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Why did Robert hate Stannis?


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Yeah, I know, it sounds like the dumbest question in the world. Why would Robert, a philandering drunken dumb jock, hate his utter buzzkill of a younger brother? But thinking about it again, it does seem a bit excessive on Robert's part.

The easy answer is it's because they're complete opposites. Robert is a hedonist, Stannis is a Calvinist. Robert sleeps around, Stannis doesn't. And even their approaches to war are different; Robert is Ares (bloodlust), Stannis is Athena (tactics and strategy). But the thing is, a lot of what I just said about Stannis also describes Ned Stark. 

And no, I'm not equating Ned with Stannis. Ned is by far more likeable, more charismatic, more balanced, and clearly doesn't have as many issues as Stannis does. But he's still a reserved guy who doesn't drink much from what we've seen, he doesn't fool around (Jon Snow wouldn't be considered such a huge blemish otherwise), and he doesn't enjoy fighting like Robert does. He sees bloodshed as a duty, something that must be done for serious reasons, much like Stannis.

And I'm no fan of either Baratheon brother, and the whole Dragonstone thing is debatable so I'm not going to touch on that, but it still seems to me that Robert had some issues with Stannis that go beyond simple bullying. As we know from Ned's chapter, Robert would rather give the title of "Warden of the East" to Jaime Lannister of the Kingsguard than Stannis. Even Cersei recognised that Robert was going out of his way to slight Stannis. And you don't 'accidentally' hook up with someone in your brother's marriage bed, I don't care how drunk you are (though maybe Stannis was secretly relieved that he did that, heh). 

Then there's also Renly to consider. Renly does admire Robert and want to be like him, but at the same time, he clearly isn't. Robert was never a materialist, far as we know. He doesn't care about fashion or good food or jewels like Renly. And of course, Renly's not a womanizer either. But Robert either doesn't notice or doesn't care that Renly is gay, which is really progressive for a guy who laughed at the idea of Stannis not enjoying sex with women.

So what's the real deal with Stannis that makes Robert lash out so much?

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You need to actually care about someone to actually hate them and Robert doesn't seem to give a shit about Stannis.  Stannis talks about Robert in every chapter he's in so far, Robert doesn't mention him once in book 1. Even when Stannis is his Master of Ships and has been gone for a year, not even in his death bed... 

Most of his actions comes off as careless rather than him actually trying to spite him. 

That relationship is completely one sided. It would be tragic if it wasn't so funny.

 

 

17 minutes ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

Even Cersei recognised that Robert was going out of his way to slight Stannis.

Martin seemed to disagree with her. Robert was within his right to not give him more than a knighthood. 

Edited by frenin
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Robert doesn't hate Stannis. He just doesn't really enjoy his company.

One imagines that they did get along reasonably well as children, but when Robert went to the Vale Ned became his best buddy, and that was the end of whatever brotherly relationship he had with Stannis.

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Personally, I can think of a few ideas:

Self-Loathing/Envy: I definitely get an idea that there's a big hole inside Robert, and to paraphrase Bojack Horseman, he tries to fill that hole with feasts, drinking, hunting, and meaningless sex, but the hole doesn't get filled. Stannis also has his own issues, sure, but it's the opposite issue with him. He's way too rigid, way too controlled. But to someone so out-of-control as Robert, that could be something he admires and even envies. We know that Stannis envies Robert's popularity and his people skills, so why shouldn't it be a two-way street?

Resentment: Stannis is a man of justice, much like Ned. And we know how Ned felt about Robert's lack of conviction when the two dead Targaryen kids were delivered before him. I can only imagine how Stannis would have felt about that if he'd been there. Plus we know that Stannis had Janos Slynt's number, and Littlefinger's and Varys'. He knew about the rampant corruption and told Robert to do something about it, and Robert never did. You could say that Stannis was a sort of conscience that Robert does his best to ignore. 

19 minutes ago, frenin said:

You need to actually care about someone to actually hate them and Robert doesn't seem to give a shit about Stannis.  Stannis talks about Robert in every chapter he's in so far, Robert doesn't mention him once in book 1. Even when Stannis is his Master of Ships and has been gone for a year, not even in his death bed...

Maybe that's an argument in favour of what I was just saying regarding resentment?

but another option which ties into resentment:

PTSD: Robert and Stannis were both there when they saw their parents drown, and it clearly left a serious impact on both of them. I think for Robert, Stannis could be a perpetual reminder of that day, and we all know how Robert deals with things like that. On a side note, it's worth pointing out how the last words Robert ever got from his father included a jape about Stannis and no mention of him.

