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Igziabeher

Robert's Kingsguard

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Posted (edited)

Stupid question maybe, but outside of Barristan and Jaime(who are holdovers from Aerys' Kingsguard, why are any of these guys worthy of being Kingsguard in the first place?  It seemed like when the Targaryens were in charge the Kingsguard are a proud and esteemed honor filled with great knights, but Robert's Kingsguard seem to be mediocre warriors at best and cravens at their worst.  All you have to do is look through the Stornlands, Westerlands, Reach and Vale and you could probably find a dozen knights at least who are better fit for Robert's Kingsguard and knowing his wife is a Lannister and his hand is an Arryn, he should've had his pick of the best of those 3 Kingdoms alone(counting his own).  Is there any more insight into who was put in charge of picking out Robert's KG or why the men who made it up are there in the first place?  Comparing Whent, Hightower and Dayne to Trant, Blount and Moore is not even a competition.  Maybe Arys Oakhart is a step above those guys, but still it just seems to be lacking completely.  And being a usurper who may not have fully trusted some of his people, he probably should have made sure his KG was far above and beyond knowing he could be crossed at anytime.

 

Edited by Igziabeher

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31 minutes ago, Igziabeher said:

Stupid question maybe, but outside of Barristan and Jaime(who are holdovers from Aerys' Kingsguard, why are any of these guys worthy of being Kingsguard in the first place?  It seemed like when the Targaryens were in charge the Kingsguard are a proud and esteemed honor filled with great knights, but Robert's Kingsguard seem to be mediocre warriors at best and cravens at their worst.  All you have to do is look through the Stornlands, Westerlands, Reach and Vale and you could probably find a dozen knights at least who are better fit for Robert's Kingsguard and knowing his wife is a Lannister and his hand is an Arryn, he should've had his pick of the best of those 3 Kingdoms alone(counting his own).  Is there any more insight into who was put in charge of picking out Robert's KG or why the men who made it up are there in the first place?  Comparing Whent, Hightower and Dayne to Trant, Blount and Moore is not even a competition.  Maybe Arys Oakhart is a step above those guys, but still it just seems to be lacking completely.  And being a usurper who may not have fully trusted some of his people, he probably should have made sure his KG was far above and beyond knowing he could be crossed at anytime.

 

I've thought the same thing before. The knights in Roberts KG, bar Jaime, Bazza and possibly Arys, are a bunch of wankers.

I wonder if it was a mixture of rewarding those who stuck with him during the rebellion, and punishing those who backed the Targs.

Good post, I am interested to see what the elders have to say.

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Arys Oakheart

The Reach. 

Boros Blount

Crownlands, Cersei's creature. 

Mandon Moore

The Vale, recommended by Jon Arryn.

Meryn Trant

Stormlands, Cersei's creature

Preston Greenfield

Westerlands, probably recommended by Tywin or Cersei.

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At the start of the story?  Blount is considered out and out unworthy.

We're not sure about Preston Greenfield.  Jaime seems to think that Mandon Moore is solid, if not a spectacular knight.  Part of it is that is because he's not charismatic, but he's a skilled fighter.

In other words, Blount is out and out unworthy, and Meryn Trant is probably not either, but is at least capable.  It's meant to reflect part the rot Cersei (and Robert's indifference) has brought to the institution.

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How many of potential candidates really want to become a whitecloak? For instance would average landed knight or his heir give up his land and his option of own family? Or becoming a KG comes with very high price.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Loose Bolt said:

How many of potential candidates really want to become a whitecloak? For instance would average landed knight or his heir give up his land and his option of own family? Or becoming a KG comes with very high price.

Also, they just had a huge war that killed a lot of potential candidates and left some of the surviving ones in better positions to inherit.  

Edited by Belgarad

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3 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

Robert Kingsguard it was suposed to be corrupt, and Jaime the kingslayer is the best exemple of this. If Robert was worried about morals, at the very least he should have dismissed Jaime.

 

Very good input.  Robert's reign started after a rebellion.  He, therefore, had a lot of political mending to do.  Jon Arryn was a politician more than he was a capable administrator.  Those positions were given to buy political goodwill, ex. Jaime.  

You might also look at Robert's character.  He's a man's man kind of guy and hiding behind bodyguards was not his style.  He didn't give much thought to personal protection.  Any king with a modicum of caution would have sent Jaime as far away from him as possible.  

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Robert Baratheon didn't strike me as the kind of king who thought things out very carefully. I guess he left the picking to others who had their own reasons to curry favor with this house or the other. If he was smart, he would have dismissed Jaime and selected six new ones either having Selmy pick them or have a tournament the way Jaehaerys did when he had to name five himself after Maegor's death. Dismissing Jaime would have made Tywin happy to have his heir back and kept Cersei and Jaime apart avoiding all the trouble that follows later.

And sure a lot were dead, but there were still better choices out there. Benjen took the black not long after the end of the war when he could have been asked to take the white. Benjen's a bit young, but we see at least a few older fellows throughout the books who seem very worthy knights like Brynden Tully, Bonifer Hasty or Lyn Corbray (none of whom every took a wife so that part of the vows would have been not much of a burden; and at least Blackfish and Corbray were younger sons with no lands to give up). I think there were certainly better options but the Robert's Kingsguard reflects his ambivalence to matters of the court.

 

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We know that the Baratheon Kingsguard has had eight total members since he took the throne including Oakheart's predecessor. 

Of the Eight 

1. Barristan oldie and a goldie 

2. Jaime, no one's making him take the black so he has to stay. 

3. Boros Blount, fat and overweight when we see him, but it's been implied in some places around here that he might have actually been pretty good when he was thirty and is now worn out. 

