King Stannis Baratheon was the Lord of Dragon stone, the younger brother of KingRobert Baratheon, and older brother of Renly Baratheon.
Following Robert’s death and the revelation that Robert’s heir, Joffrey, is actually Queen Cersei‘s bastard son with her twin brother Jaime, Stannis declares himself the rightful King and begins a campaign to take the Iron Throne from the Lannisters, formally styling himself as Stannis of the House Baratheon, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm. After amassing an army, Stannis attacks King’s Landing and almost breaches the city’s gates, but is defeated by combined Lannister-Tyrell reinforcements and forced to retreat to Dragon stone. While planning his next move following the deaths of Joffrey and Robb Stark, Stannis travels north to the Wall to aid the Night’s Watch against a wildling invasion and meets Jon Snow, attempting to acquire his help in retaking the North from House Bolton, who previously betrayed House Stark and murdered Robb. Stannis ultimately marches on Winterfell alone, but the weather slows his progress and he and his army are smashed by Bolton forces in the ensuing battle. In the aftermath, he is found, injured and exhausted from the battle and ultimately killed by Brienne of Tarth for his role in Renly’s death.
Stannis is the second-born son of Lord Steffon Baratheon and Lady Cassana Estermont, 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 Storm lands. The Storm lands 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.
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 off four fingertips from his right hand. Davos is fiercely loyal to Stannis and saw his punishment as just. Davos’s son Matthos served Stannis as a scribe.
A proven warrior, Stannis went on to conquer Dragon stone, the historical seat of House Targaryen, but failed to capture the remaining Targaryen heirs, Viserys and Daenerys, who had fled to the Free Cities with the assistance of loyalists. During a rebellion led by Balon Greyjoy, Stannis destroyed the Iron Fleet, and commanded a siege at Great Wyk.
Stannis and Robert never loved one another. Despite Stannis’s service during the war, Robert made their infant brother Renly (who was too young to have fought in the war) Lord of Storm’s End following his victory, which Stannis took as an affront. Stannis was made Lord of Dragon stone and served on his brother’s small council as Master of Ships. Though not outright cruel or malicious, he is a stern and humourless man, making him the least popular of the Baratheon brothers.
He married Selyse Florent of Bright water Keep. They have a loveless marriage; Stannis regards her as sickly and resents her failure to bear him a son (although the two have a daughter in Shireen Baratheon). Despite his animosity towards Robert, Stannis is also highly antisocial, and prefers the solitude of Dragon stone in comparison to the company of his brothers.
He later converted to the Lord of Light under the influence of the priestess Melisandre. His household have largely followed his conversion. He has adopted the flaming red heart of the Lord of Light with the stag of Baratheon in the middle as his sigil.
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”.
King Robert tells Eddard Stark that he does not love his brothers, and considers Eddard to be his true brother.
After King Robert’s death, and realising 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 Dragon stone, informing him of the situation. Little finger 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.
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.
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 banner men, having grown weary of the constant squabbling of the southern kingdoms, proclaim Robb King in the North.
Stannis is known as “The King in the Narrow Sea” because his power is centred on Dragon stone. Stannis converts to the Lord of Light and allows his priestess Melisandre to burn the statues of the seven outside Dragon stone. 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.
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’s frustration. Davos Seaworth urges Stannis to make peace with Renly or even Robb Stark to fight against Joffrey but Stannis refuses, arguing that Robb has been made King in the North and thus “stolen” the Northern half of Stannis’s kingdom. Cressen attempts to poison Melisandre, framing it as an apology. Cressen drinks the poison first to make Melisandre feel safer. She realises his plan but drinks the rest of the liquid regardless. Cressen quickly bleeds to death while Melisandre stands over his corpse unharmed.
After Davos recruits the pirate admiral Salladhor Saan to Stannis’s cause (bringing his 30 ships to Dragon stone), Melisandre claims to have seen the path to victory in the flames. He reminds her that he has said her words and burnt the idols of the Seven already. She circles behind him and undoes her robe. She tells him that he must give all of himself. He reminds her of his marriage vow. She says that Selyse is sickly, weak and shut away in a tower and that she disgusts Stannis. She says that Selyse has given Stannis no sons, only stillborns and death. She promises him a son. He repeats the promise as she kisses his ear. He returns her kisses and lifts her onto the table, scattering the models onto the floor as he begins to have sex with her.
