Wed
Jun 1 2011 5:50pm

The Brothers Baratheon in A Song of Ice and Fire

This latest episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones has, for the first time, really put the three Baratheon brothers in some focus, comparing and contrasting them. It seemed worthwhile to us to go into more detail, because these characters play a major part in the series and because their relationships with one another help to illuminate some facets of the setting. We see loving families, like the Starks, and we see dysfunctional ones, like the Lannisters, but with the Baratheons there’s something different going on, a kind of distance that doesn’t really fit dysfunction, but certainly isn’t very happy.

But first, the obligatory spoiler warning: we’ll be discussing all novels of the series, not just the first!

First, a little family history so we’re all up to speed. According to the histories, the Baratheons are descendants of one Orys Baratheon, a commander under Aegon the Conqueror when he and his sisters invaded the Seven Kingdoms. It’s claimed he was actually their bastard half-brother, but we’ve never had any further information to form a real opinion about it. Personally killing the last Storm King, Argilac the Arrogant, Orys was rewarded with Argilac’s seat at Storm’s End, his lands... and his daughter, from whom he took the sigil of the crowned stag and the words, “Ours is the Fury!”

It’s interesting, actually, that he’d do that. It would make political sense since it stressed continuity, that his children would be Argilac’s grandchildren and the like. But it takes a certain lack of overweening pride to be willing to bury your legacy with the trappings of the family you just conquered by force.

From there, the Baratheons have ruled the stormlands and the Dornish Marches, a region that’s... well, not the wealthiest or the most populous in the Seven Kingdoms. Martin has stated, however, that the Marcher lords have very strong castles and a significant martial tradition, due to a thousand years of warfare with the Reach and the Dornishmen, no doubt riffing on the lords of the Welsh marches and Scottish border. Fast forward 283 years later, and that tradition certainly stood Robert in good stead against the forces of the Mad King, Aerys Targaryen.

Not all of his lords were loyal, though, and Lords Grandison, Cafferen, and Fell planned to join their forces at Summerhall to take down their rebellious lord in the name of the king. Unfortunately for him, Robert had a gift for swift action. As soon as he learned of their plot, he raced ahead of them, beat them to Summerhall, and then defeated each lord in turn as he approached Summerhall. Three battles won, in a single day! Best of all, though one of the lords died, Robert soon made the other two (and the dead lord’s son) devoted friends and allies who repented any disloyalty. He had that gift.

He ends up leaving Storm’s End behind, in the end, with an army. The time line is hazy, but what we do know is that he leaves Stannis—a bare year younger—behind, as well as little Renly, all of six years old, the baby of the family. Stannis proved himself in that long year, when Lords Tyrell and Redwyne laid siege to Storm’s End. Unyielding, Stannis and his garrison were down to gnawing on shoe leather and keeping the bodies of the dead around “just in case” when a smuggler by the name of Davos snuck past the Redwyne blockade to deliver a load of onions and salt fish, winning a knighthood from Stannis for the deed... and also losing the last knuckle of each finger from a hand, for his past crimes; that’s the sort of man Stannis is.

We know the rest: Robert became king and eventually grew fat, dissolute, and complacent. Stannis became Master of Ships, smashed the Iron Fleet at Fair Isle, and hated every moment of ruling the poor, rocky islands sworn to Dragonstone; Renly grew up, became Lord of Storm’s End, and lived a charmed existence as he served on Robert’s council as Master of Laws. The three brothers had some similarities with one another—in looks, at the very least—but the differences were enormous.

Renly’s perhaps the easiest to pin down. Full of charm and wit, tall and handsome, many characters remark that he looks like young Robert come again... and like Robert, he has a gift for making friends, for winning people over. He thinks well of himself, rattling off his own virtues:

“... strong yet generous, clever, just, diligent, loyal to my friends and terrible to my enemies, yet capable of forgiveness, patient-”

“-humble?” Catelyn supplied.

Renly laughed. “You must allow a king some flaws, my lady.”

But there’s a darker side: a schemer, a man with ambitions who’s ready to do what it takes to achieve his aims. In the show, his aim is quite explicit: the crown. He wants to put himself in position to be his brother’s successor (fortunately, we never get a hint he’s maneuvering to actually hurry Robert’s end, and he does look appropriately distraught). In the books... his goals are a little more nebulous. He’s certainly plotting with Loras Tyrell to displace Cersei and put Loras’s sister, Margaery, in Robert’s bed. So, he’s certainly in bed with the Tyrells (*ahem*).

