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James Steller

Who was Master of Laws before Renly?

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5 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

It's a question that I've speculated about numerous times over the years, particularly since Selyse is rather low on the totem pole for the Florents (the daughter of a third son). The main theories are that Jon Arryn arranged it as a threat to the Tyrells; if they step out of line Robert or Jon can oust the Tyrells and put a puppet like the Florents in their place. It wouldn't be the first time Jon arranged a match for politics that wasn't happy. The other is that Robert arranged the match just to troll Stannis; give him an unattractive wife, I could care less what he thinks if he objects, etc.

I don't think the Florent match - especially one to Selyse and not one of Alester's daughters - makes much sense politically. The Tyrells are far too powerful to be pushed aside by a king, especially considering how tightly they are intermarried with the truly powerful houses in the Reach (Hightowers and Redwynes).

In that sense, I think this whole thing works best if we assume some personal connection between Robert and Selyse's father. I'd also be surprised if Jon Arryn had a say in that matter. Robert, certainly, he was the king and Stannis' elder brother, but Stannis was already a man grown when he married, and Jon Arryn wasn't his foster father or friend. He may have been allowed to offer names of suitable brides if Robert and Stannis consulted him, but it strikes me as very odd to assume Jon actually arranged this match. I don't even think Stannis would have worked closely with Jon in such a scenario. If he was stuck with Selyse thanks to Jon I'm pretty sure he would have loathed the man even more than he loathed Cersei.

The Florent match can be seen as a sign of royal disfavor - look, the king views the Florents as more noble than you upjumped stewards - but it couldn't have been more than that. As a political move it would still be pretty stupid considering Selyse being merely the daughter of younger son of that house and her lordly uncle not even having much to offer in his own right.

The Baratheons are not established as a royal dynasty, and Robert himself felt he had to marry Cersei to secure Tywin's allegiance. There are dozens of houses more powerful and prestigious than the Florent, both among the former rebels as well as among the houses Robert might have wanted to bind to him. Basically, a Tyrell or Redwyne or Hightower girl would have been the natural choice for Stannis to reduce the chance that the Reach would side with the Targaryens if they tried to come back.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

I don't think the Florent match - especially one to Selyse and not one of Alester's daughters - makes much sense politically. The Tyrells are far too powerful to be pushed aside by a king, especially considering how tightly they are intermarried with the truly powerful houses in the Reach (Hightowers and Redwynes).

In that sense, I think this whole thing works best if we assume some personal connection between Robert and Selyse's father. I'd also be surprised if Jon Arryn had a say in that matter. Robert, certainly, he was the king and Stannis' elder brother, but Stannis was already a man grown when he married, and Jon Arryn wasn't his foster father or friend. He may have been allowed to offer names of suitable brides if Robert and Stannis consulted him, but it strikes me as very odd to assume Jon actually arranged this match. I don't even think Stannis would have worked closely with Jon in such a scenario. If he was stuck with Selyse thanks to Jon I'm pretty sure he would have loathed the man even more than he loathed Cersei.

The Florent match can be seen as a sign of royal disfavor - look, the king views the Florents as more noble than you upjumped stewards - but it couldn't have been more than that. As a political move it would still be pretty stupid considering Selyse being merely the daughter of younger son of that house and her lordly uncle not even having much to offer in his own right.

The Baratheons are not established as a royal dynasty, and Robert himself felt he had to marry Cersei to secure Tywin's allegiance. There are dozens of houses more powerful and prestigious than the Florent, both among the former rebels as well as among the houses Robert might have wanted to bind to him. Basically, a Tyrell or Redwyne or Hightower girl would have been the natural choice for Stannis to reduce the chance that the Reach would side with the Targaryens if they tried to come back.

Which is what I was saying that if the Tyrells stepped out of line, the Florents, connected to the Baratheons through marriage, could be raised to Lords of the Reach. The other common narrative on here is that it was Robert's idea of a joke.

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1 hour ago, Angel Eyes said:

The other common narrative on here is that it was Robert's idea of a joke.

That's my belief. As Lord Varys said, there is no good reason for Selyse to marry Stannis, the presumed heir to the throne (before the kids were born, anyway). Stannis has no reason to have chosen Selyse himself, especially since the Florents were most definitely among the men besieging Storm's End all that time. The only way it makes sense to me is that Robert was being the arrogant douchebag older brother that he always was. 

