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What Will "The Winds of Winter" Bring For Stannis Baratheon?

Updated on June 16, 2015
Stannis of House Baratheon
Stannis of House Baratheon

Warning: Spoilers Lie Ahead

The Winds of Winter is the sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. This article will take a look back at the previous five installments as well as make predictions on the next chapter in the series. Spoilers lie ahead.

Stannis Baratheon: Rightful Heir to the Iron Throne

Davos, loyal fingerless smuggler.
Davos, loyal fingerless smuggler.
Melisandre, mysterious Red Priestess.
Melisandre, mysterious Red Priestess.

Synopsis of the Books up through the End of Book Five

As far as who I believe is the rightful king to sit the Iron Throne, I will admit I am Team Stannis all the way. This is not to say that if I could pick who sits the chair that Stannis would be my first choice, but of the contenders, I believe him to be the rightful heir.

Perhaps it is his portrayal on HBO's Game of Thrones that sealed the deal for me. Stannis has always been one of my favorite characters in the entire series, so Stephen Dillane's performance was just the icing on top. King Robert and Lord Renly, Stannis's brothers, were high up on my list of favorite characters from the novels as well; the Baratheons as a group are written well.

Of the group, while I find Robert's drunken lust for killing men and loving women great and Renly's subtle homosexual undertones entertaining, Stannis is the most interesting Baratheon.

We aren't introduced to this brooding individual until the second book, A Clash of Kings, although that is not to say his presence is absent before then. Stannis is referenced constantly throughout the first novel in reference to the murdered Jon Arryn, whose death the first book centers around. Stannis, the middle Baratheon brother, had been King Robert's Master of Ships and given the broken isle of Dragonstone as the seat of his family's house. As the book shifts to the kingdom's capital, King's Landing, Stannis has already fled and secured himself on his island fortress. The main protagonist, Eddard Stark, constantly messages Stannis for any information concerning Arryn's death. It comes to light that Stannis and Jon Arryn had stumbled across the truth of King Robert's wife Cersei and her incestuous acts with her twin brother Jaime. This is an important plot point because when Robert dies, his "son" Joffrey takes the throne. Because Joffrey is not Robert's blood relation, rights to the throne passes to Stannis, which is where book two starts.

We finally get our first glimpse into this man through the eyes of his trusted smuggler turned lord, Davos. Stannis is portrayed as a hard—but not cruel—stoic man who fits the mold of the middle child perfectly. He doesn't have the raw enthusiasm of his two brothers and complains about what the world has given him.

Early on, we see Stannis allow his followers to forsake their own gods for his advisor's Red God. Melisandre, a red-headed priestess from across the Narrow Sea, informs him that she has foreseen his destiny in the fires she creates and he is to be the one that banishes the shadows from the world. As she bestows on him a flaming blade that "proves" his predestined path, he gives into this mysterious woman wholeheartedly.

As this is happening, Renly has been proclaiming his merits for King as well and his efforts seem to be working more than Stannis's. Renly is charismatic and has gotten the majority of the Baratheon bannermen and Highgarden to back him. Renly's popular support deepen's Stannis' discontent; he doesn't understand why he isn't loved more.

I believe this why I like Stannis's character—he is considered a masterful war tactician, giving him a huge advantage, but his lack of people skills are his serious downfall. He is cold but very just. A perfect example of this is when he promotes Davos to a Lord for his devotion but cuts off his fingers for being a smuggler. He gives gifts for good deeds but holds everyone accountable for the actions of their past.

Stannis is outnumbered on all sides and unwilling to make alliances with anyone because he considers them false kings and unworthy of such deals. With Melisandre in his side pocket, he meets with Renly, giving him one last chance to step down from his claim. This offer is scorned and mocked by Renly and his supporters. How does Stannis handle this? It's about to get weird, people. He has sex with Melisandre, which leads to her birthing a shadow baby with the magical properties required to sneak into Renly's camp and slit his throat, eliminating him from the Rightful King equation. What did I say?

Renly's bannermen flock to Stannis, and he stages an assault by sea on King's Landing. He loses this wager and eventually retreats to Dragonstone, colder and angrier than ever. Though he loses, the screen portrayal of the Battle of the Blackwater is epic. Stannis's awesomeness cannot be overlooked in that scene; see it if you haven't already.

