- "If the gods were just, they would allow me the chance to see my brother again, to see my father again, to strike down the monster who left me with that scar; but the gods, to their credit, have never been outstandingly just, haven't they?"
- ―Arthur Baratheon
Prince Arthur Baratheon, popularly called the White Stag, is a major character in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth seasons, and debuts in "The North Remembers". He was mentioned twice in the first season, and is portrayed by starring cast member John Malkovich. The brother of Lord Steffon Baratheon of Storm's End, Arthur wielded the family's ancestral sword Iron Solace, which had been bestowed upon him controversially by his brother, thereafter becoming a legendary warrior and becoming known as Arthur the Storm. Arthur was the Prince of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea, Lord Guardian of the Stormlands, Sealord of Braavos, Champion of the Prince's Pass and Bane of the Ninepenny Kings, serving as a pivotal supporter to House Baratheon for almost his entire life.
Arthur would become one of the most fearsome warriors in all of the Seven Kingdoms - strong, brilliant, cunning, but also calm, honourable and sagacious. When his brother died after the War of the Ninepenny Kings, the lordship fell to his son Robert and Arthur served him loyally, fighting during the War of the Usurper and the Greyjoy Rebellion, until he was shipwrecked during a mission to Essos. He was famous for having faced off briefly against Maelys the Monstrous and survived when he was fourteen, and for his subsequent crusade to wipe out the Ninepenny Kings. He was a front-line commander during Robert's Rebellion, earning him great respect in the Seven Kingdoms, and became the husband of Lady Jeyne Tyrell and the father of Lilith and Ormund Baratheon. His defeat of Gerold Hightower at the Battle of the Prince's Pass became one of the most famous victories in the Rebellion.
Upon being shipwrecked, Arthur was widely believed to have died alongside his wife and two children who were aboard the ship at the time. He was rescued by Syrio Forel from the ship, along with his family, and taken to Braavos, where he recovered over the next year. The Stormlands mourned for his loss, but in Braavos Arthur became phenomenally driven to flourish were he was - he rose to succeed Syrio as First Sword of Braavos to the Sealord. Holding this position, he worked to provide for his ailing wife, and to raise his two children in preparation for returning. By the time of the War of the Five Kings, Arthur was making plans to return with an army and support his nephew Stannis, to become the next ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, but at the same time he was part of an alternative plan to support Daenerys Targaryen.
His personal sigil is a crowned white stag rampant on a gold field, as per his moniker of 'the White Stag'.
- "Storm's End! Storm's End! Storm's End!"
- ―Arthur's battle cry during the Battle of the Prince's Pass
Arthur was the brother of Lord Steffon Baratheon, the Lord of Storm's End and Lord Paramount of the Stormlands. Born just short of a year after Steffon, Arthur was often considered more of a stag than his brother Steffon, which stems from House Baratheon's sigil being a stag. Arthur grew up alongside Maester Cressen, who had only just started to serve House Baratheon, and the two of them became very strong friends. He was trained to fight from the age of seven, and he favoured a longsword over an ordinary sword and shield like his brother used. Indeed, he and his brother were close, but while Steffon worked to become the Lord of Storm's End, Arthur focused on becoming a soldier. When he was ten years old, their father took them to Casterly Rock to meet with Lord Tytos Lannister, and Arthur befriended a young Tywin Lannister. The two of them had a mutual disrespect towards Tytos, but Arthur was easier about that disrespect than Tywin ever could have been.
Even though he made several friends, especially in court and in other regions where he liked to travel, Arthur was a very lonely child according to Cressen - he preferred solitude, some thought, but most believed that he was a melancholy man. This opinion evaporated when Prince Aerys Targaryen travelled to Storm's End and met with Ormund Baratheon. Arthur found the prince to be an overall charming man, but felt that there was something about him that was dangerous and not at all trustworthy. He voiced this to his father, who was tempted to strike his son but refused and they both agreed that Aerys was an eccentric young man. Cressen once consoled the young Arthur that the world was full of madmen, but Arthur proved to be already aware of this. When he was thirteen, Arthur had a falling out with his mother Rhaelle over the concept that Aerys was a madman, and from then on Arthur would have an unending disagreement with his mother, even though he was eventually proven correct. This argument was never resolved between mother and son, and Arthur would commonly remark that he wished he had made peace with Rhaelle when he had the chance.
Arthur was squire to Ser Barristan Selmy during the War of the Ninepenny Kings, which became alternatively known as the Fifth Blackfyre Rebellion. During the Blackfyre Rebellion, he distinguished himself to Barristan by being an extremely efficient squire, almost never needing detailed commands to carry tasks out. The harshest outcome of the conflict was when Arthur and Steffon watched Maelys Blackfyre, the leader of the infidels, strike down their father Ormund in a fearsome duel. Maelys then attacked Arthur while Steffon cradled his body and Maelys left an almost fatal wound in the young squire during the violent duel that ensued between the two. The wound would be left on Arthur for the rest of his life, running from his right shoulder to the let side of his stomach. Barristan was horrified to see his squire struck down and carried him personally from the battlefield in his own arms, even though he was nearly struck by several arrows in the process. Arthur recovered, and continued to fight until he earned the phenomenal satisfaction of seeing Maelys the Monstrous struck down by Barristan soon afterwards. Even though this was far from Arthur's last taste of battle, he earned a song entitled Where do the Fawns Play about his stand against Maelys.
Determined not to leave any loose ends to the War of the Ninepenny Kings, Arthur set out on a personal crusade when the war closed, hunting down the Band of Nine, killing Spotted Tom the Butcher and Xhobar Qhoqua To this day, it is widely speculated what he did with the rest of the Ninepenny Kings, since Alequo Alarys evaded him only to be killed by his own wife. It is known that Samarro Saan and the Old Mother were also killed due to Arthur's crusade, but it is not known how. Because of this, when Arthur returned to Storm's End he received a demand to travel to King's Landing, where he was greeted by Prince Aerys, who brought forth Ser Barristan Selmy and bid that Arthur knelt. Barristan knighted him, calling him one of the many heroes of the War of the Ninepenny Kings and commemorating him for fighting off Maelys, however briefly. Ser Arthur Baratheon was offered a place on the Kingsguard, which Aerys admitted was only an offer and not a demand: for his deeds, Arthur would be deemed the ability to choose whether or not to join. Arthur recognised that, while honour and distinction were major watchwords for him, the Kingsguard's vows of life service and inability to marry nulled his decision. He declined and only asked that he be allowed to remain in Storm's End and that he would continue to fight for his liege. With that, he left King's Landing with a cheering crowd of peasants at his back.
However, even though Arthur was a hero of the Fifth Blackfyre Rebellion, his absence from Storm's End had sparked complications: Steffon had demanded that the funeral of their father be delayed until Arthur settled in his homeland at last, and Arthur's crusade had delayed this even further. Arthur attended his father's burial in Storm's End, but neither brother could bear to look at one another. It was rumoured that they fell out, but it was never confirmed, but Cressen confirmed that Steffon resented his brother for going out on a personal vendetta while he had to hold the fort in Storm's End. He also revealed that his wife, Cassana Estermont, was with child. The first, born two years later, was named Robert, then Stannis another two years later. The two children would be raised in Storm's End under Steffon's care, but when Steffon was called upon to serve on the Small Council, Arthur offered to raise them alongside Cassana - this was reasonable enough, since both children idolised Arthur, but for unknown reasons Steffon made ulterior arrangements to have Robert raised in the Eyrie by Jon Arryn. Stannis remained at Storm's End, where he squired to Arthur, who grew to greatly admire his nephew and recognise his strategic savvy. The last honour that Steffon ever bestowed upon his brother was when he gave him the ancestral sword of House Baratheon, Iron Solace, and named him Lord Guardian of the Stormlands. When Steffon and his wife were set to return from Volantis after a mission from King Aerys, Arthur stood beside his two nephews and saw the ship that had his brother and sister-in-law upon it sink in a storm. He knew that this would embitter the boys permanently.
Robert rose to become the Lord of Storm's End and Lord Paramount of the Stormlands, and Arthur hoped to try and distract the siblings by arranging their futures - he worked with Lord Rickard Stark to arrange a betrothal between Robert, and Lyanna Stark, whereas he struggled to find a bride for the cold and methodical Stannis. Arthur spent a great amount of time trying to raise the youngest son, Renly, to be like Steffon, but Cressen persuaded him to allow Renly to grow up as he would - it would serve, Cressen said, to have the three Baratheons be different. Arthur endured the wild nature of Renly, and helped train him as he had done Stannis, but everything changed when he was asked to attend the Tourney of Harrenhal. He danced with Ashara Dayne and Queen Skylar Redmyre at the tourney, as well as his betrothed Jeyne Tyrell. He witnessed Rhaegar Targaryen's exposed interest in Lyanna Stark when he named her the Queen of Love and Beauty. He witnessed his nephew's rage at this outcome, and then when he learned that Lyanna Stark had been abducted he feared for Robert Baratheon's wrath - remembering how despondent Robert had become after his father's death, Arthur predicted disaster for the Seven Kingdoms if they ever stood between Robert and his beloved Lyanna.
During Robert's Rebellion, Robert placed Stannis in charge of Storm's End, even though many thought that the older, more experienced Arthur would have been better suited to the position. Robert recognised that his uncle was a proven battle commander and he needed him by his side. He put Arthur in charge of a huge faction of the Stormlords' army. With it, he commanded that Arthur search the Dornish Marches far and wide for Lyanna Stark. Arthur felt like reasoning with Robert, fearing that he would invoke the rage of the Dornishmen, but knew that it made no difference when House Martell joined the Targaryens in battling Robert. With a force of nearly twelve thousand men, Arthur scoured the Dornish Marches and the Reach, and even journeyed to Starfall and Summerhall, but he was unable to find him. Seeing this as an outrageous intrusion, Aerys sent Gerold Hightower to meet with the Stormlord in battle at what became known as the Battle of the Prince's Pass, where the forces Gerold Hightower and Arthur Baratheon battled fearsomely for a day and night, until Arthur, even though his army was scattered, forced the White Bull into retreat when he killed several of his lieutenants in combat, winning the battle and forcing the White Bull to flee - in fact, Gerold Hightower vanished.
Fresh from the victory at the Prince's Pass, Arthur was called to arms to return for the Battle of the Trident, with Robert declaring that Rhaegar Targaryen had resurfaced at last and had marched to the Trident in the Riverlands, amassing a huge army. Before he left, Arthur sent a letter to Winterfell and Storm's End, stating that he had heard rumours that Rhaegar had come from the Tower of Joy in Dorne. He then travelled tirelessly to the Riverlands, where he rejoined his nephew and the two of them faced the royalists in open combat on the Red Fork. In the midst of the battle, Arthur and Ser Barristan Selmy led opposing sections of their armies. Barristan came close to fighting his former prodigy, but he was wounded several times before it came to that, and Arthur had him carried him from the battlefield, as Barristan had done so long ago. Arthur searched for his nephew in the aftermath of the battle and found him standing over the corpse of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Arthur brought Barristan Selmy's body to Robert, who demanded that the knight be healed by his own maester.
Following the end of the War of the Usurper, Arthur returned to Storm's End and ensured that Mace Tyrell had dipped his banners to Stannis. He found Stannis and his wife Selyse, just short of malnourished thanks to the efforts of Davos Seaworth. For the second time in his life, however, Arthur was called to the Red Keep where he was faced by his nephew, who raised him to the rank of lord and offered him a seat on the Small Council. To everyone's alarm, Arthur declined, wishing to spend as little time as possible in King's Landing when he was needed at Storm's End. He witnessed the violent argument between Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon over the deaths of the Targaryen children, and watched Ned leave to fight the remaining battles alone. Later, when Ned Stark returned, he ventured to Storm's End and informed Arthur that he had found Lyanna, and that he had killed Gerold Hightower and Arthur Dayne to get to her. When Arthur asked where Lyanna was, Ned didn't answer.
At some point in the year before the War of the Usurper, Arthur married with Lady Jeyne Tyrell, the sister of Lord Mace Tyrell. There were rumours that the reason for the marriage was the suggestion that Tywin Lannister wanted to propose a marriage between Arthur and his daughter Cersei (Even though Cersei was significantly younger than Arthur). Desperate to put his family in a greater position, Mace arranged the marriage between Arthur and Jeyne, and they married in 282 AC after the tourney of Harrenhal. The two of them had a son Ormund, and later a daughter, Lilith - many speculated that Arthur felt irreparably guilty for placing a personal crusade ahead of his family duties. He raised the two of them lovingly, but six years later House Greyjoy rebelled against the Iron Throne and invaded the North. Arthur fought alongside Stannis at Fair Isle, aiding in the destruction of the Greyjoy Fleet. Later on, Arthur was sent by King Robert on a mission to the Stepstones to forge a deal with the Iron Bank in order to support the war. He took his family with him, since his wife wouldn't leave without them, and the ship was upended in a storm two days into the journey. He was presumed dead at sea by the Seven Kingdoms, and Robert demanded that the Seven Kingdoms mourn for Arthur.
In reality, Arthur had sped his family to a rowboat, and the four of them were picked up by a ship that was captained by Syrio Forel, the First Sword of Braavos, who rescued them. They recovered on the trek to Braavos, and Syrio had no idea who Arthur was - the only clue of identity was his sword, Iron Solace, which survived the journey. Syrio nursed the Stormlord back to health, but revealed that Jeyne was horribly shaken by the journey - she had gone into labour, but due to the violence of their escape she had miscarried the child. The First Sword agreed to keep Arthur's true identity a secret and, in Braavos, Arthur worked as a powerful sellsword for five years until he could buy a manse for his family near the Iron Bank - he befriended Tycho Nestoris, and through this friendship, and Tycho's own admiration of him, Arthur succeeded his rescuer Syrio as the First Sword to the Sealord of Braavos.
Arthur is first mentioned by Robert Baratheon to Ser Barristan Selmy, who reminisces about the War of the Ninepenny Kings where Arthur squired for him against Maelys Blackfyre. Robert remembers Arthur being tall and harsh, and that he always had a voice like a warhorn, which Barristan concurs to.
