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Renly's Plan and what he knew.

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7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And Renly definitely didn't know about the incest. If he had, he would have told Robert. He would have told Ned. He would have used his knowledge as ammunition in his own bid for the throne - it could have only helped his own position to dismiss the claims of Cersei's children on the basis that they weren't Robert's. But he did not do that.

And back when he wanted to replace Cersei with Margaery he would have not needed to find a new Lyanna to seduce Robert - he could have just revealed the incest to destroy Cersei that way. And when she was dead - because she would have been executed for this - Renly could have presented Margaery as a suitable replacement for Cersei, a young woman Robert would not (necessarily) need to fall in love with to marry her. As a childless widower king (Cersei's children would have been declared bastards and cut from the line of succession if Robert had not killed them) Robert would have been in need of a fertile young queen to give him heirs of his own body.

Everything we know about Renly's plans and actions after Robert's death confirms that Renly had no clue until he received the letter - and this is supported by the various testimonies of crucial court players who knew or believed that Renly had no clue about the incest (while knowing about his plan to replace Cersei with Margaery).

There is simply no basis to believe that Renly knew about the twincest. If he did know the entire thing would have likely come out while Robert was still alive. Renly wasn't exactly the most cautious or careful of people.

And one should also keep in mind that neither Jon Arryn nor Stannis actually *knew* anything. Stannis had a suspicion, a suspicion Jon was willing to entertain, too, planning to eventually tell Robert about it (but he never did tell him, not even on his deathbed, indicating he didn't necessarily believe it to be true even then). For Stannis suspicion became fact when Jon Arryn suddenly died, but that wasn't actual evidence much less proof.

Littlefinger seems to have learned of the suspicions and of Jon/Stannis' 'investigation', but he wouldn't have had evidence/proof, either. Varys may be the only guy who as actual knowledge of the twincest, either because he helped Cersei to arrange early meetings with Jaime (back during the reign of Aerys II when Cersei and Jaime met in the city to have sex when she convinced him to join the KG) or simply by having his little birds watch and overhear their clandestine meetings in the Red Keep (those taking place outside of Maegor's Holdfast).

I agree completely here.

Regarding some of the latter posts: I do not think we need to stir this thread into the subject of sexuality. Regardless of who Renly prefers to engage in such actions with, we have no reason to believe that he is not capable of fathering children. 

Edited by nyser1
typo

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30 minutes ago, nyser1 said:

I agree completely here.

Regarding some of the latter posts: I do not think we need to stir this thread into the subject of sexuality. Regardless of who Renly prefers to engage in such actions with, we have no reason to believe that he is not capable of fathering children. 

Regardless of Renly's sexuality, we have plenty of circumstantial evidence that he was not, in fact, keen to father children. He completely ignored Margaery at table, focusing all his attention on Loras, and there are enough testimonies claiming that Renly never even consummated his marriage.

In that sense we can reasonably guess that Renly's claims that he would have a son before the year is out are about as believable as his claims that Dorne would join him or that Stannis would support him against the Lannisters...

Eventually he would have been in need of an heir but, considering that he expected to die only in decades, he was in no need to rush things - and in no need to tell the truth to Stannis of all people.

In light of what Rhaenyra and Laenor may have done (who were as much in need of heirs as Renly would have been had he ruled as king) chances are not that bad that Renly's children would have been fathered by a different man. In fact, that kind of thing happened rather often (or is rumored to have happened rather often) in dynastic marriages in which the spouses could not stand each other.

And the fact that Margaery and Loras were siblings does not necessarily make things easier - Loras could have grown rather jealous if Margaery and Renly had actually started a sexual relationship of some sort precisely because Margaery was his sister.

Many readers routinely fool themselves into believing that, in light of the problems Cersei's children caused, previous kings and queens and lords and ladies would have been stupid to have lovers father children on their wives - but this is simply not the case. Monarchies are not democracies, and if something like that happens with the approval of the people involved (or without the king realizing what's going on) then the mailman's children will inherit the throne. Because - quite frankly: nobody has any reason to give a damn about rumors and calumnies. If the king acknowledges the queen's child as his own it is his own. Period.

Only under very specific circumstances can such rumors and claims gain enough traction to actually endanger a royal succession.

In light of all that it should not be surprising if the Conqueror/Rhaenys/Visenya, Rhaenyra/Laenor and Renly/Margaery would have decided to father children in a rather unorthodox manner.

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1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

But it is also quite probable that he is not lying, that the letter and the whole idea of incest did take him by surprise, in which case this "plan" of his to marry Margaery to Robert was a non-starter. Lady Olenna would never give up her Margaery to become a second queen with little or no chance of birthing the next king. This is the goal in her Game of Thrones.

Primogeniture is the default, but there are examples of Targeryens selecting their heir and disenheriting other heirs.  If Margaery made Robert happy enough, he'd probably have been willing to set aside Cersei's kids (who he doesn't like anyway) for them.  

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Just now, argonak said:

Primogeniture is the default, but there are examples of Targeryens selecting their heir and disenheriting other heirs.  If Margaery made Robert happy enough, he'd probably have been willing to set aside Cersei's kids (who he doesn't like anyway) for them.  

While this is certainly possible or imaginable, the crucial point many people don't seem to get is that Renly didn't really care (yet) about Robert's children. He wanted to replace Queen Cersei with a future Queen Margaery. He didn't care about Robert's heirs, he cared about Robert's wife. That is a difference.

And while it is certainly possible that a Queen Margaery and her Tyrell kin would have wanted Robert's children by Margaery to succeed him rather than Cersei's children that is not necessarily a given.

People tend to put forth rather strong opinions on such matters, as they do in case of Viserys I's decision to remarry - a marriage is not a successful birth, and a successful birth isn't a healthy child, and even a healthy child does not necessarily live through infancy and winters, and children living through infancy and winters do not necessarily outlive their fathers (just as Prince Aemon and Prince Baelon about that). Not to mention that not every woman is a scheming bitch nor every noble family hell-bent on making their kin wear a crown.

The natural way for monarchs to act is like Jaehaerys/Alysanne and Viserys I - produce as many children and descendants as possible. That is what royal and noble families did for hundreds of years. The moment to deal with imagined or real rivalries and succession crises is when they arise, not when they are, at best, merely a theoretical possibility the next plague or accident could render irrelevant.

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13 hours ago, Ran said:

If his plan was to get Cersei set aside for Margaery, it doesn't follow he had no loyalty to the children (though he probably had very little, at least to Joffrey) because there's no evidence his plan extended to having them removed from the succession. It's the error of those insisting that he knew. Nothing that anyone says about Renly's plot indicated that that was the idea.

Bittersteel and Bloodraven hated each other in part due to Aegon switching among Bracken and Blackwood mistresses. When Isabella and Roger Mortimer arranged to overthrow her husband, Edward II, they didn't remove Edward III from the succession, and the result was that once he came of age he had Mortimer killed. Leaving Cersei's children in the succession would carry the risk that once one became king he might punish the Tyrells and their allies.

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If by danger you mean that Cersei and co. would try to poison or otherwise get rid of her, I think that's true, but yes, Renly was callous. He certainly knew he was in personal danger from Cersei, and yet he remained at King's Landing to continue to try his plot and have his influence until the very last opportunity, so it doesn't seem strange he thought he could have Margaery arrive, see her protected, and prevent anything from happening.

Did Renly really believe himself to be in physical danger prior to Robert's death? He wasn't trying to warn Robert about the Lannisters killing Jon Arryn, even though we know he was scheming to replace them with the Tyrells.