And in relation to what Lord Varys said, I don't think it's ridiculous to assume that Robert would ignore his own blood family. He didn't care for any of them, least of all his brothers. He loved Ned, Jon Arryn, and Lyanna, plus he was traumatised from having watched his parents die, just like Stannis. The difference is that he buries his head in food, liquour, women, anything to indulge his hedonism and keep his mind occupied. He is a more tragic version of Aegon IV just as Stannis is a much more competent version of Aegon III.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The Baratheons are not established as a royal dynasty, and Robert himself felt he had to marry Cersei to secure Tywin's allegiance. There are dozens of houses more powerful and prestigious than the Florent, both among the former rebels as well as among the houses Robert might have wanted to bind to him. Basically, a Tyrell or Redwyne or Hightower girl would have been the natural choice for Stannis to reduce the chance that the Reach would side with the Targaryens if they tried to come back.

Even if i too consider  odd the marriage. Without counting the Great Houses there aren't that many houses more powerful or most prestigious.

Hightowers, Redwynes, Freys, Boltons, Manderlys, Yronwoods and Royces. Those are the only not great houses that i'd say are either most prestigious or more powerful than the Florents.

 

@James Steller

Quote

The only way it makes sense to me is that Robert was being the arrogant douchebag older brother that he always was. 

Had Robert had a hand (as in he was behind the idea) in that marriage, we would not hear the end of Stannis's whinings.

It's pretty unlikely that Robert did anything else than giving the okey to a predetermined idea.

Quote

I don't think it's ridiculous to assume that Robert would ignore his own blood family. He didn't care for any of them, least of all his brothers.

Yet, he elevated all of them and kept them close.  Seems to be societal custom, it's rare that his cousins were not around.

 

 

 

Edited by frenin

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6 hours ago, frenin said:

 

Had Robert had a hand (as in he was behind the idea) in that marriage, we would not hear the end of Stannis's whinings.

Not necessarily. Stannis is an introvert who’s uncomfortable around most women as is. Marrying for love is also something that nobles don’t do in ordinary circumstances. Name one couple in ASOIAF who both chose each other as their marriage partner. I guarantee that any one you name had to either elope or defy at least one of the families involved. Stannis considers marriage a duty, and he doesn’t care much about sex at all, so he wouldn’t consider Selyse’s less-than-attractive features to be a personal insult. Robert, of course, puts a lot of stock in women as desirable objects. It doesn’t stretch my mind in the slightest that he thought it a great joke to marry his surly younger brother to the ugly Florent girl while bedding her hot cousin in the wedding bed. Whether it was something he decided to do drunk or sober, Robert was always snarking or insulting Stannis, even Cersei knew that.

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Noone.

 

I think its possible these positions were not filled and were gradually fleshed out during Roberts reign.

Littlefinger was a recommendation of Jon Arryn. You already had Pycelle, Varys and Barristan

It would have made sense for Robert to reward supporters with positions at court after the rebellion but we know he he wasn't the most observant of rulers. So that implies to me these positions were not filled immediately but as the need arose and by on Arryn as he got to grips with the governance of the realm.

What year was Littlefinger appointed?

As for Master of Laws it seems a sop to Renly to get Roberts brother on the small council.

I don't think these positions are hard and fast and depend on monarch. It's not like a a modern cabinet system.

So its entirely possible after the rebellion some of these positions were vacant and then  filled based on need or Roberts wishes.

 

 

 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

Not necessarily. Stannis is an introvert who’s uncomfortable around most women as is. Marrying for love is also something that nobles don’t do in ordinary circumstances. Name one couple in ASOIAF who both chose each other as their marriage partner. I guarantee that any one you name had to either elope or defy at least one of the families involved. Stannis considers marriage a duty, and he doesn’t care much about sex at all, so he wouldn’t consider Selyse’s less-than-attractive features to be a personal insult. Robert, of course, puts a lot of stock in women as desirable objects. It doesn’t stretch my mind in the slightest that he thought it a great joke to marry his surly younger brother to the ugly Florent girl while bedding her hot cousin in the wedding bed. Whether it was something he decided to do drunk or sober, Robert was always snarking or insulting Stannis, even Cersei knew that.

- He's uncomfortable with women. He's clearly unhappy with Selyse and if there's a hobby he has is blaming Robert of his misfortunes.

