As King of the Seven Kingdoms (and the buffet table), Robert Baratheon left a big impact on the Game of Thrones universe. Well after his death, Robert’s family and country are still paying the price for his mistakes. After all: one can’t father more than a dozen illegitimate kids without asking for royal mishap. How does a romantic warrior descend into a sorry excuse of a king, father, and friend?
Grab a hammer to these 43 thunderous facts about Robert Baratheon, King of the Seven Kingdoms.
1. First Is the Worst
Robert Baratheon was the firstborn son of Lord Steffon Baratheon and Lady Cassana Estermont. As heir to the ancestral holding of Storm’s End and Lordship Paramount of the Stormlands, he was groomed for big things even before he got the crown.
2. Every Crown Begins With a Tinfoil Hat
Ironically, Robert’s father Steffon Baratheon was a long-time friend and favorite of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen. King Aerys even trusted Steffon to go abroad and find a noble Valyrian bride for Prince Rhaegar. Tragically, Steffon and his wife not only failed in their mission, but they both died on the stormy ship ride back home.
Aerys somehow blamed the ship sinking on the schemes of Tywin Lannister (who could somehow control the weather?), thereby amplifying his royal paranoia.
3. A Plan Gone Awry
Before the death of Robert’s father Steffon, there were rumors that Aerys was planning on replacing Tywin Lannister as Hand of the King with the Baratheon patriarch.
4. Dishonest Mistake
At the age of five or six, Robert and his brother Stannis were taken by their father to King’s Landing. The boys saw a fair-haired magnificent man on the Iron Throne and were sure he was the King. Only later would they learn that was not King Aerys on the throne, but rather the Hand of the King, Tywin Lannister.
5. Wave Goodbye
As a teenager, Robert watched his parents die. The pair had almost made it home when their ship, Windproud, got caught in that infamous storm, killing them instantly. The teenaged Robert and Stannis Baratheon had to witness the event in live time, and Robert Baratheon was now the young Lord of Storm’s End.
6. Found Families Are Sometimes Better
Robert was not raised in the Stormlands, but rather in the Eyrie, where he was educated as a ward of Jon Arryn, Lord of the Vale. A young Eddard “Ned” Stark was also fostered in the castle. Baratheon and Stark would be lifelong best friends, and the childless Jon Arryn raised them both as the sons he never had.
7. The Three Stooges They Are Not
The Baratheon brothers never got along. Robert’s younger brother, Stannis, was born a short time after him but would always resent Robert for his lack of affection. Stannis often felt like his big brother gave Ned Stark all the love and favor due to Stannis. The youngest Baratheon brother, Renly Baratheon, was born much later, when Robert and Stannis were already nearly grown, and he felt out of step with his older siblings.
Between the three brothers, there was little love lost in the tragic events of their adulthood.
8. Prince Charming Should Come With a Razor
As a youth, Robert was described as “a maiden’s fantasy”: buff, handsome, incredibly tall, with thick black hair on his head, chest, and “coarse around his sex.” Thank George R.R. Martin for those important details.
9. Glow Down
Robert Baratheon pulled a Henry VIII, though, by letting his youthful looks go. By A Game of Thrones, he has dark-circled eyes, blotchy skin (from the alcoholism), and is thick-bearded (to hide his double-chin) and widened by at least eight stone in weight (that’s more than 1oo pounds!). In other words, all those kingly feasts took their toll.
10. Rock Beats Scissors
Robert prefers hammers over swords. His signature weapon is a spiked Warhammer, which was crafted specially for him as a youth by Donal Noye. It’s said the only blade Robert uses is a small child’s hunting knife that was gifted for him by his foster father, Jon Arryn.
11. You’ll Never Be “The One”
Robert fell hard and fast for Lyanna Stark, the younger sister of Ned Stark. Lyanna, however, proved harder to woo; she knew of Robert’s illegitimate daughter and knew he would never be faithful to her. In any case, the pair were politically betrothed to be married.
12. Iron Is Shiny; What Else Is There to Know?
According to Ned Stark, Robert never really knew Lyanna as a person. He only saw Lyanna’s surface beauty and “not the iron underneath.”
