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Stannis Baratheon

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Baratheon mini shield
Baratheon DS mini shield
Stannis I Baratheon
Stannis-Baratheon-Profile (3)
2, 3, 4, 5
First seen
Last seen
Appeared in
16 episodes (see below)
Also known as
Stannis of House Baratheon, First of His Name
The King in the Narrow Sea
Warrior of Light
The Lord's Chosen
Son of Fire
Date of birth
{Steffon Baratheon} - father
{Cassana Baratheon} - mother
{Robert Baratheon} - older brother
{Renly Baratheon} - younger brother
Selyse Baratheon - wife
Shireen Baratheon - daughter
{Petyr Baratheon} - stillborn son
{Tommard Baratheon} - stillborn son
{Edric Baratheon} - stillborn son
{Axell Florent} - brother-in-law
Imry Florent - brother-in-law
Gendry - bastard nephew
Cersei Lannister - sister-in-law
{Joffrey Baratheon} - alleged nephew
Myrcella Baratheon - alleged niece
Tommen Baratheon - alleged nephew
Margaery Tyrell - former sister-in-law
Portrayed by


"The Iron Throne is mine by right. All those that deny that are my foes."
―Stannis Baratheon[src]

Stannis Baratheon is a major character in the second, third, fourth and fifth seasons. He is played by starring cast member Stephen Dillane, and debuts in "The North Remembers". Stannis is mentioned in the first season but did not appear.

Stannis Baratheon is the Lord of Dragonstone, the younger brother of late King Robert Baratheon, and older brother of Renly Baratheon. When Eddard Stark discovers that Robert's heir Joffrey is in reality a bastard born out of incest between Queen Cersei Lannister and her brother Jaime, Stannis, as the lawful heir, claims the Iron Throne for himself, beginning the War of the Five Kings. He attacks King's Landing, but most of his forces are destroyed and scattered at the Battle of the Blackwater, and he retreats to Dragonstone.

Stannis is heavily influenced by his priestess Melisandre, an adherent of the Lord of Light religion. He is also attended at most times by his loyal Hand and confidant, Ser Davos Seaworth. Stannis raises a new army courtesy of a loan from the Iron Bank of Braavos, and inflicts a decisive defeat on an invading wilding army beyond the Wall. Stannis styles himself as Stannis of the House Baratheon, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.



Stannis is the second born son of Steffon Baratheon and Cassana Baratheon, the younger brother of the late King Robert Baratheon and older brother of Renly Baratheon. Steffon was the head of House Baratheon and Lord Paramount of the Stormlands. The Stormlands are one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms and House Baratheon is one of the Great Houses of the realm. Steffon died when the boys were young and Robert inherited his titles. Stannis is a serious and severe man.[1]

Robert led a rebellion against King Aerys II Targaryen, deposing and replacing him as the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Stannis fought for Robert during the war. He was besieged at Storm's End for much of the conflict. He was rescued from starvation by the smuggler Davos, who brought a ship full of onions into the castle. Stannis knighted Davos as a reward but also punished him for his smuggling by cutting four finger tips from his right hand. Davos is fiercely loyal to Stannis and saw his punishment as just.[2][3] Davos's son Matthos now serves Stannis as a scribe.[4] Stannis went on to conquer Dragonstone, the seat of House Targaryen. During the Greyjoy Rebellion, Stannis destroyed the Greyjoy fleet.[5]

Stannis Great Wyk

Stannis leading the attack on Great Wyk during the Greyjoy Rebellion.

Stannis and Robert never loved one another.[6][7] Despite Stannis' service during the war, Robert made Renly the Lord of Storm's End following his victory. Renly was only a child during the civil war, so he did not fight.[8] Stannis was made Prince of Dragonstone and served on his brother's small council as Master of Ships. He is the least popular of the Baratheon brothers.[1]

Stannis Selyse wedding

Stannis and Selyse's wedding.

