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King Robert's children are not really his leads the remaining Baratheons to rise in rebellion once again.With the death of all of its members, as of 303 AL House Baratheon is extinct, along with its branches House Baratheon of King's Landing and House Baratheon of Dragonstone.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: In the novels, the Baratheons have black hair, but it has been changed to dark brown on the show because this kind of halfway approach looks more authentic on-screen. Ned Stark, when reading through the house's records, still notes that they have black hair.
- Animal Motifs: The traditional sigil of House Baratheon is a black stag on a yellow background, which is most commonly associated with Robert in the series. After Stannis is converted to the faith of the Lord of the Light, his sigil becomes a black stag encased within a red heart surrounded by yellow flames. When Renly allies himself with the powerful House Tyrell, he incorporates the colors of his wife's (and lover's) sigil into his own, so he's represented by a golden stag on a field of green.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: Not as bad as others, but Robert considers Ned more as a brother than his actual brothers, and both Stannis and Renly were determined to fight each other for the throne. Robert even regretfully says aloud that he never really loved his two brothers, though he isn't happy to admit it. Stannis himself later states he didn't love Robert, nor did Robert love him. Renly in turn was belittled by his older brothers for his distaste for combat. From the Books...
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: At the end of Season 6, the Baratheon line is effectively extinguished. The legitimate ones were killed following the Battle of Winterfell, while the King's Landing branch which is Baratheon in-name-only died one by one under different circumstances. All that's left of the once great house is an unknown number of bastard children fathered by Robert. Most of the known ones (except Gendry) were purged by King Joffrey in the beginning of his reign and unlikely to be ever legitimized by the current regime in order to not threaten it.
- Family Theme Naming: Their names have a tendency to start with either R or S.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
- In the current generation, parallels could be made for the Bonapartes or the Julio-Claudian dynasty of The Roman Empire, as a ruling family based on the influence of several siblings after the usurping of the throne of the biggest brother.
- There's some Broad Strokes resemblance to the children of William the Conqueror: he left his first son, Robert, the territory he considered most prestigious, the duchy of Normandy, and left his second son William Rufus his largest and most profitable holding, the throne of England. Robert felt cheated and went to war with his little brother to claim the throne. Rufus died in a hunting accident, at which point their third brother (Henry) entered the stage, and won the war.
- King Robert draws elements from Henry IV of England (a man that usurps the throne from a distant cousin with the force of arms as his sole right) and his successor, Henry V (a tall, muscular, popular warrior and battle commander, who dies early leaving an unfit child as his successor and lays the ground for decades of warfare). Not surprising since the War of the Five Kings draws inspiration from the historical War of the Roses and the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years War, the roots of both being in Henry V's reign. Robert also bears a good deal of resemblance to Henry VIII as King.: a dynamic and charming young man who eventually goes into moral and physical decay as he gets older and eventually ends his life as an obese, paranoid failure.
- The three Baratheon brothers are also a good match for the three Yorkist brothers. Edward IV (Robert Baratheon) a fearsome warrior who never lost a battle who was not as gifted in politics, while Renly and Stannis are inverted sibling order versions of George, Duke of Clarence(Renly) who revolted against his elder brother only to be imprisoned and sentenced to death by him and Richard III (Stannis) who claimed the throne by legal right and sought to declare his nephews as bastards and who likewise enjoys a highly sinister reputation.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Robert is a drunken spendthrift, while Renly is a charismatic administrator, and Stannis is a no-nonsense Determinator.
- Freudian Trio: Robert's the Id, Renly the Ego, and Stannis the Superego.
- Hot-Blooded: One of the few traits that unite all the blood Baratheons (including Robert's bastard son Gendry and Stannis's daughter Shireen) despite their myriad personalities is stubbornness. In their own way, every true Baratheon is headstrong when pursuing their individual passions and set goals despite the consequences and what others tell them. It was only a matter of time and circumstance before this would put them at lethal odds with each other. "Ours Is The Fury" isn't just a simple reference to their hereditary lordship of the Stormlands.
- A House Divided: Two civil wars at the same time. Robert's brothers fight their "nephews" (who they know are not real Baratheons, but claim to be), and they also fight each other.
- Odd Friendship: With House Stark.Catelyn: [to Renly] Our houses have always been close.
- Opposites Attract: The Starks and Baratheons have almost nothing in common. Robert Baratheon (oldest son, groomed for command, irresponsible leader) is best buds with Ned Stark (younger son, groomed as a soldier, responsible leader). Both get arranged marriages. Ned's works, Rob's... doesn't. The Baratheons hate each other, but the Starks love each other. They're still almost allies until Renly dies. This dynamic even carries over to Arya and Gendry. They'd both rather have the opposite life of what they have at the start, and end up backing each other up. And while Arya is uncompromising in pursuing her dream, Gendry is willing to take what breaks he can get.
- Parental Abandonment: When they were very young, Robert and Stannis watched as their parents died in a shipwreck within sight of Storm's End.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Contrary to the books, the sigil stag of the Baratheons carries a crown because of the coronation of Robert as King. In the books, the stag has always been crowned, as it's the legacy of the Storm Kings of House Durrandon to whom they intermarried and adopted their sigil and words.
- Sibling Team: Downplayed. Due to circumstance and perhaps owing to their mutual dislike, all three Baratheon brothers never really had the chance to fight side-by-side in any major conflict. Renly was too young when Stannis followed Robert into war against the Targaryens, and both Stannis and Renly were stuck in Storm's End for almost the entirety of the rebellion. Renly was absent once again on the battlefield during the Greyjoy Rebellion, when Stannis fought under Robert as commander of the Royal Fleet, smashing the Greyjoy armada and pacifying Great Wyk island while Robert took the capital of Pyke. On a less martial note however, all three Baratheon brothers did sit on the royal council during Robert's reign and ruled the Seven Kingdoms together, with Renly as Master of Laws and Stannis as Master of Ships.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: All the current-day Baratheons are genetically predisposed to this.
- Warrior Prince: Stannis and Robert. Renly aspires to be one, but his war days are over before he can fight any battles.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Renly and Stannis go to war with each other instead of marching on King's Landing right away.
King Robert Baratheon
Played By: Mark Addy
"[Robert] was a good man. A great warrior. And a terrible king."King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm at the beginning of the series. Before the series began, Robert led a rebellion against the ruling House Targaryen, after the Mad King Aerys II's eldest son Rhaegar kidnapped Robert's betrothed, Lyanna Stark, Eddard Stark's sister. Robert, Ned, and their allies won the war, making Robert king. Robert slew Rhaegar with his own hand, but Lyanna still died, under mysterious circumstances known only to Ned, who refuses to speak of the experience. Robert is the best friend of and grew up with Ned Stark, as wards of Lord Jon Arryn, who became King Robert's Hand of the King, and whose death triggers the plot of the series.
— Barristan Selmy
- Adaptational Heroism: While it's more "refraining from villainy" than actual heroism, there is no indication in the show that Robert used his Marital Rape License on his wife; which he did in the books.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the books, Cersei was always prejudiced to Robert because of him killing Rhaegar (though the deal-breaker came when he used Lyanna's name with her in bed) and Robert was the one who put in some effort to make it work. In the show, Cersei loved Robert at first, while Robert fell immediately into despair and alcoholism due to Lyanna's death.
- Adaptational Wimp: Downplayed. In the Books Robert fame as a fighter is much more discussed, as is his size and strength.
- Adipose Rex: He used to be much trimmer. Essentially his Badass Decay into one of these is symbolic of how unsuited the kingly life is for him.
- The Alcoholic: Robert has fallen deep into alcoholism and is often seen with a drink in hand.
- Aloof Big Brother: To Stannis and Renly. He points out to Ned Stark that he loves Ned like a brother, but doesn't love either of his actual brothers. Robert is also ignorant of the fact that Renly is gay (which is incredible because Renly's romance with Loras is an Open Secret at court) because he asks his youngest sibling, "Have you ever fucked a Riverlands girl?"
- Anyone Can Die: His death starts the Succession Crisis which is the main plot for Season 2.
- Arranged Marriage: To Cersei, whom he completely despises and is despised by in turn.
- The Atoner: After his hunting accident, he tries to make amends and asks Ned to stop the attack on Daenerys Targaryen. Only his request comes too late.
- Badass Beard: He has a thick beard.
- Badass Decay: An in-universe example. From Warrior Prince to Adipose Rex.
- Bad Boss: Robert bullies underlings like Lancel and Jaime Lannister, and he's fairly indifferent to anyone else.
- Berserk Button: Mentioning the Targaryens around him. His hatred for them is still as fresh and vicious as it was during his rebellion.
- Big Brother Bully: He mocks his youngest brother Renly for not being "manly" enough. Robert admits to Ned that he never loved either of them and he's far closer to him than both of them.
- Big Fun: Despite all his flaws and failings as a ruler, his general amiability among fighting men is the reason why his kingdom held together. In the History and Lore videos, Stannis Baratheon who is usually critical of his brother admits that he had a gift for inspiring loyalty and converting sworn enemies into True Companions by drinking with them and hanging out at bars and brothels.
- Big Good: The leader of the rebellion against the Mad King, which elevated him to King of Westeros. He commands the respect and loyalty of many people across Westeros and manages to achieve a delicate but peaceful balance of the Seven Kingdoms.
- Blood Knight: Deconstructed. His love of hunting and fighting gets him killed in a Hunting "Accident". He gets called out for this by Renly during said hunting trip, who is disgusted by Robert's reminiscing about "the good old days," which was a time when the continent got torn apart by strife and tens of thousands died. It might be best exemplified by his loving monologue about his merciless murder of a Tarly boy, rounded off with some longing nostalgia.Robert: Mine was some Tarly boy at the Battle of Summerhall. My horse took an arrow so I was on foot, slogging through the mud. He came running at me, the dumb high-born lad, thinking he could end the rebellion with a single swing of his sword. I knocked him down with the hammer. Gods, I was strong then. Caved in his breastplate. Probably shattered every rib he had. Stood over him, hammer in the air. Right before I brought it down he shouted, "Wait! Wait." They never tell you how they all shit themselves. They don't put that part in the songs. Stupid boy. Now the Tarly's bend the knee like everyone else. He could have lingered on the edge of the battle with the smart boys, and today his wife would be making him miserable, his sons would be ingrates, and he'd be waking three times in the night to piss into a bowl. Wine!
- Boisterous Bruiser: A jovial, grumpy, and rowdy example. This idea is deconstructed, as it turns out that an appetite for drinking, eating, fighting, and screwing is actually pretty discrepant with running seven kingdoms.
- Brutal Honesty: When asked by Cersei if there was ever a possibility of their marriage working, Robert plainly tells her no.
- Byronic Hero: A deeply flawed hero. Charismatic and jolly but also jaded and brooding.
- Bystander Syndrome: Brushes off Ned pleading for him to spare his daughter's direwolf because his wife would be a pain to him if he intervened.
- Cool Helmet: He doesn't get to wear it, but a gilded helmet decorated with a crown and horns of a stag is spotted in his tent for the Tourney of the Hand.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In spite of becoming a fat, decadent, lecherous, drunken king, he's still no fool. He can still command respect from his subordinates and still knows a lot about war. He's acutely aware of certain things that slip right past several otherwise intelligent characters, like how vulnerable Westeros really is due to the disunity of the Seven Kingdoms.
- Crown of Horns: The usual crown.
- Cuckold Horns: He wears a Crown of Horns, and his own wife is cheating on him.
- Death by Woman Scorned: He and Cersei have hated each other for years, but him informing her that their marriage never had a chance and hitting her (on a separate occasion) is implied to having sped up his death.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Stannis states that this was his brother's great gift in the History and Lore videos. The Greyjoy Rebellion in the backstory led him to bring his former opponents to fight against an external threat; and Robert, bored of the monotony of peacetime, was secretly grateful to get the old fire back to bring the best out of him once again.
- Domestic Abuse: Robert to Cersei; and, although he instantly regrets his action as "not kingly," it's probably a factor in his death.
- Drop the Hammer: His weapon of choice in days gone by.
- Even Blood Knights Have Standards: Despite his love for violence, even he's speechless when he learns the Mad King had been saying "Burn them all" for hours before his death.
- Four-Star Badass: He has a keen military mind and was one of the best warrior before becoming king.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The drinking hunter who'd rather have fun with whores who smell like blackberry jam to Stannis's logical, duty-bound persona or Renly's charismatic, intellectual decision-maker.
- Freudian Excuse: Is his constant womanising due to being in a state of deep unhappiness after the death of Lyanna Stark, the only woman he truly loved; or simply an excuse he lies to himself with, since he was already well-known for being a ladies man before she died? Robert for his part himself expresses doubts about this.
- Freudian Trio: He's the Id of the Baratheon siblings. He was also the Id of the three leaders of the rebellion, with Ned Stark as the Superego and Jon Arryn as the Ego.
- Fatal Flaw: His need to prove he can still fight despite his condition.
- The Gadfly: Likes to evoke awkward moments only to defuse them with a Tension-Cutting Laughter.
- Glory Days: Robert still lives for the days when he was a powerful warrior covered in glory and his love, Lyanna Stark, was still alive. Renly calls him out for glorifying the bloody civil war that ripped the continent apart.
- The Hedonist: His lifestyle is based on seeking instant self-gratification through eating, drinking and whoring.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ned Stark before and during the Rebellion.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Having taken part in the overthrow of the Mad King, he resorts to increasingly unsettling means to keep said king's family from reclaiming the throne. Though, unlike Aerys he does realize that he's going too far, and tries to call off his hit on Daenerys.
- Hidden Depths:
- People often think of him as a drunken fool. Occasionally, Robert does get a moment of clarity and insight, noting how fragile the seven kingdoms are. While others such as Tywin and Pycelle mock him for confusing ruling with battle prowess, Robert Baratheon is fairly shrewd of the real flaws of the realm:Robert: One army, a real army, united behind one leader with one purpose. Our purpose died with the Mad King. Now we've got as many armies as there are men with gold in their purse, and everybody wants something different: Your father wants to own the world. Ned Stark wants to run away and bury his head in the snow. We haven't had a real fight in nine years. Back-stabbing doesn't prepare you for a fight. And that's all the realm is now: back-stabbing and scheming and arse-licking and money-rubbing.
- One example was how Jorah claimed that Robert was fool enough to meet the Dothraki in an open field. But later on, even Robert deems this foolish and points out that the smart thing to do would be to stay within the castle walls. But that's precisely what he's afraid of. See Jerkass Has a Point for more details.
- People often think of him as a drunken fool. Occasionally, Robert does get a moment of clarity and insight, noting how fragile the seven kingdoms are. While others such as Tywin and Pycelle mock him for confusing ruling with battle prowess, Robert Baratheon is fairly shrewd of the real flaws of the realm:
- Hunting "Accident": Technically it is an actual accident... helped along by Lancel Lannister making sure he is well-supplied with (triple alcohol content) wine.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Robert is more accepting of unnecessary bloodshed than Ned Stark, which caused a temporary falling out over the Sack of King's Landing by the Lannisters. From the bonus feature about the Sack of Kings Landing:"Ned called it murder. Murder? It was war! It was war."
- I Was Quite a Looker: He was much more attractive before he became jaded and lazy.
- In Harm's Way: He clearly enjoys the thrill of battle more than the duties of actually being king. Admits to Ned that he'd give up the throne and wander Westeros as a travelling sellsword, if he thought he could get away with it.
- Irony: His entire life seems a huge prank by the gods.
- Leads a war to rescue his kidnapped fiancee. She dies during the war and he ends up stuck with a kingship and a wife he didn't want,
- Despite his achievements and being a good warrior and war leader, he is poor king material in peacetime.
- Fathered plenty of bastard children, but his only trueborn offspring are actually his wife's bastard children.
- He's obsessed with destroying every Targaryen he puts his hands on. But he's unaware that the last Targaryen boy is not only the son of his Archenemy with the woman he loved, but has been well hidden for years by nothing less than his best friend.
- Jaded Washout: While in a much better social position than is the norm in this trope, he totally fits it in all other respects. Robert is utterly miserable, still mourning for Lyanna while drinking himself into an early grave, ignoring the kingdom he's grown to despise and refusing to take any measure of responsibility for the power that was handed to him.
- Jerkass: Robert is generally an obnoxious oaf, but only really mean to the Targaryens and Lannisters, all of whom he sees as guilty by association for the death of Lyanna and his horrific relationship with Cersei, respectively.
- Jerkass Has a Point: His plot to assassinate Daenerys and her child was definitely harsh (and fueled by his own petty hatred for her entire family). But as he later pointed out to Cersei, if the Dothraki chose to invade Westeros with the Targaryens, the results would be catastrophic.Robert: Let's say Viserys Targaryen lands with forty thousand Dothraki screamers at his back. We hole up in our castles. Wise move. Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field. They leave us in our castles. They go from town to town, looting and burning. Killing every man who can't hide behind a stone wall, stealing all our crops and livestock, enslaving all our women and children. How long do people stand behind their absentee king? Their cowardly king hiding behind high walls? When do the people decide that Viserys Targaryen is the rightful monarch after all?