By book three, Stannis is broken and willing to do just about anything for Melisandre to fix his current problems. He is starving and his men are deserting his rocky island daily. She offers a plan to sacrifice king's blood, i.e. one of Robert's bastards, to her Red God to sway their luck. Melisandre and Davos' differences are like scenes from movies where an angel pops up on one shoulder offering advice while the devil argues his ideas are better for the host. They go to war over the soul of Stannis Baratheon, and this time, Davos wins out. Robert's bastard remains unharmed and Stannis' movements are shrouded for a time from the reader only to reappear in the last place you'd expect.

In the far north, the Wall that protects the Kingdom from a wildling army is under attack and about to fall. Who is the savior that can ride in and vanish this frozen army? Stannis shows up with Melisandre and Davos and completely eviscerates Mance Rayder's army.

The Lord Commander of the Wall, Jon Snow, gives Stannis all the welcome he can. The Wall is forbidden from taking sides in any war of the Seven Kingdoms but he houses Stannis and allows him to contact all of the northern lords to gain their support. But, just as before, he doesn't receive much support. He decides he must prove to the northerners why he deserves to be their king. He rides into the mountains and unexpectedly gains the trust of the mountain clans who, in turn, help him take Deepwood Motte as well as a few other castles. He sends his trusted Davos to White Harbor to promote his cause and leaves Melisandre at the Wall, leaving him without either advisor.

Stannis is heading toward the northern capital of Winterfell, which has been overtaken by the Boltons after they backstabbed the Starks of the North. The Boltons serve as principal villains in a series that is full of good guys with bad qualities and bad guys with redeeming actions. Stannis believes if he can rid the North of the Boltons, the North will rally around him.

Alas, this guy can never catch a break. A terrible snowstorm encases him in the wilderness, forcing him to watch his host army die from cold and starvation. The fifth book ends with a letter from the Boltons to the Wall telling them that they have killed Stannis and defeated his army. But in this world, not everything you read can be trusted.

What Will the Winds Bring?

Predictions for the Upcoming Books

Stannis has positioned himself well for this battle. The tension leading up to the end of the fifth book was unbearable, and when it ended with no battle, I threw the novel across the room. Near the end, a Braavosi banker arrived, and Stannis sent one of his generals back with him to acquire a sellsword army.

I believe that Stannis will conquer the Boltons, killing Roose with perhaps Ramsay escaping for a later execution, hopefully by Theon Greyjoy. I think he will again be heartbroken in his quest for the throne once he returns to the Wall to find that Melisandre has decided that Jon Snow is the one she has foreseen in her flames.

My hope is that his desire to add sellswords to his army will lead to him hiring the mercenary group that Tyrion Lannister is currently a part of. In that, admittedly far-fetched, scenario, an epic battle between Stannis and the Lannisters will have Tyrion attacking his own family with the hope of putting Stannis on the throne.

If Melisandre does back Jon Snow, I would love to see Stannis finally humbled enough to end his quest and take a position as Hand of the King. However, in the end, I foresee in my flames Stannis's eventual death. Someone this epically stubborn and hard-nosed doesn't seem like a person who will survive through the end of these books.

However it ends, Stannis is the best and most complicated Baratheon, and his storyline throughout the novels is one of the greatest. Without Stannis, these books simply wouldn't be as good.

Please discuss your thoughts on what comes next for Stannis Baratheon below. Will he survive? To what end will this man come? Also, post which other characters you'd like to see predictions made for leading up to The Winds of Winter.


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Now what i think about the battle of winterfell which is about to come is that Ser Davos will arrive to the camp with Rickon Stark and his direwolf shaggydog. The second umber brother and Wayman Manderly will join with stannis hopefully recognising Rickon Stark as the lord of winterfell. The Karstarks will support the Just married heir and they too would join the Stannis army. Now they outnumber the boltons and sweeps them away...

