Iron Bends: The Surprising Flexibility of Stannis Baratheon | Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire
21 - 40 of Works in Stannis Baratheon/Davos Seaworth .. heart bruised from a disastrous relationship, looking to escape from her troubles on the mainland. . Salladhor Saan offers his opinion and advice on Davos Seaworth's new lord. Stannis shortened Davos's fingers on his left hand and rewarded him But there's something else in Stannis's relationship with religion that opens a of Asshai, who both frequently present opposing advice for Stannis, and. I think there are three parts to this: 1. Why does he care about Jon and side with his friends at all? See Purpose of Davos protecting Jon Snow?.
The reason has to do with the way that his personality is perceived. For the Westerosi nobility, flattery is a hallmark of class status. To not engage in this absolutely crucial social custom is seen as an egregious error, at the least, and an affront upon all the other lordings, at the most — a crime which Stannis is guilty of committing time and again.
More than disengaging from social custom, however, the would-be king has a resolute moral code which grates against noble mores and threatens institutions that the elite patronize, particularly legalized prostitution.
But Stannis sees prostitution as a moral blight that needs to be stamped out. Remember the time he proposed to outlaw brothels? As Robert should have done, after the Trident.
It would stand to reason that this perspective was potentially unpopular with the nobility. Other figures, such as Littlefinger, realized the danger that Stannis posed to the lordlings — or, rather, to himself. Every man who fought beneath the dragon banner or rose with Balon Greyjoy will have good cause to fear. Seat Stannis on the Iron Throne, and, I promise you, the realm will bleed.
Each should have its own reward. You were a hero and a smuggler. And, most importantly, Davos came to believe that this view of justice amended Stannis Baratheon to bending when it would prove just and profitable. Afterwards, he explains his rationale for forsaking the religion in the form of a story from his youth.
Proudwing, I named her. She would perch on my shoulder and flutter from room to room after me and take food from my hand, but she would not soar. Time and again I would take her hawking, but she never flew higher than the treetops. Robert called her Weakwing.
He owned a gyrfalcon named Thunderclap who never missed her strike. One day, our Great-Uncle Ser Harbert told me to try a different bird. I was making a fool of myself with Proudwing, he said, and he was right.
It is time I tried another hawk, Davos. Even after being convinced that the Red God was the correct one, he never became a fanatic — he was a convert that retained a fairly open outlook on faith, generally.
My lords bannermen are inconstant even in their treasons. I need them, but you should know how it sickens me to pardon such as these when I have punished better men for lesser crimes. You have every right to reproach me, Ser Davos.
Davos Seaworth and Melisandre of Asshai, who both frequently present opposing advice for Stannis, and who both are heeded and discarded in turns. Much later, in A Dance with Dragons, Lord Commander Jon Snow joins the mix, serving a vital role in counseling Stannis away from foolhardy military and diplomatic actions.
The presence of all these advisors begs the question: An iron-willed man would simply act as he saw fit. But throughout Ice and Fire, Stannis continually relies on Melisandre and Davos to aid him in his decision-making. But more than simply being a spiritual leader, Melisandre also counseled him on ethical and political matters, one of the most prominent being the case of Renly Baratheon.
Renly, on the other hand, raised himself to the purple. To Stannis, this was both treason and a personal slight upon his rights. To Stannis, of course, a vow was resolute — yet he had abandoned it. Someone had to have convinced him to bend from his vow for good reason.
In A Storm of Swords, Stannis was in a weak political position. More than that, Stannis was deprived of good counsel. Davos was missing in action after the Battle of the Blackwater and presumed dead. When Davos returned to Dragonstone, he sought to right the ship.
You say we ought show the realm we are not done. Make war, aye… but on what enemy? You will find no Lannisters on Claw Isle. A winner of many conflicts, Stannis was never more himself than when commanding men in battle — and, more than simply winning tactically, he was perhaps the best military strategist in Westeros. It was counsel that Arnolf Karstark, the castellan of Karhold, had given him. But Stannis was at least open-minded enough to seek out the advice of Lord Commander Snow — and Jon had a different take on the plan.
