Wow did I get some asks telling me how evil Stannis is. Few people saying he’s a tyrant, a few more saying that he’s going to instigate religious war. I agree, ACoK!Stannis was heading firmly down the tyrant path. But we’re not in ACoK anymore.
Grace, you cannot… I am no fit man to be a King’s Hand.”
“There is no man fitter.” Stannis sheathed Lightbringer, gave Davos his hand, and pulled him to
“I am lowborn,” Davos reminded him. “An upjumped smuggler. Your lords will never obey
“Then we will make new lords.”
Surprisingly, Stannis smiled at that. “You’re bold enough to be a Stark. Yes, I should have come sooner. If not for my Hand, I might not have come at all. Lord Seaworth is a man of humble birth, but he reminded me of my duty, when all I could think of was my rights. I had the cart before the horse, Davos said. I was trying to win the throne to save the kingdom, when I should have been trying to save the kingdom to win the throne.”
so much better…
“And they will fight for me, you believe?”
“If you ask them.”
“Why should I beg for what is owed me?”
“Ask, I said, not beg.” Jon pulled back his hand. “It is no good
sending messages. Your Grace will need to go to them yourself. Eat their bread and salt, drink their ale, listen to their pipers, praise the
beauty of their daughters and the courage of their sons, and you’ll
have their swords. The clans have not seen a king since Torrhen Stark
bent his knee. Your coming does them honor. Command them to fight
for you, and they will look at one another and say, ‘Who is this man?
He is no king of mine.’ ”
“How many clans are you speaking of?”
Whatever doubts his lords might nurse, the common men
seemed to have faith in their king. Stannis had smashed Mance
Rayder’s wildlings at the Wall and cleaned Asha and her ironborn out
of Deepwood Motte; he was Robert’s brother, victor in a famous sea
battle off Fair Isle, the man who had held Storm’s End all through Robert’s Rebellion. And he bore a hero’s sword, the enchanted blade
Lightbringer, whose glow lit up the night.
…it’s not even funny.
He glanced at the letter again. I will save your sister if I can. A surprisingly tender sentiment from Stannis, though undercut by that final, brutal if I can and the addendum and find a better match for her than Ramsay Snow.
Well, maybe it’s a bit funny.
That took Lord Janos aback. He smiled uncertainly and began to sweat, but Bowen Marsh
beside him said, “Who better to command the black cloaks than a man who once commanded the
“Any of you, I would think. Even the cook.”
The thing to note here is that Stannis does everything people claim Renly would do. He promotes by merit. He listens to advisors. He builds a coalition through diplomacy. He has the faith of the common man. And he tries to do what’s best for the kingdom.
He’s still a sour, grim misogynist perpetually on the edge of Knight Templar-dom, but there are some serious upsides to ADWD!Stannis.
You know what I’d really like to see? After taking the Iron Throne Jon’s first act is to call for the death of Gregor Clegane for his crimes against house Martell and the realm. and Jon performs the execution himself with Longclaw, because the man who passes the sentence should be the one to swing the sword. I want to see him do more than his “father” ever cared to in the name of the innocents that were slaughtered because of Rhaegar’s actions. I want him to acknowledge that although he is biologically Rhaegar’s son, he holds no approval of his fathers acts that caused the death of so many innocents. I want acknowledgement for Elia Martell and her children who are the half siblings that Jon never got to have any bond with like Starks. I want justice for Oberyn, the only man to ever look the Mountain and Tywin in the eyes and demand them to say the name of the woman who they forced to watch her children die and then was raped before being killed herself. I want so much better for the memory of Elia than to have people just dismiss her as a sad bland character that only serves to add dimension to Rhaegar’s “great complexity” or to have died to help seal “the song of ice and fire”. She was a person. She was killed. She will not be forgotten.
This is the finished look of Pyke Castle. It is an image of its own but will also be included in my upcoming map of the Iron Islands. From left to right you can see: - the Gatehouse - the Kitchen Keep - the Great Keep - the Bloody Keep - the Sea Tower
I have been sitting on this one for a while. Pardon the wait, anon? This deserved more than a few lines.
Initially, not so much. Davos was one of the better-adapted characters right through season four, with many of his scenes capturing the spirit of the character even as the plot showed signs of broader misinterpretation in adaptation. What few problems I had were, for the most part, directly caused by the poor understanding of Stannis’ character.
And then, in season five, show!Davos started to go off the rails.
Was beheading Ned a net gain for the Lannisters? Say he takes the black. Legally his accusations are thrown out & he would keep the oath to take no part, but Cat & Robb would still believe him & they would still be mad at the Lannisters & might have joined Stannis's cause once he & Renly proclaimed themselves. Ned's public repudiation of his accusations might have actually given credence to Stannis's letter. Ned's death caused Robb's crown & breach w/Stannis. Might have encouraged Balon too.