- Mellario and Doran married for love and they neither eloped nor did they defied their parents.

- Robert has never given a thought about Stannis. The idea that he spent more than a second scheming ways of screwing with Stannis seems something Stannis would believe Robert did.

 

- Robert didn't really snark or insult Stannis?? He literally doesn't mention him in all AGOT!! Cersei says that Robert and Stannis didn't get along and the Storms End thing pissed him off but that's about it. Honestly, people put too much stock on that relationship.

 

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50 minutes ago, frenin said:

- He's uncomfortable with women. He's clearly unhappy with Selyse and if there's a hobby he has is blaming Robert of his misfortunes.

- Mellario and Doran married for love and they neither eloped nor did they defied their parents.

- Robert has never given a thought about Stannis. The idea that he spent more than a second scheming ways of screwing with Stannis seems something Stannis would believe Robert did.

 

- Robert didn't really snark or insult Stannis?? He literally doesn't mention him in all AGOT!! Cersei says that Robert and Stannis didn't get along and the Storms End thing pissed him off but that's about it. Honestly, people put too much stock on that relationship.

 

I don't think that Claude was saying Robert actively comes up with ways to annoy Stannis. This isn't Gargamel we're talking about.

Think of it this way; Robert doesn't spend any thoughts on his own shortcomings or his questionable actions/words. He doesn't deal with conflict well at all, he prefers to let bad things continue rather than own up to any personal shortcomings or weaknesses. Why would he focus on memories of being a terrible brother to Stannis, whom he still doesn't like? Jaime points out how Robert can't stand either of his brothers, and it's not hard to imagine why; he's not a good brother to them, because he didn't care to be. Ned is his 'real' brother, just as Jon Arryn replaced the father he never knew and later watched drown.

When Ned mentions Stannis' name to Robert, suggesting that he name Stannis as Warden of the East, Robert doesn't even muster the energy to refuse. He just looks uncomfortable and awkward. He doesn't even like the thought of his brother, and hearing Stannis' take on what a bully his brother was, it doesn't take a genius to realise the truth. Robert doesn't like Stannis, never did, and never treated him like a brother. He mocked Stannis' falcon, he shows up his younger brother at every manly pursuit, and treats him like a subordinate rather than a brother. He's forced to rely on him because he needs men who will be loyal, and Stannis is the embodiment of duty, regardless of his own feelings. Just like Robert is everything Stannis is not, Stannis is everything Robert is not; he's reserved, he's got very clear self control, he's concerned about providing justice and order to the Seven Kingdoms, and unlike Robert, Stannis hasn't destroyed himself physically or mentally. None of that reflects well on Robert, so of course he won't talk about it. 

But everyone else around him knows the truth. Stannis knows it, Ned notices it, Cersei and Jaime know it, and they don't like Stannis either, so they have no reason to make any of it up.

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13 minutes ago, James Steller said:

Why would he focus on memories of being a terrible brother to Stannis, whom he still doesn't like? Jaime points out how Robert can't stand either of his brothers, and it's not hard to imagine why; he's not a good brother to them, because he didn't care to be. Ned is his 'real' brother, just as Jon Arryn replaced the father he never knew and later watched drown.

I don't really think there's much to focus on. Yet, I still don't know what has that to do with what we're talking about.

Honestly, I don't remember ever purposefully trying to mess with Stannis. 

 

 

19 minutes ago, James Steller said:

When Ned mentions Stannis' name to Robert, suggesting that he name Stannis as Warden of the East, Robert doesn't even muster the energy to refuse. He just looks uncomfortable and awkward.

So, he literally doesn't care?? Bear in mind that this is not that he couldn't have done it. But that this relationship is completely one sided. Robert doesn't think about Stannis unless completely necessary. Why would he bother to pick a bride to him when Jon Arryn can do it just fine.

 

 

21 minutes ago, James Steller said:

and hearing Stannis' take on what a bully his brother was,

When did that happen?? 

 

22 minutes ago, James Steller said:

He mocked Stannis' falcon, he shows up his younger brother at every manly pursuit, and treats him like a subordinate rather than a brother.

- Do you have siblings?? Because mocking a sibling comes in the DNA lol. Robert calling the bird weakwing is so soft...

- I don't know what the second is a problem or an issue.

- Stannis is his subordinate...