But when he offers Ned Stark his swords, he doesn’t suggest he be made king; he’s explicitly offering them because he’s terrified of the Lannisters, and believes that they won’t let him or Ned live if they get the upper hand. For our part, we always thought that Ned should have taken Renly’s advice. Darkening Robert’s last hours—conked out on milk of the poppy—and frightening children would be a very small price to pay indeed, to ensure that the realm was in peace. How many tens of thousands died for that decision?

But then, Renly goes and decides he’ll just crown himself. The realm was opened to this possibility when Robert took the crown by force, and no one loves Stannis or the Lannisters, so why not? It’s an argument that’s hard to dismiss, but it leads down a dark and dangerous road, one where every new king will climb to the Iron Throne onn the bodies of thousands killed in civil war. Renly was in a very difficult position, certainly, rightfully scared of the intentions of the Lannisters towards him... but there almost certainly was vanity behind his decision to pursue the throne for himself. He didn’t even know the truth of the parentage of Cersei’s children when he did it, and he certainly didn’t give a fig for Stannis’s superior claim by blood, either.

Stannis, on the other hand, is the brother that’s the least likable. Bar none. Whatever Robert’s huge flaws, you could see in him the man who won over enemies and gave people hope that the realm was in good hands. Stannis inspires none of that confidence. In the show, Loras Tyrell uncharitably describes him as having the personality of a lobster, and Renly dismisses him as a good soldier ill-suited to being a good king (as far as that goes, he’s right).

In the books... Stannis has middle-child syndrome writ large. Even as a boy, he rarely laughed or smiled, to the point that his father, Lord Steffon, would refer to it in a letter before his death and that of his wife, Lady Cassana of House Estermont. Watching their ship wreck in Shipbreaker Bay killed what childhood remained for him, and he’s grown into a harsh and bitter man, utterly uncompromising, seeing the world in black and white, where right and wrong is indelible.

That’s an attitude very ill-suited to George R.R. Martin’s Westeros, a world where there’s shades of grey. His dutiful servant, Ser Davos Seaworth, speaks with the “red woman” Melisandre of Asshai, and the two of them illustrate both approaches quite well:

“Aye, I’ve broken laws, but I never felt evil until tonight. I would say my parts are mixed, m’lady. Good and bad.”

“A grey man,” she said. “Neither white nor black, but partaking of both. Is that what you are, Ser Davos?”

“What if I am? It seems to me that most men are grey.”

“If half of an onion is black with rot, it is a rotten onion. A man is good, or he is evil.”

Melisandre’s simplistic, Manichean views perfectly suit Stannis, so it’s no surprise that he’s taken to her as he has. He doesn’t believe in gods anymore, not since the day his parents died, but he’ll use whatever tool is given to him to achieve the justice he demands. From Dragonstone, he launches a war that seems mad, far outnumbered by his own brother, disregarded by everyone else... but that’s a mistake, thanks to Melisandre, Stannis’s own “wild card” when his part of the story appears. It leads him pretty far, almost into King’s Landing itself, but bad luck and bad timing puts an end to that dream.

The man we see in A Storm of Swords is almost skeletal, aging years after his defeat (though we can guess that partly has to do with Melisandre’s magic, which feeds on life’s “fire” to create her shadow minions), but he’s indomitable, unyielding. Donal Noye, Castle Black’s one-armed smith and a former man of Storm’s End, once said that of the three brothers, Stannis was iron, hard and strong... but brittle. That’s a pretty accurate.

Of course, he felt he could judge Renly as being like copper, shiny and pretty to look at, but not of much use—and that from an acquaintance with a 6-year-old boy, which isn’t very charitable. It always seemed to us that there was more substance to Renly than that, that you can’t just form such a massive alliance and following on looks and charm alone, there had to be some boldness and some thought in it. GRRM has since remarked that Noye’s remark (and somewhat similar remarks from other characters) should be taken as saying about as much about the character sharing that opinion, as it says about the characters they’re speaking about.