Arthur is mentioned by Illyrio Mopatis, who laments that they are not ready - the 'White Stag' has not risen enough to oppose Casterly Rock. Arya mentions this to her father when she escapes the dungeons, to her father, but Ned Stark is baffled by this - he clearly believes Arthur to have died in the shipwreck. 
After establishing their mutual respect for one another, Petyr Baelish and Varys follow the newly-crowned King Joffrey to a Small Council meeting. Varys spots a little bird lurking in the shadows and nods at him. The little bird travels out to the Sept of Baelor, where a raven has been prepared. He takes a note from his pocket and attaches it to the foot of the raven, and the note is stamped by a sigil of a white stag on a golden field, indicating that the note is for Arthur. He then releases the raven and watches it fly.
The raven flies into a huge manse in Braavos, where Arthur Baratheon is roused from his bed by a servant. As he rises, the scar he received from Maelys all those years ago is visible. Arthur reads the letter and learns that his nephew, Robert Baratheon, is dead. Arthur discusses this when his wife, Jeyne, when she arrives and she sees he is shaken by this news. Arthur remembers the last time he saw Robet, a large and proud man on the Iron Throne with the beautiful Cersei by his side - Robert was no longer the boy that Arthur had known. He reads the letter to Jeyne and voices that Eddard Stark is also dead, and the surviving Baratheons have risen up against the Lannisters. Arthur demands a meeting with Tycho Nestoris, but the man is elsewhere - Arthur looks out across the Narrow Sea and wonders what Westeros has come to, and how long it will be when the plan is complete and they can return to the Seven Kingdoms again. Jeyne comfors Arthur, and together they look up and see the huge red comet that cuts across the sky above them.
Lilith and Ormund are wandering Braavos, when the Waif waylays them and asks for a coin to spare. Ormund lies that they have no coin on them, but the Waif aggressively brands him a liar, to which Lilith senses a confrontation and suggests they walk away. Lilith tells Arthur about the encounter and Arthur visits the House of Black and White, only for a Faceless Man, in the guise of a half-blind beggar, to confront him. The Faceless Man offers Arthur the chance to leave the House of Black and White with his head, but Arthur trades barbs with him until it is established that the Faceless Man cannot kill him without the consent of the Many-Faced God. Impressed, the Faceless Man sheds his face to reveal himself to be the Waif. Arthur identifies that her training is incomplete and asks her why she waylaid his children. The Waif explains that he wishes to convey a message, and had to catch his attention unconventionally. She explains that Illyrio Mopatis has advanced his plans - there is to be a trial ahead for Arthur as a result of this advancement, a trial that will prove him worthy of his part in the war to come.
Lilith is writing a letter to Illyrio Mopatis when her father catches her. She explains that Illyrio wants to know about any developments in the past few weeks, and that she considers an encounter with a Faceless Man as a considerably major incident. Arthur reminds her that the Faceless Men are phenomenally dangerous and that the one she encountered could have been there to kill her - she retorts that the Waif didn't. Arthur remembers a day when a young Renly Baratheon used to run about Storm's End with pillows in his tunic, pretending to be a giant, which was all good fun until he tripped and fell into a brazier and Arthur had to rush to the kitchens to find a pale of water to throw over him. Renly had laughed about it later on, even though he had almost died. Lilith asks about Renly and his brothers, and Arthur explains to her that Robert Baratheon is dead and the two remaining brothers are at war. He remembers seeing Stannis fighting in the Greyjoy Rebellion, before the shipwreck, and previously contemplates that Renly has never been in a battle. He knows that Renly is the more popular of the two, but fears that the battle will be more complicated than it is. Lilith asks what Stannis was like when Arthur last saw him, and he said - 'a hard man...a very hard man'.
Arthur demands to meet with Illyrio Mopatis, and Illyrio reluctantly attends. Arthur explains to Illyrio that the plans are about to advance and throughout the conversation, it is established that Daenerys Targaryen is involved - the newly-established Mother of Dragons will soon return to Westeros, and Arthur will return soon afterwards in order to support Stannis or Renly. With the Iron Throne under attack from the North, this could be made a whole lot easier - they could be facing open gates when they come to Westeros if they manage to ally themselves with the North before invading the Seven Kingdoms. Arthur points out certain flaws, such as the time it will take for the dragons to grow leaving openings for the Northerners to be defeated or for Daenerys to be killed by some unknown enemy. Illyrio asks Arthur what he intends to do, and Arthur explains that he plans on conquering the Stepstones before taking Westeros, in order to expand a fleet ready for Westeros. Illyrio adds that the Stepstones are too close to Dorne, and Arthur counters that the Stepstones don't belong to anyone yet.
With this plan in mind, Arthur declares that he is leaving for the Stepstones with Ormund, and Lilith becomes disappointed that she cannot come too. On the journey towards the ships that will take them to Pentos, cooperatively paid for between Arthur and Illyrio. Before they leave, Arthur arranges with Tycho Nestoris that they will return within five moons. Jeyne comes and sees them off on the ship, where Arthur promises to her that when he returns things will change, and Jeyne reveals that she knows about the Faceless Men, and that Arthur went after one himself. Arthur says that he will have to resolve that ordeal when he returns, for this is far too important. There, on a fleet of thirty ships manned by sellswords, Arthur sets sail on his ship, the Selmy's Grace. Ormund asks what lies in the Stepstones, and Arthur answers that an army lies there for them to take.
After escaping a violent storm, the fleet enters the Stepstones and they are immediately set upon by a band of sellswords who try and take the Selmy's Grace. Ormund kills three of them before Arthur unsheaths Iron Solace and duels one of them, cutting him from shoulder to hip and killing him, before warding several of them into the water. The skirmish ends with the men on Arthur's ships raining arrows on the attackers. With only six men dead, Arthur searches for a surviving pirate, where he finds one of them and demands to know where the others are - the pirate, under pressure, identifies that there are seven pirate groups positioned around the Stepstones and Arthur, sensing a lie, says that they ought to move in three sorties through the Stepstones, with the Selmy's Grace going through the west.
The Selmy's Grace discovers three pirate groups and defeats them, expanding their fleet. The largest of them, called the Knights of the Silver Brigade, resides on one of the larger islands. They offer a parley with the newcomers, and Arthur decides to go ashore, but instructs his son to command a line of crossbows in case anything were to happen to him. Ormund offers to do it himself, stating that his father is the First Sword of Braavos and more important. Arthur counters that he (Ormund) is his son, and is infinitely more important for that. He goes ashore and meets with the leader of the Silver Brigade, Ghaskys Mo Qhoqua. Ghaskys challenges Arthur to a duel, with the penalty being the Baratheon fleet abandon the Stepstones. Arthur calls the crossbows of his ships to arms and announces that if that offer were taken, the crossbows would open fire.
Arthur offers them the chance to join them and keep their lives, but also share in one fifth more of the spoils they gain. Ghaskys declines on the grounds that Arthur is no pirate and thus there may not be any spoils. Arthur draws Iron Solace and identifies himself to the pirates as the man who hunted down the Ninepenny Kings, which causes visible shock among his opponents. Even Ghaskys seems rather scared, and Arthur challenges Ghaskys at his own game. Ghaskys remembers that Xhobar Qhoqua was his grandfather and that his family never had a fond memory of him, especially after the War of the Ninepenny Kings. To the alarm of the other pirates, Ghaskys places his sword at Arthur's feet and pledges his allegiance to House Baratheon of Braavos. He challenges his men to oppose him and the White Stag, and the pirates lay down their weapons and join. Ormund watches in awe as his father shakes hands with Ghaskys, solidifying a pact of allegiance.
Sailing out of the Stepstones, Arthur declares the mission victorious to his men, and that they are this much closer to achieving their goal of marshalling an army large enough to join with the Targaryens and take back the Seven Kingdoms. This surprises Ghaskys, who did not know that Arthur was working for the prominence of another Targaryen. He questions Arthur about this and he explains the survival of Daenerys Targaryen, the daughter of King Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King. Ghaskys remarks that he heard so much about Aerys and the man that he became, a man who was different from the man who fought against the Ninepenny Kings on the Stepstones. Arthur remembers that Aerys seemed like a good man originally, but the man he became was unforgivable - Daenerys, he hopes, is drastically different from this.
Arthur sends a raven with his sigil on it back to Braavos, to Jeyne, detailing that they have triumphed in the Stepstones and that they are returning. Tycho Nestoris intercepts the letter from her and brings it to the Iron Bank of Braavos. Illyrio Mopatis points out that the plan is advancing quicker than they perceived and asks if they can trust Arthur to play along - Tycho explains that Arthur is not a pawn for them, but a player, and that if they tried to move quicker than Arthur would have tolerated, then Illyrio would have to face the White Stag's wrath alone.
Arthur finally returns to Braavos soon enough and Tycho meets him, insisting that the fleet remain on the opposing side of the Titan of Braavos, otherwise they will be unable to trust the pirates not to raid the city. Arthur transfers this command to Ghaskys, and then introduces him to his family. Jeyne doesn't trust Ghaskys, but Lilith easily befriends him and becomes interested in life in the Stepstones. While Ghaskys speaks with Ormund and Lilith, Jeyne and Arthur speak with Jeyne being concerned to an extreme about Arthur returning to the Stepstones for the first time since the War. Arthur assures her that he hasn't suffered anything in his mind from returning to that place, but fears that he would have to return there soon enough. Jeyne then surprises him by revealing that Renly Baratheon is dead - murdered by Brienne of Tarth, some say. Arthur stays silent for several seconds, before remarking on how there are only seven Baratheons left in the world - Joffrey, Tommen and Myrcella Baratheon are bastards born of incest, so they do not qualify.
He visits Tycho Nestoris, who reports that the Sealord of Braavos is on his deathbed; Arthur reports on the mission being a success and Tycho explains that Daenerys Targaryen is in Qarth. Lilith has followed her father to the Iron Bank and overhears them discussing Daenerys, and she hears Tycho mention to Arthur that there will soon be a debate as to who will be the next Sealord of Braavos. It is clear that Tycho intends for Arthur to be the next Sealord, and Lilith wants the same. She follows her father as he leaves the Iron Bank, but on the way she sees three Faceless Men standing across the river from her. They look from her, to her father, before the one in the centre (A thin, old man with wispy white hair) raises his hand in a salute to Arthur, which he catches out of the corner of his eye.
Arthur has invited Ghaskys to dine with his family one night and over the meal it is discussed that the Battle of Blackwater ended in failure for Stannis Baratheon. Throughout the coversation, Ormund develops reservations towards becoming like either Robert, Stannis or Renly, since each of them had their shortcomings - Robert was a great warrior, but he died a lecherous, drunken fool; Stannis is a brilliant leader, but was crushed by the Lannisters at the Blackwater and is not popular; Renly was extremely popular, but green to warfare and cut down by his own protector. This unsettles Jeyne and Lilith, who know that Arthur would depend on Ormund being an asset to Storm's End, but Arthur calmly points out that each of these men were, in their own right, good men, but debatable on whether or not they were great men - he delivers a speech on the judgement of whether or not good men are great men. Throughout the rest of the conversation, Jeyne warms up to Ghaskys, when suddenly Arthur announces that he will be visiting the Sealord of Braavos the next day, and he wants them to attend with him. Jeyne agrees, but suddenly Lilith has objections to it, which stuns those who are present.
Arthur asks Lilith afterwards about it and she tells him that she followed him when he visited Tycho Nestoris, and knows he is potentially about to be the next Sealord. She doesn't want him to be Sealord of Braavos because it would mean that he has ulterior responsibilities when he helps retake the Seven Kingdoms. Arthur reminds her that the responsibilities of being Sealord of Braavos will be difficult, but they will come with the ability to call on the Free Cities and their armies in order to increase the armada. Since Braavos already has a larger fleet than the other cities in Essos. Knowing that Daenerys needs her ships alongside her dragons, but doesn't yet know of his involvement in the plan, he would hope to have an army sufficient to combat alongside her.
Visiting the Sealord's Palace, Arthur meets with Illyrio and they enter the palace to meet with the Sealord, Ferrego Antaryon. They are invited to sit opposite the Sealord who is visibly sick and ageing. He introduces Arthur to teh potential successors as Sealord of Braavos after he inevitably dies - Balin Zalyne and Koschei Jorogyle. Each of these people are clearly warriors, but Arthur notices a Braavosi coin around Koschei's neck. Throughout the conversation, Arthur establishes that he only has one ambition - to survive. Ferrego expresses his respect for this and adds that both Balin and Koschei are intelligent and worldly enough to rule Braavos, but inexplicably Ormund and Jeyne both intervene and insist that Arthur is the best selection for Sealord of Braavos because he has experience in politics nad warfare and he is not bloodthirsty or avaricious - he is a survivor. Ferrego overrules them by explaining that he has come close to making a decision: the two potential competitors are now Arthur and Koschei. Tycho asks the Sealord why he has narrowed it down when normally the Sealord is selected democratically.
Outside of the Palace, Tycho, Koschei and Balin confront Arthur and he assures them that he did nothing but his duty to the Sealord, and Tycho concurs with this. Koschei vows that this isn't over, until Ghaskys Mo Lanshare appears and asks if they are threatening Arthur. Arthur pacifies the men by promising he is not moving against them, before leaving with Ghaskys and his family by his side. As they walk away, Arthur tells his family that they could expect opposition from the two contenders in the future, for when the Braavosi select their next liege, 'the knives come out'.
Arthur visits the House of Black and White and summons one of them to speak with him. The old man who was spotted by Lilith earlier appears, identifying himself simply as 'The Castellan'. Arthur asks the Castellan why the First Sword of Braavos ought to be the next Sealord when he is better suited to combat than governance. The Castellan questions why Arthur has visited him with this question, when Arthur identifies that Koschei had a Braavosi coin around his neck with the symbol of the Faceless Men, so they clearly have a hand in it. The Castellan reminds Arthur of the challenge that he would face, and Koschei is a competitor to remind Arthur of that outcome, and of the people who made him aware of it. Arthur points out that the Faceless Men are not prophetic people, when the Castellan counters that they interpret the will of the Many-Faced God, and the Many-Faced God has mentioned the name of Arthur Baratheon. Arthur reaches for his sword, anticipating that the Faceless Men are about to attack him; the Castellan raises his cloak, unravelling a sword of his own and stating that, if he wishes to fight then they shall fight, but it is not today that Arthur is destined to die. Arthur demands to know this destiny that the Many-Faced God has decided for him, and Arthur looks up and sees, out of the corner of his eye, Lilith hiding behind a pillar.