Stannis later parleys with Renly on the coast of the Storm lands, and in an uncharacteristic display of leniency, tells him that if he relinquishes his claim, Stannis will grant him his old seat on the small council, and even name him as Stannis’s heir, unless Stannis ever has a son in the future. However Renly refuses, and 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 the future.
Once ashore, she births a horrific shadow as Davos cowers in fear. The Shadow kills Renly, and Stannis assumes control of the majority of his forces from the Storm lands. However, Renly’s allies in House Tyrell return to High garden with their numerous vassals from the Reach. Stannis plans to move on the capital of King’s Landing, but Davos urges him to leave Melisandre out of the battle because of rumours that she is controlling Stannis. 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.
The fleet travels north along the coast, where Davos predicts that they are just one day’s sail from their destination. Stannis admires Davos’s loyalty and the way he copes with the snobbery of the Highborn. He recalls Davos’s timely intervention saving many lives in the siege of Storm’s End. Stannis asserts his trust for Davos by promising him that he will serve as his Hand of the King when he takes the Iron Throne.
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’s ships, and a massive explosion destroys many of them, including Davos’s command ship. Stannis orders the survivors to prepare for landing. When Ser Imry Florent tells him that hundreds will die, he coldly replies, “Thousands.”
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, though 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 the armies of House Lannister (led by Tywin Lannister) and House Tyrell (led by Loras Tyrell), who have united in the agreement that Margaery Tyrell will marry Joffrey (as orchestrated by Petyr Baelish), turns the tide of the battle. His soldiers break and run for what remains of their ships in the face of the cavalry charge. Stannis screams for his routed men to “Stand and fight!” in desperation, but is dragged shouting from the lost battle by his guards. The battle is hence a decisive Lannister victory, and Tywin is proclaimed Saviour of the City.
Stannis returns to Dragon stone 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 for 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.
Following his defeat at the Battle of the Blackwater, Stannis falls into a deep depression, shunning the company of his banner men and wife, and allowing no one but Melisandre to see him. When Davos Seaworth returns to Dragon stone, 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.
Later, as Melisandre prepares to depart Dragon stone by boat, Stannis 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 River lands 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.
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 and a sickly daughter). She tries to dissuade him from seeing Shireen, which he ignores. Upon reuniting with Shireen, he is troubled by her idolisation of Davos and tells her that the man is a traitor and locked in a dungeon.
Melisandre finally arrives back at Dragon stone 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, Stannis visits Davos in his cell. 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. He 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 Melisandre 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.
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”.
Later, after hearing news of Robb Stark being betrayed and killed at the Twins, Melisandre 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’s mind, that the red priestesses’ black magic is what will win him the Iron Throne. They intend to sacrifice Gendry in order to increase the Lord of Light’s influence on Stannis’s enemies and, despite Davos’s very vocal protests, Stannis decides to have Gendry killed. Before that can happen, Davos frees Gendry, which upsets Stannis greatly, seeing it as 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 White Walkers has become very real. Stannis, despite seeming interested, doesn’t change his mind until Melisandre 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, and decides that they should march to the Wall and help the Night’s Watch against the threat of the White Walkers.
Stannis witnesses the burning of one of his banner men, Ser Axell Florent, with his wife, Selyse, and Davos, as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light. His resentment towards his wife continues, as she happily insists that his soul was transferred to the god. At dinner, he is displeased with the way Selyse talks about Shireen. He agrees, however, that Melisandre should speak to the child.
Since Davos is now literate, Stannis asks for his thoughts on a letter he received. Davos reads the letter and is shocked to learn Joffrey Baratheon is dead. Stannis gives credit to Melisandre and the leeches, but Davos is still skeptical. Davos recommends hiring mercenaries such as the Golden Company, but Stannis is disgusted at the thought of paying men to fight. Stannis then tells Davos that he refuses to become a page in someone else’s history book, and that time is running out for both himself and Davos.
After being granted an audience with the Iron Bank of Braavos, Stannis and Davos travel to Braavos, where they meet with Tycho Nestoris. Although at first dismissive of Stannis’s claim due to his inferior army and his lack of resources to repay any debts to the Bank, Davos defends Stannis as the only one able to repay the debts, both that he takes and those of the Iron Throne. Davos’s plea insists that Stannis always pays up and that the Lannisters will be faced with a power vacuum when Tywin Lannister (who is 67 years old) dies and that, if such a moment occurred, the Bank wasn’t likely to see a return on its investment in Westeros. The bankers decide to grant Stannis his loan and their support, allowing Davos to once again hire Salladhor Saan into their service.