- Kavorka Man: Granted, he he used to look good. But to this day (likely due to him being king), he still gets a lot of girls.
- Knight Errant: Admits that he'd prefer the life of a travelling sellsword to being King, any day of the week.
- Large Ham: Mark Addy is clearly having the time of his life. Especially in public, Robert is prone to grandiose declarations and drunken boasts.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Stannis notes that Robert had this quality. He refused his advice and marched West and suffered his only defeat at the Battle of Ashford, at the hands of Randyll Tarly.
- Loving a Shadow: In a rare moment of clarity he admits this to Cersei, noting that it's been so many years that he doesn't even remember Lyanna's face anymore but she was the one thing he wanted and he had it taken from him.Robert: You want to know the horrible truth? I can't even remember what she looked like. I only know she was the one thing I ever wanted. Someone took her away from me... and seven kingdoms couldn't fill the hole she left behind.
- The Mourning After: He still mourns the loss of Lyanna Stark, his late fiancé. To the point of drunkenly calling Cersei Lyanna on their wedding night, igniting her spite against him.
- Mangst: Cersei says that he beat his hands bloody on the wall in anguish after their first infant son died of fever.
- Mean Boss: He keeps Jaime posted on his door while loudly cheating on Cersei and inflicts many torments on Lancel such as ordering him to get a "breastplate stretcher" which, obviously, doesn't actually exist. Considering Lancel's Butt Monkey status as a toady, it's more funny than cruel.Ned: The breastplate stretcher?
Robert: How long till he figures it out?
Ned: Maybe you should have one invented.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The death of Rhaegar Targaryen at Robert's hands. Rhaegar was by all accounts considered a sane, popular, and highly charismatic man, who many in Westeros looked forward to eventually taking the throne. Instead, Robert took the throne for himself in conquest and in less than 20 years, managed to bankrupt the entire realm and sow the seeds that would lead to the outbreak of Civil War after his death. Then again, the Mad King himself was shaping up to be one of the better Targaryen kings before he rather suddenly went insane, so we can't be sure Rhaegar's future didn't hold similar insanity.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: To King Edward IV, of the House of York (who also inspired Robb Stark), a brave warrior king who became a fat man harassed by schemers at court.
- Nostalgia Filter: He repeatedly longs for the "good old days." Renly finally calls him on this in "A Golden Crown".Robert: [chuckles] Those were the days.
Renly: [angrily] Which days, exactly? The ones where half of Westeros fought the other half and millions died? Or before that, when the Mad King slaughtered women and babies because the voices in his head told him they deserved it? Or way before that, when dragons burned whole cities to the ground!?
- Not So Different:
- Ned calls him out on his plans to have Daenerys killed as being no better than "The Mad King." When arguing to assassinate Daenerys, he asserts that what keeps the peace is "fear and blood," which sounds a lot like the Targaryen house words of "Fire and Blood."
- Another deeply ironic case: he is not keen of the previous king's descendants and goes after the teenage Daenerys and her unborn child when he learns she's pregnant. There is also a high probability that he would — by Ned's (AKA the only person who still has a somewhat good opinion on Robert) words — murder Cersei's bastard children if he learned the truth about them. Shortly after his "father's" death, Joffrey orders the execution of Robert's bastard children, because he's not too keen of having the descendants of the previous king around.
- Parental Neglect: Especially with Joffrey. He even admits this in his deathbed in front of him. He also ignores his numerous — and real— bastard children. Seeking out contact with them would probably reflect badly on his position, but he doesn't even make any arrangements to make sure they would be provided for in his absence. note
- The Peter Principle: The self-promotion variety: a terrible administrator for life. As Renly and Barristan point out, good warriors don't make good kings by default, since warring and ruling are two completely different beasts. He is called a poor administrator who attended three Small Council meetings in seventeen years, rarely paid attention to his advisors and was a less than stellar husband in a position that requires a decent marriage to ensure stability when it's time to transfer power. The moment he dies everything falls to pieces.
- Poisonous Friend: While it's not done maliciously, Catelyn Stark notes that Robert has a tendency to lead Ned into trouble. Robert showing up and dragging Ned into danger is, in fact, the thing that kicks off the entire series.
- Pyrrhic Victory: His rebellion resulted in him becoming king, but the woman whose abduction was his entire impetus for rebelling died, and he was left married to someone he despises.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: When Ned resigns as Hand of the King, Robert completely loses his temper.
- Really Gets Around: Has a lot of bastard children to a lot of different women.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: In "The Kingsroad", he stops drinking for long enough to point out that children fighting is normal and not something that requires royal intervention. (Though this may be because it was impossible to take any action that wouldn't upset either his wife or his best friend). The rest of the time? Not so much.
- Rebel Leader: He was this when he waged a war against the Mad King.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red Oni to Ned's Blue Oni. Unlike his modest and even-tempered colleague, he's very hot-blooded and impulsive by nature well into his old age.
- Revenge: His intense hatred for the Targaryens stems from Rhaegar Targaryen's kidnapping of his late betrothed Lyanna Stark.
- Revenge Before Reason: Even the mention of the Targaryens can drive him into a frothing rage. While there are pragmatic reasons to send assassins after Daenerys, he does not care about them and just wants to see her family exterminated. This is presumably the reason why Ned Stark hid and protected his nephew Jon Snow, the son of Ned's sister Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen in Winterfell, passing him off as his illegitimate son.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He was — before he became a royal. These days, he does as little as humanly possible that doesn't involve food, strong drink or women, preferably all three. Then again, those glory days were before he was a royal.
- Selective Obliviousness: Though he's shown that he is primarily interested in hunting, whoring, and gambling, Robert is not a stupid man — as evidenced by his Hidden Depths and his occasional status as a royal who actually does something, yet in a world where blood so often makes people Color-Coded for Your Convenience he is unable to see that Joffrey and his other children bear no phenotypical resemblance to the Baratheon family and in fact have traits that are exclusively Lannister. This could possibly be forgiven if it were the case with only one child and coloring was evenly spread amongst his other two children like the Starks, but ALL of his children are blond.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: See Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling.
- Seven Deadly Sins: His lust alienates his family; and his excessive drinking (gluttony), sloth, wrath and pride all lead him to an early grave.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: He acts before he thinks, longs for the good old days of killing things, and cheats on his wife with numerous whores, many of whom have produced bastard children. Contrast with Renly and Stannis.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Stannis feels this way.
- Unwanted Spouse: He has never loved Cersei, and has no problem saying it to her face. It's to the point where it's a bitter joke for the both of them when Cersei quips that their loveless marriage is the only thing holding the kingdoms together.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Via Arranged Marriage. This wasn't true when Cersei and he first wed, but he let himself get fat and lazy.
- The Usurper: He's called this in-universe by the Targaryens.
- Vengeance Feels Empty: Even though he killed Rhaegar Targaryen, who he blamed for kidnapping his beloved Lyanna Stark, he still seems unable to take any satisfaction in it, as he mentions killing Rhaegar in his dreams every night and still finds no peace.
- War Is Glorious: This is how Robert likes to portray his warrior days to other people. Subverted in that in odd moments of clarity it's clear it's not so much war itself but the purpose war gave him. In fact when recalling his first kill in battle, his boisterous attitude noticeably falters as he's inadvertently dragged up an unpleasant memory.
- Would Hurt a Child: After the Lannisters killed the Targaryen children, Robert pardoned and condoned Tywin Lannister's offer of loyalty, much to Ned Stark's horror, which resulted in a rift between them. As king, he is fully willing to kill Daenerys and her unborn child. The very fact that would hurt any child with Targaryen blood that he could get his hands on is what has prevented Ned from ever bringing up Jon Snow's true identity, as Ned spent his life protecting Jon from Robert.
- He later regrets this and asks Ned to cancel this last order but it's too late — though, luckily, the assassination of Daenerys fails anyway.
King Stannis Baratheon
Played By: Stephen Dillane
"It wasn't the Boltons defeated Stannis, but Stannis himself. I loved the man. He lifted me up and made me something. But he had demons in his skull whispering foul things."Middle brother between Robert and Renly and the Lord of Dragonstone. As Robert Baratheon died without legitimate issue, he is the rightful King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm. However, his throne has been usurped by the Baratheons of Kings Landing, bastards born of incest between Cersei and Ser Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer. Upon receiving Lord Stark's information about the true parentage of King Joffrey, Stannis shares the secret with every lord in Westeros and presses his claim, and remained stubborn and defiant despite near-constant reversals and imminent defeat. Eventually, he responds to the summons of the Night's Watch and became the only King claimant to recognize the importance of the threat of the White Walkers. He was eventually defeated in Battle outside the walls of Winterfell by Ramsay Bolton.
- 0% Approval Rating: Stannis lacks the charm both his brothers possess, and thus hasn't been able to attract many noble houses to his cause through diplomacy. Several characters insist that his rigid and unpopular personality would make him a terrible ruler, though most of these people are rivals for the throne and corrupt schemers like Littlefinger.
- 24-Hour Armor: Close enough. There are very few scenes of Stannis wearing anything aside from the black-grey plate and mail armor with the sigil of the Flaming Heart on his chest, and even the robes he wears have metal plates mounted to the chest.
- Achilles in His Tent: At the start of Season 3, Stannis is holed up in Dragonstone and refuses to see or talk to anyone except Melisandre.
- Adaptational Badass: Stannis is a skilled commander and tactician as in the books, but here he is also a Master Swordsman who leads from the front and kills dozens of Lannister soldiers during the Battle of the Blackwater and later survives a cavalry charge, killing many, before ending up wounded by the Boltons before Brienne finds him.
- Adaptational Intelligence: Inverted — his great intellect and knowledge is vastly reduced from the books where he was the best read of the Baratheon brothers (with Renly, apparently taking this role in the show). His role in the investigation of the true heritage of Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen is gone. Book!Stannis and Jon Arryn were researching this for a long time and Ned reaps the fruits of this work. TV!Stannis learns from Shireen about the Dance of the Dragons when the first mention of that event was when he discussed it with Davos in the books.
- Adaptational Villainy: On the whole, the show's version of Stannis is a Character Exaggeration of Stannis's flaws at the expense of his more frequently displayed virtues. In one featurette, D.B. Weiss admits he dislikes Stannis. This is also compounded by the fact that many of Stannis' enemies (Tyrells, Renly, Varys) are given Adaptational Heroism.
- The nuances, such as moments when he is more moderate than his wife's retinue (who introduced R'hllor worship to Dragonstone) are lost. Stannis isn't a fanatical R'hllor worshipper, he sees Melisandre as a sorceress and believes only in her magical abilities but is far less rigid about other aspects of her faith. He also outright forbids burning people for being "unbelievers" pointing out that if he did that he would have no army. While Human Sacrifice is part of R'hllor worship, Stannis never burns anyone purely for the sake of fanaticism, rather he punishes rapists, cannibals or in the case of his former Hand, outright betrayal and conspiring with the Lannisters. In the show, Stannis burns Shireen in a scene that has no equivalent in the books, and is logistically impossible as of A Dance with Dragons.From the Books
- A key instance that is Adapted Out is his Character Development. Book!Stannis is intended to be a little unsympathetic at first, but eventually proves himself to be, as per Word of God, "a just man" when he saves the Night's Watch for altruistic reasons. In the show, his visit to save the Wall comes because Melisandre shows him a vision of him fighting in the snow, and this ends up removing the selfless nature of this action.
- Alliterative Family: With his wife Selyse and their daughter Shireen.
- Aloof Big Brother:
- To Renly. Stannis has somewhat fond memories of the child Renly used to be. From the books...
- Robert never got along with Stannis either, Stannis says in "The North Remembers" that "I didn't love him. He didn't love me." From the books...
- Ambiguous Disorder: Some of his defining traits (social awkwardness, limited emotional display, blunt honesty, logical thinking, high strategic skills as noted by the other characters) are stereotypically associated with Asperger's syndrome, while others (lack of flexibility, by-the-book behavior, tendency to ruminate, stubborness) are typical of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.
- Ambition Is Evil: What ultimately does him, as Benioff himself stresses. Despite having alleged noble ends, Stannis is bound and determined that absolutely no one but him should sit on the Iron Throne, and every time he has to choose between ambition and his family (or his honor, or his principles) he chooses ambition. Ultimately this results in his downfall, as even hired sellswords can't stomach the lengths to which he is willing to go and abandon him en masse, leading to his defeat by the Boltons and execution at the hands of Brienne.
- Anti-Villain: Becomes one due to him having fairly noble goals, yet he still sacrifices Shireen to R'hllor to ensure his victory over the Boltons.
- Arranged Marriage: To Selyse of House Florent.
- Authority Equals Asskicking:
- After his navy is destroyed, he leads the charge into King's Landing himself, killing several Lannister soldiers with ease. His men actually have to drag him kicking and screaming off the battlefield once it becomes clear that they have lost the battle.
- Prior to Robert's death and the War of the Five Kings, Stannis was the Master of Ships on the King's Small Council. Under his command, the Royal Fleet soundly smashed the Ironborn fleet during the Greyjoy Rebellion.
- Badass Beard: Grows his stubble into a regal beard while campaigning in the cold North.
- Badass Boast: He gives some very intimidating boasts, and more often than not he can back them up as shown in Blackwater where he leads by example.Joffrey, Renly, Robb Stark, they're all thieves. They'll bend the knee or I'll destroy them.
My enemies have made my kingdom bleed. I will not forget that. I will not forgive that. I will punish them with any arms at my disposal.
The Baratheons say Ours is the Fury. I will show them; fury burns.
- Badass Cape: Frequently seen with one.
- Bait the Dog: In the 4th and early 5th season, Show!Stannis seemed to be recovering from his Adaptational Villainy, being more chummy than usual with Jon Snow, having a Pet the Dog moment with Samwell Tarly, invoking Ned Stark's memory as a Big Good and being more overty fatherly to Shireen than in the books. Then Stannis burns Shireen which, despite it being a Sadistic Choice forced by desperation and madness, stresses Stannis as a Lord of Light fanatic.
- Beard of Evil: By the time he burns Shireen at the stake his Perma-Stubble has become a thick bushy beard.
- Beware the Honest Ones: Stannis is feared by schemers like Littlefinger and Varys for this reason. His refusal to compromise and his sense of self-righteousness means he will be less amenable to providing an environment for their unhindered scheming. Cersei even laments to Sansa during the Battle of Blackwater, that she would have fallen back and relied on seducing anyone else but knows it would be useless against Stannis.
- Big Bad: In Season 2, as the self-declared enemy of the Starks, Lannisters, and Tyrells alike. His pending invasion of King's Landing is the major plotline for King's Landing in Season 2, as Tyrion attempts to halt him to save the city. However, the Lannisters are supporting Joffrey and spend the season fighting the Starks, therefore it is ambiguous whether he should really be considered the villain here. Likewise the Tyrells show they don't care whose King just so long as they can get more power.
- Big Brother Bully: According to Renly, Stannis frequently berated his younger brother for not being a warrior.
- Big Damn Heroes: In "The Children".
- Big Good: He's considered the greatest threat to the Lannisters.
- Big "NO!": In "Blackwater", his yelling at his retreating soldiers to stand and fight quickly devolves into this.
- Brutal Honesty: He doesn't hide his dislike for Robert and calls Jaime the "Kingslayer", but he also insists that Jaime be called "Ser", since he's still a knight.
- Cain and Abel: He is the Cain to Renly's Abel. Stannis cites it as a precedent when Davos tries to defend Gendry by invoking that blood is Thicker Than Water.
- The Cassandra:
- During the rebellion, Stannis told Robert not to go so far west so soon, Robert never listened and got defeated by Randyll Tarly for it in the Battle of Ashford, which directly lead to the Tyrell siege of Storm's End, the cause of much misery and slights to Stannis.
- Stannis counsels Jon not to keep his enemies close. Jon tries the opposite approach with Alliser Thorne and is assassinated for it.
- The Cavalry: After spending Season 4 trying to get funds and men for his cause, he is able to become this in "The Children", using a pincer attack to effectively rout and capture the wildling army.
- Character Tics: Grinds his teeth and scowls a lot.From the Books
- The Chosen One:
- Melisandre initially believed her visions told her that Stannis was the Lord of Light's chosen hero.Melisandre: You will betray the men serving you, you will betray your family, you will betray everything you once held dear... and it will all be worth it, because you are the Son of Fire, you are the Warrior of Light.
- When she realized her mistake, Melisandre abandons Stannis and experiences a crisis of faith only for her to realize that it was Jon Snow who was the Prince Who Was Promised.
- Melisandre initially believed her visions told her that Stannis was the Lord of Light's chosen hero.