Jon glanced down at the map. Deepwood is a motte-and-bailey castle in the midst of thick forest, easy to creep up on unawares. A wooden castle, defended by an earthen dike and a palisade of logs. The going will be slower through the mountains, admittedly, but up there your host can move unseen, to emerge almost at the gates of Deepwood. Good men and true will fight for Joffrey, wrongly believing him the true king.
A northman might even say the same of Robb Stark. They turned their backs on their rightful king for no better reason than dreams of power and glory, and I have marked them for what they are. In this, we see both good and bad intent, as well as both good and bad outcomes.I Found (Stannis Baratheon/Davos Seaworth)
Moreover, we see Stannis approaching something resembling utilitarianism in matters of both justice and morality. But when his brother, Robert, rose in rebellion against the crown, Stannis was faced with a difficult moral choice.
If you only knew… that was a hard choosing. My blood or my liege. My brother or my king. If he chose his brother over the king, he would violate his oath of loyalty to the crown. It was the true definition of a dilemma, but, in the end, of course, Stannis chose his brother over his king. I think the answer comes down to justice versus injustice. Aerys II Targaryen was wildly unjust and lawless. He raped his wife numerous times, murdered Rickard and Brandon Stark, and revealed himself to be a man unwilling to adhere to any law — in short, he showed himself unfit for the office.
For a man like Stannis, the injustice and lawlessness that Aerys displayed likely was the turning point for why he chose Robert. If this theory does turn out to be the case, it shows Stannis as exhibiting early hallmarks of being an enlightenment thinker, placing the king under law.
When the stormlander and some Reacher lords swore fealty to Stannis, he was well within both his rights and his view of treason to execute them. Instead, he pardoned them. However, he goes a step further in saying that he forgave their treachery, which goes beyond the political and military reality and lands squarely on a flexible sense of ethics. But Stannis did something that required him to forgo rigidity: But the fact remained to Stannis: This was something that Stannis came to recognize over the course of the books.
The biggest stumbling block to winning more swords was the issue of religion. Were they treated unequally? Davos Seaworth was elevated to Handship, despite his renewed adherence to the Faith of the Seven. In this, we find a strongly tolerant vision of faiths. Stannis was convinced that the Lord of Light was the one true God, but he was unwilling to force his belief on others.
He promoted adherents of any religion who proved themselves useful, such as Davos, and demoted those who proved useless, such as Alester Florent. And this religious toleration as a means of policy also extended to the old gods of the north. Stannis could have attempted to force a new religion on the northmen, but he resisted that impulse in two key ways. First, he decided to leave Melisandre at Castle Black instead of taking her on campaign with him in the north.
Still, his political astuteness in dealing delicately with the faiths of his would-be subjects is yet another example of his adaptability and inventiveness — the exact opposite qualities of mindless rigidity.
They turned their backs on their rightful king for no better reason than dreams of power and glory, and I have marked them for what they are. I will have justice for him. Aye, and for Ned Stark and Jon Arryn as well. First, as BryndenBFish argues in Hymn for SpringStannis shows a surprising degree of flexibility for someone with a reputation for inflexibility. Here, he accepts the support of men he believes deserve to be punished for their crimes, so that he will later be in a position to do so.
However, this flexibility extends further, to a rather sophisticated understanding of the motivations of others. Second, one of the things that does set Stannis apart from other kings is that he is someone with a program he wants to put in place after victory, who sees the monarchy as a means not merely an end.
And this contradiction between an active agenda and narrow grudge-holding is what makes Stannis at this precise moment not the right man for the job — he lacks a sense that the needs of the realm might take precedence over his own desire for vengeance.
