|“||If you think to betray me, pray remember that I have been castellan of Dragonstone a good long time. The garrison is mine. Perhaps I cannot burn you without the king’s consent, but who is to say you might not suffer a fall.||„|
|~ Axell, threatening Davos|
Ser Axell Florent is a character from a Song of Ice and Fire and a minor character in Game of Thrones. He appears only briefly in the TV series during the fourth season and he's cut from the rest of the adaptation. Although he doesn't do anything villainous in the second book, he later starts to act hostile, threatening to murder Davos, and urging the sacrifice of people and raids against the common folks, putting them to the sword.
Ser Axell is a knight of House Florent who serves as the castellan of Dragonstone for his nephew-in-law Lord Stannis Baratheon. He is the younger brother of Lord Alester Florent, head of the family and Lord of Brightwater Keep, and older brother of Ryam, Colin, and Rylene Florent. He's the uncle of Stannis' wife, Lady Selyse, eldest child of Ryam Florent. He never married for some reason. His family, House Florent, is the most unloyal family sworn to Highgarden, due to the Tyrells and Florents being rivals, as the Florents have a superior line of descent from the extinct royal House Gardener, and believe that they by rights should possess Highgarden and not the Tyrells.
In the TV series Axell is one of Selyse's brothers, instead of her uncle.
Ser Axell went to Dragonstone under the service of Lord Stannis, King Robert's younger brother, after the marriage with Selyse Florent. During the wedding night, drunken King Robert deflowered Selyse’s cousin and Colin's eldest child Delena Florent, mistakenly on the wedding bed made for Stannis and Selyse, causing later the birth of Edric Storm. Axell's younger brother and Selyse's father Ryam Florent died before the main series, of a fall from a horse.
Axell has been castellan of Dragonstone for ten years while Stannis Baratheon has been away in King's Landing serving on King Robert I Baratheon's small council as the master of ships. Axell replaced an unknown predecessor who served the previous five years. He gives back the island to Stannis when he returns with most of Robert's royal fleet, after the death of Jon Arryn.
During the War of the Five Kings Axell supports Stannis' claim to the Iron Throne against Joffrey Baratheon. After Stannis is refused or ignored by most of the storm lords, Axell is present at the dinner feast at the main table of the great hall, among with the lords of the vulcanic islands around Dragonstone, serving under Stannis, the king's cousin Andrew Estermont, and the Lysene pirate Salladhor Saan. He's witnesses Maester Cressen's death by the poison known as the Strangler.
Ser Axell emerges as the foremost of the queen's men and a fervent believer in R'hllor. Despite Axell being more courteous to Ser Davos Seaworth than other lords supporting Stannis, Davos does not trust him because House Florent declares for Renly Baratheon. In fact Alester Florent and his family support Renly as king at Highgarden, along with the storm lords and Reach lords of the south, infuriating Stannis who, after Robert's death, has the lawful right to rule the Seven Kingdoms as well as the right to take back Storm's End from Renly and command its sworn bannermen as the eldest Baratheon, since Joffrey and Tommen are not trueborn Baratheons.
Ser Axell and Queen Selyse are the most fanatic believers of the Lord of Light, praising King Stannis I as Azor Ahai reborn along with the red priestess from Asshai, Melisandre, leader of the new official religion of Dragonstone. Selyse convinces her husband to take Melisandre into his war council as an advisor. Selyse has the old sept of Dragonstone destroyed and burned by her men; Ser Hubard Rambton and his sons try to defend the sept and kill a few men before Rambton and one of his sons are killed. Septon Barre criticizes Stannis for allowing the burning of the old religious place and Lord Guncer Sunglass speaks his mind and withdraws his support for the king. Stannis has both of them promptly thrown in the dungeons along with the two surviving sons of Rambton, and the statues of the Seven are burned at the beach. While Axell and some converted men approve, the rest of the lords and knights are shocked and feel ill by the heresy, but don't dare to speak their mind to Stannis after learning what happened to Lord Sunglass.
Axell, pleased by the burning of the Seven, greets Davos and tells him he had a vision in the flames, looking at a dozen beautiful dancers, maidens garbed in yellow silk spinning and swirling before a great king. Axell thinks its a glimpse of the glory that awaits Stannis after they take King's Landing and the throne.
Stannis sends letters and knights everywhere in the realm and in the Free Cities in Essos to spread word of Queen Cersei Lannister's infamy and the true parentage with her children. In response to this, the Lannisters and Petyr Baelish spread a propaganda message, telling that Shireen Baratheon is the daughter of Selyse and the fool Patchface. Before this Petyr suggested telling that Shireen is the daughter of an incestous relationship between Axell and Selyse.
