From The Maester’s Desk: Born Amidst Salt and Smoke

Not a ham.

The article contains spoilers from ASOIAF, including a sample chapter of The Winds of Winter.


Is he a ham?

Stannis Baratheon was the head of the currently extinct House Baratheon, and a claimant to the Iron Throne. He’s also one of the most interesting characters in both the A Song of Ice and Fire series and the TV adaptation, and a favorite among the fans (cue the variety of memes, from “Stannis the Mannis” to “Stan the Man” and…you get the idea. He’s a badass).

But this reputation of being a tough commander didn’t originate out of nowhere. It started with episode 9 from Season 2 (“Blackwater”).

Historically, kings, generals, commanders and such would rarely put themselves in harm’s way. Some of them did fight and die in battle, but that wasn’t always the case.

Book!Stannis didn’t personally fight. Having the possibility of a defeat in mind, he stayed far enough from the battle in case things went south and he had to retreat. The show version had him leading the charge, storming the castle, climbing stairs and lopping some heads with his sword.

It makes sense to make this justaposition in a visual medium. Stannis wasn’t presented as a particularly charming character, but as someone who would agree to use blood magic to murder his own brother. So, unlike the cowardly Joffrey who looked for any excuse to flee to safety, Stannis was turned into a brave warrior who was willing to get his hands dirty to get what he wanted.

This was a contribution from director Neil Marshall, who noted that Stannis disappeared from the script, and decided to go the whole nine yards with the character. Showing him being dragged from the battle while shouting “Stand and fight, you cowards!” makes for a more powerful image than him watching from the safety of his ship.

Stannis Baratheon with Lightbrighter at Blackwater by WillHarrisArt

Stannis Baratheon with Lightbrighter at Blackwater by WillHarrisArt

For an audience, it’s easier to root for a character who gets into the thick of the battle. Because we see him/her as a true leader, not someone who just gives orders and sends others to do the job for him.

We saw a similar contrast again during Episode 9 of Season 6 (“Battle of the Bastards”), when Jon was the first to charge against Ramsay Bolton’s army, but Ramsay remained behind his men and fled the battlefield afterwards, when the knights of the Vale arrived and obliterated his army.

Will your men want to fight for you when they hear you wouldn’t fight for them?

It’s, of course, a very romanticized thing, but that’s the beauty of fiction. Watching two generals sitting on their horses while a bunch of anonymous soldiers battle each other would make for very dull television. Even if we know the hero will likely make it out alive, we want him to do heroic deeds, no matter how “senseless” they may seem.

Does it make sense for the recently named King in the North to go beyond the Wall and risk his life to capture a wight? Couldn’t he send someone else and stay in Winterfell? Yes, absolutely, but where’s the fun in that?

But I’m straying a bit from the main topic. Going back to Stannis, I’d say that despite his flaws, some of which could take him to straight-up villain territory, he had many qualities for which men like Davos admired and followed him. And as readers and watchers, we could empathize with him somewhat, for all the times he gave his all and received the contempt of his siblings in return, Robert in particular.

After holding Storm’s End for over a year, which was being besieged by Tyrell forces, and reduced to eating rats, Stannis received Dragonstone as a reward, something he perceived as an intentional slight, since Dragonstone was a cold and grim castle in a place where nothing grows. Storm’s End was given to Renly instead.

Something that wasn’t mentioned in the show, was how during Stannis’ wedding, Robert used the wedding bed to have sex with Delena Florent, Selyse’s cousin. That union resulted in Edric Storm, a bastard whose existence Stannis considered as yet another slight for evident reasons.
briennekillsstannis

The final insult would come in the form of Renly’s claim to the Iron Throne. Renly knew his elder brother had the better claim, but decided to go ahead regardless. What Renly set in motion resulted in two of Stannis’ major defeats: the Tyrell alliance with the Lannisters breaking his army during the Battle of Blackwater Bay, and later (in the TV adaptation at least) when Brienne of Tarth (who used to be part of Renly’s kingsguard) executed him after the Boltons defeated him in the Battle of Winterfell.

In season 5’s penultimate episode “The Dance of Dragons” came a moment that remains a source of much controversy: Stannis sacrificed his daughter Shireen.  Complaints of “character assassination” arose as a result. The scene was especially shocking for audiences because earlier in episode 4 (“Sons of the Harpy”) we had a moving moment in which Stannis displayed rare affection for his child.

Everyone advised me to send you to the ruins of Valyria to live out your short life with the stone men before the sickness spread through the castle. I told them all to go to hell. […] You are the Princess Shireen of House Baratheon. And you are my daughter.

