“Ours is the Fury”—The family motto of House Baratheon
In the book series A Song of Ice and Fire, and the TV adaptation Game of Thrones, House Baratheon is one of the “Great Houses” of Westeros. Under the banner of the black stage on the gold banner, House Baratheon has ruled the Stormlands for 300 years. Under Robert Baratheon, known sometimes as Robert the Usurper, they eventually overthrew the Targaryen dynasty and became Kings of Westeros themselves. Those who have seen the show will have a good idea of how that came to pass, but is there more to this story? Who makes up this important family? Read all about them here.
42. The First Ancestor
House Baratheon is originally descended from Orys Baratheon, who is said to have been the illegitimate half-brother of Aegon Targaryen, also known as Aegon the Conqueror. He served as one of Aegon’s most trusted military commanders during the Conquest of Westeros.
41. The Man Who Slew a King
Orys Baratheon was instructed to take the Targaryen forces, as well as enlist the help of Rhaenys Targaryen and her dragon, to conquer the Stormlands. King Argilac Durrandon rode out to face the invaders with all his strength, leading to a battle which was known as the Last Storm. Unafraid of the fact that his enemies had a dragon, Argilac fought Orys during the raging battle. However, Orys proved triumphant and killed Argilac as the Stormlands’ forces fled or surrendered.
40. It Runs in the Family
Family members of House Baratheon tend to be very tall and very powerfully built. They also tend to have black hair and blue eyes, even when they marry into other houses. This is a plot point in both the books and TV series when Eddard Stark figures out that Robert Baratheon’s children aren’t actually Baratheons when he examines family records and notices the pattern of genes passed on.
39. Friendship Forged in Fighting
People might recall that Tywin Lannister and Aerys Targaryen (later called the Mad King) were close friends when they were young men, but another person with whom they were very friendly was Steffon Baratheon. All three of them would forge a strong bond of friendship during the War of the Ninepenny Kings in 260 AC, which they all participated in.
38. Farewell, Father
The War of the Ninepenny Kings was actually a very personal moment for Steffon Baratheon for a different reason. His father, Lord Ormund Baratheon, was actually put in charge of the army instead of the Targaryen king at the time (who was urged to say home due to ill health). Ormund was tragically cut down in the thick of the fighting, and died in Steffon’s arms, who became the Lord of Storm’s End and the Stormlands as a result.
37. First Child
Robert Baratheon was known for his illegitimate children, the first of whom was Mya Stone. Mya was born to a common woman while a 17-year-old Robert was being fostered by Jon Arryn in the Vale. Interestingly, Robert was also engaged to Lyanna Stark at the time, and when Lyanna found out about Robert’s love child, she became skeptical of what kind of a husband he would make, despite her brother’s protests that Robert was a good guy.
36. Uncanny Resemblance
According to George RR Martin, the character of Stannis Baratheon is partly inspired by Tiberius, the second Emperor of Rome. However, Martin has been careful to point out that he was less inspired by the historical figure than the way that Tiberius is portrayed and performed in the British television series I, Claudius.
35. Mr. Baratheon Goes to Storm’s End
Despite his victory over the Durrandon kings (who had been ruling the Stormlands for thousands of years), Orys Baratheon had one more obstacle in his path when he went to the ancient fortress of Storm’s End, which served as the capital of the Stormlands. Argilac’s daughter, Argella Durrandon, had sealed the fortress and declared herself the Storm Queen.
34. Not Exactly a Meet Cute
Unfortunately for Argella, who was quite prepared to fight to the death, everyone else inside Storm’s End disagreed with her policy. Shortly after Argella had refused to parlay with the Targaryen forces, her guards revolted against her, surrendered the castle of Storm’s End without a fight, and delivered Argella bound, gagged, and naked to Orys Baratheon’s tent. For his part, Orys arranged to have her clothed and untied, treating her courteously.
33. Fighting Freshmen
It’s hard to remember sometimes, but according to the timeline presented in the books, Robert and Stannis Baratheon fought Robert’s Rebellion when they were 19 and 18, respectively! An 18-year-old Stannis held Storm’s End for over a year with only his iron will preventing everyone from panicking or surrendering the fortress under threat of complete starvation, while a 19-year-old Robert was winning victory after victory across Westeros! The rest of us would be too busy looking for a decent college program after graduating high school!
32. Hint Hint, Nudge Nudge
According to The World of Ice & Fire, Orys Baratheon had one son, who was named Davos. This may be a coincidence, but it might also be a reference to Davos Seaworth, the most loyal bannerman of Lord Stannis Baratheon, a descendant of House Baratheon in the Song of Ice and Fire books.
31. What’s the Joke?
Those familiar with the Dunk & Egg stories written by George RR Martin will know about the character of Lyonel Baratheon. Lyonel was known as the Laughing Storm because of the way he would always unleash a booming laughter as fought. Given his fearsome fighting skills, it’s safe to say that his enemies never laughed with him.
