Characters: Game Of Thrones House Baratheon
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Barristan Selmy: "[Robert] was a good man. A great warrior. And a terrible king."
The youngest Great House of Westeros. Descended from Orys Baratheon, the best friend of King Aegon I Targaryen and the nation's first Hand of the King. It traditionally rules over the Stormlands, to the south of the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, after Orys slew their former high lord during the War of Conquest.
Seventeen years before the start of the show, House Baratheon led a rebellion that overthrew the Targaryen dynasty and claimed the Iron Throne for itself, but had to rely on the wealthy House Lannister of the West to cement its power. The revelation that King Robert's children
are not really his leads the remaining Baratheons to rise in rebellion once again.
- 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.
- 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...
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Much less pronounced than any of the other regions – of which the North is pseudo-(northern) Britain, the Reach is pseudo-France, and Dorne is pseudo-Spain. The Stormlands as a whole are…loosely like medieval Germany, though there’s a mish-mash of other factors. Like Germany, the Stormlands are the most densely forested part of the Seven Kingdoms (of the three major forests, two are located in the Stormlands, the third in the North…but while the North is vast, those two forests take up most of the Stormlands). Similarly, medieval Germany was densely forested. The other similarities have more to do with their history, which is a lot like the Holy Roman Empire. From the Books...
- 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' 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
"I'm not trying to honor you. I'm trying to get you to run my kingdom while I can eat, drink and whore my way to an early grave."
"You think honor keeps them in line? You think it's honor that's keeping the peace? It's fear—fear and blood!"
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.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the books, Cersei always hated Robert for killing Rhaegar and Robert was the one who put in some effort to make it work. In the show she loved him at first.
- 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: Robert was a legendary warrior, killing Rhaegar Targaryen himself in battle. He's undergone some in-universe Badass Decay, but he can summon it in some form time and again, as he's still an avid and capable hunter to this day. The only reason he was killed by that boar was that his wine was made extra strong, and even then he took that boar out with him.
- 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. He was more passive-aggressive to Stannis, never fully giving him credit for his many accomplishments and continuing to slight him by giving important positions to others. 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 millions died. It might be best exemplified by his loving monologue about his merciless murder of a Tarly boy, rounded off with some longing nostalgia.
- 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.
- Boomerang Bigot
- Brutal Honesty: When asked by Cersei if there was ever a possibility of their marriage working, Robert plainly tells her no.
- 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.
- 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/Would Hit a Girl: 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.
- Expy: 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.
- Four-Star Badass
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The drinking hunter who'd rather have fun with whores who smell like blackberry jam to Stannis' 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.
- 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.
- 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. Occassionally, 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:
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.
- Hunting Accident: Technically it is an actual accident... helped along by Lancel Lannister making sure he is well-supplied with (triple alcohol content) wine.
- 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.
- I Was Quite a Looker: He was much more attractive before he became jaded and lazy.
- 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: But generally only if you're a Lannister, all of whom he sees as guilty by association for his horrific relationship with Cersei.
- 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.
Let's say Viserys Targaryen lands with 40,000 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He was. 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 bastards. 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 finding 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 brief spat between them. As King, he is fully willing to kill Daenerys and her unborn child. He later regrets this and asks Ned to cancel this last order but it's too late, though the assassination fails anyway.
King Stannis Baratheon
"We must do our duty. Great or small, we must do our duty."
Middle brother between Robert and Renly. 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 Jaime Lannister. Despite near-constant reversals and perpetually facing imminent defeat, Stannis' resolve to sit the Iron Throne or die trying will never waver. His determination has been rewarded with the forging of a possibly-decisive alliance with the nigh-omnipotent Iron Bank of Braavos.
- 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. His closest allies, on the other hand, respect his honesty and serve him with total devotion.
- 24-Hour Armor: There is not a single scene of Stannis wearing anything aside from the black-grey plate and mail armor with the sigil of the Flaming Hart on his 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.
- Adaptational Villainy: He gets this so often you'd think that someone on the writer's staff hates him.
- He nearly strangles Melisandre in "Valar Morghulis". Stannis in the novels was never physically violent towards a woman.
- In the books, Stannis is much more reluctant to attempt to sacrifice his nephew (Gendry in the show, Edric in the novels) to the Lord of Light.
- In the books, after Davos helps Edric Storm escape, Davos wins reprieve for his apparent treachery by appealing to Stannis' sense of duty and responsibility to the realm. Stannis also makes the decision to spare Davos for himself. In the show, Stannis outright sentences Davos to death and only relents when Davos almost blackmails him, followed by Melisandre telling Stannis that he does indeed need Davos to win. Even after this, Stannis still continues to make threats to have Davos executed if he doesn't produce results.
- In the books, Stannis all but outright denies any knowledge or involvement in Renly's death and seems to find the implication that he may have been responsible greatly disturbing. In the series, he was fully aware of it and considered it necessary.
- The "infidels" that Stannis burns in his first scene in Season 4, in the books, were traitors conspiring to sell him out to the Lannisters and marry off Shireen to Tommen in an attempt to regain their lost lands. Here? Stannis has them burned alive because they disobeyed orders to burn the statues of the Seven. Even though they were otherwise completely loyal and had made huge contributions to his war effort.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the books, Stannis is quick to say negative things about Ned. In the show, it's changed to genuine respect.
- 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.'
- Arranged Marriage: To Selyse of House Florent.
- Authority Equals Asskicking:
- After his navy is destroyed, he leads the charge into Kings 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.
- Back from the Brink: After his heavy defeat at Blackwater, reduced in numbers, deprived of funds and suffering from depression, Stannis Baratheon returns in fine form at the end of Season Four, thanks to a loan from the Iron Bank and a rousing victory over the Wildlings. By personally intervening on the side of the Night's Watch in their hour of need, Stannis has made himself into a viable candidate for the Iron Throne and has a new base to restart his campaign.
- Badass: He may be dour and personally unlikable but there is no denying his badassery. During "Blackwater", he leads his mean from the front directing the landing party personally and once on the battlements has little problem cutting down multiple opponents attacking from all sides. Also, The Season 2 History of Westeros shorts reveal Stannis was the one who lead Robert's fleet against the Ironborn during the Greyjoy rebellion. He succeeded where even Tywin Lannister failed, smashing the Greyjoy fleet and all but ensuring Robert's victory.
