If ever there was a family that needs some SERIOUS therapy, it’s the three sons of Steffon and Cassandra Baratheon: Robert, Stannis and Renly.
“Robert was the true steel. Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He’ll break before he bends. And Renly, that one, he’s copper, bright and shiny, pretty to look at but not worth all that much at the end of the day.”
We cannot discount the destructive influence on the elder two of witnessing their parents die at sea in a storm. They literally stood on the ramparts of Storm’s End, hoping to see Mum and Dad come home…. only to see Mum and Dad’s ship be broken apart, knowing everyone on board would drown in the raging seas. (Except Patchface. Why Stannis kept him around is perplexing – the ultimate masochistic reminder of his parents’ fate?!)
Renly escapes this trauma, only to have his own trauma of growing up raised by his brothers (one literally distant and the other emotionally distant) and his castellan.
Nearly all the problems engulfing Westeros right now following the War of the Five Kings, not to mention that actual war itself, could have been avoided had these three brothers been able to actually talk to each other…. y’know, with words and stuff.
House words in Westeros aren’t just a catchy buzzword. They’re a mantra, an ethos to the way that this family works. Even after she’s Lady Stark, Catelyn Tully Stark makes decisions based on the Tully creed family, duty, honour. Daenerys spends her arc from Pentos to Meereen to the Dothraki Sea again figuring out what it means to bring fire and blood.
So if the Tyrells want to grow strong, work their way up the social chain, into positions of power, and have a Tyrell child one day be King on the Iron Throne… why marry the gay Baratheon brother?
This post could also be titled: the Tyrells knew all about the Lannister twins incest, because Mace’s enthusiasm for a Tyrell King only makes sense if he knew that a child born to Renly Baratheon had the best chance of ending up on the Iron Throne.
One of the more interesting tales that Bran Stark hears is that of the Knight of the Laughing Tree. This is the story that Meera and Jojen Reed tell Bran in Chapter 24 of A Storm of Swords. The most interesting aspect about this story is that both Reed children are astounded that Ned Stark never told his children this story, it’s a story that the Reeds heard a hundred times or more from their father Howland.
I propose to explore why Ned didn’t tell the Stark kids this tale. It’s a simple reason: it was too dangerous to tell them. He couldn’t risk them asking inconvenient questions about two fictions that he was desperate for the children to believe.
He only loved their mother, Catelyn Tully Stark; and
Their aunt Lyanna was kidnapped by Rhaegar Targaryen, according to the official Robert Baratheon version of history.