What was Noye’s assessment of Robert, then? He calls him true steel, having all the strengths of his brothers, with few of their weakness, except for the fact that steel’s made for battle; sheath it when there’s peace, put it up to hang on a peg, and soon enough it’s grown rusty. That, too, isn’t a bad assessment, and one imagines Noye knew Robert and Stannis better than he ever knew Renly. The assessment seems pretty spot-on: the young Robert Baratheon was a great warrior, yes, but he won his crown as much for the loyalty he was able to inspire as he was for his personal prowess. Ned Stark, Jon Arryn, the Lords Grandison and Cafferen, Silveraxe, and many more fought in his name against the Targaryens. That takes some special quality, some melding of virtues that’s rare to come by.

Unfortunately, the other part of Noye’s assessment is just as spot-on: for the first nine years, it seems that Robert does all right. How he must have loved it, in his heart of hearts, when Balon Greyjoy rebelled! A chance at a good, clean fight, fighting beside his almost-brother Ned. The growing disappointment and disillusionment didn’t quite overwhelm him. And then, Greyjoy bent the knee, and... Robert was done with the realm, it seems, even as the realm wasn’t done with him. It’d be interesting to know what the catalyst was from the hearty, vital, fit warrior-king Ned saw nine years before, and the bearded, perfumed, fat drunkard that Ned saw riding into Winterfell? The coldness of Cersei Lannister, the constant pressure of judgments and bills, the tedium of it all, must have worn.

And so, too, must the constant sense of loss that he lived with. As he tells Ned, the sad truth was that as far as he was concerned, Rhaegar won that war: Robert may have lived, but it was Rhaegar who had Lyanna at the end. Lyanna Stark, his betrothed, was the catalyst for the war when she was apparently abducted by Rhaegar. So far as we know, Robert barely knew her, but in his mind she had become the great love of his life that he would never have. There’s a certain sense of something very superficial in Robert’s love for her, a sort of idealization that probably would not have lasted an actual marriage (as Ned tries to tell Robert, and Robert doesn’t care to listen). In that, you can see where Robert and Renly share some similarities, as they both have a gift for romanticizing: Robert romanticizes his past while Renly romanticizes his future.

And Stannis? Stannis has no place for romance at all in his life. Just right and wrong.

It makes him rather hard to love. And it means that he has his own illusions about himself and his past, present, and future, that makes him... not an idealist, exactly. Or maybe he should be called a disillusioned idealist, grinding away fruitlessly?

There’s a lot of talk about families in the series: the Starks, the Lannisters, the Tullys and the Targaryens, the Arryns and the Lannisters, the Martells... but it’s always seemed to me that the Baratheon family is more important than most, a family dynamic that shakes an entire realm.

A final question for you all: what do you think would have happened if Ned took Renly’s advice... and then revealed to Renly, once he had secured the throne, that Joffrey was illegitimate and that he meant to pass the crown to Stannis? I can’t quite see Renly disposing of Ned and Joff to seize the throne for himself, but at the same time, it’s hard to imagine his relishing the idea of his harsh and unpleasant older brother blundering about on the throne, burning bridges because he’s so inflexible.


Having met on a game (yes, on the internet), Elio crossed an ocean to join Linda in her native Sweden. Establishing their “A Song of Ice and Fire” fan page, Westeros, in 1998, they now host the largest fan forum and oversee sub-sites covering all facets of George R.R. Martin’s works, including a wiki. Westeros.org can also be found on Twitter and Facebook, where they provide official syndication of George R.R. Martin’s blog updates. They are co-authors, with Martin, of the in-progress The World of Ice and Fire, an official guide to the setting.

21 comments
Heidi Byrd
1. sweetlilflower
Well.... perhaps Renly could have seen to Stannis having an "accident"?
Philip Thomann
2. normalphil
Yet the (very) few men that love Stannis, love Stannis. And it can be seen why; he's the man that went to the Wall. My reaction to him ended up being; man I dislike you. It's a good thing I like you so much or reading about you would be a trial.

Renly struck me as faithless, fundamentally. He'd have done anything to get what he wanted, wanting it for the sake of wantingit, and made a joke about it in the planning stages.
Megaduck
3. Megaduck
The only think I think is missing is that of the three, Stannis is the one that really cares about the realm. His politics might be innept, but he is one of the few contenders to the throne that is doing it for something beyond thier own pride.
TW Grace
4. TWGrace
It always seemed to us that there was more substance to Renly than that, that you can’t just form such a massive alliance and following on looks and charm alone, there had to be some boldness and some thought in it.

