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How good of a king Robert could have been if he did have the motivation ?


Terrorthatflapsinthenight9
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If ruling and politics didn't bore him that much, and that he had better mental strenght and the actual motivations to be a king, how good do you think that Robert Baratheon could have been at the job ?  

How much more efficient do you think that he could have been as a king with the aforementioned circumstances ?

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Hes sharp.enough and apparently very likeable even to defeated enemies.

 

Roberts spiral is that he needs battle and war to keep him focused so maybe a forray north to vist his old.pal ned to sort out the wildlings every so often  and then a campaign in the summer isles ,maybe one vs stepstone  pirates. Regular sparring with selmy and/even jamie to stay in shape.

 

The problem mentaly he was never fit to govern, he cannot control his impulses (fight eat drink and [email protected]@k) and without limits those made him a  fat  drunk and loose with cash.unable to fight enemies as none exist nor will anyone spar/melee with him properly anymore. ..theres so many things causing his mental and thus physical spiral

He was shaped to sort problems with his fists and hammer...male enemies are to be broken physicaly  and women are soft genteel  things to be bedded and/ or protected..thus he is utterly unprepared to deal with cersei and the evil shit she says and does ! We can see this spills over to violence against her which hes ashamed.off but hes unable to deal with her cold  viciousness any other way!  He never learned to spar verablly etc  To make it worse he sees all her worst characteristics reflected in what he thinks is his eldest son (the kittens incident) and hes haunted by the image of neds sister, a false image of what he thinks a woman should be

He sits at court surrounded by people he has 0 regard for (lf ,pycelle, varys) or his 2 brothers whom he doenst get along with and knows they both look down on him for their own reasons.

The one factor he took pride in is his strength and virility which have badly faded with time, hes let himself go physicaly and probably secretly knows jamie etc could kill him with ease. 

Then he has his father in law, a man whos personality would clash with his whom he is in debt to adding to the unease.

He has varys constantly telling him of the secret targs remaining that could cross and link up with  dorne and/or the reach and threaten his rule to worry about,  on top of the money issue which he openly dismisses as copper counting but hes smart enough to probably worry about it secretly.

Add on we know he for short periods he doted on his bastards until cerseis threats took that joy from him too

 

All in all his mental state by the time ned comes with him is unsuprising.

Edited by astarkchoice
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How good of a king Robert could have been if he did have the motivation ?

Not very good at all.  Motivation is not enough.  Robert did not have the aptitude.  The patience was not there.  The diplomatic skills were lacking.  He was always going to be a womanizer.  He's a less damaging king than Aegon IV, who was also a womanizer.  Hopefully, Robert would not legitimize his bastards. 

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Yeah....not very.  He was a great military commander and that was about the extent of his abilities.  He had little self control, womanized (succession issues always result), absolutely no political acumen.

All that....and his advisors were snakes, with Littlefinger bankrupting the realm on purpose and Varys literally being a foreign agent.

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Robert shouldn’t have been the firstborn Baratheon. He was never meant for ruling, he only cared about war. But caring about ruling wouldn’t necessarily have made him good at it either, he’s got more problems than that. 
Ultimately, I think he should have abdicated his responsibilities at some point and gone east to form his own sellsword company. He’d have been much happier.

Edited by Canon Claude
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I'd say that Robert's main problem as a king wasn't the lack of motivation, but that nearly everyone at his court had his own agenda. All the Lannisters, Varys, Littlefinger, Slynt, Stannis,... were looking for their own interests at best, when not actively working against Robert's rule. Jon Arryn seems to be the only one who was honestly working for him, and he was an aging man.

If Robert had had a loyal Small Council and a decent wife, I'd say he could have made a more than passable king.

8 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

Ultimately, I think he should have abdicated his responsibilities at some point and gone east to form his own sellsword company. He’d have been much happier.

And leave the throne to the sadistic underage Joffrey? Or before, leaving the throne to the stupidly entitled ad intransigent Stannis who doesn't even have a male heir? Any of those would have done much worse than Robert ever did!

