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If Jaime Lannister is the Kingslayer, then why did Robert Baratheon become the next king? Couldn't he just take the throne for himself? They overthrew the mad king (who was a Targaryen) but then instead of a Lannister taking the throne, a Baratheon did. I watched the series in 2 days and I'm just starting the book. I feel like I'm missing something.

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    @JohnO It is pretty clear both in the books and TV show why Jaime Lannister cannot take the throne. Why any other Lannister cannot take it is less clear, but also hinted at. Still, this isn't a reason for closure, I guess. – Andres F. Apr 3 '13 at 11:45
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    If nothing else, Ned Stark walked in with an army at his back 5 minutes later. Perhaps a better question would be why didn't Ned take the throne. Other than that he didn't want it. – Kevin Jan 13 '14 at 15:02
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    This is very clearly explained in the book. I vote to close because we can't answer without spoiling. – Gaius Feb 10 '15 at 22:20
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    @Gaius 1.) As OP stated, he hadn't read the books at the time he asked this question. 2.) Since it was both asked and satisfactorily answered two years before your comment, your vote to close it probably won't account for much. – b1nary.atr0phy Apr 11 '15 at 8:06
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    “I am Jaime Lannister! I have killed the King, therefore I am now King!” [Looks around at his new kingdom; notices everyone’s now-murderous eyes looking at him.] “I’ve spotted a flaw in this plan!” – Paul D. Waite Aug 25 '15 at 13:48

17 Answers 17

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Why would Jaime claim the throne? He was a member of the Kingsguard. Here is a quick recap of the events of Robert's rebellion:

At the tourney at Harrenhal, Rhaegar crowned Lyanna Stark the Queen of Love and Beauty, and most likely the two of them fell in love. Lyanna was engaged to marry Robert Baratheon. Subsequently, Rhaegar and Lyanna ran away, or as some would have it, Rhaegar kidnapped her. This is the event that triggered Robert's rebellion: Prince Rhaegar kidnapping Robert's fiancée.

Lyanna's older brother, Brandon Stark, who was young and impulsive rode with his friends to King's Landing and called for Rhaegar to "come out and die". King Aerys arrested Brandon and his friends and held them captive to force their lordly fathers to come explain their son's behaviour. When they arrived, king Aerys had them killed. Notably, he roasted Lord Rickard Stark over fire while Brandon Stark strangled himself trying to save him. (As told by Jaime Lannister).

King Aerys demanded that Jon Arryn give up his wards Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon, which he refused and instead called his banners and rose in rebellion against Aerys. By marrying Lysa Tully, Jon Arryn also secured the support of the riverlands through house Tully. Ned Stark also married Catelyn Tully in his dead brother's place.

Robert's grandmother was Princess Rhaelle Targaryen, daughter of Aegon V, aka Egg from the Dunk & Egg novels. As Maester Aemon said:

Stannis... Stannis has some of the dragon blood in him, yes. His brothers did as well. Rhaelle, Egg's little girl, she was how they came by it

Hence, Robert was considered a likely King after Aerys, though of course many other Targaryens were still alive who had a better claim than him. As his brother Renly points out, Robert took the crown mostly by force, and not by the validity of his claim.

Robert and Rhaegar met at the famous battle of the Trident, where Rhaegar died by Robert's hands. Aerys meanwhile hatched a plan to incinerate all of King's Landing with the aid of Lord Rossart of the guild of Alchemists.

"Let him be king over charred bones and cooked meat. Let him be the king of ashes." - King Aerys II

After the Trident, Lord Tywin Lannister marched to King's Landing. Grand Maester Pycelle convinced Aerys that his hand had returned to help him. Against the advice of his spy master Varys, Aerys Targaryen opened the gates and let Tywin's army into King's Landing, which was then subsequently sacked and the remainder of Aerys' defences were neutralised. Lord Tywin sent Ser Gregor Clegane and Ser Amory Lorch to murder the Targaryens remaining in Maegor's Keep, which they did.

Meanwhile, with everything lost, Aerys sent Lord Rossart to set fire to the caches of wildfire that would destroy King's Landing, but Jaime intercepted him and killed him. Afterwards, he went to Aerys and killed him. He was caught in the act. While sitting on the Iron Throne, he was later found by Ned Stark, and relinquished the kingdom to him.

