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Jon_Stargaryen

Is Robert Baratheon another Mad King?

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I'm not saying that Robert likes to burn people then rape his Queen, or that he dances in the skin of Rhaegar Targaryen when he's feeling down.

My basic point can basically be summed up with this:

Quote

 

For a moment Robert did not seem to understand what Ned was saying. Defiance was not a dish he tasted often. Slowly his face changed as comprehension came. His eyes narrowed and a flush crept up his neck past the velvet collar. He pointed an angry finger at Ned. “You are the King’s Hand, Lord Stark. You will do as I command you, or I’ll find me a Hand who will.”
“I wish him every success.” Ned unfastened the heavy clasp that clutched at the folds of his cloak, the ornate silver hand that was his badge of office. He laid it on the table in front of the king, saddened by the memory of the man who had pinned it on him, the friend he had loved. “I thought you a better man than this, Robert. I thought we had made a nobler king.”
Robert’s face was purple. “Out,” he croaked, choking on his rage. “Out, damn you, I’m done with you. What are you waiting for? Go, run back to Winterfell. And make certain I never look on your face again, or I swear, I’ll have your head on a spike!”

A Game of Thrones, Chapter 33, Eddard

 

Now this is the moment of his most potent madness (that we're made aware of), and his ridiculous spending is considered less madness and more fiscal irresponsibility, but let's remember what this was about:

He threatened a man who refused to poison a pregnant teenager.

We also know from later Cersei chapters that he frequently raped his wife.

All thoughts are welcome. Please provide feedback.

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I don't see how any of these points could be considered "madness". A couple of points are just examples of a guy with little control over his emotions flying off the handle, saying things he rally doesn't mean. His "raping" of Cersei doesn't count as rape in that culture, and while Cersei hates having sex with Robert she loves the way it gives her moral superiority over him (in the morning when he's sober and contrite and feels guilty) so that's a win for her. 

Good King Bob is a lout, an oaf, a failure as a husband and a mediocre king at best, but not mad.

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9 hours ago, Jon_Stargaryen said:

I'm not saying that Robert likes to burn people then rape his Queen, or that he dances in the skin of Rhaegar Targaryen when he's feeling down.

My basic point can basically be summed up with this:

Now this is the moment of his most potent madness (that we're made aware of), and his ridiculous spending is considered less madness and more fiscal irresponsibility, but let's remember what this was about:

He threatened a man who refused to poison a pregnant teenager.

We also know from later Cersei chapters that he frequently raped his wife.

All thoughts are welcome. Please provide feedback.

I don't think he's mad.  This is the same reaction from young Aegon and the cyvasse board.  Neither are mad but they do have wild tempers.   Wild tempers cause their own problems but it's not necessarily mental illness.  

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Jon_Stargaryen said:

He threatened a man who refused to poison a pregnant teenager.

Threatened him, yes. And then later reconciled with Ned, and asked him to be his Hand once again. We can only imagine what "the Mad King" would have done in that situation, but I imagine it would have involved death, torture or exile. 

There's no comparison between the two, in my opinion. Robert was a terrible King, for different reasons to Aerys, but he was far, far from being another "Mad King". 

Edited by Unacosamedarisa

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9 hours ago, Light a wight tonight said:

I don't see how any of these points could be considered "madness". A couple of points are just examples of a guy with little control over his emotions flying off the handle, saying things he rally doesn't mean. His "raping" of Cersei doesn't count as rape in that culture, and while Cersei hates having sex with Robert she loves the way it gives her moral superiority over him (in the morning when he's sober and contrite and feels guilty) so that's a win for her. 

Good King Bob is a lout, an oaf, a failure as a husband and a mediocre king at best, but not mad.

I would have to disagree.

The level of madness is debatable (clearly not Aerys or Viserys mad), but we see from him- from what little exposure we have of him as an actual King- that he has a spark of madness. How is this any different from Aerys taking out Ser Illyn's tongue.

The only real difference is that Ned survived because he was his friend at one point, and in Robert's case, there was no inciting incident.

Viserys had his exile, the selling of his mother's crown, and the men that were likely chasing after them for years to push him over the edge. Aerys had the Defiance of Duskendale, which was where his madness truly took over- before that he was more of a petty obstructionist.

Robert hasn't had one of those (except for the death of a girl that he didn't actually know, who- based on the textual evidence- didn't even like him.)

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Just now, Jon_Stargaryen said:

How is this any different from Aerys taking out Ser Illyn's tongue.

As far as I know, Robert didn't take anyone's tongues. That's the difference.

Robert blows up, like a storm at times, but he always retreated from what I'd consider madness. A good example is the aftermath of the Greyjoy Rebellion... Cersei says she suggested making a new island, from the skulls of the rebelling Ironborn. That's a Mad Monarch thing to do. Instead, when they were on their knees, Robert let them up again... he accepted their surrender, and fealty, and ended the war. 

