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StagOfCincy

Would Robert have been a better Lord than King?

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Robert Baratheon is a much disputed and questionable character in the world of Westeros.

Robert Baratheon, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, Demon of the Trident.

But also

Robert Baratheon, the Whoremonger King, the Usurper.

Robert failed Westeros as a King. He let the realm become heavily indebted to the Iron Bank and Tywin Lannister. He whored and drank his life away after Lyanna's death and refused to involve himself in the matters of the Kingdom he was King of. 

Robert however wasn't as bad as his predecessor, Aerys Targaryens nor his successor, Joffrey.

Robert never wanted the Iron Throne nor Kingship, the only thing he enjoyed was fighting and the only thing he loved was Lyanna.

Robert was meant to inherit Storm's End and the Stormlands, not the Red Keep and Westeros.

 

Would Robert have proven to be a better Lord Paramount and Lord of the Stormlands over King of the Seven Kingdoms?

 

 

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8 minutes ago, StagOfCincy said:

Would Robert have proven to be a better Lord Paramount and Lord of the Stormlands over King of the Seven Kingdoms?

Yes.  A man who doesn't want to be king will be terrible at it.  

He might bankrupt the Stormlands but the damage will be limited to his own people.  He will do less harm in a lesser position of power.  

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I think Robert would have happily drunk and f****d his life away at Storm's End if he wasn't king. Just the way he was.

However, he wouldn't have had as hard a job. His advisors would likely be more trustworthy than a lot of the King's Landing set, so he could rely more on them.

As well, the houses he would be dealing with would be more culturally aligned than if he were king. 

Also, if he screwed up, the problem would be on a much smaller scale and he could even be supported by the crown if it escalated. Thus he could get out of a mess much easier.

So I don't think he would have been a good lord, but you don't have to be as good as a lord, as you do as a king.

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The Peter Principle at work in Westeros.

Lord of Storm's End is a much easier job. He could have whored and hunted to his heart's delight and still have managed a decent enough job of ruling Storm's End.

The job of king wasn't suited to him, nor was King's Landing with all its intrigue. The Stormlanders were his people. They loved him even to the end and that would have helped as he certainly craved being loved.

We don't know a ton about previous Lords of Storm's End, but the ones we have seen don't seem too far off from Robert in demeanor and management style. He would likely have been par for the course there.

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Posted (edited)

Robert would have been terrible as a lord of Storm’s End. He wouldn’t have been nearly as bad as, say, Tytos Lannister, but not far off. He would have neglected his duties, ignored his people, hung out with his friends instead, hunted and whored his life away, and the Stormlands would have been a mess by the time he died.

Robert was an extreme hedonist to the point of pure selfishness, and such a person isn’t fit to have any authority over anyone. If he knew what was good for his people, he would have abdicated every position he had when he was 16 (or after he won the rebellion) and gone east to become a sellsword. He and the rest of Westeros would have been much better off with Stannis in his place.

Edited by James Steller

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He would have done just fine as Lord of Storm's End. GRRM has gone to near painful lengths to illustrate Lords Baratheron are generally cut from the same cloth - big, burly, black-haired, loud men to love to drink and fight. Orys, Borys, Rogar (though I'd say Rogar was definitely more capable than Robert), Lionel - If they worked out just fine, I don't see why he wouldn't.

9 minutes ago, James Steller said:

If he knew what was good for his people, he would have abdicated every position he had when he was 16 (or after he won the rebellion) and gone east to become a sellsword. He and the rest of Westeros would have been much better off with Stannis in his place.

I think the judgement is a bit harsh, but I can definitely see the point. Robert Baratheon at the head of the Golden Company or the Second Sons would be a terror for Essos. Hell, if he did it after the Rebellion he would probably have the clout and cash to start his own company. 

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Just now, Lord Vance II said:

He would have done just fine as Lord of Storm's End. GRRM has gone to near painful lengths to illustrate Lords Baratheron are generally cut from the same cloth - big, burly, black-haired, loud men to love to drink and fight. Orys, Borys, Rogar (though I'd say Rogar was definitely more capable than Robert), Lionel - If they worked out just fine, I don't see why he wouldn't.

I think the judgement is a bit harsh, but I can definitely see the point. Robert Baratheon at the head of the Golden Company or the Second Sons would be a terror for Essos. Hell, if he did it after the Rebellion he would probably have the clout and cash to start his own company. 

My judgement is harsh because Robert wasn’t like the other Baratheons of the past. They were fond of sex and hunting and war but they also had restraint and the ability to shoulder responsibility. Robert had no self control whatsoever. That is what makes him different from the previous Baratheons. And that’s why he should never have been allowed any kind of high position, because of course he would neglect and abuse it. If he wasn’t so charismatic or sympathetic, he’d have basically been Aegon IV. In fact, that’s his closest historical counterpart, not any Baratheon. He was handsome and warlike in his youth but then becomes monstrously fat. He makes his wife miserable when she loves her brother in the kingsguard. He has far more fondness for his bastard children, and he drives the kingdoms into ruin, only for war to break out after he dies.