13. You Don’t Know Me at All
Robert Baratheon would idealize Lyanna Stark’s memory as a weapon against his eventual wife, Cersei Lannister. When Cersei refuses to let Robert endanger himself in a tourney melee, he argues that his dearly dead and presumably docile Lyanna Stark would never have openly defied him like that! But he was mistaken.
Her brother, Ned Stark, argues that if she were alive, the headstrong Lyanna would absolutely lambast Robert, in actuality.
14. Cheaper by the Dozen (Plus Four)
If you believe in prophecy, Robert fathered a total of 16 illegitimate children. When a 10-year-old Cersei Lannister asked the prophetess Maggy the Frog if she and the king would have children, Maggy replied, “Oh aye. Six-and-ten for him, and three for you.” Good thing someone was keeping count, because Robert sure wasn’t…
15. No Longer My Rock, Dad
Robert’s oldest illegitimate child is Mya Stone, who grows up to befriend Sansa Stark (I mean, Alayne Stone…) as a mountaineer for House Royce at the Gate of the Moon. Even after a young Robert Baratheon lost interest in her commoner mother, he would still visit young Mya, all the way up until he became king.
These days, Mya only has vague memories of her father: a big strong man who would toss her in the air but always catch her, until one day he wasn’t there. She calls the mountains her father now.
16. Your Custody Is Set in Stone
While Robert Baratheon never formally acknowledged Mya Stone as his daughter, her paternity is an open secret across Westeros. At one point, Robert suggested that Mya be brought south and raised with him in King’s Landing. Cersei Lannister discreetly threatens that “the city is not a healthy place for a growing girl.”
Robert physically struck Cersei for her comment, but he did not bring up the topic of Mya’s custody again.
17. Three’s a Crowd
In the final joust at the Tourney at Harrenhal, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen won and crowned Lynanna Stark—not his own wife—as the queen of love and beauty. At least in public, Robert was amicable about Rhaegar’s flirting with his fiancée. After all, Lyanna was the most beautiful, in Robert’s eyes. In private, it’s said Rhaegar made Robert furious.
He was understandably even more upset when the Prince allegedly kidnapped Lyanna, setting into motion Robert’s Rebellion.
18. This Means War
After the summary execution of Brandon and Rickard Stark, Mad King Aerys demanded the heads of Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark next. Naturally, the boys’ foster-father, Jon Arryn, disagreed. The houses of Stark, Baratheon, and Arryn took up arms against the Crown, and Robert’s Rebellion officially began.
19. Sound “The Bells”: This Dude Can’t Keep It in His Trousers
Robert Baratheon continued to womanize throughout the Rebellion—a war partly launched to win back his so-called true love, Lyanna Stark. Between battles, Robert visited brothels and fathered another illegitimate child with a worker. She was so-named “Bella” after the Battle of the Bells, a deciding victory for the Baratheons that put Robert in the shelter of the brothel in the first place.
Real classy, Robert…
20. Back to the Marriage Meat Market
Robert was crowned King of Westeros in 283 AC, and he named his foster father Jon Arryn as his Hand of the King. The loss of Lyanna Stark at the Tower of Joy turned the Baratheon king off marriage forever…or at least until he was advised that he needed to marry to (1) produce an heir and (2) stabilize the land after Robert’s Rebellion.
It was suggested that he wed Cersei Lannister, as allying with Tywin Lannister would ensure his loyalty in the event that Prince Viserys should return for his crown.
21. Happily Never After
As king, Robert Baratheon was both physically and sexually abusive to his wife, Cersei Lannister. On the mornings after, Robert would pretend to forget his actions and blame it on the alcohol. When Robert first fed Cersei this excuse, he did so while reaching for more wine to “wash down his admission.” In response, Cersei threw her own cup into his face, smashing his royal tooth.
Later, Robert claims he got the injury in a “mêlée.” Cersei doesn’t consider this a lie. In her words, “our marriage was a mêlée.”
