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DUNKCITY239

Did GRRM intend readers to like the character Stannis Baratheon?

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George has said an inspiration, in good part, for Stannis was the character of Tiberius in the BBC production of I, Claudius, as played by George Baker. The Tiberius of I, Claudius is an able administrator (but he comes to power in part because of the tragic death of his much more loved, and lovable, brother Germanicus), but has no charisma, has little flexibility, and is generally small-minded and unpleasant in his personal dealings.

The one clear distinction that GRRM has made between Stannis and Tiberius (as well as other rulers that he has been compared to) is that because Stannis is the only king who is aware of and willing to defend Westeros from the Others, he has righteousness on his side so far as that goes.

I don't think George intended people to take "Stannis the Mannis" out of his character. It turns his flaws into virtues and makes him a caricature of the more flawed, complicated figure he actually is. But he has no control over what people take out of what he writes. Such is life.

Edited by Switzeran

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I don't think so. Stannis does some pretty despicable things (such as killing his own brother, and planning to burn his nephew). Despite Davos' glowing opinion of him, we aren't made to like the Mannis, at least initially.

As for Stannis in ADWD, again, I'm still not convinced we're meant to like him, even though he is planning to get rid of the Boltons and deal with the Others. However, as has already been said, George can't control whether or not people like a given character, so people saw Stannis fighting the good fight and being a badass and decided "yeah, he's cool".

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I think part of this might be because there is a huge fandom that have done a lot of thinking over a long ass time about these books.

So some people came up with Stannis the Mannis and it just kinda spread.

Same thing with Dorkstar. I don't think GRRM intended him to come off as a try-hard edge lord but he just come off like that to some people and their impression can spread to others it rings true for.

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I also wonder whether George’s intended depiction of some characters has evolved over time as the needs of his story changed. Stannis may have grown beyond what George originally intended for him, as so much of the rest of the story has changed.

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Meh. He's complex to where I'd say Martin would expect some mighty debate over the man. Where a fairly large percentage hates him and another fairly large percentage loves him.

The prologue has him humiliating the man who basiclly raised Stannis as a son; who loved Stannis as a son; over the man giving Stannis some bad counsel. 

 

But we also learn about his treatment Davos; and we see Stannis' mercy and generousty.

But he comes across as bizarrely entitled to people's blind trust; as if is word is good enough.

He becomes more moderate overtime though.

I don't put much in him going to fight the others quite frankly; if the world ends he could not possibly win the kingdom; which  is so wrong lol.

Your primary motivation for saving humanity should not be to get a kingdom as a reward; the fact you saved humanity should be reward enough.

Nor do I put much in him being the only king to actually participate in the fight against the others; he's the benifit of having Melisandre show him visions of the undead army.

The rest of the kings and powers of the seven kingdoms don't really have that; who can say how Balon, or Robb, or Joffery or Tywin, or even  Cersi would react to definitively proof or knowing for sure theirs an ice-zombie army coming destroy humanity. To be clear Cersi getting a needlessly cryptic letter from Robb's bastard half-brother about the threat of the others(to which Jon directly calls out in his letter-for all Cersi and her small council knows the "foes" he's referencing are the wildling savages who periodically murder the smallfolk as well as steal their women and rape) does not make her a fool for not believing ice-zombies are coming to kill everything; well in this moment. Jon is offering no proof. It's perfectly reasonble to suspect this letter to be a lame attempt at dispelling the thought Jon has allied with Stannis and an attempt to get more men for the watch to which has been suffering heavy attacks from the wildlings. Jon could have at least have had Slynt sent over to verify that the white walkers are real. Jon doesn't sadly, accepting too quickly that  they won't aid the watch(despite giving them men during the war, and even the former lord of the goldcloaks), and doesn't really try figuring out ways to convince them; the most obvious being find another living corpse to trounce around the north.  

Stannis could try conving  the other powers not on his side of the threat; he doesn't really. 

Perhaps the powers of the seven kingdoms who are Stannis'  rivals would have joined the fights against the others if they truly true what was going on; after all, they are human as well.

