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Angel Eyes

Why did Stannis marry Selyse Florent?

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A marriage between Stannis Baratheon and Selyse Florent seems like an odd match, aside from a lack of any other suitable candidate. She’s not pretty (mustache and large ears), has an odious personality (Stannis’ friendship with Davos and actual care for the realm set him higher), and she was pretty low on the totem pole of the Florents as the daughter of the third of four sons. The Florents didn’t add much to Stannis’ cause, apart from Imry Florent, who led Stannis’ fleet into a trap at Blackwater. Plus they were divided when the WoFK started, which made them a liability. 

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They were married before Stannis had a cause, and after Robert had a legal heir (or at least had one on the way). I doubt Stannis would have fallen in love with anyone, so it seems the likeliest explanation for their marriage was it was time for Stannis to get married and Selyse was available. It wasn’t a love match, and it wasn’t politically advantageous, which really just leaves marriage of convenience. 

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Posted (edited)

I always assumed that Selyse was the next Florent eligible to wed and Stannis being wed to her was a warning to the Tyrells about remaining loyal to the new Baratheon dynasty, as the Florents are well-known for their desire to rule the Reach.

Edited by LordSeaSnake

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45 minutes ago, LordSeaSnake said:

I always assumed that Selyse was the next Florent eligible to wed and Stannis being wed to her was a warning to the Tyrells about remaining loyal to the new Baratheon dynasty, as the Florents are well-known for their desire to rule the Reach.

Plus it means that Stannis has a low-ranking marriage which undercuts any attempt he might take to seize the throne from his brother's family. Though I doubt Robert ever truly suspected that Stannis would ever do something like that.

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Posted (edited)

Stannis really got screwed over with that marriage. Selyse Florent didn’t offer anything politically or financially to Stannis, and the perceived “threat” to House Tyrell was meaningless because the Florents would never be strong enough to take them on. It just seems like Robert and Alester Florent both got together over drinks and said “hey, we both have relatives that we hate, let’s pair them up!” 

I’ve wondered whether Stannis would have been happier with another woman as his wife, but I don’t know who that other option would have been. 

Edited by James Steller

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3 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

A marriage between Stannis Baratheon and Selyse Florent seems like an odd match, aside from a lack of any other suitable candidate. She’s not pretty (mustache and large ears),

She is not pretty now. We have no idea what she looked like almost a decade ago when she married Stannis.

Plus, appearance is not really that high on list of reasons why nobles marry.

3 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

has an odious personality

11 years of being married to Stannis might do that to anyone.

3 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

 

(Stannis’ friendship with Davos and actual care for the realm set him higher),

eh? Davos is not his friend, he's his vassal who seems to worship him. I think we can all get along with people like that.

His 'actual care of the realm' is entirely meaningless a decade ago when they married. And Selyse seems to be supportive of her husbands quest to save the realm. If anything this makes them a perfect fit, most wives with common sense may have tried to talk him out of it.

3 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

 

and she was pretty low on the totem pole of the Florents as the daughter of the third of four sons.

At the time of the Wedding she may have just been another granddaughter of the current Lord Florent.

Stannis did not marry her to inherit Brightwater Keep, so her place in the succession line is immaterial. Nobody thinks Roslin Frey is the worst marriage for Edmure amongst the Frey women despite the fact that she comes behind many 'sisters', nieces and grand nieces in the succession line.

We have no idea who Ryam was married to, it may well be that Selyse had the best pedigree out of all the Florent women who were available to marry. Ryam himself may have been far more noteworthy than his brothers while he lived.

3 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

 

The Florents didn’t add much to Stannis’ cause, apart from Imry Florent, who led Stannis’ fleet into a trap at Blackwater. Plus they were divided when the WoFK started, which made them a liability. 

Stannis had a Florent Castellan on Dragonstone, a Florent Hand and a Florent Admiral. Stannis points out in the aftermath of the Blackwater that the majority of his men are Florents.

The marriage was not arranged so Stannis could have the military power to conquer the throne from Robert's children.