12 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

One imagines that they did get along reasonably well as children, but when Robert went to the Vale Ned became his best buddy, and that was the end of whatever brotherly relationship he had with Stannis.

I don't think so, personally. Stannis never talks fondly of Robert, even as children. He is bitterly jealous of Robert's abilities, always being the forgotten middle child, and Robert apparently bullied Stannis for his choice of hawking bird. I know that's not a big thing, but it clearly left a serious impact on Stannis that he still remembers years later. And he really resents Ned for being Robert's surrogate brother. I don't think it's about losing a brotherly relationship with that resentment, it's about Stannis never having had any sort of brotherly relationship with Robert. And honestly, I think he's justified in resenting Robert for that. Stannis was always loyal to his brother, did so much for him, but Robert doesn't care. None of it matters to him, and he gives Stannis nothing back (except Dragonstone, arguably, but that's not what Stannis cares about so it doesn't matter to him).

The Baratheons seem to perpetually have that issue in their family, come to think of it.

Edited by James Steller
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30 minutes ago, James Steller said:

Maybe that's an argument in favour of resentment? 

It really isn't. Robert resents a lot of people and you can be sure that he names them. In his death bed, Robert is begging forgiveness for the bad shit he's done or had let done... And he still doesn't mention Stannis. 

As the saying goes, the opposite of love is not hatred, is indifference. And Robert is certainly indifferent towards Stannis.

As said, that relationship is and always has been completely one sided.  Stannis begging and vying for attention and approval and Robert unable/uncaring to provide it.

Stannis is in his best moments a useful tool to Robert. His caring goes as far as his obligation as his older brother dictates, giving him lands and titles. That's about it. All the care Stannis and Renly, needed from Robert was given to his pal in the North and his whores.

30 minutes ago, James Steller said:

and it clearly left a serious impact on both of them.

It left a serious impact of Stannis to be sure. It stands to reason that Robert was affected. But how much did this last? It's anyone's guess. 

 

 

30 minutes ago, James Steller said:

On a side note, it's worth pointing out how the last words Robert ever got from his father included a jape about Stannis and no mention of him.

Robert was 18 when this happened, he was mature enough to know that his father cared for him and didn't expect to die...

Btw, it's wrong anyway. The note went like this. " We've found a buffoon so good that Robert would be delighted and even Stannis will smile". Robert indeed was included on the note, not that it would make a difference anyway.

 

 

Quote

We know that Stannis envies Robert's popularity and his people skills, so why shouldn't it be a two-way street?

Because Robert is not Stannis. 

Besides, how would Robert want to be pals with Ned, who is Stannis in his best version and without all the, daddy, Robert issues.

 

30 minutes ago, James Steller said:

I can only imagine how Stannis would have felt about that if he'd been there

Stannis the one who's openly talking about killing Cersei's children?? 

Come on now, Stannis has proved to be more concerned about Jaime remaining in the Kingsguard than infanticide.

Edited by frenin
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1 minute ago, frenin said:

Btw, it's wrong anyway. The note went like this. " We've found a buffoon so good that Robert would be delighted and even Stannis will smile". Robert indeed was included on the note, not that it would make a difference anyway.

My mistake. I retract that comment. 

 

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9 minutes ago, frenin said:

 

As said, that relationship is and always has been completely one sided.  Stannis begging and vying for attention and approval and Robert unable/uncaring to provide it.

Stannis is in his best moments a useful tool to Robert. His caring goes as far as his obligation as his older brother dictates, giving him lands and titles. That's about it. All the care Stannis and Renly, needed from Robert was given to his pal in the North and his whores.

So, Robert is the Tywin to Stannis’ Tyrion?

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Also

 

11 minutes ago, frenin said:

It left a serious impact of Stannis to be sure. It stands to reason that Robert was affected. But how much did this last? It's anyone's guess. 

I think it did. Robert never talked about it, sure, but that's not abnormal for people who can't deal with trauma. Robert's go-to strategy for things he doesn't want to deal with is to ignore it or bury his head in booze, food, and women. And I know that noblemen of Westeros aren't the highest standard of effective leadership, but Robert was bad even by that low bar. He was at the head of what has got to be one of the most corrupt and mismanaged administrations this side of Aegon IV. The fact that neither Stannis nor Jon Arryn could restrain Robert (something which astonishes Ned) shows just how far gone Robert was. I could easily see that as him being unable to take up his father's mantle of leadership, and by extension the mantle of the crown's leadership. Robert doesn't want to rule, he says that many times, and as far as I'm concerned, that stems at least in part from a profound sense of daddy issues which never got resolved. And it only gets worse when he loses his surrogate daddy Jon Arryn.

