HAHA HA. yes. yes I can.
Stannis from the show and Stannis in the books are completely different people. I actually haven’t even watched S3 of Game of Thrones because they were changing so much and they were sort of telling a COMPLETELY different story from the one that I love.
Stephen Dillane is an AMAZING actor and a perfect Stannis. The writing of Stannis on the show, not so much. It’s very very different.
In the books, Stannis’ entire being is summed up with the quote “nothing is more terrifying than a truly just man.” Stannis’ morality is everything to him. He is a man defined by doing the moral right BECAUSE of his atheism, something the show writers seem to have forgotten. He is a MASSIVE atheist. He watched his parents drown when he was (10?) and was left with a castle to take care of and a brother to raise while his older brother went off to live a life of friends, booze, and babes. And pretty much said, if there are gods, fuck them, my life sucks.
Stannis is sort of the ultimate Sartre existentialist. He does all of his actions because he knows it is what is right and he cannot rely on his own emotions or religion to make decisions. If he relied on emotion he wouldn’t have killed Renly. If he relied on religion he would have done way worse. But he doesn’t. He let’s the ideals of “right” and “just” guide him, even if it really hurts sometimes (when renly dies in the books, a part of Stannis’ soul leaves him that will never some back).
Also he never wanted to be king. Something else the show forgets.
He’s becoming king because he thinks it is the right thing to do. According to all the laws, he is the king. As the eldest brother to the king who never actually had any legitimate sons, he inherits. That’s the law. So that’s what he tries to do. He does this not for power but because its the law and he’s also one does it because his daughter needs to inherit after him. He’s actually one of the most feminist characters in the books. He gives Melisandre a typical male position as a leading war councillor. He focuses on his daughter inheriting even though that’s not typical since she’s female. He lets his wife live her life in her way and makes little to no demands of her. Not to mention the fact that he has to only commoner in the books as a best friend. Davos is his most trusted advisor, someone most other characters would treat like dirt for growing up where he did.
I really can’t summarize just how many things are different and awesome about book stannis. If you want to read more, I send you to Bronson who’s written a bunch about it.