He married Selyse Florent.[1] They have a loveless marriage; Stannis regards her as sickly and resents her failure to bear him a son.[9] During the first season, Stannis is on Dragonstone for an extended stay, preferring the solitude of the island.[1]

He has converted to the Lord of Light under the influence of the priestess Melisandre. His household have largely followed his conversion.[10] He has adopted the flaming red heart of the Lord of Light with the stag of Baratheon in the middle as his sigil.[11]

Season 1

Stannis is first mentioned during a conversation between his younger brother Renly and Ser Loras Tyrell, in which Loras suggests that Renly could take the Iron Throne himself. Renly points out that he is fourth in the line of succession, behind his nephews and Stannis. Loras claims that no-one would support Stannis for the crown because he "has the personality of a lobster".[12]

King Robert tells Eddard Stark that he does not love his brothers, and considers Eddard to be his true brother.[13]

After King Robert's death, and realizing the truth of Joffrey's parentage, Eddard decides to back Stannis as the rightful King. Renly offers to help Eddard take Joffrey into custody, but only if Eddard backs Renly's own claim to the throne. Eddard angrily rejects the suggestion, pointing out that Stannis has the better claim and is a skilled battle commander and leader. Renly counters that Stannis is a good soldier like Robert, but like Robert may not make the best king. Eddard later sends a letter to Stannis at his fortress stronghold of Dragonstone, informing him of the situation. Littlefinger also advocates backing someone else - Joffrey or Renly - and manipulating them from behind the scenes, since Stannis claiming the throne will plunge the Seven Kingdoms into war. Eddard is adamant that Stannis is the rightful heir.[14]

Varys tells Eddard that Queen Cersei is more concerned about Stannis than anyone else, including the army that Robb Stark has raised. Stannis is a proven and experienced battle commander and is known to be utterly without mercy to his enemies. Eddard replies that Stannis is the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne, to Varys' disappointment.[15]

With civil war erupting in the Seven Kingdoms, news reaches both the Lannister and Stark camps that Stannis and Renly have made claims on the Iron Throne. Robb Stark considers declaring for Stannis, but his bannermen convince him to proclaim himself the King in the North.[16]

Season 2


Stannis' first appearance in "The North Remembers".

Stannis is known as "The King in the Narrow Sea" because his power is centered on Dragonstone.[17] Stannis converts to the Lord of Light and allows his priestess Melisandre to burn the statues of the seven outside Dragonstone. Maester Cressen attempts to interrupt the ceremony but is casually dismissed by Melisandre. She proclaims Stannis as a prophesied hero when he draws a flaming sword from one of the statues.[6]

Stannis hosts a council and prepares a letter to be distributed throughout the Seven Kingdoms. He has learned from Eddard Stark that Joffrey Baratheon is a bastard born of incest between Cersei Lannister and her brother Jaime rather than Robert Baratheon's true heir. Stannis is therefore the rightful heir and plans to pursue his claims to the throne despite being outnumbered. His younger brother Renly Baratheon has also claimed the throne to Stannis' frustration. Davos Seaworth urges Stannis to make peace with Renly or even Robb Stark to fight against Joffrey but Stannis refuses, arguing that Robb has crowned himself King in the North and thus "stolen" the Northern half of Stannis' kingdom. Cressen attempts to poison Melisandre, framing it as an apology. Cressen drinks the poison first to make Melisandre feel safer. She realizes his plan but drinks the rest of the liquid regardless. Cressen quickly bleeds to death while Melisandre stands over his corpse unharmed.[6]


Stannis parleys with his brother Renly Baratheon in "Garden of Bones".

Davos recruits the pirate admiral Salladhor Saan to Stannis' cause, bringing his 30 ships to Dragonstone. Melisandre seduces Stannis with the promise of an heir.[18] Stannis parleys with Renly on the coast of the Stormlands. In a display of leniency that is uncharacteristic for him, Stannis offers Renly that if he relinquishes his claim, Stannis will grant him his old seat on the small council, and even name him as his heir (unless Stannis ever has a son in the future), but Renly refuses. Unable to reach a compromise, Stannis gives Renly the night to reconsider. Stannis then tasks Davos with smuggling Melisandre into the caves beneath Renly's camp, refusing to say why and ordering Davos not to discuss the mission in future. Once ashore, she births a horrific Shadow as Davos cowers in fear.[11] The Shadow kills Renly and Stannis assumes control of the majority of his forces from the Stormlands. However, Renly's allies in House Tyrell returned to Highgarden with their numerous vassals from the Reach. He plans to move on the capital of King's Landing. Davos urges him to leave Melisandre out of the battle because of rumors that she is controlling him. Stannis is angry with Davos for breaking his orders but accepts his counsel. He names Davos as commander of his fleet for the assault on Blackwater Bay.[19]