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4 minutes ago, James Steller said:

They were fond of sex and hunting and war but they also had restraint and the ability to shoulder responsibility. Robert had no self control whatsoever.

I mean that's true, but none of them ever sat the Iron Throne. Like someone else said, with less responsibility, someone above him and a wife and kids he didn't hate, maybe he could've risen to the occasion. Maybe. I just don't subscribe to Robert being an awful to the core person. Definitely not suited to rule though. 

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15 minutes ago, Lord Vance II said:

I mean that's true, but none of them ever sat the Iron Throne. Like someone else said, with less responsibility, someone above him and a wife and kids he didn't hate, maybe he could've risen to the occasion. Maybe. I just don't subscribe to Robert being an awful to the core person. Definitely not suited to rule though. 

I never said he was an awful person, just that he was an utterly irresponsible person. And for the record, I don’t think any woman would have been enough for him, not even Lyanna. If he had married her, he’d probably have gotten tired of her too and slept around while she grew to hate him. Personally I suspect that Robert tried to bury the grief of his watching his own parents drown in utter hedonism, and since therapy doesn’t exist in Westeros, there really was no hope for him to improve. Again, he was still a decent and likeable man, but he was unworthy of any kind of authority. Even his friends and the people who liked Robert admit as much.

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I think Robert took being lord of Storm's End/Stormlands seriously after his father's death, he just lose interest in ruling after taking the throne and also since he got more access to the luxury of being king in a rich and large city.

Barristan said Robert is a better knight that a king though.

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Had Robert just been Lord of Storm's End he likely would have let Stannis do the hard work of ruling while he lived like he did as King... only emerging from his drunken stupor if a war was to be fought.

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What did Stannis ever do? He held Storm's End under siege throughout the rebellion. Then he putzes around with Jon Arryn looking at Robert's bastards for 15 years. He hasn't proven to be a significantly better ruler than Robert.

I'm not saying Robert is better, but I thought the whole point of the Robert/Stannis juxtaposition is show how two extremes can both be bad. Stannis has a will of iron, but there are many cases when it would have helped his cause and his people quite a bit if he could have bent just a little. Likewise, Robert had charisma and won loyalty easily (which are very important qualities of being a ruler, by the way), but he was utterly lacking in self-discipline.

A combination of Robert's charisma and personality with Stannis's willpower and keen sense of justice would be most of the way to Jaehaerys the Conciliator.

You don't have to be Jaehaerys to rule the Stormlands tho. Robert's ability to win the love of his subjects would have helped soften over whatever misrule he might have perpetrated upon his subjects. Sure he was no Tywin, but then Tywin had his foibles as well. If I was a noble of the Stormlands, I'm pretty sure I'd rather have Robert as my ruler than Stannis or plenty of other examples of great lords.

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Another thing is that Robert B had 2 choices either he became king or he died. After all when ruling king wants your head you either somehow remove that king from power or you die. In theory he could have exiled himself but then he would have lost Stormlands. 

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24 minutes ago, Loose Bolt said:

Another thing is that Robert B had 2 choices either he became king or he died. After all when ruling king wants your head you either somehow remove that king from power or you die. In theory he could have exiled himself but then he would have lost Stormlands. 

I agree with what you’re getting at, but it is technically not true, since Aerys also demanded Ned’s head. And Ned didn’t have to become king. For instance, if Aegon or Viserys (with Arryn or Hoster Tully or whoever as regent) or even Tywin (just with force) became king, Bobby would have likely lived. 

I do think Big Bobby would have been a ‘better’ Lord in a sense that his power is less absolute. Even having to answer to the king would keep him kind of in check financially. Bankrupting the entire Stormlands is unlikely. Being part of the more militaristic and knightly Stormlands when compared to the politics of KL suits him more. I imagine he might even want to stay in shape training in the yard etc. He could even gather a group of loyal former squires etc. 

A combination of less responsibilities, less financial possibilities to whore around, more militaristic people around and maybe even some feelings of personal responsibility since the early death of his parents could improve Robby. 

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15 hours ago, StagOfCincy said:

He let the realm become heavily indebted to the Iron Bank and Tywin Lannister.

It was actually Little Finger's fault.

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Robert was a man of action.  He is best at being a soldier.  Barring constant warfare, yes, he could have been a hedge knight.  He likes to hit people. A job where he can joust daily is the ideal for him.  

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Posted (edited)

I think he would have been a better lord because then there's a king who can tell him what to do and when to do it. As a king, Robert really needs to tell others what and when to do things, and that's really not his thing.

And that's human nature. Not everybody is suitable to be the CEO of a multinational company or the prime minister of a large country. Some people find their place below that top dog position.

Edited by Lion of the West

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Having a wife who did not sleep with her brother and despise you....and did not want to ultimately murder you may have changed things. King or Lord. Just saying.

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Imho, there's no doubt Robert's character, although well-suited to winning the IT because of his martial prowess and ability  to inspire loyalty, was ill-suited to rule and/or govern...He hated to attend SC meetings, he whored, he drank to excess, he hopped in bed with the Lannisters, he spent the Crown's gold frivolously, without refilling his own coffers, he surrounded himself with those who lyal to others first, etc. 

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