24

Stannis is a strict follower of the law, and appears to be a sensible military commander, but to me he doesn't seem to have a religious character or be someone who'd worship and have faith in supernatural beings. I never read about him supplicating or invoking his god.

This makes me wonder, what caused him to convert (and abandon the mainstream Westerosi religion, which must have cost him a lot of popularity and support)? He is also very devoted to that religion, going as far as taking a priestess as his main counsel and incorporating the Lord of Light in his banner.

30

This relates to the very touching story of Proudwing, as Stannis relates it to Davos.

"When I was a lad I found an injured goshawk and nursed her back to health. Proudwing, I named her. She would perch on my shoulder and flutter from room to room after me and take food from my hand, but she would not soar. Time and again I would take her hawking, but she never flew higher than the treetops. Robert called her Weakwing. He owned a gyrfalcon named Thunderclap who never missed her strike. One day our great-uncle Ser Harbert told me to try a different bird. I was making a fool of myself with Proudwing, he said, and he was right."

Stannis Baratheon turned away from the window, and the ghosts who moved upon the southern sea. "The Seven have never brought me so much as a sparrow. It is time I tried another hawk, Davos. A red hawk."

—George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings, Davos I (Chapter 10)

From the wikipedia:

Melisandre came to Dragonstone because she believed Stannis Baratheon is Azor Ahai reborn and destined to defeat the Great Other the antithesis of her god. She turns Stannis' wife, Lady Selyse Florent, and several other members of Stannis’s court from the Faith of the Seven to her red god.

In some not quite disclosed way, she demonstrates her power to Stannis, which convinces him that it is time to "try a different bird": R'hllor. Stannis recognizes Melisandre's power, but is not a devout believer of her faith. Nor have I ever seen him express any faith in any other god. In this, I believe Stannis is entirely pragmatic.

7

His wife, Selyse, became very influenced by Melisandre the priestess of R'hllor. She in turn helped convince Stannis to embrace the Lord of Light.

Stannis embraced the Lord of Light solely for the power that he was promised by Melisandre if he did.

  • 2
    Since Selyse seems to be missing in the tv series, I wonder how they explain it there. – Martin Schröder Aug 22 '12 at 19:50
2

Stannis is a very pragmatic individual, as OP pointed out. He believes in results, and Melisandre has demonstrated time and again that she possesses a power that could be used to his advantage.

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