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The Reign of King Renly


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Would Renly have made a good king. He had all the means necessary to become king. He had the support of the entire reach, including one of the richest houses of the seven kingdoms. If not Stannis and his blood magic, which no one could have anticipated, he wouldve managed to take kings landing. No problem. Even with stannis taking storms end, he couldve taken both him and the Lannisters. He could make common cause with Rob Stark, who has no beef with Renly or the reach, destroyed Tywins army and have become king of the 6 kingdoms. What would westeros look like under his rule? Renly is an extremely likable character, using his charisma to win over many major lords. He could face opposition from the faith if his relationship with Loras came to light, but other than that he wouldve had a fairly peaceful rule. If not for the threat of the white walkers. He is the perfect summer King but he doesnt seem like hes well apt for facing the long night, abiet better fit that Tommen and the current monarchy. Stannis probably wouldnt bend the knee to him, being the older sibling, and being the uncompramising person that he is, Stannis would rather die fighting for what he believes is right, however his men man not want to fight for a lost cause. He could prossibly be sent to the nights watch, so Renly doesnt begin his reign with kinslaying, which could helpful having such a seasoned commander at the wall. He also seems to fit perfectly with the whole vibe of the nights watch, living a hard and luxuryless life, dedicated to duty to the watch. Stannis is nothing if not dutiful.

What do you think wouldve happened if Melisandre never birthed her shadow babies to kill Renly and Cortnay Penrose? Would Renly ever actually take Kings Landing? he was taking his sweet time getting there. And if Stannis and the Lannisters are defeated, Rob Stark sated and his reign installed, what would Renlys Westeros look like. Would he actually bring change the the kingdoms or would he just be more of the same?

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I personally believe Renly would have been a good ruler under normal circumstances, but the danger was that he would pay too little mind to the warnings from the Night's Watch. Years ago there was a thread on the subject where I expanded more on my thoughts.

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I'm with Ran on that one - Renly definitely had the potential to be a great king. There is no doubt that he was the best of the Baratheons and the least problematic of the pretenders during the War of the Five Kings.

The only caveats in his case are the way in which he would have come to power - as a usurper with the worst legal claim - and the bad precedent this would have set for the future - Robert's own usurpation was the first bad precedent in this regard.

If Renly had ended up with as many belligerent sons as Rogar Baratheon had belligerent brothers, his succession would have been another bloody mess.

That were also possible if all of Margaery's children looked like her and Loras rather than inheriting the Baratheon looks. In light of Renly's sexual preferences talk that he may not be their father could also cause problems, especially if Margaery and/or Loras were to predecease Renly.

Also, if his rise to the throne had come with a lot of ugly murders like Robert's own back in the day - say, the brutal murder of all of Cersei and/or her children in a kind of mirror image of the murder of Elia and her children - or if he had been forced be very stern to Stannis/Shireen and the Starks to ensure that his reign is secure, this could have cast long shadows on his reign.

Renly's charisma would give him the best chance of all the Baratheon pretenders to deal with a Targaryen invasion launched by Viserys and the Dothraki - one including Dany's living dragons would be a harder nut to crack.

In relation the Others Renly's hold over the southern folks - Stormlanders, Reach, and even parts of Dorne - might allow him to launch a counterattack against them if he believed in the threat.

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Renly was the best player with a claim and had the best claim of any player. He would not have been a prefect king…though for a stretch he made perfect call after perfect call. He was loyal to Robert and an open enemy to the Lannister’s when Stannis was sulking about his latest grievance incommunicado on Dragonstone and leaving his brother Robert to the Lannisters’ tender mercies. ( We saw how that worked out…Robert died as expected and whattyaknow, Stannis has a claim to push) He offered Ned fantastic advice at the last crucial moment and, when Ned decided that unstinting and absolute adherence to the order of precedence must make [linethrough]Viserys[/linethrough] Stannis king he went out and within days built possibly the greatest army Westeros had ever seen.

He continued to make moves the likes of LF, Tywin, Varys and Tyrion admired, and if not for the first real deus ex machina in the story proper was almost inevitably on his was to being a skilled and popular king. He was…by a mile…the most modern and realpolitik contender and would have understood the game better than any of the rival kings and put paid to the Lannisters. How he would have addressed the North is interesting but he would have had a pretty unified kingdom after taking care of the West and that, at least, puts him ahead of any others. 

Edited by James Arryn
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On 1/11/2022 at 12:20 PM, EccentricHorse11 said:

Didn't Renly make it very clear to Catelyn in Clash of Kings that he wouldn't tolerate the North being independent? I believe he said something like, "Your son can call himself King in the North, but it will just be a fancy title; He needs to bend the knee to me."