22. Incest Is Better in Fours
As the late Lyanna Stark predicted, Robert continued to womanize as a married man. Even his own family was fair game. During a royal visit to his mother’s family at Greenstone, King Robert “reconnected” with his own cousin. Cersei paid back her husband in kind by sleeping with her brother Jaime as Robert made up for lost time with his own relatives.
Maybe the couple had some things in common…
23. Parenting Can Be Outsourced
Edric Storm is the only illegitimate child of Robert Baratheon to be formally acknowledged during the king’s lifetime. Of course, King Robert was hardly the dad of the year. The boy was raised at Storm’s End by his uncle Renly Baratheon. Every birthday, Edric would get a personalized and expensive gift from King Robert, leading to Edric worshiping his absent dad from afar.
Robert would laugh at Edric’s thank-you letters and ask Varys what the Master of Whisperers had bought for the boy for this year.
24. Spoiling the Fun (and Bedsheets)
King Robert defiled the wedding bed of his brother Stannis and sister-in-law Selyse Florent. He “deflowered” the bride’s cousin, Delena, in their made-up bed, where the two conceived Robert’s illegitimate son, Edric Storm. In Selyse’s mind, Robert’s indiscretion “cursed” her marriage to Stannis with sonless misery.
She might not have been wrong. Meanwhile, Robert claimed he was simply too sauced to tell the difference between beds at the time.
25. You’ll Always Have the Guest House
Perhaps the biggest rift between Robert and Stannis Baratheon was due to real estate. Upon becoming king, Robert forfeited his claim to the Baratheon holding of Storm’s End. As the next oldest son, Stannis should have gotten the castle. Instead, King Robert gave Storm’s End to their youngest brother, Renly; Stannis got the dank lands on the island of Dragonstone.
Probably not what Stannis was expecting. But Robert may have had a reason…
26. Gone Baby Gone
During Robert’s Rebellion, the Baratheon king entrusted his brother Stannis to capture the last Targaryen children, Viserys and Daenerys, who were currently hiding in Dragonstone. Although Stannis successfully seized the castle, the Targaryen prince and princess had escaped. Robert, naturally, blamed Stannis for the loss.
Although Robert would name Stannis as the Lord of Dragonstone, Stannis viewed this move as an intentional punishment for his failure, as the lands were less profitable than their ancestral holding of Storm’s End.
27. Expressing My Love Through Land Grants Isn’t Enough?
For all their differences, Robert Baratheon did trust his brother Stannis, and actually meant to reward him by “demoting” Stannis to Lord of Dragonstone. The castle, while smaller and cold, was the traditional seat of the Targaryens’ next-in-line to the throne. By naming him Lord of Dragonstone, Robert was trying to honor Stannis as his official heir (at least until Robert could sire a son).
Of course, emotional communication was never this family’s strong suit; the brothers remained in chilly relations until Robert’s death.
28. No Free Rides in This Royal Train
Cersei Lannister became pregnant with King Robert’s child (actually) just once throughout their entire marriage. However, the queen refused to give birth to her abuser’s child, and got her brother Jaime to find “a woman” to “cleanse” Cersei of the spawn. All three of the “Baratheon” royal kids—Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen—were actually Jaime Lannister’s.
29. Double the Trouble
According to Littlefinger (so take it with a grain of salt…) King Robert fathered twins with a serving maid at Casterly Rock. Not one to be insulted by a family servant, Cersei Lannister had the babies murdered. Ned Stark at first refuses to believe that Robert would just let this fate befall his own children…
…but then Ned remembers how his BFF has become talented at looking the other way.
30. Steel Yourself for This Backstory
In the books, Gendry remains unaware that he is the bastard son of Robert Baratheon. All he remembers of his mother is that she was blonde-haired and an alehouse worker. After her death, the orphaned Gendry is raised as an apprentice of a famed smith, who was paid double his usual fee to take on the boy by a mysterious benefactor.
This benefactor was probably Varys, who was used to looking after Robert’s brood, since the king wasn’t about to.
