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Is Stannis in Denial about Wanting to be King?


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Does anyone else get the feeling that Stannis, despite all his protestations to the contrary, does actually want to be king very much? He denies it and goes on about his duty, but I think inside he would like all the recognition and power in entails. He seems quite bitter about being overshadowed by his brothers. There is also the fact that he has done some questionable things to get a throne he says he doesn't want. I know he goes on and about duty and law, but I think at some point you have to wonder if those are really all that motivates him. And if he was so concerned about duty, why did he abandon Robert?

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3 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

Does anyone else get the feeling that Stannis, despite all his protestations to the contrary, does actually want to be king very much? He denies it and goes on about his duty, but I think inside he would like all the recognition and power in entails. He seems quite bitter about being overshadowed by his brothers. There is also the fact that he has done some questionable things to get a throne he says he doesn't want. I know he goes on and about duty and law, but I think at some point you have to wonder if those are really all that motivates him. And if he was so concerned about duty, why did he abandon Robert?

He denies that he wants the throne?

He sees it as his duty, but I'm sure he also wants to be king. Who wouldn't?

I think Stannis believed he took all the reasonable steps in helping Robert but after JonA was murdered and Robert continued whistling along like nothing was wrong Stannis fled for his life in preparation to fight Lannister 

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With regards to King Stannis, this quote from an interview George R. R. Martin gave always bears repeating:

Quote

And it is important that the individual books refer to the civil wars, but the series title reminds us constantly that the real issue lies in the North beyond the Wall. Stannis becomes one of the few characters fully to understand that, which is why in spite of everything he is a righteous man, and not just a version of Henry VII, Tiberius or Louis XI.

At the end of A Storm of Swords, Stannis, who has been convinced by Davos to help the Nights Watch, admits to Jon that he intends to earn the right to the Iron Throne by saving the realm, rather than demanding it bend to him. That is character growth.

Before, Stannis was rightfully angry at being usurped in the line of succession not only by Roberts illigitimate bastards, but also by his own younger brother, who never had any legal claim to the throne. Perhaps he was in denial at that point about wanting the throne, but I suspect Stannis is telling the truth when he says he doesn't want it. Stannis wants the love and respect of his brothers, but as they are both dead, the Iron Throne just becomes a stand in for all the acknowlegement and respect that has been denied to him. It will never fill the aching need to be loved by Robert and Renly, and I think he knows that, deep down. 

Stannis would not be the first person to lose sight of his own sense of justice and personal values in his blind pursuit of the throne. Better men and women did the similar things as Stannis in the game of thrones. However, it takes a certain type of courage to chose, as Stannis did, to earn the right to rule by fighting to protect his would be kingdom. That alone makes him a worthier person to sit the Iron Throne than any of the other claimants taking part in the War of the Five Kings.

Doesn't mean he'll win, though.

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Stannis wanted to be king, and was willing to let one brother to die, and kill the other.

Do you see any other decent character in his position doing the same? Do you see Bran letting Robb to die, and then killing Rickon to become King in the North?

Do you see Garlan letting Willas to die and then killing Loras to become King ?

Would Ned let Brandon to die and then kill Benjen?

Only evil men like Stannis would do such a thing.

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35 minutes ago, Arthur Peres said:

Stannis wanted to be king, and was willing to let one brother to die, and kill the other.

Do you see any other decent character in his position doing the same? Do you see Bran letting Robb to die, and then killing Rickon to become King in the North?

Do you see Garlan letting Willas to die and then killing Loras to become King ?

Would Ned let Brandon to die and then kill Benjen?

Only evil men like Stannis would do such a thing.

You are aware that Renly was trying to kill Stannis as well? Let's not pretend Renly's hands are clean either. Did Stannis cheat and use some dark f'd up magic, sure. However Renly was making plans on killing his brother as well, with all of his generals, the night before he was murdered by the shadow creature.

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"Want" can be a somewhat slippery concept.  But no man does the things that Stannis did, in pursuit of a goal he doesn't want. 

IIRC there is a place in the dialogue where Stannis says that he "never wanted" -- past tense -- to be king, meaning that he had no desire for it while Robert was king, or the Targaryens before him.  But after Robert died, Stannis felt that he was the rightful king by law; and being a law-abiding sort of person, he dedicated himself to making it happen.