30. Battle Brings Bros Together
Lyonel Baratheon becomes an ally of Ser Duncan the Tall in The Hedge Knight, the first of the Dunk & Egg stories. After Ser Duncan ends up having to take part in a Trial by Seven to save himself from imprisonment or execution, he has to find six other warriors who will fight alongside him. With the help of young Aegon Targaryen (not the Conqueror), Lyonel is brought along in a search for glory. He also ensures that Raymun Fossoway is knighted so that Raymun can fight with them too.
29. Your Son’s an Idiot!
Sadly, according to The World of Ice & Fire, Lyonel Baratheon’s friendship with Ser Duncan and Aegon Targaryen was splintered many years later when Aegon became King Aegon V. Aegon engaged his eldest son to Lyonel’s daughter, but Aegon’s son decided he wanted to marry someone else, and he even abdicated his position as Prince to do so! Lyonel took such umbrage with this insult that he declared the Stormlands independent from the Iron Throne’s rule!
28. So… We Cool?
With the Baratheons feeling snubbed and starting a war of independence, King Aegon V strove to settle things as quickly and painlessly as possible. His dear friend and head of the Kingsguard, Ser Duncan the Tall, fought Lyonel Baratheon in single combat to decide things once and for all. The battle didn’t end in death, however, as Lyonel was allowed to yield when Duncan defeated him. He also agreed to a new match-up where King Aegon V’s youngest daughter was betrothed to Lyonel’s heir, Ormund. And thankfully, the Baratheons didn’t orchestrate any kind of Red Wedding to get revenge, so that’s something.
27. Butterfly Effect
The marriage between Ormund Baratheon and Rhaelle Targaryen had far-reaching consequences for both the Baratheons and the Targaryens. When Robert Baratheon, Ormund’s grandson, later rebelled against the Iron Throne, he began to make a bid for kingship based on the fact that his grandmother had been a Targaryen. This Targaryen blood legitimized Robert’s claim, at least when all the other Targaryens were dead or exiled.
26. Pick Your Sides
House Baratheon played a small but crucial role in the Dance of the Dragons, a vicious civil war fought between the blacks and greens, two factions of the Targaryen family. Borros Baratheon was courted by both sides before open war was declared. Prince Lucerys of the blacks and Prince Aemond of the greens both visited him, coincidentally on the same day. Aemond offered to marry one of Borros’ daughters, while Lucerys was already engaged. Borros chose to side with the greens, but he forbade the two princes from fighting each other under his roof.
25. Not Cool, Dude
Despite letting Prince Lucerys leave his hospitality, Borros Baratheon undercut this supposed desire to avoid a fight by letting Aemond chase after Lucerys. This meant that he technically avoided a fight happening under his roof, while letting Prince Aemond kill Lucerys while the princes were flying dragons in the middle of a storm. It was the first serious blow struck during the war, and Borros Baratheon could have prevented it, but didn’t.
24. Meet Bella
One minor character from the books who doesn’t make an appearance in the TV series is Bella, a young prostitute who is another one of Robert Baratheon’s illegitimate children. Her story is that during Robert’s Rebellion, an injured Robert hid in the town of Stoney Sept after his defeat at the Battle of Ashford. As he hid and recovered from his wound, Robert took the time to fraternize with the town’s prostitutes and winning the town over with his natural charisma. When an army loyal to the Mad King tried to find Robert in Stoney Sept, Robert was moved from house to house by the townspeople until Eddard Stark and Hoster Tully arrived with reinforcements and began the Battle of the Bells. In honor of that battle, Robert’s illegitimate daughter was named Bella.
23. Crisis Averted!
Ultimately, Bella’s appearance in the books is very brief, but it makes for a darkly comic moment in between the long, hard slog that is Arya Stark’s storyline. While Arya and her friend, Gendry, are wandering around the Riverlands, they stop in a brothel with members of the Brotherhood Without Banners, and they meet Bella. Bella tries to proposition Gendry, with neither of them knowing that Gendry is another one of Robert’s illegitimate children. Thankfully, nothing happens, saving them both from the kind of therapy that the Lannister siblings clearly need.
22. Good Guard
Only one known member of House Baratheon has ever been a member of the Kingsguard, who serve as lifelong bodyguards to the royal family. Raymont Baratheon served King Aenys I Targaryen (one of Aegon the Conqueror’s sons). He personally saved Aenys’ life when a group of men tried to kill him while he slept.
21. Deaths in the Family
In the second season of Game of Thrones, and the book A Clash of Kings, most of Robert’s illegitimate children in the city of King’s Landing are cruelly slaughtered. The difference, however, is that in the books, it is Cersei who orders the deaths out of spite and fear that they might be a threat to her own children. In the TV series, it’s Joffrey who gives those orders. Perhaps the producers were worried that he wasn’t hateful enough?