On the day after the Battle of Castle Black, Stannis arrives with his army to fight the wildling’s. His attack interrupts Jon’s meeting with Mance Rayder and actually saves his life. Mance’s forces surrender to the Baratheon army, and Stannis is introduced as the true King of the Seven Kingdoms. Mance points out that they are outside the Seven Kingdoms. Stannis also demands that Mance and his forces kneel, as it is customary to kneel when surrendering to a King. Mance refuses, saying that Free Folk do not kneel, knowing that Stannis will kill him if he does not.
Davos asks Jon what a member of the Night’s Watch is doing in the camp, away from the wall, and Jon explains that he came to treat with the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Jon introduces himself as Ned Stark’s bastard son and that his own father died supporting the claim. Out of respect for Ned, Stannis takes Jon seriously, asking him what his father would do with Mance. Jon responds that he was once a prisoner of Mance’s, and that he could have killed him or tortured him but instead spared his life; in turn, his father would spare Mance in the situation. However, he urges to Stannis that they should burn the dead, to avoid them returning as wights.
Later, Stannis is present at the Watch’s funeral for their fallen brothers following the Battle of Castle Black.
Stannis has moved his remaining forces to the Wall, where he is attempting to rebuild his power base. Using Jon as an intermediary, he demands that Mance Rayder bend the knee and swear fealty to him so that he can recruit the wildling’s into his army in order to crush Lord Roose Bolton and take back the North in his new campaign for the Iron Throne, while also trying to sway Jon to his side by claiming he will be avenging his half-brother’s killer. When Mance ultimately refuses, Stannis orders him burned alive. Not willing to let Mance suffer, Jon mercy-kills him with an arrow to the heart as he’s burned at the stake.
Although Stannis was not pleased that Jon interfered with Mance’s execution, he presents Jon an enticing offer. If Jon bends the knee and swears his loyalty to Stannis, the king will legitimise him as Jon Stark, making him the Lord of Winterfell. Stannis, after receiving a message from Lyanna Mormont, knows that having a Stark on his side is the best chance of rallying the Northerners to his cause. Jon is tempted by the offer, since he wanted to be a true Stark since he was a boy, but he tells Samwell Tarly that he intends to refuse the offer.
After Jon is chosen as the new Lord Commander, Stannis approaches him again about his offer of legitimisation. However, Jon declines Stannis’s offer and reiterates that his place is with the Night’s Watch. He also reiterates the Night’s Watch’s neutrality in the affairs of the Seven Kingdoms. Although having a Stark pledged to his cause would have been a great asset, Stannis respects Jon’s decision and intends to leave Castle Black and march on Winterfell within a fortnight. He also recommends appointing Alliser Thorne as commander of East watch by the Sea. Later, Stannis witnesses Jon behead Janos Slynt for refusing to obey an official command. He gives Jon a nod of approval from across the courtyard.
Later, Stannis observes Jon training the new recruits with Selyse, who comments that he admires Jon. When she states that she believes that Jon was fathered on a tavern girl, Stannis tells her that it wasn’t Ned Stark’s way, implying he thinks there is more to the story of Jon’s parentage than what is believed. Seeing Stannis look at Jon like a proud father would look at his son, Selyse laments that she was unable to bear him a son. Melisandre approaches Stannis and asks him if they will march on Winterfell soon. Stannis confirms they will since they must leave before the snows trap them. Stannis is later visited in his office by Shireen, who asks him if he is ashamed of her. Stannis tells her that when he was told that she had greyscale and was advised to send her to the ruins of Valyria to live out her short life before her death, he took no notice and sent for every maester, apothecary, and healer to treat her, which led to them saving Shireen’s life, because she is his daughter. Stannis and Shireen share a tender embrace.
Jon tells Tormund he will talk to King Stannis about lending him his fleet to rescue the wildling’s at Hardhome. Stannis is present in the common room of Castle Black when Jon Snow informs them of his plan to rescue the wildling’s at Hardhome, correcting Othell Yarwyck’s grammar. Later, Stannis finds Samwell Tarly and Gilly in the library. Stannis voices his surprise at Samwell‘s appearance, having known his father to be a fine soldier as he defeated Robert at the Battle of Ashford. He asks him how he killed a White Walker and Samwell tells him he killed it with a Dragon glass dagger. Stannis is aware of this material, stating he has Obsidian on Dragon stone. Stannis recognises the threat of the White Walkers and commands Samwell to keep reading, before departing the room. Stannis informs Davos that it is time to march, but Davos objects and asks him if it is not better to wait for Jon Snow to return from his mission with the wildling’s, as they could have thousands more men in their army. Stannis states that they have to move now, before winter arrives in earnest. Selyse and Shireen will join them, as Stannis does not think they will be safe at Castle Black.