The fleet travels north along the coast. Davos predicts that they are just one day's sail from their destination. Stannis admires Davos' loyalty and the way he copes with the snobbery of the Highborn. He recalls Davos' timely intervention saving many lives in the siege of Storm's End. Stannis asserts his trust for Davos by promising him that he will serve as his Hand of the King when he takes the Iron Throne.[20]

Stannis arrives with a force superior to the defenders of King's landing in both ships and soldiers, and attempts to take the city in the massive Battle of the Blackwater. He is sailing into the harbor when Tyrion springs a surprise attack, using an unmanned ship filled with wildfire. Bronn shoots a flaming arrow at the wildfire, which has spread over the water in between Stannis' ships, and a massive explosion destroys many of them, including Davos' command ship. Stannis orders the survivors to prepare for landing. When Ser Imry Florent tells him that hundreds will die, he coldly replies, "Thousands."[21]

Stannis landing boats 2x09

Stannis leads his landing from the prow of a longboat.

Stannis is at the front of the vanguard for the whole battle, being the first to land, the first to make it to the wall, and the first to climb the ladders onto the battlements. He kills many soldiers, fighting several at a time, without a helmet or shield. He has a force breaking through the Mud Gate with a battering ram while he establishes a foothold on the city walls. A surprise attack led by Tyrion Lannister through tunnels under the city destroys the ram, though Tyrion is trapped outside the walls by the arrival of more of Stannis's men. Stannis seems to be on the verge of victory, until the arrival of Tywin Lannister and a host of House Lannister and House Tyrell cavalry turns the tide. His soldiers break and run for the ships in the face of the cavalry charge. Stannis screams for his routed men to "Stand and fight!" in desperation, but is dragged shouting from the lost battle by his guards.[21]

Stannis returns to Dragonstone and confronts Melisandre about the validity of her predictions. He begins to strangle her in fury but relents when she reminds him of the spell they used to kill Renly. He experiences remorse of murdering his brother. Melisandre warns him that he will commit worse betrayals before their long war is over but insists that he must fight on and assures him that it will be worth it in the end, because he will be king. She shows him a vision in the flames that awes him and restores his faith in her.[22]

Season 3


Stannis becomes isolated and withdrawn following the Battle of Blackwater.

Following his defeat at the Battle of the Blackwater Stannis falls into a deep depression, shunning the company of his bannermen and wife, and allowing no one but Melisandre to see him. When Davos Seaworth returns to Dragonstone, Stannis is indifferent to the survival of his oldest and closest supporter, and orders him thrown into a cell when he attempts to assassinate Melisandre.[23]

Later as Melisandre prepares to depart Dragonstone by boat, King Stannis Baratheon speaks with her. He is worried that his enemies think he is defeated and laughing at him, as Renly laughed at him, and that now even she is abandoning him. She assures him that she still thinks he is the Lord's Chosen, but she must travel to the Riverlands to obtain something vital for his cause. Stannis says that he wants her, and that he wants Joffrey and Robb dead, and asks her to make "a son" again with him (like the Shadow-creature she conjured to assassinate Renly). Melisandre says that she cannot: creating a shadow-creature drains some of the fire of a man's life-force, and she fears that creating another would kill Stannis. Over his protests, she explains that what she is seeking is even more powerful than a shadow-creature, and will change his fortunes in this war, but she needs a king's blood to do it. Stannis doesn't understand, but then Melisandre implies that she needs to burn a human sacrifice who possesses a king's blood as an offering to the Lord of Light. She can't kill Stannis himself to achieve this, but as she points out, "There are others with your blood in their veins" - any of his brother King Robert's bastard children who managed to survive the purge.[24]

Following Melisandre's departure, Stannis pays a visit to his wife and daughter who are locked away in a nearby tower. He admits his affair to Selyse, who brushes it off as being best for him and his cause (as she had only been able to give him stillborn males). She tries to disaude him from seeing Shireen, which he ignores. Upon reuniting with Shireen, he is troubled by her idolization of Davos and tells her that the man is a traitor and locked in a dungeon.[25]

Melisandre finally arrives back at Dragonstone with Gendry, King Robert's bastard. Stannis is less than impressed by the sight of the bastard boy who is technically his nephew and is bemused when Melisandre orders him fed, bathed and clothed, believing it pointless as they intend to sacrifice him. However Melisandre reveals it is merely a sham to keep Gendry feeling secure, in much the same way as keeping a sacrificial lamb from seeing the blade of the knife.