Even if Jaime had wanted to claim the kingdom, it is highly unlikely that he would have succeeded. He was a member of the Kingsguard who had slain the King, something which would be considered dishonourable. House Lannister also did not have the support of any other major house, as compared to house Baratheon who was supported by the Eyrie, the Riverlands, and the North.

I believe that Jaime was asked whether a new King was to be proclaimed, and that he briefly considered doing so, but in the end decided he did not want any part of it. Much of this information comes from the Jaime chapters in A Storm of Swords, if I recall correctly.

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    I always thought that a member of the Kingsguard could not take any titles. So Jamie couldn't even if he wanted to. – Möoz Apr 17 '14 at 2:42
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    @BorhanMooz Presumably, if you can kill the King, you can do anything. But yes, that would be another reason against Jaime taking the crown. – TLP Apr 17 '14 at 12:34
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    Excellent summary, I would just add in one detail that's relevant to the question. While sitting on the Iron Throne, he was later found by Ned Stark (accompanied by whole army). Just so you can't say Jamie killed Ned and said: "Wow, look what they did to poor Ned, those bastards." – Zikato Jun 2 '15 at 14:07
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    Good summary, but Rhaegar kidnapping Lyanna was NOT the event that triggered Robert's rebellion. The Mad King burning Rickard and Brandon Stark alive triggered Robert's rebellion. Burning the highest members of one of your noble houses is a big NO-NO. – Arm0geddon Jun 2 '15 at 15:35
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    @Zikato, what do you mean "Jaime killed Ned"? No he didn't. Or is that how it went down in the show? (I've only read the books.) – Wildcard May 13 '16 at 14:29
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There's more to becoming the king than killing the previous guy. Robert Baratheon was (IIRC) a distant relative of the Targaryens and, more importantly, he led a rebellion that defeated their armies. Jaime Lannister was a glorified bodyguard who turned against his master.

If Jaime was some kind of an idiot lunatic, I suppose he could have tried to declare himself king; but he wouldn't have been recognised as king by anyone that mattered, and would probably have been killed by Robert.

  • In the show, we only ever see Robert as a big fat glutton. Are you saying that Robert was personally his equal in combat, or is this a more general "Robert's forces would have killed Jaime"? – John O Mar 30 '13 at 15:56
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    @JohnO well, the show takes place a fair number of years after the rebellion, so there's plenty of time for Robert to turn from a strong, athletic man (probably on par with his younger brothers) into a fat drunkard... that said, Jamie is supposedly one of the best fighters in the kingdom, so Robert probably couldn't have beaten him in single combat. But he would have no reason to engage in single combat with an honourless lunatic. So yeah, Jamie would have been killed by Robert's troops (or possible spared, since Jamie's father funded Robert's rebellion). – evilsoup Mar 30 '13 at 16:31
  • @evilsoup Tywin funded Robert's rebellion? C'mon now, he did no such thing, he basically did nothing until after the Trident, when he betrayed Aerys and killed his heirs. – TLP Mar 30 '13 at 17:13
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    Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was touted as a great fighter, having won tourneys himself. When Robert beat him single-handedly in the Battle of the Trident, is was very possible that Robert could beat Jaime Lannister... if he had been anywhere near King's Landing. Robert, at the time, was recovering from his wounds received during the battle, as Ned Stark was sent with his forces to take King's Landing while the Targaryen forces were mostly in the Trident fighting Baratheon's forces. – Jersey Sep 23 '13 at 17:13
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    Robert also used a warhammer, which seems to be an uncommon weapon for Westeros. It's possible that Jaime, in his youth, would not be well equipped to fight against that Robert's combat style. – USFBS Jun 2 '15 at 12:14
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The short answer is that the Storm Lords, River Lords, Northmen, and Lords of the Vale would have killed Jaime and anyone who supported him. Robert won a war for the throne, he didn't just kill one guy.

And on the topic of single combat between Robert and Jaime which has been discussed in this thread, let me say this. Robert was a great champion in his day. Before he got old and fat, he kicked a lot of butt. Someone, I think Ned, remembers at one point how no one could stand against Robert and his warhammer. Jaime also noted in one of his chapters that Robert had been stronger than he. That being said, I don't think it's a forgone conclusion either way who would win in single combat. Jaime was a master swordsman. But don't dismiss Robert just because they only show him old and fat in the T.V. show.