For some fans, Shireen’s death didn’t come as a surprise, since it was heavily telegraphed in Season 4, during a scene in which Melisandre convinces Selyse to bring her daughter with them to the Wall, because the Lord of Light would be needing her. And when it comes to the Red Woman, the implication was obvious enough.

There was another piece of dialogue from the books that didn’t make it to the screen adaptation, and I feel it could’ve been crucial to understand Stannis’ motives. I’m talking about the story of Proudwing.

Davos Melisandre

When Stannis was a boy, he found an injured goshawk and nursed her back to health. The bird recovered, and he named it Proudwing. She would only flutter, though, not being able to fly to high altitudes anymore. Robert made fun of his brother’s bird, calling her “Weakwing”.

A day came in which Stannis’ great-uncle, Ser Harbert, convinced him to stop making a fool of himself and just get a new bird.

The moment is intended to work as an analogy in which Davos is Proudwing, and Melisandre is the new (red) hawk. Stannis is saying that he would waste no more time with someone who’s not getting him the results he wants. But more than that, it’s a display of his pragmatic, ruthless behavior. He won’t let his feelings or emotional attachments to stand in the way of his ambitions, and that is what ultimately doomed him and his family.

He was never the kind of man who would pack up camp and wait for another opportunity. The Iron Throne was his ultimate goal, something he considered to be his by right, and he was willing to risk everything in order to destroy his competition and sit on it.

From season 5's "Sons of the Harpy"

D&D said in the “Inside the Episode” feature that George R.R. Martin himself revealed to them that Shireen is going be sacrificed in the books as well. How it’ll happen, we don’t know yet, but it’s safe to say it’ll play in a different way, considering the timelines and the current locations of the characters:

In a sample chapter from The Winds of Winter, we see Stannis preparing for war against the Boltons. Martin’s editor, Anne Groell, confirmed that the battle is already written (though like with every work in progress, it’s still subject to changes), but was pushed from A Dance with Dragons, allegedly because the book would’ve been excessively long otherwise, and therefore impossible to bind.

However, in ADWD, we are told how Jon Snow receives a letter from Ramsay Bolton (the “Pink Letter”, which would become the “Come and see” letter in the TV show), which states that Stannis was defeated in the field of battle, and his army was “smashed”.

Ramsay says he has Stannis’ sword, Lightbringer, a weapon that belonged to Azor Ahai, a legendary hero. It is generally accepted that the sword is not really the one from the legend, and that Melisandre’s magic (or “glamour”) is what makes it glow and look “magical”. That may be the reason it remained a common steel sword in the adaptation.

rickon2

Now, we know Ramsay wasn’t bluffing in the show. He did have Rickon and poor Shaggydog’s pelt. And he most likely won the battle against Stannis in the books, because he wouldn’t have been able to write the letter otherwise (and what’s the point of writing a threatening letter before a battle he could’ve lost?). I’d be really surprised if Ramsay’s letter turns out to be a lie.

It is possible Stannis himself survived the slaughter, as it happened in the adaptation (before he stumbled upon Brienne of Tarth) and Ramsay is just assuming he was killed with the rest of his army. He could return to the Wall, and maybe as a last-ditch effort to score a win against the Boltons, agree to burn Shireen. Davos is away looking for Rickon, so he won’t be around to prevent it from happening.

But Jon’s death complicates this theory. Stannis would arrive to a Castle Black under control of the mutineers, and it is unlikely he’d be too fond of people who betrayed their lord commander. That is, unless he arrives after Jon is brought back to life, but I don’t think Jon would stand by and watch them burn Shireen alive. The question of how Jon will be revived is yet another matter entirely. That Melisandre will be the one who revives him seems like a safe bet. Will she do it of her own volition? After all, as pointed out before, Davos isn’t a part of the equation.

I’m personally not a fan of the “Jon warging into Ghost” theory, despite the Varamyr prologue being presented as evidence, and that unlike the TV version of the story, Jon is a warg in the books. As of this moment, only Martin knows how things will develop.

The question remains: Would Stannis have been a good king? I like the character, but I feel like he wouldn’t have been a good ruler. He seemed to be utterly unable to cut deals or compromise, always dealing in absolutes and holding grudges. As he said during a council meeting: “They’ll bend the knee or I’ll destroy them”. Had he tried to make alliances (as Davos suggested) instead of trying to fight alone against the world, maybe things would’ve turned out differently for him.