Arthur is furious with Lilith for following him, when Lilith defends that she saw the Castellan earlier after his meeting with Tycho, and that they had been following him since then. Arthur states that he knows they have been following him, but explains to her that every man has a destiny, and he has been made aware that his will go in a certain direction. Lilith becomes worried, and Arthur assures her that, until the day he helps to take the Seven Kingdoms with Daenerys Targaryen, but then Lilith cuts him off by demanding to know when that will be - she admits that she misses Westeros, and when being in the same city as the Faceless Men terrifies her when they haven't sufficient power to overrule them - Arthur points out that the Faceless Men follow the Many-Faced God, who doesn't pertain to any one faction or rank in humanity, and believes that all men must die. Along the way, Arthur and Lilith reconcile and Arthur tells Lilith that he will tell Jeyne and Ormund that she followed him, because he never keeps secrets about family from family.
Jeyne visits Arthur and the two of them exchange memories about the last time they were visiting King's Landing - Jeyne and Cersei met for the first time, and Cersei was younger than her but struck her as fearsome. Arthur remembers that Robert never spoke of Cersei before the day he married her, and he always talked with awe about Lyanna Stark. While Jeyne had only ever been to the North three times in her life. Arthur only ever went to Highgarden once. He visited every other part of the Seven Kingdoms, and fought Gerold Hightower in Dorne, but never visited Highgarden after the start of Robert's Rebellion. He didn't like Mace Tyrell, her brother, at all, and though Randyll Tarly was a fierce man he didn't strike Arthur as a good man. Jeyne asks him about Aerys Targaryen, having never met the man herself, and Ormund and Lilith walk in. Arthur sits down and talks about the time he returned from killing the Ninepenny Kings, and about a young Aerys who had fought with him during the war and who met him in King's Landing. He remembers that Aerys seemed extremely wilful and steadfast, but proud, at the time, and the man he became was a man that Arthur only caught glimpses of until he finally crossed Maegor's Holdfast over Aerys's corpse. Arthur ends by lamenting that he had seen the same wilfulness in the eyes of Joffrey Baratheon as he had done Aerys all those years ago.
Ormund asks why Aerys became the man he was, and Arthur says that it was partly because Aerys was king - the Iron Throne was built on glory, and any man who sat on it would be in danger of being infected by that glory, just as Aerys had done. Lilith points out that such a thing could have happened to Robert when he sat on the Iron Throne - Arthur answers that he has no idea if that had happened, or if it had been fate all the same. Ormund visits him afterwards and asks him why he had even let Aerys continue his life if he seemed like a madman, when he had been determined enough to kill the men who had followed Maelys. Arthur answers that even the cleverest men couldn't possibly anticipate how another man can develop - Aerys seemed like a strong-willed man on the Stepstones, and a hardened young man at King's Landing, but the monster who incinerated innocent men, women and children festered behind the backs of men like Arthur.
Arthur and Ghaskys walk through Braavos and Ghaskys explains to Arthur how before Xhobar Qhoqua was one of the Band of Nine, he was one of the cleverest men in the Stepstones and one of the most cunning raiders. During the discussion, Arthur talks about how he faced Xhobar in Tyrosh and Xhobar, even though he had guards and a greatsword to his advantage, he accepted that it was his turn to die when Arthur came for him. Ghaskys asks Arthur if it was worth it, avenging himself on the Ninepenny Kings for what only one of them had done to his family. Arthur answers that when a man feels wrathful, then that wrath will burn until it leaves at least one ember in its wake. Along the way, Arthur takes a detour after Ormund arrives and reports that Ferrego Antaryon has died at last, and that Balin and Koschei are rallying together to try and gain support in the forthcoming selection. Koschei is gaining stronger support, but Arthur knows that the governors of Braavos will have the superior hand in the selection.
He returns to his manse to find that Koschei is waiting for him. Koschei has invited himself in, and one of his men is holding Lilith at the point of a knife. Ghaskys bares steel against Koschei, and Koschei summons three more men into the manse to keep him at bay. Arthur tries to reason with Koschei, who voices that he has grown tired of quarrelling and demands that Arthur go with him. Arthur is curious as to where, but they are interrupted when Ormund appears with a crossbow and shoots Koschei in the throat. The Faceless Man releases Lilith, who kicks him out of the window behind him. Arthur rushes to the man's body and Koschei tells him that he cannot trust anyone if he becomes Sealord of Braavos. Arthur holds the man in his arms as he dies, then looks up and sees the Castellan sitting on a boat nearby. The Castellan bows his head and Arthur realises that he has moved through another phase of the test the Many-Faced God has set for him.
Arthur faces bad publicity from being near Koschei's body when he died, and Jeyne comes in with news from the Riverlands: Robb Stark has moved towards the Twins, to which Arthur contemplates how Robb promised himself to one of the Frey girls. Jeyne asks Arthur how he gets his information, and Arthur reveals that he has been working with Lord Varys in King's Landing, who has a population of spies all over the Seven Kingdoms. Jeyne remembers Varys as a portly little man who smiled more than most of the lords in King's Landing. Arthur contemplates that Varys has survived the entirety of Robert's Rebellion without a scratch because he was 'good at smiling', which makes Jeyne laugh. Jeyne talks about a fool she knew in Highgarden when her and Mace were children - his name was Spindleshanks and he was as thin as a rake, but he could scale the gardens at Highgarden while doing handstands the whole time. Then he actually breathed fire through his nostrils, which he would use to light candles in the night liberally. However, he soon went up to Alerie Tyrell and playfully kissed her hand - Mace Tyrell had the man whipped so hard he couldn't even handstand through the privies. Arthur remarks on the climax of that story, and the two of them laugh.
Arthur remarks about Daenerys Targaryen and the fact that he spent a whole rebellion fighting her father - he is concerned that she will be precisely like her father; Jeyne asks him why he would support a Targaryen when Stannis Baratheon has a claim to the throne. Arthur answers that Stannis is a more experienced battle commander than Daenerys, so he would be needed by the time she comes to Westeros. If he manages to subjugate certain regions of Westeros before they arrive, so much the better. Jeyne suggests that they join forces beforehand, so that they will already have the combined forces of Braavos, the Stormlands and Daenerys' army. Arthur notes the merit of that idea, but that Stannis hasn't even come to Braavos and doesn't know he is an asset to the plan. They could present that plan to Stannis if he came, but to summon him to the Free Cities would mean drawing him away from the war he is already fighting.
Illyrio Mopatis rides to meet with Arthur outside Braavos, and with him are several lords from the Free Cities. Arthur sits on the council that gathers, and does not speak for the majority of it, up to a point where the lords start to argue violently with each other as to whether or not they wait for Daenerys, who should have progressed quicker with Khal Drogo to invade the Seven Kingdoms. Arthur cuts across them and states that Daenerys Targaryen will have to deal with Essos in her own time, but for now they will begin their preparations for the invasion - they have been progressing too slowly recently, and the moment the election starts and if Arthur becomes Sealord of Braavos, then they will speed progress so that, by the time Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell have married, they will be prepared to subjugate Westeros, starting with the Stormlands. This stuns Illyrio, but he calls for a show of hands as to those who are in favour. All present raise their hands.
At the election, Arthur crosses words with Balin, who voices that he plans to revoke the army of Braavos so that it becomes a republic without any military offensive plans. The Iron Bank of Braavos and all other major forces in the city come together and privately discuss it. As they enter, Lilith, Ormund, Jeyne and Ghaskys catch glances from several onlookers who seem to be fascinated by Arthur's silence, while Balin appears to do nothing but talk with his followers. Finally, the Braavosi lords leave the room and declare that Arthur has become the new Sealord of Braavos, to which the population of Braavos cheers. As they leave the building, Arthur returns to his manse and then looks from his window to see a huge red and golden hue in the distance. He investigates and realises, to his horror, that his ships are all burning. There are Braavosi running all over the docks trying to quell the flames, but it is too late. Arthur turns and sees Jeyne standing from the balcony, looking down on him. They both realise that they have been outplayed by someone. Arthur falls to his knees and roars to the sky in uncontrollable rage.
Arthur has become despondent as a result of the destruction of his fleet. He speaks with Ghaskys, and learns that the weaponry and armour and provisions have all been destroyed with the ships. Ghaskys asks who could have done this, and Arthur petitions the Faceless Men - the Castellan tells him that he knows who did this, and when asked to name that person, the Castellan cryptically replies that he should keep Iron Solace closer at hand. Arthur and his family meet with Illyrio and they resolve that Illyrio could buy them a fleet of potentially greater size with the money that Arthur makes as Sealord of Braavos, which Tycho Nestoris objects to, but Arthur is past the point of listening to him at this point. Ghaskys sides with Tycho, but Arthur overrules them by stating that he has to get back to Westeros and he will do so by any means necessary - Jeyne realises that her husband has darkened. Arthur negotiates with Illyrio, and they agree that a fleet will be built while Arthur buys an army of sellswords.
As the conversation extends into the night, Ghaskys appears and asks for Arthur to come outside. Arthur does so, and sees a huge group of men and women wearing armour and bearing weapons at his doorstep. To his surprise, Ghaskys raises Arthur's hand above his head and declares him 'Sealord of Braavos, Lord Guardian of the Stormlands and Prince of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea'. Arthur cuts him off and then delivers a speech, realising that if he doesn't he will be propagandised; he gives a speech that declares him only to be asking for their loyalty and bravery and steel, but not their money. He is not doing this for glory or gold, but if they wish to join him for the sake of glory, then they can do so. He draws Iron Solace and stabs it into the ground, swearing on the Seven that burning his ships will not reduce him to cinders. The warriors present erupt into applause, and start cheering Arthur's moniker Lekia (which means 'Brother' in High Valyrian). Arthur stands above his supporters and smiles, as does his family, who all realise that they have surpassed whomever tried to stop them from taking back what is theirs.
The army of sellswords has arrived in Braavos, but has overpopulated the city - Arthur receives several complaints that the sellswords are also overpopulating the pleasure houses and some even tried to enter the House of Black and White. Arthur resolves that they can find refuge on the ships, but if they try to steal any weapons from said ships they will be put to death. Arthur oversees the reconstruction of his fleet, and speaks with Ghaskys over the subject of setting sail as soon as the moon turns, to which Arthur refuses because they aren't even ready - they are still trying to clear up debris from when the previous fleet was destroyed. As Sealord of Braavos, Arthur oversees several duels between the sellswords and other bravos who want to take command of ships for themselves. He keeps Iron Solace in the Palace, but his family remain at their original manse.
Arthur notices that Ghaskys doesn't enter any duels himself and doesn't provoke any fights, to which Ghaskys explains that he wishes to serve Arthur for as long as he can, he cannot serve him if he risks being killed in a duel with some stranger. Jeyne dines with her children alone, when Arthur joins them and brings news that Daenerys Targaryen has conquered Astapor and Yunkai and earned the loyalty of the Second Sons, to which Jeyne asks if they ought to go and meet her - Arthur answers that they are preparing for a great deal of work already in Braavos. Jeyne volunteers to remain with their children in Braavos while he travels to meet with Daenerys, but Arthur refuses.
In private, Arthur confesses to Jeyne that, when he saw the fleet burn, he felt like he was burning himself because the fleet was his best chance of retaking his home. Jeyne tells Arthur that the children are growing restless, and warns Arthur that the sellsword army will eventually ask for his money - Arthur answers that this is why he has contained the number of sellswords he already has, because he will be able to afford them if they came to him with such demands as payment. Arthur tells her that he has begun hunting for the man who has burned his fleet, to which Jeyne answers that it could potentially have been the Faceless Men - they answer the Many-Faced God, who works in so many mysterious ways that it could potentially be justice for something that Stannis Baratheon has done. Arthur notes the merit in this, and decides to go and confront the Faceless Men, but then realises that this could be a trap by the Faceless Men - he hasn't visited the House of Black and White in a long time, and fears that a trap may have been laid for him by the Castellan. He asks to be left alone and, in private, he sends a raven to Dragonstone, begging an audience with Stannis Baratheon.
Not long after sending the raven to Dragonstone, Arthur receives a raven himself from King's Landing, citing that Joffrey Baratheon is dead, poisoned at his own wedding - to this, Arthur speaks with Ormund of how Joffrey means nothing to him, considering that the boy wasn't even a descendant of his, not even a Baratheon. Ormund states that he has never met Joffrey, and Arthur retorts that, if the ravens from King's Landing were true, not meeting Joffrey was a truly fortunate factor. Ormund takes Iron Solace and starts practising with it, to which Arthur explains that Iron Solace was given to him by Steffon Baratheon, and it was the greatest honour that his brother ever gave him - so many men have contemplated that it was the singular honour ever done by Steffon, which is more false than anyone could possibly imagine. Ormund reminds Arthur that he went on a personal crusade against the Ninepenny Kings, to which Arthur reminds Ormund that war is perhaps the greatest hell imaginable, regardless of whether or not one of the Seven is named 'the Warrior'.
Jeyne and Tycho Nestoris are arguing, rather heatedly, about the lack of progress in discovering the person who destroyed the fleet, and Tycho explains to her that the Baratheon family has been financially compromised by the concept of hiring such a large army of sellswords, to which Jeyne answers that the finances are in complete control regarding whether or not the sellswords demand any money. They are interrupted by Arthur's abrupt entrance, when Arthur reports to them that they have recovered several ships from the bottom of the canals, and that most of the weaponry is still salvageable and can be reforged to use in combat. Tycho challenges Arthur with the fact that their weapons are insurmountable to the amount of people who are to use them, to which Arthur explains that if they have more weapons than soldiers then so much the better.
