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Better Metal Metaphors for the Baratheon Brothers


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So I was thinking a bit about Donal Noye's quote, where he compares Renly, Robert and Stannis to copper, steel and iron respectively.

Quote

"Robert was the true steel. Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He'll break before he bends. And Renly, that one, he's copper, bright and shiny, pretty to look at but not worth all that much at the end of the day."

Now as numerous people have pointed out before me, there are a few issues with this quote. Firstly, it does a great disservice to His Grace King Renly. Secondly, almost everyone agrees that Robert was not the true steel. Thirdly, quite a few people have pointed out that depending on how you look at it, Stannis does, in fact, show flexibility at numerous points in the series, so the comparison may be off there as well. Fourthly, Donal Noye was the blacksmith at Storm's end. How well did he really know the Baratheon brothers? At best, it would be like Mikken giving his view on all the Starks.

In addition, Donal most likely bases his comparison on the metals he works with as a blacksmith, so he is biased against metals that aren't used in weapons.

There are many more metals than those three which could be used as a metaphor. I think we can do better and select a metal for each of the brother's which corresponds to them more accurately.

Here are some of my suggestions for better metal metaphors.

Robert - Gold

Gold is very valuable, as is Robert as king. Yet it is also quite impractical for most things other than jewelry and coinage (at least in the setting of the books), being heavy and soft, as Robert turned out to be in the end. Gold is easy to manipulate. Many people here see Robert as being weak willed when it comes to ruling, giving in to Cersei's demands to kill Lady, etc. so the comparison to the soft metal gold works quite well here I think. The attraction people have for gold fits well with Robert's charisma. A downside to this comparison is that gold doesn't tarnish, which Robert most certainly has done.

Stannis - Iron Pyrite (Fool's Gold)

I think the iron comparison is okay and better than the other ones in how accurate it is to the character but I still think there is a better metal to symbolise Stannis. This keeps the iron part but adds more that reflects Stannis. The 'fool' part ties in to Stannis and Melisandre's delusions about him being Azor Ahai reborn, they have both fooled themselves and others  into believing this. Stannis also seems to feel he is in Robert's shadow. He says he is not Robert, though during his march to Winterfell his men all compare what Stannis is doing to what Robert would do if he were there. Pyrite can be distinguished from real gold because it is more brittle, which reflects Robert and Stannis' different approach to dealing with enemies - Robert gives them pardons and makes them friends, where Stannis would've executed them, a more rigid approach. Iron Pyrite forms cube shapes or crystals with hard lines and edges as opposed to real gold, which again fits Stannis' personality quite well. If exposed to air for too long, the Pyrite will eventually decompose (break) into some iron compounds and sulphuric acid. Similarly, many people think that eventually, there will come a point in the story where Stannis will break.

Renly - Brass

Brass looks like gold as well, tying in to how similar Renly and Robert appear, and it keeps the bright and shiny part while also being more practical. I think this fits Renly better as he seems to be the most pragmatic of the brothers, and nicely in the middle, not over-indulgent like Robert but not someone who denies himself enjoyment either like Stannis. Brass is somewhat similar to copper, being an alloy of copper and zinc, but it is also not as soft, and doesn't corrode as easily. Appearance wise I also think it fits Renly better as it's a gold colour which matches with the Baratheon sigil. The copper in brass can also form a layer of copper sulphate with a green/blue colour (if exposed to slightly acidic water) on the surface, which protects the brass underneath from damage - just like Renly's green armour (or blue green like his eye colour).

Now some people may think that fool's gold would be better applied to Renly, but I disagree. The idea that he is foolish comes from Stannis who is biased because he doesn't like him, and people who last saw him when he was five after he'd been starving for months, as well as Olenna who is biased against all men and in Lannister territory when she said those things to boot, so I really don't think their opinion carries much weight. The idea that Renly is a puppet of the Tyrells isn't really present in the books. Stannis is the most likely puppet of the three, being under the influence of Melisandre.

I also think my comparison is better because it links the brothers together more as a family through the similar appearance of all the metals.

So, what do you think? There is obviously a huge range of metals with different characteristics to chose from, so I am interested to hear what other comparisons people can come up with.