He was rather harsh, and even his most trusted advisors and family members would get tough love from him, at best. Davos himself was almost sent to the chopping block.

Willing to sacrifice anything or anyone in order to reach his goals, he probably wouldn’t get much trust or support from other noble houses, and it is likely there’d be a rebellion in no time to overthrow him.

That’s not to mention his religion. Even if we assume that he only accepted R’hllor because of his alliance with Melisandre, and remains an atheist at heart, most (if not all) of the people of Westeros wouldn’t accept a foreign religion to take over the Seven or the Old Gods. If said religion isn’t forcefully imposed, Stannis could be perceived as a puppet of the red priests anyway. It’d be a recipe for disaster.

Stannis

Though the future of the book character is currently unclear, I trust George will give him the send off he deserves. I have to admit that at first I wasn’t a big fan of his off-screen demise in the show, but eventually I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need to his head rolling for it to be satisfying.

What the showrunners and director David Nutter did was indeed the right call to make, in my opinion. It would’ve been a disservice to the character to end his run with a gory visual. Having him say “Go on, do your duty” and accepting his fate is now one of the best moments from the show for me.

And boy, do I miss Stephen Dillane.

Stannis doesn’t have a POV in the books, but the actor took what could’ve been a one-note, cold, joyless character (or worse, a hammy one) and turned him into someone way more complex, with a lot of personality despite never being one of the most expressive or jolly types. And even if he didn’t mean to be funny, his grammar corrections remain among the most amusing character interactions in the show’s entire run.

Not a ham, indeed.

35 responses

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    1. Don’t think that Stannis main driving force is his ambition to get the Iron Throne, but his commitment to what he considers his duty. Otherwise he would never have trveled orth

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    2. In a series all about choice and how the choices we make in life are what define us and give our lives meaning and make us either good or evil, Stannis might be one of the most evil characters in the show. The man killed his brother, his brother in law and his daughter. We can easily explain a lot of these decisions and that is why it’s a great show because we can understand where he came from, but it doesn’t change the choices he made. He thought himself the hero of the story and in a quest to prove himself such he became a villain. The good does not wash away the bad as the Mannis himself would say.

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    3. I also miss Stephen Dillane. Stannis was one of the most three dimensional characters of the series. A product of strong writing and insightful work by an actor willing to find the angles to a character’s personality. Stannis was so classically a middle child, so sure that if he could just find the right rules and follow them, his life would work out as well as it did for his more feckless relatives, the self-indulgent Renly and Robert.

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    4. House Monty: In a series all about choice and how the choices we make in life are what define us and give our lives meaning and make us either good or evil, Stannis might be one of the most evil characters in the show.

      Stannis was not really “evil”: he was just a type of sociopath who lacked most emotions and thus had zero ability to comprehend other people’s emotions. He lived by a very rigid moral code, which is “good” if you accept the same code: but he was incapable of recognizing that this code could ever by wrong. Unlike an “evil” person, Stannis would never deliberately hurt someone for self-gain: but, on the other hand, Stannis would never transgress his moral code to avoid hurting someone, either.

      Put another way: Stannis was a man without a “soul.” I sort of wonder if the Night’s King is basically Stannis on overdrive: all purpose and “If A then x; else if B then y; else if C then z” in his machinations, but with not thought to whether x, y or z themselves were “right.”

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    5. Riverhawk: Stannis was one of the most three dimensional characters of the series

      heh, no, Stannis really was not! Well, not unless all of the other characters were 15-dimension! Stannis is not supposed to have dimensions: and that is his great failing. It’s not an oversight by GRRM or B&W: Stannis is just a man who, for whatever reasons, was incapable of joy or hope or wish, and who’s god was “honor” with no thought to whether this god was worthy of obedience.

      In both media, Stannis basically is a foil for Davos and (to a much lesser extent) Jon. Davos in particular is the conscious that Stannis lacks. About the best that can be said for Stannis is that he, himself, is dimly aware that he lacks normal human emotions: and it seems that he relied on Davos to let him (Stannis) know what a person rather than an automaton would do in Stannis’ shoes. (Not that Stannis always listened!) And that, of course, creates Davos’ “damned if you do or don’t” crises: is being loyal to Stannis doing what Stannis commands, or doing what Stannis should be commanding?

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    6. There was another piece of dialogue from the books that didn’t make it to the screen adaptation, and I feel it could’ve been crucial to understand Stannis’ motives. I’m talking about the story of Proudwing.