 

 

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4 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

 

And leave the throne to the sadistic underage Joffrey? Or before, leaving the throne to the stupidly entitled ad intransigent Stannis who doesn't even have a male heir? Any of those would have done much worse than Robert ever did!

I think he should have abdicated when he turned 16. Forget Lyanna, forget Ned, forget the Stormlands entirely, he would have been just as bad at being a lord as he was at being a king. Just go east and live by the skill of his weapons. Stannis becomes the new lord, so he’s got less reason to grind his teeth so much. I don’t like Stannis either but I find it hard to believe that  he could have done worse than Robert. Robert was one of the absolute worst kings who ever sat on the Iron Throne. He’s a careless glutton like Aegon IV, he barely exercises his power like Aerys I, and he is just as weak-minded and weak-willed as Aenys. Maybe if Rhaegar had had a chance to become king, things would have been much different.

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6 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

I don’t like Stannis either but I find it hard to believe that  he could have done worse than Robert. Robert was one of the absolute worst kings who ever sat on the Iron Throne. He’s a careless glutton like Aegon IV, he barely exercises his power like Aerys I, and he is just as weak-minded and weak-willed as Aenys. Maybe if Rhaegar had had a chance to become king, things would have been much different.

Robert seemed to be good at making some former enemies friends, whereas Stannis would not only be unlikely to forgive the former enemies but also could potentially alienate supporters. The time on the council where he wanted to ban prostitution. Why did he try to implement this policy? Given the way he treated Gilly I doubt he had much sympathy for the prostitutes. It looks to me like an attempt to force his moral standards on everyone else, which is a bit hypocritical given he doesn't stay faithful to his own wife.

And if Stannis started endorsing Melisandre, imagine the trouble that would cause as King! Going by Jaehaerys the King has a duty to defend the Faith.

Unless Stannis had a very good council and very good hand, whose diplomatic abilities were enough to mitigate his harshness and general unlikableness, I don't think he would do very well either.

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On 11/24/2022 at 3:32 PM, Terrorthatflapsinthenight9 said:

If ruling and politics didn't bore him that much, and that he had better mental strenght and the actual motivations to be a king, how good do you think that Robert Baratheon could have been at the job ?  

How much more efficient do you think that he could have been as a king with the aforementioned circumstances ?

If ruling and politics didn't bore him he wouldn't be Bobby B . he might have had a better mental strength if he had his precious Lyanna by his side (assuming Lyanna was over Bob's taking to >1 bed) , but even then he wasn't cut for rule . in the best case scenario , Robert would have been a fine enough Lord with Stannis or someone else able enough as his castellan . 

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1 hour ago, Craving Peaches said:

Robert seemed to be good at making some former enemies friends, whereas Stannis would not only be unlikely to forgive the former enemies but also could potentially alienate supporters. The time on the council where he wanted to ban prostitution. Why did he try to implement this policy? Given the way he treated Gilly I doubt he had much sympathy for the prostitutes. It looks to me like an attempt to force his moral standards on everyone else, which is a bit hypocritical given he doesn't stay faithful to his own wife.

And if Stannis started endorsing Melisandre, imagine the trouble that would cause as King! Going by Jaehaerys the King has a duty to defend the Faith.

Unless Stannis had a very good council and very good hand, whose diplomatic abilities were enough to mitigate his harshness and general unlikableness, I don't think he would do very well either.

That’s why I said I would prefer Rhaegar had become king. If Robert hadn’t been around to get engaged to Lyanna before she eloped, maybe the rebellion wouldn’t have been so devastating. And presumably Rhaegar would have finally had the nerve to remove his father from the throne and take over with the blessings of the great lords who were done with the Mad King. That would have been a preferable scenario to Robert, whose rule ended with the breakout of the worst war that Westeros has seen in a long time. And it’s not even over yet, all while more awful stuff is happening just as the Others arrive to do their own thing.