- Badass Boast:
Stannis: 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.
Stannis: The Baratheons say "Ours is the Fury." I will show them; fury burns.
- Badass Cape
- Bald of Awesome: Well, balding.
- 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 Brother Bully: According to Renly, Stannis frequently berates his younger brother for not being a warrior.
- Big Damn Heroes: In "The Children".
- 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 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.
- The Chosen One: According to Melisandre, he is 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.
"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.
- Curbstomp Battle: Defeats Mance Rayder's host of 100,000 with hardly a single casualty.
- Deadpan Snarker: With a great emphasis on deadpan, there are times when the man is capable of producing dry and voluntary humour.
They don't have enough men to raid a pantry.
- 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. 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' terror.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: After his victorious and terrible defence of Storm's End, Robert gave Storm's End to Renly, who never fought a day in his life. Stannis abided by his duty, but Robert's call embittered him. Of course, Stannis is wilfully ignoring that Robert gave him Dragonstone, the traditional home of the heir apparent to the Iron Throne and one of the few traditions he held onto from the old Targaryen dynasty. Stannis treats it like a White Elephant because, well... it really is kind of a shitty place to live.
- Establishing Character Moment: Unenthusiastically 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.
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 dubiousness of the issue of the royal children and wishes to claim it by right despite not being a popular ruler and thanks to the company he keeps gets a reputation as an Evil Uncle.
- To the unlawful King Joffrey Baratheon. Stannis is the man who epitomises Authority Equals Asskicking and has to be literally dragged out from a battle, while Joffrey is a Dirty Coward braggart who turns tail in the heat of a siege 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.
- 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, its 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.
- Genre Savvy: Upon receiving Eddard's information about the true parentage of King Joffrey, Stannis chooses to share the secret with every lord in Westeros, rather than keeping it to himself.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. From the Books...
- Heroic BSOD: Has a barely notable one when he sees Davos' 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hold the Line: Stannis' defence of Storm's End during the Rebellion despite dire straits and no support kept Robert's rebellion alive. Had Storm's End fallen it would have been a critical blow to Robert's legitimacy, similar to Robb Stark losing Winterfell, would have finished his campaign to defeat the Mad King.
- Honor Before Reason: Davos suggested to Stannis that he ally with Renly or Robb Stark, and the armies they provide, against the overwhelming Lannister force that opposes them. Stannis rejects the offer, stating that he'll not treat with either rival claimants or thieves. Note that at this point in time Stannis has by far the smallest force out of all the contenders in the War, and yet he's willing to take on all of the opposition (including Renly's massive Reach-Stormlands army and Robb's Northern-Riverlands army), alone if need be. Which, if he actually is The Chosen One, as Melisandre claims, is probably doable. However, this is also done for pragmatic reasons. If Stannis allies with Robb who wants Northern independence, then Stannis is basically showing that he can't keep the Seven Kingdoms together. If Renly becomes king than the line of succession loses all credibility.
- Davos points out that Stannis is willing to use blood magic and all types of other underhanded tricks to win, but unwilling to hire sellswords. Subverted when he counters that it's not a matter of being willing; he doesn't have any gold to pay for them.
- In Harm's Way: He accompanies his troops to King's Landing and personally leads them to storm the battlements.
- 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' lifelong loyalty; as it was the first time the latter had seen justice embodied and practiced in his life.
- Messianic Archetype: According to Melisandre.
- 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' 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?: He slowly comes to regret killing Renly, as he later angrily confesses to Melisandre.
- 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. In the books Melisandre justifies this by saying that any sacrifices he refuses to make would be killed anyway when the end of the world comes.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Stannis' decision to assassinate Renly causes the Tyrells to join the Lannisters, which leads to his defeat at the Battle of Blackwater.
- 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.
"...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.
- Not So Different: Compares himself to Aegon the Conqueror, in that they both have/had a smaller army and navy than the Westerosi lords, forcing them to rely on magic to win. It's an apt comparison, as they both also operated from Dragonstone, and were badass leaders.
- 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' 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.
- One-Man Army: Personally cuts through a score of Lannister soldiers during the Battle of the Blackwater.
- 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 Ruler: 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.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Stannis is aware of his reputation vis-a-vis the Rebellion:
"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 500 men."
- Parents as People: To Shireen. Unlike his wife, he tries being a good parent to her, but he is too busy with the war.
- Perma Stubble: In lieu of his book counterpart's neatly-trimmed beard.
- Perpetual Frowner
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: How he views his appointment as Lord of Dragonstone.
- Reluctant Ruler/The Chains of Commanding: 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.
- Resigned to the Call: He doesn't want to be the king or The Chosen One. But Stannis sees it as his duty, and so resolves to play his part.
- Rightful King Returns: Is the lawful monarch of Westeros, given that Robert had no trueborn heirs, meaning that succession defaults to the king's oldest surviving male sibling, Stannis. Almost pulls off the "returns" part in Blackwater, but is 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 a fictionalized version of Greek fire 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 Master Aemon's call for aid at the Wall.
- 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. Despite this, he's shown to be genuinely upset after Renly's sudden death in private.
- Skewed Priorities: Is outraged by the idea of hiring mercenaries to fight for him. Davos points out that this doesn't make much sense considering that Stannis found it acceptable to use Blood Magic. By comparison, hiring mercenaries seems rather petty.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Men First: In the Histories and Lore of Westeros, Davos states that when he smuggled food to the starving force of Storm's End, Stannis did not eat anything until his wife and soldiers had been fed first.
- The Stoic: They say he never smiles and his regular range and display of emotions do fit with the personality of a lobster, which makes his Not So Stoic moments all the more remarkable:
- The Strategist
- Toxic Friend Influence: Melisandre's.
- 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.
- 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.
- Where Is Your God Now?: Said word-for-word 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.
- Would Hit a Girl: Thanks to Adaptational Villainy.
- 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.
- Younger Than They Look: In Season 3, as a consequence of Melisandre taking his life force to make her shadow-child.
