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Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Greatest Warriors of the Westeros- #9 Robert Baratheon

Continuing from the last post it's time to list another warrior on the Top Ten countdown of the Greatest Warriors of the Westeros in the Song of Ice and Fire. At #9 is: Robert Baratheon: King, drunkard and warrior. Lets get something straight beforehand, it's obvious that Robert Baratheon is King Henry VIII of England turned up to 11, ok, with that out of the way onto Robert.

#9-Robert Baratheon
While other knights use sword and lance, Robert uses a hammer to absolutely smash his foes into submission. Presumably he's trained in the others, but he really doesn't need it. Want proof? Ask Rhegar on The Trident where Robert wrests the crown from the Targaryens if he's any good as a warrior. While others might shirk from danger, he tackles it head on to the point of rash foolishness.

Living up to his family's words "Ours is the Fury" is just part of his character; he's as tempestuous as they come as the Lord of Storm's End. Probably fitting that he should wed Cersei Lannister who is as volatile as he. Anyone who can stand up to that, uh woman... is pretty damn tough.

The series of books that Martin writes all hinge on The War of the Usurper or Robert's Rebellion as it is also known as. It's the focal point of before and after. It is the fact that many of the lords rise up in rebellion against the mad King Aerys after the mad king murders many of the leading noble lords and their sons (including Ned's father and brother Brandon) that sets the stage for the events of the current time line culminating with Robert slaying Prince Rhaegar on the Trident.

The fact that Robert is past his prime by the time of A Game of Thrones is doubly sad as we see him as the hollow shell of what he once was and greatly unhappy for it.  For him, striving for the crown was more of challenge and more rewarding. Actually governing bores him to he tells Ned that "that damned chair will rub your ass raw". Of all of the warriors in the book Robert has probably fallen the farthest from what he once was. When he fought Prince Rhaegar  he crushed his chest and armor; smashing the very ornamentation off of the Prince's armor as well. And by all accounts Prince Rhaegar was a stout warrior. By the time of A Game of Thrones instead, we get a worn and spent Robert.

Just like every character is Martin's pantheon Robert is flawed: His is a drunk and above all a womanizer sleeping with any women around so it seems. His bastards are numerous, his appetites legendary, but its clear that Robert was never cut out to be King. His character is such that he would have been better served drinking, fighting and wenching his way to oblivion across the Narrow Sea. He even laments this to Eddard. That was he first, best destiny, sadly it was not the story fate would have in store for him. It's Robert's death in A Game of Thrones that leads to the  War of the Five Kings.

Robert makes the list at #9 as a powerful warrior in his prime and for being such a catalyst to the overall story. Robert was relentless, his power faded to the shell that we see him in before his untimely death.

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