Oz of Thrones: Greetings to my fellow WiC readers! Slow news week? Exhausted from too much trial or royal baby coverage? Hungry for some Thrones leakage and getting no satisfaction? I can’t offer what I don’t possess, so how about some Unsullied Sunday Brunch? A man is back for our continuing series of Looking Forward Season 4 as we pass the time until March of 2014.
For this installment, we will take a look at Mr. Personality himself and Westeros’ favorite life-of-the-party, Stannis Baratheon. As a show-viewer only, I will admit that I have no clue where the Dragonstone resident’s story line is headed. But for the sake of conversation and killing time, I will take a stab at the stag! So, pour yourself a cup of something and stay a while. Heckle us if you must, o’ great Sullied book readers. But be kind, and remember that we ultimately know nothing.
As an Unsullied, I will admit that Stannis is neither my least favorite nor my most favorite character in the show. He is just Stannis: arguably the rightful heir to the Iron Throne and the proverbial fly in the Lannister ointment. He is as friendly and warm as our most recent former United States VP (this is not an invitation to start a political discussion), and is as funny and witty as our present United States VP (this is not an invitation to start a political discussion). Even before we met him onscreen, we were given hints to the “Stannis likability factor” in a naked, shaving conversation between Loras and Renly in S1:
In regards to the possibility of Renly being King:
Renly: “I’m fourth in line.”
Loras: “Joffrey is a monster. Tommen is 8.”
Loras: “Stannis has the personality of a lobster.”
Now, I haven’t spent an obscene amount of time getting to know lobsters, but as most show viewers likely guessed, it was not a compliment. We got to meet the man himself in Season 2 and realize in Episode 201 that this no-nonsense King means business as he gives specific instructions to Matthos Seaworth in the draft of a letter that was sent out to all of the corners of Westeros (one of my favorite Stannis scenes). He was confident, hard-headed, and stern, and gave us one of the more memorable quotes from S2, “Joffrey, Renly, Robb Stark. They’re all thieves. They will bend the knee or I’ll destroy them.” And because this hard man’s claim to the throne, he gave us the epic Battle at Blackwater.
However, in Season 3 we seemingly find a different man. Stannis appears somewhat broken at first, having recently suffered the defeat at Blackwater Bay. The Red Woman leaves him without disclosing her destination and he has Davos put in the dungeons. But as the season progresses, we see a slightly different side of the hard man as he comes into his first on-screen contact with his wife and daughter. He has an important conversation with Davos at the Dragonstone Inn. And he meets Gendry who carries the his same blood. But where will Season 4 take the mannis? The truth is that I have no clue. So, let’s delve into the dialogue, shall we?
The Red Woman: We know that Stannis is all in with the Red Woman now, as can be referenced with his first scene in Season 3 where Davos is thrown into the Dragonstone Inn when he threatens her. Then, Melisandre abruptly leaves Stannis saying that his fires burn low. This could be mistaken as a need for Stannis to seek out some Westerosi dysfunction meds (can you envision Melisandre and Stannis sitting in separate bathtubs overlooking the view from Dragonstone? Even better, Stannis ends the commercial by saying “When my fire burns low, I use Cialis”). But more than likely, it was a reference to his depression and mental state more than it is a problem with ED. She does leave him with this:
Melisandre: “You will sit on the iron throne. But first there must be sacrifices. The Lord of Light demands it.”
As a viewer, I am done second guessing the power of the Lord of Light (see Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, being brought back from the dead six times, etc.). Knowing what we know now, is there any doubt that Stannis will one day sit atop the iron throne? Of course there is doubt! Take your Unsullied logic and throw it out the window! Why am I even writing this shit??
Sorry…. I digress.
At this point, Stannis is apparently lonely and filled with guilt without his Red companion and seeks refuge from his wife and daughter. His visit with Selyse solidifies his self doubt.
Selyse: “You musn’t despair. Your claim is true. You will be victorious.”
Stannis: “I believed that once.”
Then we are introduced to jar babies. Let’s move on.
Stannis then goes to see Shireen where we learn how much she loves her father, I mean….. Davos Seaworth. Hearing how much your own daughter admires another man could not have helped the mental anguish of Stannis. Maybe this encounter is what helps lead Stannis to freeing Davos from the Inn? A question for the philosophers I guess.
The Davos Conversation: Either way, Stannis visits the Onion Knight as he is attempting to learn to read (maybe I will write Davos another letter next Season and he can actually enjoy it).