Later Davos Seaworth, still languishing in his cell, is paid a visit by Stannis. Davos protests that Gendry is an innocent who has never done him any wrong, but Stannis argues that the sacrifice of one bastard boy will usher in his victory, which Stannis believes is the only way to save every man, woman and child in Westeros from the coming darkness that will devour everything in its path and asks how Davos can doubt the power of Melisandre's god when Stannis has seen visions of "a great battle in the snow" and Davos saw the creature she gave birth to. Davos speculates that the real reason Stannis came is because deep down, a part of him knows what he's about to do is wrong and he knew Davos would tell him the truth he needs to hear, regardless of how it would be taken. After extracting a promise from Davos that he won't act against Melisandre again, Stannis has Davos released.

Stannis and leeches

Stannis naming the three usurpers.

As Stannis and Davos enter Gendry's quarters, they find that Melisandre had tied Gendry to the bed and placed leeches on his body. She explains that Davos wanted a demonstration of the power in king's blood, then removes the leeches and lights a fire in a nearby brazier. At Melisandre's direction, Stannis throws the leeches into the flames and as they burn, recites the names of three people he wants dead: "The usurper Robb Stark, the usurper Balon Greyjoy, the usurper Joffrey Baratheon".[26]

Later, after hearing news of Robb Stark being betrayed and killed at the Twins, Melisandre is able to twist this to her advantage, making it seem that the spell with the leeches that Stannis, performed was responsible. It cements, in Stannis' mind, that the red priestesses' black magic is what will win him the Iron Throne. They intend to sacrifice Gendry in order to increase influence of the Lord of Light on his enemies and despite Davos' very vocal protests, Stannis decides to have Gendry killed. Before that can happen, Davos frees Gendry which upsets Stannis greatly, seeing it as a an act of betrayal from his friend. Grudgingly, he sentences Davos to death but Davos hands him a letter from the Night's Watch that is requesting assistance now that the threat of the White Walkers has become very real. Stannis, despite seeming interested, doesn't change his mind until Melisandre agrees with Davos that the real threat to the realm lies north and has nothing to do with the War of the Five Kings. Stannis brings Davos back into the fold, needing someone to rally more troops to his side, deciding that they should march to the Wall and help the Night's Watch against the threat of the White Walkers.[27]

Season 4

Stannis witnesses the burning of one of his bannermen, Ser Axell Florent, with his wife, Selyse, and Davos, as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light. His resentment towards his wife continues, as she happily insists that their souls were transferred to the god. At dinner, he was displeased with the way she was talking about their daughter. He agreed, however, that Melisandre should speak to the poor child.[28]

Since Davos is now literate, Stannis asks for his thoughts on a letter he received. Davos reads the letter and is shocked to learn Joffrey Baratheon is dead. Stannis gives credit to Melisandre and the leeches, but Davos is still sceptical. Davos recommends hiring mercenaries such as the Golden Company but Stannis is disgusted at the thought of paying men to fight. Stannis then tells Davos that he refuses to become a page in someone else's history book and that time is running out for both himself and Davos.[29]

After being granted an audience with the Iron Bank of Braavos, Stannis and Davos travel to Braavos where they meet with Tycho Nestoris. Although at first dismissive of Stannis' claim due to his inferior army and his lack of resources to repay any debts to Bank, Davos defends Stannis as the only one able to repay the debts, both that he takes and those of the Iron Throne. Davos' plea insists that Stannis always pays up and that the Lannisters will be faced with a power vacuum when Tywin Lannister (who is 67 years old) dies and that, if such a moment occurred, the Bank wasn't likely to see a return on its investment in Westeros. The bankers decide to grant Stannis his loan and their support, allowing Davos to once again hire Salladhor Saan into their service.[30]

Stannis attacks

Stannis takes the wildling army by surprise.