31. Iron Breaks So Easily
Six years into his reign, King Robert successfully fought off the Greyjoy Rebellion. Balon Grejoy believed that Robert would not have the support among nobles to successfully ward off an Ironborn attack. Grejoy was wrong. The self-proclaimed “King of the Iron Islands” was brought before King Robert in chains and forced to bend the knee.
In addition, he had to give up his young son, Theon, to the Starks as a peace bond.
32. The Bear and the Robert Fair
Jorah Mormont was knighted by King Robert himself. The Baratheon King rewarded him for his bravery during the Grejoy Rebellion.
33. Maybe Fourth “Rob” Will Be the Charm
Both Robb Stark and Robert “Sweetrobin” Arryn were named after King Robert Baratheon by their respective fathers, Ned Stark and Jon Arryn.
34. The Mother-That-Never-Was Ship
King Robert honored Lyanna Stark in death by naming his royal war galley “Lady Lyanna.” This ship eventually carries Robert’s legal daughter, Princess Myrcella Baratheon, to her marriage in Dorne.
35. Better off Without the Joff
Fed up with politics, King Robert often dreams of giving up his crown to become a travelling sellsword. What’s stopping him? The idea of Joffrey on the throne and Cersei influencing his reign. Managed to prevent that one, didn’t you, Rob?
36. The End of a Legacy
Barra is the youngest of King Robert’s many illegitimate kids. Robert fathered her with a young virgin sex worker named Mhaegen (in the TV series), who has fallen in love with the old king and wants him to meet their child. When Ned tries to persuade him to visit, Robert simply curses Mhaegen for being unsubtle about the baby’s name.
In any case, the meeting is never to be: Robert soon dies, and Cersei has both Barra and Mhaegan murdered in a purge of his bastards.
37. A Tall Order of Disappointment
Robert is tall even by fantasy world standards. Ned Stark estimates his friend and king stands about six and a half feet.
38. Hard to Please, Easy to Love
When Prince Joffrey was a baby, he would cry whenever his “father” Robert picked him up. In turn, King Robert developed no fondness toward the boy. While he recognizes and laments Joffrey’s sadistic streak, he does little to intervene in Joffrey’s upbringing. Nevertheless—or because of—this coldness, Joffrey grew up obsessed with winning King Robert’s approval and love.
39. Return That Father of the Year Mug
King Robert’s abuse against Cersei extended to their legal son, Joffrey. As a child, Joffrey sliced open a pregnant cat and “offered” the unborn kittens to his dad. Disgusted by his son’s actions, Robert punched Joffrey so hard that he knocked out two of his baby teeth. To her credit, Cersei threatens to murder Robert in his sleep if he physically hurts Joffrey again.
No one is a winner in that one.
40. From the Silenced Mouths of Babes
The murder of Rhaegar’s children, Rhaenys and baby Aegon, almost destroyed Robert Baratheon’s friendship with Ned Stark. Ned considered the murder of innocents to be a war crime; Robert responded, “I see no babes, only dragonspawn.” Only when Lyanna Stark was found dead in the Tower of Joy did the bromance repair, bonded in grief.
41. Call Me By My Name
Way to make a bad impression: on his wedding night to Cersei Lannister, Robert whispered “Lyanna” in her ear while they were still in the act. Naturally, Cersei was PO’ed and never forgave him.
42. It Always Begins With the Grandmother
Despite his hatred for “dragonspawn,” Robert Baratheon was a fairly close relative of the Targaryen family. Princess Rhaelle Targaryen was his paternal grandmother. It’s through descent from her, after all, that Robert has a claim to Westeros in the first place.
43. Too Many Dragons
Robert Baratheon’s king’s blood goes farther than the Targaryens. He descends from the Kings of the Storm, who ruled the Stormlands before the Targaryen Conquest. His direct claim to the Stormlands is actually from his ancestor Argella Durrandon, the final Storm Queen who was defeated and married to Aegon the Conqueror’s friend Orys Baratheon. In another twist, Orys was actually rumored to be Aegon’s bastard half-brother.
In other words, Robert just can’t escape those Targaryens—he was one from the beginning.