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The problem is that the text has multiple characters doubting Renly knew. It's not just Renly explicitly saying he didn't, but Cersei, Pycelle, Stannis, and Catelyn as well all see no difficulty in believing Renly did not know but that he was plotting to have Cersei set aside anyways. It seems like bad writing rather than good to have all the indicators suggest one thing when it was another. Look at his actual mysteries -- who sent the cat's paw, who killed Jon Arryn -- and you'll see his laying hints pointing at several directions (including the correct one). George intended no mystery in Renly's plot, and thus there are no hints pointing at his knowing.

Catelyn is the only POV character among them at the time, and she was removed enough from the King's Landing politicking to not know about any of that until she reached Bitterbridge. Cersei gets a POV much later, by which time she's thinking about how he probably did sleep with Margaery despite her claims rather than the threat he once posed.

I will admit this though: I think GRRM intends for readers to conclude that Joffrey hired the catspaw after both Tyrion and Jaime reason that way, but I find the logic terribly unconvincing. That's more the M.O of the Rogue Prince than the not particularly streetwise Joffrey. That's also my take on Edmure fighting the battle of the fords. But characters give less thought to whether Renly knew in the books, so the text points less clearly in favor of a particular conclusion.

12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And Renly definitely didn't know about the incest. If he had, he would have told Robert. He would have told Ned. He would have used his knowledge as ammunition in his own bid for the throne - it could have only helped his own position to dismiss the claims of Cersei's children on the basis that they weren't Robert's. But he did not do that.

Stannis didn't tell Robert, instead trying to enlist Robert's then-Hand to do it. Renly was also trying to enlist Robert's Hand, but his focus was on getting Margaery Tyrell in place to replace Cersei first.

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And back when he wanted to replace Cersei with Margaery he would have not needed to find a new Lyanna to seduce Robert - he could have just revealed the incest to destroy Cersei that way. And when she was dead - because she would have been executed for this - Renly could have presented Margaery as a suitable replacement for Cersei, a young woman Robert would not (necessarily) need to fall in love with to marry her. As a childless widower king (Cersei's children would have been declared bastards and cut from the line of succession if Robert had not killed them) Robert would have been in need of a fertile young queen to give him heirs of his own body.

Ensuring Cersei and her children are removed is one thing, ensuring that Margaery replaces her is another. Robert married Cersei because Jon Arryn told him to, and while Renly attempted to enlist Ned, he didn't succeed. Stannis can remove all of the Lannisters and immediately make himself next in line. Renly would gain partly from Robert's gratitude, but he's mostly going to benefit by being allied with the incoming Tyrell power bloc.

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And one should also keep in mind that neither Jon Arryn nor Stannis actually *knew* anything. Stannis had a suspicion, a suspicion Jon was willing to entertain, too, planning to eventually tell Robert about it (but he never did tell him, not even on his deathbed, indicating he didn't necessarily believe it to be true even then). For Stannis suspicion became fact when Jon Arryn suddenly died, but that wasn't actual evidence much less proof.

Jon was incapable of expressing himself understandably. "The seed is strong" is a reference to Baratheon genetics being visible, thus helping show Ned that Cersei's children aren't Baratheons.

Stannis might have come to the conclusion because Edric Storm was conceived on his own marriage bed. And Edric Storm of course lives in Renly's castle.

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Littlefinger seems to have learned of the suspicions and of Jon/Stannis' 'investigation', but he wouldn't have had evidence/proof, either. Varys may be the only guy who as actual knowledge of the twincest, either because he helped Cersei to arrange early meetings with Jaime (back during the reign of Aerys II when Cersei and Jaime met in the city to have sex when she convinced him to join the KG) or simply by having his little birds watch and overhear their clandestine meetings in the Red Keep (those taking place outside of Maegor's Holdfast).

Pycelle knew enough to conclude that the Lannisters wanted Jon Arryn dead because he knew too much. And Pycelle had lent him that genealogical text. Tyrion also knew, although he wasn't in King's Landing. Littlefinger was completely unsurprised by the allegation, but he doesn't care because he's trying to undermine anyone on the throne.

5 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

But yes, plenty of gay men have fathered children through the ages, but I dare say that few of them openly bragged about knocking up their wives as if it was no big deal to them. The way Renly states it, it is the most natural thing in the world for him to shag Margaery, when in reality it is not.

If we borrow some ideas from "construal level theory". Renly might think to himself that the benefits of having an heir would be large enough that in "far mode" he's sure he would get around to soon enough, even if he hadn't done so yet, as in "near mode" he finds that he really doesn't feel like it. Similar to someone who procrastinates on some of their goals.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Eventually he would have been in need of an heir but, considering that he expected to die only in decades, he was in no need to rush things - and in no need to tell the truth to Stannis of all people.

The Tyrells are going to insist on an heir prior to Renly's death.

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In light of what Rhaenyra and Laenor may have done (who were as much in need of heirs as Renly would have been had he ruled as king) chances are not that bad that Renly's children would have been fathered by a different man. In fact, that kind of thing happened rather often (or is rumored to have happened rather often) in dynastic marriages in which the spouses could not stand each other.

If Renly's children are fathered by a different man, that might be ok in his eyes, as it apparently was with Laenor.

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And the fact that Margaery and Loras were siblings does not necessarily make things easier - Loras could have grown rather jealous if Margaery and Renly had actually started a sexual relationship of some sort precisely because Margaery was his sister.

Loras may not like it, but I think he can understand the logic of having an heir. He can tell that Margaery isn't truly a rival to him and that once the inheritance is settled Renly can go back to ignoring her. Loras knew they were married and didn't seem to be bothered by it at the time.

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Many readers routinely fool themselves into believing that, in light of the problems Cersei's children caused, previous kings and queens and lords and ladies would have been stupid to have lovers father children on their wives - but this is simply not the case. Monarchies are not democracies, and if something like that happens with the approval of the people involved (or without the king realizing what's going on) then the mailman's children will inherit the throne. Because - quite frankly: nobody has any reason to give a damn about rumors and calumnies. If the king acknowledges the queen's child as his own it is his own. Period.

It's a severe risk, as the king would be apt to kill his wife and her lover if he found out.

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In light of all that it should not be surprising if the Conqueror/Rhaenys/Visenya, Rhaenyra/Laenor and Renly/Margaery would have decided to father children in a rather unorthodox manner.

I'm curious about your inclusion of "Conqueror/Rhaenys/Visenya" in that list.

3 hours ago, argonak said:

Primogeniture is the default, but there are examples of Targeryens selecting their heir and disenheriting other heirs.  If Margaery made Robert happy enough, he'd probably have been willing to set aside Cersei's kids (who he doesn't like anyway) for them.  

That is a good point against the theory I'm arguing for. Robert might be apt to disinherit Joffrey, although he didn't consider doing that while he was on the throne, but on the other hand he wouldn't have as much reason to do the same to Tommen.

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12 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Renly is not above lying. As I said, he has no stake anymore in whether the children are legitimate or not, but Stannis does.

Renly also says he'll get a son on Margaery within the year. Does he not know he is gay?

And Margaery is definitely a virgin.

"A year ago I was scheming to make the girl Robert's queen," Renly said, "but what does it matter? The boar got Robert and I got Margaery. You'll be pleased to know she came to me a maid."

"In your bed she's like to die that way."

-ACOK, Catelyn III.

"Your Grace," Garlan said when the king approached him, "I have a maiden sister, Margaery, the delight of our House. She was wed to Renly Baratheon, as you know, but Lord Renly went to war before the marriage could be consummated, so she remains innocent. 

- ACOK, Sansa VIII.