 

 

27 minutes ago, James Steller said:

But everyone else around him knows the truth. Stannis knows it, Ned notices it, Cersei and Jaime know it, and they don't like Stannis either, so they have no reason to make any of it up.

What they all notice is that they don't stomach one another (cut both ways). But the Robert actively fucking with Stannis is something that only Stannis believes it happens. Martin has already made clear that it's not really truth and the latter doesn't give Robert a thought.

 

As I stated, it's likelier that the betrothal came from Arryn than from a Robert who never showed more care than he was obligated to do (literally giving them titles).

The rest of the relationship is simply one sided. 

 

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18 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

Which is what I was saying that if the Tyrells stepped out of line, the Florents, connected to the Baratheons through marriage, could be raised to Lords of the Reach. The other common narrative on here is that it was Robert's idea of a joke.

I don't think Robert could have replaced the Tyrells without a major civil war. They would not just accept it that the king was taking Highgarden away from them, and they could count an pretty much the entire Reach backing them due to their own marriage ties. Robert turning his brother's marriage into a joke would be completely stupid. He needs ties to strong houses, not obscure ones like younger branches of House Florent.

16 hours ago, James Steller said:

That's my belief. As Lord Varys said, there is no good reason for Selyse to marry Stannis, the presumed heir to the throne (before the kids were born, anyway). Stannis has no reason to have chosen Selyse himself, especially since the Florents were most definitely among the men besieging Storm's End all that time. The only way it makes sense to me is that Robert was being the arrogant douchebag older brother that he always was. 

I think there has to be a good reason for that marriage, something that makes sense. Hence my idea that Ryam Florent may have joined Robert and his rebels. The idea that a king would marry his younger brother to a woman with Selyse's background without a good reason makes no sense.

16 hours ago, James Steller said:

And in relation to what Lord Varys said, I don't think it's ridiculous to assume that Robert would ignore his own blood family. He didn't care for any of them, least of all his brothers. He loved Ned, Jon Arryn, and Lyanna, plus he was traumatised from having watched his parents die, just like Stannis. The difference is that he buries his head in food, liquour, women, anything to indulge his hedonism and keep his mind occupied. He is a more tragic version of Aegon IV just as Stannis is a much more competent version of Aegon III.

Robert very much cared for his family. He made both his brothers great lords in their own right and gave the same brothers seats on his council. He couldn't have shown them more favor than that. Robert was more generous to his brothers than any king before him.

7 hours ago, frenin said:

Even if i too consider  odd the marriage. Without counting the Great Houses there aren't that many houses more powerful or most prestigious.

Hightowers, Redwynes, Freys, Boltons, Manderlys, Yronwoods and Royces. Those are the only not great houses that i'd say are either most prestigious or more powerful than the Florents.

That is wrong. The Florents seem to be a very minor house. They can only field 2,000 men which should put them behind most of the mid-tier houses, especially those in the Riverlands who are stronger than the Tullys. But most likely also many others. The Florents simply aren't a powerful house.

7 hours ago, frenin said:

@James Steller

Had Robert had a hand (as in he was behind the idea) in that marriage, we would not hear the end of Stannis's whinings.

It's pretty unlikely that Robert did anything else than giving the okey to a predetermined idea.

Chances are very low that anyone but Robert arranged Stannis' marriage. It doesn't look as if Stannis did this himself, and Robert's own betrothal to Lyanna was arranged by Lord Robert himself, not his father Steffon. Chances are almost zero that Steffon Baratheon made a match for his second son before finding a bride for his eldest son and heir.

And after Robert had become king any match made for a youth who was just the younger brother of the Lord of Storm's End would have been off the table, anyway. The brother and presumptive heir of the king could have gotten a much better match that merely the younger brother of the Lord of Storm's End.

And in the end nothing indicates that Stannis was betrothed to Selyse before Robert became king nor that this match was made by Lord Steffon.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

That is wrong. The Florents seem to be a very minor house. They can only field 2,000 men which should put them behind most of the mid-tier houses, especially those in the Riverlands who are stronger than the Tullys. But most likely also many others. The Florents simply aren't a powerful house.

I don't think how's wrong. We don't see that many houses able to field more than 2k men.  And those who can or may be able to are already named.