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27 minutes ago, Aline de Gavrillac said:

I don't think he's mad.  This is the same reaction from young Aegon and the cyvasse board.  Neither are mad but they do have wild tempers.   Wild tempers cause their own problems but it's not necessarily mental illness.  

16 minutes ago, Unacosamedarisa said:

Threatened him, yes. And then later reconciled with Ned, and asked him to be his Hand once again. We can only imagine what "the Mad King" would have done in that situation, but I imagine it would have involved death, torture or exile. 

There's no comparison between the two, in my opinion. Robert was a terrible King, for different reasons to Aerys, but he was far, far from being another "Mad King". 

He also raped and beat his wife and sent assassins after children (from what Viserys has said, and what we saw him do in his Ned chapters).

 

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1 minute ago, Unacosamedarisa said:

As far as I know, Robert didn't take anyone's tongues. That's the difference.

Robert blows up, like a storm at times, but he always retreated from what I'd consider madness. A good example is the aftermath of the Greyjoy Rebellion... Cersei says she suggested making a new island, from the skulls of the rebelling Ironborn. That's a Mad Monarch thing to do. Instead, when they were on their knees, Robert let them up again... he accepted their surrender, and fealty, and ended the war. 

The difference between the two is that Ned had a close personal relationship with Robert. Illyn was just the captain of Tywin's guard.

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1 minute ago, Jon_Stargaryen said:

He also raped and beat his wife and sent assassins after children (from what Viserys has said, and what we saw him do in his Ned chapters).

 

The raping of his wife is, as others have said, not considered such in Westeros. 

Sending assassins after children was because of the threat posed by the Targaryen line... Robert is, essentially, a usurper. The Targaryens have a claim to the throne, a claim which would threaten Robert and his family. He also seems to have an irrational hatred for the Targaryens, due to what he feels Rhaegar did to Lyanna... but plenty of people in the books, and in our own world, hold irrational beliefs, but that doesn't make them Mad. The murder of children was also something he repented upon near his death. A "Mad King" would have kept on about killing the Dragonspawn right up until his final breath, as Aerys did with his "burn them all" schtick. 

Robert was a bad man, and a bad King, but I'm not seeing any signs of madness. 

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10 minutes ago, Jon_Stargaryen said:

The difference between the two is that Ned had a close personal relationship with Robert. Illyn was just the captain of Tywin's guard.

So, he spared Ned. But whose tongue did he have ripped out? Whom did he execute gruesomely for little reason? 

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7 minutes ago, Unacosamedarisa said:

The raping of his wife is, as others have said, not considered such in Westeros. 

Sending assassins after children was because of the threat posed by the Targaryen line... Robert is, essentially, a usurper. The Targaryens have a claim to the throne, a claim which would threaten Robert and his family. He also seems to have an irrational hatred for the Targaryens, due to what he feels Rhaegar did to Lyanna... but plenty of people in the books, and in our own world, hold irrational beliefs, but that doesn't make them Mad. The murder of children was also something he repented upon near his death. A "Mad King" would have kept on about killing the Dragonspawn right up until his final breath, as Aerys did with his "burn them all" schtick. 

Robert was a bad man, and a bad King, but I'm not seeing any signs of madness. 

So, rationalizing the attempted murder of children and pregnant women, and the rape of ones wife. Also, it isn't really considered all that normal in Westeros. Name one situation where a man (who isn't Tywin Lannister) condones the rape of a highborn lady.

Also, he didn't repent anything. He said that he would rescind the order after it was no longer his problem.

There's also a difference between the level of madness between the two. I started with that by the way. Viserys wasn't screaming You woke the dragon! You woke the dragon! during his death scene. He seemed to be composing his thoughts rationally. He spoke of how the dothraki had wronged him. That doesn't seem mad, but more like a person making a rational argument.

And Robert didn't even have the experience of running from assassins for his entire young life and selling the last vestiges of a mother that had died giving birth to this sister that he had to protect. He just had to not fuck up.

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28 minutes ago, Unacosamedarisa said:

So, he spared Ned. But whose tongue did he have ripped out? Whom did he execute gruesomely for little reason? 

I'd like to return your attention to the children he actively tried to have murdered.

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We throw the word madness very liberally on this forum in my opinion.  But we need to keep in mind that people back then were not up to the level of civility that we are.  A president who beats his wife and loses his temper like that could not have gotten elected.  Robert is mad by our standards.  He's a great warrior by theirs.  Warriors have different temperaments than desk bound clerks.  

I also don't think Viserys was mad for the time he was living in.  He had a temper.  The kind that could put one on a restraining order today.  But he's not mad by the standards of those times.  He just didn't understand the Dothraki system.  A man coming from Westeros expects a favor in return, one for one.  I scratch your itch and you scratch mine.  I pay for your service and I expect service now.   The Dothraki don't pay.  They give a gift in their own time.  It's an IOU with liberal dates of fulfillment.   The two doing business together will lead to misunderstandings and one side getting the short end of the deal.  I see nothing wrong with Viserys attempting to take back his kingdom.  We would expect no less from Edmure Tully trying to take back his castle.   They believe its theirs and I agree.  I don't call Stannis mad just because he wants to take Westeros from Joffrey.  He thinks its his and he wants to fight for his property.  We might also consider the effects of alcohol and how much the guy had to drink.  

