Tower of the Hand

Robert's Royal Bastards

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2/19/2008 3:01:00 PM ET

At least three of Robert Baratheon's bastards still live. The question is, are they still important? Their purpose in A Game of Thrones seems clear. Eddard Stark (and Jon Arryn) found, in the bastards' physical appearance, evidence that Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen weren't true heirs to the Iron Throne. But Robert died and five kings claimed the crown, legitimately or otherwise, significantly reducing the impact of the bastards. If they won't be used to discredit Cersei's brood, what other purpose might they serve?

Before we analyze the possibilities, let's recall the three bastards we've met that are still living.

Mya Stone
The oldest of Robert's baseborn children, Mya Stone was conceived while Robert was a ward of Jon Arryn's in the Eyrie, shortly before he became king. She was never officially acknowledged as Robert's daughter, though she does have childhood memories of him and rumors persist of her true lineage. I'm not sure if Mya knows for certain.

Another of Robert's unacknowledged bastards, Gendry hails from King's Landing and served as an apprentice to the armorer Tobho Mott. He apparently has no clue as to who his father was, though he knows Queen Cersei wants him dead. He subsequently wound up with Yoren, bound for the Wall, and later with the Brotherhood Without Banners. He was last seen at the Crossroads Inn.

Edric Storm
The last known bastard child of Robert, Edric Storm was conceived during Stannis Baratheon's wedding feast. Robert was forced to acknowledge Edric because of his mother's noble lineage. Edric lived in Storm's End until it fell to Stannis and later moved to Dragonstone. Fearing for the boy's life at the hands of Melisandre, Davos conspired to have Edric transferred elsewhere.

As I see it, three possible scenarios exist in which Robert's bastards remain relevant.

1. Stannis plans to use Edric as proof of Cersei's adultery, thus clearing his path to the Iron Throne. In theory, it's a good plan, but too much time has passed for it to work; the rumor of Cersei's infidelity has been out there for a while now. What's more, Stannis no longer has Edric, and Cersei's treason is just as likely to be exposed by the High Septon than Stannis.

2. Should Tommen and Myrcella die, one of Robert's bastards could claim the Iron Throne. A similar situation arose during the Blackfyre Rebellion. This seems unlikely to me, because we've seen Mya, Gendry, and Edric up close and they don't exhibit that kind of ambition or ruthlessness. But that leads us to a third option...

3. One of the bastards could be legitimized, if not to seat him or her on the Iron Throne, but to solidify someone else's claim to the crown. Gendry could be wed to Daenerys Targaryen, for example. It was Varys who arranged for Gendry to escape King's Landing, yet he showed no such compassion for the baby Barra, who was killed by Cersei's demand. Could Varys' plans to restore House Targaryen to the Iron Throne involve Gendry?

Similarly, Edric Stannis' daughter Shireen could be wed to Edric. This secures a regency (if not the crown) for Stannis. So what if Edric and Shireen are cousins? It's not like the Iron Throne is a stranger to in-breeding.

What other scenarios might make Robert's bastards important? Are there more wedding matches to consider, especially in the case of Mya? Or have the bastards already come as close to famous as they're likely to get?

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