 

 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Chances are very low that anyone but Robert arranged Stannis' marriage. It doesn't look as if Stannis did this himself, and Robert's own betrothal to Lyanna was arranged by Lord Robert himself, not his father Steffon. Chances are almost zero that Steffon Baratheon made a match for his second son before finding a bride for his eldest son and heir.

Robert arranged his betrothal with Lyanna because he was smitten and wanted blood ties with Ned. None of that applies here.

 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

And in the end nothing indicates that Stannis was betrothed to Selyse before Robert became king nor that this match was made by Lord Steffon.

We have literally nothing on how the match was made so...

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2 minutes ago, frenin said:

I don't think how's wrong. We don't see that many houses able to field more than 2k men.  And those who can or may be able to are already named.

You argued that the Florents are basically just below the level of what many people consider the most powerful secondary houses in the various regions. But there is no indication that the Florents are even remotely in that category. 2,000 men are pretty much nothing in the Reach whose combined military might is 80,000-100,000 men. And we do have sufficient reason to believe that we know most or all of the more powerful Reach houses by name at this point.

2 minutes ago, frenin said:

Robert arranged his betrothal with Lyanna because he was smitten and wanted blood ties with Ned. None of that applies here.

That point has nothing to do with our discussion. If Lord Robert arranged his own betrothal then his father obviously didn't get around to do that for Robert. If he had done it then Robert couldn't have decided to marry Lyanna. And that greatly reduces the chance that Steffon arranged a betrothal for Stannis but not Robert. And it makes actually no sense to assume that Stannis would have to go through with a marriage arranged by his father before Robert had become king. As brother to the king Stannis would have been entitled to a much better marriage than the younger son of a Lord of Storm's End would. Not to mention that the Florents technically were a house which fought against Robert during the Rebellion ... meaning they shouldn't have been honored with a Baratheon match at all. And that wouldn't have happened if the family of Stannis' betrothed had besieged Stannis at Storm's End during the Rebellion. It only makes sense if that match was made after the war.

2 minutes ago, frenin said:

We have literally nothing on how the match was made so...

We know enough to consider it pretty unlikely that Steffon Baratheon arranged Stannis' marriage.

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23 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

You argued that the Florents are basically just below the level of what many people consider the most powerful secondary houses in the various regions. But there is no indication that the Florents are even remotely in that category. 2,000 men are pretty much nothing in the Reach whose combined military might is 80,000-100,000 men. And we do have sufficient reason to believe that we know most or all of the more powerful Reach houses by name at this point.

The Florents are important enough for Tyrion to consider Garlan a great lord after he gets their lands, titles and incomes.

We don't have literally no reason to believe that any other Reach house bar Tyrell, Redwyne and Hightower can field more men than the Florents.

The Florents are listed among the principal bannermen of the Tyrells... So they may be pretty important.

 

 

27 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

That point has nothing to do with our discussion. If Lord Robert arranged his own betrothal then his father obviously didn't get around to do that for Robert. If he had done it then Robert couldn't have decided to marry Lyanna. And that greatly reduces the chance that Steffon arranged a betrothal for Stannis but not Robert. And it makes actually no sense to assume that Stannis would have to go through with a marriage arranged by his father before Robert had become king. As brother to the king Stannis would have been entitled to a much better marriage than the younger son of a Lord of Storm's End would. Not to mention that the Florents technically were a house which fought against Robert during the Rebellion ... meaning they shouldn't have been honored with a Baratheon match at all. And that wouldn't have happened if the family of Stannis' betrothed had besieged Stannis at Storm's End during the Rebellion. It only makes sense if that match was made after the war.

- Robert arranging his betrothal≠ Robert arranging Stannis's.  

- Steffon could have arranged Stannis's because it was easier and let Robert for later.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, frenin said:

- Steffon could have arranged Stannis's because it was easier and let Robert for later.

Admittedly, that is possible. Most of the Great Houses' heirs are conveniently unmarried (Robb Stark, Arianne Martell, Willas Tyrell, Edmure Tully, Asha Greyjoy), even when their younger siblings are either betrothed or wed (Garlan Tyrell, Trystane Martell, Sansa Stark).

I do question why Selyse Florent would be chosen by anyone as a bride for anyone, for a variety of reasons, but since I can't ask GRRM myself, I can only shrug.

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5 minutes ago, frenin said:

The Florents are important enough for Tyrion to consider Garlan a great lord after he gets their lands, titles and incomes.