On the day after the Battle of Castle Black, Stannis arrives with his army to fight the wildlings. His attack interrupts Jon's meeting with Mance Rayder and actually saves his life. Mance's forces surrender to the Baratheon army, and Stannis is introduced as the true King of the Seven Kingdoms. Mance points out that they are outside the Seven Kingdoms. Stannis also demands that Mance and his forces kneel, as it is customary to kneel when surrendering to a King. Mance refuses, saying that Free Folk do not kneel, knowing that Stannis will kill him if he does not. Davos asks Jon what a member of the Night's Watch is doing in the camp, away from the wall, and Jon explains that he came to treat with the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Jon introduces himself as Ned Stark's bastard son and acknowledges that Stannis is the true king, as his own father died supporting the claim. Out of respect for Ned, Stannis takes Jon seriously, asking him what his father would do with Mance. Jon responds that he was once a prisoner of Mance's, and that he could have killed him or tortured him but instead spared his life; in turn, his father would spare Mance in the situation. Jon however urges to Stannis that they should burn the dead, to avoid them returning as wights. Later, Stannis is present at the Watch's funeral for their fallen brothers.[31]

Season 5

Stannis Baratheon in Castle Black with Jon Snow

Stannis speaking with Jon Snow in the King's Tower of Castle Black

Stannis has moved his remaining forces to the Wall, where he is attempting to rebuild his powerbase by rallying the North against the Lannister-backed Boltons, but the Night's Watch is sworn to political neutrality, putting him at odds with Jon Snow.


Season Two appearances
The North Remembers The Night Lands What is Dead May Never Die Garden of Bones The Ghost of Harrenhal
The Old Gods and the New A Man Without Honor The Prince of Winterfell Blackwater Valar Morghulis
Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa
Season Four appearances
Two Swords The Lion and the Rose Breaker of Chains Oathkeeper First of His Name
The Laws of Gods and Men Mockingbird The Mountain and the Viper The Watchers on the Wall The Children


Spoken by Stannis​
"Joffrey, Renly, Robb Stark, they're all thieves. They'll bend the knee or I'll destroy them."
Stannis Baratheon[src]
"The darkness will devour them all, she says. The night that never ends. Unless I triumph. I never asked for this. No more than I asked to be king. We do not choose our destinies. But we must do our duty, no? Great or small we must do our duty. What's one bastard against a kingdom?"
Stannis Baratheon to Davos[src]
"If I do not press my claim, my claim will be forgotten. I will not become a page in someone else's history book."
Stannis Baratheon to Davos[src]
"I hate a good many things, but I suffer them all the same."
Stannis Baratheon to Selyse Baratheon[src]
"It is customary to kneel when surrendering to a king."
Stannis Baratheon to Mance Rayder[src]

Spoken of Stannis

"The whole realm denies it, from Dorne to the Wall. Old men deny it with their death rattle and unborn children deny it in their mother's wombs. No one wants you for their king."
Renly Baratheon on Stannis' claim to the throne[src]
"Born amidst salt and smoke? Is he a ham?"
Renly Baratheon talking to Melisandre about Stannis[src]
"Your Grace, you are the rightful king. Not only by blood. You're an honorable man, a just man."
Davos Seaworth to Stannis Baratheon[src]
"There's only one reliable leader left in Westeros: Stannis! He's got the birthright, he's in his prime, he is a tried and tested battle commander and he doesn't just talk about paying people back he does it!"
Davos Seaworth to Tycho Nestoris[src]

Family tree

Steffon Baratheon
Cassana Baratheon
née Estermont
Unknown tree
Various women
Robert tree

Robert Baratheon

Cersei tree
Cersei Lannister Lannister-small
100px-Jaime tree
Jaime Lannister Lannister-small
Stannis Tree
Stannis Baratheon
Selyse Baratheon tree
Selyse Baratheon
née Florent Florent-small
Loras Tree
Loras Tyrell Tyrell-small
Renly Tree

Renly Baratheon Renly icon

Margaery Tree
Margaery Tyrell Tyrell-small
Gendry tree
Unknown tree
other bastards
KL baratheon sigil
Unnamed son Joff icon
Died in infancy
Joffrey tree

Joffrey Baratheon KL Baratheon mini shield

Margaery Tree
Margaery Tyrell Tyrell-small
Mycella Season 5 family tree pic
Myrcella Baratheon Joff icon
Trystane Martell Martell-small
Tommen Baratheon family tree
Tommen Baratheon Joff icon
Margaery Tree
Margaery Tyrell Tyrell-small
Tommard tree
Three stillborn sons Stannis icon
Shireen tree
Shireen Baratheon Stannis icon