The following morning, his soldiers have gathered in the courtyard, getting ready to depart. Stannis tells Jon he hopes he knows what he is doing with the wildling’s, as he needs his ships. Jon assures him that he will get his ships back, before thanking him and wishing him a safe journey south. Stannis mounts up beside Melisandre, and marches from the Wall towards Winterfell with his army.
However, the weather turns for the worse and a snowstorm delays his army. Davos reports to him that forty horses have died and the Storm crows, a sells word company of five hundred men, have abandoned them. Disgruntled by this news, Stannis picks up the piece off the war map, asserting that sells words are loyal to nothing but gold, before tossing the piece away. They are also running out of food, as they cannot open the supply lines until the snow clears. Stannis remains stubborn and refuses Davos’s suggestion to return to Castle Black and wait out the winter there, on the basis that the winter may last several years and the Boltons will have strengthened their forces (especially since he was previously forced to flee from the Battle of the Blackwater).
He maintains that be it to victory or defeat, they will march forward. Later, Melisandre speaks alone with Stannis and reminds him that they may need to sacrifice more King’s blood in order to better their chances of winning the upcoming battle in the snow which they both saw in the flames, citing the deaths of Robb Stark and Joffrey as examples. When Stannis says that they have no chance of locating Gendry, Melisandre suggests that they sacrifice Shireen. Stannis is visibly shocked and disgusted by the suggestion, asking her if she has lost her mind. She tries to convince him by saying that Stannis must be the undisputed king when the Long Night comes, but he rebuffs her and orders her to leave his presence.
Later, Ramsay Bolton and 20 men set fire to several spots in Stannis’s camp. The result is the loss of men, horses, and nearly the entire food supply. Desperate, Stannis turns to Melisandre and he finally accepts her suggestion of sacrificing his own daughter by burning her at the stake. Before visiting his daughter a final time, in which they discuss the Dance of the Dragons, he sends Ser Davos back to the Wall to retrieve food from the Night’s Watch, a deliberate order to prevent Davos from interfering in the death of Shireen, which Stannis seemingly understood would happen. Stannis hence carries out Melisandre’s wishes, but not without reluctance.
Shireen is tied to the stake, and begins to squirm and plead with her father for her life as she realises what is happening. As she continues her pleas, the pyre is lit, and Shireen begins pleading for her mother to save her. At first, Selyse is convinced that this is the right thing, but she begins to have a change of heart as Shireen continues pleading. Distraught, Selyse’s feelings change drastically, and she runs toward the stake in an attempt to stop the ceremony before she is herself restrained by Baratheon soldiers. Stannis remains unresponsive, but looks on in discomfort. As Shireen’s screams die away, Selyse lets out a scream, as Stannis turns away with tears in his eyes.
By the following morning, the snows are rapidly melting and Melisandre is elated. Stannis, however, is gruff, clearly still shaken by what he did. One of his generals reports that although they can now proceed to Winterfell, about half of their standing forces, including all of the sells words, have deserted, taking nearly all the horses with them. Another soldier reports that Selyse’s body has been discovered hanging in a nearby copse of trees: she’d hanged herself in the night, unable to live with what she allowed to happen. Later, Stannis is hardly surprised when his general informs him that Melisandre has fled. Stannis is still determined, however, and orders the general to get the men into marching formation.
Stannis leads his eager force to Winterfell and orders them to prepare for a siege, but his general says there’s no need: the Bolton army is meeting them on the open field. As the Bolton cavalry charges at his army, Stannis raises his sword as the armies clash. Stannis fights bravely, but the remnants of his host stand no chance. As the battle winds down, Stannis takes out two more Bolton soldiers, but his leg is severely wounded in the process.
As he rests against a tree, he is found by Brienne of Tarth, who identifies herself and asks him if he used blood magic to murder Renly, whom she served in his Kings guard. Stannis admits that he did and Brienne sentences him to death (in the name of “Renly of the House Baratheon, the First of His Name, rightful King of the Andals and the First Men”) and asks him if he has any final words. Acknowledging that his deeds have finally caught up with him, Stannis tells Brienne to do her duty, and she beheads him with her Valyrian steel sword, Oath keeper, in a single stroke.