 

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I think Noye's idea of steel makes sense, in that Robert was the true steel in battle. When he wasn't fighting, he sidestepped his true talents, and he went to rust (which isn't a bad metal metaphor for corruption).

When we first meet Stannis, he is the epitome of hard iron, yet later on we find that he can make compromises, adapt, forgive, and admit that he was wrong on major issues (most notably with Davos and the responsibilities of a king). He's still likely to be a tragic failed hero rather than someone fully redeemed, but there is a lot more to Stannis than meets the eye.

With Renly, it's harder to say for sure. I think the closest we get to seeing the real Renly is with Catelyn, just after they meet with Stannis. And it's not a good look, to be honest. I agree with Steven Attewell on this one.

https://racefortheironthrone.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/chapter-by-chapter-analysis-catelyn-iii-acok/

As bad a system as primogeniture might be, it sure beats the lawless warlord model that Renly was knowingly pursuing. There is likely much to Renly that did not meet the eye (much of which may never find its way into the narrative), but we got some details that were quite ugly.

 

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Robert, for all his faults, was more of a complete person. Yes a warrior but also loved life and laughter.  Stannis is just as able but his personality is not inviting.  Robert could have been great at managing Storm’s End but Westeros was just too much. 

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3 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

So I was thinking a bit about Donal Noye's quote, where he compares Renly, Robert and Stannis to copper, steel and iron respectively.

Now as numerous people have pointed out before me, there are a few issues with this quote. Firstly, it does a great disservice to His Grace King Renly. Secondly, almost everyone agrees that Robert was not the true steel. Thirdly, quite a few people have pointed out that depending on how you look at it, Stannis does, in fact, show flexibility at numerous points in the series, so the comparison may be off there as well. Fourthly, Donal Noye was the blacksmith at Storm's end. How well did he really know the Baratheon brothers? At best, it would be like Mikken giving his view on all the Starks.

In addition, Donal most likely bases his comparison on the metals he works with as a blacksmith, so he is biased against metals that aren't used in weapons.

There are many more metals than those three which could be used as a metaphor. I think we can do better and select a metal for each of the brother's which corresponds to them more accurately.

Here are some of my suggestions for better metal metaphors.

Robert - Gold

Gold is very valuable, as is Robert as king. Yet it is also quite impractical for most things other than jewelry and coinage (at least in the setting of the books), being heavy and soft, as Robert turned out to be in the end. Gold is easy to manipulate. Many people here see Robert as being weak willed when it comes to ruling, giving in to Cersei's demands to kill Lady, etc. so the comparison to the soft metal gold works quite well here I think. The attraction people have for gold fits well with Robert's charisma. A downside to this comparison is that gold doesn't tarnish, which Robert most certainly has done.

Stannis - Iron Pyrite (Fool's Gold)

I think the iron comparison is okay and better than the other ones in how accurate it is to the character but I still think there is a better metal to symbolise Stannis. This keeps the iron part but adds more that reflects Stannis. The 'fool' part ties in to Stannis and Melisandre's delusions about him being Azor Ahai reborn, they have both fooled themselves and others  into believing this. Stannis also seems to feel he is in Robert's shadow. He says he is not Robert, though during his march to Winterfell his men all compare what Stannis is doing to what Robert would do if he were there. Pyrite can be distinguished from real gold because it is more brittle, which reflects Robert and Stannis' different approach to dealing with enemies - Robert gives them pardons and makes them friends, where Stannis would've executed them, a more rigid approach. Iron Pyrite forms cube shapes or crystals with hard lines and edges as opposed to real gold, which again fits Stannis' personality quite well. If exposed to air for too long, the Pyrite will eventually decompose (break) into some iron compounds and sulphuric acid. Similarly, many people think that eventually, there will come a point in the story where Stannis will break.