Image gallery

Behind the scenes

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Stannis is a very different man to his two brothers. While they are handsome, charismatic, and bold, Stannis is colder, more logical, and reserved. He acts only after much forethought and planning. Stannis lacks passion and, while not engaging in wanton cruelty, is merciless to those he considers his enemies. Stannis has an absolute belief in law and duty, and joined his brother's rebellion against the Targaryens only after much soul-searching. During the rebellion Stannis held the ancestral Baratheon castle against a siege by House Tyrell for over a year. By the end of the siege the castle defenders were living on rats and facing starvation, when they were saved the smuggler Davos, who snuck in his cargo of onions and salted fish past the Targaryen blockade. It was meager food, but enough to sustain the defenders till Eddard Stark broke the siege. While the siege lacked a major battle to enshrine it in song and legend, it was essential to tie down the armies of House Tyrell and prevent them marching to King Aerys II Targaryen's aid. To Stannis' fury, despite the deprivations he suffered in holding the castle, Robert appointed their infant brother Renly as Lord of Storm's End while Stannis was given the ancient Targaryen holdfast of Dragonstone (which Stannis captured near the end of the rebellion) to rule instead. Dragonstone is storied and legendary, but also poor, often isolated by bad weather and cold. Stannis takes every opportunity to leave the island for court at King's Landing. Robert also blamed Stannis for allowing Aerys's last heirs, Viserys and Daenerys to slip through his fingers when he took Dragonstone (unfairly, as the two children had been spirited to safety by Targaryen loyalists long before Stannis even set sail).

On the night of Stannis's wedding, Robert violated his wedding bed by sleeping there with Delena Florent (Selyse's cousin). Although Robert swore that he had been drunk and had not realized to which bedchamber he entered and never meant to shame Stannis, Stannis never forgave him. For that reason he resents Edric Storm, whom Delena gave birth to.

He is described as having broad shoulders and sinewy limbs, bald but for a thin fringe of black hair circling his ears like the shadow of a crown. He has a short and neatly trimmed black beard.

At the time the books begin, Lord Stannis has taken an indefinite leave of absence to visit his wife and daughter on Dragonstone. He is married to Lady Selyse of House Florent and has a single daughter, Shireen. Ser Davos Seaworth, knighted by Stannis for his role in the siege, is arguably Stannis's most loyal and steadfast vassal.

Stannis respects Eddard Stark, but strongly resents him for being Robert's best friend and for his appointment to the King's Hand - an office Stannis believed that he should have been granted. Stannis' grudge did not decrease even after Eddard's death. Although Catelyn Stark reminded Stannis that it was Eddard who broke the siege of Storm's End, and assured him that Eddard never wanted to be Robert's Hand, it did not appease Stannis at all. Stannis replied that Eddard did so on Robert's orders, and privately, Stannis was angry that Robert was more grateful to Eddard for breaking the siege than to him for actually holding Storm's End. Nevertheless, Stannis told Catelyn that he was sorry for Eddard's death, and promised her justice for his murder. Stannis respected Eddard as an honorable man, and privately understood that it was beyond Ned's control that Robert liked him more than his own brother.

Many characters fear that due to Stannis's rigid and legalistic personality, he would make a terrible king. One major source of criticism are Stannis's frequent statements that had the decision been his, he wouldn't have pardoned many former Targaryen loyalists as Robert did when he was crowned. Now that Stannis is trying to take the capital, he openly tells his advisors such as Davos that if he succeeds, he will clean house by purging all of the disloyal court officials, instead of pardoning them or outright letting them continue in their positions as Robert did. The irony is that while several characters feel this sentiment is shockingly brutal, it becomes increasingly apparent that there was some sense to it: most of Robert's Small Council members were disloyal conspirators who actively aided the Lannisters in killing him, putting Joffrey on the throne, and the coup against Ned Stark. Varys was always a Targaryen loyalist, Pycelle had already betrayed the previous king for the Lannisters, and Littlefinger was most loyal to himself - while keeping half the City Watch including Commander Janos Slynt bought and paid for. Stannis was actually not amiss for suspecting that they did not have Robert's best interests at heart.

In a notable change, in the books Stannis Baratheon was the one who initiated the investigation that Jon Arryn conducted in discovering the truth of the parentage of Queen Cersei Lannister's children and fled back to Dragonstone shortly after Arryn's death. In the TV series there is no indication that Stannis knows about the situation before Eddard sends him a letter about it.