4. Mandon Moore, second deadliest man on the KG, and Varys notes he has no other life than his duty. Solid pick. 

5. Meryn Trant, survived a fight with the First Sword of Braavos (seriously there were a lot of weapons for Syrio to roll and grab there living is an achievement.) But also from one of the principal houses of the Stormlands. Not terrible, but after almost a year of war you're probably short a few heroes. 

6. Preston Greenfield, probably a political appointment. Never really gets in a fight. Does have the sense of chivalry to go back for the High Septon and decent jouster. Seriously naming five other guys is pretty hard. 

7. Oakheart's predecessor, we know nothing about him, (I personally guess Silveraxe.) 

9. Arys, getting beat by Areo aside he seems to be a pretty good knight. Considering his jousting prowess the Areo fight is probably a fluke case of Suicide by axe. 

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9 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

Robert Kingsguard it was suposed to be corrupt, and Jaime the kingslayer is the best exemple of this. If Robert was worried about morals, at the very least he should have dismissed Jaime.

 

There have always been bad apples in the ranks but Jaime is easily the worst.  It's like a wave with it's highs and lows.  Aerys Kingsguard were the high point and it went down because Robert kept Jaime.  It's an insult to the Whitecloak to keep someone who murdered the king he swore to defend.  

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Robert saw himself as a reborn warrior and since he couldnt stand Cersei nor  the kids that much he didnt really bother about their security

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Something I don't think anyone else mentioned, Mandon is a pick of Jon Arryn, which you can maybe assume is Lysa's doing, which you can then maybe assume is Littlefinger's doing. IIRC Jaime also considers him dangerous. As for the rest, they all seem to have been possibly good fighters at one point (Blount, Trant) or are good/decent fighters now (Barristan, Jaime, Arys, Preston?) And another point that was previously brought up, Robert probably didn't take it too seriously, and maybe just appointed people from suggestions (Jon, Cersei? Petyr?) or because they were friendly houses. 

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IIRC, GRRM compared it to what would happen if all but two of the Supreme Court Justices died suddenly. Robb had a whole load of vacancies to fill, and the criteria are pretty stringent. Anyone who had a good chance of inheriting a House and lands would probably not appreciate being named a Kingsguard. (Also, it's a lifelong commitment to celibacy. Any takers on here?) Added to that, they had to be trustworthy - given there had just been a civil war, that rules out maybe half the Realm.

It's fair to say that all things considered, Robert didn't have a very deep bench!

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I agree with the premise of the thread. There were surely dozens of knights better suited than Meryn F. Trant, even after such a bloody war. Not that I have candidates ready, but Stormlands alone produce terrific fighters twice a year. 

He could even wait a year or two to get better candidacies. I bet he didn't care since half of the team comes from Cersei nominations.

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37 minutes ago, thi4f said:

I agree with the premise of the thread. There were surely dozens of knights better suited than Meryn F. Trant, even after such a bloody war. Not that I have candidates ready, but Stormlands alone produce terrific fighters twice a year. 

There surely were. The war no doubt weakened the selection pool. And having to select five at once makes it more difficult. But the war also meant that certain young knights had a chance to distinguish themselves in battle.

We know that Lyn Corbray was one such. Maybe he would have been just as poor a choice given how corruptible he is by the time we see him in the Vale, but there must have been others in this vein.

I am guessing the horse-trading aspect of picking Kingsguard took precedence here. Robert was considered a usurper by many, and as his Hand, I think Jon Arryn's main concern at that time must have been securing the loyalty of the great houses.

Anyway, the four we know were of the five selected are Boros Blount, Meryn Trant, Mandon Moore and Preston Greenfield. Moore was Arryn's man, and even though he is a scumbug he does seem the most capable and dutiful of the bunch. Greenfield was from the Westerlands so he must have been Tywin's. Blount is apparently from the Crownlands so I don't know who pushed for that except they were certainly the strongest Targaryen lords so throw them a bone. And Trant is from the Stormlands so that may have actually been Robert's pick. I am guessing the fifth was from the Reach.

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The Kingsguard is supposed to be fluid, members dying and being replaced would stagger the timing and the age of the 7.  Since Robert had to appoint 5 at once, they were probably all about the same age and skill, 17 years ago.  Men age differently, and some train harder than others.  So when we look at this bunch at the beginning of the books, we do have different men than they were at the end of the rebellion

The one thing I have not been able to confirm is whether a knight is chosen or does he volunteer?  In Jamie's case it seemed as if he was drafted.  He was Tywin's heir and obviously Tywin was not happy with the appointment.

 

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39 minutes ago, Chris Mormont said:

The one thing I have not been able to confirm is whether a knight is chosen or does he volunteer?

Knights are chosen. It's obviously up to the knight to accept the appointment or not (in theory anyway), but the king wouldn't just advertise the vacancy and see who applies. A space would come up, the king, his Hand and SC would discuss the viable candidates, and pick who they consider would be the best for the job.

Jaime wasn't "drafted" as such. He and Cersei discussed in between shags getting him the job. How Cersei managed to plant that seed is unknown, but Aerys got it into his head, offered it, and Jaime accepted. Tywin was furious, but Tywin wasn't asked.

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Can we think of any candidates from the source material?

 

Lyn Corbray?  I dont know.  They switched allegiances during the rebellion I think?  Maybe that would be a disqualification.

 

 

It seems like Robert wouldnt want to bother much with the choices, and he would also be like "I dont need protection!"  

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