Despite his death, however, Stannis manages to obtain a small victory over the Boltons by buying Sansa Stark enough time to escape from Winterfell with Theon Greyjoy, severely weakening Roose Bolton’s hold on the North (and ultimately leads to the extinction of the Boltons and the Starks reclaiming Winterfell). Melisandre eventually reaches Castle Black, where Jon Snow immediately asks her where Stannis is, and her bleak expression is all Jon and Davos need to know Stannis is dead.
Ramsay finds Stannis’s body and reports to his father that Stannis is dead, but does not know who struck the killing blow, to Roose’s disappointment, as his intention had been to reward the man who killed Stannis, unaware that it was Brienne.
After Brienne of Tarth and Sansa Stark reach Sansa’s half-brother Jon Snow at Castle Black, Brienne later confronts Davos Seaworth and Melisandre. She tells them how she witnessed Stannis’s defeat at Winterfell. Brienne then tells them that she was the one who killed Stannis after his confession about Renly’s death, leaving the two of Stannis’s former allies stunned.
When preparing to march on Winterfell, the Stark army camps at the same location that Stannis had his forces camp out when planning his own invasion of Winterfell. Later, Jon Snow and Sansa Stark debate over Davos, and Sansa criticises Stannis’s defeat at the battle of the Blackwater, his king slaying of Renly Baratheon, and his death, all while Davos was his advisor (though all Davos did was persuade Stannis not to take Melisandre to the Blackwater; he played no role in Renly’s death, and was not present at the Battle of Winterfell).
Samwell Tarly mentions that Stannis talked about an underground mountain of dragon glass underneath Dragon stone during his stay at Castle Black.
When Melisandre returns to Dragon stone, to serve Daenerys Targaryen, Varys notes her loyalty to Stannis and how he met his end. However, she is forgiven for this, as Varys had recently also been done so for his previous association with Robert.
Stannis is indirectly mentioned by Davos in a conversation with Jon on Dragon stone, in which he corrects Jon’s grammar in the same way that Stannis did with Davos and Othell Yarwyck.
- “Stannis has the personality of a lobster.”
- ―Loras Tyrell to Renly Baratheon
Stannis was a cold, hard, serious, stubborn, firm and rarely-forgiving man but also brave and in possession of an immense sense of duty. As is expected of Baratheon’s, Stannis was proven on the battlefield as both a commander and warrior. He had a keen mind for strategy and warfare that led him to be respected by many high-lords and was also fearless in combat, where he could battle and defeat other soldiers, even when injured or unarmored. While he may not be popular, he is certainly respected as a warrior and commander.
Stannis led at the front lines alongside his troops to inspire them on many occasions. His military record prior to the War of the Five Kings was exemplary; he held Storm’s End against an overwhelming siege for much of Robert’s Rebellion and captured Dragon stone at its conclusion, and he achieved two crucial victories during the Greyjoy Rebellion. His ambush against Mance Rayder’s army was also a decisive victory, despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered. Stannis’s only two major defeats were at the Battle of Blackwater (where he was attacked on the flank by unexpected Lannister-Tyrell reinforcements) and the Battle of Winterfell (where Stannis’s stubborn desire to give battle in spite of the odds doomed him and his army)
With regard to his brothers, Stannis was in better control of his emotions in comparison to the temperamental Robert and youthful Renly, whereas he always appeared calculating and stoic, repressing his emotions and desires for most of his life for the sole objections of the greater good. Even when fully prepared to vent his emotions, he is able to retain his composure and dignity, even when he is about to be assassinated. Stannis has very little patience for false politeness that is expected of a lord in court and generally states his opinions of others or what is on his mind aloud. Because of this, he does not surround himself with sycophants as Cersei does but with advisors whom he trusts to be blunt with the truth, whether he may object to it or not.
Stannis has an unbreakable code of honour and sense of duty and justice which governs his actions. He supported his brother in Robert’s Rebellion and fought bravely to put down the Greyjoy Rebellion. When a newly-crowned Robert granted dominion of the much larger and wealthier Storm lands and Storm’s End to young Renly and left Stannis with Dragon stone, Stannis accepted his brother’s wishes. During the Siege of Storm’s End, Stannis held out against the Tyrells despite the hunger, hopelessness and overwhelming numbers they faced. When Davos finally managed to smuggle food into the castle, Stannis made sure his men were fed first before feeding himself. He then rewarded (and punished) Davos fairly, which impressed the smuggler and earned his admiration.