I dunno...there are plenty of instances of the pretty, yet vacuous, having large followings in the real world...
Megaduck
5. Yenvious
If this post is indicative of the quality of your forthcoming book, I'm sold. Great job, great read.
Iain Cupples
6. NumberNone
The only think I think is missing is that of the three, Stannis is the one that really cares about the realm. His politics might be innept, but he is one of the few contenders to the throne that is doing it for something beyond thier own pride.

True now, but I think that whatever he claimed, Stannis began his bid for the throne through pride. Go back to his comments in ACOK about 'trying a new hawk'. That's a man who wants his rights because they are *his rights*, not a reluctant servant of the realm.

But the great thing about Stannis' decision to go North is that he decides - albeit with Davos' prompting - to live up to his own claims. (Of course, one can argue that by then he didn't have all that many better alternatives...)
Elio García
7. Egarcia
sweetlilflower @ 1,

Seems possible, but I'm not certain that book-Renly was really in the head space to do that.

normalphil @ 2,

True, they love Stannis... all two of them! Does anyone besides Cressen and Davos love him with any great fervor? And Cressen makes a quick exit...

Megaduck @ 3,

I'm not sure Stannis loves the realm. I don't think there's a lot of room in his heart for love. But he certainly feels his duty to the realm much more clearly than Robert ever did, and I imagine he felt it more than Renly did, to say the least. Unfortunately, his duty to the realm is directly tied to his right to be king, and he makes choices in pursuit of the just transfer of the crown to him that seem to directly contradict his duty to the realm.

He's prepared to tear apart the realm to be its king so that he can protect it. It's rather troublesome. A man who put his duty to the realm about the law and his rightful inheritance might well have agreed to become Renly's heir, joining forces to rid the realm of the threat of the Lannisters.

TWGrace @ 4,

I can't think of any in pre-Modern eras. Modern media created the celebrity politician, as such. Counter examples would be interesting to discuss, though. I'm just not coming up with anyone who did anything comparable to what Renly did in a pre-Modern context.

Yenvious @ 5,

That's very kind of you to say! Thanks.

NumberNone @ 6,

He did have the hope Melisandre dangled in front of him, the sacrifice of innocent Edric Storm to wake the dragons from Dragonstone... but it definitely wasn't better.

I'm glad Davos convinced him that he was putting the cart before the horse, and gave him an alternative so that he didn't have to do that. Because, no mistake, he would do it if he had no other options, and that'd be a tragedy....

Will be a tragedy, I suspect, actually. I fear for poor little Shireen, who surely has a king's blood...
Megaduck
8. Megaduck
I will grant you, Stannis was mostly about duty to the realm and I agree that he doesn't really love much of anything.

(Love for the realm is Dany's job.)

I will however say, that of all the kings and queens, Robb and Robert included, Stannis is one of the only ones that gives a passing thought to the purpose of being king and has an idea for what he wants the realm to be like after he's king of it.

(Dany is the other one, who wants to fill the realm with fat men and smiling maids.)

Now, admittadly, saying 'I want to be king to give justice to everyone' Isn't really that great when you consider that his justice is the harsh unyeilding sort better suited to a totalitarian dictator ship. But it's more thought then just about anyone else has put into it.
Megaduck
9. Lsana
I think it was Maester Cressen who really had the measure of Renly: a little boy saying, "Look at me! I'm King of the Seven Kingdoms." I think Renly saw the entire War of Five Kings as a game, a chance to act out the lead part in a grand ballad. Nor was he the only one. I think most of the his followers felt the same.

It think Renly is my least favorite of the brothers. Renly never seemed to think about the consequences of his actions. Even before he crowned himself, he was trying to get Cersei set aside as Robert's wife in favor of Margery (again, without knowing of Cersei's infidelity). I'm sure the Lannisters would have taken that real well. No way that would have caused a civil war, nope.

Stannis is hard to like, but I can't help sympathizing with him. He's always done his duty. Yes, he's seeking the throne out of pride, but also because it is in fact his right; if he didn't have reason to believe that Joff was illegitimate, I don't think he would have done it. And of course, in the end, he's the only one who cares enough about the realm to go to the Wall to aid them.

I also wonder if Westeros might do well to have a King who sees a little less grey and a little more black and white. Would Westeros be as screwed-up a place as it is if there were fewer people in power willing to excuse rape and murder because the perpetrator was an ally?

