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Yesterday, I asked a question about why Robert gave titles to his brothers. Two answers linked an answer from the author himself:

We discussed whether Robert loved his brother Renly or not. Haaruk thought so, while I never envisioned their relationship as more than lukewarm. (Jaime said Robert hardly could stomach his brothers (plural form)). Which is correct?

There are many different kinds of love. Robert was dutiful toward his brothers, and no doubt loved them in a way... but he didn't necessarily like them. His relations with Stannis were always prickly. Renly was the baby of the family, and spent little time in Robert's company until he was old enough to come to court. I suspect Robert was fond of the boy, but not especially close to him.

Stannis always resented being given Dragonstone while Renly got Storm's End, and took that as a slight... but it's not necessarily true that Robert meant it that way. The Targaryen heir apparent had always been titled Prince of Dragonstone. By making Stannis the Lord of Dragonstone, Robert affirmed his brother's status as heir (which he was, until Joff's birth a few years later). Robert could just as lawfully retained both castles for his sons, and made Joffrey the Prince of Dragonstone and Tommen the Lord of Storm's End. Giving them to his brothers instead was another instance of his great, but rather careless, generosity.

So Spake Martin, THE BARATHEON BROTHERS; September 11, 1999

In that answer, Martin says that Robert continues the tradition of the Targaryens to make the heir Lord of Dragonstone. If so, Why didn't Joffrey became Lord/Prince of Dragonstone instead of Stannis? Was it seen by some as a statement that Joffrey is not the true heir?

  • Answered in your own quote "Giving them to his brothers instead was another instance of his great, but rather careless, generosity." It's not saying that Robert continued the traditions of the Targaryens, merely that that may not have been out of slight. – Edlothiad Feb 8 '18 at 13:43
  • Related – TheLethalCarrot Feb 8 '18 at 13:46
  • so generous with his own brothers, even if they are not in a good relationship, but not his own son? – user96114 Feb 8 '18 at 13:46
  • How do you know they're not in a good relationship? Out of curiosity? – Edlothiad Feb 8 '18 at 13:55
  • "His relations with Stannis were always prickly." but sure, maybe not bad enought to take some lands back – user96114 Feb 8 '18 at 13:57
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Before Joffrey's birth, Stannis was indeed Robert's heir.

Joffrey's birth however changed the line of succession but Robert never revoked the title from Stannis.

Furthermore, Stannis has never been styled as the Prince of Dragonstone, even though technically he held the same position. The appendix of AGOT styles Stannis as Lord of Dragonstone:

his brothers:

  • STANNIS BARATHEON, Lord of Dragonstone,
  • his wife, LADY SELYSE of House Florent,
  • their daughter, SHIREEN, a girl of nine,
  • RENLY BARATHEON, Lord of Storm's End,

Note that both Renly and Stannis are styled as Lords. Targaryen Princes who held lands were always "Prince of X" e.g. Prince Baelor Breakspear was Prince of Dragonstone while his younger brother Prince Maekar was Prince of Summerhall.

George never said that Stannis was the Prince of Dragonstone. George merely said he was affirmed in the capacity of the heir and was made Lord of the Dragonstone.

You might also want to note that mere birth of an heir apparent to a King does not automatically make them Prince or Princess of Dragonstone. There is a special ceremony for that. Example we have is Rhaenyra Targaryen even though she was born before her father inherited the throne.

In 105 AC, her mother finally delivered the son that the king and queen had both longed for, but the queen died in childbirth, and the boy—named Baelon—only survived her by a day. By this time, Viserys I was heartily sick of being hectored over the succession, and disregarding the precedents of 92 AC and the Great Council of 101 AC, he officially declared that Rhaenyra was Princess of Dragonstone and his heir. A grand ceremony was arranged in which hundreds of lords knelt to do homage to the princess while she sat at her father's feet. Prince Daemon was not among them.
TWOIAF-Targaryen Kings: Viserys I

Furthermore, not all Crown Princes hold the title of PoDS. Aenys Targaryen never held the title but still was his father's heir. Joffrey's case is similar to Aenys'. The term Prince of Dragonstone emerged due to the spare, Maegor Targaryen. Aenys used to be with his father at the Red Keep while the younger prince stayed with his mother at Dragonstone and became known as Prince of Dragonstone. Maegor was not Aegon I's heir, Aenys was.