King Renly Baratheon
"Do you still believe good soldiers make good kings?"
"[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. Although Renly is the Lord of Storm's End — and therefore the liege lord of the Stormlands — Stannis, as the eldest surviving male member of the family, is thus now the head of House Baratheon, and Renly is duty-bound to obey him. 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.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Averted. Renly on the show is a good-looking guy, but the actor playing him is not an Adonis like his book counterpart.
- 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 Expansion: The show explores Renly's private life much more than the novels do.
- Adaptational Heroism: Changed from a prideful Sleazy Politician with entitlement issues to a serious and thoughtful young man who rebels against Joffrey out of a genuine sense that he'd be better at the job. The TV character is more intelligent than his book counterpart (who dismissed books because he believed they should only be read by maesters), and Gethin Anthony has stated in this featurette that Renly is "very educated." 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.
- Adaptational Wimp: Renly's book counterpart is a big, burly man with an enthusiasm for jousts and battle. note On the show, he's of smaller stature and has no love for violence.
- 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 (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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Brown Eyes: Unlike his book counterpart, Renly on the show has brown eyes, and he's considerably more sensible and stable than either of his brothers.
- 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' Cain.
- 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.
- 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
- Cool Crown/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.
- Continuity Nod: There is hardly any hair on his bare chest in "What Is Dead May Never Die", so despite his discomfort of having it shaved, he has plainly allowed Loras to continue this practice on him since "The Wolf and the Lion".
- 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).
- 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?
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.
- 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.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Renly is a gay man who was assassinated by a monstrous Living Shadow birthed from Melisandre's vagina.
- 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, becoming Spoiled Sweet over time. 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.
- He shares many similarities with his wife Margaery. They both believe that the Machiavelli Was Wrong approach to ruling is best, and as a consequence, they have earned a 100% Adoration Rating among the smallfolk (the Stormlands for Renly and King's Landing for Margaery). Renly's desire to be The Good King and the effort he puts into being A Father to His Men mirrors Margaery's ambition to be The High Queen and her Friend to All Children charity work. They are both well-suited for court life, intelligent, responsible, charming, and enhance their good looks by dressing ostentatiously. Margaery isn't at all bothered by the fact that Renly is sleeping with her brother, and unlike most Westerosi noblemen, Renly doesn't mind that his bride may not be a virgin. They both love Loras very much (in different ways, of course).
- There are some distinct differences, however. Renly was orphaned when he was a baby, and his older brothers treat him with a mixture of emotional neglect and verbal abuse (although Stannis at least took care of Renly while they nearly starved to death during Robert's Rebellion). Margaery is more fortunate because she is part of a loving, well-adjusted family. Renly is the Black Sheep of his House because he possesses no talent for battle, whereas Margery is her grandmother's favourite because she is smarter than her brother and father. Renly is also sweeter, less assertive, and less ambitious than Margaery.
- 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.
- Genre Savvy: He's very good at reading people and has an excellent grasp of politics. After Robert is fatally wounded, Renly knows that the only way to prevent Joffrey from taking the throne and keep Ned as Protector of the Realm is to immediately capture Joff as a hostage. Renly's wisdom in this matter sharply contrasts Ned's Genre Blindness, as everything the younger man says does come to pass. Renly is also smart to flee King's Landing when Ned refuses to carry out his plan.
Renly: Strike! Tonight, while the castle sleeps! We must get Joffrey away from his mother and into our custody. Protector of the Realm or no, he who holds the king holds the kingdom. Every moment you delay gives Cersei another moment to prepare. By the time Robert dies, it will be too late for the both of us.
- Good Counterpart: To Littlefinger. Renly wants to help Ned survive the imminent power struggle that will break out after Robert dies, whereas Baelish is quick to betray Lord Stark once he no longer finds the latter to be useful in his schemes.
- The Good King: Sees himself as this. Loras and Brienne also believe that Renly would be a wonderful king, but Olenna and Jaime have serious doubts about his stewardship and capabilities. If nothing else, it was the showrunners' intention to depict Renly as a more suitable candidate for the Iron Throne than Stannis. According to Dan Weiss in this "Inside the Episode" segment: "'I [Renly] would make a better ruler than you [Stannis],' which is unquestionably true, and Stannis would make a terrible king, most likely, because he lacks feeling for the common humanity over which he's supposed to rule."
- 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.
- The Idealist: His character is specifically used to demonstrate how dangerous it is to carry ideals and to try to make them a reality in a Crapsack World.
- Inadequate Inheritor/The Wrongful Heir to the Throne:
- He invokes these tropes to justify why he should rule the Seven Kingdoms instead of Stannis.
- From Stannis' 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.
- 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 (although to be fair, Jon Arryn has tried to curb the king's excessive spending to no avail, so by the time Season 1 begins, Renly already knows it's useless to argue with his brother about finances), and notably 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, but admittedly he's not a good judge of character when it comes to his youngest brother (for example, he is unaware that Renly is gay).
- Informed Attractiveness/Tall, Dark and Handsome: 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).
- Is That What They're Calling It Now?: In "What Is Dead May Never Die", Renly tells Brienne that he will "pray alone" in his tent. In his next scene, Renly is making out with Loras, his "object of worship," so to speak.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lord 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).
- The Lost Lenore: Loras and Brienne are still mourning for him in Season 4.
- Lover and Beloved: Before the start of the series, Renly had the role of Lover and Loras was his Beloved. The HBO Viewer's Guide mentions that Loras had served as Renly's squire (which does occur in the novels), and they presumably developed romantic feelings for each other while Loras was still under Renly's care because by the time Season 1 begins, the two men are already in a long-term relationship. The Squick which is normally associated with this trope is downplayed because Lord Renly is only 4 years older than Loras, note and therefore would've been a brotherly (and not fatherly) figure to his squire. It also helps that Renly is a sweet person, Loras is the emotionally dominant partner, and they are one of the few happy couples on the show.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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". At the very least, he's a far more sensible person than his brothers or Joffrey.
- Open Secret/Secret Relationship/Transparent Closet: 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.
- The Otter: One of the variations of this queer-themed trope is the thin, hairy guy, who is referred to as an "otter." Renly's nickname on this entertainment website aimed at gay men is the Otter King. The character has a hairy chest, but the audience never sees it because Loras finds him more attractive with a smooth torso.