This is why, dramatically, Stannis needs to lose the Battle of Blackwater, so that he must go through a period of reflection and growth that gets him to see that the duties of the king are more important than his rights. Which brings us to the question of murder — and whether Stannis is one of the condemned guilty. Did Stannis Murder Renly? He looks half a corpse too, years older than when I left Dragonstone. Devan said the king scarcely slept of late.
Only the Lady Melisandre can soothe him to sleep. To pray with him? Or does she have another way to soothe him to sleep? Stannis tells us this directly: For a long time the king did not speak.
A green tent, candles, a woman screaming. Your Devan will tell you. He tried to wake me. Dawn was nigh and my lords were waiting, fretting.
Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Davos II, ACOK | Race for the Iron Throne
I should have been ahorse, armored. I knew Renly would attack at break of day. Devan says I thrashed and cried out, but what does it matter? It was a dream.
I was in my tent when Renly died, and when I woke my hands were clean. Why go into the dream? When viewed in context, I think we should take him at his word — that Stannis subconsciously experienced the assassination of Renly but did not order it. Melisandre has seen it in the flames of the future…Her flames do not lie. On Dragonstone she saw it, and told Selyse. On the one hand, Stannis seems to be arguing for some version of predestination — what Melisandre sees in the flames will come to pass.
On the other, Stannis seems to be saying that there are multiple and conflicting futures, which reintroduces the question of free will: Had I met my brother there, it might have been me who died in place of him. The men of your garrison will be free to enter my service or to return unmolested to their homes.
You may keep your weapons and as much property as a man can carry. I will require your horses and pack animals, however. Especially by medieval standards, Stannis is giving Penrose a good deal — a general pardon, the right to choose whether to go home or to fight with Stannis, he right to keep their weapons and property. The sticking point seems to be Edric Storm, but this is where audience knowledge vs. He throws my pardon in my face. Aye, and throws his life away in the bargain, and the lives of every man inside those walls.
What other hope does he have? Even if it means his own life? For Davos, we have to ask, what happens if his loyalty to Stannis leads him to embrace bad means for a good end? More of which in a minute.
There are a number of different alternatives here: The young mules will think this a splendid notion. Estermont will favor settling down to starve them out, as Tyrell and Redwyne once tried with me. That might take a year, but old mules are patient. Each one imagining he will be my champion and win undying fame. It also potentially adds further delay. Davos offers Stannis a fourth option: Davos considered a moment before he answered.
A siege would take too long, single combat is too chancy, and an assault would cost thousands of lives with no certainty of success. And there is no need. Once you dethrone Joffrey this castle must come to you with all the rest. It is said about the camp that Lord Tywin Lannister rushes west to rescue Lannisport from the vengeance of the northmen. Stannis rejects this advice for a mix of military and political reasons: There is a need.
And that I cannot permit. Men do not love me as they loved my brothers. They follow me because they fear me. The castle must fall.
Doran Martell has called his banners and fortified the mountain passes. His Dornishmen are poised to sweep down onto the Marches. And Highgarden is far from spent. My brother left the greater part of his power at Bitterbridge, near sixty thousand foot. I fear that Ser Loras Tyrell reached Bitterbridge before my envoys, and took that host for his own. There are points to both sides. Only land a boat beneath the castle, unseen, in the black of night. Can you do that?
More importantly, this theory of the crime requires Melisandre to have been totally forthcoming with Stannis about her magic.
Coming to Stannis with the proposal is a huge risk — not only is it quite likely that someone like Stannis would recoil at the thought of kinslaying, but her argument would undercut her attempts to establish herself as a prophetess. The castle falls either way. I will concede that the situation is somewhat ambiguous, but I think that ambiguity is a deliberate strategy. An Exchange of Views All of these themes come to a head in a small boat on a dark knight, where Davos and Melisandre can confront each other face-to-face, rather than through Stannis.
And the two of them could not be more diametrically opposite: Would a good man be doing this? I have tried to be a father to my sons, to help make them a place in this world.