On Robert, it's hard to know what to think given that we only see him after 15 years of "hanging on the armory wall." I don't think he was ever a particularly good man, but I think he was once better than the man we meet in GOT.
Iain Cupples
10. NumberNone
@Megaduck: it would be odd indeed if Robb, who all his life had his father as an example - a man who invited even the meanest of his servants to dine at the top table and converse with him directly - never gave a 'passing thought' to what being a king was really all about. Come to that, his mother isn't a bad example either: she can recall the names of commoners that she hasn't met for over a decade without much trouble. And she was right there reminding him.

@Lsana: harsh on Renly, I think. He may not have known of Cersei's infidelity, but he certainly knew of the Lannisters' growing influence at court, of the massive loans they'd made to the crown that his brother had no thought of how to repay, of their ambitious nature, and of the suspicious death of Jon Arryn. And he appears to have an accurate measure of both Cersei and Joffrey in terms of their personalities.

It's likely that he thought a civil war was likely anyway, and simply intended to move first. It might have worked, too: whatever Ned and Stannis privately thought of Robert setting Cersei aside, they'd have backed him if it came to war.
Megaduck
11. Gentleman Farmer
I am not a big fan of Renly either, but in his defence, he has got some basis for his claims, perhaps more than is obviously shown in the books. Not dissimilar from the Blackfyre rebellion, Robert confused the issue of his rightful heir by moving Stannis to Dragonstone and giving Renly the lands and income of Storm's End. Storm's End is one of the great castles of the realm, it's one that Stannis knew well, and defended during Robert's rebellion, and it has lords beholden to it. Dragonstone on the other hand, was the Taragryen stronghold, but doesn't seem to have any lords or incomes except those which have been subsumed by King's Landing. While Ned regards Stannis as Robert's rightful heir (after learning about Joffrey), I'm not as certain that Robert would have viewed things the same way. He appears to have given his ancestral keep to the younger brother, it would certainly imply that the younger brother was the heir. Even if that wasn't Robert's intention, he doesn't seem particularly good at spelling things out, and Renly could have legitimately believed that Robert recognized him as "more fit" to rule. In addition, when it comes to fitness to rule, it seems clear that Stannis was aware that Joffrey was not the lawful heir... at least as early as the death of Jon Arryn and Stannis' retreat to Dragonstone. So why retreat to Dragonstone? Stannis is clearly a guy who wouldn't suffer an illegitimate heir to the throne, so why not go to Storm's End, (at least as impregnable as Dragonstone, if not more so) and begin to rally lords there? The only answer is because Robert wouldn't have liked it... which leads inescapably to the conclusion that Stannis didn't tell Robert about his suspicions, and looks more like Stannis was holing up to save his own skin, without regard for the realm, or what was right, until he could put forth his own claim to kingship after Robert's death. How many of the deaths and dissolution of the realm could have been avoided if he'd taken some positive steps earlier (even just responding to Ned's letters)? While I respect that he's now gone to the North to defend the realm, in my view this is a recent (and still prideful) action on his part. He wants to win the love of the people by being their saviour, the one king who would defend the realm. My problem is that he's a big part of the reason the kingdom's in the trouble it is, and I don't believe he's swallowed any of his pride or self righteousness.
Philip Thomann
12. normalphil
@11 Gentleman Farmer

That's a point against Renly, in my reckoning. Robert gave Stannis Dragonstone because he was his heir, "Prince of Dragonstone" was the title that traditionally indicated that, in the Targaryen years. What it did was remove Stannis's powerbase as a potential heir for titular legitimacy as heir, and Renly put himself on record for not giving two peaches about legitimacy.
Marcus W
13. toryx
One of the things that GRRM has a tendency to do that I think he did with the Baratheon brothers, is split whole people into fragments. It's a common theme throughout the entire series. You have the Seven Gods, each representing one aspect of humanity. You have the Lannisters, with Jaime as the strength, Tyrion as the brain and Cersei as the heart (admittedly a jealous, rather crazy heart). With the Baratheons he gave Stannis inflexible justice, Robert unchecked boldness and Renly charismatic leadership. Merge all three of those characters into one and you'd find yourself with something far closer to a true king.
Megaduck
14. Gentleman Farmer
@12 normalphil Good thought... I guess it was more of Robert trying to keep all the trappings of Targaryen rule he could, instead of starting his own dynasty... not unlike Orys mentioned above I guess. And after Joffrey's birth it might have felt like giving the Lannisters too much control to have one of them as regent of Dragonstone for Joffrey, although it doesn't make much sense to have Stannis continue in that role. After all, if Joffrey is now 12, and Renly was 7 when Robert took the throne, there was lots of time to move Stannis back to Lord of Storm's End before Renly came of age if Robert had wanted to do so.
Brett Dunbar
15. Brett
Egarcia @ 7