- 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.
- Pants Hit Floor: A rare male version of this trope occurs in "The Wolf and the Lion" when Loras removes Renly's pants (and any undergarment the latter may be wearing) in one swift movement and letting them drop to the floor.
- 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.
- Power at a Price: His bid for the throne gets him killed. A reasonable man like Davos remarks that his actions are unlawful and wrong enough to consider Renly a justified casualty of war.
- Queer People Are Funny: Several characters mock Renly's homosexuality and/or his romance with Loras.
- Rant Inducing Slight: He yells at Robert during their hunting trip after being belittled one too many times.
- Reaction Shot: In "The Wolf and the Lion", he stands up and gasps after the Mountain hits an unarmed Loras with a sword for the second time, obviously terrified at the prospect that his boyfriend might die.
- 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'd certainly make a better king than Joffrey, and Tommen is too young to rule in his own right anyway, but whether he'd do a better job than Stannis is debatable.
- Ruling Threesome: 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.
- 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.
- Spoiled Sweet: Although he grew up in the lap of luxury, Renly is genuinely a nice guy, and he does care about the smallfolk (at least more so than most Westerosi nobles).
- 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.
- The Tourney: He hosts one in Season 2, and the two finalists in the melee are Ser Loras Tyrell and Brienne of Tarth.
- 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.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He gets a little more screen time than Balon Greyjoy, and appears in Season 1, but he's quickly and unceremoniously murdered by a magical hell-babyish thing created by Melisandre. Renly dies before he can actually clash with the Lannisters or his brother, or press his claim on the Iron Throne.
- 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.
- 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.
Queen Selyse Baratheon, née Florent
"No act done in the service of the Lord of Light can ever be a sin."
Played By: Tara Fitzgerald
Stannis 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 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.
- Arranged Marriage: With Stannis.
- Bi the Way: Heavily implied to be at least this, as she rather obviously ogles a naked Melisandre. It could be debated whether it's desire or jealousy.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- Parental Neglect: She refuses to even acknowledge Shireen's existence at first.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Ser Davos: "You're your father's daughter, no mistake. Bloody relentless, the both of you."
Stannis Baratheon's only daughter with Queen Selyse. She has greyscale.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books, even without the greyscale, Shireen is an extremely plain girl with Stannis' square jaw and the signature big ears of the Florents. Kerry Ingram is adorable.
- Bookworm: When Davos refuses the book she brought him, she's completely lost and confused: how can anyone refuse a book? Books are awesome!
- The TV show doesn't stress this as much as the books, but recall Cersei's complaint in "Blackwater" that despite being the child of Tywin Lannister, because she was a girl her education primarily focused on learning how to sew, sing, pray, smile, and curtsy. As the eldest son, Jaime was taught how to fight and rule. A lords' sons are the ones normally taught martial skills and taught about rulership: even with the Stark children, in the first episode we see Eddard's sons practicing with weapons while Sansa and Arya are in a sewing circle. Stannis, however, is the kind of pragmatist who would make a former smuggler and poor crabber's son his new Hand of the King, because he thought he was good at it. Once it became clear to Stannis that Shireen would probably be the only living child he'd ever have, he ordered her teachers to give her an educating befitting a royal heir, the kind normally given to noble boys. Most adult women in Westeros, including Catelyn Tully or Margaery Tyrell, aren't as well-read as Shireen already is on books about rulership, history, geography, etc. Stannis actually wants Shireen to be worthy of being a Ruling Queen after he is gone.
- Contrast this with how Stannis's older brother Robert essentially ignored raising his own royal heir Joffrey, and how that turned out. Joffrey is an ignorant buffoon utterly unfit to rule, who when presented with a classic book on the art of rulership on his wedding day, gleefully hacks it to pieces with a sword.
- The Cast Showoff: She is introduced when she see her singing. Kerry Ingram is a musical theater star.
- 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.
- 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.
- Deadpan Snarker:
(to an imprisoned Davos) 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.
- Ill Girl: Shireen is afflicted with greyscale, resulting in the scars on her face.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Ser Davos, who gave her a toy ship.
- 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.
- 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 Onion Knight: Even though her mother despises Ser Davos, Shireen considers him her friend, and resolves to teach him to read.
- Remember The New Girl: 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 is that the producers were considering having her Adapted Out during Season 2, but made the dialogue deliberately vague to keep their options open (it's only stated that Stannis has no sons.)
- 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' own hesitation.
- 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.
: 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.
- 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.
- Wise Beyond Her Years: Along with Davos, she's probably the Only Sane Man in Stannis' 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.
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 bastards born of incest between Cersei and Jaime Lannister, 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."
Davos: "I thank you, Your Grace. Pleased ta hear it."
Davos: "Well, sons o' lords don' like ta break bread wit' sons o' crabbers. Our hands stink."
Stannis: "And where were those lords when Storm's End starved?"
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.
Ser Davos Seaworth
"Stannis is our King. We follow where he leads, even if we don't like the path."
"You want me to have a god? Fine. King Stannis is my god. He raised me up and blessed me with his trust, he gave you a future I could never have imagined. You know how to read, you'll be a knight someday, you think a fire god commanded all that? It was Stannis, only Stannis."
A former smuggler who gained his knighthood by smuggling onions to the besieged Storm's End, garrisoned by Stannis and his men, during Robert's Rebellion. For the onions he was granted a knighthood and choice lands, for the smuggling Stannis cut off four fingers of his right hand (his left in the books; Liam Cunningham's a southpaw).
- Appropriated Appellation: Davos is an ex-criminal who smuggled badly needed provisions (including onions) to a starving, besieged castle, and was knighted for his services. Other nobles dislike him for being lowborn and call him "The Onion Knight," a title which Davos does not mind at all, even going so far as to use an onion in his sigil.
- Arch-Enemy: By the Season 3 premiere, has definitely become this to Melisandre, though she insists she's not his enemy.
Davos: You are my enemy!
- Arrested for Heroism: In the old days, we would have called this trope 'The Davos.'