During his stay at King's Landing, Eddard sent Stannis two letters: the first contained polite request to return to the council. Eddard did not receive any answer, and it is unknown whether Stannis received it. The second letter, which Eddard wrote after discovering the truth about Cersei's children, was given to Tomard with strict instructions to deliver it personally to Stannis. However, Tom was killed and the letter was taken from his body before it could be delivered.

Melisandre created two shadow-creatures with Stannis in the books (one to kill Renly, the other to kill Courtnay Penrose, Renly's castellan who held Storm's End even after he died). She later explains that creating a shadow-creature drains some of a man's life-energy, thus she is unwilling to attempt to create any more for fear that it would kill Stannis. Afterwards, Stannis is said to noticeably look slightly older - not drastically so, but slightly enough that most people just attribute it to being haggard from the great stress of losing the Battle of the Blackwater.

Writer Bryan Cogman explained in a Season 3 interview the TV series's approach to adapting Stannis as a character. Some critics were upset that Stannis seemed like a fairly negative character in Season 2, but the writers were making a conscious choice to reveal the layers to his personality gradually. In part due to time constraints, Season 2 focused primarily upon showing how stern Stannis was. By Season 3, however, the writers would then surprise the audience by showing different facets of Stannis, how he feels bound by his duty, and his odd family relationships: his wife is a religious zealot who blames herself for her many stillbirths even though Stannis does not, that he has a sickly daughter who he actually tries to treat well (despite his limited interpersonal skills), etc. as Cogman explained at length:

"It was an evolving thing. Season 2, as ever, we had to be judicious about how many characters to introduce. It was decided that, dramatically, it made sense for the S2 Stannis scenes to involve this triangle of characters, if you will—Davos on one side, Melisandre on the other, Stannis being pulled between the two. In the book, you have Selyse on the Mel side but we decided to pull her out of the political discussion, at least for now. But when the decision was made to dramatize the conception of the shadow monster...It was very important that Stannis be a married man, breaking a vow, so we made a point of showing he had a wife. We came up with the idea of her being shut away in a tower, frankly, at first, as an excuse to keep her offscreen. At that point, we honestly didn’t know if we would include Shireen or not — we never know how many characters this show can handle so we sometimes hedge one way or the other. So we made it clear that Selyse had given Stannis "no sons", leaving the door open for Shireen if we needed her. Anyway, we come to Season 3 — and this goes to how you adapt the Stannis stuff for TV — Stannis, thus far, is only seen through the eyes of other characters. Mainly Davos and, if you count up his chapters/page count/appearances, it's not a lot. So it was decided that we needed to create a specific emotional arc for him this season — again, using clues from the book, we didn’t come up with this stuff out of thin air, despite what some Stannis fans say..."
"...So the idea being that he was really thrown after Blackwater” and with Davos gone and him seeing what he's seen in the flames, he's clinging to Melisandre, almost like a drug, an addiction...Anyway, "his fires burn low" (again, a direct quote from the book) and that means he doesn't have the life force to create another demon."
"...We figured a great way to introduce his (previously unseen and rarely spoken of) family would be through his eyes. Melisandre has left Dragonstone, he feels abandoned, he's essentially an addict going through withdrawal and as part of that withdrawal and the guilt associated with his actions in Season 2, he decides to check in with his family."
"In terms of Selyse — she's admittedly a bit different from the book, but what we did retain is fanaticism, her fierce devotion to Melisandre and, in show canon (though we didn't state this explicitly in the show) she was the one that brought Melisandre to Dragonstone...So we asked the question: what would bring someone to abandon their gods and seek answers elsewhere? Perhaps the stillborn deaths of three sons? And that’s how that scene was born."
"Now, with Shireen — she's essentially the Shireen from the books. The main difference is Selyse's attitude towards her is a bit different. She has a more overt hatred and resentment of her—she wanted to give Stannis sons, not a deformed daughter."[32]

See also


v  d  e
Lord: King Stannis Baratheon Heir: Princess Shireen Baratheon House-Baratheon-of-Dragonstone-heraldry
Seat: Dragonstone Lands: Blackwater Bay and the Stormlands
Title(s): Lord of Dragonstone
Current members:Queen Selyse Florent
Household:{Maester Cressen} · Lady Melisandre · {Lord Axell Florent} · Ser Davos Seaworth · Ser Imry Florent · {Matthos Seaworth} · Bert

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