"No. No. No. No. No. How many times must I say no before you'll hear it? Oberyn Martell? The man's infamous, and not just for poisoning his sword. He has more bastards than Robert, and beds with boys as well. And if you think for one misbegotten moment that I would wed Joffrey's widow . . ."

Lord Tyrell swears the girl's still maiden."

"She can die a maiden as far as I'm concerned. I don't want her, and I don't want your Rock!"

ASOS - Jaime VII.

Margaery will marry Tommen. She'll keep her queenly crown and her maidenhead, neither of which she especially wants, but what does that matter?

ASOS - Sansa VIII.

Only Cersei thinks she's not a maiden, and Cersei is always wrong, so.

I mean the "thrice wedded, never bedded" irony is the sort of dark humor that GRRM would love. 

16 hours ago, Ran said:

Because he thought little of it, didn't believe it, and just thought it was a ploy from Stannis. A fact that George plays up with Joff's small council planning to seed counter-rumors.

Except he says Stannis would join him to Catelyn. And I would think Renly would know his brother and his particular brand of bullheadedness. So him not revealing anything to Catelyn is a sign that he cares about her opinion of him or of Catelyn's opinion of Stannis being the rightful king, or he really thinks Stannis "MY RIGHTS" Baratheon would join him, which, c'mon.

He later brings it up to Catelyn, gauges her reaction, etc and when Catelyn says it would make Stannis the rightful heir he changes tacks and says he would be dead anyway and starts listing reasons why he would be the better king.

16 hours ago, Ran said:

Stannis himself doesn't question Renly saying he doesn't believe it. He could have called him a liar, he could have asked him what he planned to gain from putting Margaery in Robert's bed if it didn't turn on exposing the incest, but he didn't ... because it didn't occur to him there was a problem with it. It made sense to Stannis that he knew and Renly didn't.

Stannis doesn't know what the Tyrells' MO and agenda are, who were the ones working with Renly. And Stannis views Renly as a fool.

16 hours ago, Ran said:

If his plan was to get Cersei set aside for Margaery, it doesn't follow he had no loyalty to the children (though he probably had very little, at least to Joffrey) because there's no evidence his plan extended to having them removed from the succession. 

If by danger you mean that Cersei and co. would try to poison or otherwise get rid of her, I think that's true, but yes, Renly was callous. He certainly knew he was in personal danger from Cersei, and yet he remained at King's Landing to continue to try his plot and have his influence until the very last opportunity, so it doesn't seem strange he thought he could have Margaery arrive, see her protected, and prevent anything from happening.

By his lack of loyalty to Robert's children I meant him planning to usurp them. Maybe we can pretend he has such a close understanding of Cersei's psyche he knew he would never be able to work out an alliance with her, but even if he thought that, he could have worked out something with Tywin, one of whose maxims was:

“Joffrey, when your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you.” —Tywin Lannister.

-ASOS, Tyrion VI.

Renly didn't even try.

And I don't buy that Renly was particularly trying to undermine the Lannisters.
Think about that whole debacle with Mycah and Arya and Joffrey. Joffrey was obviously in the wrong there. Renly could have discredited the Lannisters there, and it would have been his place to do so, as MoL. He could have scored serious points against the Lannisters, and serious points with Ned and Robert. But he doesn't. He does not give a shit. He walks out of the room laughing.

This tells me that Renly isn't as anti Lannister as he is pro Tyrell (or pro himself).

If you're asking why Renly didn't tell Robert immediately, it's because that wouldn't benefit the Tyrells and himself in the same way. 

Though I only brought up the morality point because people think people who argue in favor of him knowing are trying to demonize Renly, which I think is kind of a disingenuous argument.

16 hours ago, Ran said:

The problem is that the text has multiple characters doubting Renly knew. It's not just Renly explicitly saying he didn't, but Cersei, Pycelle, Stannis, and Catelyn as well all see no difficulty in believing Renly did not know but that he was plotting to have Cersei set aside anyways. It seems like bad writing rather than good to have all the indicators suggest one thing when it was another. Look at his actual mysteries -- who sent the cat's paw, who killed Jon Arryn -- and you'll see his laying hints pointing at several directions (including the correct one). George intended no mystery in Renly's plot, and thus there are no hints pointing at his knowing.

All that anyone knew was that Renly was planning to bring Margaery to court and have her be queen. They didn't know what the Tyrells' ambitions were. We do though, they want a grandson on the throne, something which isn't fulfilled by a half baked plan like this one.

Except the fact that he withheld the truth of the incest letters to Catelyn and lied about Stannis joining him. And the fact he was working with the Tyrells, who make cautious plays (playing both sides during Robert's Rebellion, only declaring for Renly when they had a strong numerical advantage and the realm was in chaos, planting Loras in the Kingsguard so Margaery isn't harmed, offing Joffrey before Loras becomes a 2nd Kingslayer in a spotless assassination). Trying to strike at the Lannisters when they're terrifyingly ascendant in the Riverlands, and presumably have the backing of Stannis and the Vale, is also pretty dumb.

The catspaw was bad writing as well, which is why there are so many counter theories and fans refusing to believe it.

Edited by Peach King

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On 9/7/2019 at 4:34 PM, Ran said:

Bear in mind that Cersei believes that Robert would set her aside if emboldened, Stannis understood that Renly was plotting to have Margaery become Robert's queen while believing he did not know about the incest, and that Grand Maester Pycelle understood that Renly plotted to have Robert set Cersei aside while at the same time believing that Renly did not know about the incest.

I think you have to look at it from what Renly saw at the time, which was that the Lannisters were isolated in terms of their relationship to the rest of Westeros. By Renly's calculus, if Cersei was set aside for Margaery and Tywin went to war over it, the Lannisters would have to go up against the Stormlands, the Crownlands, the Reach, the Vale (because Jon Arryn would back Robert, to Renly's thinking), the North (ditto with Ned), and probably the riverlands (due to family ties to both Jon Arryn and Ned Stark. Dorne would at worst sit it out, given their hatred of the Lannisters.

It's noted by Varys that Robert had become increasingly unruly, so it seems Renly had some reason to think that Robert's increasingly disfunctional relationship to Cersei was something he could break up for the benefit of himself, his friends the Tyrells, and for the realm. 

Finally, regarding the setting aside of Cersei, no one -- not even Cersei herself -- speaks of this as a matter of her being executed or what have you. A big flaw in the argument for "he had to know about the incest" is that it is premised on the false notion that Renly's plot necessarily aimed to disinherit Cersei's children. But the fact is that reducing the power of the Lannisters and increasing his power and that of the Tyrells really only depended on Margaery becoming Robert's queen. There's zero evidence Renly's plot extends beyond that. Robert looked like to live for many years more, despite his gluttony and drinking. The problem of Joffrey and the other children are all far-off things.

This makes Renly doing this likelier than not. I don't think he had long-term plans but rather things he'd deal with when he crossed that bridge.

Baratheon brothers are extremely presumptuous and stubborn to a fault. Renly for all his social awareness, never noticed Stannis doesn't lie, and never forgets past wrongs. Renly, supposedly an astute administrator, never noticed Varys and Littlefinger's subtle peculiarities around the Royal family. 

Perhaps all the ribald court gossip about 'who got cuckolded' died when Robert came to power. Certainly everyone who were amused, gossiped when King Aerys had an affair are far away from court.

It's interesting Renly hadn't made changes to plans regarding Joffrey. He certainly knew about the dead kittens. Robert became more interested with his elder bastard children, Mya Stone.