- His smuggling supplies into Storm's End won him Stannis's respect and loyalty, but Stannis does not consider rewarding heroism and punishing crime mutually exclusive. So Davos was knighted for his heroism, and then had his fingers cut off for being a smuggler.
Stannis: Do your knucklebones bring you luck?
Davos: Well, life's been good since you hacked 'em off, Your Grace. An' it's four less fingernails ta clean.
Stannis: Four 'fewer' fingernails to clean. Never understood why you had to wear them.
Davos: Reminds me o' where I come from an' where I am now. Reminds me o' your justice. It was an honest punishment, an' you were good with the cleaver.
Stannis: You were a hero and a smuggler. The good act does not wash out the bad, nor a bad the good.
- In the Season 3 premiere, after managing to find his way back to Dragonstone, he immediately calls Stannis and Melisandre out on their bullshit (moping and ordering prisoners burnt alive instead of continuing the fight), and eventually pulls a knife on Melisandre. Stannis reacts by having him thrown in the dungeons.
- Again in Mhysa. He gets arrested for setting Gendry free, in order to prevent Melisandre from sacrificing him. He only narrowly avoids being sentenced to death by Stannis by revealing the Night's Watch missive about the White Walkers marching on The Wall, as well as some unexpected support from Melisandre who claims Davos has a further part to play.
- Badass: Aside from being Stannis' right-hand man, he's a competent commander who frequently exhibits bravery other characters can only dream of. And he finally gets some blood on his sword at the end of Season 4.
- Badass Beard: He has a thick but trimmed short beard.
- Book Dumb: Davos is an illiterate man for most of his life, but is one of the most intelligent characters on the show. He's a quick thinker and excellent strategist, and even the Book Dumb part is starting to disappear since Shireen began teaching him to read.
- Brutal Honesty/Deadpan Snarker: Varies between both roles. This is why Stannis values him above other "nobler" Lords.
- Casting Gag: Liam Cunningham and Clarice van Houten (Melisandre) once played lovers in "Black Butterflies" before being cast as rivals to Stannis.
- Composite Character: In the books, Ser Imry Florent is the one who leads the fleet in the Battle of the Blackwater. From the books...
- The Conscience: He explicitly states in "The Second Sons" that Stannis keeps him around because he needs someone to tell him when he's gone too far.
- Creepy Souvenir: With a twist — the phalanges that he wears in a bag hanging from his neck are his own.
- Commander Contrarian: Considers it his duty to tell Stannis when he is wrong, even while following his orders to the letter.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments.
Davos: I'm sure they're more than grateful my Queen.
- Eureka Moment: During a reading lesson with Princess Shireen, Davos tells her about a nearly fatal run-in he had with the First Sword of Braavos, who was working for the unbelievably wealthy Iron Bank of Braavos, and suddenly he realizes that the Iron Bank has all the gold Stannis needs to hire sellswords to make another attempt on the Iron Throne in the aftermath of Joffrey's death.
- Father Neptune: Spent much of his adult life at sea as a smuggler, and certainly fits the look.
- Genre Savvy: He knows something is very wrong when they sail towards King's Landing with no opposition at all from the Royal Fleet. Unfortunately, by the time he figures out what exactly is wrong, it's far too late.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: The good.
- The Good Chancellor: Stannis plans to make him Hand of the King and has him serving as his Number Two at Dragonstone. Davos takes the position very seriously.
Davos: I understand (being sentenced to death), but since you have not unnamed me Hand of the King, it is my duty to advise you against it.
- Good Counterpart: Melisandre's.
- Good Parents: Along with Ned Stark, one of the few genuine good fathers to his offspring in the series. Discussed for tragedy with Salladhor Saan after Mathos dies.
Saan: But, Davos, you were a good father.
Davos: If I was a good father, he'd still be here.
- Good Samaritan: What led him to relieve Stannis in the Siege of Storm's End. He had heard of them starving in the castle while the Tyrells held camp, and resolved to brave the waters of Shipbreaker Bay, bringing food and supplies because to him the people in the castle, despite being lords and highborn, were starving and reduced to straits just like he was growing up in Flea Bottom.
- Guile Hero: Despite his rough appearance, Davos is intensely charismatic (and indeed helps to compensate for Stannis' complete lack of charisma), and uses it to good effect to bring people like Salladhor Saan into Stannis' service. And despite looking like your stereotypical Old Soldier, Davos has only once drawn his sword, and clearly prefers to get by on his considerable intelligence than with violence. His charisma, honesty, and diplomatic skill leads to several unexpected alliances for Stannis, first with Salladhor Saan and then with the all-powerful Iron Bank of Braavos (an institution he formerly tried to rob and who have neither forgotten nor forgiven) into backing Stannis on pure nerve and implacable logic.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Stannis.
- Hollywood Atheist: Type I. Growing up in Flea Bottom and being told of some new "true god" in each new port he docked in made him consider that gods were something people made up to give themselves hope. This is in clear contrast to the Book canon, where Davos is the odd man out in Stannis' court not because he is an atheist, but because he remains a firm believer in The Seven.
- Honest Advisor: As Maester Cressen puts it, Stannis is surrounded by fools and fanatics and Davos is the only one who tells him hard truths.
- Honour Before Reason: In "The Second Sons", when Stannis offers to let him out of prison if he swears never to raise a hand to Melisandre again, Davos agrees, but makes it clear that he will not stop speaking against her if he feels she's leading Stannis astray.
Stannis: (Amused) You have little regard for your own life.
Davos: Quite little, your grace...verging on none.
- Hyper Competent Sidekick: While Stannis is a very capable leader, Davos is the one who can assemble his army, and acquire ships from pirates and smugglers. He's also the one who convinces the Iron Bank to give Stannis a loan for his war efforts, as he has better social skills than Stannis.
- In-Series Nickname: The Onion Knight. Originally the name was meant as an insult by the nobility who despised him because he was a commoner who bought his knighthood with a pack of onions and salt fish. However, Davos took the name with pride and made the Onion his family sigil.
- Insistent Terminology: Most people think Ser Davos was a pirate. He insists he was a smuggler, though the distinction is lost on people like Stannis.
Davos: I was never a pirate, I was a smuggler.