      When Stannis was a boy, he found an injured goshawk and nursed her back to health. The bird recovered, and he named it Proudwing. She would only flutter, though, not being able to fly to high altitudes anymore. Robert made fun of his brother’s bird, calling her “Weakwing”.

      This was the moment which got me interested in Stannis as a character and his storyline as a whole.
      He would not have made a good king, he wasn’t even a good person really, but he was one of the most interesting characters for me, moreso in the books. He was a man of contradictions. I think he liked the idea of being the chosen one, even though he tried to justify his ambitions, and the fact that he was willing to go to any length to fulfill them, as nothing more than doing his duty (of course a lot of the Mannis fans take his statements at face value 🙂 ).

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    7. I respected Stannis for going North. He knew that to the rule the kingdoms he must first save the kingdoms, or someone told him that and he agreed. Either way, we know how it all turned out for him on the show.

      BUT….

      Sacrificing Shireen laid bare that this man was no different than Tywin (ordering the deaths of Rhaegar’s children) or the Mad King himself when tempted by that much power. What may have started out as a reluctant sense of duty to take the throne became something else entirely with that sacrifice (murder, I say).

      Great character but yeah, he would have been a terrible King.

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    8. He killed his brother. The brother who would kill him too. Who mocked his daughter (in the books) and took his place. If Renly was older, Stannis would follow him with no doubt. Tyrion killed his father and no one cares but it seems it’s only evil when Stannis does it.

      Stannis evil? The man is hard and not good in social interactions, but he is far away from evil or sociopath. Baelish, Ramsay, Joffrey, Gregor,… They are evil. Stannis is not. The best ruler? Certianly not, but with Davos as his Hand, and Mel far from him, he would be decent king. After all, Stanis from the Clash of Kings and later from A Dance with Dragons, is not the same man. Especially, you can see him how he behaves when Mel is not around. ”Pray harder” & ”you will avenge my death and seat my daughter on the throne” anyone?

      And if you ask, majority of the book fans will tell you that they actually believe that Stannis will win at Winterfell. BryndenBFish, our famous redditor, made a nice theory how he will wreck the Freys in that village, and then fake his own death to take Winterfell from the Boltons. Try to find Night Lamp theory. In the books, unlike in the show, the odds are not in his favor, and that’s another reason to think that he will triumph. That would be his greatest victory, and after that he will fall. He won’t see the throne and the end, imo, but I do hope that some heroic death would be a nice touch by George. I have much more to say about his destiny but I will leave it for some other time.

      After all, it is obvious that part of his story from the books was given to Jon in the show. Not to mention character’s assasination by D&D. Book Stannis and show one are not the same. There are differences. Book Stannis only burns criminals and traitors, show one is a relligious zealot. Heck, even D&D never liked him.

      I still stand behind my words that he is one of the best characters made by George (along with Sansa, Jaime and Theon). Stephen was amazing with given material, even though his Stannis is not the one from the books. Stannis is certianly a controversial character that sparks discussions, sometimes even heated like dragon fire, and he has something that makes him a cult character. Like in the books, with his loyal knights and servants, and the same way with many fans who adore him. Of course, there is another side of the medal and those who doesn’t like him. That is a beauty of Martin’s characters and the books.

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    9. mau:
      I always loved the false choosen one trope.

      I do like ASOIAF but it is neither as free from tropes or as “original” as some folk would have one believe. That in itself is not so very bad – I doubt if any story is really 100% original and a storyteller being able to engage and maintain the reader’s interest so he or she wants to keep turning the pages is more important. But to hear some folk you would think Mr Martin was the first person to have written a grimdark fantasy which he surely wasn’t.

      Thanks to Morgoth for a thought-provoking feature. I didn’t like Stannis in the books or the show, though I suppose he deserved kudos for being the one person to go to the assistance of the Night’s Watch. Stephen Dillane played him well. I did get the feeling Shireen was doomed in the books also – I didn’t engage quite so much with book Selyse as show Selyse which I would attribute to Kerry Ingram’s acting. Whether it will be Stannis who does it (the sacrifice) or Melisandre and wilding-princess-not-appearing-in-the-series in the book version I hesitate to guess.

      I don’t like the Jon warging into Ghost theory very much but it might have legs because book Daenerys saw a man become a wolf and then become a man again in her House of the Undying visions. Lawkes, how I hated that Varamyr prologue but I’m probably in a minority of one.