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8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Bittersteel and Bloodraven hated each other in part due to Aegon switching among Bracken and Blackwood mistresses. When Isabella and Roger Mortimer arranged to overthrow her husband, Edward II, they didn't remove Edward III from the succession, and the result was that once he came of age he had Mortimer killed. Leaving Cersei's children in the succession would carry the risk that once one became king he might punish the Tyrells and their allies.

Edward III had Roger Mortimer killed because the man was his mother's lover and a man who presumed to dominate the king.

I agree that Joff may have had reasons to avenge his mother - but if Robert had lived three to four decades after he had replaced Cersei as queen and if Cersei was not executed or anything to get rid of her, then chances are pretty good that Joff would have gotten over the issue by that time. They could have decided to marry him to a Tyrell, too, you know.

8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Did Renly really believe himself to be in physical danger prior to Robert's death? He wasn't trying to warn Robert about the Lannisters killing Jon Arryn, even though we know he was scheming to replace them with the Tyrells.

He implies that he fled court because he feared Cersei both when he talks about the Lannisters not being merciful and when he later justifies claiming the throne. But I don't necessarily buy that. I think Renly abandoned Ned because Ned didn't give him the opportunity to actually seize Cersei and her children, effectively controlling the post-Robert government.

8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I will admit this though: I think GRRM intends for readers to conclude that Joffrey hired the catspaw after both Tyrion and Jaime reason that way, but I find the logic terribly unconvincing. That's more the M.O of the Rogue Prince than the not particularly streetwise Joffrey. That's also my take on Edmure fighting the battle of the fords. But characters give less thought to whether Renly knew in the books, so the text points less clearly in favor of a particular conclusion.

Joff being behind the attempt on Bran is already subtly hinted at in AGoT. Sandor offers to put down the direwolves for him, it is not far from there to assume he would find a moron to actually kill the Stark boy - even more so after the king himself declared it would be a mercy. You have to keep in mind that this was a point when Joff did actually not want to be cruel - he wanted to be brave enough to do a good deed (a mercy-killing) nobody was strong enough to suggest or command.

Joffrey had some issues with Robb already, but he had no problems with Bran, nor with the Starks as such (aside from talk he may have overheard from his mother and uncle) - that only started with the Arya episode on the way back to KL.

8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Stannis didn't tell Robert, instead trying to enlist Robert's then-Hand to do it. Renly was also trying to enlist Robert's Hand, but his focus was on getting Margaery Tyrell in place to replace Cersei first.

Stannis would have personally profited if Robert's children were declared bastards. Stannis also had a worse relationship with his royal brother than Renly (who often spent time with him, went hunting with him, hung out with him at tourneys, etc.). Renly would have found a way to inform Robert about the incest both before Jon Arryn died and, especially, after Jon Arryn died. He would have either accused Cersei of murdering Jon Arryn and/or he would have accompanied Robert to Winterfell to inform Eddard Stark about his suspicions to deal with the Lannister problem away from court.

8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Ensuring Cersei and her children are removed is one thing, ensuring that Margaery replaces her is another. Robert married Cersei because Jon Arryn told him to, and while Renly attempted to enlist Ned, he didn't succeed. Stannis can remove all of the Lannisters and immediately make himself next in line. Renly would gain partly from Robert's gratitude, but he's mostly going to benefit by being allied with the incoming Tyrell power bloc.

Renly just asked Ned's opinion on Margaery's looks - he never asked him to support his efforts to replace Cersei with Margaery. Had he done that Ned may have actually tried to help him with that once he had figured out the incest thing - or started to really believe Cersei wanted to kill Robert (which started after Varys' visit during the Tourney of the Hand).

Renly could basically make the same argument Jon Arryn made when he forced Robert to marry Cersei - you need the Tyrells should Lord Tywin or his heirs ever rebel against the Iron Throne in answer to what the king did to Cersei, Jaime, and their children. The Tyrells are the key factor to counter this threat considering the fact that the Reach has a rather long border with the West and can field the most troops in the Seven Kingdoms.

If the Riverlands and the Reach stayed neutral in this then Tywin could become a serious threat despite the fact that Robert had the Vale and the Stormlands and the North on his side because all Tywin needed to deal with Robert would be to raise a larger army than him and get it faster than he could call upon his far-away allies to KL.

8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Jon was incapable of expressing himself understandably. "The seed is strong" is a reference to Baratheon genetics being visible, thus helping show Ned that Cersei's children aren't Baratheons.

But we have believable reports that Robert Baratheon spent hours (!) at Jon's bedside during which time Jon Arryn made no attempt to make himself understood. Instead, only his last words are construed to be some weirdo reference to the Baratheon bloodline (I personally think Lysa's interpretation that they refer to their own son, Lord Robert, makes much more sense ;-)). The Tears of Lys don't fry the brain, they kill in the guts. Jon may have been in severe pain when Robert visited him, but he cannot have been completely incoherent while he was not yet knocking on death's door. Thus we have to conclude that he was (1) not suspecting that he had been poisoned (or else he would have told his king about his suspicion) and (2) he was not sure enough that Cersei's children were Jaime's or else he would have told Robert in an understandable fashion about those suspicions, too. Instead, he only made a weirdo reference to that once he was so far gone he did not longer make sense.

8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Stannis might have come to the conclusion because Edric Storm was conceived on his own marriage bed. And Edric Storm of course lives in Renly's castle.

Edric Storm is just on black-haired boy. That's not enough to suspect that the king's children are not his.

8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Pycelle knew enough to conclude that the Lannisters wanted Jon Arryn dead because he knew too much. And Pycelle had lent him that genealogical text. Tyrion also knew, although he wasn't in King's Landing. Littlefinger was completely unsurprised by the allegation, but he doesn't care because he's trying to undermine anyone on the throne.

Pycelle talks about that after Robert's death. We don't know what exactly he knew or suspected back when Jon Arryn was still alive. He claims he knew Cersei wanted Jon to die, but we cannot be sure he knew why back then. Pycelle could only have put the thing together when Ned declared that Joff had no claim to the throne - or when Stannis' letter was discussed at council.

But then - if Pycelle knew or suspected before then this may have to do with him being rather close to Cersei for years. And with him likely having played a crucial role in the birth of the royal children he may have witnessed certain crucial looks between Jaime and Cersei other courtiers were not privy to (we do know that at least some royal births took place while the king was away hunting, meaning that Jaime could have been closer to Cersei in those crucial times than he was after Robert had returned to court).

In any case - we cannot use what Pycelle knew or suspected and then transfer that to the knowledge of other courtiers like Renly (who would have been on the council for only a couple of years) or Littlefinger (who is also only Master of Coin for only a couple of years).

8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

If we borrow some ideas from "construal level theory". Renly might think to himself that the benefits of having an heir would be large enough that in "far mode" he's sure he would get around to soon enough, even if he hadn't done so yet, as in "near mode" he finds that he really doesn't feel like it. Similar to someone who procrastinates on some of their goals.

Stannis also desperately needs an heir, too, and he, too, ignores his wife. Shireen isn't a proper heir and everybody knows it, even Stannis himself - there is a reason why he offers Renly to name him his heir until he has a son. An unpromising pretender like Stannis looks even more unpromising without a son to take up his torch should he die in battle.

If Stannis can ignore that kind of thing, then Renly could put it on hold indefinitely, too. Just like Stannis did - who presumes to lecture Renly on the issue of fathering male children.

8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

The Tyrells are going to insist on an heir prior to Renly's death.

Who is going to insist? Mace, who isn't even with Renly on his campaign despite him being 'his Hand'? Willas and Garlan who are not with him, either? Olenna, who opposed the idea of 'King Renly' in the first place and was ignored? The only Tyrell Renly seems to be listening to is Loras Tyrell, and Loras may have been the one who was not all that eager to see his lover spend time with his sister...