- Conscience Makes You Go Back: At first, he makes it clear he has no problem leaving Davos to rot in a cell and letting Melisandre sacrifice Gendry. He changes his mind and releases Davos to give Davos a chance to convince him to spare Gendry.
- Combat Pragmatist: He might join a war where he has the smallest army because Law says so, but he's not above using witchcraft to quickly assassinate his enemies behind the lines rather than suicidally charging against them in the field.Stannis: Cleaner ways don't win wars.
- Composite Character: In the books it's Guyard Morrigen who leads the vanguard at the battle of Blackwater. In the show it's Stannis himself.
- The leading from the front and being the first one to climb the ladder up the wall is an aspect taken from the book version of young Robert Baratheon.
- The Comically Serious: In the rare moments of levity in his appearances, Stannis fills this role.
- Cosmic Plaything:
- To the Red God. Melisandre stated that her visions told her that Stannis was the Prince Who Was Promised and she genuinely did believe he met the conditions as per her visions. Stannis initially doubted this himself but sponsored her out of hope for some measure to create loyalty among his small group of supporters, but gradually came to believe that it was his destiny to protect the North from the White Walkers and liberate Winterfell. In the end, it turned out that Melisandre was terribly mistaken. It would be Jon Snow's destiny instead.
- Another example is the fact that when young Shireen was affected by grayscale, Stannis went out of his way to save her life and did the best he could to give her a normal and happy childhood. In the end, he was made to believe that he had to sacrifice and undo one of the few noble and good actions of his life.
- Curbstomp Battle: Defeats Mance Rayder's host of 100,000 with hardly a single casualty among his ~3,000 remaining men, all mounted. Factors in this include 1 — the wildlings were focused entirely on the Wall to the south, so they were expecting a major new enemy to surprise them from their eastern flank about as much as they were expecting the sun to rise in the west; 2 — they'd been fighting the whole night so many were still resting in their own camp; 3 — even if they'd been prepared, the wildlings aren't very organized, and have zero experience fighting heavy cavalry. Stannis's army, in contrast, caught them in a disciplined pincers movement with two mounted columns.
- He also ends up on the receiving end of one in his last fight — deserted by his sellswords who stole the remaining horses, he and the rest of his army are caught out on flat ground by a larger mounted force and quickly surrounded. Given his nature and the futility of surrendering to the Boltons, he simply draws his sword and walks forward.
- Deadpan Snarker: With a great emphasis on deadpan, there are times when the man is capable of producing dry and voluntary humour.Stannis: They don't have enough men to raid a pantry.
- Death by Irony: His bid for the throne was driven by his sense of duty as he was the legitimate heir. In the end he's killed by Brienne in the name of her duty to Renly. Lampshaded by his Famous Last Words.
- Death Glare: His typical reaction when he's angry.
- Death Seeker: In "Mother's Mercy", he's just sacrificed his own daughter, lost half his men, and been abandoned by Melisandre. It's quite clear that later on in the episode when he sees the massive Bolton army charging towards him he has no chance, but faces it head on anyway. Comes up again when he encourages Brienne to execute him, with a note of bemused contempt.
- Defiant to the End: When Brienne finds him, he's wounded and unable to stand up; nevertheless, he's completely dismissive of her and simply tells her to get over with it.
- Despair Event Horizon: Hardly noticeable given his stoic nature, but he crosses it as Shireen is sacrificed.
- Determinator: He may have the smallest army or the tiniest power base and suffer a most devastating defeat, Stannis is a man who will not relinquish his right to the throne. He will fight to the bitter end and then some.Davos: As long as Stannis lives, the war is not over.
- The Dreaded: Has this reputation amongst his sensible enemies at King's Landing, thanks to being a proven, uncompromising leader and soldier who has also developed the habit of burning his enemies alive. King Joffrey is an exception, eager to defy the good name of his uncle in the field of battle and give him a red smile. You can imagine Stannis's terror.Varys: I am trying.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: It's essentially his fate:
- After his victorious and terrible defense of Storm's End, Robert gave Storm's End to Renly, who was a young boy at the time. Stannis abided by his duty, but Robert's call embittered him. Renly whose life Stannis saved as a young boy, ends up repaying his gratitude by rebelling against him because he has "a personality of a lobster".
- He even gets this posthumously, despite fighting the Boltons and dying to liberate Winterfell, Sansa dismisses him as a loser who got what was coming to him. The wildlings resent him for executing their leader, Mance Rayder, though Stannis wanted to integrate them into the Seven Kingdoms and make them part of his kingdom (albeit, he required them kneel to him as their king, which went against their beliefs and came at the cost of giving up their sovereignty). The Northern lords who Stannis appealed to repeatedly snubbed him and left the North to the Boltons while these lords are Easily Forgiven by Jon and Sansa after they too are snubbed by most of these lords when Jon and Sansa seek to take back their home, Winterfell, from the Boltons. Jon, aside from housing Stannis and his troops for a time at Castle Black, doesn't show much gratitude to Stannis for saving the Night's Watch from Mance.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Stannis wouldn't strictly qualify a "evil" but he is seen as villainous by other "good" characters, namely Brienne. Nonetheless, Stannis was the only king claimant to promote individuals on merit, welcome foreign religions into Westeros and his general focus is reform and purging corruption. He likewise offers Jon Snow legitimacy, but he makes this offer in order to win the North's support via Jon, a son of Ned Stark, requiring Jon to pledge allegiance to him, which Jon ultimately turns down out of duty to the Night's Watch. More importantly, he offers the wildlings — who are trying to come south — rights as subjects in his kingdom, but he would require the wildlings to kneel to him as their king, accept his rule, and give up their status of being a free people, but this is more than what most kings or lords in the Seven Kingdoms would do.
- Establishing Character Moment: Grimly accepting his role as The Chosen One in a ceremony hosted by Melisandre, followed by a meeting to redact his claim to the Iron Throne. Very dour, Will Not Tell a Lie, a by-the-book man who will not compromise.Stannis: Joffrey, Renly, Robb Stark, they're all thieves. They'll bend the knee or I'll destroy them.
- Evil Uncle: Subverted: he wants Joffrey's throne, but Joffrey isn't the biological son of his brother Robert. Played straight in Season 3, when he contemplates burning his biological nephew, Robert's bastard son Gendry, to gain magical advantage for his campaign.
- Expy: Along with Tyrion Lannister, Ned Stark and Theon Greyjoy, he's one for Richard III. Stannis comes closest to the historical Richard though, in that — like Richard III — he discovers that he has a legal claim to the throne via the dubiousness of the issue of the royal children, wishing to claim it by right, despite not being a popular ruler. Similarly, thanks to the company he keeps, he also gets a reputation as an Evil Uncle. Also, Stannis wins support in the North after saving them from attackers beyond the Wall. In real life, Richard III was known during his brother's reign for his successful campaigns against the Scots, who were often attacking the North.
- Face Death with Dignity: On his last legs, he manages to kill two more of Bolton's men before encountering Brienne and encouraging her to fulfill her duty to Renly, and at no point whatsoever does he beg or try to talk his way out of it. Earlier, he willingly faces Bolton's army head-on, despite being vastly surrounded and outnumbered.
- Fallen Hero: He was once the honorable commander who held Storm's End for days without food. However, repeated snubs and disrespect forces him to rely on the blood magic of Melisandre has slowly caused him to compromise all of his ideals.
- Famous Last Words: "Go on...do your duty."
- To the unlawful King Joffrey Baratheon. Stannis is the man who epitomises Authority Equals Asskicking and has to be literally dragged out from a lost battle, while Joffrey is a Dirty Coward braggart who turns tail in the heat of the same battle in which he's only observing anyway.
- He's also one for Tyrion Lannister, the disliked, maligned, underestimated second son Overshadowed by Awesome elder brother; and facing opposition and betrayal from a Too Clever by Half sibling, who is ungrateful and ignorant to all of his accomplishments and sacrifices.
- Lets see. In the shadow of a more charismatic brother who is heir to the family castle. Ridiculously dutiful, stubborn and dedicated to justice. Breaks his vows with a redheaded woman, constantly dresses in black and doesn't really seem to care if the people he surrounds himself with are noble-born or not as long as they are useful.Nope, doesn't sound the least bit familiar◊.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Stannis is logical and duty-bound, whereas Robert is a binge-drinking alcoholic and who has gotten the kingdom in a vast amount of debt. While Robert is a great warrior, Stannis played major roles in his campaigns, essentially winning the Greyjoy Rebellion by smashing the Iron Fleet at Fair Isle and then suppressing Old Wyk, the largest of the Iron Islands. From the Books
- Four-Star Badass: Well known as a competent soldier and commander. He shows it well at the Battle of Blackwater, and again at the Battle of the Wall.
- Freudian Excuse: His aloof no-nonsense nature comes from having his own contributions to the Kingdom neglected by Robert, which along with leaving him bitter, left him with a strong sense of self-righteousness and a distaste and hostility towards more superficially charismatic heroes, charmers and people who say more than they do. On the other hand, this also plays a factor in his friendship with Davos: it's hardened him to becoming meritocratic to a fault, perfectly willing to make Davos his Hand to the King despite being a Working-Class Hero in a time of deep class strife.
- Freudian Trio: He's the Superego of the Baratheon siblings.
- Frontline General: Demonstrates unequivocally at the Battle of Blackwater that he leads purely by example. The fact that he has to be literally dragged away from the frontline after losing the battle is evidence of this in no uncertain terms.
- Get It Over With: When Brienne sentences him to death, he's clearly not giving a darn about it. He simply tells her to do her duty.
- The Ghost: He never appears in the first season, and is only occasionally talked about by other characters. Stephen Dillane portrays him from Season 2 onwards.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Figuratively with Davos and Melisandre vying for influence over Stannis. It may be an Invoked Trope, or it may just be coincidence but it sure seems to come up a lot. When Stannis and Davos speak on the ship to King's Landing, Davos walks along with him on his right side. When Stannis looks into the flames at Mel's urging, she is clutching his left shoulder. Melisandre even dresses in bright red, while Davos wears humble clothing. At first played straight, then subverted in "Mhysa". While trying to decide on a new course of action, Melisandre and Davos are balanced on either side of him, out of focus in the background, over top of his shoulders, each one trying to pull him another way. However, this is shortly subverted when Melisandre agrees with Davos about going to defend the Wall, which makes it basically the first time in the entire show that they've ever agreed (even they look surprised).
- Gory Discretion Shot: The scene cuts as Brienne is swinging her sword. The showrunners admitted that they felt it would be "gratuitous".
- Grammar Nazi: Injustice will be punished, usurping would-be kings must be made to kneel... and it's "fewer fingers", not "less fingers".
- Gray Eyes: Unlike his blue-eyed book counterpart, TV!Stannis has gray eyes, which reflect his cold and strong-willed personality.
- Heel Realization: He undergoes this after he's forced to sacrifice Shireen. He hates himself for doing so, but goes on with it anyway.
- Heir Club for Men: Stannis doesn't have a son, only a sickly daughter, and he doesn't get on with his wife, so the odds of a legitimate son being born are slim and that plays a big role in their tension. From the Books...
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Has a barely notable one when he sees Davos's ship burn down in wildfire, and a much more obvious one when he sees what appears to be his dead brother Renly riding to the rescue of King's Landing in "Blackwater". By the Season 3 premiere, he has hit rock bottom, letting Melisandre burn "heretics" as she wishes and his Perma-Stubble near-reaching Beard of Sorrow levels.
- Heroes Love Dogs: Stannis mentions his affection for dogs — "loyal creatures" in his eyes. Played with in that during the Siege of Storm's End, after horses and cats had been consumed, he and his men were forced to eat all the hounds in the castle's kennels in order to survive.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: As far as the War of the Five Kings goes, Stannis is the one in the right, since Joffrey being a bastard makes him Robert's rightful heir as his eldest brother. He's also the only one to come to the aid of the Night's Watch when they put a call out to all of Westeros. Despite this, his cold and stern personality, combined with the concern over his worship of the Lord of Light, means very few respect him and fewer love him.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Davos, who's his Only Friend.
- Hidden Depths: Keeping Davos Seaworth at his side is a strong indicator that Stannis isn't a bad guy at heart. He respects loyalty and honesty even when it comes from a commoner and when his powerful allies criticize him for it. He states loudly that he has no problem killing Gendry, but Davos calls him out on it saying if that was true he would have just done it. Instead, he came to Davos and told him what he was going to do, just so Davos could talk him out of it, proving he isn't so indifferent after all. Not only that, but Stannis's relationship with Shireen firmly establishes that despite Stannis being cold, authoritarian, and fairly harsh, he truly does love and care for his daughter.
- History Repeats:
- A king who gets advice from both a woman with Black and White Insanity who uses sex as a weapon and his rational best friend, while more often than not ignoring the latter. Yup, Stannis is Robert's brother alright.
- Though he would likely bristle at the comparison, his burning of dissenters is remarkably similar to Aerys Targaryen at the end.
- Stannis shares with Robert the hardships of controlling the North, even with a Stark by his side, as he points out to Jon Snow, who he tries to legitimize to help win the North over, but Jon refuses out of a sense of duty.
- Hold the Line: Stannis's defence of Storm's End during the Rebellion despite dire straits and no support kept Robert's Rebellion alive and tangled the powerful Tyrells for almost a year. Had Storm's End fallen it would have been a critical blow to Robert's legitimacy, similar to Robb Stark losing Winterfell, and depending of the timing, could have finished his campaign to defeat the Mad King.
- Humiliation Conga: His last day as King. He's not exactly written-off gracefully; Stannis finds out that half his army has deserted him overnight, that his wife has committed suicide, that Melisandre has abandoned him and then he comes on the receiving end of the single most one-sided Curb-Stomp Battle in the show, lacking even Mance Rayder's excuse of being in the middle of parley with Jon Snow. To top it all, he then gets killed by Brienne in the name of Renly, who she calls "the rightful King" despite Stannis basing his entire campaign on being the only contender with a legitimate legal claim.
- Iconic Sequel Character: Does not appear in the series until Season 2.
- Informed Ability: Stannis is repeatedly referred to as an experienced battle commander, probably the best in Westeros. What few battles he participates in on-screen do not go his way for one reason or another; his actual record is pretty awful.
- Informed Flaw: Renly claims Stannis would never be willing to negotiate. However in the meeting they'd just had Stannis did try to negotiate and offered Renly very reasonable terms which would probably end up making Renly King anyway. Likewise, the showrunners insist that Stannis' key flaw is "ambition" when he tells Davos that he didn't want the Iron Throne in Season 3 but feels he has to because its his duty and likewise, saw the circumstances that led to Shireen's sacrifice as a Cold Equation.
- In Harm's Way: He accompanies his troops to King's Landing and personally leads them to storm the battlements.
- It's All About Me: As with his younger brother Renly, Stannis is apparently sincere in his claims to care about the well-being of the common people but ultimately his desire to be king is motivated by Pride rather than duty to the realm. He rejects completely an opportunity to ally with his brother and Robb Stark and instead has his brother assassinated with blood magic out of a misguided belief that he alone can defeat the Lannisters. After his defeat on the Blackwater he abandons restraint entirely and allows Melisandre to burn whoever she pleases, and from there he resorts to extreme measures to secure his claim.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Says in the Histories and Lores section on the Greyjoy Rebellion that he would have executed Balon Greyjoy after their rebellion instead of sparing them as Robert did. Considering after Robert's death Balon revolts again Stannis was probably justified.
- This actually happens quite a lot. Many of the figures Robert spared despite fighting against him turn to be very treacherous, like the Small Council who support someone they know isn't Robert's son, and the Tyrells who support Renly's poor claim to the throne, then switch their allegiance to Joffrey...
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Stannis has zero social skills and comes across as a cold and harsh man who worships a god that demands human sacrifice via burning people alive. Despite that, Stannis's respect for Ned Stark, his regrets over Renly's death, his interactions with both Davos and Shireen, and his lack of religious fanaticism show that despite all that, deep down Stannis is a good man with good intentions. At least at first...
- Kill It with Fire: He is almost as fond of this as Daenerys, which isn't surprising as both characters are anointed as The Chosen One by the followers of the Lord of Light. Unlike her, however, he mostly prefers to burn his own followers when they dare to question him. He is at least somewhat restrained at first, as he is introduced with a small court of his own, but after his defeat on the Blackwater he throws restraint to the wind and allows Melisandre to burn whoever she likes, to the point where his "council" is reduced entirely to him and Melisandre by the time Davos returns to him. The only reason why he doesn't have Davos burned too is because Melisandre still sees a use for him.
- Kill the Ones You Love: Stannis may have loved Renly once, but that didn't stop him from killing him. Later, thanks to a Sadistic Choice, Stannis comes to believe that he has sacrifice Shireen so as to court magic support in his battle with the Boltons.