20. I Called It!
While we initially follow Eddard Stark’s journey to uncovering the reason for Jon Arryn’s murder, the show overlooks the fact that the person behind all the suspicions was Stannis Baratheon. It was Stannis who first began to suspect that Robert’s children might not actually be his. However, he didn’t want to suggest this to Robert, since he knew Robert wouldn’t trust Stannis, hence why he first made Jon Arryn aware of his suspicions. If only he’d thought to tell Ned Stark too!
19. Trusted Advisors
During the Targaryen dynasty, three members of House Baratheon—Orys, Robar, and Ormund—served as Hand of the King, the second-highest position in Westeros after the royal family. No other House in Westeros (apart from the Targaryens themselves) have supplied more Hands of the King than House Baratheon.
18. The Yin to His Yang
In contrast to his rampantly hedonistic brother Robert, Stannis Baratheon is deeply uncomfortable with the subject of sex, and even women in general. Rare among military commanders, Stannis will castrate any of his men who are guilty of committing rape. However, he also wished to outlaw brothels, which we can only imagine made King Robert laugh long and hard when Stannis suggested it.
17. I Hate My In-Laws
Storm’s End, the castle of House Baratheon, is one of the most powerful fortresses in all of Westeros. It has never been taken by force and is said to have been built during the Dawn Age in defiance of the gods. According to the legends, Durran Godsgrief built a fortress in the Stormlands in defiance of the violent gods of the sea and wind. The gods furiously destroyed six of his fortresses and would have killed him too if it wasn’t for their daughter, Elenei, who’d married Durran. Durran’s seventh fortress stayed up and resisted any storms trying to knock it down, leading to its name of Storm’s End.
16. Silver-Haired Baratheons?
Besides Aemond Targaryen’s promise to marry one of Borros Baratheon’s daughter (which we don’t know if it ever happened before he died), two other Baratheons have married into the Targaryen dynasty. Jocelyn Baratheon married Aemon Targaryen (one of many Targaryens named Aemon), while Ormund Baratheon married Rhaelle Targaryen.
15. Three for the Price of One
One of the finest accomplishments achieved by Robert Baratheon during Robert’s Rebellion was his handling of his own divided bannermen in the early days of the rebellion. A lot of the men who owed allegiance to Robert wanted to side with the Mad King against him, and these men planned a meeting at Summerhall. Robert found out about the plans, rode out to Summerhall with his loyal men, and defeated three armies in a single day. Incredibly, he then took two of those rebellious lords prisoner and won them over to his side with sheer charisma!
14. We Need Backup
Speaking of those fickle “stormlords,” as they’re called sometimes, the Baratheons’ bannermen have serious loyalty issues! They were deeply divided in their support of Robert during the rebellion, only for them to get behind him after he was crowned king. After Robert’s death, the stormlords sided with Robert’s youngest brother Renly rather than Robert’s sons or his middle brother Stannis. After Renly’s death (with Stannis’ involvement), the stormlords switched to Stannis, only for most of them to surrender to Joffrey at the Battle of the Blackwater! Playing some serious musical chairs with allegiances, there, guys!
13. Boys and a Woman
Despite being one of the strongest allies of the greens, and despite allowing the war to break out in earnest, Borros Baratheon kept the Stormlands’ army out of most of the fighting during the Dance of the Dragons. After nearly two years of bloody fighting, the blacks were wiped out except for the youngest son, Aegon, who was taken as a hostage by King Aegon II of the greens. However, this didn’t stop armies from marching against the greens, and in 131 AC, Borros Baratheon led an army from the Stormlands against a host of men from the Riverlands. Borros was confident in victory, as he was a full-grown man with the bigger army, while the enemy were led by Kermit Tully (yes, you read that right) and Benjicot Blackwood, two very young men, and Benjicot’s aunt, Alysanne Blackwood.
12. Call That an Upset
However, a distinction to make between these two armies was that the Stormlands’ forces hadn’t been fighting, while the men of the Riverlands had been bloodied and experienced from several battles. The Battle of the Kingsroad, as it was called, led to a devastating defeat for the Stormlands’ forces. Borros himself was said to have killed twelve knights during the battle before he was killed by Kermit Tully. And really, it doesn’t get worse than being killed by a teenage boy who was named after a Muppet.
11. That’s a Low Blow
Aegon the Conqueror managed to take six of the Seven Kingdoms in the span of two or three years thanks to his use of dragons, he proved less successful in his attempts to conquer Dorne. Once again, he called upon his half-brother and friend, Orys Baratheon, who was also serving as his Hand of the King. Orys and his army were badly defeated, and many of them, including Orys, were captured by the Dornish. The prisoners were ultimately released after King Aegon I agreed to pay each man’s weight in gold to ransom them back. However, the prisoners all had their right hands chopped off before being released, so that they’d never raise a sword against Dorne again.