3 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

So, Robert is the Tywin to Stannis’ Tyrion?

Okay, I dislike Robert, and I do believe that he deliberately snubbed Stannis a lot of times in their lives, but even I wouldn't say he's as bad as Tywin. Maybe you could say that a lot of Robert's treatment of Stannis was done out of carelessness, but you can't say that about Tywin's treatment of Tyrion. It's crystal clear that Tywin was motivated by unadulterated malice.

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33 minutes ago, James Steller said:

I think it did.

Sorry but this reads a little like fanfic...

You're trying to fill a lot of holes with very little info.

Besides, I've told you that it's guaranteed he was affected but we don't know how much  the grief lasted.

 

33 minutes ago, James Steller said:

Robert's go-to strategy for things he doesn't want to deal with is to ignore it or bury his head in booze, food, and women.

Whereas Robert always had a passion for the good life, the traits of burying his head in the sands and ignore things only comes long after he takes the Throne. As per his best pal in the world.

 

 

33 minutes ago, James Steller said:

And I know that noblemen of Westeros aren't the highest standard of effective leadership, but Robert was bad even by that low bar. He was at the head of what has got to be one of the most corrupt and mismanaged administrations this side of Aegon IV. The fact that neither Stannis nor Jon Arryn could restrain Robert (something which astonishes Ned) shows just how far gone Robert was.

Cool.

 

33 minutes ago, James Steller said:

I could easily see that as him being unable to take up his father's mantle of leadership, and by extension the mantle of the crown's leadership.

Leadership in what?? 

His father never opted to the Throne, even if it stands to reason that a rock with a minimun of interest could be better king than Robert, Steffon never opted to kingship and Robert was the leader of the rebellion that ended a 300 yo dynasty...

I mean ofc you can easily see it, you're the one making it up...

 

33 minutes ago, James Steller said:

and as far as I'm concerned, that stems at least in part from a profound sense of daddy issues which never got resolved.

???????????????????

Are you projecting Stannis on Robert or are you just making stuff as you go...

You do realize, you're making massive leaps of logic based on absolutely zero info??

Edited by frenin
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45 minutes ago, frenin said:

You're trying to fill a lot of holes with very little info.

Sure. I'm not pretending like I know the answers, I'm just giving an opinion based on what I think happened. I'm not trying to make pronouncements. 

45 minutes ago, frenin said:

Leadership in what?? 

His father never opted to the Throne, even if it stands to reason that a rock with a minimun of interest could be better king than Robert, Steffon never opted to kingship and Robert was the leader of the rebellion that ended a 300 yo dynasty...

I mean ofc you can easily see it, you're the one making it up...

Sorry if I was unclear. I wasn't implying that Steffon wanted the throne. I was saying that Robert inherited Storm's End, as well as the leadership over the Stormlands, when his father died abruptly, and based on what little we know of Robert, it's clear (to me, at least) that he was not spending much time doing anything to actually administrate or rule the Stormlands. And this aversion to responsibility continues after he wins the Iron Throne for himself. It's the same principle at work. Robert never stops whining about how he didn't want to be king, how he hates being king, how he could just go off and be a sellsword on the road (midlife crisis?) or how he wants to just indulge himself.

45 minutes ago, frenin said:

???????????????????

Are you projecting Stannis on Robert or are you just making stuff as you go...

You do realize, you're making massive leaps of logic based on absolutely zero info??

Well, again, I'm not saying it's written in stone, nor am I trying to claim I know what's going on. But this is a site for speculation and debate based on what we know about this series. It's an opinion. Take it or leave it, preferably without being hostile or derisive. 

But to answer your question, neither. Robert has issues, and some of them revolve around fatherhood. We don't hear him talk a lot about Steffon, but we do hear him lament his inabilities as a father to his own children. Jon Arryn was also a surrogate father that he adores. And knowing what we know about trauma and how it can affect people, I don't believe that Robert could see his own parents drown in front of him and walk away from that unscathed. His subsequent failings as a ruler and as a father, arguably, could at least partially be a side-effect of his unresolved issues with Steffon. Sure, it's speculation, and I can't prove I'm objectively correct, but you also can't prove I'm objectively wrong either.

Edited by James Steller
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2 minutes ago, James Steller said:

Sure. I'm not pretending like I know the answers, I'm just giving an opinion based on what I think happened. I'm not trying to make pronouncements. 

I mean to each... You're free to have your opinions.