- Kneel Before Zod: A justified example in that in a feudal society, bowing down to a liege is a customary procedure, but all the same Stannis is very insistent about his enemies and would-be allies bending the knee. He has little success at this.
- Knight Templar: One of the most extreme examples you'll ever find. He claims to have his people's needs at heart and this was true in the first few seasons as he doesn't even WANT to be king, but he then uses blood magic, fratricide and even filiacide to accomplish his goals.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Burning Shireen results in half his men abandoning him, which in turn causes Melisandre to leave him. Then after his diminished army is decimated by the Boltons he is executed by Brienne for the murder of Renly, another member of his family he killed with the Red Woman's assistance to serve his own cause.
- Licked by the Dog: When his daughter Shireen sees him for the first time in a while, she squeals and hugs him.
- The Men First: According to Ser Davos in the History and Lore supplements, when he relieved the Siege of Storm's End; Stannis, who was gaunt from starvation, distributed food to his wife and his soldiers before eating and did not take a bigger share despite being the lord. This action of Stannis won him Davos's lifelong loyalty; as it was the first time the latter had seen justice embodied and practiced in his life.
- Messianic Archetype: According to Melisandre. Turns out she was wrong in identity, but right in general geography. Stannis wasn't the Chosen One but he would meet the true Chosen One, Jon Snow, and play an indirect role in his path to destiny.
- Middle Child Syndrome: He resents the fact that people in general have a much more favourable view of his older and younger brother. Robert gets most of the credit for winning the rebellion against the Mad King, while Stannis's contribution is hardly acknowledged. When the War of Five Kings begins, all of the Stormlands bannermen side with Renly even though Stannis is the lawful successor to the Iron Throne.
- Modest Royalty: Especially compared to his brothers, as unlike Renly he forgoes wearing a crown and has very few royal affectations in his dress in general. And even more modest than his book counterpart, who wears a crown shaped like flames.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- After being repelled at Blackwater Bay, he has a brief Crisis of Faith during which he exhibits sudden regret for leading men to a horrible death and for having killed his own brother. Whereas before he considered Renly collateral damage for opposing him, he now considers it straight-up murder.Stannis: I fought for your god in Blackwater Bay. I led my men to the gates of the Seventh Hell as their brothers burned alive and for what?! [...] I murdered my brother!
Melisandre: We murdered him. Share the weight with me.
Stannis: He wasn't your brother.
- He falls into this again after Shireen's sacrifice. By the end, his typical stoic glare becomes a Thousand-Yard Stare and he looks dead inside.
- After being repelled at Blackwater Bay, he has a brief Crisis of Faith during which he exhibits sudden regret for leading men to a horrible death and for having killed his own brother. Whereas before he considered Renly collateral damage for opposing him, he now considers it straight-up murder.
- The Needs of the Many: A key element of his storyline. He's prepared to do terrible things and make sacrifices, such as killing Renly and Gendry, in order to save the realm. From the Books
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Stannis's decision to assassinate Renly causes the Tyrells to join the Lannisters, which leads to his defeat at the Battle of Blackwater. Of course, if he hadn't assassinated Renly they would have killed him within a day.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Stannis is the only king to rise above the petty ongoing dynastic struggles, pay heed to the Night's Watch's calls and send an army to help. However, this greatest act of heroism is also what led his forces to ultimately be Snowed-In and trapped without supplies in the far north, leading to his infamous Sadistic Choice and his consequent Napoleonic defeat. In a case of Stannis inflicting this, he is fully prepared to execute Davos for the "crime" of releasing Gendry from an almost-certain fate as Human Sacrifice. Only Melisandre stays his hand.
- No Mere Windmill: In "Mhysa", Stannis decides to abandon his campaign in the South to march on The Wall, using his army to shore up the defences of the Night's Watch. The reason is because he believes their missives that the White Walkers have returned and knows that if someone doesn't stop them, it doesn't matter who is sitting on the Iron Throne, they will die just like the rest of Westeros.
- Noodle Incident: A rather dark and spooky take on this happens to Stannis at the end of "Blackwater". Melisandre shows him a future event in the flames. It's later revealed in "Second Sons" that Stannis saw a great battle in the snow.
- No Sense of Humor: Though in reality, a lot of his lines end up becoming humorous simply because of just how immaculately deadpan he delivers basically everything.Stannis: ...then we ate the cats; Never liked cats, so fine. I do like dogs, good animals, loyal. But we ate them...
- No Social Skills: As he is acutely aware. Whenever Shireen hugs him, he looks awkward and surprised.
- Not So Stoic:
- He loses it once he realizes his men are retreating. He also loses his steely resolution when alone with Melisandre in the leadup to his offensive, admitting to her that he cannot succeed without the soldiers his brother Renly stole from him.
- His mouth visibly twitches as if suppressing a smile, when he realises that Davos did not die at the Battle of the Blackwater.
- In the Season 3 finale, he's enraged by Davos's treason and later laughs when Melisandre is the one who saves his life by acknowledging Davos as a needed ally.
- Odd Name Out: His two brothers both have names that starts with R.
- Offing the Offspring: Melisandre advises him to sacrifice Shireen for the power her king's blood contains. He refuses initially, but when the situation gets even more desperate he agrees.
- One-Man Army: Personally cuts through a score of Lannister soldiers during the Battle of the Blackwater, and later managed to cut his way through a Bolton army.
- Only Friend: Stannis only has one friend — Davos. His inability to make friends impacts heavily on his cause, as his natural allies (the bannermen of the Stormlands) prefer Renly and his easygoing nature.
- Only Sane Man: Davos pitches a convincing argument that after Tywin Lannister passes from old age, there is no one left in Westeros other than Stannis who can be a competent ruling power, as the only other candidates would be Tommen, Cersei, and Jaime.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When he talks with Shireen in "The Dance of Dragons", he sets aside his typical Brutal Honesty and is much at ease with hugging her. Cut to Shireen being carried to the stake.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Three of his children are stillborn, while he willingly sacrificed Shireen during the penultimate episode of Season 5.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Stannis is aware of his reputation vis-a-vis the Rebellion:Stannis: We were forgotten. Robert and Ned Stark, they were the heroes, the glorious rebels. Marching from battle to battle, liberating towns from the yoke of the Mad King while I held Storm's End with five hundred men.
- Papa Wolf:
- Say what you will about Stannis; he may be a cold and ruthless man with all the charisma of a brick, but he loves Shireen deeply and will not let any more misfortune befall her if he can help it.Stannis: I was told you would die. Or worse. The grayscale would go slow. Let you grow just enough to know the world before taking it away from you. Everyone advised me to send you to the ruins of Valyria to live out your short life with the Stone men, before the sickness spread to the castle. I told them all to go to hell. I called in every maester on this side of the world. Every healer, every apothecary. They stopped the disease and saved your life. Because you did not belong across the world with the bloody Stone men. You are the Princess Shireen of House Baratheon. And you are my daughter.
- When Melisandre tells him that they need to sacrifice Shireen to ensure his victory, he reacts with cold fury and outright refuses to carry on her advice.
- Gets cruelly and gut-wrenchingly subverted when he finally caves to Melisandre and sacrifices Shireen to ensure that his men won't freeze to death on their way to Winterfell.
- Say what you will about Stannis; he may be a cold and ruthless man with all the charisma of a brick, but he loves Shireen deeply and will not let any more misfortune befall her if he can help it.
- Parents as People: To Shireen. Unlike his wife, he tries being a good parent to her, but he is too busy with the war. To his credit, he's a much better parent than Robert... or not.
- Perma-Stubble: In lieu of his book counterpart's neatly-trimmed beard.
- Perpetual Frowner: Almost always scowling or displaying a stiff rictus.
- Pet the Dog
- He insists on seeing his daughter Shireen and spending time with her when he can, showing more care than his wife. In "The Lion And The Rose", he calmly, but instantly shoots down any notion of his wife's desire to physically "discipline" her for allegedly being unruly and ungodly. The look he gives after saying this has her immediately drop the subject.
- He's one of the few people who recognize Jon Snow's qualities. In an effort to rally the North to his cause with a son of Ned Stark at his side, he gives the boy the chance of becoming Jon Stark so that Jon can reclaim his home, Winterfell, but Jon turns his offer down out of a sense of duty.
- Principles Zealot: Even though his biggest enemies are Joffrey and the Lannisters, he won't make peace with Renly, who calls himself King despite being younger than Stannis, nor Robb, who has declared the North and the Riverlands a separate kingdom. All three are thieves to his eyes, and he likely figures that as long as all three are working against each other they're actually doing him a favor.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: His army is composed of this, by Westerosi standards. It includes former smugglers, Lyseni pirates, religious fanatics worshipping a strange new religion and of course a Red Witch.
- Really Dead Montage: Subverted at first, then played straight: Stannis's actual death is given a Gory Discretion Shot rather than being shown, and for this reason, a number of viewers wondered if Brienne might have spared Stannis for some ineffable reason. Come Season 6, characters from Roose Bolton to Brienne of Tarth mention his death to drive the point home (more for the viewers than the characters) that he really is Deader Than Dead.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Shows signs of this when he arrives at the Wall, such as by allowing Jon to choose whether to spare Mance Rayder, and then adhering to his decision to do so. When Jon points out that the Night's Watch can't keep feeding his army, Stannis acknowledges this and says he'll move his troops out as soon as possible.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: How he views his appointment as Lord of Dragonstone.
- Red Herring: Despite all of the buildup, in the end it turns out that Jon Snow was the true Prince That Was Promised.
- The Reliable One: Played both ways. For years, Stannis's strong sense of duty made him dependable to what needed to be done for the good of the realm without public complaint. However, years of being ignored and denied what he felt was his due by law have left him bitter and determined to get what at least is legally his no matter the cost. However, he can still be relied upon to do what is necessary when the time comes.
- Reluctant Ruler: As he tells Ser Davos, he doesn't particularly want to be king. But as the rightful heir, he believes that he must do his duty, and he believes Melisandre when she says that he's the only one who can save Westeros.
- The Remnant: He is this as far as the War of the Five Kings is concerned, as of Season 4. The only original rival claimant to the Iron Throne who hasn't bent the knee to Joffrey at King's Landing. Balon Greyjoy has presumably not bent his knee yet, but he is not considered a threat like Stannis is.
- The Resenter: He was highly embittered and melancholic before the outbreak of the war, as a result of not having his contributions recognized and properly rewarded, and this gets out of hand when he learns that his claim to the throne was usurped not only by the Lannister-Baratheon bastards but also by his own brother Renly.
- Resigned to the Call: He claims he doesn't even want to be the king or The Chosen One, but instead sees it as his duty.
- Rightful King Returns: By law, he was the rightful King of Westeros, given that Robert had no trueborn heirs, meaning that succession defaults to the king's oldest surviving male sibling, Stannis. Yet he never quite makes good on his claim, his closest victory being Blackwater where he was defeated by Lannister-Tyrell reinforcements.
- Rousing Speech: Gives one at the Blackwater. It's rather short, but gets the job done.Stannis: Come with me and take this city!
- Royals Who Actually Do Something:
- Say what you will about the wisdom of his actions in "Blackwater", you can't accuse him of being a coward, or leading from behind. (Unlike Joffrey.) And with the addition of Renly's Stormlands bannermen to his army and having the largest navy of any of the Five Kings (save possibly Balon Greyjoy), he has a good chance of taking the city — and almost does. Just too bad for him that Tyrion Lannister is around and he has vast stockpiles of wildfire at his disposal, which you can't really expect Stannis to plan for considering its rarity.
- He's also one of the very few people south of the Wall who is concerned with the impending White Walker threat.
- He's also the only royal claimant in Westeros to respond to Maester Aemon's call for aid at the Wall.
- Sadistic Choice: Season 5 has a series of them, he has to march to Winterfell and defeat the Boltons if he has to help the Night's Watch or he can winter at Castle Black, with little supplies and no political clout and die out during the winter. After Ramsay attacks the camp and burns his supplies and much of his food, he considers the one Melisandre offered. Rely on magic to create conditions for an impossible victory and sacrifice his daughter, or all of his army starve out in the snow anyway.Stannis Baratheon: Sometimes a person has to choose. Sometimes the world forces his hand. If a man knows what he is and remains true to himself... the choice is no choice at all. He must fulfill his destiny — and become, who he is meant to be. ... However much he may hate it.
- Secret Keeper: Averted, when the first thing he does with the information about Joffrey's true parentage is to tell it to as many people as possible so no one can claim ignorance, and says that Ned only telling him was a mistake on Ned's part. From the books...
- Sibling Rivalry: With both of his brothers, though it gets especially bad with Renly after they both declare themselves king, and he promises to smash Renly's army when he refuses to surrender. He shrugs off Renly's death (which he himself caused) callously at first, though months later and after realizing it gained him nothing he showed a twinge of remorse.
- Spanner in the Works: His arrival at the Wall completely derails Mance's invasion, but also throws a wrench in Roose Bolton's attempts to solidify the North under his rule.
- The Stoic: His regular range and display of emotions does not go much beyond indignation, which gains him a reputation of a man who never smiles and who has the personality of a lobster. This makes his Not So Stoic moments all the more remarkable.
- The Strategist: While it's clear Stannis has utterly no talent for politics, one of his few saving graces as a leader is his strategic ability and talent as a general. He would've taken King's Landing if it hadn't been for Tyrion's wildfire trick and fiercely organized defense, which delayed his siege long enough for Tywin to arrive with the Tyrells as reinforcements.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: He leans heavily on the icy side, but his interactions with Davos and Shireen show that he also cares deeply for some people, although he's not good at showing it.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Downplayed, but it's quite visible that he doesn't particularly like using Melisandre's dark magic, but needs her all the same.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: He demonstrates such an extreme example after seeing Shireen die that it resembles anime-style Dull Eyes of Unhappiness.
- Took a Level in Kindness: In Season 5, he's generally mellowing out and becoming more of a people person. Whether its praising Sam and encouraging him, being respectful to Jon Snow and taking a more active role in Shireen's life. Then he burns Shireen alive.
- Totalitarian Utilitarian: He is this if you subscribe to the belief that he really is devoted to The Needs of the Many and isn't just using it to justify his egomania.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Melisandre's. Even he seems aware of it, but he doesn't seem to be able to do anything about it.
- Tragic Hero: He truly believes that he can save the realm by being king. However, his dependence on Melisandre's blood magic proves to be his undoing, as he loses his principles, his army, and his family.
- Trapped in Villainy: Stannis really and truly wants to serve the Realm, purge corruption, restore order and he's the only one of the Five Kings who responds and comes to the aid of the Night's Watch and places the White Walker invasion on priority. However, circumstances, bad luck and cruel fate forces him to rely on Melisandre's magic powers and the great price that comes with it. She herself tells Stannis that he will be forced to betray everything he held dear to save the realm. He never finds out all that it implies until he realizes that he has to sacrifice Shireen in order to win the campaign to liberate the North from the Boltons to better help the Night's Watch.
- The Unfettered: Stannis might wring his hands about it, and he might show some insincere regret after the fact, but there is literally nothing he will not do to sit on the Iron Throne. He has to build up to this point at least, starting out as The Fettered and slowly having his fetters whittled away by Melisandre from Seasons 2 to 5.
- The Unsmile: Stannis appears to be trying to smile come Season 5. It's a little unsettling. When he has to spare Davos, his riled smile against a sunset background◊ is memetically creepy.
- Unwanted Spouse: Like Robert, he is unhappily married for political reasons. (As he returns to his keep after burning the idols of the Seven, Stannis nearly forgets his wife Selyse, and then ends up walking off without her anyway. He is never seen with her again in Season 2.) However, when Selyse appears again in Stannis seems to genuinely love her (though they're still unhappy and distant) and his daughter.
- Ungrateful Bastard: He never fails to complain about Roberts perceived slights, even though Robert essentially gave Stannis (and Renly) his own children's inheritance and with a stroke made a second son one of the greatest lords in Westeros. Though what really annoyed him there was that Renly, who barely did anything, was given a much better lordship.
- Villain Respect: When composing a letter addressing Joffrey's lineage, he refers to Jaime as both the Kingslayer and as ''Ser Jaime'' as for all of Jaime's flaws, he remains a knight and should be treated as one.
- Volcano Lair: Dragonstone — Stannis's foreboding seat of power — is one of these, in addition to being an Island Base. It was formed centuries ago by volcanic eruptions, utilized by the Targaryens as a staging ground for their conquest of Westeros, and for bonus points is a major source of obsidian. It's also where every Targaryen dragon, other than Balerion the Black Dread, was born and raised.
- Warrior Prince: Like Robb Stark, he started as nobility rather than royalty but he becomes this.
- We Have Reserves: Stannis gives a rare heroic version of this in Blackwater, emphasizing not his callousness but the need to take King's Landing to depose Joffrey and install Stannis, the rightful king, despite the cost. Also subverted, in that Stannis truly does not have reserves. He's all-in at Blackwater and struggles to raise a new host after his defeat.Imry Florent: We're too far from the gates...the fire...their archers. Hundreds will die.
