Emily asked:

Why does Stannis have to be so stern? Sure he's got the most rightful claim to the throne but I don't understand why he has to be so serious.

To answer questions about A Clash of Kings, please sign up.
Christopher Peruzzi I think he has legitimate issues. He's constantly gotten the short end of the stick. Anyone who's come from a family with multiple siblings can understand. While Robert rightly won the six kingdoms (with Stannis' help), he got a small island kingdom, a wife he's wed for political reasons, and has gotten passed on another kingdom. Plus HAVE YOU SEEN HIS WIFE?!! The description of a sharp-tonged homely woman with big ears and a growing mustache is enough to make you miserable. Donal Noye nailed the three brothers perfectly - "Robert was pure steel. Stannis was iron - black and hard and strong, but brittle the way iron gets. He'll break before he bends. And Renly, that one, he's copper. Bright and shiny and pretty to look at but not worth all that much at the end of the day."
Drakes He thinks it's his duty to become king - he doesn't even want to. People have a lot of duty issues in this series - look where it got Ned!
Ryan Keith Kisner Let's just he had a rough childhood.
Vigneswara Prabhu There is a Quote in ACOK
"“Robert was the true steel. Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He'll break before he bends. And Renly, that one, he's copper, bright and shiny, pretty to look at but not worth all that much at the end of the day.”

This pretty much encompasses the nature of the three brothers. And they never had the best of childhoods. While children they saw their parents' ship crash & sink in the Treacherous sea outside of Storm's End. Something changed in them from that day.

Robert was the most charismatic. He was able to make people love & Die for him. Evident since he became the King.
Renly with Robert's facial feature and charisma was able to gain loyalty fast and easy, but it was just as shallow.
But Stannis, while may seem stern and unbending at first glance cares for his men. His strategies are often well thought of & favor superior tactics in place of blind rushes. Unlike tywin who sees his men as Meat shields with blades Stannis lives with his soldiers. Like one of them. In the WotFK, Stannis' Tent & garb are more spartan & Utilitarian in comparison to Renly.
Stannis Plans strategies trying to Keep the losses on his side to a Minimum ( It a whole different issue when his plans go awry; courtesy the demon Monkey)
The Loyalty that Stannis Inspires is Deep and Unflinching, but takes longer to gain. Do you think soldiers would stand with the Lord of a besieged Storm's End for over a Year; if he was stern & unlikeable.
They resorted to Eating Mice& horses when their Food ran out, and came close to eating their corpses; until Davos came through.
But only ONE tried to defect; in all year.

The biggest fault in Stannis, is that he is incapable of playing the Game of thrones. Of the type of deception that helps you rise in King's Landing. And he can be a Hypocrite at times, Reneging on his ideals when it suits him. (Aka shadow assassin)

But some of his nature can be traced back to an inferiority complex to his more liked brother. and perhaps a subconscious desire to be the farthest from his Glory hogging, Whoring Elder.
Robert didn't help, by giving preference to Ned stark over his own brothers.
And who can forget the ultimate slap on the cheek, giving Storm's end which Stannis Slaved to Protect to Renly. And giving Stannis Dragon Stone ( although Since DS was the ancestral seat of Targaeryn Kings Some argue Robert might've thought he was honoring Stannis)

Still at the end of the day while Stannis Baratheon has the qualities to be the King, His Uncompromising & Uncharismatic nature would sour him to most if not all the Power Players.
Basiet Qayyum I agree with Christopher, during Roberts rebellion Stannis held storms end for a full year with his men barely surviving on rodents. Then after the war was over Robert Baratheon gave Storms End to Renly Baratheon and Stannis solemnly listened and moved to dragonstone to live out his years until the death of Robert Baratheon and from the letter he recieved from Ned Stark which explained to him that Robert has no legitimate children and that Stannis has a proper claim to the iron throne then Renly or Joffrey because Renly is the younger brother and Joffrey is a bastard born of incest between Jaime and Cersei lannister. So the reason that Stannis is so stern because he has been denied everything and he finally has a chance to get something that he thinks he deserves in his life and does not want to be denied. Plus his wife is a complete ass.
Csilla He doesn't _have to be_ serious. He just _is_.
Some of the comments discussed the part his childhood had on the development of Stannis' personality, but it isn't just nurture, it's nature as well. We have different predispositions, some of us are more prone to develop certain characteristics.
If your profile is correct you are 27 now, your were 21 when you asked this question... hopefully, you've managed to develop some empathy toward your fellow human beings who are different than you. There is no one perfect way to be, even if there were, life is imperfect, so not all of us will get there, if any. Do you think nobody ever said behind your back, 'why does Emily have to be so *insert characteristic*'?
Lena It's probably like Christopher Peruzzi said, Stannis has never been treated with that much respect and has always done what 'his duty is' and never gotten much appreciation for it.
Precious Middle child problems...
Katy M I think that's just his personality. He's like Adam Cartwright to the nth degree. Serious, honorable, arrogant, and self-righteous.
Image for A Clash of Kings
Rate this book
Clear rating

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more