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Stannis Baratheon

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"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 and third seasons. He is played by starring cast member Stephen Dillane and debuts in "The North Remembers." He is mentioned in the first season but did not appear.

Stannis Baratheon is the Lord of Dragonstone and the older of the two younger brothers of the late King Robert Baratheon, the younger being Renly Baratheon. Because of the revelation that Robert's heir Joffrey is not actually Robert's son, but a bastard born out of incest between Queen Cersei Lannister and her own brother Jaime Lannister, Stannis has claimed the Iron Throne and proclaimed himself the rightful King. As Robert had no trueborn children, only bastards, Stannis is indeed his lawful heir.



Stannis is the second born son of Steffon 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 Lord of Dragonstone and served on his brother's small council as Master of Ships. He is the least popular of the Baratheon brothers.[1]

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

Main: Stannis Baratheon 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. 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 asks Davos to 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. 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. 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 screaming 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 3 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, Melissandre 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 Whtie Walkers has become very real. Stannis, despite seeming interested, doesn't change his mind until Melissandre 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.


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

Family tree

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

Robert Baratheon

Cersei tree
Cersei Lannister Lannister shield icon
100px-Jaime tree
Jaime Lannister Lannister shield icon
S5 Stannis Tree

Stannis Baratheon

Selyse Baratheon tree
Selyse Baratheon
née Florent Florent shield icon
Loras Tree
Loras Tyrell Tyrell shield icon
Renly Tree

Renly Baratheon Renly shield icon

Margaery Tree
Margaery Tyrell Tyrell shield icon
Gendry tree
Unknown tree
other bastards
Barra tree


KL baratheon sigil
Unnamed son House-Baratheon-of-King's Landing-Shield-Icon
Died in infancy
Joffrey tree

Joffrey Baratheon KL Baratheon shield icon

Margaery Tree
Margaery Tyrell Tyrell shield icon
Mycella Season 5 family tree pic

Myrcella Baratheon KL Baratheon shield icon

Trystane Martell family tree
Trystane Martell Martell shield icon
Tommen Baratheon family tree
Tommen Baratheon KL Baratheon shield icon
Margaery Tree
Margaery Tyrell Tyrell shield icon
Tommard tree
Three stillborn sons Stannis shield icon
Shireen castportal
Shireen Baratheon Stannis icon


"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]
"Joffrey, Renly, Robb Stark they're all thieves, they will bend the knee or I will destroy them."
―Stannis Baratheon[src]
"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 on Stannis' claim to the throne[src]
"Born amidst salt and smoke? Is he a ham?"
―Renly Baratheon talking to Melisandre about Stannis[src]

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' 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.

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.

See also


v  d  e
Lord: {King Stannis Baratheon} Heir: None House-Baratheon-of-Dragonstone-heraldry
Seat: Dragonstone Lands: Blackwater Bay and the Stormlands
Title(s): Lord of Dragonstone
Current members:None
Deceased members:Queen Selyse Florent · Princess Shireen Baratheon · Petyr Baratheon · Tommard Baratheon · Edric Baratheon
Household:{Maester Cressen} · Lady Melisandre · {Lord Axell Florent} · Ser Davos Seaworth · Ser Imry Florent · {Matthos Seaworth} · Bert · {General}

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