- Wham Line: "Forgive me." When he says this to Shireen, it becomes clear that he has decided to sacrifice her.
- Where Is Your X Now?: Said "Where is your god now?" as he's strangling Melisandre for supposedly bullshitting him about his "great victory" at King's Landing. She responds, "Inside you", and he releases her.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: Stannis is very frank; as exemplified by his stern objection to Robert being called "my beloved brother" in a missive, and by the confession of his adultery to his wife.
- With Us or Against Us:Stannis: The Iron Throne is mine. By right. All those that deny that are my foes.
- The Women Are Safe with Us: He decides to take Selyse and Shireen with him, given that many Watchers are convicted rapists. This is probably a nod to his book counterpart, who has rapists castrated.
- Worthy Opponent: Ever so slightly with Mance Rayder. He accepts Mance's slightly ominous offer of good luck with a wry smile and a small nod, before burning him at the stake for being both a wildling and a Night's Watch deserter. Stannis genuinely wants the man (not just the King beyond the Wall) to accept his offer to kneel and live.
- The Worf Effect: Stannis is frequently talked up as one of the finest tacticians in Westeros, and the prospect of fighting him is always treated as a serious threat. Despite this, the on-screen battles he's personally commanded have all ended in his total defeat. While he came close to winning in Blackwater, the Battle of Winterfell was an utterly underwhelming Curb-Stomp Battle in favor of the Boltons.
- Would Hit a Girl: Thanks to Adaptational Villainy, though given that the girl in question is Melisandre the evil quotient of it is debatable.
- Would Hurt a Child: Has Shireen burnt.
- The Wrongful Heir to the Throne: Varys considers him to be this, admitting that his claim to the throne is the best but that he can literally imagine nothing worse (and remember, he is currently enduring Joffrey's reign) than Stannis sitting on the iron throne, not due to his principles but due to his reliance on (and service to) the dark arts, this ultimately is a major Foreshadowing speech, as Stannis goes on to become a Fallen Hero who loses his honor, his dignity, his family and ultimately his life.
- Your Cheating Heart: He sleeps with Melisandre once because of the promise of a son. He tried his best to resist her, even bringing up that he has a wife albeit one he's not particularly fond of, but his desire for a healthy male child overwhelmed him. And then there's Melisandre's creepy-as-hell magical powers. And that bod. After his defeat at the Blackwater, he tells her he still desires her, but he does later regretfully confess to his wife Selyse about his infidelity... only to be discomfited by the easy "forgiveness" on Selyse's part.
- Younger Than They Look: In Season 3, as a consequence of Melisandre taking his life force to make her shadow-child.
King Renly Baratheon
Played By: Gethin Anthony
"[Stannis] inspires no love nor loyalty. He is not a king. I am."Robert's youngest brother, Lord of Storm's End, and Master of Laws on Robert's Small Council. Fourth in line for the throne according to the Lannisters, second in line due to Joffrey and Tommen's real heritage. Claims the title because he thinks he would make a better King than Stannis. He allies with the mighty House Tyrell of the Reach, and begins the War of the Five Kings with by far the largest army, but he is murdered by Lady Melisandre's sorcerously-created shadow assassin before he can engage either the Lannisters or his brother, causing the Tyrells to become neutral once more, and the Stormlands to join Stannis.
- 100% Adoration Rating: He's so popular among the Stormlanders that they all swear fealty to him instead of Stannis, even though the bannermen are technically committing treason (as Renly is duty-bound to obey Stannis). After Renly's sudden demise, Davos reports to Stannis that all the men grieve for his younger brother.
- 24-Hour Armor: He doesn't seem to have any formal clothing other than his armour in Season 2.
- Ad Hominem: His argument against Stannis is essentially attacking him personally, his lack of humour, his banners and choice of sigil and not the issues which Stannis represents.
- Adaptational Wimp: Show!Renly is noticeably less keen of violence than Book!Renly; Book!Renly participates in the Tourney of the Hand during the jousts and he has been instructed in hand-to-hand combat; Show!Renly in comparison is appalled by the mere sight of blood.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Instead of using the normal black-stag-on-a-yellow-field sigil of his book counterpart, King Renly on the series creates a new banner which features a golden stag on a green background — the King in Highgarden, indeed.
- Adaptation Personality Change: The Renly of the books was charismatic and superficially charming, but mainly an arrogant Jerk Jock and Sleazy Politician who was fiercely anti-intellectual. The show version is a genuine Nice Guy, bureaucratic, and stated to be the intellectual of the Baratheon brothers, as a result of Adaptation Expansion which explores Renly's private life much more than the novels do.
- Adaptational Heroism: His claim for the crown is transformed from the naked power-grab in the books, genuinely usurping his legitimate brother, to an ideological rebellion by Renly and his supporters who argue that his intellect, his kindness and charisma makes him The Good King and a better choice than his brother. His main Kick the Dog moments (mocking Brienne of Tarth and Shireen behind their backs) is changed to sincerely respecting Brienne's abilities and service.
- Adopt the Dog: After a moment of consideration, he grants Brienne's wish to join his Kingsguard. It would've been easier for Renly to adhere to everyone else's expectations by rejecting her request[[note]]he was presumably pondering the consequences of having a female protector during the brief pause, but he chooses to do the right thing by giving the position to a warrior who earned it, regardless of her gender. The reaction to Brienne's appointment is fairly negative; his bannermen audibly gasp, his wife gives him a Disapproving Look, and his lover berates him for it later that evening, but Renly sticks firmly to his decision.
- Afraid of Blood: He becomes a bit queasy at the sight of blood due to his lack of combat experience. Seems to be fairly reasonable, as the squeamishness referenced was towards a boy getting his eye knocked out of its socket.Renly: All I ever hear from Robert and Stannis is how I'm not tough enough, how I squirm at the sight of blood.
Loras: You did vomit when that boy's eye was knocked out in the melee.
Renly: His eye was dangling out of the damn socket!
Loras: He shouldn't have entered the melee if he didn't know how to fight.
- Age Lift: In the first novel, Renly is 20 years old, but in Season 1, the character looks like he's around 25. The actor who plays him was 27 years old at the time of filming.
- Ambition Is Evil: The characters who aren't on his side don't view positively his bid to the throne, as he can't even kid anyone about having any legitimacy. Davos, who may be considered Only Sane Man, even remarks that Renly's actions were unlawful and wrong enough to consider him a justified casualty of war.
- Anyone Can Die: Despite being set up as a major player in the game of thrones, he gets unceremoniously killed off by Melisandre's shadow son.
- Appeal to Force: By law, his claim is weaker than Stannis', but Renly's charisma provides him with a bigger support, which in turn is used to press said claim.Renly: Look across those fields, brother. Can you see all those banners?
Stannis: You think a few bolts of cloth will make you king?
Renly: No. The men holding those bolts of cloth will make me king.
- Armor-Piercing Question: When he asks Ned, "Tell me something; do you still believe good soldiers make good kings?", the older man remains silent.
- Arranged Marriage: To Margaery Tyrell. An amiable one, although largely sexless for obvious reasons.
- Badass Beard: Subverted. He sports one in Season 2, but he's killed before having a single battle.
- Beneath the Mask: During his private moments, Renly is shown to be more insecure than the confident facade that he projects in public.
- Best Friends In Law: In addition to being motivated by politics, his marriage to Margaery is also an excuse for him to become closer to his boyfriend Loras, as they are now brother-in-laws. Margaery is even willing to share Renly with Loras if it helps to get her pregnant.
- Black Sheep: House Baratheon is primarily known as a family of warriors, and Renly is viewed as something of an embarrassment because he is often criticized by his brothers for being a non-fighter. Robert is especially disparaging of his youngest sibling's masculinity, calling him a "boy" during their hunting trip because he doesn't consider Renly to be a "real man."
- Blatant Lies:
- When Robert (who is ignorant of his youngest brother's homosexuality) asks him, "Have you ever fucked a Riverlands girl?", Renly's vague response is "Once, I think." Renly's annoyed facial expression indicates that he often uses this line whenever someone inquires about his sexual conquests.
- In "What Is Dead May Never Die", he blames his lack of readiness on the wine. Margaery knows better and tries to accommodate.
- Bling of War: It's revealed in this featurette that Renly's armour (which included velvet fabric) was the most complicated costume created for the first two seasons of the show.
- Bodyguard Crush: The object of affection for both Loras (an unusual reciprocal example because they form a same-sex couple) and Brienne (a rare gender inversion of the trope) while they were members of his Kingsguard.
- Brutal Honesty: He's usually snarky with Littlefinger, but in "Garden of Bones", Renly is sick of beating around the bush, as their banter no longer amuses him.Renly: I don't like you, Lord Baelish. I don't like your face, I don't like the words that come oozing out of your mouth. I don't want you in my tent one minute more than necessary.
- But Not Too Gay: His intimate scenes with Loras are not nearly as sexually explicit as the heterosexual pairings on the show.
- Cain and Abel: He is the Abel to Stannis's Cain, though if he had survived another day probably would have been the Cain, as he tells Catelyn that he plans to destroy Stannis' army in the morning with no mention or hint of sparing Stannis.
- The Charmer: According to Loras, people just like him.Loras: People love you. They want to serve you because you're kind to them. They want to be near you.
- Proves to get along with everyone in his entourage, down to common soldiers, in "What Is Dead May Never Die".
- In "Dark Wings, Dark Words", Sansa says that Renly was very gallant, and Olenna then adds "...charming and very clean. He knew how to dress and smile..." Mace Tyrell liked Renly enough to crown him king, although this may be more due to Renly marrying Mace's daughter.
- Cheerful Child: It's implied that a young Renly was this while he grew up in court, according to Jaime in "Dark Wings, Dark Words".
- A Child Shall Lead Them: After Robert had won his rebellion, he bestowed the title of Lord of Storm's End to his youngest brother Renly, who was only a child at the time. note
- Country Matters: He uses it in "The Wolf and the Lion" when describing the Lannisters.Renly: You have to give it to the Lannisters. They may be the most pompous, ponderous cunts the gods have ever suffered to walk the world, but they do have an outrageous amount of money.
- Courtly Love: Gender-flipped with him and Brienne. She is a devoted knight who will do anything for her beloved King Renly, and she is resigned to the fact that he will never return her feelings. (Brienne believes that Renly's lack of romantic interest is due to her ugly looks and lower social status, not because he's gay).
- Crown of Horns: In Season 2, he wears a fancy, golden crown shaped like stag antlers; it's arguably the most striking piece of headwear in the series. In fact, Renly is the trope image for the Crown of Horns page. It was chosen as one of The Coolest Helmets, Hats and Headpieces in Science Fiction and Fantasy by io9.com.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Being fatally stabbed by an unstoppable shadow-demon which looks like his brother and who creepily howls at him before vanishing is the stuff that nightmares are made of.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- Shows signs of this when he treats with his brother.Renly: Whose banner is that?
Stannis: My own.
Renly: [smiles] I suppose if we used the same one the battle would be terribly confusing... Why's your stag on fire?
- From the same scene:Renly: "Born amidst salt and smoke"... Is he a ham?
- His acerbic greeting to Littlefinger in "Garden of Bones", which begins with a false smile and ends with a Disapproving Look.Renly: Well, if it isn't my favourite whoremonger! Pray I haven't kept you waiting long.
- Shows signs of this when he treats with his brother.
- Didn't Think This Through: Lady Olenna calls him out posthumously, remarking that Renly had an older brother and no legitimacy, so he should have stayed well out of the game.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Renly collapses into Brienne's arms after he is stabbed through the heart, and she holds him for a moment before he dies.
- Divided We Fall: In "You Win or You Die", Robert's death and Joffrey's ascent to the throne causes him, who's more or less on Ned's side, to become exasperated with Ned's support of Stannis and leave King's Landing. When he declares himself King, Robb Stark refuses to support him because he sees Renly as threatening the line of succession and his bannerman insist that he become the King in the North instead.
- Everyone Can See It: His homosexuality and his supposed Secret Relationship with Loras Tyrell are an Open Secret to the entire Westeros but Robert.
- Evil Uncle: Though this is downplayed in the show Renly was willing to usurp who he believes was his nephew from the Iron Throne before Ned revealed their illegitimacy. Granted, Joffrey was a monster, but by supporting the rumor of their illegitimacy, Renly was also willing to disgrace Myrcella and Tommen.
- A Father to His Men: He is shown to be a caring and affable commander towards even the lowliest soldier in his army.
- Finger Muzzle: He is the recipient of this when Margaery wants him to stop quoting philosophy and focus on consummating their marriage.
- To Ned. Renly is a Non-Action Guy and an astute politician who knows how to successfully navigate the treacherous waters of a Deadly Decadent Court. Ned, on the other hand, is a Proud Warrior Race Guy who is a Horrible Judge of Character, and therefore ill-prepared to deal with his enemies in King's Landing. Robert loves and respects his best friend much more than his own brothers, and Renly is even a bit jealous of Ned, as the only attention Renly ever receives from Robert involves the belittling of his masculinity. Ned and Catelyn are in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage and are free to openly express their love, whereas Renly and Loras — who are happily committed to each other — are forced to maintain a Secret Relationship because homosexuality is a taboo.
- To Littlefinger. They are both politically savvy courtiers with no combat experience who frequently engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat. Renly enjoyed a priviledged life growing up as the king's brother and as the liege lord of the Stormlands. Baelish was born as an impoverished, minor noble, and gained his wealth by becoming a ruthless Self-Made Man. People are drawn to Renly's The Charmer and Nice to the Waiter qualities, which sharply contrasts Littlefinger's unpopular reputation as The Sociopath and Bad Boss. Renly loathes the Lannisters and tries to protect Ned from falling into their clutches, but Baelish sucks up to the family and hands Ned over to them. Petyr is infatuated with Catelyn for most of his life, but she never returns his feelings, whereas Renly's love for Loras is reciprocated.
- To Stannis. Renly is charismatic, is second in line for the throne after Robert dies, yet has a gigantic amount of support because of his skills in diplomacy and his loving relationship with Loras (who says Renly would make a great king). Stannis on the other hand is dour, by law the rightful king, yet has little support because of his hard, rigid personality, and Loras says he has the personality of a lobster. Also see Renly's Sibling Yin-Yang entry for more comparisons between the two characters.
- To Joffrey in Season 2. Their style of ruling is directly contrasted in the manner that they host a tournament. Joffrey is happy when a fighter slays his opponent in the melee; Renly's tourney doesn't involve death (nor would he enjoy watching someone die — in fact he would be horrified). While Joff nearly kills a drunk knight just for the fun of it, Renly elevates a female warrior to his Kingsguard. Renly is polite to his wife, unlike Joffrey, who is verbally abusive towards his fiancé. Joff greets Tyrion — his own Acting Hand of the King — with disdain, whereas Renly is courteous to Catelyn, an envoy from the North. He even comes to Catelyn's defense when Loras and Brienne are rude to her.
- He's also a foil to Robb in Season 2. Both men share certain traits in common (e.g. they are young, sensible nice guys who aspire to be good kings), but they are polar opposites in other respects. Robb excels when he's on the battlefield, while Renly is a Non-Action Guy whose greatest strength is his political acumen. In terms of sealing alliances for their respective cause, Renly marries the right woman, whereas Robb very much marries the wrong one. Robb is a Modest Royalty, while Renly likes being surrounded by finery.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Of the two Baratheon siblings at King's Landing, one has never failed to attend to important matters and takes part in shaping the future of the realm... and the other is Robert. The king largely dismisses Renly as a Yes-Man, although Renly is shown to be ashamed and embarrassed by Robert's neglect and mismanagement of the kingdom. For instance, while seemingly nonchalant when Ned Stark is alarmed about the realm's massive debt, Renly's annoyance when he speaks of Robert's "counting coppers" attitude hints at his disapproval. He fully supported Robert's plan to assassinate Daenerys because Renly is thinking of protecting his House from an enemy, unlike his brother's Revenge Before Reason bloodlust.
- Freudian Trio:
- He's the Ego of the Baratheon brothers.
- This dynamic is also present in his three-way marriage to Margaery and Loras. Renly is again the Ego, his wife is the Superego, and his boyfriend is the Id.
- Friendly Enemy: He exchanges verbal jabs with Littlefinger in a nonchalant tone. Both men strongly dislike each other.
- Generational Gap: A major reason why he doesn't get along with both Robert and Stannis is that both of them are over a decade older than him.
- The Good King: Sees himself as this, and so do Loras and Brienne. However they are not presented as the most perceptive characters around and Renly might have been kidding himself. Some more insightful people, like Olenna and Jaime have serious doubts about his stewardship and capabilities.
- Has a Type: Jaime claims that Renly is only attracted to curly-haired "little girls" like Loras Tyrell.