After meeting with Tycho, Arthur follows Ghaskys Mo Nakloz and realises that he is visiting the House of Black and White. Arthur listens to him speaking with the Castellan, until the Castellan detects him. Arthur reveals that he has listened to the entire conversation, and knows that they have been paying off the sellswords with a death each - they have allowed each and every sellsword to make a contribution to that demand, so there is an insurmountable number of deaths that are owed to the Many-Faced God. The Castellan calmly counters that these people will not be murdered, but will ultimately die, to which Arthur cites the uselessness of that assurance. Ghaskys defends that they needed an army, especially after the destruction of the fleet. Ghaskys goes on to explain that the war against Westeros will have to be won with sacrifice, to which Arthur heatedly counters that he has known more about sacrifice than most, which Ghaskys acknowledges, but Arthur continues by stating that war should only obtain sacrifice as a last resort, which silences Ghaskys - Ghaskys rants that he has always ever known sacrifice as a first resort, because on the Stepstones Ghaskys only rose so high because of an inevitably callous nature. Arthur silences the argument by asking him what he truly wants. Ghaskys mutters that he wants nothing but someplace in the Seven Kingdoms to have a suitable category of peace. Finding common ground, in that Arthur wants the Stormlands at least to be returned to prominence in the Seven Kingdoms.
Returning from the House of Black and White, Ghaskys repeatedly interrogates Arthur about their confrontation earlier, in which Arthu cites that he has been distrusting because of his life in combat with other people, to which Ghaskys only knows about fighting one-on-one duels with other men in order to gain their respect, as opposed to winning battles to get the respect of your men. Ghaskys voices that he longs for a glorious death in battle, to which Arthur counters with his desire to die peacefully after fighting all of the battles he could possibly fight, in the hopes that it was worth it. Ghaskys challenges the merits of this expectation against his own, which Arthur upturns and the two of them end up finally having mutual understanding of one another. When they get back to the palace, Arthur writes a letter to each of the Stepstones, requesting a delivery of warriors and weaponry to Braavos, using his own seal and that of the Iron Bank in order to accentuate the demand. He receives a replying promise of double his own demand, and he remarks that by the time Daenerys sails for Westeros they will have an army superior to the fleet that sailed into the Stepstones to fight the Band of Nine.
Arthur sends terms to the Hoskagon, requesting permission to pass through the Pride Islands again for the upcoming White Fleet - which has become the new name for the Braavosi army. The terms list that there will be an agreement between the Pride Islands, Braavos and Storm's End when it comes to legal connections - they will be open to discussion once Arthur receives the opportunity to treat with the Queen of the Pride Islands. After sending this message to Hoskagon, Arthur receives several visitors bringing complaint and cases to Braavos, which Arthur manages to speed through because of his surprising ability to create logical outcomes to the situations. After this, Ormund comes to his father and the two of them assess the day's successes - Ormund identifies that the Iron Bank of Braavos is about to receive a major visitor from Westeros, and Arthur meets with Tycho in order to find out who this person is - Arthur learns that it is none other than King Stannis Baratheon. Arthur is shocked to hear this, and plans to meet with his nephew in order to learn the state of affairs in Westeros.
Arthur waits outside the Iron Bank of Braavos for Stannis Baratheon to arrive, and when he leaves the Bank upon receiving a deal with Tycho Nestoris, Stannis sees him and freezes, climactically recognising his uncle. Arthur approaches Stannis and, in front of Davos and the whole of Braavos, the Lord of Dragonstone bows to him. Arthur bids him rise and Stannis embraces Arthur violently, visibly shellshocked from seeing that his uncle is alive. Arthur welcomes him to Braavos, sarcastically referring to him as Your Grace - Stannis asks where he has been all these years, to which Arthur answers that he has been surviving. Stannis introduces Davos, to which Arthur remarks that they have met before - he remembers attending the knighthood of Ser Davos Seaworth after the Siege of Storm's End, and remarks that he wanted to shake Davos's hand back then for helping save his nephew's life. After striking up a friendship with Davos, Arthur invites Stannis to dine with them that night before his journey back to the Seven Kingdoms, given that they have a great deal to talk about. The conversation is witnessed by Jeyne and Lilith, the former of whom is clearly alarmed to have seen Stannis again.
That night, Stannis and Davos convene with Arthur's family in the Palace of the Sealord, where they dine at length through the night while Lilith and Ormund continuously ask questions about goings on in Westeros. Arthur remains curiously silent throughout the conversation, which Lilith notices. Arthur then abruptly asks him how the war is going, and Stannis reports that his fleet was destroyed by Tyrion Lannister during the Battle of Blackwater Bay, but they are rearming themselves and about to head north to defend the Night's Watch against an unnameable threat. Arthur acclaims his nephew for this, since a king must forever be concerned with the affairs of his kingdoms, including the Night's Watch. Stannis angrily asks where Arthur has been, considering the fact that he could have used their fleet during the Battle of Blackwater Bay and could have shattered King's Landing with that navy, to which Arthur serenely quips that he wouldn't do well to shatter the Red Keep or there will be no Iron Throne to claim. Stannis explains to them that Renly Baratheon is dead, and Arthur states that he already knows, having heard that Brienne of Tarth murdered Renly. Stannis becomes extremely uncomfortable, and states that he has to tell Arthur something in private, to which Arthur asks that his family and Ser Davos give them the room.
Stannis confesses to Arthur that it wasn't Brienne of Tarth who murdered Renly - Stannis has been dabbling in blood magic, and created a shadow with Lady Melisandre that killed Renly. Arthur remains silent for a long time upon hearing this, during which Stannis tries to defend that he had tried reasoning with his brother, and the alternative would have been going into battle against his own blood, but Arthur furiously points out that instead he singularly erased a man of his own blood. Arthur points out that he has never killed a member of his own family, and has never succumbed to any temptation, and he has respected Stannis all of his life for the man he has become (listing his maintaining of Storm's End, destruction of the Greyjoy fleet and the fair treatment that he personally gave to his daughter Shireen as examples), but this news has changed that perspective somewhat - he scolds Stannis for his extremism and tells him that he could have treated with Renly and succumbed to any terms that he had to give, and then when they combined forces and undoubtedly would have taken King's Landing at a stroke alongside the Stark forces, support would have risen for Stannis because he remains the elder brother; alternatively, Arthur knows that Stannis would never ever bend, which ironically is something that Arthur has always respected him for. Stannis, calm but helpless, defends that he is prophecised to be the Warrior of Light and rightful champion of the Seven Kingdoms against the coming darkness, but Arthur counters that he is called the Brother of Warriors, but doesn't have omnipotent control over all men with swords in their hands. There is a long silence, before Stannis explains that, if Stannis defends the Night's Watch and subjugates the North, then Arthur will support him and help take the Iron Throne. However, Arthur will never forget the fact that Stannis struck down his own blood.
Stannis leaves, and respectfully farewells his aunt and cousins, before Arthur follows and asks for Stannis to look him in the eye. After a tense staredown, Arthur becomes peaceful and embraces his nephew, calling him a great man in spite of all his imperfections. Stannis announces the plan that the two of them have made, but that it is conditional on subjugating the North, and Jeyne notices that there is now substantial tension between uncle and nephew but both men refuse to speak of it. Stannis and Davos leave the palace and Arthur explains to his family what ensued between him and Stannis, and then the fact that Renly was killed by Stannis using blood magic. Jeyne verbally points out the effect that this may have on Arthur, and Arthur states that the news of Renly being killed by his own brother will never leave the palace except with Stannis and Davos. Arthur watches the two men leave Braavos by boat and Jeyne asks if this will jeopardise the plan already in motion, and Arthur explains that it is only a controversial advancement in a plan already put in place.
Arthur is conflicted about his decision not to go with Stannis and help him take the Seven Kingdoms instead of the plan that they concocted together, and he consoles Ghaskys over this plan - Ghaskys explains to him that the real reason that he didn't go with Stannis was because he was enraged by what he was feeling about Renly's death and the revelation of its circumstances. Arthur remembers the day his brother Steffon asked their father about blood magic when they were children, and Ormund once recoiled at the question, having hated magic for its concept of not winning wars fairly - he questions whether or not Stannis fought fairly in the war, but then retains from his own extreme military experiences that wars are never fair, but there are boundaries. Ghaskys states that he has never once touched magic, despite the fact that his two brothers once tired to resurrect dragon eggs using the power of the Lord of Light, to disastrous failure. The two of them agree that it may have not been the best thing to do but it was ultimately necessary. Jeyne enters the room and asks to be alone with her husband - Ghaskys rejects, citing that they are discussing a matter of extreme importance, to which Jeyne demands that Ghaskys give them the room because there is no matter more important and more pivotal than the matter of family loyalty, and that is better discussed between two people who are actually family.
Jeyne asks him if he is angry with Stannis, and Arthur notes that he has never been angrier with Stannis as he was angry with his brother or father for truly leaving him, and he is only in conflict over what Stannis has done - he is still necessary to a plan. Jeyne points out that Arthur looked like he was about to run his nephew through for one moment, and Arthur counters that, if there is a low he will never stoop to then it is kinslaying. He has been accused of many things by family, but that has never compelled him to seek retribution for these accusations at any point. Jeyne asks him what it is that he is so conflicted about - Arthur explains to her that, if they were not kin, then Arthur would have banished Stannis from the Stormlands and attainted him for his crimes, but he would not kill him; this is an ironic predicament for Arthur, because he has always taught his nephews and children that 'hard truths cut both ways' - he is unaware that this is something that Stannis lives by himself.
Arthur is mentioned by Yohn Royce, in which he remarks about how he and Eddard Stark hunted in the Vale many times, and how they and the White Stag danced with Ashara Dayne at Harrenhal before the War of the Usurper. At night, the Castellan visits Arthur and explains to him that Stannis Baratheon has returned to the Seven Kingdoms according to their informants. Arthur isn't interested and receives a reply via raven from Hoskagon, specifically from Prince Tytos Redmyre, the third son of Queen Skylar Redmyre, who offers to allow Arthur to make port at the Pride Islands, where they will continue to make plans in order to help defeat the Lannisters and aid Arthur in taking back his homeland. In doing so, Arthur points out, the Pride Islands have exposed themselves, while only to him, to the fact that Queen Skylar has been supporting Daenerys as well - he realises that Skylar Redmyre is in Westeros, and therefore she has left Tytos in charge, and voices his original plans to only discuss plans with the Queen of Bats herself. He tells the Castellan that they will be leaving in due course so that they can advance the plans, but the Castellan counters that he cannot do so since he is Sealord of Braavos. Arthur realises that this conundrum can be decided by him selecting someone to rule as regent.
Arthur visits the menagerie of Ferrego Antaryon where he examines a live albino lion and his cubs. When Ormund arrives, Arthur remembers aloud the first time he saw a lion, when he visited Casterly Rock as a boy. He would never visit Casterly Rock again, he remembers vowing, because the lions scared him - not the beasts in their cages, but the great beasts atop their towers in Casterly Rock. The one exceptions are the ones who did not hold unparalleled power in the Westerlands. He remembers thinking the same thing about the Stormlands, and the concept that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely - he says that they will be leaving for the Pride Islands, and he is leaving Ormund as the Sealord of Braavos. Ormund rejects this, stating that he will be wanted by Arthur's side when they take the Seven Kingdoms. Arthur counters that they will not be taking the Seven Kingdoms in one go, and someone is needed in the Sealord's position. Ormund reveals that he has anticipated this and brings along Tycho Nestoris, who explains to him that he will place someone in power who supports Arthur - there are many powerful lords who are worthy of the position who are loyal to Arthur. Arthur collects his family together with Ghaskys and they board their new ship, the Crimson Dawn, which sets sail at the head of a large fleet of ships.
Because of majorly troubling weather, the bulk of the fleet is held back, but Arthur and twelve ships sail to Hoskagon with the goal of reaching the Pride Islands. In his cabin. Arthur Baratheon is troubled in his sleep by a violent nightmare and Jeyne prevents their children from comforting him, considering the fact that he would wake up viciously and might try to harm them. Arthur mentions Maelys Blackfyre several times in the nightmare and even his brother, before abruptly waking up and searching frantically for Iron Solace, which Jeyne is revealed to have stolen for their own good. Arthur recovers from the nightmare by washing his face in icy water, but refuses an offer of wine from Ghaskys.
Lilith and Ormund warily approach him and he explains that he was back in the Stepstones, facing against the Blackfyre pretender again. Lilith and Ormund are cautious around their father, before finally giving Iron Solace back to him. Arthur leaves the cabin and Ghaskys tells him that they are coming close to the Pride Islands. He asks what Arthur is planning to do when they get there, and Arthur explains that he intends to build an alliance with Hoskagon and join forces against the Lannister usurpers. Ghaskys asks why Skylar will agree with him, and Arthur explains that the Stormlands and the Pride Islands combined would be an amazing foe to the usurpers, and that when Daenerys commences her invasion she will have two additional armies astride her.
After arriving in Hoskagon, they are met by Princess Esme Redmyre, who stoically explains to them that Skylar is currently returning from the wedding of King Tommen Baratheon and Queen Margaery Tyrell, in the event of King Joffrey's assassination. Esme remembers the deeds that Arthur was reported to have done and Arthur explains that, if Tommen is no true Baratheon then, by right, Storm's End belongs to him - therefore, if he were to return home to Storm's End, then he could join in an alliance with the Pride Islands, which Lilith accentuates by offering up herself in marriage to any heir to the Pride Islands. Esme states that she cannot speak for her mother properly, but believes that if the two of them were allies then they would probably have major power together, but also they would be able to stand against the Lannisters, to which Esme counters that the Lannisters have not yet declared themselves the enemies of House Redmyre. Esme explains to them that Skylar has been offered a place in the Small Council, and asks what would be offered to them if they were to join together that Cersei couldn't offer herself. Arthur counters that she was forced to betroth to Robert Baratheon and ended up murdering him - it would be incalculably unwise to truly trust Cersei.