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    10. mau,

      What do you mean?The Mannis will kill Ramsay.Take the throne and stop the evil usurper Daenerys.Then he will slay the Great Other with Lightbringer.Jon will stay dead obvs or become an Other himself whatever.And The Mannis will kill Melisandre for burning his daughter without his consent because there is no way he would agree to it because he said to pray harder once.Great storytelling.What is this false chosen one you speak of?lol

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    11. For Stephen Dillane fans, I recommend his wonderful turn as Thomas Jefferson in HBO’s mini-series “John Adams.” Especially the scene in which he presents his draft of the Declaration of Independence to Ben Franklin (Tom Wilkinson) and John Adams (Paul Giamatti) for review. When Jefferson explains how he chose every word carefully, but Franklin insists on changing some of the verbiage, I can almost imagine Jefferson/King Stannis silently grinding his teeth.

      Also, any fans of Tara Fitzgerald’s portrayal of (the unattractive) Selyse Baratheon should check her out in a great movie called “Hear My Song.” I think it may have been her first film role. She plays Nancy, and is serenaded with the Sinatra song “Nancy with the Laughing Face” by Adrian Dunbar’s character. She’s also the subject of one of the film’s pivotal monents, when the reluctant hero is forced to admit: “Nancy. I’m doing this for Nancy.”
      It’s good to see Tara Fitzgerald in a role other than dishrag fanatic.

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    12. Ten Bears,

      Also for Stephen Dillane fans the last series of The Tunnel which airs this autumn on Sky Atlantic, if it’s as good as the previous two series it will be a treat .

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    13. Dame of Mercia: Lawkes, how I hated that Varamyr prologue but I’m probably in a minority of one.

      That chapter probably has a lot more to do with Bran than with Jon. We get to see the limitations on being a warg in that chapter. Jon himself has the natural ability to warg, but unlike Bran, Jon’s potential is almost completely unrealized. Bran, on the other hand, had learned how to do much that wargs like Varamyr could do. (There was still more to learn: Bran, for example, had no idea that he could leave an imprint of himself in Summer when he died; there almost certainly were a host of other warging “tricks” that Bran never knew about, too.) Setting the limits on wargs is important because Bran is a Greenseer, and Greenseers seem to be superwargs. So, we needed some idea of what more linking to the “weirnet” allows that a “mere” warg cannot accomplish.

      But none of that has anything to do with Stannis!

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    14. Sou:
      I do admire that so many of you seriously expect GRRM to write another book.

      When the sun rises in the West and sets in the East, when the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves, when your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will finish another book, and not before.

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    15. I’ve seen comparisons here of the arcs of Jon Snow and Theon Grejoy. Two boys brought up with families not their own and how they dealt with that.

      I think Stannis is sort of the anti-Ned Stark. Two men who hold personal honor as the highest of qualities, but who act on that belief in very different ways, and both suffer and deal with the consequences. Ned dies honorably, Stannis not so much. Antipodes in a way similar to Theon and Jon.

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    16. They were too quick to kill Stannis. The best opening scene for season 6 was Brienne dragging him through the snow, then both of them saving Theon and Sansa. He was the perfect candidate for the 1000th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, the one under whom the Wall crumbles. All about duty, tough as hell and he already wore black… At least he’s still being quoted and referred to in the show. Fewer…

      Funny thing is, if I remember correctly, the actor himself was not a fan of the books or the show at all. Just did his job splendidly, as a real Stannis.

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    17. So where is Lightbringer now? A Valerian steel sword is so valuable, yet it seems to have dropped out of the storyline. Stannis had it when Brienne killed him in the show, but she did not have it later when she saved Sansa. If Ramsey’s soldiers found it on Stannis’s corpse, then Ramsey would have claimed it but he did not have it at the conclusion of the Battle of the Bastards. Or have I missed something?

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    18. “He’s also one of the most interesting characters in both the A Song of Ice and Fire series and the TV adaptation, and a favorite among the fans (cue the variety of memes, from “Stannis the Mannis” to “Stan the Man” and…you get the idea. He’s a badass).”

      😂😂😂😂😂😂

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    19. Well, Stannis killed his brother Renly – kinslaying – with dark magic. If we take seriously that Renly actually was a “king”, that would be kingslaying, too. However – killing the one man saved the lives of many tens of thousands. That ain’t all bad.

      It has to be contrasted with Tywin Lannister’s assertion that the slaughter at the Red Wedding was to be preferred – “killing one man at dinner, instead of thousands in the field” – because, in fact, essentially ALL of Robb Stark’s army, some 10-20,000 were also murdered. Stannis in fact only killed one man (two, counting the Storm’s End castellan).

