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I'm about 20% of the way through "A Clash of Kings" and I'm confused about Lord Stannis' right to claim to the throne.

Throughout Game of Thrones, we learn that Jon Arryn learned of the true father of Cersei's children from the book he was reading and from seeking two of Roberts' bastards. We similarly learn that Ned came to the same conclusions from the same sources.

We are also told that Ned tries to send a letter to Stannis with his findings, but that is intercepted by the queen.

But in "A Clash of Kings", we are told Stannis somehow knows the truth, yet he had only met one son of Robert. How does he know what nobody else, including his brother, seem to suspect? And why has he never raised his suspicions with his brother?

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Stannis was part of Jon Arryn's investigation. So he knew as soon as Jon did. When Jon Arryn was murdered, taking with him the evidence, Stannis realized that his life too was in danger so he fled to Dragonstone while he can gather evidence of his own to confront Robert with. That's why we never see him in the first book, even though he's part of the Small Council.

  • Thank you. I must have missed that part when I read the first book. I remember that Arryn's wife had escaped back to the Eyrie, but I don't remember if they explained why Stannis had left. In the scene where Ned meets the council, he is simply told that Stannis has left, it is not made clear that he knows the truth. I still find it peculiar that Stannis would escape rather than discuss things with the King and his brother Renly, since together they could get rid of the queen and the Kingslayer, and be next in line for the throne. – Uri Sep 14 '11 at 1:42
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    The Spider mentioned a few times that Jon Arryn would go visit Robert's bastards with Stannis. As for why Stannis never conferred with his brothers; they weren't that close to each other in the first place. Stannis knew that if he wanted his brothers on his side he needed strong proof, which he didn't. Robert had great trust in Jon Arryn, but little in his own brother. – System Down Sep 14 '11 at 17:04
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    Robert also had a very short temper, and one can assume that, like Ned after them, Jon Arryn and Stannis decided that telling Robert too early might risk a war. – Wilerson Sep 14 '11 at 19:45
  • @System Down: Ahh. I don't know why I missed that. I keep remembering that he went with somebody, but didn't realize it was Stannis. That explains it, then. Thank you ! – Uri Sep 14 '11 at 21:54

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