8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

If Renly's children are fathered by a different man, that might be ok in his eyes, as it apparently was with Laenor.

That could have been an arrangement that could have worked.

8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Loras may not like it, but I think he can understand the logic of having an heir. He can tell that Margaery isn't truly a rival to him and that once the inheritance is settled Renly can go back to ignoring her. Loras knew they were married and didn't seem to be bothered by it at the time.

He could also fear that Renly might develop a real affection/love for Margaery - who is a woman who looks very much like he does. Or start to spend more time with her and the children she gave him than he does with her. We don't know anything about the internal dynamics of the Tyrell family, but such fears are not unlikely. And once Margaery finally is queen in more than name she might insist be treated as such - refusing to be just some puppet in the background.

8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

It's a severe risk, as the king would be apt to kill his wife and her lover if he found out.

In the scenario where it is done behind his back, yes, that's a risk. Not when he is in on it. And not necessarily when he finds out later - like Viserys I may have done - if he loves the woman involved. You don't have to kill your wife or daughter if you are the king.

8 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I'm curious about your inclusion of "Conqueror/Rhaenys/Visenya" in that list.

Because there are (rather believable) rumors that King Aenys' father wasn't Aegon the Conqueror. And then there is the rather convenient pregnancy of Visenya Targaryen when the king is about to take another wife. Aegon and his sisters were married for (a) decade(s) yet there are only two children and not even talks about other pregnancies, miscarriages, stillborn children, or children who died in the cradle (like we get them for essentially all other Targaryen couples who often had sex with each other while they were married).

That strongly indicates that Aegon the Conqueror was, in fact, infertile. Something that might even have been an open secret/suspicion when Sharra Arryn offered to marry Aegon during the Wars of Conquest - keep in mind that her offer included that Aegon acknowledged her son Ronnel as his new heir. Which may not have been a presumptuous demand on her part but rather a barely hidden ploy to allow him to have some heir of his own considering he was apparently uncapable of impregnating not only one but two sister-wives.

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10 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Leaving Cersei's children in the succession would carry the risk that once one became king he might punish the Tyrells and their allies.

It would, but nothing says Renly thought that was a risk of particular note. Again, everyone who knew of his plans did not connect them to the idea of also removing the children from the succession. 

10 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

Did Renly really believe himself to be in physical danger prior to Robert's death? He wasn't trying to warn Robert about the Lannisters killing Jon Arryn, even though we know he was scheming to replace them with the Tyrells.

He knew Cersei wanted rid of him, a fact confirmed independently by Varys. She was capable of arranging poisonings and such for those who crossed her (and we know she had a particularly dislike for his smirks and the like), but Renly was not terribly concerned by that. Renly was not terribly concerned by many things, though, because he generally saw himself winning out and figured any complications he could deal with as they came rather than spending his time worrying his pretty little head over all the possible complications in advance.

It's a lot more keeping with Renly's character that he came up with a plan that was not fully formed, than to suppose he had come up with one that was.

7 hours ago, Peach King said:

Except he says Stannis would join him to Catelyn.

It's not exactly what he says. He seems to make the assumption that Stannis will have given up his claim and so the only thing to do would be to follow him, but it's clear from the discussion with Catelyn that that he hasn't really given it all too much thought. He doesn't think very much of Stannis, or about him.

7 hours ago, Peach King said:

Maybe we can pretend he has such a close understanding of Cersei's psyche he knew he would never be able to work out an alliance with her, but even if he thought that, he could have worked out something with Tywin

That's an incredible reach. Renly is ambitious and sees a way to cut out the detested Lannisters from influence with the help of the Tyrells. Why would he try to work something out with Tywin, of all people?

7 hours ago, Peach King said:

They didn't know what the Tyrells' ambitions were. We do though, they want a grandson on the throne,

No. They know that it's Renly and Loras who are sending letters to Mace urging him to send Margaery, which sounds not at all like this notion people are putting forward of the Tyrells being the masterminds of the plot. Renly and Loras are the drivers of the plot, playing on Mace's ambition. And Mace's ambition, by the by, is always explained as his having his daughter be a queen; the idea that this could mean a grandson on the Iron Throne is icing on the cake later on, but it was not at all what was indicated by anyone involved or familiar with the plot prior to the option of marrying Joffrey coming up.

Pycelle knew that Jon Arryn needed to die because "he knew" about he incest, but apparently we're supposed to believe that Pycelle understood that Renly also knew about it but that was all right, because he was just going to use it to put Margaery in Robert's bed...

Doesn't make sense,  is all I'll say. Renly did not know. His plot turned purely on displacing Cersei with Margaery, increasing his influence and that of the Tyrells and diminishing that of the Lannisters. What followed from that were things he'd deal with as he came to them. There were years yet, he supposed, before he'd have to worry about them.

Edited by Ran

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On 9/7/2019 at 5:34 PM, Ran said:

A big flaw in the argument for "he had to know about the incest" is that it is premised on the false notion that Renly's plot necessarily aimed to disinherit Cersei's children. But the fact is that reducing the power of the Lannisters and increasing his power and that of the Tyrells really only depended on Margaery becoming Robert's queen. There's zero evidence Renly's plot extends beyond that. Robert looked like to live for many years more, despite his gluttony and drinking. The problem of Joffrey and the other children are all far-off things.

Renly makes no mention in AGOT of removing Joffrey from the throne. What he wants is [for Ned] to take possession of Joffrey from Cersei and the Lannisters. Even after he declares himself king, he makes no claim that Joffrey is illegitimate. I think it's clear that Renly didn't know.

And if Renly did suspect or believe that Joffrey was a bastard, he didn't seem to care enough about it to act on it, or speak of it publicly. He was content to see Joffrey rule, and the royal Baratheon line to continue through him, so long as it was under Ned's guidance, with Joffrey separated from his family.

But he wasn't going to entrust his life into the hands of a Cersei and Lannister controlled Joffrey. That is the root of Renly's appeal to Ned, and his later acceptance of kingship.

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10 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

But he wasn't going to entrust his life into the hands of a Cersei and Lannister controlled Joffrey. That is the root of Renly's appeal to Ned, and his later acceptance of kingship.

Spot-on.

I really feel like the TV show has really screwed up the understanding of Renly and the Tyrells a good deal. I've remarked this before, but before the TV show came out, it was basically impossible to find anyone advocating that Renly knew or that he was just the puppet of the Tyrells. It's a bit mystifying.

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23 minutes ago, Ran said:

He knew Cersei wanted rid of him, a fact confirmed independently by Varys. She was capable of arranging poisonings and such for those who crossed her (and we know she had a particularly dislike for his smirks and the like), but Renly was not terribly concerned by that. Renly was not terribly concerned by many things, though, because he generally saw himself winning out and figured any complications he could deal with as they came rather than spending his time worrying his pretty little head over all the possible complications in advance.

From what we know about Cersei she actually never arranged a poisoning. We know she wanted 'to deal' with Robert's brothers before dealing with him, but we don't know at this point what that means. It could have meant to kill them but it could also have meant to disgrace them, to force them into exile, or only get Robert to take Dragonstone and Storm's End from them and bestow those seats on her own sons.

Considering Robert's troubled relationship with his brothers - especially Stannis - it shouldn't have been that difficult to ruin them if she had put all her energy on that.

23 minutes ago, Ran said:

It's a lot more keeping with Renly's character that he came up with a plan that was not fully formed, than to suppose he had come up with one that was.