I do believe however that opinions need to be based on something and there is literally anything on Robert and his parents.

 

3 minutes ago, James Steller said:

I was saying that Robert inherited Storm's End, as well as the leadership over the Stormlands, when his father died abruptly, and based on what little we know of Robert, it's clear (to me, at least) that he was not spending much time doing anything to actually administrate or rule the Stormlands.

We are not given much about those 2 or 3 years. Martin said that Robert spent time between his estates and the Eyrie. I don't really think how is that clear... No one ever points out that Robert was lacking in Storm's End, not even Stannis who loved pointing out his brother's shortcomings.

 

5 minutes ago, James Steller said:

And this aversion to responsibility continues after he wins the Iron Throne for himself.

There's a massive difference degree of responsibility between the two positions.

 

6 minutes ago, James Steller said:

Robert never stops whining about how he didn't want to be king, how he hates being king, how he could just go off and be a sellsword on the road (midlife crisis?) or how he wants to just indulge himself.

How that translates to him hating being a simple Great Lord however.

Robert genuily hates his life, to the point of sometimes day dreaming never having won at the Trident dying there, he didn't seem to hate young lord Baratheon

 

10 minutes ago, James Steller said:

But this is a site for speculation and debate based on what we know about this series. It's an opinion. Take it or leave it, preferably without being hostile or derisive. 

I'm not trying to be derisive, and I apologize if i came it that way.

I'm simply puzzled about how you came to that conclusion without Robert ever even mentioning his father once.  I know that everyone is a psychologist in the web but again, speculations and opinions need to be based  on something.

Given that Stannis is the only Baratheon brother that is still affected by the accident...You can see why i think you may be just lumping their traits together.

 

Seems like we're going to have to agree to disagree anyway. We have derailed the thread enough.

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In their youth Robert was a bully, plain and simple. As an adult, Robert seemed mostly indifferent to Stannis save as a loyal vassal to support his rule. In true bully fashion, Robert barely thinks about Stannis, while Stannis remembered everything.

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3 hours ago, James Steller said:

I don't think so, personally. Stannis never talks fondly of Robert, even as children. He is bitterly jealous of Robert's abilities, always being the forgotten middle child, and Robert apparently bullied Stannis for his choice of hawking bird. I know that's not a big thing, but it clearly left a serious impact on Stannis that he still remembers years later. And he really resents Ned for being Robert's surrogate brother. I don't think it's about losing a brotherly relationship with that resentment, it's about Stannis never having had any sort of brotherly relationship with Robert. And honestly, I think he's justified in resenting Robert for that. Stannis was always loyal to his brother, did so much for him, but Robert doesn't care. None of it matters to him, and he gives Stannis nothing back (except Dragonstone, arguably, but that's not what Stannis cares about so it doesn't matter to him).

Robert doesn't seem to have been a very loving elder brother, mocking Stannis with the bird and all that ... but that doesn't mean that Robert really had any issues with Stannis. Especially not back when they were children. Robert was a very gifted individual ... and Stannis was not. He had no intrinsic reason to bully him. Rather, one expects that Stannis with his non-existing social skills and his obsession with right and wrong ruined every opportunity the two and their friends had at having fun. And Stannis being only a year younger than Robert means that, aside from the inheritance issue, they would have been pretty much equals - serving as pages and squires together, training at arms together, etc. Meaning that Stannis had little to no reason to really look up to Robert because of his prowess and success. Instead, he would have constantly criticized him for his drinking, whoring, sense of humor, etc.

Stannis certainly was jealous of Robert and everything he accomplished. But to Robert Stannis was just the weird/awkward little brother he had to provide for. And that he did. He made him one of the greatest lords in the Realm, even his heir until Joffrey was born. And the only thing Stannis could think of was that Renly had gotten Storm's End. That is very ugly entitlement if you actually think of it. Stannis didn't deserve anything.

3 hours ago, James Steller said:

The Baratheons seem to perpetually have that issue in their family, come to think of it.

Yes, Borys Baratheon seems to be basically a slightly darker version of Stannis. Borys coveted Storm's End - like Stannis did. The only difference is that Borys actually turned against his lordly brother while he yet lived while Stannis waited for Robert's death. But in the end, both seem to have similar motivations. Even more so, in light of the fact that, to our knowledge, Stannis has no proof that Cersei's children aren't Robert's. He just believes that to be the case. And the children are still his legal nephews and niece, they grew up viewing Stannis as their uncle, Stannis also viewed them as his brother's children for a very long time, etc.