Renly - Brass

Brass looks like gold as well, tying in to how similar Renly and Robert appear, and it keeps the bright and shiny part while also being more practical. I think this fits Renly better as he seems to be the most pragmatic of the brothers, and nicely in the middle, not over-indulgent like Robert but not someone who denies himself enjoyment either like Stannis. Brass is somewhat similar to copper, being an alloy of copper and zinc, but it is also not as soft, and doesn't corrode as easily. Appearance wise I also think it fits Renly better as it's a gold colour which matches with the Baratheon sigil. The copper in brass can also form a layer of copper sulphate with a green/blue colour (if exposed to slightly acidic water) on the surface, which protects the brass underneath from damage - just like Renly's green armour (or blue green like his eye colour).

Now some people may think that fool's gold would be better applied to Renly, but I disagree. The idea that he is foolish comes from Stannis who is biased because he doesn't like him, and people who last saw him when he was five after he'd been starving for months, as well as Olenna who is biased against all men and in Lannister territory when she said those things to boot, so I really don't think their opinion carries much weight. The idea that Renly is a puppet of the Tyrells isn't really present in the books. Stannis is the most likely puppet of the three, being under the influence of Melisandre.

I also think my comparison is better because it links the brothers together more as a family through the similar appearance of all the metals.

So, what do you think? There is obviously a huge range of metals with different characteristics to chose from, so I am interested to hear what other comparisons people can come up with.

 

Nobody manipulated Robert to march thousands of leagues to ask Ned to be his hand, he just had nobody else he trusted, he who who knew Renly very well, didn't see any value in the man either. Nor did Jaime who grew up in KL with him. Only Brienne and Loras saw any value in him, and they are at least as baised in his favor as the people baised against him.

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2 hours ago, Denam_Pavel said:

Nobody manipulated Robert to march thousands of leagues to ask Ned to be his hand, he just had nobody else he trusted,

I'm confused what point you are responding to. I never mentioned Robert making Ned hand. I was talking about how he just meekly accepted Cersei's suggestion to kill Lady in place of Nymeria. And Robert is quite easy to manipulate. All Cersei had to do to get him to try and compete in the melee was to forbid him to compete in the melee. It was only the intervention of  Ned and Barristan that stopped him from doing so.

3 hours ago, Denam_Pavel said:

Nor did Jaime who grew up in KL with him

I don't think Jaime interacted much with Renly at all before Renly came of age and became master of laws. Renly was at Storm's End for I think all of his early childhood, so he wouldn't have seen Jaime then. I really don't see how they could have grown up together given there is a ten year age gap and Jaime would be in the capital from age 15 and above, and at Casterly Rock before that, all while Renly was still at Storm's End.

3 hours ago, Denam_Pavel said:

Only Brienne and Loras saw any value in him,

I think there are at least a few more people than those two, there is Courtnay Penrose, Mathis Rowan and Randyl Tarly, as well as Mace Tyrell. He had assembled the largest army ever seen in Westeros, I think more than just those two people thought highly of him.

3 hours ago, Denam_Pavel said:

he who who knew Renly very well, didn't see any value in the man either.

I don't think Robert and Renly were particularly close but he valued him enough to make him Master of Laws.

4 hours ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

I think Noye's idea of steel makes sense, in that Robert was the true steel in battle. When he wasn't fighting, he sidestepped his true talents, and he went to rust (which isn't a bad metal metaphor for corruption).

Yes, I agree that his comparison makes more sense in this specific area. What I want to do is find better metals that reflect the whole of each of the brothers, not just their battle prowess.

4 hours ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

As bad a system as primogeniture might be, it sure beats the lawless warlord model that Renly was knowingly pursuing. There is likely much to Renly that did not meet the eye (much of which may never find its way into the narrative), but we got some details that were quite ugly.

The thing is all Renly would need to do when he got the throne was adopt Stannis' bastard story and then claim Stannis was ineligible because of his heathen religion. Then it's straight back to primogeniture again, like he never left it in the first place. This isn't the first time someone has seized the throne just based on military strength. Both Robert and Aegon did it. And as soon as Robert got the throne they justified it by saying he had a claim because of his Targaryen grandmother.

Regardless of whether Loras is badly burned or not I would love a POV from him so we can actually learn what happened to lead up to Renly's choice to become king.

4 hours ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

When we first meet Stannis, he is the epitome of hard iron, yet later on we find that he can make compromises, adapt, forgive, and admit that he was wrong on major issues (most notably with Davos and the responsibilities of a king). He's still likely to be a tragic failed hero rather than someone fully redeemed, but there is a lot more to Stannis than meets the eye.

