The death of Robert Baratheon has thrown the house of the king into disarray. Although the daring and bold warrior he once was had vanished in a haze of wine and women, he alone held the other ambitious lords of House Baratheon in check and solidified the house’s place among kings. With Robert’s death however, three kings of House Baratheon emerged to claim the Iron Throne: Joffrey, a child born of Lannister incest but raised as Robert’s own; Stannis, Robert’s cold, hard brother who chafes at the bonds of his castle at Dragonstone; and finally Renly, the carelessly charming younger brother who pooled the strength of Storm’s End and Highgarden, and cultivated the allegiances of the lords of the south. Each of these claims to the throne fractured the house into competing allegiances — Joffrey to the Lannister bird whispering in his ear, Stannis to his pride and the priestess of a new god, and Renly to himself and the roses of Highgarden. With Joffrey eventually poisoned and Renly murdered, only Stannis remains to claim the Iron Throne.
House Baratheon is the youngest of the great houses of Westeros. It was founded during the Wars of Conquest, when Aegon the Conqueror granted the keep at Storm’s End and the lands and daughter of Argilac the Arrogant to Orys Baratheon. The house’s founder, Orys, was rumoured to be Aegon’s bastard brother; true or not, he became the new king’s most loyal commander. The Baratheons remained loyal to the Targaryens for nearly 300 years, and the two houses intermarried with regularity. This helped establish Robert Baratheon’s successful claim to the throne after overthrowing the Targaryen line during the War of the Usurper, or Robert’s Rebellion, though his true claim was his hammer.
Baratheon lords are a diverse lot, all using different tactics to achieve their goals. They understand the value of pageantry and direct action, but they do not eschew politics or intrigue when these are the right tools for the job. A Baratheon lord must be aware of all of the different factions competing for dominance and must be willing to stand his ground even when compromise seems the best option; any sign of weakness and the others may pounce. In times of great success, however, Baratheons can be prone to excess, forgetting their earlier acuity. Those who do forget rarely live long to regret it.
The seat of Baratheon power is in King’s Landing, where Robert sits on the Iron Throne and rules the Seven Kingdoms. Lord Stannis rules from the island stronghold of Dragonstone and is the master of ships for the king. The youngest brother, Renly, sits at the king’s council as master of laws, ruling from afar the traditional Baratheon home, the castle of Storm’s End. By virtue of the Iron Throne, House Baratheon reigns over all the lands of the Seven Kingdoms; only the Stormlands and the Marches belong to the house proper, however, gifted to Orys Baratheon long ago. Many of the houses sworn to King’s Landing pay direct service to Baratheon now … but others secretly remain Targaryen loyalists.
Robert took the Iron Throne after leading the successful rebellion against Aerys II. This conflict, called Robert’s Rebellion by his allies and the War of the Usurper by his enemies, reaffirmed the power and fury of House Baratheon — a house with a tendency towards ending reigns and making kings. The might and claim of the Baratheons is bolstered by Robert’s marriage to Cersei Lannister, daughter of the richest house of the Seven Kingdoms. Still, Robert is a warrior who cares little for politics. This wilful blindness has turned King’s Landing into a viper’s nest of those who would take advantage of the king’s carelessness. House Baratheon may be the most influential of Westeros’s great houses, but the individualistic nature and selfish motivations of its lords may yet be its downfall.
With Jon Arryn’s death, Robert had a moment of clarity. He appointed Eddard Stark the new Hand in order to give himself an advisor who would tell him what he needed to hear, without reservation. He seemed to settle on Stark in an effort to set things right, bringing a cool voice of truth and honour to the heart of the realm. Yet the levels of intrigue in King’s Landing run so deep and Robert’s leadership has been blunted for so long, it is unlikely that change will come without blood.
ALLIED HOUSES: Lannister, Stark
ENEMY HOUSES: Targaryen
Robert’s death creates a vacuum on the Iron Throne that not even Lannister intrigues can fill. When one sits the Iron Throne, it is hard to distinguish between friends and enemies. This is equally true for the lords who stand in line for the throne, causing fractious and uncertain behaviour as the various parties attempt to align their resources and sworn swords. Those bannermen that do not defect to Stannis or Renly’s cause abandon King’s Landing to join with Lord Tywin and Ser Jaime Lannister on the Trident, leaving Joffrey Baratheon poorly defended. The boy king relies on his mother’s intrigues, the loyalty of his Kingsguard, and the newly appointed Lord Janos Slynt for protection.
Consequently, House Baratheon is in more danger now than it has been in quite some time, torn apart by the machinations of a Lannister siren and the jealousy of a king’s brothers. Without a decisive victory soon, the eventual Baratheon lord who claims the Iron Throne may see his kingdom split without his consent. Even if he is able to keep the Seven Kingdoms from fracturing beyond repair, he will soon find himself confronted by even greater threats — both an unknown enemy from beyond the Wall and the daughter of a dragon gaze upon the continent of Westeros with hungry eyes and burning hearts.
King Robert Baratheon is the first of his name. He has three golden children: Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen. Joffrey is heir to the Iron Throne. Robert’s younger brother, Stannis, is Lord of Dragonstone, while the youngest brother, Renly, is Lord of Storm’s End.
FEATS: Blood of the Andals; Giant’s Blood; Noble Spirit; Ours Is The Fury; Stubborn