King Robert Baratheon

King Robert Baratheon, the first of his name, ruler of the Seven Kingdoms


Robert has always been a large man: big, hairy, and intimidating. As a youth, he looked the part of a warrior and carried a huge warhammer into battle. After becoming king, he lost something. He no longer trains or fights, and he eats far too much. In the relatively short time he has been king, he has grown obese and wheezes when he walks. Whereas before he smelled of sweat and leather, as king he smells of perfume and powder, which is a marked change his close friends have observed.

Before becoming king, Robert was an exuberant, fun-loving man, a force of nature blessed with an infectious personality that could make friends of enemies and bring endless numbers to fight on his behalf. As king, the responsibilities of his station have weighed him down, and though he fills his loneliness with the comforts of courtesans and the spectacles of great tournaments, they are fleeting (and expensive) pleasures. Robert holds his friends and family (at least those he cares for) in the highest regard and is fiercely loyal and generous, but he can also be impulsive and immature. Most of the time, he is a good-natured man who enjoys the rougher side of life. This said, he has his vices: he is too free with money, eats and drinks too much, and can be exceedingly vindictive, holding grudges for years—even after a matter has been resolved. He often laments he was only able to kill Prince Rhaegar once. Robert knows who and what he is and is secure in it. He regrets taking the throne, not because he didn’t want it but because he wanted the life he had before even more. As a king, Robert is fair but lazy. He detests sitting on the throne and dispensing justice or determining right from wrong. He leaves these sorts of decisions, as well as most of the decisions about the running of the Seven Kingdoms, to the small council, and he knows he can trust them to do it well. In fact, his ability to surround himself with competent advisors may have been his greatest strength as a king.

As a husband and father, Robert is a failure. He and Cersei barely tolerate each other, and instead of trying to improve the situation, he treats her cruelly, taking what he desires of her. His treatment of her may be why he steps back from raising their children. So instead of producing heirs he might have liked, he left their education and training to their cold, manipulative mother, ensuring Robert would reject them.


Robert was the eldest son of Lord Steffon and Lady Cassana Baratheon, and he was heir to Storm’s End, the ancestral castle of House Baratheon, a mighty fortress raised ages ago by the Storm Kings in defiance of the gods of wind and sea. As heir, Robert was especially suited to his role and pursued it with gusto. A powerful young man, big, strong, and full of youthful exuberance, he easily overshadowed his siblings, Stannis and Renly, and even when his parents were dashed on the rocks of Shipbreaker Bay, he managed to thrive in the vacuum their loss created. Perhaps the most important moment in Robert’s history was his fostering with House Arryn, where he won a place of affection in Lord Jon Arryn’s heart. At the Eyrie, Robert also met the somber Eddard Stark, and not long after, the pair became close friends, almost as brothers. Through his association with Stark, Robert eventually met and fell in love with Lyanna Stark, Eddard’s beautiful sister. Utterly enamored by her, Robert fully intended to wed the young woman and live out his days in Storm’s End with her and their children. Fate, however, would intervene, and Robert’s hopes were dashed. It was during the Year of False Spring that the course of the Seven Kingdoms would be changed. During that year, at the great Tournament of Harrenhal, Rhaegar Targaryen met and fell in love with Lyanna Stark, even though he himself had a wife of his own. From this tragic first meeting, Rhaegar was moved to steal her away to the Tower of Joy, where he held her as a prisoner, or at least so claimed Robert and his allies. Her brother, Brandon Stark, and heir to Winterfell, traveled to King’s Landing with an entourage of close friends and loyal knights to demand her release and for Rhaegar to face them. Rather than find a diplomatic solution, Mad King Aerys had them arrested and summoned their fathers. He then had them all killed as punishment. Bereft of his love and with the loss of so many good men and their fathers, Robert, Eddard Stark, Jon Arryn, and others called their banners and rose in rebellion against the king. Robert was a popular man even then, and he gained the support of a number of noble houses. Robert’s Rebellion, also known as the War of the Usurper by those loyal to the Targaryens, split the Seven Kingdoms in two. Robert’s goal was the removal of the Targaryens from power, and battle after battle he proved his might as a warrior and a leader. When Robert met Prince Rhaegar in single combat and caved in his chest, scattering rubies from his armor into the waters, he won his most important victory—not only because the prince was dead, but also because he’d avenged Lyanna.

When Robert’s forces arrived in King’s Landing, they found it already sacked by Lannister forces and the royal family dead by their hands as well. Robert had successfully ended nearly three hundred years of Targaryen rule, but it hadn’t saved his beloved Lyanna from dying at the Tower of Joy just as she was found by Eddard Stark at the war’s end. Robert became Robert of House Baratheon, the First of his Name, crowned King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm. This post, however, has proven a poor match, for Robert is a warrior, not a king. He lived for the battlefield and the camaraderie of men like him. The role of king means a long, slow death, and it’s said that while the Targaryens couldn’t kill him, the Iron Throne is just as effective, but much crueler. Every king needs a queen, and Robert was quickly married to Cersei Lannister. She is an intelligent and severe, though beautiful, woman. However, their marriage is a disaster, cold and loveless, their couplings forced and unhappy. Robert has retreated to his cups and his whores while the gulf between him and his wife widens. Despite their strained marriage, Cersei has born him three children, Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen, though none of them look anything like Robert, having the Lannister’s golden curls and bright green eyes. Robert has little to do with his heirs, preferring instead to remain removed from children he cannot believe he has sired, because of Joffrey’s cruelty and their fair coloring, preferring instead, in the rare times he feels like being a father, to dote on his highborn bastard.

Now the long summer of Robert’s reign is at an end, and the autumnal stirrings of winter blow down from the north. There’s treachery afoot in King’s Landing, and Robert sees it everywhere. His Hand, Jon Arryn, has become gravely ill and spends more time in bed than attending the king. Robert must consider a new Hand to replace his ailing old friend and who better to bring new life to his dreary one than his old friend Eddard Stark?

King Robert Baratheon

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