'A Game of Thrones' season three premiered last night, pushing us back into the embattled land of Westeros. But our coverage of the characters in HBO's epic drama continues. So fear not if you feel lost, Starpulse is here as your guide through the Game of Thrones.
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Character Profile: Stannis Baratheon (Lightbringer, Azor Ahai Reborn)
Titles: Lord of Dragonstone
Siblings: Robert (Deceased), Renly (Deceased)
Spouse: Selyse Florent
Status: Alive, Last seen retreating from Blackwater Bay, Kings Landing
Portrayed by: Stephen Dillane
Stannis Baratheon, younger brother to the late King Robert, is one of the many pretender kings vying for the iron throne of Westeros. In his younger days, Stannis was slighted by his older Brother, when Robert gave Renly, the youngest of the three, the traditional seat of house Baratheon, Storms End. Once the Targaryans were unseated from the Iron Throne, murdered and banished, Robert gave Stannis their city, Dragonstone, which he holds to the current day.
As the last true Baratheon having claim to the seven kingdoms, Stannis truly has the legal claim to the kingdom, however, at the start of the War of the Five Kings, Stannis' position was the most vulnerable; he lacked men, ships and a following.
However, with the help of a foreign priestess named Melisandre, and a new evangelical religion, Stannis has instilled a fanatical devotion in his followers, who wade into battle behind him believing that he is the 'One True God' reincarnated. Stannis pragmatically accepts this title, so long as it gets him one step closer to the iron throne.
Out of the three Baratheon brothers, Stannis has always been known as the brooding, intense and overall most stoic. As Renly said to Ned, Stannis inspires no love or loyalty. Though Stannis is a man with little emotional presentation, he is, really, a man of intense principle. He won't sugar coat things, he won't lie, he won't make promises he can't keep. He doesn't involve his feelings in his actions and he is brutally impartial. Davos Seaworth, Stannis' Hand, notes that Stannis is a just, good man. He took his fingertips for his transgressions as a theif, and knighted him for his valor and bravery in battle, all in one fell swoop.
Stannis' personality doesn't make him an easy man to like. But Stannis knows that Kingship is not a popularity contest - it is a right that he believes he is entitled too, and has shown over and over again that he will jump through whatever fiery hoops he has to, to become king, including converting his entire following to the cult of the mysterious 'Lord of Light.'
While Stannis' actual conversion is dubious, it's quite clear that his followers have become fervent followers of the Red Priestess Melisandre. They do not question when their old gods are burned, and they willfully toss old friends who refuse to convert onto the pyres with them. Stannis sees this whole thing as a mere means to an end, as he sees most other things (including marriages and friendships.) But if the increased fervor of his men mean they will fight for him more effectively (even if it ends in the deaths of thousands, as it did on the Blackwater) then he has no qualms about it.
Currently, Stannis' force is comprised mostly of his own men, and partially of the other Baratheon forces that fled from Renly's camp once he was murdered by the showy figure of Stannis himself. After the Crushing defeat of Blackwater, Stannis retreated back to Dragonstone, kicking and screaming as he watched the Iron Throne slip through his fingers once again.
♦ Dragonstone was one of the first cities the Targaryans built when they came to Westeros. It has a look and layout very different from every other city on the continent.
♦ Stannis' fiery sword is the sign that he is the reborn 'Lord of Light' Azor Ahai; though this trick has been used by the members of the 'Red Priesthood' for years.
♦ Though Stannis is the middle brother, he appears aged and worn. He is constantly brooding over the slights that life has handed him, and in the books it is mentioned he is constantly grinding his teeth.
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