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13 minutes ago, Jon_Stargaryen said:

So, rationalizing the attempted murder of children and pregnant women, and the rape of ones wife.

These things, even without rationalisation, wouldn't have made Robert a "Mad King". None of the things Robert did showed madness. In the patriarchal world of Westeros, spousal rape is not considered rape... Hell, even in our world it wasn't until the last century that marital rape was considered rape. 

Yes, by our standards child murder is extreme, and anyone who murdered children would probably be considered to be deranged in some way... but Westeros isn't our world, and Robert didn't go tearing off to Essos to wet his own blade on Dragonblood. He planned their murder, to avoid the Targaryens coming back and putting forth their claim to the throne. Tywin also murdered children... was he mad, or just brutally pragmatic? 

 

16 minutes ago, Jon_Stargaryen said:

I'd like to return your attention to the children he actively tried to have murdered.

I'd like to return your attention to the claim the Targaryens had on the Iron Throne, the prospect of a Dothraki invasion, and a new Civil war starting in Westeros. 

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6 hours ago, Here's Looking At You, Kid said:

We throw the word madness very liberally on this forum in my opinion. 

You are right. Both Rhaenyra and Aegon II are called "mad Targs" on this forum, even though i can't find any evidence that they are less sane than anyone else.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Jon_Stargaryen said:

I'd like to return your attention to the children he actively tried to have murdered.

Robert ordered Daenerys killed after she married Kahl Drogo, which made her a real threat, and everyone on the small council except for Ned agreed with the decision; I don't think they were all mad.

That was the first time he sent assassins after the Targaryens so no, he didn't try to murder children (he did however refuse to punish actual child murderers like the Mountain, Lorch and their master, but that's another matter).

Edited by Geddus

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1 hour ago, Geddus said:

Robert ordered Daenerys killed after she married Kahl Drogo, which made her a real threat, and everyone on the small council except for Ned agreed with the decision; I don't think they were all mad.

That was the first time he sent assassins after the Targaryens so no, he didn't try to murder children (he did however refuse to punish actual child murderers like the Mountain, Lorch and their master, but that's another matter).

Technically, we don't know if he ever actually sent men after them before that.

Viserys seems to think so, and Robert never specifically said he hadn't.

Everyone else just went along with Robert. It's their thing. That's why no one ever stopped him from feasting the Seven Kingdoms into financial insolvency; that's why no one ever stopped him from getting in bed with every whore he came across. Robert's small council was full of yes men.

He'd made it clear that he was going to have her killed from the start, and going against that would have been in direct contradiction of the king's wishes.

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6 hours ago, Unacosamedarisa said:

These things, even without rationalisation, wouldn't have made Robert a "Mad King". None of the things Robert did showed madness. In the patriarchal world of Westeros, spousal rape is not considered rape... Hell, even in our world it wasn't until the last century that marital rape was considered rape. 

Yes, by our standards child murder is extreme, and anyone who murdered children would probably be considered to be deranged in some way... but Westeros isn't our world, and Robert didn't go tearing off to Essos to wet his own blade on Dragonblood. He planned their murder, to avoid the Targaryens coming back and putting forth their claim to the throne. Tywin also murdered children... was he mad, or just brutally pragmatic? 

The only actual evidence that we have of such actions in Westeros are those done by Robert, and those done by Aerys- one of whom is recognized as Mad, despite the other constantly ranting about dead children whenever the subject of Targaryens is brought up.

Show me another known example of rapists being acceptable members of society (aside from Lannister men. They're neglected out of fear, as opposed to propriety).

Additionally, child murder isn't seen as acceptable in Westeros by everyone. In fact, the murder of children only seems acceptable to the Lannisters and the truly depraved (Ramsay Snow, the Darkstar, Janos Slynt etc.). Even Kevan- Tywin's shadow- seemed to take issue with his actions on some level. Only Tywin and those closest to him (and other monsters) seem able to kill anyone without qualm.

7 hours ago, Unacosamedarisa said:

I'd like to return your attention to the claim the Targaryens had on the Iron Throne, the prospect of a Dothraki invasion, and a new Civil war starting in Westeros. 

Or he could have listened to his Hand. The Dothraki had no intention (at the time) of crossing the Narrow Sea, until after Robert sent his man to poison Dany and her child. He made it personal.

Besides, how does that change anything?

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20 hours ago, Jon_Stargaryen said:

He threatened a man who refused to poison a pregnant teenager.

No, he threatened his deputy, who refused to take action on a potential threat to his position as King. 

20 hours ago, Jon_Stargaryen said:

We also know from later Cersei chapters that he frequently raped his wife.

Rape is not about madness. It is about power

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