'Great lord' is used in all kind of combinations in those books. At that point it is used to stress how much Garlan's status has changed after he was made Lord of Brightwater. Prior to that he was just a landless knight.

5 minutes ago, frenin said:

We don't have literally no reason to believe that any other Reach house bar Tyrell, Redwyne and Hightower can field more men than the Florents.

Actually, we do have reason to assume that, because there are houses like the Rowans and Oakhearts and Tarlys and Peakes (at least back in the 130s) who fielded pretty large armies in the past. More importantly, we also have reason to assume that more houses than the one you mentioned originally can field more than 2,000 men at maximum. The Tullys should be able to field more, as should those Riverlords who can field more houses than the Tullys on their own. Most of the big Northern houses also can field more men than just 2,000. Kevan Lannister alone can field more than 2,000 men considering he claims he can feed 200-400 knights.

If you look at the map then Brightwater is also not likely to control many lands. To the south is Oldtown, meaning many of the lands along the Honeywine should be controlled by the Hightowers and their bannermen and vassals. To the north is the mouth of the Mander and the Shield Islands, meaning those lands are controlled by lords and landed knights sworn directly to the Tyrells as well as the Lords of the Shield Islands. To the east is Highgarden and to the west the sea. Not much place for them to contral vast reaches of land.

5 minutes ago, frenin said:

The Florents are listed among the principal bannermen of the Tyrells... So they may be pretty important.

The Seaworths are also listed as principal bannermen of House Baratheon in the appendix of AGoT. Doesn't mean they have to be powerful. The Westerlings are also principal bannermen of House Lannister without having much to offer, the same with with Cerwyns in the North, or the Baelishs in the Vale.

They being mentioned there doesn't support your interpretation. And historically the Florents are apparently completely irrelevant post-Conquest. They did nothing of note throughout the period covered in FaB, hence they are obviously neither prestigious nor powerful.

5 minutes ago, frenin said:

- Robert arranging his betrothal≠ Robert arranging Stannis's.  

Nobody equated that. We just pointed out that your interpretation is less likely in light of established facts.

5 minutes ago, frenin said:

- Steffon could have arranged Stannis's because it was easier and let Robert for later.

Steffon could also have arranged a betrothal for little Renly ... but this doesn't mean he did it. Most precedents we have imply that lords make matches for their elder children before turning to their younger children. There are exceptions, of course, but those are exceptions, not the rule.

The fact that Stannis' status changed completely when Robert took the throne means that any previous match made would have likely been cancelled. That's what happened when your brother suddenly is a king rather than a lord. And in the end it would have been Robert who ensured that Stannis married Selyse. Nobody else could have because nobody but Robert could actually command Stannis to do anything.

Funnily enough, the show setting which has Stannis and Selyse married during the Siege of Storm's End makes actually more sense in context considering that Selyse might actually be a suitable bride for a younger son/brother of the Lord of Storm's End.

She isn't a suitable bride for a brother of the king.

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6 minutes ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

Admittedly, that is possible. Most of the Great Houses' heirs are conveniently unmarried (Robb Stark, Arianne Martell, Willas Tyrell, Edmure Tully, Asha Greyjoy), even when their younger siblings are either betrothed or wed (Garlan Tyrell, Trystane Martell, Sansa Stark).

I do question why Selyse Florent would be chosen by anyone as a bride for anyone, for a variety of reasons, but since I can't ask GRRM myself, I can only shrug.

Robb is too young to be married yet, for Arianne and Willas there seem to be reasons (Willas is a cripple and his father might want a royal match for him, just as Arianne was betrothed to Viserys III). Edmure is kind of strange, Asha not so much since I expect that Balon wanted her to choose her own husband after she had succeeded him to ensure that her husband would not try to set himself up as Balon's successor. He may have even realized or preferred it that Asha remain unwed to ensure no husband would ever try to take power from her. Jeyne Arryn did the same thing, after all. There are more than enough cadet branches of House Greyjoy out there to ensure somebody would succeed Asha even if she died without issue.

But aside from Willas neither of those guys has younger siblings who are already married. And Trystane's match is something not arranged by Doran himself, but is an offer that basically falls in his lap and which he cannot really reject. It's the same with Sansa. Robert wants to marry her to his heir. Ned cannot really refuse this. The fact that Robb isn't betrothed yet implies the Starks are in no rush to arrange matches for their children.