Yeah. I mean, we see how silly Renly can behave when he openly mocks the Crown Prince's sword in a rather tense situation. Robert has him thrown out of the hall, making it clear that Renly was not only spitting in Cersei's and Joffrey's face there, but also in Robert's (who was the father of the boy his brother mocked).

23 minutes ago, Ran said:

That's an incredible reach. Renly is ambitious and sees a way to cut out the detested Lannisters from influence with the help of the Tyrells. Why would he try to work something out with Tywin, of all people?

As I pointed out before I think Renly could have struck a deal with the Lannisters after Robert died. They were in need of allies against the enemies that were already in the field. The fact that he seems to have never thought about that implies his own ambition to be king drove him. The same obviously also prevented him from considering to make Stannis king.

23 minutes ago, Ran said:

No. They know that it's Renly and Loras who are sending letters to Mace urging him to send Margaery, which sounds not at all like this notion people are putting forward of the Tyrells being the masterminds of the plot. Renly and Loras are the drivers of the plot, playing on Mace's ambition. And Mace's ambition, by the by, is always explained as his having his daughter be a queen; the idea that this could mean a grandson on the Iron Throne is icing on the cake later on, but it was not at all what was indicated by anyone involved or familiar with the plot prior to the option of marrying Joffrey coming up.

Yeah. It has to be stressed that the original Margaery plot is given to us as something that's Renly and Loras' brainchild, not a Tyrell plot as such (and I'd say that the guy who came up with it must be Renly since Loras doesn't seem to be a plotter or politician at all). The later Renly idea must be Renly's own idea, too, a plan Renly and Loras likely got Mace and his buddies on board when they suggested Margaery would be queen by marrying Renly.

Olenna makes it clear she opposed this idea, and depending how close Lady Olenna is with her older grandsons (Willas and Garlan) they may have been not exactly fans of that idea, either. It is rather interesting that neither Willas nor Garlan nor even Mace are with Renly's army in ACoK.

23 minutes ago, Ran said:

Doesn't make sense,  is all I'll say. Renly did not know. His plot turned purely on displacing Cersei with Margaery, increasing his influence and that of the Tyrells and diminishing that of the Lannisters. What followed from that were things he'd deal with as he came to them. There were years yet, he supposed, before he'd have to worry about them.

Considering that we have no clue how exactly the business of Robert 'setting aside Cersei' should happen in Renly's mind it is not out of the question that Renly also intended to resolve 'the Joffrey problem' along with his mother, but if this was the case then George never so much as hints to those plans.

The hypothetical of Robert ending his marriage to Cersei without the incest ever coming up is a rather broad spectrum of possibilities - it could go easy with Cersei being pushed into peaceful retirement and it could involved a brutal cleansing of the court of Lannister influence combined with a rebellion in the West to defend the rights of 'our good Queen Cersei'. In some of the more problematic scenarios the status of Cersei's children could also come up - Tywin could, for instance, declare denounce Robert as a false king and madman, worse than the Mad King, to fight a war in the name of his grandson, now the rightful King Joffrey. If they pulled something like that then a victorious Robert would likely have no choice but disinherit all his children by Cersei.

6 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Renly makes no mention in AGOT of removing Joffrey from the throne. What he wants is [for Ned] to take possession of Joffrey from Cersei and the Lannisters. Even after he declares himself king, he makes no claim that Joffrey is illegitimate. I think it's clear that Renly didn't know.

And if Renly did suspect or believe that Joffrey was a bastard, he didn't seem to care enough about it to act on it, or speak of it publicly. He was content to see Joffrey rule, and the royal Baratheon line to continue through him, so long as it was under Ned's guidance, with Joffrey separated from his family.

But he wasn't going to entrust his life into the hands of a Cersei and Lannister controlled Joffrey. That is the root of Renly's appeal to Ned, and his later acceptance of kingship.

Renly definitely had no idea about the incest, but in my opinion you buy into Renly's 'nice guy facade' when you not consider the possibility that he was trying to use Eddard Stark as a pawn when he made his offer to him in AGoT. If Ned had taken Maegor's Holdfast with Renly's help while Robert was dying then men of Renly's choosing would have played a crucial role in the fighting against the Lannisters in the Red Keep as well as in the 'protecting' of Cersei and her children after the castle was secured.

Renly's actual plan there could have been to repeat what Tywin's men did during the Sack (or a milder version of that). We don't know what he really wanted to do.

But to buy that a man who immediately jumped on the rather radical option to crown himself when his offer to take the children of his brother into 'his care' is rejected is pretty naive. He didn't check back with Stannis, his older brother, he didn't try to reach a deal with the Lannisters (be it Cersei or Tywin, who both could used the help of Renly against the Tullys and Starks), he just did what he wanted to do.

My take on the man is that he was already thinking about how he could be king eventually when he realized that Robert was dying. And that would have basically started the moment he saw the boar ravaging him. Renly had a lot of time to think - all the time the dying king was carried back to KL. He would have made up his mind before he talked to Ned - while Ned was still processing things at that point. When Ned has had time to think things through he regretted that he rejected Renly's offer.

And while he later doesn't gloat at the prospect of killing Stannis, he makes it very clear without being too explicit that he wants to see his brother dead. Just as he had no issue seeing Viserys III and Daenerys dead.

Renly is a man who can continue to look nice and funny even when he is commanding/advising/agreeing with butchery.

7 minutes ago, Ran said:

Spot-on.

I really feel like the TV show has really screwed up the understanding of Renly and the Tyrells a good deal. I've remarked this before, but before the TV show came out, it was basically impossible to find anyone advocating that Renly knew or that he was just the puppet of the Tyrells. It's a bit mystifying.

Well, George also dropped the ball a little bit on Renly. He is a very superficial character and the only way to get close to him is by really scanning the text for references to his motivations given to us by other people because no POV ever gives us any deep insight into Renly.

While we continue to get a lot of information and even posthumous character development on characters like Rhaegar, Aerys II, Tywin, Joanna, etc. there is essentially nothing on Renly - which is actually a pity considering the fact that he was a character that actually featured in two of the novels.

Robert's entire reign - and whatever lords sat on his Small Council before Renly and Littlefinger rose to high office - doesn't seem to be worked out in the same detail as the Rebellion era or the reign of Aerys II is.

One can only hope that George has POVs like Cersei, Jaime, Selmy, Davos, etc. who would have been privy to (some) things Renly did while he was alive think about him some time, or else the guy is going to be a very pale and insignificant character when the series is over.

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5 hours ago, Ran said:

He knew Cersei wanted rid of him, a fact confirmed independently by Varys. She was capable of arranging poisonings and such for those who crossed her (and we know she had a particularly dislike for his smirks and the like), but Renly was not terribly concerned by that. Renly was not terribly concerned by many things, though, because he generally saw himself winning out and figured any complications he could deal with as they came rather than spending his time worrying his pretty little head over all the possible complications in advance.

Yes. I accept Sansa's early description of three strangers in the royal entourage: Ser Ilyn, Ser Barristan and Lord Renly. These are men who do not fear  their own deaths because they are the Strangers.

As for the numerous comments about Renly's plan or need to produce an heir with Margaery, I think he didn't care much about that, either. In another recent thread, I shared my opinion that the Tyrell and Florent marriages with the Baratheon family are all about Garth Greenhands symbolism: the king who marries an heir of Garth Greenhands becomes the "Summer King" and restores a balance in Westeros, perhaps even putting the seasons back into proper balance. Gardeners, Florents and Tyrells are all part of the Greenhands bloodline or heredity. The fact that Robert conceived Edric Storm with a Florent means that Renly has an "heir" in his back pocket that embodies the necessary unity of Baratheon and Greenhands. He doesn't need to worry about producing an additional heir.