After learning that Robert’s children were all bred of incest and had no actual entitlement to the Iron Throne, he recognised his right to be king, but despite his ambitions, Stannis did not appear (or externally appear) megalomaniacal. He admits to Davos Seaworth that although he did not ask to be king, by every rightful law he is and had to accept his duty whether he liked it or not. Stannis, while fundamentally viewed as a good, or at the very least, decent man could easily be swayed due to his religious faith and obsession with fulfilling the prophecy of Azor Ahai which could turn him toward ruthless, regrettable actions, such as burning his daughter alive.
Stannis is also not as popular with the small folk as his two brothers are. Robert, although a poor ruler was at least respected as a warrior and Renly was the most well-liked of the Baratheon’s. Stannis, meanwhile, is lacking both the charisma and handsomeness that is found within his family. Due to his cold and blunt nature, he inspires little loyalty or love from his peers and he does not seem to care about his unpopularity nor does he seek the respect or admiration of the people. Loras Tyrell described him as having the personality of a lobster. He has faith that his men will follow him and die for him anyway because of his birthright. Stannis is also reliant on fear to keep his men in check and considers public displays of kindness a weakness leaders should not possess. On the other hand, Stannis’s advisor, Davos Seaworth has complete loyalty, admiration and respect for Stannis and encourages his claim completely despite being drastically punished by him in the past, implying some degree of bravado on his part.
Ever since encountering Lady Melisandre and welcoming her into his inner council, he has accepted her religion in The Lord of Light completely and also her beliefs that he is the Prince That Was Promised, a messiah figure within the faith of R’hllor. Stannis, after converting to The Lord of Light has employed the use of blood magic to secure his claim to the throne such as human sacrifices and burning leeches. Stannis is also quite proud of his faith as he uses the symbol of R’hllor, a burning heart as the banner for his house, modified with the stag head of House Baratheon in the middle.
Stannis has a good side and will show that if he is impressed with someone, and he is not above making personal friends. He was fond of his daughter, Shireen, defending her from his wife, Selyse. Selyse resented their daughter since birth on account of her gender and because of her Greyscale. He also made a friend of Davos Seaworth, one of his most trusted advisors and this was reciprocated fully with Davos pledging his loyalty and life to Stannis. He planned to name Davos Hand of the King after he took the Iron Throne and comforted him over the death of his son despite imprisoning him as a traitor at the time. He was obviously impressed with Jon Snow, the illegitimate son of Eddard Stark, and treated him respectfully, presumably out of regard for Jon’s father who made Stannis aware of Joffrey, Tommen and Myrcella’s parentage. Before Jon turns down Stannis’s offer of legitimisation, Stannis was prepared to make him the official Lord of Winterfell as Jon Stark if he agreed to help his cause. Robert and Stannis were in a loveless brotherhood, which they admit to each other. This was also the same with Renly, however they appear on slightly better terms than with Robert. During negotiations he welcomed Renly to a place in his small council and (until he fathered a male heir) was prepared to allow him be heir to his throne if he lay down his forces. He also showed remorse over indirectly killing his little brother and he doesn’t attempt to lie to Brienne of Tarth, Renly’s Kings guard, over his involvement. In the end, Stannis doesn’t begrudge Brienne’s intentions and simply tells her to do her duty, which was to kill him.
Despite his accomplishments and supreme tactics, Stannis was extremely stubborn. He refused to ask Robb Stark or his brother to assist his army, ignoring that Robb and his goals could help each other, claiming he stole the North from his kingdom. Stannis equates this with everything, viewing everyone who does not support his claim as foes and lords of different parts of the Seven Kingdoms without his say-so as usurpers. The prime example of Stannis’s rigidity is what caused his demise. The first example of this was choosing to assassinate Renly instead of allying with him to defeat the Lannisters, a mistake that not only laid the seeds of his death, but led to the Tyrells joining forces with the Lannisters and defeating his army at the Battle of Blackwater. Later on, ignoring the loss of half his forces and Melisandre abandoning him, he continues his siege on Winterfell anyway and is quickly destroyed by Ramsay Bolton’s forces. With his faith broken, his ambition quashed and his family destroyed, Stannis does not attempt to avoid his fate and calmly accepts his death.