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Jaime actually "took" the throne once Aerys was dead - when Ned Stark arrived in the throne room, Jaime was sitting on the Iron Throne. Ned stared him down until he got off it again.

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Killing the King didn't mean you inherited the kingship. You needed a consensus. In the power vacuum created by Aerys's death Jaime Lannister was certainly a contender for the Iron Throne but he didn't seem to want it. Robert had united various factions in his rebellion and very much led from the front in his battles. His supporters weren't that impressed with a Kingsguard member who did nothing except slip a blade into Aerys near the end, hence his derisive nickname Kingslayer. Finally, even Jaime might have hesitated to take on the Robert Baratheon of those days. He didn't seem to have any problem crushing Rhaegar Targaryan with his hammer on the battlefield despite Rhaegar's renown as a knight.

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Lots of incorrect information here, which I will try to fix -

the reason Jaimie never became king was because he had no blood claim to the throne. Monarchy does NOT work the way that most fictional TV shows & movies tell people that it does - it might seem like it is a simple matter of having an army & setting one's self up as the "king", but I can tell you in 1,500 years of European history no person ever mounted a throne without first being "of the blood royal" except for 2 people - William the Conqueror in 1066 & Napoleon Bonaparte at the turn-of-the 19th century, though one could argue that William succeeded to the English throne because Edward the Confessor chose him, but that's another discussion entirely. Yes, there were lots of conflicts over thrones in European history, but they were ALWAYS fought by competing branches of the same bloodline, if not the same family. Where did the "blood royal start"? Mostly from ancient dark age tribal chieftains.

At the time Robert's Rebellion started, the Targaryen dynasty & even the line of succession had dwindled to just a few persons. The line of succession to the Iron the Throne was as follows -

  1. Crown Prince Rhaegar
  2. Rhaegar's infant son Aegon by Elia of Dorne
  3. Rhaegar's brother Prince Viserys
  4. Robert Baratheon
  5. Stannis Baratheon
  6. Renly Baratheon

So how did the Baratheon brothers come to be so close to the succession? Their paternal grandmother was a Targaryen princess, Rhaelle Targaryen married into House Baratheon, she was the daughter of King Aegon V. Rhaelle's son was the Baratheon brother's father Lord Steffon Baratheon, meaning that Steffon was 1st cousin to the mad king. Contrary to what the TV show might have told everyone, the Targaryens did not always wed brother to sister - in fact the Targaryens were wedding "out" with increasing frequency during the latter half of their near 300 year reign over Westeros. The mad king & his sister-wife were the first Targaryens born of a brother-sister union in almost a century, the both of them being the children of King Jaehaerys II & his siter-wife Shaera Targaryen.

It is the Baratheon descent from House Targaryen that has made Melisandre so interested in Stannis's "king's blood", since as far as she knows all that is left of the line of the dragonlords is Stannis, Shireen & Robert's bastards.

Robert was agreed upon as king by Ned Stark & Jon Arryn at the start of the rebellion because of Robert's own Targaryen pedigree, though Prince Viserys was by rights ahead of him, it is this reason why Robert wanted Viserys & Danearys dead.

So long as there is a legitimate living descendant of Aerys II the Baratheons are nothing but usurpers. The Targaryens created the concept of one monarch ruling over the whole of Westeros on the Iron Throne, & thus only the progeny of that line can inherit it.

  • Melisandre is also interested in John Snow, or will be, if the fan based rumor that John's mother was actually Neds sister by 1.Crown Prince Rhaegar is played out in the TV show. (Martin will never finish the books. He has obviously lost interest, given how much other stuff he has written and published that isn't book VI or book VII. ) – KorvinStarmast May 13 '16 at 14:03
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    There might actually not be very many native people in Western Europe that aren't descended from some Merovingian or other, Napoleon included. Or if not them then some other proto-royal dark age tribal chieftan. We just don't know the exact lineages. So we all have royal blood, yay! – Steve Jessop Jul 18 '16 at 17:00
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In the book, A Game of Thrones, in the part where Ned confronted Cersei and told her he now knows everything about Jon Arryn's death, Cersei mentioned that Ned should have taken the throne and made a mistake by not doing so. She also mentioned that all that she knew was told to her by Jaime, and Ned replied that he had made many mistakes, but not taking the throne was not one of them. With this conversation, it clearly states that Ned in that specific time is the best chance to be the king, not by blood relation. It seems to me that if the throne was left vacant in a situation of war, the person with the highest title plus effectiveness in that war, has the all the right, regardless of blood relation, or in this case relation to the Targarean.