So what metal do you think Stannis should be? I agree that he has shown adaptability, but his character overall, in my opinion, still fits okay with the iron comparison. I would love suggestions for other metals he could be.

5 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

Renly is sort of like lead, kinda soft. Also in the past they thought it acceptable but that wound up just killing most of them

But lead is all dull and grey! That isn't like Renly at all! :(

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 Before he lost an arm, Donal Noye was armorer to House Baratheon at Storm's End.  So it's likely that he knew all three brothers personally, as well as having many years to observe them, and to hear other people's reports about them.

As Peaches pointed out, Donal's life was mainly focused on weapons. Similarly, his judgments about the three brothers may have been mainly focused on their fighting skills, not on their broader personalities. In that sense, I'd say that his analogies were accurate. If you want to also consider their leadership and people skills, then Yes, some other metals might be better choices.

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4 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

The thing is all Renly would need to do when he got the throne was adopt Stannis' bastard story and then claim Stannis was ineligible because of his heathen religion. Then it's straight back to primogeniture again, like he never left it in the first place. This isn't the first time someone has seized the throne just based on military strength. Both Robert and Aegon did it. And as soon as Robert got the throne they justified it by saying he had a claim because of his Targaryen grandmother.

What's most important about the issue of legitimacy isn't that a claim to the throne is true per se, what matters is if the claim is compelling enough to forge a lasting peace among the people of the kingdom, and to enable stable transitions of power in the future.

So yes, Robert and Ned rebelled against King Aerys, and people were divided on which side to take. But the reason for the rebellion--the murder of Ned's family--lends weight to their deeds. Even those who had sided with the throne had to admit the cruelty and madness of Aerys. So the two sides fought it out, and the rebels deposed the Mad King. Then, pardons were issued, a  Targaryen descendent was crowned, and a peace was forged. Notably, while Robert's peace only lasted 15 or so years, what broke it was not strife between Targaryen loyalists and the supporters of House Baratheon, but strife within the Rebel party. For all of Robert's faults as a ruler, the legitimacy of his rule was not an issue (so long as Dany remained in exile).

To be sure, Stannis' claim would be contested, though were he to win by might, he likely would be able to secure a lasting peace, due to the perceived validity of his charge against the Lannister twins.

Renly would have the same valid claim against the Lannisters...but not against Stannis. Sure, Stannis worships a strange foreign god, and people don't like that. But unless Stannis held a sustained campaign of terror and destruction against the septs and godswoods of Westeros, Renly's claim against his brother would simply look like naked ambition to many (which in fact it was). As such, it would be little more than the power move of a warlord. Such a move may work for a time in his favor, but it would invite other ambitious lords to try their own hands at grabbing power should the opportunity strike.

Without an acceptable claim to legitimacy among the different factions, there would be no lasting peace.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

he likely would be able to secure a lasting peace, due to the perceived validity of his charge against the Lannister twins.

I can't remember because I don't have the books to hand, but wasn't Stannis' only proof that none of the children had Robert's hair colour while his bastards did? Renly asks him if he has any proof and all he can do is grind his teeth. I don't think he ever mentions the lineages book that Ned looked at, though he may well be aware of it and it just wasn't mentioned. But if all he has for proof is hair colour then it's very iffy proof. The same concept could be used to claim that all of Ned's children save Arya are bastards. And of course, Stannis does not have a confession from Cersei, the closest thing to absolute proof one could get.

I think that people believing Stannis' story has more to do with whether they benefit from him being king or not, so in a scenario when he's on the throne I suspect that his enemies would simply refuse the allegations and fight on, as would everyone who did not want him as king. Same with Renly, though with a larger army he'd probably have fewer enemies.

Unless he gets a confession from Cersei or Jaime I don't see how his succession is any better than what you propose Renly's would be - with the addition that people claim the heir a bastard with flimsy evidence before going to war.