Stannis was declaring Robb a traitor and burning him in Mel’s fires. Renly was willing to negotiate a compromise whereby Robb gets to keep the appearances of kingship and retain virtual autonomy in the North but still be a vassal of the IT. Bit like the Dornish deal. In that Renly’s enemies were Robb’s enemies, I don’t see why this wouldn’t have been very doable. 

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The first problem with Renly is that he should've set aside his beef with Stannis (even if temporarily or if he was pretending) and focused on getting the Lannisters off the throne.

Calling a Great Council between him and Stannis was the best choice.'

The second problem with Renly is that his ascension to the throne over Stannis establishes a very bad precedent.

Again...set aside your pride, call a Great Council and/or negotiate to be named Stannis' heir.

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39 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

The first problem with Renly is that he should've set aside his beef with Stannis (even if temporarily or if he was pretending) and focused on getting the Lannisters off the throne.

Besides the obvious magic shenanigans he didn't need him.

 

 

40 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

The second problem with Renly is that his ascension to the throne over Stannis establishes a very bad precedent.

Again...set aside your pride, call a Great Council and/or negotiate to be named Stannis' heir.

Bad precedents are set all the time. Renly's hardly the first usurper in Westeros or irl. Hell, the Baratheons descend from Ronard Storm, who usurped the Durrandon line and established his own. Usurpers are endemic of the royals, some bring stability, some bring unstability. But chaos is not their default legacy.

It's unlikely that Renly would react appropriately to the threat from the North. Besides that the only con against him is a slippery slope.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You guys forget that, shadow babies or no, Renly's host was going to be destroyed by Stannis in battle. Renly had no foot, his vassals quarreled over the battle plans, and he let Stannis big-brother him by setting the battle terms without even considering other options. They were going to fight at first light, because Stannis said so.

 

Even Randyll Tarly pointed out that the horses would be charging into a blinding sun, which Renly dismissed without care, and gave command to his homies. His larger, superior army was about to get in a confused, fucked up quagmire against Stannis, and likely destroyed. 

Renly never stood a chance, because he was never a real leader. 

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Renly outnumbered Stannis more than 3 to 1, and it was Randyll Tarly who advised him to fight in the first place.

There was no question he was going to win the battle, it was merely a matter of not throwing away more lives than he had to, and he chose to not care about it. Not dissimilar to Loras's choice to storm Dragonstone's citadel directly because he wanted to be done quickly, and from a similar impulse.

Edited by Ran
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On 1/13/2022 at 4:00 PM, BlackLightning said:

The first problem with Renly is that he should've set aside his beef with Stannis (even if temporarily or if he was pretending) and focused on getting the Lannisters off the throne.

Calling a Great Council between him and Stannis was the best choice.'

It takes two to tango and once Renly declared himself king, Stannis would never have agreed. Even if, by some outside chance, Stannis did, there's also no realistic chance that Renly's most important political alliances would survive the surrender of the kingship to Stannis. Stannis is not a cipher who can be controlled by those around him (as Robert was to an extent and LF suggested Joff could be), nor is he a man given to compromise. He's also hopelessly unpopular, not just because of his character but because he follows a weird foreign religion, and he's not an old man so you can't even sell Stannis to the Tyrells etc. as a caretaker king for a couple of years with Renly to take over.

Once on the throne Stannis would go his own way and would immediately piss off most of the people who Renly is relying on for his support even if he didn't actively punish them, most likely driving the Tyrells into the arms of the Lannisters and reopening the door for them.

It's a suicidal political move and Renly is shrewd enough to know that.

If they were to thrash out the deal before Renly declares himself king, then it could conceivably have some legs, as at least they'd have a united Stormlands behind them, but things move quickly after Robert's death and Stannis takes too long to show his hand.

17 hours ago, LindsayLohan said:

You guys forget that, shadow babies or no, Renly's host was going to be destroyed by Stannis in battle. Renly had no foot, his vassals quarreled over the battle plans, and he let Stannis big-brother him by setting the battle terms without even considering other options. They were going to fight at first light, because Stannis said so.

I think the discussion with Stannis is less Renly letting Stannis have his way because he's the big brother, and more that he knows it's pointless to argue with him and doesn't think it matters because victory is assured anyway.

Foot is a secondary consideration in Westeros armies. Robb certainly didn't place much reliance in it in his string of victories, and Renly has enough cavalry that the lack of foot shouldn't hurt him.

There is no reason to think that Renly wouldn't have defeated Stannis in battle. He has a much larger army, of high quality, and the best commander in Westeros at his side. Stannis's army at this point is not the host that almost captured King's Landing (most of what will become that army is fighting for Renly) nor is it the gang of veterans that routs the wildlings at the Wall (this is his first engagement of the war, so the majority of his troops will lack experience). Stannis is a redoubtable leader but he's not a transcendent military genius of the sort that can be expected to overcome these disadvantages (indeed: has he even fought a field engagement before?). Even Stannis didn't seem to think he had a realistic chance of victory in open battle, which is why he resorted to having his brother murdered by a shadow demon.