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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If Stannis=Tiberius then there are a few things to consider.  One is that would indeed make Stannis an incredible General, after all as Germanicus says about Tiberias in Robert Graves's "I Claudius", "his drills are bloodless battles, his battles are bloody drills".  But of course, Tiberias is a horrible tyrant as well as a deep sexual pervert.  One wonders about how much of Tiberias's dark side GRRM would put into Stannis.  Tiberias is far from a "man of honor".  According to both Suetonius and Tacitus Tiberias at the very least had knowledge of, if he didn't actively participate in, the crimes, including murder, of those who stood between him and being the successor to Caesar Augustus.

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He always had fans but they didn't go critical mass until the Blackwater episode of the show. People came into the book side of the series with those preconceptions, you'll see stuff about Stannis leading from the front and stuff crop up all the time in discussions. Stannis the Mannis is basically a meme but at the same time a character doesn't have to be likable as a person to be a good character that people like.

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I think that at the very least he wanted us to respect him, as Stannis is one of the very few characters concerned with such things as duty and justice. And as of his personality, frankly, I find his lack of charm and charisma to be sort of refreshing.

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As someone with aspergers, I feel like I can see some similarities between myself and Stannis, at least personality wise. For example I don't have very strong emotions, I look at situations logically instead of emotionally most of the time,  and I sometimes hurt peoples feeling without meaning to. I think that's why I like him. 

Don't get me wrong, I'd never go around burning people or anything, but I feel like that is more Selyse and Melisandre, and Stannis just kind of goes along with it. Not that that excuses him in anyway of course. 

Sure he does some awful shit, but who in this universe hasn't done awful shit. Its just a case of picking the least awful people, and Stannis, despite all his flaws, is the one faction besides Jon Snow and the Nights Watch that are actually trying to save the world from the Others. I find it difficult not to respect him for that if nothing else. 

Plus I love the mans dark humor, and his speeches. 

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I am not sure about the beginning, but I think we'll all weep when it comes to Stannis at the end. I doubt anyone will have as difficult choices as he will have in front of him. And that is what will make him one of the most tragic antiheroes of the story.

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He's not presented as likeable in any conventional sense; but I think we are at any rate meant to enjoy his dialogue. Probably no one would want to be asked if his father got him on a fishwife, but it's still fun to read. As for moral judgements of Stannis's character, he seems a mixture of the very good and the evil (killing your brother with black magic is pretty wicked) -- almost a chiaroscuro, perhaps.

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2 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

I don't think he particularly intends for characters to be liked or not.

I agree with you. I think GRRM tries to write complex, realistic characters. As happens in real life there are some people who like certain characters and dislike others. These preferences come out of the readers' own psyches, not GRRM's.

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I think Martin just put Stannis out there and decided to let the readers make up their own mind. I never got why Stannis go so much crap over killing Renly, shadow demon or not, his brother did take up arms against him. Beyond that though, he has done some controversial things, but Melisandre is the one trump card he has. So he almost has to play it, consequences be damned. I think he's the best of the five original kings, but that isn't saying much with some of them.

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Stannis did various things in the books and you guys are giving your impression of him based on them. That debate may never stop. Am more curious what Martin has said, outside of the text.

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3 hours ago, DUNKCITY239 said:

Stannis did various things in the books and you guys are giving your impression of him based on them. That debate may never stop. Am more curious what Martin has said, outside of the text.

There's So Spake Martin and a google search for it which pulls up quite a bit on Stannis. I find it frustrating to use sometimes like so many search features, so :dunno:.

http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/

https://cse.google.com/cse/publicurl?cx=006888510641072775866:vm4n1jrzsdy

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Honestly, I'm not that big of a fan of Stannis.

I think he's a ticking time bomb but I digress.

Because we first hear of him courtesy of Ned (very popular) and we see him almost exclusively through the eyes of Davos and Jon (who are perhaps more popular than Ned), I think that rubs off on the readers.

I also think that Stannis' knack for...

  1. being right, standing on the right side of things or having the right idea most of the time
  2. one of the few truthtellers and straight-shooters in a world full of liars, narcissists, thieves, unreliable witnesses and psychos

… works wonders.

Stannis has also been the quintessential political underdog for most of the story. And we all know how much people (mostly Americans) love an underdog

Edited by Jabar of House Titan
grammatical error

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