- Hope Spot: Just when it looked like he and Robb were going to form a glorious alliance that would crush the Lannisters, Renly is assassinated mere seconds after negotiating with Catelyn.
- Hypocrite: Claims him becoming King would be better for the common people, even though his attempt to usurp the Iron Throne leaves King's Landing starving.
- He says Stannis will never compromise after the negotiations. However, Stannis showed himself willing to negotiate, offering very reasonable terms with Renly, a seat on the Small Council and to become his heir. It was Renly who was unwilling to compromise at all, only taking the occasion to mock his brother.
- Asks Ned if good warriors make good Kings. However he is basically planning to take the Iron Throne through military force. For someone who is afraid of blood and peaceable, he shows no remorse for ordering the deaths of Daenerys Targaryen and Viserys, which Ned alone disagreed with, and Robert felt guilty about and tried to rescind. Tells Catelyn he and Robb are natural allies, comparing them to his brother Robert and Robb's father Ned... except Renly went against Ned's wishes in trying to usurp the crown and abandons him in King's Landing.
- Criticizes Robert for enjoying war and tourneys at the expense of good governance, and yet when he declares his throne he organizes tourneys while Robb Stark battles and defeats the Lannisters all by himself. The country is burning all the same while he's having fun, and Renly is responsible for the war as he refused to support Ned's plan for a bloodless succession and by claiming the throne on flimsy grounds, he drove the North and Riverlands to declare Robb King in the North.
- Inadequate Inheritor: He invokes these tropes to justify why he should rule the Seven Kingdoms instead of Stannis. From Stannis's perspective, Renly was unjustly given the family seat at Storm's End, a castle he heroically defended against impossible odds in Robert's Rebellion as well as titles that Renly never earned with any significant accomplishment. Olenna Tyrell later admitted that that the Tyrells should never have backed Renly's impossible and incompetent campaign and "should have stayed well out of it".
- Incompatible Orientation: Defied by Margaery Tyrell. She's willing to do whatever it takes to produce an heir with Renly after she realizes that he's not the least bit attracted to her.Margaery: Would you like my brother to come in and help?
- Informed Ability: Renly is frequently presented as being intelligent and a serious statesman, but we see very little of this in practice. He does nothing to halt Robert's spendthrift kingdom, which admittedly vexed even Jon Arryn's abilities. Most notably he agrees with Pycelle, Varys and Littlefinger with Robert's desire to assassinate Daenerys Targaryen. Robert on his deathbed even dismisses him as a Yes-Man compared to Ned Stark who was the only one to oppose it.
- Informed Attractiveness: He is acknowledged as being very handsome.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: In terms of this trope's five broad categories, Renly is strongly defined by his Lack of Athleticism, Lack of Aggression, and his Open, Emotional Personality (specifically his compassionate side).
- It's All About Me: While sincere about the well-being of the common people, his desire to be King is on the face of it a need to assert himself rather than any real service to the realm. He claims that he would be a superior monarch in comparison to Stannis because the older man has No Social Skills, completely ignoring — unlike Ned — his impeccable service record. Renly, on the other hand, has never done anything significant and has far less experience then Stannis, making his claim Stannis should be passed over for rule rather shaky.
- The Leader: Type IV. His charismatic personality is what wins the support of Lord Mace Tyrell and his bannermen. He commands the combined army strength of the Reach and the Stormlands, which numbers around 100,000. Renly uses diplomacy to diffuse the tension between Catelyn and his two overprotective Kingsguards. He almost manages to convince Catelyn to have Robb swear fealty to him and be King in the North in only a symbolic sense (meaning no truly independent North or Riverlands) by appealing to the traditionally close relations between their respective houses, and the Starks' pressing need to bring justice to the Lannisters.
- Though considering the Tyrells later support the monstrously cruel Joffrey (who Loras used as a reason why Renly should usurp rule) due to the agreement Margaery will marry him, the idea that they're just supporting Renly because of his charisma is suspect.
- Lady and Knight: He is the handsome and gentle king who is guarded by two highly skilled and brave knights: Brienne (a gender inversion of the trope) and Loras (a same-sex variation).
- Laser-Guided Karma: He agrees that Daenerys Targaryen and Viserys should be killed for the good of the realm. Later he gets killed by Stannis who cites the same reason.
- The Lost Lenore: Loras and Brienne mourn him later on, with Loras eventually moving on to form a doomed relationship with the male prostitute Olyvar, while Brienne remains devoted to Renly and avenges him.
- Machiavelli Was Wrong: Loras thinks that Renly would be a great monarch because he would be loved and respected by the people instead of hated and feared. In a case of Informed Attribute, the minute the North and Riverlands hear of his claim, they denounce Renly for usurping Stannis on the line of succession, and declare Robb Stark King in the North.
- Masquerade Ball: Robert mentions during their hunting trip that Renly likes to organize these.
- Meaningful Look:
- He and Loras share a lingering one at the Tourney of the Hand, and it's our first clue that these two characters are more than friends.
- They exchange another look when Brienne asks to become one of Renly's Kingsguards. As Renly considers her request, Loras' expression basically reads, "Tell her no." Renly decides to disregard this silent plea, much to Loras' irritation.
- After Brienne is appointed to his Kingsguard, Renly winks at her◊ as he applauds to further communicate his warmth and reassurance that he's on her side, regardless of his followers' unfavourable opinion.
- Moment Killer: In "What Is Dead May Never Die", the foreplay between Renly and Loras is unexpectedly interrupted after Renly starts kissing the bruises on Loras' chest. This reminds Loras of the humiliation he suffered earlier in the day, and it kills the mood.
- Nice Guy: Even more so when contrasted to the other Baratheon claimants to the throne, Joffrey and Stannis; it's easy to see why he is the most popular candidate despite his claim being the weakest of all. Renly is the only man who has treated Brienne with kindness and respect, and he's probably the only king who has accepted a woman into his Kingsguard. He does this despite knowing full well that it would shock his bannermen, annoy his wife, and piss off his lover. He himself understands how painful it is to be frequently mocked for not adhering to rigid gender roles (Robert and Stannis have bullied Renly for his lack of combat experience), so his empathy towards Brienne's situation allows him to be accepting of her masculinity. Renly praises Brienne's martial skills and her devotion when Loras confronts him about it. Margaery describes her late husband as "brave and gentle" in "Dark Wings, Dark Words" (though he seemed gentle he never does anything particularly brave).
- Nice to the Waiter: In "What Is Dead May Never Die", Renly shows concern for the lowborn soldiers in his army, making the effort to remember their names (Gerald in the episode) and the nature of their injury if they have one.
- Non-Action Guy: He's the only Baratheon brother who is not a warrior. Both Robert and Stannis have a low opinion of Renly because of this.
- Only Sane Man: Renly views himself as this after Ned rejects his plan in "You Win or You Die". He certainly is the more pragmatic one at the moment.
- Open Secret: He and Loras seem to have done a poor job attempting to conceal their relationship. His wife Margaery Tyrell knows about it, and simple Lannister bannermen on the other side of the country joke about Loras "stabbing Renly Baratheon for years, and Renly ain't dead!" It's revealed in Season 3 that Jaime, Cersei, Joffrey, Tywin, and Tyrion are also aware of Renly's sexual orientation.Jaime: It's all true about Renly. His proclivities were the worst kept secret at court. It's a shame the throne isn't made out of cocks... They'd have never got him off it.
- Palette Swap: With the exception of the Tourney of the Hand, he only wore House Baratheon black throughout Season 1; this represents his loyalty to his brother Robert. In Season 2, after Renly rebels against Stannis and forms an alliance with House Tyrell, he then sports a golden crown with gold armour, plus his belt and undershirt (its collar can be seen peeking out from under his gorget) are green, symbolizing his new commitment to his wife's (and lover's) family.
- Peaceful in Death: Despite the horrific manner in which he is killed, his body looks remarkably at peace. The corpse is later dressed and positioned in a way to make King Renly appear regal and dignified, and Margaery can't resist mentioning how handsome he was, with Littlefinger agreeing.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: He yells at Robert during their hunting trip after being belittled one too many times.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- Is this towards Ned, and generally has a much better grasp on the situation in the country than does his brother who is ruling it.
- Robb correctly believes Renly would be more open-minded about his demands for an independent North than Stannis. Despite the Young Wolf's opinion in Season 1 that Stannis is the rightful king after Robert's death, he decides to negotiate with Renly in Season 2 for an alliance against the Lannisters.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers a fantastic one to Robert in "A Golden Crown".Robert: Those were the days!
Renly: Which days, exactly? The ones when half of Westeros fought the other half and millions died? Or before that, when the Mad King slaughtered women and babies because the voices in his head told him they deserved it? Or way before that, when dragons burnt whole cities to the ground?
Robert: Easy boy, you might be my brother, but you're speaking to the king.
Renly: I suppose it was all rather heroic, if you were drunk enough and had some poor Riverlands whore to shove your prick inside and "make the eight"!
- Red Herring: Renly is marketed in previews and behind-the-scenes videos as a major player in the War of the Five Kings so that his death makes for a stronger shock.
- Relationship Reveal: The scene where Loras is shaving Renly's chest.
- Refusal of the Call: He initially rejects Loras' suggestion that he should be king in "The Wolf and the Lion", but the idea gradually becomes more appealing after he argues with Robert, and he finally embraces it in "You Win or You Die". When Renly first appears in Season 2, he has already crowned himself king with the help of the Tyrells.
- The Resenter: He believes that he would make a far better king than either of his brothers or Robert's sons, but he's fourth (becoming second after the incest revelation) in line for the throne. He is one of many people with no legitimacy to rule who would want to do this anyway.
- Ruling Couple: King Renly, Queen Margaery and Ser Loras are presented as this in Season 2. Natalie Dormer describes their complicated union as a trinity in this featurette. It's Renly's romantic relationship with Loras which allows for the alliance to be created in the first place, and his marriage to Margaery seals the deal officially. Renly treats both his lover and his wife as his equals (the latter is shown symbolically in the melee scene, where Margaery's seat is of the same size as Renly's). The Tyrell siblings essentially function as a Brother-Sister Team in this three-way marriage; Loras' goal is to help Renly win the Iron Throne, while Margaery's job is to help her husband keep it.
- Sacrificial Lion: In Season 2.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Flees King's Landing in "You Win or You Die" when Ned refuses to support Renly's bid for the throne.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man:
- He's the smart, politically savvy brother who doesn't particularly like fighting, while Robert and Stannis are notable warriors.
- This dynamic is also present in his relationship with Loras. Renly looks tougher, but has never seen a battle; Loras is a very pretty, very dangerous knight.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Whether he's at court, on a hunting trip, or commanding an army of about a hundred thousand men, Renly is always handsomely dressed for the occasion.
- Shirtless Scene: Has a couple of these with Loras.
- Sibling Rivalry: He has a strained relationship with both of his brothers, but it's his conflict with Stannis in Season 2 which leads to tragedy.
- Sibling Yin-Yang:
- He thinks before he acts, prefers council meetings to hunting, and seems to be faithful to one man that he trusts and listens to. See Robert's entry to contrast.
- Also in play versus Stannis. Renly is snarky and fun, beloved by the smallfolk and his bannermen alike, has both a lover and a wife that he loves (albeit in different ways), is willing to break the rules, wants the crown because he desires power and thinks he could do a good job, gets things done with diplomacy, and is somewhat flighty and prone to impracticality (staging a tourney when he'd need all his knights in fighting shape for a war). Stannis, on the other hand, is dour and overly serious, has no social skills and only one friend, has a strained relationship with his unwanted wife, is devoted to rules and laws, only wants the crown out of duty and legal right, gets things done via law or conquest, and is logical and pragmatic.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: With Littlefinger. Since neither man possesses any talent for fighting, this is the only form of combat that they excel at.
- Spanner in the Works: Renly's rebellion was one of the key factors for why Westeros was divided in the wake of the Succession Crisis after Robert's death:
- Ned wanted a smooth transition to Stannis over the illegitimate children, yet Renly insisted that Ned leapfrog the line of succession and make him King for ideological reasons which Ned refused and in response, Renly, Loras and their contingent of soldiers leave the capiital. This prevented Ned from having proper allies at the key moment of Robert's death, forcing him to turn to Littlefinger and Janos Slynt instead, leading to his downfall.
- Renly declaring himself a King was a key factor in the Succession Crisis becoming a War of Five Kings. Rather than a straightforward conflict between Joffrey and Stannis as Ned intended. Since Stannis hadn't yet recieved Ned's letter he didn't know of his claim until much later. Renly declaring himself King challenged the line of succession, as Robb Stark pointed out, which led to the North and Riverlands electing Robb as King in the North. Had it not been for Renly, the North would have probably rallied behind Stannis as Ned intended, and there would have been a proper alliance against the Lannisters.
- Spoiled Brat: In "The Wolf and the Lion", Renly reveals that his brothers consider him to be a spoiled child. Loras' facial expression and his silence strongly indicate that he agrees. Also Renly's opinion that the laws of succession should be blatantly broken because he thinks he'd do a better job.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: His illicit romance with Loras comes to a tragic end in "The Ghost of Harrenhal".
- Straight Gay: Much more masculine than his lover, at least, though oddly not nearly as combative.
- Too Clever by Half: How Olenna regards him after his death, a man who counted far too much on his likability and statesmanship in a time of all out war for the Iron Throne, and who possessed the flimsiest claim of all the contestants. Joffrey has the support of his mother's family and actually sits on the throne, Stannis is Robert's next-oldest brother and therefore can contest his "nephew's" succession. Robb Stark and Balon Greyjoy for vastly different reasons claim secession, citing long-time abuses at the hands of the crown, and merely want their own portion. The idealistic Renly wants to be king because he believes his compassion for the smallfolk would make Westeros a more prosperous and harmonious realm. However it's worth noting that he is one of the very few players who were not defeated because of their own mistakes, as nobody in his position would really count being murdered by black magic among possibilities. However many fans have felt Renly's actions would be disastrous in the long term, as it would lead to factional fratercidal wars among the nobility, asking what happens if Renly has a son people don't like, or an ambitious younger son.
- Triang Relations: Type 4. Brienne is in love with Renly, but he and Loras have already been a romantic couple for years, and she doesn't believe in any of the gossip surrounding them. While Renly is aware that Brienne is very loyal to him, it's unclear on the show if he ever suspected that she fancied him.
- True Beauty Is on the Inside: He is one of the very few individuals in this Crapsack World who can look past Brienne's unappealing physique and see her inner beauty.
- Ungrateful Bastard:
- Stannis saved his life during the Siege of Storm's End when he was only a young boy, and yet as an adult decides to usurp his claim because the former has the personality of a lobster — by siding with the people that almost had them both killed.
- He insults Robert for romanticizing his warrior days and victories and keeps insulting Robert, forgetting that had it not been for his brother, House Baratheon would have probably been destroyed by the Targaryens, nor would Renly ever had a seat on the Small Council or met Loras. Robert also made him Lord of Storm's End despite Stannis being more deserving, and yet Renly never shows the slightest gratitude.
- The Usurper: Out of all the contestants, he has the weakest official claim to any throne. While Robb Stark and the long-ignored Balon Greyjoy want to revive their Houses' respective kingship traditions, Stannis is Robert's lawful heir, Joffrey is Robert's official heir (and actually sits on the throne) and Daenerys is the heir of the previous dynasty, Renly is an usurper from any perspective that can be taken on this issue.
- Youngest Child Wins: Renly wanted to invoke this trope to his great woe. This is however laced with a great deal of Didn't Think This Through, the main reason Robb Stark didn't back Renly's claim was that he wanted to leapfrog over his elder brother which Robb pointed to his fellow lords was totally against the line of succession:Robb Stark: If Bran can't be Lord of Winterfell before me, Renly can't be King before Stannis.
- War Is Hell: He invokes this trope after he becomes disgusted with his brother Robert's reminiscing about "the good old days" of the war. Renly borderline shouts at the King that for the loads of lesser men killed, the women raped, and the bastard or orphaned children — pretty much everyone who is not part of the ruling class actually finds war pretty awful. Of course, this makes him a bit of a hypocrite considering that later he decides to start a war to usurp the crown rather then help Ned make sure the throne passes to Stannis with as little bloodshed as possible.
- White Stallion: As part of his regal image, he rides one in "Garden of Bones". Loras will later charge into battle in "Blackwater" on Renly's white horse to better enhance the illusion that he is King Renly's ghost.
- Would Hurt a Child: Renly supports Robert's proposed assassination of Daenerys Targaryen.Renly: We should have had them both killed years ago.
Queen Selyse Baratheon, née Florent
Played By: Tara FitzgeraldStannis Baratheon's wife. She hails from House Florent, a noble house of the Reach and vassals of House Tyrell, though they have declared for Stannis after Renly's death instead of siding with the Lannisters like the Tyrells themselves.