4 hours ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

Sure, Stannis worships a strange foreign god, and people don't like that. But unless Stannis held a sustained campaign of terror and destruction against the septs and godswoods of Westeros

This is why I don't think Stannis could have lasting peace on the throne. It's not just that he worships a strange, foreign god, which is bad enough in the people's eyes from the example of the Rogares, but that his religion is actively hostile to both native faiths of Westeros. Stannis has already burnt Aegon the Conqueror's own sept, and depending on when he takes the throne he will also have burnt the Godswood at Storm's End. Unless he drastically curtails Melisandre's influence there will most likely be constant religious strife.

4 hours ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

To be sure, Stannis' claim would be contested, though were he to win by might

If you are saying that Stannis' might makes his claims valid, then the exact same would be true for Renly. There is more proof of Stannis following a heathen religion than there is of the children being bastards, barring an outright confession from Jaime or Cersei or both.

If Stannis' claim is compelling enough to forge lasting peace then I think Renly's is too. There is only a difference of one more person and Renly has the Faith on his side, as well as being more willing to negotiate/offer concessions than Stannis which would help smooth things over.

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9 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

I'm confused what point you are responding to. I never mentioned Robert making Ned hand. I was talking about how he just meekly accepted Cersei's suggestion to kill Lady in place of Nymeria. And Robert is quite easy to manipulate. All Cersei had to do to get him to try and compete in the melee was to forbid him to compete in the melee. It was only the intervention of  Ned and Barristan that stopped him from doing so.

I'm responding to the idea that Renly being a fool only comes from Stannis and Olenna. That overlooks Robert. Robert repeadedly mentions that he has nothing even resembling a real ally at court now that Jon Arryn is dead, that's why he needs Ned. And he includes his brothers in that, both Stannis and Renly. But Jon at least trusted Stannis to some degree. No ones that actually worked with Renly at court choose to follow him. Robert liked Renly well enough to give him Storm's End and the position of Master of Laws. He destroyed Robert's faith in him as an adult, we can only extrapolate why, but it did happen.

 

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6 minutes ago, Denam_Pavel said:

He destroyed Robert's faith in him as an adult, we can only extrapolate why, but it did happen.

I think that's a bit harsh, if Robert really had such low regard for his brother he would want to replace him as Master of Laws.

12 minutes ago, Denam_Pavel said:

No ones that actually worked with Renly at court choose to follow him.

When he offers Ned a hundred swords to secure Joffrey etc. he includes in this number the swords of other people at court - he specifically mentions friends at court, indicating that people were willing to work with him.

Quote

"My lord, I have thirty men in my personal guard, and other friends beside, knights and lords. Give me an hour, and I can put a hundred swords in your hand."

Given that this is a plan to seize the royal children and essentially take them hostage, these people must have quite a lot of faith in Renly.

If you are referring specifically to members of the Small Council, then I would argue that it has more to do with the fact that their interests don't align than because they think Renly is foolish. We have Grand Maester Pycelle, a Lannister crony, while Renly is working to reduce Lannister influence at court. Stannis dislikes Renly because he was given Storm's End while Stannis got Dragonstone. Varys is working towards a Targaryen/Blackfyre restoration so Renly and him are seemingly at odds there. Littlefinger actually says he would be willing to put Renly on the throne. Ned chose not to follow Renly's plan because he thought it was dishonourable, not because he thought Renly was foolish or an idiot (he later regrets declining his help). The only one we don't know about is Jon Arryn. He may have thought he needed more evidence to convince Renly.

The issue I have is that these characters, who I think are quite biased, say Renly was foolish, but Renly's actions suggest the opposite, at least in the way I interpret them. I don't think Renly crowning himself was foolish, I think it was a good move because it got him by far the largest army in the conflict, which means he can better defend himself. I think self-preservation played a part as well as ambition.

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18 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

I think that's a bit harsh, if Robert really had such low regard for his brother he would want to replace him as Master of Laws.

"I swear to you, sitting a throne is a thousand times harder than winning one. Laws are a tedious business and counting coppers is worse. And the people . . . there is no end of them. I sit on that damnable iron chair and listen to them complain until my mind is numb and my ass is raw. They all want something, money or land or justice. The lies they tell . . . and my lords and ladies are no better. I am surrounded by flatterers and fools. It can drive a man to madness, Ned. Half of them don't dare tell me the truth, and the other half can't find it. There are nights I wish we had lost at the Trident. Ah, no, not truly, but . . .