Esme believes that Arthur has little to no right to Storm's End as a second son, and in the belief that people would mistake him for a pretender as he hasn't been seen for over a decade and is largely believed to be dead. Arthur reveals his pact with Daenerys Targaryen and explains to them that Daenerys plans to return to Westeros with an army and her three dragons, to which Esme points out that Daenerys has stayed put in Meereen and doesn't seem about to invade Westeros any time soon. Esme tells the Baratheons that she doesn't see any true reason to ally with Arthur, until Arthur talks about Ciaran's death and how he believes that Cersei was responsible - Cersei believes that anyone who isn't wearing a crown other than someone she can control is a supreme threat, and that bringing the Pride Islands into the War of the Five Kings would result in their destruction and their omission as a threat to her power. Esme believes that Cersei is not as powerful as she believes, since she is no longer queen regent by right and Margaery Tyrell would become a superior power to her.
Jeyne assures her that such a thing will very surely change, despite Tywin Lannister's best efforts. Esme surprises everyone present by telling them that Tywin Lannister is dead. Realising that they are losing this conversation as a result of this, Arthur asks the princess what is standing in Cersei's way now that Tywin is dead, since Tywin is one of the very few people that Cersei ever truly feared in her life, and Esme realises that Arthur is right. Esme tells them that she will consider the concept of joining forces with Arthur, on the condition that no trouble transpires between them and the Pridemen.
In secret, Ghaskys uses blood magic to create a fierce storm near the Pride Islands and aspires to destabilise the alliance that is about to be made. With the fleet under threat, Arthur empties them into the caves of the Pride Islands, unaware of what is happening behind his back. He sends ravens back to Tycho Nestoris about their progress, and at the same time receives a raven about the progress of his own fleet, which is still at anchor and hasn't been damaged yet. Arthur and Jeyne break bread with Esme, and Esme remembers the stories she has heard about Arthur, which Arthur professes he has become tired of hearing - he doesn't see himself as a hero, let alone a war hero, but he knows that people look up to him, and only wants to come home. Esme believes that such a thing is heroic considering the fact that the Stormlands is still in disarray in spite of the lordship of Stannis Baratheon, who has ventured far north away from Dragonstone and Storm's End. Arthur becomes extremely tense when the conversation revolves around Stannis, and instead asks Esme whether or not she wants revenge on the Lannisters for what happened to her brother and what may happen to the Pride Islands soon enough. Esme says she hasn't reached her verdict just yet. She asks Arthur what she would do with Cersei, or with Stannis, or with Tommen when he takes back his home, and Arthur explains that Tommen is not to blame for his situation, Stannis is his brother's son, and Esme predicts that, if the gods are just, he would pluck Cersei from the face of the earth - Arthur counters by stating how the gods don't have a notoriety for being just.
Arthur becomes suspicious of Ghaskys, who begins to grow distant from him and appears to spend most of his time alone. Ghaskys finally meets with Arthur and the two of them begin to reorganise the sellswords into the Iron Keep of Hoskagon, making them a part of the Redmyre military forces. Arthur visits the Black Caves and the statue of the Sphinx, expressing fascination in the concept of the Sphinx in the culture of the Pridemen, but Ormund expresses his opinion that the Faith of the Seven are a stronger concept in religion, since they are much broader. Arthur tells Ormund that the same could be said of the Drowned God or the Lord of Light, since both of them believe their followers are good and their disbelievers evil, but the Sphinx has a respectably broad point of observation since it only represents wisdom and survival as opposed to good and evil. Arthur summons Lilith to the caves, where he announces that he believes that Ghaskys is a problem, having started giving suggestions of his own agenda. At the same time, Ghaskys privately attempts to poison Esme with a goblet of wine, only for Jeyne to thwart him by offering her own drink to the princess, and the princess refuses to drink another cup for fear of dulling her senses.
Arthur is visited by a hooded stranger of whom he becomes suspicious, until he reveals himself to be Varys. Varys remarks on how long it has been since he last saw him and how great it is to see another Baratheon, but Arthur proves suspicious of him. Arthur asks Varys what he wants, and Varys says he brings tragic news - Ghaskys is his enemy, and Ser Barristan Selmy is dead, butchered by the Sons of the Harpy. Arthur is violently shaken by the news of Barristan's death, and Varys explains that Barristan died fighting, which is the only assurance that Arthur accepts. Jeyne enters and learns of this news, at which point Arthur remembers the first time he met Barristan as his squire in Harvest Hall, and later on how Barristan avenged Arthur's father by defeating Maelys the Monstrous in single combat, which was something that Arthur always remained in awe of because Maelys seemed like an impossible opponent. He considered Barristan to be the most honourable man he had ever met in his life, and one of the best warriors in the Seven Kingdoms. Jeyne comforts her husband, sharing his sorrow that the old knight is dead and citing that all men must die. Suddenly, Jeyne recoils and begins to choke violently. She dies in Arthur's arms, and Arthur screams for a maester.
Varys flees Hoskagon, denying responsibility for Jeyne's death, and Arthur realises that Ghaskys is responsible for what has transpired. He demands that the bells be rung across the Pride Islands and later demands that Ghaskys be brought to him. Pridemen charge to Ghaskys' room, but Ghaskys sets off a trap in his chambers that causes a vicious explosion that kills several of them. Ghaskys flees to the docks and tells them that Arthur has turned on him, only for Ormund to emerge and attack Ghaskys. The two of them duel across the ship, until Ghaskys knocks the boy into the water, preparing to kill him. However, Arthur appears out of nowhere with Iron Solace in hand, demanding that Ghaskys get away from his son. Ghaskys and Arthur violently trade barbs and Ghaskys explains that he should have seen this coming, because he killed Xhobar Qhoqua all those years ago and Ghaskys has been considering ruining his life for a very long time. Ghaskys uses Ormund as a human shield and plans to leave the Pride Islands and return to the Stepstones, until Arthur points out that, as Prince of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea, he will still hunt him down and rip him apart if he dares to leave Hoskagon, which he will not.
Ghaskys decides instead to join Cersei, and prepares to leave, before Ormund grapples with him over his sword. Ormund manages to scar the man with his own blade, before he himself is knocked unconscious. Arthur pounces on Ghaskys and the two men exchange blows across the harbour, until Arthur shatters Ghaskys' sword into pieces. Ghaskys seizes a net and spear from the harbour and attacks, but is absolutely no match for Arthur's incredible proficiency, being better with a sword than with the weapons he is using, and Arthur himself is using a Valyrian steel weapon. Arthur disarms Ghaskys several times of any weapon he tries to use, before slicing off the man's hand at his wrist. Ghaskys begs for his life, and Arthur realises that the duel has attracted massive attention from the population of the harbour, who, while silent, will not forgive Ghaskys for damaging the prospect of an alliance with the Pride Islands. However, Arthur, also sees Lilith in the crowd, and knows that she wouldn't want to see a sadistic death for Ghaskys. The White Stag tells Ghaskys that he cannot give him mercy, but he cannot forgive him - he kills Ghaskys with a sweeping stroke of his sword that nicks a vein in the man's throat, killing him quickly. Arthur stands over Ghaskys' corpse in silence, before returning to carry his wife's body away from where she died.
News reaches King's Landing about a violent showdown in Hoskagon, and later Meereen. It is interpreted in both places to be a riot against the Redmyres due to the absence of their queen. Back in Hoskagon, Arthur gives a eulogy for his wife, mourning how they have survived so much for her life to end in the Pride Islands. He orders that her body be secretly returned to Highgarden, which Varys guarantees will happen, since both of them want Jeyne to be buried in her homeland.
Realising that Arthur is not ready to invade yet, Ormund and Lilith both suggest that they rethink their original plan, but before they can do so, they receive even worse news - war has been declared on the Pride Islands, for reasons as yet unknown. Arthur decides to stay and defend the Pride Islands in order to win their support properly. He learns that the fleet will be commanded by Calvin Dondarrion.
Prince Arthur watches as Ormund spars with several of the Redmyres with Esme, who asks him if he truly intends to contend with Calvin Dondarrion, who previously fought with supreme distinction at the Prince's Pass, later at the Trident. Arthur counters her by telling her that he had been at the Prince's Pass, and that Calvin was an extremely dangerous warrior and a proven leader, but they have an advantage of having a larger army in reserve, and that if Calvin knew their true intentions - to join Daenerys - then he would have lured them to Storm's End to destroy them, since Shipbreaker Bay would decimate the fleet. Esme tells Arthur that, presumably, Jeyne's body is nearer Highgarden, which ARthur takes solace in. Arthur argues later on with Lilith over her being involved in the battle, and she states she is sick of him trying to protect her. She steals Iron Solace in the night and practises with it, being watched by her father. He receives word that Daenerys has disappeared from Meereen.
Arthur is called to Esme, who complains that they are about to receive an overpopulated Iron Keep, because they are accepting refugees throughout all of the Pride Islands. Arthur judges that they do not keep them in the caves because, if they do, they could fall prey to similar tactics that Tywin Lannister inflicted on the Reynes of Castamere and the caves could be flooded. He suggests that all of the population who are available ought to be armed and ready to fight for their homeland, which Esme admires. Esme realises that he is a lot quieter now and says that Jeyne seemed like an extremely good person, which assures him. He tells her that he needs to speak in private with his children. He reminds LIlith that she has been training in private, and tells her that he will put her in as a lieutenant in defending the Iron Keep, while Ormund will stand by him. Lilith recognises that he is utilising her strengths and confidently accepts her position. Ormund asks how long until they can expect the attack, and Arthur says that a fleet is still gathering in Shipbreaker Bay and Calvin Dondarrion is still preparing his own forces throughout the Stormlands. Ormund cites the irony of them fighting against Stormlanders.
Tycho Nestoris begs an audience with Arthur, and tells him that Braavos is being well run by the Iron Bank, but also that there are men contending to be the new Sealord of the city. Tycho assures Arthur that his contenders will have to come to Hoskagon in order to truly surpass him as Sealord of Braavos. Tycho also tells him that Jeyne has reached Highgarden, according to his sources. Arthur acknowledges that Tycho has supported him for years and expresses that Tycho will be rewarded when Westeros is taken, to which Tycho retorts that they will have to wait for Daenerys to resurface before they can even consider invading the whole of Westeros, and Arthur corrects him - they can still sting the fleet of the Iron Throne in the incoming battle, led by Calvin. Tycho is impressed by the preparations made, and acknowledges the possibility that Arthur can defeat Cersei. He leaves, but not before informing Arthur that Winterfell hasn't been breached - Stannis Baratheon's army was destroyed in the Battle of Winterfell.
Calvin Dondarrion sends terms of surrender to Hoskagon, insisting that they dip their banners and bend the knee to King Tommen Baratheon, surrendering their independence as a kingdom in the process and becoming part of the Stormlands and the Dornish Marches. Realising that this would mean Queen Skylar's usefulness will become obsolete and she will be expendable if the terms are met, Arthur orders that they reply to Calvin's demands by daring him to break their banners instead. This unusually aggressive act is successful and Calvin sets sail for the Pride Islands with his armies. It is established by many that Calvin will bring everything he has upon Hoskagon itself, instead of going for the other islands, since if Hoskagon is besieged then the entire kingdom will be crippled. In private, Arthur vents about Stannis's death and realises that he made a foolish, traitorous mistake in deciding not to support his own nephew, which Ormund counters that this would mean abandoning the plan that had been years in the making. Arthur cites that he has betrayed too many Baratheons in his life and that the history books will recognise this if he enters Westeros. Calming down, Arthur accepts what he has said, and visits all of his soldiers, who cite their loyalty to him, but he corrects them that they are serving Queen Skylar and he is just a soldier in service.
A parley is called between the Pride Islands and the royal army, but Arthur reminds them that the parley at sea would end horribly because they would be insufficiently defended off of the island, and instead they demand the release of Queen Skylar Redmyre in return for their surrender, but Calvin Dondarrion refuses this, only intending to endanger Skylar if the Pridemen truly attack them. In the night, some ships are set aflame by sellswords hired by Calvin Dondarrion, and Ormund kills them, before the royal fleet finally arrives at Hoskagon and Arthur realises that the battle is about to begin.
Calvin mounts his great assault against the Pride Islands, and obliterates the skeleton army off of the outlying territories. Leading the armies from his warship, Calvin orders that all commanders be brought to him. Arthur retaliates by battering the navy at the Crimson Pier, at little cost to his own men, but he knows that he has been drawn away from Hoskagon and thus has fallen for a trap by Calvin, who leads a direct assault on the main island. After a brutal skirmish between the islands, the Redmyres are beaten back at terrible cost and Arthur is forced to return around the islands to get to Hoskagon. Calvin Dondarrion injures many lieutenants personally when they reach him, and Arthur opts to delay the pure assault by chipping the edges of the enemy fleet with fire - this succeeds, and Calvin sends men on to the royal warships, setting them aflame and forcing Calvin to flee back to the bulk of his fleet. Arthur orders Ormund to lead a sortie of men into the caves beneath Hoskagon and police the Pridemen there. Ormund does this, and catches many thieves and pickpockets, but they both know that this will worsen if it goes on for too long. Arthur order Lilith to keep inside the Iron Keep and police all matters there.
The Redmyre army that defends the islands are an easy match for the enemy over the next few hours of battle, but Calvin knows that wearing them down will give them a supreme advantage and so continues to aim for the outlying islands, understanding that if the Pridemen under the Iron Keep ignore these islands then they will be lost both literally and in the minds of their own people. Arthur is outraged by this act of ruthlessness, and his retaliatory strike obliterates the army at Kayone, only for Calvin to launch a barrage of flaming arrows against them. Morale is slightly severed by this act, and the fact that the people have seen their soldiers burn alive. Arthur orders Ormund, who was leading the charge at Kayone, to retreat, but Ormund ignores the order and continues to fight, saving several of his men's lives by dousing them in the sea. Arthur is persuaded to leave Hoskagon and bring his son back, but in the meantime Calvin Dondarrion relaunches his siege of Hoskagon. Hoskagon's defences, including a torrent of tar which is then burned by flaming arrows, cause a devastating decimation of the vanguard, causing many stormlords to try and abandon the attack or to persuade Calvin to do such. Calvin kills these lords.