- Abusive Parent: Selyse views her daughter with contempt, bordering upon violent hatred. She neglects her at the best of times and otherwise suggests hurting her for being 'sinful'.
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: She is much more affected by the many stillbirths than her book counterpart. She also has had to endure the Siege of Storm's End while she wasn't there in the books. And then there's the sacrifice of Shireen...
- Adaptational Attractiveness: No moustache, or big Florent ears, here.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the books, she's protective of Shireen. In the series, she despises her and resents her, because according to Word of God, she's a living reminder of her failure to provide Stannis with a son.
- Adaptational Wimp: In the books, Selyse was more of a Grande Dame, a extremely haughty and close-minded person (as well as a bit of an hypocrite) who just so happened to have total and complete faith in Melisandre and R'hllor (in fact, it was her who bought Melisandre to Stannis). She wields quite a bit of influence in the Stannis faction because her family, the Florents, are Stannis's main supporters. "The Queen's Men" were her Praetorian Guard and the most fanatical faction in Stannis's army. She constantly campaigns for even more radical actions and pressures Stannis for sacrifices and such. The show emphasizes on her fanaticsm to a degree in which she's a Mad Woman In The Attic and downplays her political influence (which, admittedely was a secondary matter until around the fifth book) essentially making her a much more servile character.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Stannis finds her hanged to a tree in a eerie, gloomy scene. Even if their married life was unhappy and Selyse was an unstable fundamentalist, he's clearly saddened by it.
- Alliterative Family: With her husband Stannis and their daughter Shireen.
- Ambiguously Bi: It's highly debatable; Selyse seems to ogle a naked Melisandre, but the look on her face is open to interpretation. Is it desire for the Red Woman, or jealousy of such a perfect-bodied, confident, powerful woman who gave Stannis a son?
- With the revelation of Melisandre's true form, some are positing on whether or not Selyse was witness to this before hand, since Melisandre was not wearing the necklace that supports her magic at the time.
- Arranged Marriage: With Stannis.
- Belated Love Epiphany: Selyse Baratheon abused and neglected Shireen through the series, eventually giving her consent to let Melisandre burn her alive. As the sacrifice gets underway, and Shireen begs for her parents to save her, Selyse's motherly instincts kick in and she realizes that she can't bear to lose her. But her attempt to save her child fails and she's forced to watch Shireen burn to death.
- Cain and Abel: In the Season 4 episode "The Lion and The Rose", she helps have her own brother be burnt alive for nonconformity.
- Demoted to Extra: While never a major character, she's more prominent in the books, where she eagerly joins the faith of the Lord of Light after Melisandre arrives on Dragonstone. She has a bigger role in Season 3, with actual lines.
- Despair Event Horizon: She reaches it in "The Dance of Dragons" as Shireen is being burnt at the stake. She kills herself shortly afterwards.
- Dissonant Serenity: Has no problem with seeing her own brother being burnt alive for nonconformity — in fact she's overjoyed that now his "sins have been burned away." Watch her facial expression closely when Mance Rayder is being burned alive. She gleefully smiles.
- Driven to Suicide: She can't live with herself after Shireen's demise, and chooses to hang herself in the forest.
- Establishing Character Moment: Her first appearance establishes everything we need to know about her. She's seen praying fervently alone in the dark, instantly forgives her husband's infidelity due to her fundamentalist and pays loving attention to her jars of miscarried children while trying to deny the existence of her daughter.
- Everyone Has Standards: Say what you will about her treatment of Shireen, but she breaks down when her daughter is burned alive and screams for her help and unsuccessfully tries to prevent it.
- The Fundamentalist: She's so crazed that even Melisandre seems slightly put-off by her. She's also overjoyed to burn her own brother alive for the Lord of Light.
- Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: While Stannis feels guilty of having had sex with Melisandre, Selyse is ecstatic because she has given him only stillborns — she doesn't even count Shireen — while Melisandre gave him a son.
- Heel Realization: She does not realize Shirieen's worth until it's way too late. This despair causes her to commit suicide.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Dictating to two very determined young women what they can and can't do? Selyse, sweetie: what do you expect is going to happen?
- Iconic Sequel Character: After a cameo during the Season 2 premiere (played by a different actress), she is properly introduced to the series in Season 3.
- Kick the Dog: The way she treats Shireen. Almost every time Stannis has a Pet the Dog moment with their daughter (spending time with her, taking her to the Wall so she will be safe and so on), she counterbalances it (saying that Shireen is nothing, suggesting to punish her because the greyscale has scarred her, not wanting to take her to the Wall and so on).
- Knight Templar: She gleefully watches infidels, including her own brother, being burned. She also considers Shireen's greyscale a divine punishment and suggest striking her for her "sins".
- The Mentally Disturbed: It's less that Selyse is evil or mean-spirited and more that she could really, REALLY use a therapist.
- My God, What Have I Done?: She breaks down out of guilt at the sight of Shireen being burned.
- Outliving One's Offspring: She has three stillborn children before the series begins, while Shireen is sacrificed during the penultimate episode of Season 5.
- Parental Neglect: She refuses to even acknowledge Shireen's existence at first.
- Pet the Dog: At the last moment, she completely breaks down and tries to save Shireen from being burned alive. However, in the end its too little too late, and she is only able to watch as it happens.
- Room Full of Crazy: Featuring all of her stillborn sons preserved in jars, no less!
- Royally Screwed Up: Selyse is blatantly unstable, due to the trauma of so many stillbirths and her inability to produce a male heir for Stannis. Writer Bryan Cogman confirmed that the reason she became the first person on Dragonstone to embrace the new Lord of Light religion (even before Stannis) is because she couldn't process that the Seven would let her unborn sons die, so like many people in traumatic situations, she fanatically embraced a new religion. Even the normally stoic Stannis pities how deeply traumatized she is about their stillborn sons, insisting that it wasn't her fault when she starts blaming herself.
- Sanity Slippage: While never directly stated, it's clear that the several miscarriages she suffered, combined with her embracing the cult of the Lord of Light, have taken a toll on her mental stability. She also had to endure starvation during the siege of Storm's End, which could have played a role too.
- Stepford Smiler: "Mockingbird" reveals that she's not quite as okay with Stannis and Melisandre having sex as she's let on, staring at Mel's nude body in apparent jealousy and repeating her earlier praise of it almost as a Survival Mantra.
- Trauma Conga Line: First, there's the high number of stillborns she's produced. Then the one child she does produce ends up being a girl who gets afflicted with dragonscale. Unable to believe in the old gods, she devotes herself to the Lord of Light instead. Only to find out that his priestess had an affair with Stannis. Although she claimed that it wasn't a problem, it's strongly suggested that she's hurt deep down. Then finally, the people she had Undying Loyalty to (her husband and the aforementioned priestess) burn her daughter alive, who she had always previously scorned but tried to save at the last moment. All of the guilt and trauma are too much to bear for her and she commits suicide.
- Undying Loyalty: She is loyal to Stannis even when he admits his adultery. She also fondly remembers his efforts to keep her alive during the siege of Storm's End.
- Unwanted Spouse: Melisandre claims this while seducing Stannis and he doesn't dispute it, but it's ultimately subverted. In "Kissed by Fire", Stannis is shown to genuinely love his wife and daughter, and is quite guilty about having had sex with Melisandre. However, she's seemingly fine with it.From the Books...
Princess Shireen Baratheon
Played By: Kerry Ingram
"You're your father's daughter, no mistake. Bloody relentless, the both of you."Stannis Baratheon's only daughter with Queen Selyse. Her face was marred by greyscale she had as a baby.
— Ser Davos Seaworth
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books, even without the greyscale, Shireen is an extremely plain girl with Stannis's square jaw and the signature big ears of the Florents. Kerry Ingram is adorable.
- Alliterative Family: With her parents Stannis and Selyse.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Shireen asking "Are you ashamed of me, father?" prompts the cold Stannis to answer with the most heartfelt, reassuring speech he likely ever disclosed, which ends with father and daughter embracing.
- Bookworm: When Davos refuses the book she brought him, she's completely lost and confused: how can anyone refuse a book? Books are awesome! She says in Season 5 that she learned to read when she was three years old. Even bookworm Samwell Tarly was surprised at this. She explains that given her Ill Girl status, confined indoors all the time, reading was the main activity she had.
- Composite Character: The song she sings is sung in the books by her companion Patchface, who serves Stannis as a jester. The person that teaches Davos to read in the books is Maester Pylos.
- Cool Teacher: A strict, but fair one who adapts her teaching material to the pupil in front of her when drawing up her lesson plans. And, she strives to keep it above all interesting and applicable. No standard, dry religious texts of the See the Warrior Fight and the Smith Smith school of thought: break out the liveliest histories, poems and legends along with stuff her pupils already are expected to know or use day-to-day.
- Creepy Child: Subverted. She's introduced singing an eerie song and half her face is deformed, but she quickly shows herself to be a perfectly sweet little girl, despite having no friends and living inside a tower.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: One of the sweetest, most innocent characters in the series gets burned alive while her parents watch and do nothing.
- Daddy's Girl: Unsurprisingly, she gets along with Stannis far better than her mother. In "The Dance of Dragons," while Stannis's troops suffer from cold and hunger, she says that wants to do whatever she can to help her father no matter what. Not realizing, of course, that Stannis is going to sacrifice her.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- To an imprisoned Davos.Shireen: What will they do? Put us in cells?
- She also snarks back at Melisandre in a far less friendly way when she attempts to justify burning people alive.Melisandre: Women scream when they give birth. Afterward they are filled with joy.
Shireen: Afterward they aren't ash and bone.
- She even manages to get her old man at one point:Stannis: Are you lonely?
Shireen: Just bored.
Stannis: My father used to tell me that boredom indicates a lack of inner resources.
Shireen: Were you bored a lot too?
- And in the fifth season at Castle Black:Shireen: I thought I'd be left at home. I know Mother didn't want to bring me.
Stannis: Why do you say that?
Shireen: She told me, "I don't want to bring you."
- To an imprisoned Davos.
- Death by Adaptation: She's killed off late in the fifth season despite still being alive in the books, and at Castle Black during Stannis's siege of Winterfell. This was a type 1 when the episode aired, but may end up as type 2: GRRM told the writers to kill her off, so she'll presumably face a similar fate in the books.
- A Death in the Limelight: An extended occurrence. Come Season 5, Shireen gets much more focus and backstory exploration than before. She doesn't survive it.
- Expy: Of Iphigenia from Euripides's tragedy Iphigenia at Aulis, who is going to be sacrificed by her father Agamemnon to appease the goddess Artemis before the Trojan war. Likewise, Melisandre suggests Stannis to burn her in order to ensure his victory at Winterfell. In some versions, Iphigenia escapes her fate when Artemis replaces her on the altar with a deer, which is also the symbol of House Baratheon. Poor Shireen is not so lucky.
- Facial Horror: The left side of her face is scarred by (cured) Greyscale.
- To Joffrey, in a way. Literally Joffrey's only positive trait is that he is physically attractive (which fools Sansa into thinking he's her Prince Charming), but otherwise he is a megalomaniacal sociopath, yet also dumb as a brick, unskilled at anything from combat to rulership. In contrast to her alleged cousin, greyscale has marred half of Shireen's face so she isn't attractive, but she is very well-read (specifically on books about history and governance), kind, and very intelligent. Joffrey also gets away with a lot of the stuff he does simply because he is a boy in the male-dominated society of Westeros (i.e. casually remarking to Sansa, in public at the feast for her wedding to Tyrion, that he might want to rape her first while the Kingsguard hold her down), but Shireen is a girl.
- To Tommen as well. Both are good-natured children with a great political relevance and a strong attachment to their parent of opposite gender. Tommen is gullible and weak-willed, and his relationship with Cersei progressively becomes more dysfunctional, mainly due to Cersei's lies. Shireen is savvy and resolute (she snarks back at Melisandre, disobeys her father to see Davos and so on) and her relationship with Stannis becomes more affectionate since he starts spending more time with her and comes clear about the fact that he loves her.
- Iconic Sequel Character: Does not appear in the series until Season 3.
- Ill Girl: Shireen was afflicted with greyscale as an infant. Against all odds she was cured, but it left half of her face permanently scarred.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Ser Davos, who gave her a toy ship.
- I Want My Mommy: She screams for her parents as she's burning to death as part of one of Melisandre's sacrifices, incorrectly believing that the sacrifice is happening without their knowledge or consent. It's so heart-wrenching that even Selyse starts running towards her.
- Kill the Cutie: She's sacrificed by her father in "The Dance of Dragons," thus killing off one of the most genuinely sweet and selfless characters in the series.
- Gentleman and a Scholar: She can be a bit stern when teaching Davos, but she is never mean to people who aren't as cultured as her.
- Like a Daughter to Me: Davos's appreciation for Shireen goes beyond friendship.
- Morality Pet: To Stannis. Unlike Selyse, who is maliciously neglectful of Shireen, Stannis seems to genuinely care for her (the few times he bothers to visit Shireen's dark tower room) and tries to connect with her, despite having a hard time with it. He also reacts with restrained Tranquil Fury when Selyse suggests beating her. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop him from eventually sacrificing her.
- Nice Girl: Despite her disfiguration and spending her days hidden in her dark tower chambers, she's a massive sweetheart who loves her father and Ser Davos dearly.
- Nice to the Waiter: Even though her mother despises Ser Davos, Shireen considers him her friend, and resolves to teach him to read.
- Plucky Girl: When Stannis takes her along on his march to take Winterfell from the Boltons, Shireen declares she won't be afraid during the battle.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: Melisandre implies this about Shireen's sacrifice. The blizzard that blocked their path disappeared for several months, clearing the way to Winterfell. Even if Stannis died, the way for Jon Snow and the Vale Cavalry to secure victory over the Boltons was laid clear and faced no interference from the oncoming winter, taking a full army with them to Winterfell rather than face the starvation and defection that Stannis did. Davos refuses to accept this and calls the Lord of Light evil for allowing Shireen's death, but Melisandre points out that it was the same Lord who resurrected Jon. In either case, Jon banishes Melisandre rather than execute her.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Shireen's hair is more dark brown than the dark Baratheon black described in the books, though the reason is understandable: Ingram is actually blonde in real life, and dyeing her hair that far away from her natural hair color would look painfully artificial (as the production team learned in the pilot episode, when they briefly tried having the dark-haired Peter Dinklage play Tyrion with dyed-blonde hair, but it looked so fake that they later dialed it back to Tyrion having more of a honey-blonde hair).
- Remember the New Guy: She is never mentioned in Season 2 and Melisandre's dialogue even implies she doesn't even exist in the TV canon. From the books... The out-of-universe explanation — Word of God as confirmed by writer Bryan Cogman — is that the producers were considering having her Adapted Out of the TV series during Season 2, but made the dialogue deliberately vague to keep their options open: it's only stated that Stannis has no sons. Cogman revealed that they actually agonized over that "no sons" line, specifically wording it so that they could later say that Stannis has a daughter without contradicting themselves. Even then, they weren't sure if Shireen would be a recurring role or only briefly appear in Season 3 (Ingram explained she was originally only hired for one year), but as time went on they felt her scenes were working well enough to make her a recurring character and gradually expand he appearances.
- Scars Are Forever: Her greyscale is permanent.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Visiting Davos in prison (after being told by Stannis, in his usual blunt style, that she should "best forget him") and teaching him to read after learning that he is illiterate, despite Davos's own hesitation.
- She's a Baratheon, alright: tell her she shouldn't do something she's decided to do to see stubbornness ensue. Quiet, well-spoken stubbornness, in this case.
- Senseless Sacrifice: Her being burned to death as a sacrifice accomplishes nothing, ends up destroying the hope of Stannis to claim the Iron Throne and eventually causes the Baratheon family to dissapear from the face of Westeros.
- Stern Teacher: Not exactly, but she is very insistent about teaching Ser Davos to read.Shireen: You're late...I thought you weren't coming.
Davos: The Hand of the King doesn't have much leisure time.
Shireen: You won't be a very good Hand if you see the word 'knight' and say 'ka-nigit.'
Davos: That happened once, weeks ago. You're your father's daughter, no mistake. Bloody relentless, the both of you.
Shireen: (Handing him a book) It's a new one today. Lots of tricky words. But I think you can manage. (Davos begins reading, lips moving) You'll never read well if you move your lips. That's how children do it.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: The sweetest person in Westeros is sacrificed by her father on the eve of a battle with the Boltons and an upcoming Zombie Apocalypse.
- Two-Faced: Has the look, but is otherwise thoroughly averted since she's probably the sweetest character in the series.
- Un-person: Shireen is hidden away in a dark tower, and her mother Selyse prefers to completely ignore her existence. Even Stannis is awkward around her and doesn't really talk about her.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Downplayed, as she never overtly calls out Melisandre for burning her uncle, whom she was quite fond of. However, in her conversation with Melisandre, she doesn't even hide the fact she believes it was wrong, and smartly dismisses Melisandre's attempts to convince her otherwise. She's one of the only people who cannot bear to watch Mance burning alive, the other exception being Gilly, while her mother Selyse is visibly smirking the whole time.