It is also quite interesting that Borys and Stannis both were the presumptive heirs of their brothers for quite some time. Stannis was heir to Storm's End from the day Steffon drowned, Borys was heir to Storm's End and expected to succeed his brother because Rogar's first wife died childless and Alyssa Velaryon seemed to be beyond her childbearing years.

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@Lord Varys explained their relationship pretty well. Stannis is clearly jealous of Robert but it seems he was also bulied by him sort of. on the other hand Robert doesn't give a shit about kill-joy Stannis.

poor old Stan....sigh.... if only he knew he worths thrice as Bobby, even being a child burning attempted that he is!

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Until ADwD I never realized how obsessed Stannis was with Robert. I never thought he would react this prickly when Asha mentioned Robert and his successes in the field. I thought the whole Renly issue would be more on his mind should his dead brothers ever come up again.

But it is actually quite telling that it was Robert and his mocking of the bird that caused Stannis to espouse Melisandre and her plans - which is very weird when you think about it. Stannis tries to be more like Robert, to have successes like Robert, by doing, perhaps, the most un-Robert thing imaginable.

Stannis wants to be more like Robert and most definitely not like Robert at the same time. That's likely part of the reason why he will fail.

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Stannis starved to save Storms End and his little brother. He also destroyed Victations fleet. For his service he should have been gifted Storms End. But why does Robert give it to Renly instead? Renly didn't do anything + he was still a kid. 

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42 minutes ago, Falcon2909 said:

Stannis starved to save Storms End and his little brother. He also destroyed Victations fleet. For his service he should have been gifted Storms End. But why does Robert give it to Renly instead? Renly didn't do anything + he was still a kid. 

I always got the feeling to Robert it was as simple as consolidating power. By giving Dragonstone and Storm's End to his brothers, that creates two cadet branches of House Baratheon to support the throne.

I also get the feeling if Stannis had been given Storm's End and Renly got Dragonstone, Stannis would've still been better given the heir traditionally got Dragonstone. Stannis just had a chip on his shoulder concerning Robert, even if it was justifiable.

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7 hours ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

And even their approaches to war are different; Robert is Ares (bloodlust), Stannis is Athena (tactics and strategy).

Where do we hear about Stannis approaching war by anymore focus on tactics and strategy than Robert?

 

7 hours ago, James Steller said:

I can only imagine how Stannis would have felt about that if he'd been there.

Frankly, I doubt Stannis would have objected in the slightest.

 

5 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

In their youth Robert was a bully, plain and simple.

How was Robert a bully, plain and simple?  At worst, we know he once teased him about a bird.  However, seeing how that is fully in-line with all of the Baratheon brothers' sense of "humor" (including Stannis) does it constitute him being a bully.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Until ADwD I never realized how obsessed Stannis was with Robert. I never thought he would react this prickly when Asha mentioned Robert and his successes in the field. I thought the whole Renly issue would be more on his mind should his dead brothers ever come up again.

But it is actually quite telling that it was Robert and his mocking of the bird that caused Stannis to espouse Melisandre and her plans - which is very weird when you think about it. Stannis tries to be more like Robert, to have successes like Robert, by doing, perhaps, the most un-Robert thing imaginable.

Stannis wants to be more like Robert and most definitely not like Robert at the same time. That's likely part of the reason why he will fail.

Personally, I think the tragedy of Stannis is that he fails to realise that he's actually better than Robert. One of the big reasons for that is the way Stannis has evolved and changed across the story so far. He starts out with a reputation for being brittle and utterly rigid in his determination, but thanks to men like Davos and Jon Snow, Stannis has learned to temper this bitter edge and re-focus his motivation. He's never going to be a people-person like Robert, but he is just as efficient as Robert when it comes to military command, and with Melisandre at the Wall, Stannis only burns people at the request of his own followers, and even then he won't do it except with those who would be executed anyway (ie the cannibals).

And even with such a brittle, introverted personality, Stannis does inspire incredible loyalty. Davos Seaworth is just the main example. Those 1500 men endured all kinds of hardships under Stannis' command, and they are all still utterly devoted to him and his cause. I brought this up in an earlier chat, but one of the things I loved about ADWD is getting to know the diverse knights in his army, and how even though none of them ordinarily like each other, they are all completely loyal to Stannis. Even a misogynistic bully like Clayton Suggs risks his life for his king. That speaks to Stannis' abilities as a commander. 

I don't know what depths Stannis will plunge in the future novels (and I really hope GRRM changes his mind and alters what happened in the abomination) but from what I've read, he's one of the most fascinating characters of the story, and at his best, I think he was worth five of Robert.

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