It may well be true that Stannis was driven, not by personal ambition, but by a desire to see that the laws of the realm were followed.  Still, he put his life, and the blood and treasure of many other people, at risk in pursuit of his goal.  No one forced him to do any of this.  So I think it's fair to conclude that he did, in some sense, want to be king.

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8 hours ago, sifth said:

You are aware that Renly was trying to kill Stannis as well? Let's not pretend Renly's hands are clean either. Did Stannis cheat and use some dark f'd up magic, sure. However Renly was making plans on killing his brother as well, with all of his generals, the night before he was murdered by the shadow creature.

The problem I have with the situation is that Renly was not hostile to Stannis at all until Stannis went out of his way to attack his castle and threatened to destroy him. Renly did basically nothing to Stannis (at least from his point of view) and then Stannis shows up out of the blue just attacking him. Stannis opened hostilities so I don't think the two are quite comparable. Renly only becomes fine with Stannis falling in battle after Stannis attacks and threatens him. Stannis meanwhile was planning on killing Renly for some time, it is vital to his plans that Renly dies so he can have his army.

9 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

I think Stannis believed he took all the reasonable steps in helping Robert but after JonA was murdered and Robert continued whistling along like nothing was wrong Stannis fled for his life in preparation to fight Lannister 

I would say it's fair enough that he wants to save his own life but in Stannis' case it seems a bit hypocritical for me. It's okay for him to shirk his duty to save his life, but I bet he expects all the men serving him to put their duty to him before their own lives. He may have had a good reason, but valid reason or not he still failed in his duty to inform Robert of the threat. I don't think he would tolerate self-preservation as an excuse for duty-shirking from one of his own men.

9 hours ago, Nathan Stark said:

However, it takes a certain type of courage to chose, as Stannis did, to earn the right to rule by fighting to protect his would be kingdom. That alone makes him a worthier person to sit the Iron Throne than any of the other claimants taking part in the War of the Five Kings.

I would respect him more if he chose that option from the very start, rather then after most other options were closed to him. His ~5000 men and big fleet would've been a better help. For me him going to aid the Watch, while a good thing, comes off as more of a last resort than just being purely out of the goodness of his heart. However he may not have known until that point, I can't remember when the letters were sent but I think Melisandre probably would have known before. And he may have been aware of the generally bad shape the Watch was in if he was on the Small Council.

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16 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

The problem I have with the situation is that Renly was not hostile to Stannis at all until Stannis went out of his way to attack his castle and threatened to destroy him. Renly did basically nothing to Stannis (at least from his point of view) and then Stannis shows up out of the blue just attacking him. Stannis opened hostilities so I don't think the two are quite comparable. Renly only becomes fine with Stannis falling in battle after Stannis attacks and threatens him. Stannis meanwhile was planning on killing Renly for some time, it is vital to his plans that Renly dies so he can have his army.

Renly wasn't hostile to Stannis, but he wasn't exactly kind to him either. If anything thing he took stealing his brothers birth right for granted and just hoped Stannis would be alright with it. Stannis however was willing to forgive this and even give Renly back his rights and make him his heir. Renly rejected this and basically told his brother "I have more friends, I should be king" and then the two start planning to kill each other. Renly is very much at fault for starting this mess in the first place.

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14 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

Does anyone else get the feeling that Stannis, despite all his protestations to the contrary, does actually want to be king very much? He denies it and goes on about his duty, but I think inside he would like all the recognition and power in entails. He seems quite bitter about being overshadowed by his brothers. There is also the fact that he has done some questionable things to get a throne he says he doesn't want. I know he goes on and about duty and law, but I think at some point you have to wonder if those are really all that motivates him. And if he was so concerned about duty, why did he abandon Robert?

at the beginning yes I think . he claims kingship is his right and his duty . but if he were so dutiful he wouldn't have abandoned Robert knowing he was in danger . Robert would have definitely accepted the claim of Cersei's children's bastardy . as much as Robert didn't care for Stannis , he hated Cersei and was ashamed of Joffrey , he says as much to Ned . however , later on Stannis is reminded of his duty and goes North , so , in that. he becomes truly concerned about his duty. 

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10 hours ago, Nathan Stark said:

With regards to King Stannis, this quote from an interview George R. R. Martin gave always bears repeating:

At the end of A Storm of Swords, Stannis, who has been convinced by Davos to help the Nights Watch, admits to Jon that he intends to earn the right to the Iron Throne by saving the realm, rather than demanding it bend to him. That is character growth.