Right off the bat it’s important to recognise that the Lannisters are not a bloc with a single interest. It’s Cersei who wants Ned out of politics ASAP, because she knows Ned knows about her affair with Jaime. Tywin, who’s at the very least acting as though he doesn’t know of Cersei’s affair and who doesn’t have a clue about what Ned does or doesn’t know, would rather have Ned alive and kept safely hostage.
As for the rest of it, hindsight bias is powerful. At the end of AGoT and right up to the end of ACoK, the Lannisters are in some dire straits indeed, and only a sequence of absurd good luck keeps them from inglorious defeat. Going bullet points here.
Renly claims the throne, splits Baratheon power, and causes a major secondary conflict.
Renly and his massive army tool around playing tourney for the first half of ACoK.
Stannis sails right past King’s Landing to take on Renly.
Stannis tools around the Stormlands for a short but crucial chunk of time.
When Stannis sets sail for King’s Landing again, he’s delayed by a storm just long enough to allow Tywin’s army to arrive.
Balon embarks on the single worst military plan known to Westeros and attacks the North without any sort of alliance or guarantee.
Theon decides to attack Winterfell, and manages to capture it with some help from the author.
Edmure borks Robb’s plan to defeat Tywin.
Littlefinger instructs Lysa not to let the Vale join in on the war.
People say that the show cheats to let the bad guys win, but really, GRRM was cheating all through the first few books to make the Starks lose. The Lannisters foresaw literally none of the above coming and had literally nothing to do with any of it. Their victory is not pure luck, but they definitely got more than their share of good dice rolls.
As a result, the negative effects of executing Ned are somewhat obscured. The best summation of Lannister chances following Ned’s beheading is found in Tyrion IX, AGoT:
“How could it happen?” Ser Harys Swyft wailed again. “Ser Jaime taken, the siege broken…
this is a catastrophe!”
Ser Addarn Marbrand said, “I am sure we are all grateful to you for pointing out the obvious,
Ser Harys. The question is, what shall we do about it?”
“What can we do? Jaime’s host is all slaughtered or taken or put to flight, and the Starks and the
Tullys sit squarely across our line of supply. We are cut off from the west! They can march on
Casterly Rock if they so choose, and what’s to stop them? My lords, we are beaten. We must sue
“Peace?” Tyrion swirled his wine thoughtfully, took a deep draft, and hurled his empty cup to
the floor, where it shattered into a thousand pieces. “There’s your peace, Ser Harys. My sweet
nephew broke it for good and all when he decided to ornament the Red Keep with Lord Eddard’s
head. You’ll have an easier time drinking wine from that cup than you will convincing Robb
Stark to make peace now. He’s winning… or hadn’t you noticed?”
They expect to lose, and they can’t make peace because Joffrey killed Ned. It’s worse than if Ned was sent to the Wall, because executing Ned on dubious treason charges and putting his head on a spike is even more extreme and merciless. It’s irretrievable. Murder, more than one person calls it. Sending Ned to the Wall would make a lot of people very cross, but it’s not quite at the same intensity of outrage. Especially given the history of Starks unjustly executed by tyrants in living memory.
Going ahead with the war, killing Ned strips them of a hostage the Lannisters really could have done with.
“Give me your support and I promise you, we will have Jaime freed and returned to us unharmed.”
“How?” Cersei demanded. “The Stark boy and his mother are not like to forget that we
beheaded Lord Eddard.”
- Tyrion I, ACoK
Long term, of course, is the factor that none of the Lannisters ever understood. Oh, Tywin plans. He marries Sansa to Tyrion and plans to rule the North that way, and then there’s the Fake Arya plan. But the North is currently making it clear they’re not having any of it.
Finally, after a nightmarish day when the column advanced a
bare mile and lost a dozen horses and four men, Lord Peasebury
turned against the northmen. “This march was madness. More dying
every day, and for what? Some girl?”
“Ned’s girl,” said Morgan Liddle.
- The King’s Prize, ADWD
They’ll have a Stark in Winterfell again, on their terms, and they will fight whoever they have to in order to get Ned’s girl away from usurpers trying to rule through her. Between Ned’s murder and the Red Wedding, the Lannisters can’t govern the North.
Killing Ned was most definitely a net loss for the Lannisters.
If you love Game of Thrones but you haven’t read the books, you’re missing the badass Arianne Martell. She’s princess of Dorne, doughter of Doran Martell and one of the best female characters in Westeros.