Brienne, the tall knight woman with short blond hair, is excessively loyal to Renly Baratheon. More specifically:

When Renly is killed, she cries for him as if he was her father, and she wants to avenge him.

What did Renly to earn such admiration from her?

  • 1
    Let me guess that you are a fan of the series but haven't read the books yet, right? Brienne's motivations in the book are more fleshed out, as explained by Beofett's answer
    – Andres F.
    May 2 '12 at 16:51

Brienne was never treated well by men. She was considered ugly and unladylike. Worse, she had been taunted and teased by men purporting to be her suitors.

However, Renly always treated her kindly.

It is revealed in A Storm of Swords that she first met Renly as a teen, and was smitten with him at first sight:

Renly Baratheon had been more than a king to her. She had loved him since first he came to Tarth on his leisurely lord’s progress, to mark his coming of age. Her father welcomed him with a feast and commanded her to attend; elsewise she would have hidden in her room like some wounded beast. She had been no older than Sansa, more afraid of sniggers than of swords. They will know about the rose, she told Lord Selwyn, they will laugh at me. But the Evenstar would not relent.

And Renly Baratheon had shown her every courtesy, as if she were a proper maid, and pretty. He even danced with her, and in his arms she’d felt graceful, and her feet had floated across the floor. Later others begged a dance of her, because of his example. From that day forth, she wanted only to be close to Lord Renly, to serve him and protect him.

Even after that, during A Clash of Kings once she joined him in his bid for the kingdom, he accepted her on her own merits, and bestowed upon her the highest honor she could have hoped for: he made her one of his own personal guards.

“Your Grace,” Brienne answered, “I ask the honor of a place among your Rainbow Guard. I would be one of your seven, and pledge my life to yours, to go where you go, ride at your side, and keep you safe from all hurt and harm.”

“Done,” he said. “Rise, and remove your helm.”

From her reaction, it is obvious just how much this means to her:

And yet, when Renly cut away her torn cloak and fastened a rainbow in its place, Brienne of Tarth did not look unfortunate. Her smile lit up her face, and her voice was strong and proud as she said, “My life for yours, Your Grace. From this day on, I am your shield, I swear it by the old gods and the new.” The way she looked at the king-looked down at him, she was a good hand higher, though Renly was near as tall as his brother had been-was painful to see.

  • 14
    This definitely answers the question, but I'd like to also note that she then latches on to Catelyn Stark. It seems that she also has a deep need to be in a knight-lord-type relationship, possibly to validate her status as a shieldmaiden, which the society of the Seven Kingdoms doesn't seem to recognise.
    – Marcin
    May 1 '12 at 15:58
  • 6
    @marcin - yes and no. I don't have quotes on me, but in the books there is more interaction between Catelyn and Brienne, and from that Brienne gains significant trust with Catelyn.
    – Justin C
    May 1 '12 at 16:47
  • 2
    @Marcin - I meant that Brienne trusted Catelyn from watching how Catelyn handled herself. The show gave a little dialogue to that matter, but the books much more.
    – Justin C
    May 1 '12 at 19:04
  • 1
    @JustinC I haven't seen that part in the show. I am going by the book (pun only somewhat intended).
    – Marcin
    May 1 '12 at 19:07
  • 1
    Yes but her love for Renly is a hero-worship kind of love, not a physical, sexual one. She doesn't have anything else going on in her life so the feeling of belonging and purpose as a member of his Rainbow Guard is overwhelming for her. Feb 25 '13 at 10:24

Also Renly uncovered the 'game' the men were playing with her. Who would be the first to take her virginity. He told her to truth about their advances.

  • 5
    Just read this section and I believe it was Lord Tarly that revealed that to her, not Renly.
    – wax eagle
    May 7 '12 at 19:33

Actually, this is answered in more detail in the 4th book of the series, A Feast for Crows. I don't want to spoiler here, but Renly showed Brienne kindness when we went to Tarth for his coming of age tour, where others in his retinue did not. Brienne was only 14 or so. You'll see that there is an incident at Tarth that will help you to understand not only her loyalty to Renly, but to frame the essence of her character. Brienne is simple and fiercely loyal, but also distrusting and stubborn. The incident will show you why. It'll also help you to understand why her loyalties shift to Catelyn Stark and then finally to ____ [insert plot twist here]. But yes, you have to read through the end of Book 4 four to fully understand Brienne.

  • 4
    Don't be afraid to post spoilerific materials; remember, you can always use the spoiler markup ">!"...
    – Möoz
    Sep 2 '14 at 21:58

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