Before, Stannis was rightfully angry at being usurped in the line of succession not only by Roberts illigitimate bastards, but also by his own younger brother, who never had any legal claim to the throne. Perhaps he was in denial at that point about wanting the throne, but I suspect Stannis is telling the truth when he says he doesn't want it. Stannis wants the love and respect of his brothers, but as they are both dead, the Iron Throne just becomes a stand in for all the acknowlegement and respect that has been denied to him. It will never fill the aching need to be loved by Robert and Renly, and I think he knows that, deep down. 

Stannis would not be the first person to lose sight of his own sense of justice and personal values in his blind pursuit of the throne. Better men and women did the similar things as Stannis in the game of thrones. However, it takes a certain type of courage to chose, as Stannis did, to earn the right to rule by fighting to protect his would be kingdom. That alone makes him a worthier person to sit the Iron Throne than any of the other claimants taking part in the War of the Five Kings.

Doesn't mean he'll win, though.

It’s a strange comment from Martin, as Henry VII and Louis XI were both very capable kings.

Stannis is aware of the threat, but at the same time, he had nowhere else to go.  That does’t make his actions wrong, but he is not motivated exclusively by a sense of duty.

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Just now, SeanF said:

It’s a strange comment from Martin, as Henry VII and Louis XI were both very capable kings.

Stannis is aware of the threat, but at the same time, he had nowhere else to go.  That does’t make his actions wrong, but he is not motivated exclusively by a sense of duty.

Tywin mentions he could have gone to Dorne. As shown in AFFC's, quite a lot of people were not happy with Oberyn's death and wanted to go to war with the Lannisters.

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26 minutes ago, sifth said:

Renly wasn't hostile to Stannis, but he wasn't exactly kind to him either. If anything thing he took stealing his brothers birth right for granted and just hoped Stannis would be alright with it.

But Renly didn't know about the incest, and he couldn't know that Stannis was the 'rightful' king and wouldn't follow Joffrey because Stannis was sulking on Dragonstone for most of the year. By the time Renly finds out about Stannis' claims he's already crowned himself to use the Tyrell armies against the Lannisters. If Stannis wanted Renly's support he should have informed him sooner. 

31 minutes ago, sifth said:

"I have more friends, I should be king" and then the two start planning to kill each other. Renly is very much at fault for starting this mess in the first place.

I think Stannis was planning to kill Renly well before Renly even considered letting him die in battle. He starts planning it in or shortly after the ACoK prologue. Renly doesn't consider letting him die until right before the battle.

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Just now, sifth said:

Tywin mentions he could have gone to Dorne.

Would he really though? He is said to have wanted harsher punishments for all the royalists. Why would he go there? I don't think the Dornish going to war to avenge Oberyn's 'murder' is the same as them fighting to put Stannis on the throne. If anything they probably would've supported Renly eventually, it's mentioned by a few characters.

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1 minute ago, Craving Peaches said:

But Renly didn't know about the incest, and he couldn't know that Stannis was the 'rightful' king and wouldn't follow Joffrey because Stannis was sulking on Dragonstone for most of the year. By the time Renly finds out about Stannis' claims he's already crowned himself to use the Tyrell armies against the Lannisters. If Stannis wanted Renly's support he should have informed him sooner. 

I think Stannis was planning to kill Renly well before Renly even considered letting him die in battle. He starts planning it in or shortly after the ACoK prologue. Renly doesn't consider letting him die until right before the battle.

He's still taking his brother for granted and even after Renly learns of the incest, he chooses to ignore it, because it would get in the way of his claim. Stannis is very much an idiot, for both not helping Robert and later on not coming back to help Ned. All I'm saying is Renly's hands aren't clean either. Both should have listened to Catelyn and worked out their differences after the Lannisters were dealt with.

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1 minute ago, Craving Peaches said:

Would he really though? He is said to have wanted harsher punishments for all the royalists. Why would he go there? I don't think the Dornish going to war to avenge Oberyn's 'murder' is the same as them fighting to put Stannis on the throne. If anything they probably would've supported Renly eventually, it's mentioned by a few characters.

Renly was dead by that point in  the story. They would have supported anyone, so long as it was war against the Lannisters.

