, he may not have gone to war against Stannis directly, but declaring oneself king against the law and rebelling against the lawful succession - whether it is Joffrey or Stannis - means indirectly starting a conflict or war with them.
I'm guessing you mean why Robert would give Stannis Storm's End so that he would be in a strong position to fight for the throne. Obviously, Robert would most likely not expect Stannis to want the throne or there to be a war over it within House Baratheon. So Robert probably did not think as badly of Stannis as you do. Robert might have wanted to give Stannis Storm's End and the Stormlands to show him gratitude over his great actions during Robert's Rebellion, saving Storm's End from the Tyrell siege etc etc... There are many many reasons why Robert could have and should have given Storm's End to Stannis.
Yes, there is complex arguing.
No, Robert was not officially obligated to give anything to his brothers but I think he should have given Storm's End to Stannis as a thankyou since Stannis followed him so dutifully and bravely during Robert's Rebellion and was a very good younger brother who was worthy of it. Etc etc...
And it is very complex with Storm's End VS Dragonstone since the Targaryen dynasty has been replaced with the Baratheon dynasty but partly via Robert's kingship being justified via his Targaryen heritage. There are many questions which are not entirely clear.
Which of the Targaryen traditions should live on? Which should be replaced? Since Robert rules over both the Seven Kingdoms and the Stormlands, should he get the Red Keep and Storm's End all to himself? Should the Baratheon heir that is closest to King Robert in the line of succession (Stannis) get Storm's End as the Baratheon heir who is unoccupied with ruling from the Red Keep? Or should he be given Dragonstone, since that was the tradition of the previous Targaryen dynasty? Robert did not have to continue with the Dragonstone tradition. He got rid of other things from the Targaryen era. But he chose to do it anyway, and regardless of whether he thought it was an honour to Stannis or not, it was not that good for Stannis to have Dragonstone. Stannis was mistreated by Robert in this, even if Robert's intentions were good.
(1) Yes, you are right in this, once again, I did not know that.
(2) Yes. Fine. According to Renly's point of view, yes.
Yes, Renly did rebel against Stannis. By declaring himself king, he rebels against both Joffrey and Stannis. What treason do you mean? The killing? Or what?
If you want to you can answer back, or maybe we can end it at this. It has taken me extremely long (2 1/2 hours) to write this down and I am not sure if I would do it again if you replied with an equally long answer. I don't know.
Anyway, to sum up, I was wrong about several things and admitted to that. I have gotten a better understanding of Renly regarding his view on Cersei's children, his intentions of making Stannis kneel instead of killing him, Stannis' actions in part leading to the War of the Five Kings etc etc.
But you can of course answer whatever you want and we can maybe continue. We will see.