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Rheagar was a capable warrior, and it was a surprise but true that Robert did defeat him.

Personally, Jaime was no match for Robert. Even if he were, Roberts army would have skewered them. Jaime lacks the ambition and intelligence. It is clear that if he hadn't yielded the iron throne, he would have been killed by Eddard stark. I think it is his surrender that allowed him to live.

  • Wasn't Jamie widely considered one of the best swordsman in the 7 kingdoms? movies.stackexchange.com/questions/11732/… – Liath Apr 24 '14 at 8:34
  • Wrong answer mate. Rhaegar was a good warrior but he was in no way a warrior like Robert, Arthur Dayne, Barristan Selmy etc were. It was no surprise that ferocious Stormlord won as Now lord Borrel of Sisterton noted "That Baratheon is utterly without fear and fights like a King should". Barristan Selmy used to think of Jaime as best natural swordsman until he met a young boy at Meereen. Robert had fierce strength and bravery but thats no match for artists like Selmy, Dayne, Jaime or other real knights of KG. – Aegon Jun 1 '16 at 4:37
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Robert Baratheon would have killed Jaime Lannister with ease, in his youth. Jaime didn't want the throne anyway. He just stopped King Aerys genocide, and then didn't know what to do?

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    Not really likely. Robert Baratheon was ferocious and strong but Jaime was a natural swordsman. Even Barristan Selmy considered him a hallmark of natural swordsmanship. He was knighted in his teenage by none other than Sword of the Morning Arthur Dayne. Brienne of Tarth also notes that even with his hands chained and himself starved for weeks, Jaime fought like an artist. Robert may have killed Jaime but I wouldn't say with ease. Robert couldn't kill Rhaegar with ease either, he took many wounds and couldn't ride to KL which was why Ned went to KL in his stead. – Aegon May 18 '16 at 5:34
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Robert led the Rebellion. He has a stronger claim to the throne than the Arryns, Starks, or Lannisters because his grandmother is Rhaelle Targaryen.

1

In addition to evilsoup's answer, Jaime clearly didn't want the throne.

He consistently turned down opportunities to have power. He just wants to be a knight, and little more. Robert was obviously the leader of the rebellion, and therefore the most suited leader.

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Robert led the rebellion against the Targaryens, And The Lannisters were at the Targaryens side during that war (Tywin was the hand of the king).

Robert wanted to sieze the throne, and the Targaryens and the Lannisters were overwhelmed by the rebellion.

The Lannisters are also famous for ''Siding with the winners'' and in this case, Robert was the winner.

So why did'nt Jaime sieze the throne? Well he did sit down on the throne after he killed Aerys, but who would obey him? He wasn't the one who won the war against the Targaryens.

It's a hard thing to explain but it's the easiest thing to understand the logic. Jaime had the same right to the throne as a simple Westeros farmer, because Robert was the one who ultimately won the war, and Roberts victory siezed the Iron Throne that day. Does a ''Kingslayer'' sieze the throne? A Kingslayer who broke his vows to the Gold Cloaks and murdured the one he was sworn to protect? Everyone is mocking him in the series for it. So no Jaime could not sieze the Throne.

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Ok There are some major point that are being missed. And this is because there is some garbling between the series and the books.

First the Lannisters do not side with the winners. Tywin did not join the Targaryens or Roberts Rebelion. Tywin was not Hand of the king during Robert's Rebelion. Tywin resigned his position of Hand after Jaime was named to the kings gaurd. That means after the tourney of Harrenhall before Rhegar kidnapped/ran off with Lyanna Stark.

Tywin did not fund Robert's Rebellion he funded Robert as king after the Rebellion. Tywin kills the Rhaegar's children as he says to Tryion "We came late to Robert's Cause" The Lannisters had to show the world that they had forsaken the Targaryens. Lannisters do not choose winner that is House Frey.

