- "We were locked in Storm's End to starve, but Robert commanded me to hold the castle no matter the cost."
- ―Stannis Baratheon
The Siege of Storm's End was a year-long siege during Robert's Rebellion that took place concurrently with much of the war. It was carried out by the forces of the Reach led by House Tyrell against the garrison of Storm's End.
After raising his banners in rebellion, Robert Baratheon, then Lord of Storm's End had ordered his younger brother Stannis to hold the garrison at Storm's End and defend the family seat from the loyalist army.
Following his defeat at the Battle of Ashford, Robert fled north all the way to Stoney Sept. Instead of pursuing Robert, Lord Mace Tyrell, the Warden of the South whose army had defeated the rebellious lord, chose to march on the ancestral seat of House Baratheon. It would be a massive blow to Robert's prestige if his own castle fell and his supporters would start abandoning the rebel cause.
While the rebellion raged on, Lord Tyrell besieged the castle for an entire year both by land and by sea with House Redwyne's fleet, one of House Tyrell's bannermen. True to his orders, Stannis resisted and refused to yield despite being forced to eat the horses, cats, and dogs of the castle, and eventually even rats and glue. Stannis was able to keep his wife barely fed by killing seagulls with a bow whenever he had the chance. Meanwhile, the Tyrell army feasted in full view of the castle walls to taunt the besieged garrison. Years later, Olenna Tyrell remarked that her son was no true warrior, as the only thing he personally laid siege to at Storm's End was the banquet table in the command tent.Stannis and the garrison would have starved if not for the intervention of a smuggler named Davos, who managed to slip through the loyalist navy blockading Storm's End and delivered a cargo of onions and salted fish. Thanks to Davos's intervention, the garrison survived until Eddard Stark arrived to lift the siege.
By the time Ned arrived with his rebel army at Storm's End, Rhaegar was dead and his army smashed at the Battle of the Trident. King Aerys II Targaryen was also dead, and King's Landing was sacked and in rebel hands. With the war clearly lost, Mace Tyrell gave no battle to Stark when his army arrived to lift the siege. Instead he peacefully dipped his banners and submitted to Robert's rule. The Tyrell force besieging Storm's End was the last Targaryen-loyalist army that had still been in the field.
Robert was soon crowned king. He simply pardoned Mace Tyrell and allowed him and his family to continue to rule the Reach, asking only that he pay reparations in gold.
As reward for his service, Davos was elevated to knighthood, becoming Davos of House Seaworth: he was given a castle and lands along Cape Wrath, and a place in Stannis's household for him and his children. Stannis, however, also cut off four finger tips from Davos's right hand as a punishment for years of smuggling, but gave Davos the mercy of allowing him to choose his less useful hand. This won Stannis Davos's staunch loyalty and friendship.
The Siege of Storm's End was of vital importance for the course of the entire war because it tied down most of the large army of House Tyrell, preventing it from linking up with other royalist armies further north, from the Crownlands, Dorne, and the Riverlands. Had the castle fallen, the army of House Tyrell would have joined Rhaegar's army at the Trident and possibly overwhelmed Robert and Ned's rebel army.
It was quite an impressive military accomplishment that Stannis held the castle against the Tyrell army numbering in the tens of thousands with a garrison of only five hundred men. However, because it wasn't a dramatic battle but a prolonged siege with occasional sorties, the siege and Stannis's accomplishment are not usually given much credit in songs and popular sentiment about the war. Stannis was left annoyed that his sacrifices and accomplishments were forgotten by so many, though Ned Stark himself never forgot Stannis's successful defense of the castle. Stannis also took it as a slight that after the war he was given the lordship of Dragonstone, while his younger brother Renly, a child who had not fought in the war, was given the lordship of Storm's End. Partly, this was because of Robert's anger at Stannis for failing to catch Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen before they were able to flee to the Free Cities in Essos, but also because Dragonstone was the ancestral possession of House Targaryen, with many staunch Targaryen loyalists, which required a firm and experienced lord to rein it in. Dragonstone was also the traditional possession of the heir to the throne and at that time, Stannis was the heir since Robert did not have any lawful children at the time. Even so, Stannis felt that he had been snubbed.
- "First we ate the horses. We weren't riding anywhere, not with the castle surrounded. We couldn't feed them. So, fine, the horses. Then the cats - never liked cats, so, fine. I do like dogs, good animals, loyal, but we ate them. Then the rats. The night before you slipped through, I thought my wife was dying. She couldn't speak anymore, she was so frail. Then you made it through the lines...slipped right through in your little sailboat with your onions."
- ―Stannis Baratheon to Davos Seaworth
- Cersei Lannister: "I seem to recall he laid siege to Storm's End for the better part of a year."
- Olenna Tyrell: "All he laid siege to was the banquet table in the command tent."
- — Cersei Lannister and Olenna Tyrell discuss her son Mace's command of the Siege of Storm's End.[src]
In the books
During the siege, Ser Gawen Wylde and a few more men of Stannis's garrison planned on sneaking out and surrendering to the Tyrell army, which openly feasted before the walls of Storm's End. Stannis wanted to send them to the Tyrells by catapult, but Maester Cressen convinced Stannis to keep the would-be traitors imprisoned just in case the garrison was required to resort to cannibalism to survive; it is unclear whether Cressen actually meant it, or he said it to dissuade Stannis from excessive cruelty that might have turned his troops against him. However, the actions of Davos and the lifting of the siege by Eddard Stark after the death of King Aerys made such a measure unnecessary.
Nonetheless, Stannis was furious that Robert never gave him any credit for holding the castle, preferring to credit Eddard for relieving the siege. He also later granted rule of Storm's End to Renly because he wanted Stannis to rein in the Targaryen home holdings at Dragonstone. Ever since, Stannis resented both Robert and Eddard, though Eddard always credited Stannis, and Stannis intellectually acknowledged that Eddard couldn't control how Robert thought.
It is also mentioned that Stannis still holds a grudge against Lords Tyrell and Redwyne for their part in the siege (one reason Littlefinger gives Eddard against Stannis's suitability to be King is that one of Stannis's first acts would be to seek revenge against the Tyrells and Redwynes for their involvement in the siege).
Wildfire plot · Sack of King's Landing · Siege of Storm's End