5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Loras doesn't seem to be a plotter or politician at all

I believe you are forgetting about the championship jousting match between Ser Loras and Gregor Clegane, where Ser Loras rides in on a horse in estrus. He knew this would put Gregor at a disadvantage, although he may not have known that it would enrage him to the extent that it did, and put his own life in peril.

The nature of the jousting trick leads me to suspect that Loras was an active conspirator in bringing Margaery to King's Landing to tempt and distract the king.

5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

George also dropped the ball a little bit on Renly. He is a very superficial character and the only way to get close to him is by really scanning the text for references to his motivations given to us by other people because no POV ever gives us any deep insight into Renly.

While we continue to get a lot of information and even posthumous character development on characters like Rhaegar, Aerys II, Tywin, Joanna, etc. there is essentially nothing on Renly - which is actually a pity

If you know where to look, there is a ton of continuing information about Renly.

1) He "lives on" when Ser Garlan wears his armor at the Blackwater. (The song at Joffrey's wedding feast featuring the return of Renly is another source of information.) I believe I have read that GRRM plans a bigger role for Ser Garlan in upcoming books. I find it very significant that he is married to a Fossoway, as a member of that House is often present when a new king is growing from a seed. We do not know whether Ser Garlan's wife is a red apple or green apple Fossoway.

2) The players in the Rainbow Guard are very important sources of information about Renly, with Brienne getting the most airplay. I realize that a number of the actual members of the guard die soon after Renly dies, but they are allegorical characters and reappear in symbolic ways and "rebirths" and via members of their Houses and other mummer characters. Brienne takes up Renly's sword when he dies.

3) Ser Loras will never stop loving Renly. He buries Renly's body under a tree where no one will find it except Ser Loras. This gravedigging role for Ser Loras is obviously linked to The Gravedigger on the Quiet Isle. Most of us are fairly sure that gravedigger is Sandor Clegane. (Hmm. Yet another significant link between Ser Loras and House Clegane.) What was the name of Sandor's horse? Oh yeah, Stranger.

4) The rainbow is a central symbol of the Faith of the Seven and a key part of the Wizard of Oz symbolism and allusion GRRM uses throughout the books. Renly's association with the rainbow through the Rainbow Guard gives him a strong association with other mentions of rainbows which are often created artificially using crystals.

I haven't made a careful examination, but I suspect that we might eventually uncover a connection between Renly and the Green Grace characters in Dany's arc. "Your Grace" is a form of address reserved for a king or queen. A "Green Grace" suggests a green king or queen. Renly wore a green cloak when he married Margaery (very odd for the husband to take on the cloak of the bride's family) and he wore green armor. He was a Green Grace.

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7 hours ago, Ran said:

He knew Cersei wanted rid of him, a fact confirmed independently by Varys.

Did he though? Stannis lived at court with Cersei for 13 years with no problems.

Like I said, he's more pro himself gaining power, or pro Tyrell, than anti Lannister.

7 hours ago, Ran said:

It's not exactly what he says. He seems to make the assumption that Stannis will have given up his claim and so the only thing to do would be to follow him, but it's clear from the discussion with Catelyn that that he hasn't really given it all too much thought. He doesn't think very much of Stannis, or about him.

Don't buy that. He never thought Stannis would join him.

When he meets Stannis for the parley in ACOK it's clear he only did so to mock him, otherwise he would have offered him terms that he would actually accept. Catelyn notes he came purposefully late just to keep Stannis waiting.

7 hours ago, Ran said:

That's an incredible reach. Renly is ambitious and sees a way to cut out the detested Lannisters from influence with the help of the Tyrells. Why would he try to work something out with Tywin, of all people?

I wouldn't say Renly detested the Lannisters. He could have made himself an ally of the Lannisters, as Tywin's quote proves.

7 hours ago, Ran said:

No. They know that it's Renly and Loras who are sending letters to Mace urging him to send Margaery, which sounds not at all like this notion people are putting forward of the Tyrells being the masterminds of the plot. Renly and Loras are the drivers of the plot, playing on Mace's ambition. And Mace's ambition, by the by, is always explained as his having his daughter be a queen; the idea that this could mean a grandson on the Iron Throne is icing on the cake later on, but it was not at all what was indicated by anyone involved or familiar with the plot prior to the option of marrying Joffrey coming up.

Pycelle knew that Jon Arryn needed to die because "he knew" about he incest, but apparently we're supposed to believe that Pycelle understood that Renly also knew about it but that was all right, because he was just going to use it to put Margaery in Robert's bed...

How do you know the Tyrells are not the masterminds? The fact that this plot had been going on for some time, and that Renly showed a locket of Margaery which he must have procured from Highgarden to Ned indicates that they must have at least been in the know.

It follows that the Lannister children be removed, just because of the threat to Margaery and her children. Mace and Loras make it clear they won't abide any harm to Margaery.

Jon Arryn was snooping around, reading past genealogies and looking up bastards. Pycelle even shows the book he had been reading to Eddard. Now Renly was so obvious in his attempts to get Robert interested in Margaery that's probably how Pycelle found out (and Stannis). Renly probably didn't have any proof, and Margaery was his ticket to making Robert believe, or want to believe in the incest.

6 hours ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Renly makes no mention in AGOT of removing Joffrey from the throne. What he wants is [for Ned] to take possession of Joffrey from Cersei and the Lannisters. Even after he declares himself king, he makes no claim that Joffrey is illegitimate. I think it's clear that Renly didn't know.

And if Renly did suspect or believe that Joffrey was a bastard, he didn't seem to care enough about it to act on it, or speak of it publicly. He was content to see Joffrey rule, and the royal Baratheon line to continue through him, so long as it was under Ned's guidance, with Joffrey separated from his family.

 1. Why would Ned believe him?

 2. Isn't it a better idea to get rid of Stannis' competing claim before deciding he believed in the incest after all?

Edited by Peach King

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2 hours ago, Seams said:

Renly wore a green cloak when he married Margaery (very odd for the husband to take on the cloak of the bride's family) and he wore green armor. He was a Green Grace.

Wow really? I think this is more proof Renly is pro Tyrell.

Edited by Peach King

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10 minutes ago, Peach King said:

When he meets Stannis for the parley in ACOK it's clear he only did so to mock him, otherwise he would have offered him terms that he would actually accept. Catelyn notes he came purposefully late just to keep Stannis waiting.

His terms were not bad per se, he offered Stannis Storm's End after all.

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2 hours ago, Seams said:

I believe you are forgetting about the championship jousting match between Ser Loras and Gregor Clegane, where Ser Loras rides in on a horse in estrus. He knew this would put Gregor at a disadvantage, although he may not have known that it would enrage him to the extent that it did, and put his own life in peril.

The nature of the jousting trick leads me to suspect that Loras was an active conspirator in bringing Margaery to King's Landing to tempt and distract the king.

Yep, Loras has some cunning. Gregor had just killed Ser Hugh in his previous round, and Loras is just a teenager, so it was clever to have a backup plan when he went up against Gregor.

There's also that GRRM said that he's partly based on Piers Gaveston, I believe, who was ambitious and the favorite of Edward II, who would be our parallel to Renly here. 

Also GRRM takes a lot of inspiration from War of the Roses. Many fans believe that Renly is based on George Duke of Clarence, who was used by the Neville family, so maybe that's analogous here to Renly and the Tyrells. There was an analysis of Mace Tyrell which said that Renly's slow march and feasts was an idea of the Tyrells, and I agree. It's very reminiscent of Mace Tyrell's strategy in Robert's Rebellion, which consisted of feasting and waiting, and it's said that Renly is brash and impulsive by Maester Cressen, as his mad dash to Storm's End when Stannis attacked showed. So the slow march probably wasn't his idea. He also had Margaery as queen, Loras as Lord Commander, and Mace as Hand, he was giving the whole kingdom over to the Tyrells.