    • Anate profile image

      Joseph Ray 

      3 years ago

      This was a fine article, but I would point out that it is really hard to claim that anyone is the rightful heir to The Iron Throne. I really have to agree with the Northerners on this point. Why should they follow the Iron Throne. It was originally wrought by people who had dragons. They swore allegiance to the Targaryens. The instant that they rose up against the Targaryens and overthrew them, it is really hard to claim any sort of rightful heir besides the exiled Targaryen. That said Stannis is a great character and probably the most worthy of the bunch of contenders besides perhaps The Mother of Dragons. His only major problem is the fact that he lacks mercy, which is an important trait for a king. The problem with Deanerys is the fact that she is naïve and does not act as harshly as she sometimes should. The thing that I think most people miss about Stannis though is that fact that if Daenerys he returns there is a good chance that his character would step aside and bow to her right. You have to remember that he did not want to rebel in the first place. This was truly an excellent article though.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I think Stannis will be sacrificed by the red woman for some 'greater good' and that is how he saves westeros. Sad end for a great character. And very GRRM.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      it would be awesome if some other contender like danaerys took the throne, but stannis just could not be rooted out and fought a guerrilla campaign for years

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Doubt that Bolton's letter is true. In order to defeat Stannis, Bolton would essentially have to take him unawares. That is unlikely, given that Stannis has Theon(who knows that Bolton is marching forth and also knows Karstark is planning to turn), and has also been informed of Karstark's plan by the Bravoosi banker. The remaining question is why send the letter if you are Ramsay Bolton? He is a nutjob, but would seemingly have some motivation for doing so. Of course, given his character to this point, he may be so consumed with getting back his property(Jeyne and Theon) that he is acting irrationally. He may also be holed up in Winterfell with no means of breaking through Stannis's forces and hopes that another player in the game(Jon Snow) will give him more options. Or perhaps after Roose Bolton is killed by Stannis, Ramsay flees and hopes to catch Jon Snow on the way to Winterfell.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I am firmly #teamstannis but I just don't see a good ending for him either. In a perfect world, he will win all his future battles and take his rightful seat on the throne BUT we all know Westeros is not the perfect world.

      I believe he'll have a death worthy of a badass warrior he is. :(

      What also makes me believe he won't ever reach the throne is that the series have severely committed 'character assassination' to him. So many Show fans hate him. He had the best storyline in the Books!

      And since D&D already know the outcome of the story from GRRM, I guess they don't focus on Stannis because they find his story insignificant.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Stamis 'll stay King of the Night. Hes Army - army of Others.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Or he is alive, he was told from the Bravoosi that Karstark would turn against him, he knew he couldn't take Winterfell and he knows how Ramsay is. So he Consults Mance, and writes the letter to Jon knowing, Jon will say this to the wildlings, and knowing the wildlings will come to aid them take Winterfell!

      They will hold position and merge their forces with the wildlings!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Stannis will die just as his bum touches the iron throne the white walkers will come out of the ground and kill him.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I love stannis' character but I think in the end he has to die. There is simply too many contenders to the throne and he isn't the strongest, nor do the people love him. Unfortunately in the run of things there is no place for stannis baratheon. Valar morghulis.

    • profile image

      stannis will fuck ramsay 

      5 years ago

      1. when ramsay send the letter to jon snow. he said that he wanted his arya back, and he wanted his reek back. and he wanted the queen, shireen as well, and mance rayders wife all of them.

      2. for the first. theon and arya is with stannis. and there is no way that reek can escape. he are to weak can't run he just want to die! then why did ramsey said that we wanted his reek, when he said that he killd stannis? if he killd stannis and his army, he will then catch reek? and he will probably catch arya to, cuz he are a very good hunting man!!!

      3. you people most understand that mance rayder were with 6 girls-wildings. and mance named himself to abel, and those 6 girls were "whores" who would fuck with the banners and keep them warm! the only thing they wanted was to free arya and get out of there! but then when reek and arya escaped. ramsay catched mance and his wildings spearwifes. and tortured mance out the information. all know ramsay and his anger! when he want the trut trust me he will get it!!!. then mance told him everything about the sorcercy, fire sword, everything.