- Wise Beyond Her Years: Along with Davos, she's probably the Only Sane Man in Stannis's household; wondering why her Uncle who was so nice to her has to be burnt alive. She also counters Melisandre's Insane Troll Logic of equating his dying screams to a mother giving birth — Shireen points out that new mothers don't end up as ash and bone.
Lord Steffon Baratheon
Played By: N/A
"My father used to tell me boredom indicates a lack of inner resources."The late father of Robert, Stannis and Renly and former head of House Baratheon. He perished at sea in sight of his castle, Storm's End, along with his wife Lady Cassana.
— Stannis Baratheon
- All There in the Manual: His name appears in the lineages book consulted by Ned Stark, but with no real context to identify him as the previous Lord Baratheon. The novels are the material that connect the name and the character.
- Posthumous Character: Steffon is long-dead by the time the events of the series begin.
- Together in Death: He died along with his wife.
Lord Ormund Baratheon
Robert, Stannis and Renly's grandfather. Hand to King Aegon V Targaryen.
House Baratheon of King's Landing
The Baratheons of King's Landing claim to be a branch of House Baratheon of Storm's End and Dragonstone, and claim descent from King Robert Baratheon, but the houses share no blood. All members of House Baratheon of King's Landing are bastard children born of incest between Cersei and Ser Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer, and are therefore better characterized as a branch of House Lannister. Despite their illegitimacy, they successfully usurped and still occupy the throne.See House Baratheon of Kings Landing
Stannis: I admire you, Ser Davos.A young, landed, knightly house sworn to House Baratheon of Storm's End. Davos Seaworth was raised to knighthood and given choice lands in the Stormlands for running the Tyrell blockade of Storm's End with supplies during Robert's Rebellion.
Davos: I thank you, Your Grace. Pleased ta hear it.
Stannis: Some highborn fools call you Onion Knight and think they insult you, so you take the onion for your sigil, sew it on your coat, fly the onion flag.
Davos: I thank you, Your Grace. Pleased ta hear it.
Stannis: Some highborn fools call you Onion Knight and think they insult you, so you take the onion for your sigil, sew it on your coat, fly the onion flag.
Ser Davos Seaworth
Played By: N/ADavos's wife.
Played By: Kerr Logan
Matthos Seaworth: Stannis is my king, but he's only a man.Davos's son and scribe to King Stannis.
Davos Seaworth: Don't tell him that.
Davos Seaworth: Don't tell him that.
- Composite Character: In the books, Davos has seven sons, several of whom go with him into battle, but only Matthos is ever seen in the series, and material on the DVD confirms that Matthos is the only Seaworth son in the show's canon. He fulfills the job of scribe rather than Maester Pylos and follows the Lord of Light like Devan Seaworth.
- Death by Irony: His fanatical devotion to the Lord of Light nets him a death by (wild)fire.
- Everyone Has Standards: He's visibly disgusted when Salladhor expresses his intent to claim Cersei as his concubine.
- Foil: To Salladhor Saan.
- Foreshadowing: Early in Season 2, Melisandre tells him that fire is the cleanest death. Fast forward to "Blackwater"....
- The Fundamentalist: He's a true believer of the Lord of Light and is frequently trying to convert his father.
- Mauve Shirt: He doesn't exactly get overwhelmed with Character Development before dying.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: He holds a rather optimistic view of the world, believing that Stannis will win, the Lord of Light will rule all and everything will be just lovely.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Matthos is under the impression the Battle of Blackwater will be an epic Big Damn Heroes moment, with the people of King's Landing welcoming them as liberators. His father coolly puts him straight.
Baratheon Bannermen, Retainers & Household
Renly Baratheon: Why is your stag on fire?The remaining characters in service to Stannis Baratheon, a motley assortment of religious fanatics, pirates, and opportunists.
Melisandre: The King has taken for his sigil the fiery heart of the Lord of Light.
Melisandre: The King has taken for his sigil the fiery heart of the Lord of Light.
Played By: Lucian Msamati
"Salladhor Saan is a good name for songs."A powerful Lysene pirate and mercenary. Also old friend of Davos. Initially hired by Stannis as a mercenary, Salladhor left Stannis's service after his defeat at the Battle of the Blackwater. Salladhor is then rehired by Stannis with gold loaned from the Iron Bank of Braavos.
- Affably Evil: If you assume that piracy and evil always go together.
- Alliterative Name: Salladhor Saan.
- Appeal To Vanity: The way Davos convinces him to support Stannis.Davos: You're not a young man, Salladhor. An' correct me if I'm wrong, most pirates don't grow old.
Salladhor: Only the clever ones.
Davos: You want ta spend your last few years on the sea stealing from Pentoshi cheese mongers and Meereenese silk merchants, then go. They're out there, waitin' for you. That's easy. What I'm offerin' you is hard. Come with me an' plunder the greatest city in Westeros. You'll be the richest man in Lys, an' the most famous. They'll be singin' songs about you as long as men have voices ta sing.
Salladhor: Salladhor Saan is a good name for songs.
Davos: It is.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: "Salladhor Saan is a good name for songs."
- Badass Beard: He has one.
- Black Best Friend: To Davos.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Invokes this trope by telling the original (in Westeros/Essos) joke, about a merchant captain who asks for his red shirt when fighting off one and then two pirate ships, but then asks for his brown pants when confronted with ten pirate ships. The whores he's with at the time spoil the punchline by shouting it before Salladhor can deliver it. Then Davos points out they've likely heard the same joke from every pirate they've met.
- The Bus Came Back: Returns briefly in the Season 3 premiere, when he rescues Davos and returns him to Dragonstone. And then again in Season 4 when Stannis and Davos go to Braavos for a loan from the Iron Bank, and Stannis rehires Salladhor.
- The Charmer: He claims to be this, and considering his affable he is and his Really Gets Around reputation he's likely right.
- Chekhov's Gunman: He reappears in the Season 3 premiere to rescue Davos and bring him back to Stannis.
- Demoted to Extra: In Season 3.
- Ethical Slut: He Really Gets Around, but is very insistent about how much he enjoys women and doesn't hold well with the idea of rape.
- Foil: To Matthos Seaworth.
- Hollywood Atheist: Type VII — he rubs his atheism on deeply religious Matthos for the lulz.Salladhor: I've been all over the world, my boy, and everywhere I go, people tell me about the "true gods." They all think they found the right one. The one true god is what's between a woman's legs. Better yet, a Queen's legs.
- Insistent Terminology: He's not going to rape Cersei, he's going to fuck her. He wants her to consent to sleeping with him first.Salladhor: One thing: I want the Queen.
Davos: The Queen?
Salladhor: Cersei. I want her. I'll sail with your fleet, all thirty of my ships, and if we don't drown at the bottom of Blackwater Bay, I will fuck this blond Queen and I will fuck her well.
Matthos: This war isn't about you. We're not attacking King's Landing so that you can rape the Queen!
Salladhor: I'm not going to rape her, I'm going to fuck her.
Matthos: As if she would just let you?
Salladhor: You don't know how persuasive I am. I never tried to fuck you.
- Mr. Exposition: Explains Stannis's post-Blackwater situation to the recently rescued Davos in the Season 3 premiere.
- Noble Demon: He may be a greedy pirate, but he values loyalty and has a strong code of ethics.
- Noodle Incident:Davos: You know me. You drank wine with me at my wedding.
Salladhor: And you drank with me at four of my weddings, but I don't go asking for any favors!
- Odd Friendship: Is an old and close friend of Davos Seaworth's, from his smuggling days, despite the two being virtual polar opposites in terms of character.Salladhor: You believe your king can win?
Davos: He is the one true king.
Salladhor: You Westerosi are funny people. Man chops off your fingers and you fall in love with him. (Davos laughs) I'll sail with you, Davos Seaworth. You're the most honest smuggler I ever met. Make me rich.
Davos: Get me ta the gates o' King's Landin', an' I will.
- Once a Season: What Salladhor has become. He has had one scene per season since Season 2. Averted when he doesn't appear in Season 5 at all.
- Only in It for the Money: He abandons Stannis after the Battle of Blackwater Bay. He gave Stannis 30 ships in return for gold from plundering King's Landing. The defeat at Blackwater meant that Stannis couldn't uphold his side of the bargain. He re-enters his service however after the Iron Bank gives Stannis a loan and Davos gives him satchels of coins with more sent to his wife.
- Pet the Dog: He's likable but obviously not a good guy; he does have softer moments, particularly with Davos who he considers a true friend.Salladhor Saan: I am so sorry, my friend. I too have lost a son. There is nothing worse in this world. But, Davos, you were a good father.
Davos: If I were a good father, he'd still be here.
- Pirate: Well, obviously. He says he's a pirate often enough and commands a pirate fleet.Salladhor: You think I'm insulted? I am a pirate. I'm an excellent pirate.
- Pride: Davos does a good job of stroking Salladhor's pride (and greed), winning his support largely on the basis of his ego.
- Race Lift: While never described in detail in the books, Salladhor Saan is Lyseni and Lyseni are described as fair-skinned, blond and blue-eyed. He still hails from Lys in the show, but is probably not a local given that other Lyseni characters like Doreah and what we see of Saan's own crew are white. Much like TV! Xaro Xhoan Daxos, he's probably an immigrant from the Summer Islands (who are canonically black) .
- Second Episode Introduction: Introduced in the second episode of Season 2.
- Serial Spouse: We hear about four marriages, and those are only the ones whose weddings Davos was able to attend!
- Shipper on Deck: He probably means it as a joke when he laughingly states that Davos fell in love with Stannis, but he does not seem to consider it a bad thing. Davos does not deny, mind you.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Davos Seaworth. They don't trust each other, but they like each other as much as criminals (or former criminals) allow themselves to.Salladhor Saan: You're not my friend, my friend.
- Where Da White Women At?: He demands Cersei as prize for helping attack King's Landing — not to rape her, he says, but to seduce her; specifically citing her blondeness.Salladhor Saan: Cersei, I want her. I'll sail with your fleet, all thirty of my ships, and if we don't drown at the bottom of Blackwater Bay, I will fuck this blonde queen and I will fuck her well.
- Your Cheating Heart: Despite being married, he's happy enough to cavort around with prostitutes.
Played By: Oliver Ford DaviesAn old Maester serving Stannis Baratheon at Dragonstone.
- Blood from the Mouth: After drinking the poisoned wine.
- Composite Character: Cressen's ineffectual defense of the Seven idols that are burned is reminiscent of the Lords Sunglass and Rambton from the books.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Cressen attempts to take out Melisandre by toasting to the Lord of Light as the only true god, then drinking from a poisoned chalice and offering it to Melisandre so the two will die and everyone else in the room will take this as a sign to abandon the Lord of Light and return to the Faith of the Seven. However, Melisandre sees past Cressen's plans and drinks from the chalice knowing that her powers make her immune to the poison. The "heretic" Cressen dies, she "miraculously" survives, and everyone else will end seeing this as evidence of her god's power.
- Old Retainer: To the Baratheon family, and Stannis in particular.
- Only Sane Man: Either this or Commander Contrarian.
- Parental Substitute: From the books...
- Perfect Poison: Cressen uses a rather painful poison against Melisandre; being a Maester, it's likely he knew exactly what would do the job. Unfortunately due to her magical abilities, it's a case of No Sell.
- Sacrificial Lamb: He's killed in his first episode to show the ruthlessness of Melisandre, the genuine nature of her power, and how Stannis has shifted his beliefs.
- Taking You with Me: His plan to poison Melisandre is to drink first from a cup of poisoned wine and then offer some to her. It doesn't work. Melisandre is immune to poisons thanks to her magical powers.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Dies in his introductory episode.
Ser Imry Florent
Played By: Gordon MahnA member of House Florent and brother of Queen Selyse. Serves as Stannis's second aboard the Fury during the Battle of the Blackwater. Now presumably head of House Florent, in the aftermath of Lord Axell's death.
- Demoted to Extra: In the books it is him and not Davos the one who leads Stannis's fleet in the Battle of the Blackwater. In the show he has exactly one scene. And one line.
- Number Two: To Stannis during the Battle of the Blackwater.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the books, he dies after leading the fleet blindly into Tyrion's trap. In the show, he apparently remains in the Fury when Stannis gets into a boat to lead the vanguard of his troops.
Lord Axell Florent
Played by: James McHaleLord of Brightwater Keep and head of House Florent. Initially pledged to Renly in the War of the Five Kings, despite being Stannis's brother-in-law. As Selyse's eldest brother, his house was one of the few Reach houses to join Stannis after Renly's death, and by far the most important. He was burned at the stake for apostasy from R'hllor, on the orders of Lady Melisandre.
- Burn the Witch!: Inverted, he is burned by Melisandre along with two others for worshipping the Seven in secret.
- Composite Character: The books feature Lord Alester Florent and Ser Axell Florent, who are uncles to Selyse rather than brothers. Both are followers of the Lord of Light (the first one opportunistically, the second a devout), but Alester is burnt during a ritual by Melisandre after Stannis sentences him to death for beginning peace talks with Tywin Lannister without Stannis's knowledge or authorization.
- Cool Uncle: Shireen has a very high opinion on him.
- Remember the New Guy: The most common reaction to the image of him being burned alive is to wonder who the hell he is.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He quite literally turns up for his death scene.
Played by: Nigel O'NeillStannis's subordinate during the last stages of the march to Winterfell.
- Composite Character: As no name is given and Stannis in the books had several knights serving as his subordinates, it's presumed he is a composite of Ser Richard Horpe, Godry Farring and Justin Massey.
- Mook Lieutenant: Despite named a General, serves as this to Stannis in Davos's absence.
- No Name Given: Is never named in the series and is only credited as 'Baratheon General' in the casting bill.
- Oh, Crap!: His reaction to the massive Bolton army on horseback straight at them.Baratheon General: There's not going to be a siege, Your Grace.
- Undying Loyalty: Stays at Stannis's side despite facing massive desertions and impossible odds.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Only appears briefly in two episodes before killed at the Battle of Winterfell.
Lord Selwyn Tarth
Played by: N/ALord of Evenfall Hall and head of House Tarth. His house rules over the island of Tarth, known as the Sapphire Isle, north of Shipbreaker Bay off the coast near Storm's End. Known as the Evenstar. Initially pledged to Renly in the War of the Five Kings, he joined Stannis along with most of the rest of the Stormlords after Renly's death. It is unclear whether he still owes allegiance to Stannis or, after the Blackwater, bent the knee to the Iron Throne.
- Arranged Marriage: Like Ned Stark, Lord Selwyn originally planned to marry off his daughter for political advantage. Unlike Ned, he eventually relented and taught her to fight like she wanted.
- Comically Small Bribe: How Locke sees Selwyn's offer of 300 gold dragons for Brienne's ransom, on account of Jaime's story about sapphires. Jaime points out that it's a fair offer. However, in the books, 300 gold dragons is a normal ransom for a knight, and so it still seems odd that Lord Selwyn didn't offer more than that for his daughter.
- Do Wrong, Right: As Brienne tells Arya, Lord Selwyn was fed up that she kept getting into fights but losing because of her lack of discipline and decided more or less that if she's going to be a bother, she might as well as do it right.
- The Ghost: Hasn't appeared, and likely never will, unwritten books notwithstanding.
- Foil: To Ned Stark and Tywin Lannister. All three have very similar daughters: strong-willed, physically and mentally capable, completely unwilling to be married off like so many other highborn girls, and are very vocal about it. Unlike both of them, however, Selwyn acquiesced to his daughter's wishes, because he wanted her to be happy more than he wanted political advantage.
- Master Swordsman: Taught his daughter, Brienne, to fight. Brienne is one of the most competent fighters on the show.
- Mock Millionaire: Jaime tells Locke that Lord Selwyn is tremendously rich in sapphires to prevent him and his men from raping Brienne. Brienne later points out that Tarth is called the Sapphire Isle because of its natural beauty, not because it produces lots of those precious stones.
- Nice Guy: Decided not to force Brienne into a life of political marriage, and helped her achieve her goal of becoming a knight, or as close thereto as a woman could manage.
Lord Beric Dondarrion
Played By: David Michael Scott & Richard DormerLord of Blackhaven in the Dornish Marches and head of House Dondarrion. Known as the Lightning Lord, he was dispatched by Eddard Stark to execute Gregor Clegane for his crimes in the Riverlands. After the deaths of Stark and Robert Baratheon, the remains of Dondarrion's force became the insurgent Brotherhood Without Banners. He owes no allegiance to Stannis, though both are devotees of R'hllor, have common enemies, and have worked together through Thoros of Myr and Lady Melisandre.See Game of Thrones - Independent Characters The Brotherhood Without Banners