That doesn't mean that the battle wouldn't have been a sobering and bloody affair that cost more casualties than it needed to due to Renly's indifference. But it would be a huge surprise if he didn't ride off that field a victor.

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18 minutes ago, Adelstein said:

If they were to thrash out the deal before Renly declares himself king, then it could conceivably have some legs, as at least they'd have a united Stormlands behind them, but things move quickly after Robert's death and Stannis takes too long to show his hand.

I hear you but it's no excuse.

When Renly left King's Landing, he should've gone to Dragonstone instead of Highgarden.

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I think Renly vs Stannis is the topic that won't die - how many years has it been since AGoT/ACoK and we're still relitigating it?

But there is one thing that I think people sometimes forget, which is that Renly is missing a critical piece of information. Stannis knows that Cersei's children are bastards but Renly doesn't - neither Ned nor Stannis has told him. His first move on Robert's death is not to do a runner for Highgarden but to attempt to organise a coup to make Ned regent for Joff. When that fails for lack of cooperation, and he leaves King's Landing, he has no particular reason to go to Stannis because he has no reason to think Stannis is the rightful heir.

As far as he's concerned, at this point, Joff is the rightful king and the question is who will control him. He leaves King's Landing for his own safety, and to recruit allies to resist the Lannisters: it's much more important in this context to recruit the Tyrells than it is Stannis (who he safely - and rightly - assumes will oppose Cersei anyway, even if not for the reasons he expects).

It then doesn't take much to imagine the conversation that ensues at Highgarden. Cersei is a threat -> she needs to be removed from power -> who replaces her? -> Renly obviously -> well in that case why settle for making him regent when we can actually make him king? -> surely his claim isn't good enough? -> a claim's as good as your army is big, and we've got a big one.

 

Much of the criticism of Renly seems to be predicated on a number of false assumptions, firstly, that he knew everything Stannis did, or at least enough of what Stannis did, at the time he made important decisions; secondly, that he planned the whole thing from the outset rather than making it up as he went along; thirdly, that even disregarding his state of knowledge, his primary duty was for some reason to his surviving brother rather than to his nephews (inc. Edric!) or indeed to the kingdom as a whole (since nobody wants Stannis as king).

I don't think Renly is blameless. His self-coronation is obviously cynical and to a dispassionate reader with our greater state of knowledge it seems doomed in the long run. That he doesn't know Joff et al are illegitimate means he's trying to jump three or four places in the line of succession rather than just one, which doesn't exactly improve things. But you also have to play the hand you're dealt and I don't think the way he did so was really that much worse - morally or pragmatically - than almost anyone else would have done in his position. Indeed, is it really all that meaningfully different from what Robb does?

Edited by Adelstein
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  • 3 weeks later...

He's disinterested in ruling, merely the title and prestige such title brings. He'd at best be absent king, Robert come again in catamite form, after having set the precedent of might makes right. He'd be controlled by Tyrels, his wife would be birthing bastards of someone else to cover for him, his sons would be raised knowing that if they can get enough pull they can also be kings, leading to civil wars every time a king dies. It may also translate into lordships as well with popular second, third or other sons rising up against brothers and claiming lordships by right of might. 

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On 1/25/2022 at 5:42 PM, Adelstein said:

I think Renly vs Stannis is the topic that won't die - how many years has it been since AGoT/ACoK and we're still relitigating it?

But there is one thing that I think people sometimes forget, which is that Renly is missing a critical piece of information. Stannis knows that Cersei's children are bastards but Renly doesn't - neither Ned nor Stannis has told him. His first move on Robert's death is not to do a runner for Highgarden but to attempt to organise a coup to make Ned regent for Joff. When that fails for lack of cooperation, and he leaves King's Landing, he has no particular reason to go to Stannis because he has no reason to think Stannis is the rightful heir.

As far as he's concerned, at this point, Joff is the rightful king and the question is who will control him. He leaves King's Landing for his own safety, and to recruit allies to resist the Lannisters: it's much more important in this context to recruit the Tyrells than it is Stannis (who he safely - and rightly - assumes will oppose Cersei anyway, even if not for the reasons he expects).

It then doesn't take much to imagine the conversation that ensues at Highgarden. Cersei is a threat -> she needs to be removed from power -> who replaces her? -> Renly obviously -> well in that case why settle for making him regent when we can actually make him king? -> surely his claim isn't good enough? -> a claim's as good as your army is big, and we've got a big one.

 

Much of the criticism of Renly seems to be predicated on a number of false assumptions, firstly, that he knew everything Stannis did, or at least enough of what Stannis did, at the time he made important decisions; secondly, that he planned the whole thing from the outset rather than making it up as he went along; thirdly, that even disregarding his state of knowledge, his primary duty was for some reason to his surviving brother rather than to his nephews (inc. Edric!) or indeed to the kingdom as a whole (since nobody wants Stannis as king).