      4. all should know who stannis is come one???

      he smashed victarions army into pieces.

      he attacked the wildings with 1.500 men from the south, and the wildings were 20 times outnumberd than them!! and you can't forget the gaints guys!!

      he hold dragonstone from mace tyrell with only 500 men!!!!

      and now he said to his knight that we haved 500 good sword, and don't forget the north-mountains clans. they know winter, they have suffered worse than this little storm, we heard big bucket he said this winter storm is nothing for the north-men clans!!

      and stannis lost men, yes we know that. but all he lost were southers- he probably lost 800-1000 southern men, so they are 3000-4000. and the boltons men were 5000-6000

      don't forget that he have manderly's support to!

      and you really guys would think that boys, pussyes will defeat stannis??

      stannis is born warrior he are 10 times smarther and stronger than them.

      so i think stannis will fuck them up, or i think he already fuckt them up, and then ramsayd flied and tried to lure jon snow to capture someone important that he can torture.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      We know stannis is alive as GRRM states the battle in the north will be fought in WoW whereas Ramsay sent the letter in aDwD and the chapters are mostly chronological with exceptions only being when there is a time overlap and none is possible here since it said stannis died in seven days of battle when he is clearly still alive in the theon sample chapter, any claims he is dead are completely false

    • profile image

      Bram O Deaghaidh 

      5 years ago

      I believe Stannis is dead. Martin has already pulled the fake death stunt too many times at this stage (Bran, Rickon, Theon, Davos). HOWEVER I do not believe that House Baratheon will be put out of the game because of this. We know from the sample chapter that Martin released that Stannis explicitly says that if he dies in the upcoming Frey/Bolton assault then the Banker is to help put his daughter Princess Shrieen on the Iron Throne.

      In short I believe that Jon will be reborn (thanks to Melisondre) who will then (out of some sort of affection for Stannis' memory) agree to remain loyal to both Jon and Shireen (this gets really into wishful thinking here but anyway) Davos will return after rescuing Osha and Rickon and the North Men will declare Rickon ' King in the North' (with Manderley ruling till he comes of age) Jon will discover his Lysa/Rhager connection and he will be heir to the throne but he'll agree to forgo his place of power in support of a Baratheon-Stark alliance. Jon is okay at the old military thing so he will lead an attack on the occupied Winterfell and crush the Boltons and Freys, while Davos (who will be Shireen's Hand when she takes the Iron Throne and Lord Regent till she comes of age) goes up the black-water with more ships to try to launch a surprise attack on a now extremely weakened King's Landing.

      In short: Stannis will probably die, but his death will rekindle the Baratheon-Stark alliance and I also predict the Greyjoy's will eventually joint his alliance (after Asha dethrones Euron) wishful thinking I know but that would be awesome, admit it!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      do you think ramsey's letter (the one that killed (?) the Lord Commander) was a lie? wouldn't put it past the Boltons but why tell such a lie? It will only bring more forces to re-enforce stannis.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Stannis, Robert and Renly were all a quarter Targaryen thanks to their Targaryen grandmother, which is why they were the people with the best claim to the throne after the Targaryen family. Stannis is entranced by fire ... like Danerys. Is Stannis a dragon like Danerys?!? Is he the only person stubborn enough to control Drogon?

    • profile image

      reek my name is reek 

      5 years ago

      Stannis is dead.... The sample chapter of theon (winds of winter) is a glimpse into stannis storyline. This storyline takes place before Roose and Ramsey ride out their army (they talked about it in ADWD). You will get to read the battle however the twist comes when Ramsey's letter is proven true.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I think Stannis will defeat the Boltons, but I was hoping that Arya wouldv'e gotten the chance to kill them.

    • Willsummerdreamer profile image

      Will English. 

      5 years ago from Marietta, Georgia.

      What will happen too him? I think he's dead or is going to die. I mean, given this series habit of killing off its cast, and the fact that his army almost froze to death in the last book, I don't think we'll be seeing much more of Stannis in 'The Winds of Winter.' But that's just what I think.

    • deealvar profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Indianapolis

      Daenerys is on m list for hubs, you may be spoiled by her story though if you've only seen the show! A lot happens to the Mother of Dragons

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 

      6 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I LOVE game of thrones. I have not read the books, only watched the series. What about Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons? What do you think will become of them?


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