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9 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

A marriage between Stannis Baratheon and Selyse Florent seems like an odd match, aside from a lack of any other suitable candidate. She’s not pretty (mustache and large ears), has an odious personality (Stannis’ friendship with Davos and actual care for the realm set him higher), and she was pretty low on the totem pole of the Florents as the daughter of the third of four sons. The Florents didn’t add much to Stannis’ cause, apart from Imry Florent, who led Stannis’ fleet into a trap at Blackwater. Plus they were divided when the WoFK started, which made them a liability. 

 

There should be a lot more “ugly” women in the series. Inbred aristocrats shouldn’t all look like Goddesses. But, it’s a fantasy series. Cat, Cersei, Lyanna, Sansa, Dany, Ashara, Lynesse; there’s actually a shortage of plain or ugly women in positions of political marriage. In that context Selyse seems more unusual than she should.

For example, Lord Leyton could have married Lynesse (or another brood member) off to Stannis instead of Jorah. If you’re going to marry your beautiful daughter to a miserable old man it may as well be to the Kings brother as opposed to an impoverished nobody Lordling on the edge of the world.

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Stannis did not marry Selyse for military power either. He says that the Florents can field 1500-2000 men, even less at the start of ACOK due to Lord Alester fighting for Renly. I don’t think Imry Florent or anyone else from his family actually brought any ships to the Blackwater, and all Imry did was get Stannis’ fleet destroyed. Overall the Florents were useless and Stannis should have married into a stormlands house or something.

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8 hours ago, James Steller said:

It just seems like Robert and Alester Florent both got together over drinks and said “hey, we both have relatives that we hate, let’s pair them up!” 

Sounds like Robert.

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14 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

she was pretty low on the totem pole of the Florents as the daughter of the third of four sons.

In Westeros, holdings are never combined through inheritance. It would be absurd to marry a Stannis to a potential heiress, since she'd had to renounce to her rights.

9 hours ago, James Steller said:

Stannis really got screwed over with that marriage. Selyse Florent didn’t offer anything politically or financially to Stannis

Stannis surely received a huge dowry for marrying Selyse.

9 hours ago, James Steller said:

and the perceived “threat” to House Tyrell was meaningless because the Florents would never be strong enough to take them on.

The plan is not to wait for the Florents to take over the Tyrells. The plan is to send the message to the Tyrells that if they do anything suspicious, the Crown has a very good relationship with a family that could be argued to have a better claim to Highgarden than them. The Stannis marriage was showing the Tyrells that they already had the replacement ready. And the Crown was strong enough to replace them.

As far as we know, it worked. We know of no attempt from the Tyrells to undermine Robert, or help Viserys or Daenerys in their exile.

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4 hours ago, McGuv19 said:

Stannis did not marry Selyse for military power either. He says that the Florents can field 1500-2000 men, even less at the start of ACOK due to Lord Alester fighting for Renly. I don’t think Imry Florent or anyone else from his family actually brought any ships to the Blackwater, and all Imry did was get Stannis’ fleet destroyed. Overall the Florents were useless and Stannis should have married into a stormlands house or something.

Karstark fielded 2,300 men for Robb. 

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2 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Karstark fielded 2,300 men for Robb. 

I assume you are saying Stannis should have married a Karstark. If so good point. I looked on the wiki and apparently Arnolf Karstark has daughters who would be Stannis’ age.

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1 hour ago, McGuv19 said:

I assume you are saying Stannis should have married a Karstark. If so good point. I looked on the wiki and apparently Arnolf Karstark has daughters who would be Stannis’ age.

No, I was pointing out that House Florent was nearly as powerful as House Karstark, which was one of the most powerful components of Robb's army. 

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44 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

No, I was pointing out that House Florent was nearly as powerful as House Karstark, which was one of the most powerful components of Robb's army. 

 

But there are more powerful and influential houses like Hightower. 

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1 hour ago, Tyrion1991 said:

 

But there are more powerful and influential houses like Hightower. 