Shireen: What's the difference?
Davos: Well, if you're a famous smuggler, you're not doing it right.
Shireen: My father says a criminal is a criminal.
Davos: Your father lacks an appreciation for the finer points of bad behavior.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Shireen Baratheon. He gives her toys and talks with her, she offers to help him read.
- Ironic Echo: In "Garden of Bones", while smuggling Melisandre to the cliffs near Renly's camp:
Davos: Someone once told me the night is dark and full of terrors.
- Tragic flavour; he didn't want to accept the knighthood and only did it because he wanted a better life for his son. Serving Stannis eventually leads to the death of Matthos, killed in action during Blackwater.
- When Stannis sentences him to death, Melisandre of all people saves his life because she concedes that Davos will be needed in the fight ahead. The irony makes Stannis laugh.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Not a straight example, because he doesn't wear armor, but he's one of the very few unambiguously good non-Stark characters and is a knight.
- The Lancer: To Stannis' The Hero. Unless you consider Stannis a villain, then he's the Token Good Teammate.
- Meaningful Name: Commands Stannis' war fleet. Invoked, he created his own surname and chose one that reflected his life at sea.
- Morality Chain: To Stannis, and both are very well aware of it. Davos even says to Stannis that the reason Stannis freed him from prison was because Stannis knew Davos would talk sense into him.
- My Greatest Failure: Davos' reaction to his son's death in the wildfire explosion at Blackwater has shades of this trope.
- My King Right or Wrong: Tells his son emphatically that he doesn't believe in any God, but if he had to choose one, then as far as he's concerned, Stannis would be it. He plays this off against Maester Cressen as well.
- Nay-Theist: Stannis points this position as illogical since Davos continues to held it after witnessing Melisandre's powers first hand. True to this trope however Davos' continued rejection of the "true god" is likely less about not believing and more about not wanting to worship something that terrifying.
- Never Learned to Read: Due to his humble origins. Davos' wife and son tried to teach him in the past, but it's suggested he was wary of that because they were trying to convert him through holy books. Shireen decides to teach him and he finally learns.
- Nice Guy: Stands out among Stannis and his supporters for being a down-to-earth, morally upstanding knight able to relate and be friendly to almost everybody.
- Nouveau Riche: Davos is unusually wealthy for a knight; given the extremely important service he rendered, he was given some of the most prosperous lands in the Stormlands. Also subverted, given that Davos was a very, very good smuggler prior to going straight. A rare honorable and heroic example.
- Odd Friendship: With Stannis, Salladhor Saan, Shireen and Gendry.
- Oh, Crap: When he sees that the single Lannister ship in the mouth of the Blackwater Rush is empty and pouring wildfire on the water.
- Only Sane Man
- OOC Is Serious Business: Davos actually disobeys Stannis in attempting to kill Melisandre, illustrating succinctly just how large a threat Davos perceives Melisandre to be as well as how unbalanced his grief over his son has made him.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Unlike in the books, where Davos had seven children, in the show, Matthos is an only child, adding more drama to his demise.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: In the books, his left hand is maimed, which was changed to his right as Liam Cunningham is left-handed.
- Raised in the Faith of the Seven: Davos is either agnostic or atheistic, but still instinctively invokes the Seven when seeing something as shocking as Melisandre getting heavily pregnant within days and giving birth to a shadow monster.
- Refuge in Audacity: Stannis sentences him to death, and Davos accepts it. However, Davos reminds Stannis that he is still his Hand, and as such he counsels Stannis against killing him.
- The Rival: To Melisandre, for the position of Stannis' right hand.
- Rousing Speech: Gives an epic one to get Stannis the money from The Iron Bank of Braavos.
- Street Smart: As a former smuggler, Davos is well acquainted with the seedy underbellies of both Westeros and Essos, and still has many friends and acquaintances (especially Salladhor Saan) who prove very useful both to him and Stannis. He also remains a capable smuggler, though he's "lived within the law for 17 years."
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Ned Stark — a Baratheon king's most trusted friend who acts as The Consigliere and can be trusted to tell him what he doesn't want to hear. The key difference is Davos is about a million times more Genre Savvy.
- Undying Loyalty: To his lord King Stannis, which he frequently displays.
- Despite his misgivings about waging war against enemies that outnumber them, he remains loyal to Stannis and will follow wherever he leads. In spite of Stannis cutting off three of his fingers, which is lampshaded in-universe by Salladhor. Davos explains it's because Stannis raised him up to nobility, which ensured Matthos a future Davos could never have dreamed of providing for.
Salladhor Saan: You Westerosi are funny people. Man cuts off your fingers, you fall in love with him!
- A more subtle instance of this happens when Davos is stranded on an islet in Blackwater Bay after the destruction of Stannis' fleet. When a ship sees him and sends out a boat to investigate, they ask him which king he serves. Davos knows fully well that they might well be serving Joffrey, and he doesn't even know if Stannis is alive. He still answers "Stannis Baratheon".
- When he's thrown in a dungeon under charges of treason, Davos remains loyal to Stannis and when Shireen asks him if he really is a traitor, he accepts that he is. Furthermore emphasised in "Mhysa", when Stannis prepares to sentence him to death for letting Gendry escape, Davos informs him that he'll fully accept that if it's his will, but since he's not removed him as Hand of the King yet, then as Hand, he'd advise Stannis that it would be a mistake.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Salladhor Saan.
Davos: Salladhor Saan is an old friend. I've known him for 30 years. I never trusted him.
- Working Class Hero: A competent commoner who learned his trade on the seas before he was knighted.
Played By: N/A
- All There in the Manual: Her name is revealed in the books and one of the DVD "Histories and Lore" extras.
- The Ghost: Lives at Davos' keep while he serves Stannis at Dragonstone.
"Every night when you were at sea, I lighted a candle, and I prayed, for you."
Matthos: "Stannis is my king, but he's only a man."
Davos: "Don't tell him that."
Davos' son and scribe to King Stannis.
- Character Death: Matthos is killed in the Battle of Blackwater, consumed utterly by Wildfire.
- 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.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: 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 cooly puts him straight.
Baratheon Bannermen, Retainers & Household
Renly Baratheon: "Why is your stag on fire?"