In the chaos, Skylar Redmyre escapes from her imprisonment. Arthur knows that her return will cause a major uproar among the enemy, and a supreme height in morale for his soldiers. Skylar, who steals a boat and travels to Hoskagon, killing thirteen stormlords in the process, arrives in the Iron Keep fatigued and exhausted, and Arthur, knowing that Calvin has nothing to use as leverage, opens the gates and mounts a great counterstrike against the enemy, with Skylar atop the battlements of the Red Keep giving incredible degrees inspiration to the troops. This causes an intense battle on the shores of Hoskagon, during which Calvin Dondarrion leads the charge. Calvin's strategies abandoned, his cavalry charge breaks the front line of the Pridemen, but as a result many horses and front-line cavalrymen are butchered, and Arthur, knowing this, hopes to draw Calvin inside the Iron Keep, where he will have no high ground or personal advantage of any kind beyond his skill in combat. Calvin does go straight for the Iron Keep, but takes his best remaining troops with him, leading to Ormund battling them into the shallows. Sending these men into the Iron Keep, Calvin hopes to find Esme and kill her. Arthur appears in full plate black armour and wearing the white stag on his breast, with Iron Solace in hand. Arthur makes short, bloody work of the soldiers, before Calvin arrives and demands to know the identity of his opponent. Arthur simply identifies himself as Calvin's bane.
Calvin draws his blade, citing his knowledge of water dancing and that he bested Skylar Redmyre in combat. Arthur retorts that he slaw the kings who sold their crowns at nine a'penny. Beginning to realise the identity of his adversary, Calvin voices his disbelief. Before Arthur can retaliate, Calvin charges and the two of them engage in a furious sword fight. Arthur is incredibly strong and fierce, utilising his decades of experience througout this duel, but Calvin is faster, younger, and his fighting style is unlike any that Arthur has ever fought before - however, Arthur is intimately familiar with water dancing and adopts defensive styles as the duel progresses, leading to Calvin believing that he has the upper hand. Calvin removes Arthur's helm at one point, revealing Arthur's face at last - Calvin is momentarily horrified by what he sees, as he had long believed Arthur to be dead. Arthur attacks, and Calvin loses control, his moves becoming more rabid, unpredictable and ferocious. Arthur, finally breaking through Calvin's swordsmanship, shatters his blade with Iron Solace. Calvin, inexorably, draws two daggers and fights on, and Arthur becomes wary of him, but soon Arthur cuts one dagger in half and scars Calvin's finger so he drops the other, before battering him across the head with the pommel, knocking him to the ground. Calvin, bloody and shocked, asks Arthur why he came back. Arthur asks him why he chose to serve Cersei. Calvin retorts 'I serve the king', and will never serve anyone else. Arthur tells Calvin, rather impressed, that he is an honourable man, in his own way, and that his honour is a lesson to them all - Arthur then finishes Calvin by cutting him through the heart, winning the Battle of Hoskagon and ending the Siege of the Pride Islands. 
Calvin Dondarrion's body is ordered to be returned to Blackhaven. While Arthur recovers from the battle, he is approached by Queen Skylar Redmyre, who voices her disbelief that he is still alive. It is revealed later that Skylar escaped her captivity during the battle, and therefore reclaimed control over her kingdom. At first the two of them are uneasy together, but eventually they sit and discuss the events leading up to the battle, and the fact that they must decide what to do now. Throughout the conversation, it is established that the duel had almost exhausted Arthur, who is not nearly as young as he used to be. He remembers hearing how Barristan Selmy fought, even in his old age, and knows that he can continue as a soldier in the army that is attempting to retake the Iron Throne.
Skylar asks him if he even planned on leaving Calvin alive, since Calvin fought beside him in battles before and was a lord of the Stormlands himself. Arthur declares that, while he plans on not being a terrible liege once he returns to the Stormlands, he couldn't tolerate the betrayals that Calvin committed, and the Pridemen would never have allowed him to live anyway for trying to terrorise them. When Skylar says that her plan is to stay in Hoskagon and prepare for the next inevitable attack from Cersei. To this, Arthur explains that he will sail from Hoskagon to Slaver's Bay to meet Daenerys Targaryen in the flesh. Skylar is deeply sceptical of this plan, since Daenerys may not accept his audience based solely on the fact that he is Robert Baratheon's uncle. Arthur accepts her scepticism, but says that he plans on doing so anyway, since Skylar is back and can rule her kingdom again. He proposes a toast to their victory, and Skylar, smiling, accepts.
Arthur was a huge man, broad-chested and extremely strong. He had powerful arms and round shoulders, as well as the classical Baratheon looks - in his youth, he had long dark hair, but before he turned fifty it turned grey and he shaved his head. He had an iron-grey beard and sideburns, and dark blue eyes. In his old age, his eyes maintained a hard, merciless glower which had long since become his normal expression. It was often speculated that, if Robert Baratheon hadn't fallen into gluttony after he won the Rebellion, he would end up looking quite like Arthur when he reached an advanced age. Even in his fifties, his voice remained deep and powerful, and Renly remembers that when Arthur laughed it sounded like a war horn. As a young man, it was rumoured that he had shaved the rest of his body completely, but the truth of this is unknown. He often wore a deep black surcoat that was webbed with gold, and outside of battle he wore a great black cloak. He had a huge scar on his body, running from his right shoulder to the left side of his stomach, a remnant from his confrontation with Maelys Blackfyre during the War of the Ninepenny Kings.
He wields the ancestral longsword of House Baratheon, Iron Solace, in battle, and it is his most prized possession. When he lived in Braavos, Arthur refrained from wearing the colours of House Baratheon, including his personal sigil of a crowned white stag on a golden field.
Personality and Traits
In his youth, Arthur was a serious and extremely focused to a fault, and this continued throughout his life. Unlike his older brother, Steffon, who was raised to be a ruler and a lord over the Stormlands, Arthur focused on becoming a warrior and commander who would serve his liege in future wars that would inevitably come. Arthur had a passionate temper and was often impulsive, which stemmed famously during the War of the Ninepenny Kings: when he saw Maelys the Monstrous kill his father in battle, he stepped up and bravely fought with the Blackfyre pretender, even though his opponent vastly outmatched him. Barristan viewed this as phenomenal courage, since even he who killed Maelys considered the man to be a terrifying enemy. Even after he recovered, Arthur showed a ferocious sense of justice, hunting after the rest of the Ninepenny Kings after the war and killing as many of them as he could find. This showed that, as a young man, Arthur was motivated by his emotions, but he would often come to regret certain actions in future.
Steffon's relationship with his brother was a very complicated one: it was obvious that the two loved each other, but after the end of the War of the Ninepenny Kings, Steffon resented Arthur for going on a personal crusade after his enemies instead of returning home to mourn his father. Nevertheless, this didn't stop Steffon from giving his brother Iron Solace and naming him Lord Guardian of the Stormlands, so clearly they had a good relationship but never truly expressed it to each other. This would harden Arthur a great deal, since he never heard Steffon express to him anything other than ambivalence. He would aspire to raise the descendants of House Baratheon lovingly, and both Stannis, Robert and Renly admired him. Arthur inspired in Stannis an extreme sense of justice and honour, something that Stannis grew to respect. The most ironic aspect of the Baratheons' respect for their uncle was that they themselves would have a loveless brotherhood with one another, which was probably caused by Steffon trying to withhold his sons from his brother. Nevertheless, Arthur joined his nephews in mourning Steffon's death when they witnessed it at Storm's End.
Arthur is potentially unique among the great lords of Westeros, that is to say the lords of great houses who are the most powerful: he is almost drastically different from Tywin Lannister, mainly in that he cares not just for the reputation and standing of his house, but also for the well-being of its members, young and old, man or woman, whereas Tywin has destroyed his relationships with all of his children to such an extent that his legacy is just short of undone after his death at the hands of Tyrion Lannister; he is different from Mace Tyrell, in that he is a tried and tested battle commander with great experience and charisma, who acknowledges the accomplishments of others in his name and doesn't take credit for such acts, and is not considered a blustering fool by several who know him; He is different from Doran Martell, because he is far more proactive and, while a peaceful man, resorts to whatever is necessary to mete out justice for his house; He is different from Eddard Stark, in that while he greatly considers the honourable route of a situation he will also consider the practical or logical approach and resort to it if he truly has to; he is different from Hoster Tully in an almost ironic sense, in that he did not personally strike up a bad relationship with his brother Brynden, but they are similar in a sense that neither of them got the chance to reconcile properly.
A man of principle, Arthur was extremely dedicated to a fault to the prominence of House Baratheon, something that he had tempered his entire life. Raised by example to fight for his family, Arthur would become notorious for putting his house before himself - he cried 'Storm's End!' as a battle cry during the Battle of the Prince's Pass, as opposed to chanting Robert Baratheon's name, showing that he was devoted to House Baratheon as a whole. He raised Robert and Stannis, and endured the wild nature of Renly for the sake of bettering the future of his family, hoping that while he raised his descendants to be great people, he would fulfil something that he felt his father never got the chance to do properly. This ambition was cut short in a certain light when he was shipwrecked during the Greyjoy Rebellion, and the Seven Kingdoms believed that he was dead. Even then, he strove to become powerful in order to better the predicament of his immediate family - he devoted so much that he became the First Sword of Braavos after his saviour Syrio Forel, whom he respected. When he learned of the man that his nephew Robert had become, and deduced that the Lannisters were usurping the throne, he devoted fully to supporting Daenerys Targaryen, whilst also contemplating supporting his nephew Stannis in order to defeat the Lannisters so that they were rid of one enemy before Daenerys sailed for Westeros.
One of the most unfortunate weaknesses of being an honourable man is the fact that, when Arthur is faced with the crimes that Stannis has committed in murdering Renly Baratheon, Arthur is therefore faced with a moral, logical and ethical stalemate - he is dead set against the concept of kinslaying, describing it as the only low he will never ever stoop to, and therefore he is horrified at the news that one of his nephews has murdered the other using blood magic, which his father was dead set against. Arthur acknowledges that Stannis Baratheon is one of the men that, any bias aside for being a blood relative, Arthur completely respects for his fair treatment of the daughter who is loathed by Selyse, and for his bravery in battle, but he knows that Stannis would never bend to anyone and would do whatever it took to get what he desired, which Arthur ironically also respected. He compromised with Stannis that, if the latter could control the North what with the disarray it experiences as a result of the Red Wedding, Arthur will support him with the full brunt of his new army, but otherwise Arthur will not alter the plan. Arthur later remarks that the only reason he didn't kill or attaint Stannis was because the man was his brother's son and heir, and someone he cares a great deal about. He experiences conflict about his decision to part with Stannis later on, and outright horror and grief when Stannis is revealed to have perished against the Boltons during the Battle of Winterfell.
Although he was a very good man in many respects, Arthur was a fearsome enemy: Gerold Hightower learned this the hard way during the Battle of the Prince's Pass when he was defeated by Arthur during Robert's Rebellion. Arthur was considered a dangerous man by his enemies, who all feared the wrath of the White Stag - it was often speculated that the moniker Arthur the Storm because he would come down on his opponent like a ton of bricks if ever he was crossed. When he ventured into the Stepstones for the first time, Arthur claimed that he hadn't been affected by the memories that came, and he was of his own mind enough that he put up a fierce stand in the debate with Ghaskys that earned him the allegiance and respect of the pirate lord. He was considered a player as opposed to a pawn, and Tycho Nestoris commented to Illyrio Mopatis that even he feared what would happen if the magister undermined Arthur. In spite of his frightening potential, Arthur was an honourable man who carried Barristan Selmy off the battlefield at the Trident, even though he was under fire and Barristan was an enemy and a royalist. His sense of honour led to him facing down Ghaskys Mo Qhoqua finally after the man murdered his wife - he fought furiously and overpowered the man, but he had the grace to kill him quickly.
Arthur was a unconventional and unpredictable, but evidently extremely skilled strategist in his own right, having benefited from decades of experience and becoming a leading force during the impending Battle of Hoskagon against the Iron Throne. Having used ingenious strategies during battles, such as that at the Prince's Pass and beyond, Arthur is clearly quite clever, but benefits more from utilising his enemy's unawareness of how dangerous he is than from using cunning and treacherous tactics. Everyone who fought beside him or formed battle plans with him realised that his reputation was deserved and that he was a formidable opponent, aside from being an amazing swordsman who could beat significantly younger and less fatigued opponents.
Arthur has been jokingly styled by some in Braavos as the Prince of Braavos, but this is incorrect because he does not have insurmountable control over Braavos, which is still democratically run with Arthur at the top. Arthur's full titles are "Prince of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea, Sealord of Braavos, Lord Guardian of the Stormlands, Champion of the Prince's Pass and Bane of the Ninepenny Kings":
- Even though he is not in Storm's End at the start of the series, and holds no current jurisdiction over the Stormlands in this capacity, he maintains the title because it has not been afforded to anyone else by any subsequent Lord of Storm's End or ruler of the Seven Kingdoms (Robert Baratheon refused to dish out this title to anybody else with the excuse that he who possesses the ancestral sword Iron Solace will be the one to wield that title, but in truth Robert respected his uncle too much to dish out his title to anyone else, although he considered giving it to Stannis).
- He rules Braavos as Sealord by right of election - he relinquished the title of First Sword of Braavos upon his election.
- Arthur continues to claim the title of Bane of the Ninepenny Kings as a matter of personal honour, but many believe that it is to ensure that he doesn't forget the circumstances or consequences of the War of the Ninepenny Kings, or of the ambiguously self-righteous act of hunting down the survivors of the Band of Nine. He is referred to liberally by many in Westeros by this moniker because many considered the Ninepenny Kings to be monsters and Arthur a hero for killing them. Arthur also realises that keeping the title will magnetise the respect of the Stormlords when he returns to Westeros.