The Selyse match is only possible if some Florent - and the best guess there is Ryam, Selyse's father - had some connections to Robert. Else the ugly daughter of the younger brother of the Lord of Brightwater would have never even been considered much less chosen to marry Robert's presumptive heir.

This is basically like Tommen being married to one of Margaery's cousins. This could also only happen if somebody told crucial people at court that those cousins existed and were suitable matches for the brother of the king.

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31 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

And historically the Florents are apparently completely irrelevant post-Conquest. They did nothing of note throughout the period covered in FaB, hence they are obviously neither prestigious nor powerful.

A bit off topic, but I have always been surprised that there is not a single historical Florent mentioned by name in the books (not counting Aladore and Jon who are only mentioned in the Hedge Knight comic adaptation). I think that's unique among the more prominently featuring Reach houses. 

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On 6/9/2021 at 5:10 PM, Lord Varys said:

Robert handing lordships and council seats to his two brothers is more than him being dutiful. And he also favors his wife's family by taking on two Lannister squires.

Robert was dutiful toward his brothers, and no doubt loved them in a way... but he didn't necessarily like them. His relations with Stannis were always prickly. Renly was the baby of the family, and spent little time in Robert's company until he was old enough to come to court.

And we know he fucking hated the Lannisters from his canon speech.

On 6/9/2021 at 5:10 PM, Lord Varys said:

It stands to reason that Robert should have favored other relations in a similar manner, notably his mother's family and the family of his sister-in-law. After all, it seems as if Robert was the guy who arranged Stannis' marriage in the first place.

Sure the estermonts. That makes sense. He actually knew and liked them canon. His sister in law, whose marriage bed he defiled, who was the second daughter of a cadet branch of a middling Reach family makes no sense to promote unless he loves them and or they are competent. We see negative evidence of this.

On 6/9/2021 at 5:10 PM, Lord Varys said:

The idea that a Florent could have sat on Robert's council in the beginning of his reign actually would make some sense. And the best candidate for that would actually be Selyse's late father, Ser Ryam Florent, since we know effectively nothing about that guy. His early death could have resulted in the Florents losing whatever standing they had with Robert, especially since Stannis also chose to keep both Selyse and Axell away from court.

It makes no sense

On 6/9/2021 at 5:10 PM, Lord Varys said:

If George wanted to flesh out the Florents some more he could turn them into a Reach house who stood with Robert during the Rebellion ... or at least have Ser Ryam as a younger brother of Lord Alester side with Robert and distinguishing himself in battle. Afterwards this could have led both to him getting a seat on the council as well as him being able to marry his daughter to Robert's brother. It could also help explain why Lord Alester himself was never truly able to profit from the royal connections his family had.

He didn't so they weren't

On 6/9/2021 at 5:10 PM, Lord Varys said:

The Florent match for Stannis is very odd in any case, considering they are not that prestigious or powerful. And surely there was many a rebel house to be rewarded for their loyalty to Robert during the Rebellion. It is odd that Stannis wasn't married to a woman from a powerful/loyal Northern, Vale, Riverlands, or Stormland house.

You have me there. I have no idea why they were married into the royal family. It might have made sense *after* robert fucked delena, but not before.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

They being mentioned there doesn't support your interpretation. And historically the Florents are apparently completely irrelevant post-Conquest. They did nothing of note throughout the period covered in FaB, hence they are obviously neither prestigious nor powerful.

The impression that I get is the Florents were a powerful family preConquest, but were decimated post, and their enmity with the Tyrells have kept them from regaining their prior glory.

What appears to keep them in the game is that their bloodline may still be held in high regard in the Reach. 

And what may bolster your argument about them being a fairly “weak” house comes from a “semi” canon (so take it with a grain of salt) source:

Quote

Of all the houses within the Reach, the Florents are one of the only families that strive to outdo the Tyrells when attempting to better their station through marriage.  Of course, the Florents have a bit higher to climb since Mace Tyrell has dominion over the Reach, and Lord Alester Florent’s domain doesn’t extend far beyond his castle walls.This is none too pleasing to the Florents, whose blood ties to the extinct House Gardener are stronger than the Tyrells, a fact they will recite with little prompting to any who appear interested.

 

Edited by Frey family reunion

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