If you follow A Fantasy League of Ice and Fire you've noticed that I give a lot of love to a character who seems a little down on his luck. You might be wondering why I support a guy who currently has no army, no money, lost the biggest battle in the War of Five Kings, AND doesn't have a male heir. The people don't like him, he's a stiff and kind of an asshole, and he even follows a weird Eastern religion that is different from the rest of the country.
So why do I root for him? Same reason people root for Kobe.
Game of Thrones is a great show, but it doesn't give you the whole story that lead up to the action. People forget that there was a rebellion to get Robert on the Throne and a couple of wars here and there on the way to Season 1 Episode 1. It would be like only remembering Kobe for that time he teamed up with Dwight Howard (Lady Melisandre) and got swept by the Spurs in the first round last year. You'd be leaving out the best part of his career—the Championships. And just like Kobe, Stannis the Mannis is out for one last Larry O'Iron Throne-phy. And just like Kobe, this one will mean the most to him. And just like Kobe, he's probably not going to win it.
You would describe Kobe Bryant as psychotically competitive, right? Well, Stannis would literally rather starve to death than admit defeat and surrender Robert's castle Storm's End to the besieging Tyrell army during the Rebellion. If it hadn't been for a certain smuggler turned Onion Knight, he would have died. And given Mace Tyrell's supreme military incompetence, it would have taken them months to figure out there was no one in the castle anymore.
Oh, and how did he repay Ser Davos? By knighting him, sure, but also cutting off part of his four left fingers for his past crimes. Good thing Stannis isn't a modern day cop—I can't fathom how much a bribe to get out of a speeding ticket from him would be... seven, maybe eight dozen donuts at least?
He wasn't even done fighting—he built a brand new Royal Navy and captured Dragonstone from the last Targaryen loyalists. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you feel about Danaerys), the Targaryen children had been taken across the Narrow Sea before Stannis had set sail. Regardless, Robert blamed Stannis and "punished" him by giving him Dragonstone instead of Storm's End. Wait, no, that actually was a punishment because in Stannis's mind he deserved both of them. Especially considering Renly was the third oldest brother and fought in zero battles during the war.
After the war, Stannis was named Master of Ships and was a member of the small council. He was a good choice for the job especially when Balon Greyjoy started his own rebellion. Stannis smashed the Iron Fleet at Lannisport and stormed Great Wyk (the largest and richest of the Iron Islands). Theon Greyjoy talks a lot of shit about how great the Ironborn are. And it's mostly shit, he barely remembers the place—he knew fewer things than Jon Snow when he left Pyke.
Actually Theon knew one thing, the Ironborn are the best sailors in the world. The difference between Ironborn and "Greenlanders" as they're known on the islands is that all of the Ironborn are sailors and raiders. They don't farm or anything. House Greyjoy's words are "We Do Not Sow" for crying out loud. And Stannis beat them. He fucking beat them. That's the only time that Victarion Greyjoy has ever been defeated in a sea battle. That's the only time that Victarion Greyjoy has ever been defeated in a battle. That's the only time that Victarion Greyjoy has ever been defeated. (Who's Victarion Greyjoy? Balon's second youngest brother—stay tuned).
Sure Stannis is a little down on his luck right now. But he's already accomplished a heck of a lot. And he's not down for the count yet. His blood magic has been working (2 out of 3 usurpers dead so far). You know who had a couple of great seasons after getting some weird plasma treatment in Germany? Kobe Bryant.
If you're still wondering why I call Stannis Baratheon "Stannis the Mannis" after all that, I don't know what the hell is wrong with you.
Smigoversen should have tried harder to figure out who Stannis's Shaq is. He twitters here if you have any suggestions