- The honorary title Champion of the Prince's Pass is one of the few titles that he has ever possessed which is actually subject to derision from Arthur (more so in the books than the series), since he did not kill Gerold Hightower in the battle and did not consider himself a champion, only a survivor. Jeyne and Lilith both agree that Arthur wanted to keep the title because it was a title that inspired great respect in Dorne, especially for those who fought or witnessed the Battle of the Prince's Pass. His defeat of Prince Oberyn Martell during the battle has given gravity to this title.
- Many inhabitants of Braavos call him Lēkia, which is a High Valyrian word for 'Brother', since Arthur has become 'the brother of Braavos, due to his extreme involvement in the running of the Free City even before he became Sealord. This nickname has been extended to 'Lēkia hen Azantys', which is High Valyrian for 'Brother of Warriors' on account of his prolific military experience and his former status as First Sword of Braavos - rumours were that he had an almost brotherly relationship with his friend Syrio Forel during the latter's time as Sealord of Braavos. He is referred to as the Terror of Dorne as a contradictory title to Champion of the Prince's Pass, considering the hunt he waged for Lyanna Stark during Robert's Rebellion on the orders of his liege lord.
|Season Two appearances|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
|Season Three appearances|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
|Season Four appearances|
|Two Swords||The Lion and the Rose||Breaker of Chains||Oathkeeper||First of His Name|
|The Laws of Gods and Men||Mockingbird||The Mountain and the Viper||The Watchers on the Wall||The Children|
|Season Five appearances|
|The Wars to Come||The House of Black and White||High Sparrow||Sons of the Harpy||Kill the Boy|
|Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken||The Gift||Hardhome||The Dance of Dragons||Mother’s Mercy|
|Season Six appearances|
|The Red Woman||Home||Oathbreaker||Book of the Stranger||The Door|
|Blood of My Blood||The Broken Man||No One||Battle of the Bastards||The Winds of Winter|
|Ormund Baratheon||Rhaelle Targaryen|
|Steffon Baratheon||Cassana Estermont|
|Cersei Lannister||Robert Baratheon|
|Template:Familytree/Renly Baratheon||Template:Familytree/Margaery Tyrell|
|Lilith Baratheon||Ormund Baratheon|
Quotes by Arthur
- "You realise who I am? I am Arthur of the House Baratheon, the Lord Guardian of the Stormlands and the Champion of the Ninepenny Kings. I slew the Ninepenny Kings, all but the great pretender Maelys the Monstrous, who lies dead beneath the ground nonetheless. This is Iron Solace, and it tasted the flesh, blood and bone of crueler men than any of you! Ghaskys mo Lanshare, if you wish to bare steel against me, then let our blades sing. Let our blades sing until a note ends the era of either one of us. Or, let us lay down our swords and shake hands, as a union of pirate and exile. What say you?"
- ―Arthur Baratheon challenges Ghaskys Mo Qhoqua
Quotes about Arthur
- "And then there was the Usurper's uncle. Arthur, the White Stag. He wielded Iron Solace, the ancestral Valyrian steel sword of House Baratheon. People called him the Bane of the Ninepenny Kings after he faced Maelys Monstrous on the Stepstones, and then they called him the Champion of the Prince's Pass after his triumph against Ser Gerold Hightower when he hunted after Rhaegar, my brother. If Robert was a Usurper...then Arthur, he was second best, for my family considered him a hero, and he repaid us by butchering our men."
- ―Viserys Targaryen recalls Arthur Baratheon
- "I've heard so much about my uncle, Robert. I heard about my grandfather, Steffon...and his brother, Arthur, the White Stag, who wielded the ancestral sword Iron Solace. I never met him, though...they say he died in a shipwreck during the Greyjoy Rebellion..."
- ―Shireen Baratheon about her uncle Arthur
- "You may jest about men who are too high up in the Seven Heavens to hear you, Lord Tyrell, but here is the undeniable truth. Arthur Baratheon was one of the best 'gambles' that your house ever made - he was the greatest warrior in his kingdom, one of the most shrewd strategists and potentially the most dangerous man in the Stormlands with the exceptions of his nephews; but he was also a good man. If he were Hand of the King instead of Eddard Stark, had he still been alive...I fear for what chance Joffrey, or his Kingsguard, would have stood against him in that hall when the wolves were butchered."
- ―Varys honours Arthur to Mace Tyrell
In the books
- "In the recesses of Storm's End, people often joked that when Arthur Baratheon bowed to his nephew, respect flowed to the king like a rainstorm."
- ―Davos Seaworth recites a common memory between Robert and Arthur during Robert's Rebellion
In the A Song of Ice and Fire books, Lord Arthur Baratheon is viewed as one of the greatest warriors in all of the Stormlands, and one of the most experienced of military leaders in the Seven Kingdoms - his most popular competitor when fans debate on his skill as a strategist is Lord Randyll Tarly. Arthur is a sagacious man, but also an extremely loving father.
He is in his late fifties when the story begins, and a huge man of immense strength and stature (Davos Seaworth remembers Arthur being a titan of a man with a cold stare and broad shoulders, with a Valyrian steel sword at his back); bald, with an iron-grey beard and sideburns. He is commonly noted to have eyes so blue it looks like there is a white storm stirring behind them when he is angry; in fact, Arthur looks incredibly intimidating in a certain light, especially in moments of anger. It was often remarked that Stannis would have grown up to look a lot more like Arthur if he'd smiled more, which was a rumour bolstered by Stannis's reputation for barely ever smiling. In spite of his moniker, Arthur favours black clothes to any other colour. A common rumour is that Arthur earned his moniker and branded his sigil as 'the White Stag' for his deeds fighting Gerold Hightower during Robert's Rebellion; this is half-right, but the truth is actually part of a cruel joke between himself and his brother Steffon, in which Steffon stated 'You may be a Baratheon, but you and I are as different as day and night!', to which Arthur retorted by taking the white stag as his sigil instead of the black stag of his brother's, as if to suggest that he was the day to Steffon's night.
He was fostered at Harvest Hall from the ages of nine to thirteen, where he became the squire for Ser Barristan Selmy - this is omitted from the series, where Arthur squired for Barristan during the War of the Ninepenny Kings and grew up in Storm's End instead. He is a veteran of the War of the Ninepenny Kings, the War of the Usurper, and two unnamed campaigns during the reign of Aerys Targaryen, making him the survivor of four wars he has fought in on the front line. Arthur earned massive distinction in the Seven Kingdoms after his showdown with Maelys Blackfyre when he was only fourteen years old. In the books, the scar is much fiercer than it is seen in the series, as Arthur feels it with almost every sudden or heavy move he makes. Even late into his life, Arthur has nightmares about Maelys, and even contemplates that the man returned as a wraith of some sort in order to continue to haunt him. When he returned from his destruction of the Ninepenny Kings, he still saw Maelys' ghost in the faces of every grown man, even in a crowd. He has never spoken to anyone about this. Arthur is a background character in the second book, and his actions are largely seen through the point of view of his son Ormund, and his daughter Lilith. In all of his other appearances, Arthur is a POV character, through which most of his experiences are witnessed.
Arthur faced off against Maelys as a very young man, and therefore he maintains a very nightmarish image of the man - after his speech to the people of Braavos following the destruction of his fleet, he has a nightmare in which he sees 'a man of inhuman size, hooded and cloaked and wearing rusty iron armour underneath it, with one large smiling face wearing an eyepatch, and another face fused into it that was twisted and screaming. Looking into those misty, violet eyes, Arthur was suddenly startled by the sounds of shrieking steel and growling flames, and his ancient scar that refused to die burned through his body'. When approached about this portrayal of Maelys, George R.R. Martin replied 'Arthur was fourteen or fifteen when he went to the Stepstones. The face of his father's murderer was burned into his mind forever. Forty years on, Arthur is a prince, a warrior, a great man...but the face of the Pretender haunts him still, and I think that makes him more human. He still fears the place where he was almost killed as a child, and thus we know he has fear'.
Arthur visited Blackhaven several times, and Harvest Hall three times for every time he visited Blackhaven - he would be seen very frequently at court to see his old friend Ser Barristan. They fought together against the Kingswood Brotherhood: Arthur had been with Elia Martell when she was attacked by the Brotherhood, and slew a dozen of the brothers before Gerold Hightower was wounded. Arthur protected Gerold, even though the White Bull briefly fought back with vigour that Arthur would commend for years after Gerold died at the Tower of Joy. Arthur joined the royal forces when they faced off against the Brotherhood for the last time and killed Ser Petyr Whent, before heatedly duelling and flooring Ulmer (who had wounded Ser Gerold) with a blow so mighty that Ulmer, his armour split in half by the Valyrian steel blade, was knocked off his horse and almost drowned in a nearby river. Arthur's blow left a permanent scar on Ulmer's shoulder, and when the White Stag dragged him to court he surprised everyone by petitioning Aerys into sending him to the Wall, where Ulmer spent the rest of his life. Arthur, upon hearing from Varys about the triumph of the Night's Watch against the Free Folk, wonders if Ulmer fought or even survived the battle, or if he remembers the duel that took place between them when the Kingswood Brotherhood was destroyed.
Arthur had an extremely complicated relationship with his brother in the books, which is not as solidly expressed in the TV series: Born within a year of each other, Arthur and Steffon both loved each other and it was often contemplated that they were as inseparable as twins. As was the case with so many men who fought during the War of the Ninepenny Kings, the said conflict changed both men drastically. Steffon and Arthur both witnessed Maelys's duel with their father Ormund, and his brutal death at the rebel's hands. While Steffon cradled their father as he died, Arthur tried to fight off Maelys and was almost killed in the process. Arthur was never visited by his brother while he recovered from the wound that Maelys dealt him, and avoided him throughout the remainder of the war. After Maelys's death, Arthur prioritised his own sense of vengeance over family values, and while he was hunting down the rest of the Band of Nine, Steffon dealt him the indirect honour of postponing their father's funeral until Arthur returned. From the day he returned, until the day Steffon died at sea, Arthur and his brother had a noticeably antisocial relationship, and Robert, Stannis and Renly all agree that whenever Arthur and Steffon spoke to one another there was a distinctive feeling of unrest, as if they were about to draw swords at any moment. During one memorable argument, Arthur offered to take care of Steffon's three children while he served on the Small Council, but Steffon was furious at the idea - everyone knew, from that moment on, that Steffon had lost respect and trust for his brother, but nobody would ever press the subject on Arthur because of how fearsome he became while arguing with the Lord of Storm's End - it came as a shock to everyone in the Stormlands who knew the two men that they never came to blows in any of their arguments. Arthur himself would confirm that he loved his brother, though.
Arthur's destruction of the Band of Nine is explained in much greater detail in the books, and is chronicled in The World of Ice and Fire as one of the most fearsome one-man wars in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. Arthur was a young man, but he travelled the Stepstones, Skagos, every Free City and even apparently Slaver's Bay, mercilessly pursuing every single member to the point that two of them reportedly approached him, placed their swords at his feet and asked that he make their deaths quick, which he obliged honourably. Unlike what many rumours that reached King's Landing said, Arthur did not resort to savagery in his effors, and paid for any damage caused in the hunt personally. He met the father of Syrio Forel in Braavos at one point, and the man witnessed him duel with Samarro Saan that took him across the streets of the city, becoming subject to songs and poetry and fables. Arthur finished the showdown with Samarro at the foot of the House of Black and White, and then personally burned his body and returned his ashes to Lys, where Salladhor Saan would years later keep the ashes on his ship wherever he went afterwards.
Arthur dreams about the confrontation in A Clash of Kings. At the beginning of the confrontation, the following dialogue ensues:
|“||"I had hoped that you were to be the one to turn yourself in, Samarro." Arthur heard himself say, "It is a shame and a sadness to me that we should meet in this fashion, and have to settle this like dogs fighting over scraps."
"Aye, it saddens me too." the pirate lord spat back, in his hands two arakhs of dark steel, "It saddens me that Maelys never finished you the way he finished your lackwit of a father."
"Did you think that he didn't try," Arthur's face was calm as the Red Fork remembered it being before the combat with the red dragon, "he tried, I assure you. But he failed, and so did the seven that came before you."
"You burn through a wasp's nest," hissed Samarro Saan, "you'd best hope that there aren't any flying back from the clouds to sting you. I'm the Last Valyrian, boy. I do not flee."
"You are not the Last Valyrian," Arthur stepped across the space between them, "as we speak, a Valyrian sits on the Iron Throne with a Valyrian prince to come. What you are, ser, is the last king who would sell a kingdom nine yards a'penny."
"And what you are, ser," sneered Samarro, drifting around Arthur like a tiger about to pounce upon a wounded deer. Their eyes never left one another, "is a boy who is trying to play a game of thrones, a game which only men, true men, can play. You will never be a man. You will never hold that stone monstrosity in the Stormlands. You will never leave this city. But I shall do you the courtesy of letting the frogs and catfish feast on your guts when I am done with you."
Samarro Saan held one arakh held high above his head, the curved blade a wicked halo against the moonlight; the other arakh was held protectively in front of his chest. Arthur ripped a longsword from his scabbard - not Iron Solace, but a fierce blade tempered in the forges of Storm's End.
"Valar Morghulis','" crooned the pirate lord, those fiery eyes now cooled with focus.
"Valar Dohaeris" answered Arthur calmly.
The two men strode across the empty space between them, and the Lyseni's war-cries followed him to his grave.
Finally, in A Storm of Swords, Arthur dreams of the conclusion of the duel:
|“||Samarro Saan was on his knees, drooling blood from a gash on his cheek, cradling a deep scar in the weak point in his chestplate, his left knee vibrating from a crippling blow his arakh had accidentally dealt when it missed its opponent's throat. He looked up at Arthur, who now towered over him as a black-robed titan with a blade streaked with blood. There was blood dripping from Arthur's arm from a wound he had been dealt himself.
"You rotten son of a whore," cursed Samarro, "you couldn't leave us alone."
"You wanted the Seven Kingdoms torn asunder so that the Monster could sit on the Iron Throne," Arthur answered serenely, "I remember the stories about Daemon Blackfyre's death - Bittersteel escaped from his pale brother and remained a scorpion's tail in the kingdom's arse until the end of his days. I won't let that happen here."
