Asked elsewhere Why didn't Stannis Baratheon use another Shadows to kill his main enemies? or "Why Stannis chose to kill Renly" (at all).

Asked now: Why was the shadow that was used on Renly not instead used on someone else?


  • Shadows kill only one or perhaps a few people per shadow.

  • Killing Renly gives Stannis a bigger army to capture King's Landing

  • Killing any one or even two of Joffrey, Tommen, Myrcella, Tywin, Cersei, Jaime, Kevan, Lancel, Tyrion or any of the other Lannisters doesn't decrease the strength of the Lannister army or increase the strength of his own.

  • Renly was the most immediate threat. It was a matter of just surviving the next battle not the winning overall war. --> But in this case, how did Stannis and Melisandre reach this point? I assume they planned long in advance to use the shadow on someone else and thus avoid the situation of having to use a shadow on Renly.

  • I believe Stannis was not exactly in on the details, only Melisandre was. She told him that he will get the best part of Renly's army if he goes to storm's end, perhaps he was hoping Renly would kneel to him as was the right thing to do. So, in later chapters, Stannis does not exacly know how Renly died, but has a feeling he brought it about using Melisandre. There are quotes in the book which create this suspicion. I will try to find them when I get a chance.
    – Shanty
    Jan 22, 2019 at 6:16

2 Answers 2


Stannis' biggest concern at that time was getting an army big enough to challenge all the claimants. He felt the right to only one army, the Stormlander one which was sworn to Renly.

Stannis first tried to get Davos Seaworth to gather the Stormlander Lords around him by diplomacy. That didn't work. More courteous Lords met Davos but refused to help him while the straightforward ones refused to see Davos at all.

Stannis had always felt that Robert had cheated him of his birthright by giving Storm's End to Renly instead of him. As Steffon Baratheon's second son, Stannis felt that after Robert's coronation, Stormlands were his by birthright along with all her armies and incomes.

He could have used the shadow to kill Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon or even Balon Greyjoy but what purpose would that serve? Northmen wouldn't bow to him, Lannisters would crown Tommen and Greyjoys would choose one of their own from Balon's family. Killing Renly however gave him what he needed; the Stormlander Army. After Renly's death, Stannis was the last Baratheon. Where else could the Stormlander lords go? He could of course sire another Shadow and get rid of them all but Melisandre said his fires were burning low (Of course that happened after the Battle of Blackwater bay and Stannis didn't know about that - yet he didn't consider that course and used it only when he deemed it absolutely crucial for victory).

And even more importantly as far as Stannis was concerned, at Storm's End was the proof he needed to prove his allegations against Cersei and Jaime; Robert's bastard Edric Storm. He couldn't get his hands on the boy without dealing with Renly first. Submitting to Renly in exchange for the boy would have been out of question, Renly had to die or bend the knee.

That's why Stannis chose Renly but not before giving him a final chance to submit (To be fair, Renly offered Storm's End to Stannis if he swore fealty but Stannis thought Storm's End was his anyways and not Renly's to give). He even offered to make him his heir until a son was born to him. Renly refused and sealed his fate. It was a mixture of your guess #2 and guess #3.


My guess on this case is the following:

Stannis is, after the death of Robert Baratheon and Ned's declaration that Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen are no rightful heir to the crown, the only logical heir. He has wonderful legends behind him, and is a lawful man that no bannermen would resist to follow.

However, his younger brother, Renly, spent his youth at the court, with all nobles and managed to tied solid alliances. His wife is no less than Margeary Tyrell, heir to the Tyrell and sister of a no less known joust player. He is younger, seems nicer (Stannis is an old chump to anyone not knowing him personnaly), prettier, and even if he doesn't have children yet, he has all the time in the world. Stannis' daughter is afflicted by the stone disease.

If Stannis had the possibility to kill one obstacle to his throne, it'd be probably his brother. Joffrey is not an obstacle: he is no king, no Baratheon, and he can convince the kingdom of this state of fact (and I think - personal opinion - that as a father himself, Stannis wouldn't want to kill a child). But Renly could appear as more legitimate as him: younger, can still have healthy children, and nicer - states of arms are not in the balance as the kingdom is currently at peace.

  • Wouldn't want to kill a child that's quite false. He was more than ready to kill him when he sieged King's Landing, he just thought he could beat him "fair and square" where he knew he couldn't outcharm his brother. He never saw Joffrey as a threat, but he did saw Renly as one.
    – LamaDelRay
    Jan 23, 2020 at 17:47

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