10. For the Birds
It’s safe to say that Robert and Stannis never got along very well, but this first came to a head in their childhoods, when Stannis found a goshawk who was hurt. Naming it Proudwing, Stannis looked after the hawk and made it his own. Robert sneered at the bird, calling it Weakwing because it wouldn’t fly higher than the treetops, even as his own hunting bird outflew it. Stannis was discouraged and was eventually persuaded by his great-uncle to abandon Proudwing. It was the first of many times that Stannis was forced to live under Robert’s shadow.
9. Heir Apparent?
As of 2018, House Baratheon is officially extinct in the TV series, as everyone who has the last name “Baratheon” is dead. The only living member of that family is Gendry, son of Robert Baratheon, but he is not a legitimate Baratheon, so he doesn’t carry the last name. We have yet to see if that changes, though.
8. We’re Still Here!
By contrast, the unfinished book series still has a few Baratheons, legitimate and illegitimate, alive and well. Stannis, Selyse, and Shireen Baratheon are all still alive, as are Myrcella and Tommen Baratheon (though they’re technically not Baratheon at all). Gendry’s also still alive, as are Edric Storm, Mya Stone, and Bella. Of course, who knows what will happen to them once George RR Martin finally releases the next book…
7. To Burn, or Not to Burn
Speaking of Gendry, fans of the show might remember that Stannis was set to sacrifice Gendry to the Lord of Light in the third season. It was only Davos’ intervention which allowed Gendry to escape from Dragonstone. In the books, however, Gendry has never been within eyeshot of Dragonstone. One of Robert’s illegitimate children, Edric Storm, became a ward of Stannis’s when he captured Storm’s End for himself. While Stannis initially planned to use Edric as proof that Robert’s legitimate children weren’t his at all, Stannis was ultimately convinced to sacrifice him for his king’s blood.
6. Awkward Memory
Even before that, however, Edric Storm’s very existence is proof of yet another insult which Robert paid to Stannis during their lifetimes. When Stannis married Selyse Florent, a drunken Robert ended up impregnating Selyse’s maiden cousin, Delena, in Stannis and Selyse’s wedding bed! That definitely puts your worst wedding story into a whole next context!
5. What Goes Around…
Orys Baratheon did end up getting revenge for his lost hand. During the reign of Aegon I’s son, Aenys I, a Dornish outlaw known as the Vulture King wreaked havoc in the Stormlands and the Reach. Orys and his forces took part in the Vulture Hunt, as it was later called, and managed to capture Lord Walter Wyl, the son of the man who’d cut off Orys’ hand. Orys repaid back the insult by cutting off Walter’s right hand, but then he claimed his “usury” by cutting off Walter’s other hand and both his feet! Orys would die of his wounds soon after, but he reportedly died with a smile on his face as he looked at the severed limbs hanging in his tent.
4. Traumatic Childhood
Late into his reign, King Aerys II, also known as the Mad King, tried to replace his reliable Hand, Tywin Lannister, with his other good friend (and distant cousin) Steffon Baratheon. Steffon was tasked to travel to Essos and bring back a suitable bride for Rhaegar, with the reward presumably being Steffon’s appointment to Hand of the King. Steffon and his wife were unsuccessful, however, and when they tried to sail home, their ship was caught in a storm off the coast of the Stormlands, where their oldest sons, Robert and Stannis, watched as their parents drowned.
3. He Didn’t Take It Well
Stannis Baratheon was never the most cheerful person (his father joked that he’d found a jester while he was in Essos that might actually make Stannis laugh). However, if he was morose before, it got much worse when he was forced to watch his parents drown. The sight was reportedly so damaging to Stannis’ psyche that he gave up religion, refusing to worship any gods who would do that to him.
2. Don’t Mess with Her
Despite usually being a deadbeat dad, Robert Baratheon was actually fond of his daughter Mya Stone, and even wanted to bring her to King’s Landing when he was King of the Iron Throne. However, his wife, Cersei, threatened her husband to keep his illegitimate daughter away by ominously declaring “the city is not a healthy place for a growing girl.” Despite Robert’s fury, he ultimately didn’t test her, and kept Mya at arm’s length.
1. An Equal Marriage?
Everyone knowns House Baratheon’s symbol (a stag) and motto (“Ours is the Fury”), but they both actually originated with another house. After Aegon had secured his conquest of Westeros (except for Dorne), he gave Orys Baratheon the castle of Storm’s End and the lordship over the Stormlands, with Argella Durrandon as his wife to secure his position. As a courtesy to his new wife, Orys adopted the banner of the Durrandon family, as well as its motto. In return, House Baratheon was born.