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14 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

Does anyone else get the feeling that Stannis, despite all his protestations to the contrary, does actually want to be king very much? He denies it and goes on about his duty, but I think inside he would like all the recognition and power in entails. He seems quite bitter about being overshadowed by his brothers. There is also the fact that he has done some questionable things to get a throne he says he doesn't want. I know he goes on and about duty and law, but I think at some point you have to wonder if those are really all that motivates him. And if he was so concerned about duty, why did he abandon Robert?

Yes.

 

11 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

He denies that he wants the throne?

Yes. 

 

 

11 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

and Robert continued whistling along like nothing was wrong Stannis fled for his life in preparation to fight Lannister 

Robert could not know something was wrong if Stannis categorically refused to fill him in and threw tantrums when he was not made Hand.

 

 

10 hours ago, sifth said:

You are aware that Renly was trying to kill Stannis as well? Let's not pretend Renly's hands are clean either. Did Stannis cheat and use some dark f'd up magic, sure. However Renly was making plans on killing his brother as well, with all of his generals, the night before he was murdered by the shadow creature.

Renly had no intention of killing Stannis, till Stannis forced his hand. 

Stannis went to Storm's End to see Renly dead and get his armies.

 

 

43 minutes ago, sifth said:

Tywin mentions he could have gone to Dorne. As shown in AFFC's, quite a lot of people were not happy with Oberyn's death and wanted to go to war with the Lannisters.

Stannis certainly didn't believe it was a viable choice given Doran's character and we readers know it was a dead end.

The North is meanwhile leaderless and isolated enough to build his strenght in peace. It's a non starter.

 

 

38 minutes ago, sifth said:

Renly was dead by that point in  the story. They would have supported anyone, so long as it was war against the Lannisters.

They clearly wouldn't given that by the end of ADWD they are still, nominally at least, allied with the Lannisters

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14 minutes ago, frenin said:

Yes.

 

Yes. 

 

 

Robert could not know something was wrong if Stannis categorically refused to fill him in and threw tantrums when he was not made Hand.

 

 

Renly had no intention of killing Stannis, till Stannis forced his hand. 

Stannis went to Storm's End to see Renly dead and get his armies.

 

 

Stannis certainly didn't believe it was a viable choice given Doran's character and we readers know it was a dead end.

The North is meanwhile leaderless and isolated enough to build his strenght in peace. It's a non starter.

 

 

They clearly wouldn't given that by the end of ADWD they are still, nominally at least, allied with the Lannisters

Yea and in that ADWD chapter you can tell Dorne is on the verge of war. You can cut the tension with a knife. Also Stannis went to the Wall because Davos convinced him to. Not because he had no other choice. 
 

Renly took his brother for granted and suffered for it. Had they just talked out their differences after the Lannisters were beaten, much good could of been done.

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7 minutes ago, sifth said:

Yea and in that ADWD chapter you can tell Dorne is on the verge of war. You can cut the tension with a knife. Also Stannis went to the Wall because Davos convinced him to. Not because he had no other choice. 
 

Renly took his brother for granted and suffered for it. Had they just talked out their differences after the Lannisters were beaten, much good could of been done.

Doran would likely have executed Stannis.  He is part of the leadership of Robert’s rebellion.  

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4 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Doran would likely have executed Stannis.  He is part of the leadership of Robert’s rebellion.  

Wasn’t he trapped in a castle for most of that rebellion? Not sure how he did much leading from there. Robert, Ned and Jon, were the leaders. 

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18 minutes ago, sifth said:

Yea and in that ADWD chapter you can tell Dorne is on the verge of war.

War? Sure.

Certainly not about warring to put another Baratheon on the throne tho.

Stannis also laks the diplomacy his brothers had. It's a doomed cause.

 

19 minutes ago, sifth said:

Not because he had no other choice. 

Well, he had other choices.

Exile, burning his nephew and hope for the best or just wait till the Redwynes came knocking on his door.

 

20 minutes ago, sifth said:

Renly took his brother for granted and suffered for it.

Eh, so long as Renly didn't give Stannis the armies he wanted, it wouldn't have mattered one bit whether he went against him or was neutral.

Stannis didn't kill Renly because he was usurping him, even tho that obviously played a part, but because Renly had the armies Stannis coveted. So long Renly didn't put his armies to his disposition he would get Renly'd.

 

 

23 minutes ago, sifth said:

much good could of been done.

I'm biased af, i know i don't care. But Stannis isn't kingly material, especially not the entitled, grumpy and arrogant of the beginning of the books.

 

 

 

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