“Robert can barely stomach his brothers. Not that I blame him. Stannis would be enough to give anyone indigestion.” “Don’t play the fool. Stannis and Renly are one thing, and Eddard Stark is quite another. Robert will listen to Stark. Damn them both. I should have insisted that he name you, but I was certain Stark would refuse him.

“Wrong, it was wrong, I . . . only a girl . . . Varys, Littlefinger, even my brother . . . worthless . . . no one to tell me no but you, Ned . . . only you . . . ”

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33 minutes ago, Denam_Pavel said:

"I swear to you, sitting a throne is a thousand times harder than winning one. Laws are a tedious business and counting coppers is worse. And the people . . . there is no end of them. I sit on that damnable iron chair and listen to them complain until my mind is numb and my ass is raw. They all want something, money or land or justice. The lies they tell . . . and my lords and ladies are no better. I am surrounded by flatterers and fools. It can drive a man to madness, Ned. Half of them don't dare tell me the truth, and the other half can't find it. There are nights I wish we had lost at the Trident. Ah, no, not truly, but . . .

“Robert can barely stomach his brothers. Not that I blame him. Stannis would be enough to give anyone indigestion.” “Don’t play the fool. Stannis and Renly are one thing, and Eddard Stark is quite another. Robert will listen to Stark. Damn them both. I should have insisted that he name you, but I was certain Stark would refuse him.

“Wrong, it was wrong, I . . . only a girl . . . Varys, Littlefinger, even my brother . . . worthless . . . no one to tell me no but you, Ned . . . only you . . . ”

I know that Robert doesn't think that highly of Renly, I think I mentioned before that they didn't have a particularly good relationship, what I was trying to say was that if he 'destroyed Robert's faith in him', as you say he did, I don't think Renly would have remained Master of Laws. Robert would find someone else.

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3 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

But if all he has for proof is hair colour then it's very iffy proof. The same concept could be used to claim that all of Ned's children save Arya are bastards. And of course, Stannis does not have a confession from Cersei, the closest thing to absolute proof one could get.

It's true he could have stronger proof, but I was thinking less about evidence and more about a convincing narrative. Obviously practical political interests will shape how one perceives House Lannister and their golden twins, but if we're assuming a solid military victory for Stannis, it's not hard for me to imagine that people would accept the "Brotherfucker" narrative for the Lannnisters. That story was spreading once Stannis had announced it--for a reason.

Such belief has more to do with the public's perceptions of the nobles, which can be unfair and untrue sometimes, as we see with the public latching onto the Shireen-Fool story. But it's not like any story could be pinned to any public figure. Stannis could be a cuckold, but a philanderer would be a much harder sell. Ned could be a traitor against his king (at least when he confesses as much), but Stark incest would be a much harder sell. Whereas, for the Lannister twins, "Brotherfucker" is a more convincing charge. Not just because it was literally true, but how the Lannisters presented themselves, interacted with others, projected their values.

Now, I do agree with you that Stannis does have the potential to screw up his own rule by implementing terrible religious decrees. My take is that GRRM wrote both Renly and Stannis as unfit to rule, for opposing reasons. And yet, he planted within Stannis the desire and the possibility of attaining the narrative status of a hero. I think that's GRRM's setup for a grand tragic failure for Stannis--ultimately to serve as a foil for Dany and maybe Jon. But it does set him apart from Renly. While Stannis' role in Renly's murder is ambiguous at best (there might be some willful denial on his part), we know that Renly clearly intended to murder his brother. He said as much to Catelyn. Just as we know that Stannis' claim to the throne happens to be valid, evidence or no evidence, while Renly's was not, and he knew it.

Edited by Phylum of Alexandria
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14 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

But lead is all dull and grey! That isn't like Renly at all! :(

Renly seemed a bit dull

2 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

I know that Robert doesn't think that highly of Renly, I think I mentioned before that they didn't have a particularly good relationship, what I was trying to say was that if he 'destroyed Robert's faith in him', as you say he did, I don't think Renly would have remained Master of Laws. Robert would find someone else.