It is suggested that Arthur was seriously wounded during the duel, but wounded his opponent far more seriously - it is mentioned that Syrio Forel's father had to treat the scar left by Maelys Blackfyre, which had reopened during the showdown, but it is unclear as to whether or not this is due to extertion by Arthur or by a blow dealt by Samarro Saan. The execution of Samarro at the hands of Arthur Baratheon doesn't seem to have stopped Salladhor, his descendant, from associating himself with Arthur's nephew, Stannis Baratheon, during the War of the Five Kings.
It is mentioned in the series that he fought alongside Aerys II Targaryen on the Stepstones, but in the books there were instances where Arthur socialised with the prince. Arthur has often been questioned how, for all of his powers of perception, he couldn't deduce the man that Aerys would become. A friend of Barristan Selmy, for whom he squired for, Arthur always spoke highly of the man, even to his soldiers during the Rebellion. Gaining further distinction in Robert's Rebellion, Arthur was often considered the huntsman of House Baratheon, considering the manhunt he instigated for Rhaegar Targaryen that put him into collision with the fearsome Gerold Hightower, the White Bull. Of all the battles that Arthur ever fought, this would have been the one he would be in the most danger of losing, or so Arthur said. He never crossed swords with Ser Gerold, but the two men were mighty warriors and strategists and thus the Battle of the Prince's Pass is commonly called the Showdown of the Stag and Bull. To some, it was a game of wits in terms of strategy between the two men, like a modern chess match between two masters. It is hitherto unknown whether or not Gerold Hightower disappeared because he was under orders from Rhaegar to guard Lyanna Stark, or because Arthur had beaten him. Prince Oberyn Martell defied his brother's orders and entered the battle fighting a lengthy and intense duel against Arthur, who disarmed him twice and very nearly killed him, only for Jonothor Darry to protect Oberyn - both Arthur and Oberyn remember one another as the greatest warrior the other had ever fought, and Oberyn at one point tells Arianne Martell (in the series, Ellaria Sand) that Arthur would have killed him if Jonothor Darry hadn't intervened.
Arthur's chivalreous act of carrying Barristan Selmy from the Trident during the battle between Robert Baratheon and Rhaegar Targaryen has earned him the respect of the Stormlords, and even those who fought against him, including the Tyrells, viewed him with great respect, and Mace Tyrell even offered up his sister Jeyne for marriage as a sign of that respect. However, while Arthur married and grew to love Jeyne, it didn't change the fact that Arthur did not like Mace Tyrell, nor trust him; Mace thought himself a great man, and while he was a competent warrior in his own right, he was a braggart and seized credit for victories earned by the more experienced Randyll Tarly. This led to Arthur's philosophy that a man ought to respect the men who accomplish for him. This philosophy is a curious one, since Arthur respected Randyll Tarly and marvelled his skill as a warrior and commander, but did not believe that Randyll was a good man - this in turn helped Arthur develop the personal distinction between a good man, and a great one.
Arthur was a warrior and a politician both, and his political savvy almost earned him a place in the Small Council, but Arthur never sat on the Small Council in his life because he thought that three Baratheons on the council was more than enough. He accepted and flourished in his responsibilities as Lord Guardian of the Stormlands, and worked to keep the peace and to groom Renly Baratheon, the new Lord Paramount of the Stormlands, to become a good lord. Apparently, Arthur agreed with Stannis that the latter ought to have been given Storm's End because it was his by right, and knew Stannis would see it as a grievous insult, but he served Renly nonetheless because Robert was his king.
His status as the greatest warrior in the Stormlands has been debated heavily. George RR Martin voiced in an interview that a duel between Arthur and Robert could go either way, but while Robert was stronger Arthur would have been a shade more skilful. Martin confirmed that he is a better warrior than Ser Gerold Hightower (But the White Bull would beat him in terms of strength), Greatjon Umber, Yohn Royce, Eddard Stark, Jon Snow and Brienne of Tarth. Arthur Dayne could ultimately defeat him if he wielded Dawn, and if it were a fight to the death, which Arthur himself confirms, considering the Sword of the Morning's fighting style to be almost superhuman. When asked whether or not Randyll Tarly would hold his own against Arthur, Martin cryptically answered 'I really don't know. They're both prolific strategists and warriors, and they could match each other for strategy, but if it came to blows between them...it'll probably be a duel for the songs, won't it?'. Jaime Lannister, in A Storm of Swords contemplates that Arthur, if he were alive (Since Arthur was presumed dead at the time), he would be one of four people in all of the Seven Kingdoms who could beat him in a fair fight, and marvels at the concept of defeating such a man. Wielding the ancestral Valyrian Steel sword Iron Solace would give Arthur an edge, and thus fighting him would be made more challenging - Sandor Clegane, some believe, could potentially defeat Arthur if the Hound were in his prime, and inevitably Gregor Clegane's strength would give him a great advantage against the White Stag. Skylar Redmyre is considered one of the few people who could truly beat him, though many believe it would be during a fantastic duel (They are both exceptionally strong, and wield Valyrian steel weapons, so a fight to the death would be terrifying). Tourney knights like Loras Tyrell would find it hard to truly combat with Arthur, who was a hardened battle commander and didn't fight in tournaments, therefore Loras would struggle against Arthur's unpredictability. Arthur confirms that Barristan Selmy could easily defeat him, a respect possibly influenced by Barristan having trained Arthur to fight in the first place. Years after the Battle of the Prince's Pass, Arthur would comment to himself that many wished he had fought the White Bull one-to-one in the combat because it would be a song worthy of songs, but Arthur himself is glad that the two of them never met in the battle because he believed that Gerold would have killed him, suggesting that there is more ambiguity to the suggestion as to which man is better.
Unlike in the show, Arthur fought for a more extended amount of the Greyjoy Rebellion, fighting alongside Stannis at Fair Isle and crushing the Blacktydes during a violent battle at Blacktyde, and later crippling the support fleet at Harlaw, while Stannis, Robert and Eddard Stark prepared for the incoming Siege of Pyke. However, Arthur never fought at Pyke, for Robert sent him to broker a deal with the Iron Bank to support further wars in case the rebellion extended out of Robert's control. This was a poor excuse, and many lords close to Robert, especially Jon Arryn, Stannis and even Ser Barristan Selmy, suspected that Robert had sent Arthur to root out Prince Viserys and Princess Daenerys Targaryen in Essos. This was neither confirmed nor denied by Arthur or anyone.
Upon being shipwrecked during the Greyjoy Rebellion, after fighting in an unnamed battle, Arthur and his family were rescued by Syrio Forel, the First Sword of Braavos, and taken away to Braavos. Jeyne was pregnant at the time and miscarried the child, which led to potential strain on their relationship. However, Arthur never held it against Jeyne, and still maintained his love for her. He proved successful even after being shipwrecked, working as a sellsword until it earned him enough money to buy a manse in Braavos where he became one of its wealthiest residents. He developed a good relationship with Syrio Forel, but did not learn water-dancing even though Syrio recommended it. He became the First Sword of Braavos after Syrio ended his tenure and gained a reputation for being a formidable combatant, but one who rarely entered duels if he could avoid it. He set up a living in Braavos for his family, with the support of Syrio Forel's position as the First Sword, and managed to create a stable and wealthy lifestyle for his wife and children in the Free City, becoming one of its most powerful residents. It is noted throughout the books that Arthur built them a palace, but it was never home for him - his true home was Storm's End, and Arthur confirms that he dreams almost every night of the halls of Storm's End, and of training under Barristan Selmy in Harvest Hall, and of Ashara Dayne dancing with him at Harrenhal all those years ago.
He spent several years marshalling his armies into the Stepstones and achieving the loyalty or service of sellswords, but Arthur only enters the Stepstones for this when the series begins. The journey into the Stepstones in A Game of Thrones is depicted extremely differently - they face several storms, not one great storm, and Lilith is busy trying to settle matters for their family with the Iron Bank to come, therefore she is too busy to be disappointed. When Arthur meets Ghaskys Mo Qhoqua, the confrontation very nearly comes to blows between the two men, especially when Arthur reveals his identity - a flash of shock is caught on Ghaskys' face when he learns who Arthur really is, and when Ormund learns who Ghaskys' grandfather was he wonders whether or not Arthur will consider harming him just for the sake of harming a descendant of the Ninepenny Kings, but Arthur surpasses these expectations by striking up a very civilised relationship with the Tyroshi warrior. Jeyne later compares Arthur to his nephew Robert, in that men who were on the verge of crossing blades with him one day would be drinking and laughing with him the very next day, if not an hour later - Ormund is perplexed by this, because he has always seen as a fair but extremely hard man who doesn't always wear his emotions the way Robert and Renly were known to have done.
George R.R. Martin classed Arthur Baratheon in size as being larger than Yohn Royce, Greatjon Umber, Renly Baratheon and Gerold Hightower, while being on par with the Hound; and not as tall as Robert Baratheon, Hodor or the Mountain - however, he could potentially beat most of the known warriors in Westeros for strength and cunning. Considering that Arthur is a little past his prime, it is fair to assume that he isn't as strong as he used to be.
There was widespread speculation that Arthur technically had 'the blood of the dragon' because his mother was a Targaryen, and therefore if he could bond with dragons. George R.R. Martin stated in an interview that this was extremely unlikely, and Arthur probably wouldn't act on it.
- Arthur is based on a combination of fictional and historical people, mainly: Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Thorin Oakenshield, Lord Brynden Rivers, Bernard Montgomery, and Edward of Woodstock.
- Originally, Arthur Baratheon was supposed to appear briefly in the first season, in the episode Fire and Blood and the raven was supposed to reach him in that same episode; the writers decided to introduce the character of Arthur Baratheon in the second series instead as a way to properly introduce the character.
- Arthur's moniker Arthur the Storm is ironic, almost intentionally according to George R.R. Martin, because his homeland is the Stormlands, and he was born in Storm's End.
- Arthur's apparent infatuation with Ashara Dayne is ironic to some extent since her brother was Ser Arthur Dayne, thus they shared the same name.
- Arthur is similar to Brynden Tully:
- Both men are second sons, and did not get on with their older sibling.
- Both men fought during the War of the Ninepenny Kings and became war heroes.
- Both men took up contrasting colours to their house as their personal sigil after an argument with their older brother (ironically, Brynden is the Blackfish and Arthur is the White Stag).
- Both men are legendary members of their house.
- Both men survived their older brothers, but did not gain lordship over their family homes.
- He is also strangely similar to Brynden Rivers:
- Both men are famed warriors who are responsible for a major victory during a rebellion.
- Both men bear the sigils of their house with a white animal and a black background.
- Both men wielded Valyrian steel swords.
- Both men were granted prestigious titles by their superiors.
- Both men disappeared during journeys and were presumed dead.
- George R.R. Martin included similarities and differences to several powerful lords in the series, on purpose to accentuate how Arthur stands apart from them:
- Randyll Tarly: Arthur wields a Valyrian Steel sword like Randyll does, and is a master of warfare - howeve, Randyll is significantly crueller and more bigoted than Arthur is.
- Tywin Lannister: Arthur's blue eyes with the white storms brewing behind them are similar to Tywin's green eyes flecked with gold; however, again, Tywin is infinitely more ruthless and cruel in spite of himself, and more a strategist than a warrior. Arthur loves all of his children.
- Eddard Stark: Arthur and Eddard Stark have several similarities. They outlived their older brothers and are an inspiration to their childrenn; They receive major respect from King Robert Baratheon, having been a powerful influence in his early life; Both men were considered for Hand of the King (however, Eddard actually achieved it). In contrast, Eddard as an above-average warrior and commander, whereas Arthur completely outclasses him.
- Jon Arryn: Arthur Baratheon and Jon Arryn both married women who are considerably younger than they are (however, unlike with Jon Arryn and Lysa Tully, Jeyne respected and loved Arthur), and have a reputation for being wise and calming. They both named their only son in honour of a Baratheon - however, the reasons for them doing so are strikingly different.
- Doran Martell: Arthur actually shares major similarities with the Lord of Sunspear, mainly because he is highly subtle and wise in spite of his reputation as a soldier. Both Doran and Arthur occasionally quarrel with their daughters, and (in the books for Doran, at least) have plans to avenge themselves on the true usurpers of the Seven Kingdoms. Martin purposefully included the differences between them by making Arthur's involvement in a plan to retake Westeros clear from an early point to showcase that a contingency plot was taking place in Dorne under the very nose of the Iron Throne.
- Mace Tyrell: Much like Mace Tyrell, Arthur's victories are majorly aided by his most powerful underling Calvin Dondarrion, while Mace is aided by Randyll Tarly - however, Randyll Tarly outright dominates responsibility for the Tyrell victories while Mace credits himself. Mace Tyrell has turned to fat as he has gotten older, whereas Arthur has maintained a fearsome appearance and, unlike Mace, radiates respect, while Mace is widely considered a blowhard. Mace makes claims as to what he would do in situations as if he were an expert, whereas Arthur derives from personal experience whcih is both genuine and impressive.
- Arthur was reportedly born a day short of a year after his brother Steffon
- Given that Steffon wielded Iron Solace originally and bestowed it to Arthur along with the title, it is fair to assume that before he became Lord of Storm's End, Steffon Baratheon was Lord Guardian of the Stormlands
- Lord Snow
- The Wolf and the Lion
- Fire and Blood
- The North Remembers
- The Night Lands
- What is Dead May Never Die
- Garden of Bones
- The Ghost of Harrenhal
- The Old Gods and the New
- A Man Without Honor
- The Prince of Winterfell
- Valar Morghulis
- Valar Dohaeris
- Dark Wings, Dark Words
- Walk of Punishment
- And Now His Watch is Ended
- Kissed by Fire
- The Climb
- The Bear and the Maiden Fair
- Second Sons
- The Rains of Castamere
- Two Swords
- Breaker of Chains
- First of His Name
- The Laws of Gods and Men
- The Mountain and the Viper
- The Children
- The Wars to Come
- High Sparrow
- Sons of the Harpy
- Kill the Boy
- The Gift
- Mother's Mercy
- The Red Woman
- Book of the Stranger
- Blood of My Blood
- The Broken Man