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    20. This is a good write-up on one of my favorite characters, although, I have to disagree with you (slightly) on one point – Stannis would be a good king. Perhaps, Stannis wouldn’t be a good king in peaceful times. Politics isn’t his best suit, and he would be obsessed with efficiency and justice in the realm, so much so that it would likely end his reign. However, he would be a great king for the oncoming war of the dawn. He knows the threat that is coming from the lands beyond the Wall. Therefore, he would make a great king to marshal all the strength of Westeros against the Others.

      Further, Stannis changes immensely throughout his arc in the books. I know people don’t believe that or want to believe it, but it’s true. While I wanted him to win the Battle of Blackwater Bay and put Lannister heads on spikes and cleanse the royal court, I think it made him a better person and king. He changes and adapts. He turns toward winning the realm instead of winning the throne. In the North, he listens to Jon’s advice and goes to the Mountain Clans to ask for their support, not for his claim but for freeing their lands. His army (really an alliance of several groups) is splintered in many ways, and he has to constantly deal with the wishes and wants of each faction, while holding them together and marching south through dreadful weather. I also think that if he does win the Battle of Ice and eventually takes Winterfell, then he will have another political situation to hash out – that being who will control the North (i.e. Jon, Rickon or Sansa) – and this will be a true test of his abilities and whether he has adapted to being a good king.

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    21. For a long time Stannis was actually my favorite character, I thought he was actually interesting cold and calculating, in season 2 his plot was the most interesting to me, and we got the Battle of Blackwater. I really wanted him to win the Throne in the beginning, until he killed Shireen, I really do miss having his menacing disposition on the show, and I really miss hearing the Stannis theme music, that music was so epic.

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    22. Shadow: Like in the books, with his loyal knights and servants,

      One of the best trash talking incidents in the books is the castellan of Stormsend refusing to turn over Edric to Stannis. At Stormsend’s gates, Stannis is accompanied by his loyal knights who originally were loyal to Renly. How many knights were loyal to Stannis at first? Many bannermen’s waning loyalty was revived when Stannis executed his wife’s uncle because the uncle refused the Red religion.

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    23. Wimsey: That Varamyr chapter probably has a lot more to do with Bran than with Jon.

      Multiple warging might have more to do with how the wights are created than with Bran or Jon. The books may have the wights energized by a force other than warging, but the show seems to be leading to wights moved by warging.

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    24. Marlana,

      Nope. Stannis never excecuted Alester Florent for not believing in R’hllor in the books. He burnt him for treason. Alester wanted to give Shireen to the Lannisters and every sane man would punish such an act of treason. Book Stannis never burnt anyone because of religion. Only criminals and traitors. Hard punishment but nothing worse than cages, animals riping people apart or some other way.

      He did have his knights at Dragonstone and from those houses that once were very loyal and bound to Targaryens. Like Velaryons or Celtigars. After Blackwater, knights could have stayed and bend their knee to Joffrey, but they decided to follow him. To the North, and then on their march to the Winterfell.
      Btw, Renly was a traitor who got what he deserved. Stannis wouldn’t do that to Renly if he was younger brother, or even to Joffrey if he was Robert’s trueborn. Renly didn’t care in any case.

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    25. Good article and interesting read, I believe the show confirmed to us that the pink letter is true but there are still people on Westeros.org who won’t accept it and instead believe Stannis will defeat the Boltons then proclaim Jon king of the North.

      I fear it will be Melisandre who will burn Shireen in an effort to bring back Stannis but instead it revives Jon…

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    26. Jon Snowed,

      Um, [spoilers]Martin confirmed that Stannis is alive in the books. It seems that PL is fake after all.[/spoilers] Show and books are not the same no more. What happened in it, doesn’t mean it will happen in the books. George also said that some characters dead in the show will survive in the books.
      TL;DR Don’t use show as a guide for the books.

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    27. Not sure I fully agree, I took George’s comments to mean Stannis has not died yet in the published material yet we know he wrote those chapters and had to move some stuff to Winds of Winter on the advice of his editor. I’d say it’s far more likely Stannis will perish at the start of Winds in a Theon POV than he survives the series.

      If you look at the characters the show has killed off it’s only really Barristan, Shireen, Selyse and Stannis that died in that season and I don’t expect either to make it out of Winds.

      As for the show we know they are heading towards the same ending as the books and D&D know the arcs of the main characters, I’d say they are sticking true to that but some of the secondary characters will be made up like the Hound, probably Barristan and it could be Stannis I just feel that’s so unlikely.

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