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1 hour ago, Craving Peaches said:

Robert seemed to be good at making some former enemies friends, whereas Stannis would not only be unlikely to forgive the former enemies but also could potentially alienate supporters. The time on the council where he wanted to ban prostitution. Why did he try to implement this policy? Given the way he treated Gilly I doubt he had much sympathy for the prostitutes. It looks to me like an attempt to force his moral standards on everyone else, which is a bit hypocritical given he doesn't stay faithful to his own wife.

And if Stannis started endorsing Melisandre, imagine the trouble that would cause as King! Going by Jaehaerys the King has a duty to defend the Faith.

Unless Stannis had a very good council and very good hand, whose diplomatic abilities were enough to mitigate his harshness and general unlikableness, I don't think he would do very well either.

I imagine that King Stannis burning his nephew would be bad PR as well.

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

I imagine that King Stannis burning his nephew would be bad PR as well.

I agree, but in a scenario where Robert abdicates or something and so it's Stannis and his council minus the ones Stannis doesn't like, I'm not sure if Edric would be burned, assuming Melisandre is even there in this alternative universe. If she is, she may well suggest burning poor Renly first because he's a more precious sacrifice or something...Of course that would be even worse in the PR department.

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Just to stir the pot, I'll ask:   how do you define a "good king?"

Here in real-life Earth, there have been many examples of people who were good leaders, despite having serious problems in their personal life.  It seems to me that Robert falls in this category.

He led a successful rebellion to depose a mad king; and he managed to keep the realm intact, rather than letting it fracture.  He successfully put down the one rebellion that occurred later (Balon Greyjoy's).  While he sat the Iron Throne, Westeros had 17 years of relative peace and prosperity.  

He had many bastard children, but he never legitimized them or behaved in a way that caused a scandal.

His marriage was an unhappy one, but he stayed married and kept the problems private.

Most of the criticism on this thread has been towards his personal life.  Was he perhaps "a bad man but a good king?"

Thinking back on his reign, I don't find much to criticize.  I think his most notable failure was the accumulation of that massive debt.  We don't know if that was caused by excessive spending on his part, or by Littlefinger embezzling it; probably some of both.  And to some extent, Robert enabled Littlefinger by taking very little interest in the day-to-day matters of the realm, such as its finances.

Also, I was disturbed by Robert's handling of the fight between Joffrey and Arya in AGOT.  He almost got it right:  two children who had a fight, each one telling a different story, let's just let it go.  But then at the last minute, he yielded to Cersei's demand that a wolf be killed.  It was a minor incident, but it makes me wonder how many other bad decisions Robert made, because he yielded to a selfish demand by Cersei or some other powerful person.

Still, for the most part, it seems to me that Robert was a good king, albeit not a great one.

 

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Robert's main problem was that he was nominally the most powerful man in Westeros but in reality was actually pretty powerless. He was a figurehead, a puppet king. House Baratheon did not conquer Westeros. An alliance made up of Arryns, Baratheons, Starks, Tullys and Lannisters overthrew the Targaryens and decided to place Robert on the throne because he had the best claim ... and because he was someone the Arryns, Lannisters and Starks all had influence over and didn't consider a threat. The Arryns, Lannisters and Starks were the most powerful houses in that alliance. How can I tell? The War of Five Kings breaks out because, without Jon Arryn's help, Robert is powerless to stop the Lannisters and the Starks going to war against each other. Which army would he use to bring both houses in line? They are his army. The Strormlands/Crownlands alone are not strong enough. This is why he goes hunting. Because at that point it doesn't matter what he does.

In the incident on the Trident, Robert's instincts were good. He doesn't want to punish children beyond the ordinary parent-child disciplining. But Cersei pushes him and he caves. I imagine most of his reign consisted of him having to do what other people wanted because he didn't have the power to enforce his own will. This sense of powerless probably wearied him and led him to indulge his worst traits, i.e. drinking, womanising, moral cowardice and a complete disregard for his responsibilities. He probably would have been a much better Lord of Storm's End, though, as, with actual power, his more positive traits might have come to the fore: he's not cruel, he can turn enemies into friends, he's brave, he's a good warrior, he can be very intimidating, etc. Or maybe he would also have been a bad lord. We'll never know.

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