Other than Tyrell and Hightower are there any houses in the Reach that we know could field (raise and sustain) more than, say 4,000 men, including about 450 knights? 

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21 hours ago, James Steller said:

It just seems like Robert and Alester Florent both got together over drinks and said “hey, we both have relatives that we hate, let’s pair them up!” 

1

If Robert played any role in arranging Stannis's marriage we would already have a page worth of Stannis's complaining about it.

 

Stannis probably liked her personality as it is pretty much similar to his own.  Nor is he any catch in an appearance himself.

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9 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Karstark fielded 2,300 men for Robb. 

2,000 of which is foot. There is a huge difference between a foot soldier and a knight. The Karstarks can field more men, but I'd take the Florent army against the Karstark army in a battle.

The Florents are far richer, influential and prestigious than the Karstarks. Why would Robert and Jon have Stannis marry a Karstark, a region they are not worried about rebelling?

5 hours ago, Tyrion1991 said:

 

But there are more powerful and influential houses like Hightower. 

Did they have women available at the time? Were they willing to make a marriage alliance to the Baratheons at that time? Did Robert and Jon Arryn perhaps think that a Florent option would be better than a Hightower considering Mace was married to a Hightower and could expect their support if he rebelled?

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I feel I've seen this question dozens of times.

Simply put the marriage is a wedge. It's small but used correctly it splits the Reach apart.

If the Tyrells rebel it might bring the Florents and other Reach houses over to your side. The Florents are married to a number of houses including the Tarlys and Hightowers. We know with hindsight that push come to shove they'll back Tyrell. But they didn't know that.

But we did see that a bunch of Reach houses did abandon the Tyrells for Stannis even if it is only temporarily. House Florent, Fossoway (both red and green branches), Meadows, Mullendore, Varner, Willum and Crane.

So hypothetically if Viserys lands in Dorne and 20,000 Dornishmen come boiling out of the passes (unlikely again in hindsight but Jon Arryn didn't know that) and the Tyrells have to make a choice to back Robert or Viserys there's the knowledge that "Hey some of my bannermen, I don't know how many, might not back me if I side with Viserys".

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On 8/11/2019 at 9:29 PM, Angel Eyes said:

A marriage between Stannis Baratheon and Selyse Florent seems like an odd match, aside from a lack of any other suitable candidate. She’s not pretty (mustache and large ears), has an odious personality (Stannis’ friendship with Davos and actual care for the realm set him higher), and she was pretty low on the totem pole of the Florents as the daughter of the third of four sons. The Florents didn’t add much to Stannis’ cause, apart from Imry Florent, who led Stannis’ fleet into a trap at Blackwater. Plus they were divided when the WoFK started, which made them a liability. 

It doesn't make a whole lot of sense from Stannis' perspective, which is why I think it was more Robert's doing. In one stroke, it accomplished two things for Robert: it took his brother down a peg by marrying him to a lesser house, while at the same time it raised the status of the house that says it has a better claim to Highgarden than the Tyrells, who backed the MK during the rebellion. In the end, potential rivals are weakened while Robert's position is strengthened.

The next question is whether Jon Arryn was involved in these machinations. Or Pycelle? Varys? Littlefinger?

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1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

It doesn't make a whole lot of sense from Stannis' perspective, which is why I think it was more Robert's doing. In one stroke, it accomplished two things for Robert: it took his brother down a peg by marrying him to a lesser house, while at the same time it raised the status of the house that says it has a better claim to Highgarden than the Tyrells, who backed the MK during the rebellion. In the end, potential rivals are weakened while Robert's position is strengthened.

The next question is whether Jon Arryn was involved in these machinations. Or Pycelle? Varys? Littlefinger?

Judging by the dates, the only one who couldn’t have been in on the machinations is Littlefinger. Stannis was married in either 286 or 287 AC, judging on when Edric Storm’s birthday is (nine months gestation, and Edric was conceived on Stannis’ wedding night by Robert bedding Delena Florent. At that point in time, Littlefinger was still in the Vale and had not yet risen to prominence in Gulltown.

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