Henry the Young King (Henry II's son) is a pre modern example of the celebrity politician. He seems to have been a total airhead, he was however a celebrity due in large part to his enthusiam for tournaments and in 1173-74 rebelled against his father and tried to sieze power. According to the historian WL Warren in his 1973 book Henry II "The Young Henry was the only one of his family who was popular in his own day. It was true that he was also the only one who gave no evidence of political sagacity, military skill, or even ordinary intelligence...", and elaborated in a later book, "He was gracious, benign, affable, courteous, the soul of liberality and generosity. Unfortunately he was also shallow, vain, careless, high-hoped, incompetent, improvident, and irresponsible."
Bill Stusser
16. billiam
I can't stand Stannis, haven't since he was first introduced to the story. I believe he would be just as bad a king as Robert. While he may not have made a great king, I think Renly would have been a better ruler than either of his brothers.

Edit: to remove spoilers since the white text doesn't seem to be working
Megaduck
17. matta2k
I would love to see an article like this on all the major houses. It's informative without reading like the "dry history" of wiki pages.
Megaduck
18. Owners.Inc
@GentlemanFarmer

At some point, I believe Stannis says he didn't expose the incest because no one would believe him and it would look like it was a self-serving lie. =
Megaduck
19. Mouette
@13 "You have the Lannisters, with Jaime as the strength, Tyrion as the brain and Cersei as the heart (admittedly a jealous, rather crazy heart)."

I like your idea of whole people being split into separate characters, but can't agree with this one. *twitch* Rather, I see Jaime as the heart, albeit the rather misguided heart. Jaime loves Tyrion and Cersei, despite their outward and inward flaws, until he's hit over the head with reasons to be against them. For Tyrion, it's the (ironic) lie from Tyrion's own mouth that Tyrion killed Joffrey. For Cersei, I think it's a combination of her idiocy and ill treatment of him once he returns to King's Landing, plus of course her rampant cheating on him. He finally sees Cersei for what she is, and whatever he still feels for her is obviously withering fast.

Cersei, on the other hand, is a sociopath who cannot conceive of the emotions of other people - she isn't remotely a heart. Cersei tormented baby Tyrion (twisting his baby penis, no less) until Jaime made her stop. Cersei loved Jaime while he was perfect like herself, but as soon as he started to act or think differently from her, she went cold-hearted-bitch on him. Cersei came off as a competent, intelligent, game-playing character until we got into her head, at which point she seemed to change into a flailing idiot - much less scary than the Evil Bitch Queen she was at first, but still certainly not a *heart*.

Oh damn, there I go defending Jaime. Curse you, GRRM. I don't *want* to like him...
Megaduck
20. BFG
I'd go so far as to say that Stannis would actually be the best king of the three. His kingdom would be the one where inherited 'status' would count the least. If you use his treatment of Davos as an example he punnishes the crime and rewards the good. The punnishment seems extreme to me, but he's just following the letter of the law.

Also can't think of anyone (except maybe Robb) else who would allowDavos to speak so bluntly to them and not have him killed. Guess we'll have to see how Dany does, but so far she has shown a temper.

So, much as I don't want to say it, because I agree that he's the most unlikeable, I think he would be the better king of the three brothers - although I don't think the southern lords would agree :)

And on a side note about Mellisandres black and white - I can't understand how killing a child fits in with this. Killing a child who has comitted no crime is pretty close to evil. A 'grey' character may be able to pass this off as 'for the greater good' but there's no way a 'white' character can justify it that way. Any thoughts?
Megaduck
21. Roger Dering
I think Renly proved Cressen's assessment quite well at the negotiation between Catelyn, Renly and Stannis.

Two brothers that were on the eve of killing each other. Stannis was angry, Renly was making nothing but jokes and petty insults. I heard it put like this once "If Renly had won he would have forgotten Stannis in week, Stannis will contemplate on Renly and his peach for the rest of his life."

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