The half brothers were never close. Prime Aenys was the heir apparent, and King Aegon kept him close by his side. As the king moved about the realm from castle to castle, so did the prince. Prince Maegor remained with his mother, sitting by her side when she held court. Queen Visenya and King Aegon were oft apart in those years. When he was not on his royal progress, Aegon would return to Kings Landing and the Aegonfort, whilst Visenya and her son remained on Dragonstone. For this reason lords and commons alike began to refer to Maegor as the Prince of Dragonstone.
The Sons of the Dragon

Even after Prince Aegon was born to Aenys, Maegor still retained the title of PoDS. When Maegor was exiled, only then did Aenys bestow the title on his heir.

Aenys seemed content to let the matter lie with Maegor's exile, but the High Septon was still not satisfied. Not even the appointment of the reputed miracle-worker, Septon Murmison, as Aenys's new Hand could wholly repair the breach with the Faith. And in 41 AC, Aenys made matters worse when he chose to wed his eldest daughter, Rhaena, to his son and heir, Aegon, whom he named Prince of Dragonstone in Maegor's place.
TWOIAF-Targaryen Kings: Aenys I

Other than them, monarchs such as Aerys I and Aegon V never held that title either but their succession was due to unforeseeable circumstances so let's ignore that. And of course we have Prince Daeron (Maekar's heir) as well who preferred to be styled as Prince of Summerhall, instead of Prince of Dragonstone because he hated the place and called it "a gloomy abode".

The fact that Joffrey did not hold Dragonstone did not bother the nobles. Even Robb admitted that Joffrey and Tommen were still the rightful heirs to throne even as the North and Crown were embroiled in war.

"You cannot mean to hold to Joffrey, my lord," Galbart Glover said. "He put your father to death."

"That makes him evil," Robb replied. "I do not know that it makes Renly king. Joffrey is still Robert's eldest trueborn son, so the throne is rightfully his by all the laws of the realm. Were he to die, and I mean to see that he does, he has a younger brother. Tommen is next in line after Joffrey."
AGOT-Catelyn XI

Not to mention, Robert had reservations over Joffrey's succession which he voiced to Ned, claiming that Ned did not know the boy as Robert did and the only thing stopping him from abdicating was the thought of Joffrey on throne with Cersei whispering in his ear.

"Let me tell you a secret, Ned. More than once, I have dreamed of giving up the crown. Take ship for the Free Cities with my horse and my hammer, spend my time warring and whoring, that's what I was made for. The sellsword king, how the singers would love me. You know what stops me? The thought of Joffrey on the throne, with Cersei standing behind him whispering in his ear. My son. How could I have made a son like that, Ned?"

"He's only a boy," Ned said awkwardly. He had small liking for Prince Joffrey, but he could hear the pain in Robert's voice. "Have you forgotten how wild you were at his age?"

"It would not trouble me if the boy was wild, Ned. You don't know him as I do." He sighed and shook his head.
AGOT-Eddard VIII

Nevertheless Dragonstone's importance, however symbolic it was, effectively ceased to exist when Robert caved Rhaegar's chest in at the Ruby Ford.

So TLDR, Robert presumably did not revoke the title from his brother because:

  1. Robert had no interest in traditions and laws.
  2. Robert mistrusted Joffrey.
  3. PoDS had no significance in the new realm whatsoever.
  4. It is not necessary for a Prince to hold the title.
  5. Many Targaryen monarchs and their heirs did not hold the title either.
  6. Stannis never held the title of Prince of Dragonstone.
  • Also, Stannis was not only Lord of Dragonstone but also Master of ships, another title to be replaced if you remove Stannis from Dragonstone – Kepotx Feb 8 '18 at 14:04
  • @Kepotx Landless nobles can be on the King'c council tho. Aurane Waters was Tommen's master of Ships. He held no lands. Taking DS back from Stannis does not automatically fire him from the council – Aegon Feb 8 '18 at 14:05
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I doubt that anyone saw it as a statement that Joffrey was not the true heir. There was no question of Joffrey's parentage until years later.

Although I don't have any direct canon evidence, a good bet might be that in time Joffrey would have been given Dragonstone. Obviously, a newborn child cannot rule any lands. Joffrey would have to come of age first. In a "normal" chain of events Robert would still be alive when Joffrey came of age. Therefore Joffrey would still have to wait for his father's death to become king.

It would be at this time that Robert would replace Stannis with Joffrey as Lord of Dragonstone.

As part of his quote Martin says,

Giving them to his brothers instead was another instance of his great, but rather careless, generosity.

The foolish part is that even though giving Stannis Dragonstone wasn't a slight at the time, eventually it would be. He would have to find Stannis new lands, titles, or something to try to appease him while trying to take away Dragonstone. From there who knows what happens...

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