Melisandre: "The King has taken for his sigil the fiery heart of the Lord of Light."
The remaining characters in service to Stannis Baratheon, a motley assortment of religious fanatics, pirates, and opportunists
"The Night is Dark and Full of Terrors."
Salladhor Saan: "They say [Stannis] sees no one. Not his generals, not even his wife. Only the Red Woman. Whispering in his ear, telling him what she sees in her flames. And burning men alive."
A mysterious red-headed eastern priestess who worships 'The Lord of Light'. She's convinced that Stannis is the Messiah of her religion.
- Adaptational Villainy: TV!Melisandre is considerably more callous than her book counterpart. She mocks the death of Davos's son, instead of expressing regret about it, shows no regret about having to sacrifice Gendry, does not offer Cressen a chance to save himself after he tries to poison her, and lacks several of the Pet the Dog moments that her book version had.
- Analogy Backfire: She attempts to compare Shireen's uncle being sacrificed to her god being akin to childbirth. The suffering and pain before the joyous end result. Shireen quickly points out that mothers don't tend to be burnt to cinders afterwards.
- Affably Ambiguously Evil: When not being incredibly creepy, Melisandre is surprisingly personable.
- Ambiguously Evil: Though certainly a dark influence on Stannis, for starters using Blood Magic to help him, she seems to truly believe he is Messiah/The Chosen One, and wants to see him on the throne, and in "Mhysa" tells Stannis to spare Davos as the threat of the White Walkers will demand his aid in spite of his treasonous actions. At the least she's a Well-Intentioned Extremist/Knight Templar.
- Badass Boast: She does this with her catchphrase:
- Because Destiny Says So: Most of her actions are based on the future events that are revealed to her in the flames.
- Black and White Insanity: "A man is good or he is evil." Though, what she defines as good or evil might not mesh with what others, or the viewer, defines as good or evil, making it more akin to Blue and Orange Morality.
- Blood Magic: Uses this to create shadow assassins.
- Blue and Orange Morality: How she appears to people who are not converts to R'hillor.
- Burn the Witch!: Inverted. She is a witch that burns people for speaking against her religion.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: Though it also doesn't help that her audience is Selyse.
- Cast from Hit Points: Not her hit points, mind. She mentions that the energy required from Stannis to produce another son would kill him and that his "fires" are burning dangerously low from their last coupling.
- Court Mage: For Stannis.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Was born a slave and presumably the rest of her past was not pleasant.
- The Dark Chick: As well as being Stannis' dragon.
- The Determinator: Melisandre believes utterly in her Lord of Light, and nothing will stop her from attaining her goals.
- Deus Sex Machina: She sleeps with Stannis, and the resulting 'son' takes care of Renly.
- Dissonant Serenity: Rather than being a foaming-at-the-mouth fanatic, Melisandre is always poised and eerily calm, and sometimes smiling peacefully, even when she's watching someone dying of poison, being burnt alive or birthing a demon spawn.
- The Dragon: To Stannis, who is possibly the only character in fiction to have both a Dragon and a Lancer (Davos).
- Evil Counterpart: Davos', clearly. Thoros' too.
- Evil Redhead: In a Well-Intentioned Extremist way, but yes. Much is made of her red hair and red color scheme.
- Evil Sorceress: She boasts magical abilities, although it's handled in a subtle, non-flashy way.
- Exact Words / False Reassurance:
- Express Delivery: Davos is understandably shocked when he sees it.
- Evil Virtues: Melisandre is ambitious, determined, honest, loving (in a way), loyal, passionate, patient, resourceful, and selfless. She also burns people alive.
- Femme Fatale: Though she does seem to genuinely care for Stannis.
- She loves wearing red, has With Us or Against Us as one of her defining traits, tells a king things that may very well lead to his ruin and always goes against the advice of his best friend, plus she uses sex as a weapon. Cersei would be proud.
- To Davos. Both are extremely loyal to Stannis and want him to become king. But Melisandre does out of religious fanatacism, while Davos acts out of gratitude to Stannis for raising him in society. Melisandre has impressive magical powers, while Davos is one of the completely down-to-earth characters on the show.
- Melisandre also has one in Thoros of Myr. Both are foreign Red Priests. But Thoros had a crisis of faith before the series' events, while Melisandre's belief is unwavering. Melisandre is also serving a king and trying to prevent an apocalypse, while Thoros has the considerably more lowly aim of trying to protect the Riverlands people from the high lords.
- Even to Stannis. He claims that doing good does not negate doing evil, nor the other way around, which is why he both rewards and punishes Davos for his smuggling. As far as Melisandre is concerned, a person is good or evil, and that is it.
- Fan Disservice: She unveils her robe in "Garden of Bones" to reveal herself to be hugely pregnant and gives birth to a shadow monster. In a later episode she seduces Gendry, but only to catch him unguarded and harvest his blood for a magical ritual, including a Groin Attack.
- Foreign Fanservice: Carice van Houten keeps her Dutch accent to stand in for Melisandre's own foreign accent.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: She was born into slavery and credits the Lord of Light with saving her from it, hence her devotion to him.
- The Fundamentalist: She regards other gods as false to the point where she burns non-believers alive.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: The bad angel on Stannis' shoulder.
- Hello, Nurse!: The reaction of most men to her before the burning people alive/scary magic starts.
- Hot Witch: It works on so many levels! Or...maybe just two.
- In-Series Nickname: The Red Woman.
- Kick the Dog:
- Burning people alive (and singing while they die).
- Taunting Davos about the burning death of his son, Matthos, at the Battle of the Blackwater.
- Seducing Gendry, tying him to the bed and using him as a human blood bank, by applying leeches onto him to acquire his blood. Particularly cruel is that she got him aroused enough so that one of the places she stuck a leech had a lot of blood to gorge itself on!
- Kill It with Fire: Natch.
- Knight Templar: For the Lord of Light.
- Lady in Red: She's wears red robes and has dark red hair, and others even talk about her as this.
- Lady Macbeth: Skeptics and detractors see her under this light, bordering on The Vamp.
- Ms. Fanservice: Melisandre is extremely sexy. Even Davos and Stannis, two men who are respectively faithfully married and a passionless killjoy, are attracted to her.