Tywin stayed out of the rebellion because Aerys had robbed him of his favorite son and heir. Aerys had been jealous of Tywin because Twin married the woman Aery's wanted, and that Tywin as Hand ruled the 7 kingdoms in a way that he could never. So when Tywin stayed out of the war it was because he did not care who won, and he knew Jaime was being held as a hostage. That is why Aerys always had Jaime close, as well as he was secretly waiting for Aerys to call for his help. He wanted the king to beg Tywin to come back and save him

Jaime states clearly in book three he can barely remember the names of the hands after his father, but he remembered their sigils.

Tyrion tells Little Finger when he arrives at kings landing that his father is the last hand to leave Kings landing with his titles, lands, and parts in tact. He accounts for the 4 hands after his father quit.

Jaime could not take the throne because he could not keep it. You do not become king by killing the last person to sit on it. This is not the Elder Wand, the power of the throne does not pass that way. The person who get the throne is the one who can keep. Tywin would not encourage Jaime to keep it because House Lannister did not have the backing to keep it. Robert Would have laid siege to Kings landing then killed Tywin, and Jaime and every one in crimson. The Targaryen loyalists would not have sided with the Lannisters.

Jaime killed Aerys and in his insolence sat on the throne. Jaime may have been able to take Robert in his prime, and RObert in his prime was one of the greatest warriors in the kingdom, he defeated Rhaegar who was one of the greatest warriors.

Now They call Jaime Kingslayer but mostly behind his back. They say Lannisters have shit for honor blah, blah, blah, Jaime fouled his cloak, blah, blah, blah. But except for when he was captured or treating with the Blackfish they gave him a wide birth because they all feared him with a sword in hand.

The story (books and show) picks up 15 years after the Rebellion, this is marked by both Rob Stark and Jon Snows age.

Jaime is a Sworn Brother of the Kingsguard, the White Knights, or the Seven. He was not a gold cloak. Those who watch the series you are missing out on a lot the back story that surrounds the narrative.

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Jaime never once in the books ever suggested he wanted such power. Or regretted never trying he seems indifferent.

  • Hello Rob, welcome to Sci & Fa SE. Please refrain from using the answers to add details or ask for further information, that's what the comment section is for under every answer and question. The answer if you think you can provide one is preferably backed up with references. Enjoy your stay ! cheers – yondaime008 Feb 19 '15 at 8:21
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Jaime gives an indirect answer himself in the books, basically he didn't really care who took the throne at that point in time. One thing seems certain though is that he didn't really want a new Targaryen king. The following is Jaime accounting the events of him becoming the Kingslayer to Brienne.

"Tell them the Mad King is dead," he commanded. "Spare all those who yield and hold them captive."
"Shall I proclaim a new king as well?" Crakehall asked, and Jaime read the question plain: Shall it be your father, or Robert Baratheon, or do you mean to try to make a new dragonking? He thought for a moment of the boy Viserys, fled to Dragonstone, and of Rhaegar's infant son Aegon, still in Maegor's with his mother. A new Targaryen king, and my father as Hand. How the wolves will howl, and the storm lord choke with rage. For a moment he was tempted, until he glanced down again at the body on the floor, in its spreading pool of blood. His blood is in both of them, he thought. "Proclaim who you bloody well like," he told Crakehall. Then he climbed the Iron Throne and seated himself with his sword across his knees, to see who would come to claim the kingdom. As it happened, it had been Eddard Stark.
A Storm of Swords, Jaime II

He also sort of left it to chance (though by that time I'm sure he knew it would be the rebellion), whichever army came through to King's Landing and the Red Keep first would be the one he would stand aside for. As it was it was Eddard Stark leading the rebellion's forces in place of Robert Baratheon.

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because the baratheons are distantly related to the targarayeon. therefore it was in Roberts blood that he could be king. Robert even said that Ned would be the better king between them

-2

Robert killed Rhaegar in single combat who had recently won the tournament at Harrenhal, defeating the strongest knights in the realm. Jaime was a young member of the Kingsguard, who, while showing immense promise, was still not on the level of those men. Robert would've smashed his skull in.

protected by Edlothiad Jan 9 '18 at 11:46

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