1 hour ago, Arthur Peres said:

His terms were not bad per se, he offered Stannis Storm's End after all.

I would say they were bad. He didn't even offer him a seat on the Small Council. Though I don't blame Renly as the Tyrells probably wouldn't approve and it's not like Stannis brought anything to the table.

Edited by Peach King

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2 hours ago, Seams said:

I believe you are forgetting about the championship jousting match between Ser Loras and Gregor Clegane, where Ser Loras rides in on a horse in estrus. He knew this would put Gregor at a disadvantage, although he may not have known that it would enrage him to the extent that it did, and put his own life in peril.

That is not him being political savvy, that is him being able to fool another knight with a cheap trick. Loras is too thick to see through the fact that Ned tries to save his life when he doesn't allow him to arrest Clegane, Loras does not see through Littlefinger's ploy to make him a Kingsguard (not to mention that he doesn't understand what he tries to accomplish that way), and he is played like a good little puppy by Cersei in AFfC.

Loras is not a politician. He is a naive young man. That doesn't mean he doesn't have any ambitions of his own, but his means to accomlish those are, let's say, limited to the things a youth who uses most of his time to train in the lists can come up with. Even if we assume he was very intelligent (which we no reason to believe) he would not have much imagination.

2 hours ago, Seams said:

The nature of the jousting trick leads me to suspect that Loras was an active conspirator in bringing Margaery to King's Landing to tempt and distract the king.

What we know is that this was Renly's plan and he was using Loras to persuade his father to send Margaery to court. Loras gives never any indication that he wanted Margaery to be queen or he himself being an effectual 'king consort' at Renly's side. All he seems to be about was Renly - which is actually fitting considering that the man made him his lover at a rather impressionable age (it seems that their relationship started when Loras was 13-14 and still Renly's squire at Storm's End).

2 hours ago, Seams said:

If you know where to look, there is a ton of continuing information about Renly.

I'm talking about real information on Renly and his goals and plans and thoughts like those we get from other POVs about the characters I mentioned. Aerys II and Rhaegar are more complex characters than Renly Baratheon despite the fact that we met neither of them in the main series.

2 hours ago, Peach King said:

Did he though? Stannis lived at court with Cersei for 13 years with no problems.

Cersei's problems with Robert's problems would have manifested over time, most notably after her and Jaime's children were born and Robert started to become 'unruly'. We have no idea to believe she had any real problems with them before that, and especially not with Renly who only lived full time at court for a few years (he could have been there as Robert's ward or squire in the years before, of course, but if that was the case we don't know anything about that).

2 hours ago, Peach King said:

Like I said, he's more pro himself gaining power, or pro Tyrell, than anti Lannister.

Renly's main motivation to replace Cersei as queen is to replace Cersei as queen. He uses Margaery as pawn in his game, he is not used by the Tyrells.

2 hours ago, Peach King said:

Don't buy that. He never thought Stannis would join him.

When he meets Stannis for the parley in ACOK it's clear he only did so to mock him, otherwise he would have offered him terms that he would actually accept. Catelyn notes he came purposefully late just to keep Stannis waiting.

Renly expected Stannis to stand with him against the Lannisters - or rather: not to fight with them against him. He never expected - and was both surprised and pissed - that Stannis would besiege Storm's End and thus actively turn against him.

2 hours ago, Peach King said:

I wouldn't say Renly detested the Lannisters. He could have made himself an ally of the Lannisters, as Tywin's quote proves.

I think he could have tried, but it is clear he never wanted to do that.

2 hours ago, Peach King said:

How do you know the Tyrells are not the masterminds? The fact that this plot had been going on for some time, and that Renly showed a locket of Margaery which he must have procured from Highgarden to Ned indicates that they must have at least been in the know.

We know Loras writes letters to his dad urging him to send Margaery to court - which means Mace has to be persuaded to do that. This is not a plan that originated with a leading member of House Tyrell. Instead, it is Renly's plan - and Renly uses his lover who happens to be Mace Tyrell's favorite son to get the old man on board.

2 hours ago, Peach King said:

It follows that the Lannister children be removed, just because of the threat to Margaery and her children. Mace and Loras make it clear they won't abide any harm to Margaery.

For that, Margaery first has to give King Robert any children, and there has to be found a pretext how to remove the king's other children from court and/or life. This wouldn't be easy if King Robert and Queen Cersei had somehow ended their marriage on more or less amicable terms.

If not, then the fate of the children would have likely been decided along with the fate of Cersei when she was set aside, not only in the years or decades thereafter.

2 hours ago, Peach King said:

Jon Arryn was snooping around, reading past genealogies and looking up bastards. Pycelle even shows the book he had been reading to Eddard. Now Renly was so obvious in his attempts to get Robert interested in Margaery that's probably how Pycelle found out (and Stannis). Renly probably didn't have any proof, and Margaery was his ticket to making Robert believe, or want to believe in the incest.

No, that's just wrong. There is no evidence supporting this, and a ton of evidence actually contradicting any such idea.

It is also rather ridiculous to assume that Renly 'Porn Book' Baratheon ever cared about what kind of boring books the Hand read. Renly doesn't even seem to grasp who his paternal grandmother was (Princess Rhaelle Targaryen) - instead he believes he and Robert and Stannis are only tangentially related to House Targaryen thanks to some marriages involving 'second sons and elder daughters' (such Targaryens and Baratheons never married each other).

He is not exactly the guy one would expect to catch on something as subtle as the incest. People fool themselves when they believe this was almost an open secret. Even Stannis has no proof that his beliefs are factually correct and actually wages are war against his nephews without knowing that he is truly in the right - and he is actually in the wrong in his belief that Cersei murdered Jon Arryn.

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3 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

That is not him being political savvy, that is him being able to fool another knight with a cheap trick. Loras is too thick to see through the fact that Ned tries to save his life when he doesn't allow him to arrest Clegane, Loras does not see through Littlefinger's ploy to make him a Kingsguard (not to mention that he doesn't understand what he tries to accomplish that way), and he is played like a good little puppy by Cersei in AFfC.

Are you  refferring to Loras taking the job of capturing dragonstone?  I think thats actually a point for him.  Sure he gets wrecked (we're told), but his house benefits hugely from this action by freeing up their fleet, and it cost Lannisters a lot of soldiers who could otherwise have just sieged it down.  Its hugely honorable and if he's really crippled, I expect Tommen will retire him from the King's guard, given the precedent of Barristan.  And that could even be a win for Highgarden, as they get a potentially still marriageble son back from the King's Guard.  The only downer is Margaery's current situation with the Sparrows.

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17 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Renly doesn't even seem to grasp who his paternal grandmother was (Princess Rhaelle Targaryen)

GRRM is pretty clear that Renly is speaking in broad, flippantly general terms not because he isn't aware of who his grandmother is, but because he's indicating none of it matters in his mind, it wasn't blood that decided anything but might. It's why he called it a "slender" reed, it was taking Renly's statement as being literal fact rather than the hyperbole that GRRM intended.

Given that Renly's personal life is a matter that is still relevant into AFfC and forms a part of the motivation for Cersei's plotting, I think he's had a pretty outsized impact for a character killed off by the middle of ACoK, and I don't feel he's been underserved at all. But this is a matter of personal taste and it need not be argued over; de gustibus non est disputandum, etc.

 

Edited by Ran

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