Again, we see a side of Stannis which shows a caring for the feelings of others as he offers condolences to Davos for the loss of his son. The conversation turns to Gendry and his sacrifice to which Davos disagrees. Seemingly, we see the value that Stannis holds for Davos as he is garnering his opinion which later only leads to a leeching of Robert’s bastard and proving the power of the blood (for now anyway). It continued with this epic dialogue between the two:
Stannis: “The darkness will devour them all she says, the night that never ends. Unless I triumph. I never asked for this, no more than I asked to be King. We do not choose our destiny. We must do our duty, no? Great or small we must do our duty.“
Stannis continues, ”I saw a vision in the flames. A great battle in the snow. I saw it. And you saw whatever she gave birth too. I never believed, but when you see the truth, when it’s right there in front of you, as real as these iron bars, how can you deny her God is real?”
Based on this conversation, not only do we see Stannis showing some remorse, but we also see his confidence rising again now that the Red Woman has returned. The man has a conscience. But like many men, Stannis doesn’t like to show it. At the same time, duty must be carried out. He wants Davos with him for this journey, but also wants him to understand the importance the Red Woman plays in his quest.
Enough mindless mindreading….. let’s look at the literals.
A Battle in the Snow: Against whom? And where? And with what army? If the vision in the flame is correct, we could have an epic battle scene coming. But “in the snow”? Does this mean winter is coming very fast, or does this mean that Stannis will be traveling north soon? Only time will tell. And don’t answer, pleeeease.
Leech Logic: Melisandre states that the leeches are a demonstration to show the power of the King’s blood to Davos. We have discussed the leeches at length before, but we still don’t know the significance.
If you subscribe to chronological orders, then the named usurpers for each leech went like this:
- Robb Stark
- Balon Greyjoy
- Joffrey Baratheon
Robb Stark was first and now he is dead, although we don’t have proof that the leech had anything to do with this. Melisandre doesn’t take credit, but mentions her faith which ultimately tells us nothing.
The only way we will presumably know if there is significance in the order is if Balon Greyjoy dies and beats Joffrey to his death. Or maybe they don’t die…. maybe they just get a rash or something.
Nevertheless, in the season finale, we see Davos and Gendry bonding in the dungeon as they discuss their common trait of hailing from Flea Bottom. After Stannis decides that Gendry must die because a great gift requires a great sacrifice, Davos checks Gendry out of the Dragonstone Inn and sends him back to King’s Landing.
And here is where, just maybe, we can get a glimpse of where all of this is going. As Stannis sentences Davos to die, he hands him a letter about the dangers that lie north of the Wall. Melisandre burns the letters and sees something in the flames that makes her state that the war of five kings means nothing and that the true war lies to the north. As Stannis gets ready to carry out the sentence on Davos, Melisandre stops him and says that Davos will play a part in the war to come. Thus, the Red Woman saves his life.
So, having said all of this, what exactly are we looking forward to? Other than the book readers, who the hell knows? But here is an Unsullied guess…. after this letter is read and burned, Stannis begins rebuilding his army and concentrating his efforts on the White Walkers. The battle in the snow indeed happens in the North, and given that the realm has given very little support to the Night’s Watch, Stannis is somehow able to join his forces with the Crows. Given the current disarray of the Night’s Watch and the coming attack of the Wildlings and the White Walkers, they could certainly use the help.
Possible? Yes. Unlikely? Yes. But what do you expect from an uneducated couch potato? Give a man a break, damn ya! (I like when Stannis says, “damn ya!”).
Overall Thoughts: Admittedly, I have never been much of a Stannis supporter. Having rewatched Season 3 and subjecting myself to doing a novice analysis of his scenes this past season, the guy is growing on me. It could be because we got a little more insight into who the man is; but it could also be because of the what happened to the Starks and wanting someone to exact revenge on the Lannister plots and schemes.
What do you think? Are you a fannis of the Stannis? Have you always been a Stannis supporter? Have you always thought he was a jackass? Hit me up in the comments. What else do you have to do? And if you don’t want to discuss Stannis, just enlighten us with what you might be doing on this fine Sunday (or whenever you may be digesting this fine masterpiece).
Thanks for checking out my endless quest in the speculation of what is to come while abstaining from the written verse. Your patience with the Unsullied is greatly appreciated. And remember, NO SPOILERS in the comments!!
Until next time good people, I sincerely hope there is peace in your realm. –Oz
“Unbowed. Unbent. Unsullied.”
Looking Forward Season 4, Part 1: Lysafinger