I don't think Renly is blameless. His self-coronation is obviously cynical and to a dispassionate reader with our greater state of knowledge it seems doomed in the long run. That he doesn't know Joff et al are illegitimate means he's trying to jump three or four places in the line of succession rather than just one, which doesn't exactly improve things. But you also have to play the hand you're dealt and I don't think the way he did so was really that much worse - morally or pragmatically - than almost anyone else would have done in his position. Indeed, is it really all that meaningfully different from what Robb does?

I am far from sure that he didn't know about Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen. In fact I have more the feeling that he knew and just pretended otherwise before Stannis, otherwise why would he have tried to put Margaery in Robert's bed if he didn't have the feeling that Robert might need a new wife soon ?

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On 1/25/2022 at 5:21 PM, BlackLightning said:

When Renly left King's Landing, he should've gone to Dragonstone instead of Highgarden.

He had no ships (Stannis kindly took all of them) and time was pressing. Going to your powerbase is far more important than finding what's Stannis up to.

 

 

14 hours ago, Hrulj said:

He's disinterested in ruling, merely the title and prestige such title brings.

I find this type of statements curious enough, since they have nothing to do with what's actually shown in the books but are nonetheless repeated ad nauseam.

 

 

14 hours ago, Hrulj said:

He'd be controlled by Tyrels,

Why? Renly is charming and well loved, he wouldn't have that a hard time winning over enough people to counter whatever influence the Tyrells might have on him.

 

 

14 hours ago, Hrulj said:

his wife would be birthing bastards of someone else to cover for him

Why?

 

 

14 hours ago, Hrulj said:

his sons would be raised knowing that if they can get enough pull they can also be kings, leading to civil wars every time a king dies. It may also translate into lordships as well with popular second, third or other sons rising up against brothers and claiming lordships by right of might. 

You might be surprised when you hear this but Renly didn't invent usurpation. The idea that Renly, and only Renly, is what's going to lead to chaos is a slippery slope.

 

 

2 hours ago, Terrorthatflapsinthenight9 said:

otherwise why would he have tried to put Margaery in Robert's bed if he didn't have the feeling that Robert might need a new wife soon ?

Because he thought he could make it happen. 

Robert was King, he could make and unmake the law, and he had enough support to suppress whatever noise the Lannisters might make. 

Besides, both Cersei and Pycelle believed Robert would eventually get fed up with Cersei and set her aside even without the knowledge of the twincest, in that case Robert would just kill her.

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  • 1 month later...

I believe that Renly would have made a very good King.   Cast aside all the speculation of how he achieves the crown:  the question was:  what would his reign have looked like?   Ran made some excellent points in his link to the previous thread on the topic.   I also think it's important to point out that Renly was incredibly popular with the commoners (as noted in the tourney for the hand of the king)- which could have given him the power/lever to accomplish a lot as King.  He doesn't have Ned's naïveté; as he showed the wisdom to get out of King's Landing when Ned wouldn't follow through on the self-preservation tactic of seizing Joffrey.  In case of war, he could easily have assigned others as generals/lead commanders.   The only flaw one can really find in him is his willingness to defy custom, and bypass his elder brother Stannis as ruler.  However, I think most people agree Stannis was too rigid to ever make a great king - so rigid that it's a real possibility that with Stannis in power (and I'm somewhat of a Stannis fan), a rebellion/more war was far more likely due to his likelihood to attempt to rule with an iron fist/show now mercy ("I am not without mercy", said the man who was notoriously without mercy).  

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I doubt it.

He was a lot like Robert despite his different tastes. He'd be caught up in the pageantry and splendor and would turn a blind eye to the common folk. Why? He did the same thing as Robert's councilor.

The fact he put his claim forward just because he could says everything about his character and reasons for doing it.

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6 minutes ago, Lord Lannister said:

The fact he put his claim forward just because he could says everything about his character and reasons for doing it.

An ambitious man, not unlike any pretender/conqueror in history (both irl and in universe) who simply took things because they could/wanted to?

 

8 minutes ago, Lord Lannister said:

He did the same thing as Robert's councilor.

We do not enough about his time in the Small Council but we certainly do not know that he turned his eues on the common folk.

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49 minutes ago, frenin said:

An ambitious man, not unlike any pretender/conqueror in history (both irl and in universe) who simply took things because they could/wanted to?

Greed would be another word for it. So would pride. And as Dany's and Robb's arcs are both proof of, conquering and ruling are very different.

50 minutes ago, frenin said:

We do not enough about his time in the Small Council but we certainly do not know that he turned his eues on the common folk.

We know he was party to Robert's apathetic rule and argued against Ned when he complained about the realm being in debt. 

All the evidence points to him being a selfish individual. 

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