- Mysterious Backer: To Stannis.
- Not So Stoic:
- She is shocked briefly when Stannis tries to strangle her in "Valar Morghulis" after her god fails to deliver him victory at the Battle of Blackwaterbay. However, she quickly regains her composure and assures him that his defeat is merely a temporary setback that will do nothing to change his destiny as the "Warrior of Light."
- She's also pretty clearly upset at Davos in "Valar Dohaeris".
- She shows outright shock for the first time when she discovers that Lord Beric has been brought back to life six times, and is extremely unnerved by what she sees in Arya's eyes.
- Seems slightly perturbed by Selyse's fanaticism after witnessing her suggest to Stannis that he beat Shireen for being sinful (i.e. having Greyscale).
- Pet the Dog: Despite being a rather fanatical and ruthless witch, she does have a few very minor moments of kindness.
- Her talk to Gendry outside of Kings Landing about his true heritage was not necessary in her overall plan to drain him of blood for magic and given her talking about her own past as a slave it seems she genuinely wanted him to not think less of himself for being a "nobody".
- Her interaction with Shireen, while creepy and condescending, shows her giving Shireen some genuine affection and (again creepy) attempts at comfort without the usual level of insane fanaticism. Considering the way Shireen's own mother treats her this was probably the only sign of maternal affection she had seen in possibly ever.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: In "Mhysa", goes from being totally onboard with burning Davos for helping Gendry escape to grudgingly admitting that they need him alive as soon as she reads the contents of Aemon's letter. Stannis also seems to realize just how bad things must be if she's agreeing to it.
- The Rival: To Davos, for Stannis' favor. After Stannis' defeat at the Blackwater, Davos falls out of favor in a big way (both for insisting Stannis leave Melisandre behind, and for trying to kill Melisandre in front of Stannis on Dragonstone), though Stannis does not replace Davos as Hand of the King. After Melisandre returns with Gendry, Stannis experiences some moral pangs about what Melisandre plans for him, and so Davos' star rises again when Stannis consults him on the proper course. Stannis ends up disagreeing with Davos, and so Davos frees Gendry against Stannis' orders, and Stannis sentences him to death, but Melisandre, of all people, insists Davos is still needed, and so he continues to serve as Stannis' Hand. Davos rises still further in Season 4, when he successfully negotiates a huge loan from the Iron Bank to fund Stannis' renewed efforts.
- The Tease: Teases Davos about his desire for her and to see what's beneath her robe in Garden of Bones, leading to some extreme Fan Disservice for Davos (and the audience), when she takes off her robe and turns around naked, revealing that she's hugely pregnant, and then gives birth to a horrific shade thing right in the cave, while poor Davos watches. He did get to see what was under her robe, though he was probably never tempted by her again.
- Token Evil Teammate: Melisandre is essentially this to Team Dragonstone, being a practitioner of dark magic. Even many viewers who think that Stannis' claim is the most valid will doubt that he gaining the throne would be the best outcome since it would put the whole kingdom under Melisandre's influence.
- Villainous Rescue: When Stannis sentences Davos to death, Melisandre — who at this point has been his main rival — speaks against it because she has seen that Davos has a different destiny in the flames.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: She is the only person south of the Wall who seems to know about the White Walkers and believes that her actions are the best to defeat them, likening herself to a Knight in Shining Armor. It can also be argued that since she believes death by fire to be "the purest death", she probably believes as well that she is doing a favor to the people that she burns alive.
- With Us or Against Us: Her basic attitude which goes hand-in-hand with her religious mania.
- Your Cheating Heart: Stannis sleeps with her, despite being married. She even tells his wife before he gets to, and Selyse is absolutely fine with it because she's such a religious nutjob she considers it an honor.
- Undying Loyalty: To the Lord of Light and, by extension, Stannis Baratheon, whom she is firmly convinced is the "Warrior of Light."
"What is the world coming to when smugglers must vouch for the honor of kings?"
"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' 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.
- 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 McCoolname: "Salladhor Saan is a good name for songs."
- Badass Beard: He has one.
- Bi the Way: "You don't know how persuasive I am — I've never tried to fuck you."
- 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.
- Black Best Friend: To Davos.
- 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 30 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' 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.
- 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: To Davos:
Salladhor: 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.
- Pride: "You think I'm insulted? I am a pirate. I'm an excellent pirate." Davos does a good job of stroking Salladhor's pride (and greed) a moment later, in order to convince him to support Stannis bid for the throne.
- 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)
- Really Gets Around/Serial Spouse: We hear about four marriages, and those are only the ones whose weddings Davos was able to attend!
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Davos Seaworth.
Salladhor: 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.
- Your Cheating Heart: Despite being married, he's happy enough to cavort around with prostitutes.
"All of you were named in the light of the Seven! Is that how you treat the gods of our fathers?"
Played By: Oliver Ford Davies
An old Maester serving Stannis Baratheon at Dragonstone.
- Blood from the Mouth: The effect his poison has.
- Character Death: He drinks from the chalice that he himself poisoned before offering it to Melisandre, hoping to kill them both and destroy faith in the Lord of Light. Cressen dies from the poison; Melisandre does not.
- 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: Uses it against Melisandre. It doesn't work.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Killed in his first episode to show Melisandre's power.
- 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.
Ser Imry Florent
Played By: Gordon Mahn
A member of House Florent and brother of Queen Selyse. Serves as Stannis' 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' fleet in the Battle of the Blackwater. In the show he has exactly one scene. And one line.
- Number Two: To Stannis.
- 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 McHale
Lord of Brightwater Keep and head of House Florent. Initially pledged to Renly in the War of the Five Kings, despite being Stannis' 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.
- Canon Foreigner/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' knowledge or authorization.
- Character Death: At Melisandre and Selyse's urging, Stannis has him burned at the stake for refusing to stop worshipping the Seven.
- 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.
Lord Selwyn Tarth
Played by: N/A
Lord 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.
- Badass: Taught his daughter, Brienne, to fight. Brienne is the most badass person in Westeros by a substantial margin.
- 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: See Badass above.
- 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 Dormer
Lord 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