I think if Stannis is able to take the entire navy and sail to his fortress without explanation or a return date, and remain master of ships it shows Robert is not going to fire his brother on almost any condition 

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16 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

I think if Stannis is able to take the entire navy and sail to his fortress without explanation or a return date, and remain master of ships it shows Robert is not going to fire his brother on almost any condition 

That is a good point. But I still wouldn't say that Robert had no faith at all in Renly. He was left to run things with Barristan, Petyr and Pycelle while Robert trekked up North, after all.

17 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

Renly seemed a bit dull

Dull in what way? Appearance or intelligence? Personally I don't think he was dull in either, but to each their own.

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10 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

That is a good point. But I still wouldn't say that Robert had no faith at all in Renly. He was left to run things with Barristan, Petyr and Pycelle while Robert trekked up North, after all.

Run what though? House sitting for Balerion? Tbh I've never been that impressed with Robert and his SCs workload.

But anyway, Barri and Renly leave KL and join Roberts party in the Riverlands, so whoever was feeding the cat wasn't one of them

21 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

Dull in what way? Appearance or intelligence? Personally I don't think he was dull in either, but to each their own.

Certainly not appearance, with antlers on his helmet and his knights of varying color

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2 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

Tbh I've never been that impressed with Robert and his SCs workload.

I always got the impression that Robert had no workload because he gave it all to the SC to deal with.

Anyway, if Robert really had no faith in Renly, I still think he could just send him back to Storm's End and not get anyone to replace him, Stannis was still master of ships while sulking on Dragonstone.

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6 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

I always got the impression that Robert had no workload because he gave it all to the SC to deal with.

For sure, but even that work didn't seem very pressing to me. It's different with Tyrion and Tywin although they're fighting a war so it makes sense why there's work to be done.

Cersei too though, she's constantly working and expecting her revolving SC to work as well. And her regime is kind of similar to Roberts, mostly peaceful and a strong desire to reshape the dynasty and it's rule

10 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

Anyway, if Robert really had no faith in Renly, I still think he could just send him back to Storm's End and not get anyone to replace him, Stannis was still master of ships while sulking on Dragonstone

I don't think Robert had bad faith in Renly, or if he did it would be too political to act on it. Besides if the sc is type useless then the most useless job there is is master of laws only because I have no idea what they do. 

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2 hours ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

While Stannis' role in Renly's murder is ambiguous at best (there might be some willful denial on his part), we know that Renly clearly intended to murder his brother. He said as much to Catelyn. Just as we know that Stannis' claim to the throne happens to be valid, evidence or no evidence, while Renly's was not, and he knew it.

I didn't read it that way, because I always got the sense that Stannis intended to murder his brother from the very start, whereas Renly was not hostile to Stannis at all until Stannis attacked him, after which he was fine with Stannis falling in battle. It is true that he makes no effort to spare Stannis, but I wouldn't say he just orders his death. I always thought it was more them accepting that Stannis would never be taken alive. Right before Renly says not to desecrate his body, Randyl Tarly asks what they should do if Stannis yields, to which Mathis Rowan laughs. So I always saw it as more them accepting Stannis will never be taken alive. Where as with Stannis, Renly's death was counted upon long in advance. He attacks Storm's End specifically to lure Renly there so he can kill him, because he needs his army. I wouldn't count death in battle as murder.

Renly admitted that he didn't have the best claim, he was going for the throne because he thought he was the most able candidate (and I agree with him). But as soon as he takes the throne I think he could very easily make his claim out to be the legitimate one after all by using the bastard story and saying Stannis was disqualified due to religious reasons, as I said before.

2 hours ago, Phylum of Alexandria said:

My take is that GRRM wrote both Renly and Stannis as unfit to rule

I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree on this point because I think Renly would be one of the best rulers out of all the candidates. I am most likely biased, as my name and profile picture hopefully convey, though I have tried to be objective with my arguments.

Regardless of our differing opinions on Stannis and Renly, you clearly have a great deal of insight into Stannis' character, so I would love to hear what metal you think would fit him better.

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