When Stannis finally leaves Dragonstone and sails for Storm's End, meaning to deal with the storm lords and Renly, he leaves Axell behind on Dragonstone, to rule again as its castellan, along with Selyse. After Renly's death, House Florent is among the storm lords and Reach lords who bent the knee to King Stannis. The ambitious Alester Florent changes also religion in order to please his new king, and Axell's nephew and Selyse's eldest brother Ser Imry Florent is made commander of Stannis' fleet. With the support of House Florent, Selyse's influence on her husband's campaign becomes greater and with Stannis hating the Tyrells, the Florents hope to have Highgarden after their king takes the Iron Throne.
Melisandre is sent back on Dragonstone with Robert's bastard Edric Storm. While Stannis is away fighting at the Battle of the Blackwater, Queen Selyse burns prisoners alive on Dragonstone, "infidels" and "servant of darkness", as Melisandre calls them. Guncer Sunglass and the last two sons of Hubard Rambton are also burned at the stake.
Stannis loses the Battle of the Blackwater and his siege on King's Landing, after a surprise attack by Tywin Lannister, accompanied by Mace Tyrell and Randyll Tarly and their armies. Imry Florent died during the wildfire explosion and most of the storm lords and Reach lords bend the knee to Joffrey and are pardoned. Selyse's youngest brother Erren is held captive at Highgarden after failing to recruit the rest of Renly's army in the Reach. For supporting Stannis, Lord Tywin dispossesses the Florents of their holdings and awards them to Ser Garlan Tyrell, the second son of Lord Mace Tyrell, as a reward for loyal service, forming House Tyrell of Brightwater Keep. However the Florents keep holding the castle and their former lands with their garrison.
While Stannis remains isolated and broods on his defeat, Dragonstone is ruled by the Hand of the King, Lord Alester Florent, Queen Selyse, and Ser Axell. Axell uses the self-styled title of "Hand of the Queen". Davos is found at Blackwater Bay by Salladhor Saan's fleet and returns to Dragonstone, blaming Melisandre for the deaths of four of his sons and meaning to murder her. But Melisandre sees this in the flames and has Ser Axell arresting and disarming Davos in Aegon's Garden. Axell throws Davos in the cells of Dragonstone.
Lord Alester Florent sees the negative situation and thinks Stannis' cause is now lost, but the man won't bend, no matter what. Alester receives the distress message that the Night's Watch sent Dragonstone, but does not show it to Stannis, reasoning that "his Grace lacks the men to fight his own battles, he has none to waste on wildlings". Alester tries to negotiate a surrender to the Lannisters. He writes a letter he plans to send to Tywin Lannister - without Stannis' knowledge or consent - offering peace and suggesting that Stannis will give up his claim to the Iron Throne, swear fealty to Joffrey, and take back what he said about Joffrey's parentage, but will remain Lord of Dragonstone and Storm's End, and that the Florents will get their castle back. In addition, he offers to seal the bargain by wedding Shireen to Tommen Baratheon. Alester has no intention of treason, but innocently feels he is doing what is best for Stannis, because these are the best terms he can hope for after his loss at the Blackwater. His brother Axell however finds out his plan, perhaps thanks to Melisandre's flames, and denounces Alester as a traitor to Stannis. The king is disgusted by the idea of himself yielding to hi enemies and marry his only child and heir to an "abomination" of incest like Tommen and immediately condemns Alester. Axell throws Alester in the same cell occupied by Davos, showing no sympathy for his brother. With Alester out of the way, Axell plans to become the next Hand of the King and gain more power in the Florent family.
After a long time of brooding and depression, an older-looking Stannis returns to control Dragonstone and sentences Alester to death. He orders Axell to free Davos. Axell treats Davos hostilely and even violently. He says he would burn both Davos and Alester for their treasons. He's urging Stannis to attack Claw Isle, as a punishment for Lord Ardrian Celtigar's betrayal (captured at the Blackwater and bent the knee to the throne to survive), planning with Salladhor Saan to put the island population to the sword, and loot the wealth rumored to reside there. Most of the men from Claw Isle died at the Blackwater and the rest are in King's Landing, and the current people in the island are old men, women, weak people, and children, and Axell considers this an opportunity to destroy the place. He threatens Davos with an eventual murder should he disagree, yet Davos still argues in favour of sparing the people of Claw Isle as it would only make Stannis look worse, for which Stannis names him Hand and Lord, much to the chagrin of Axell. Axell does not realize his threat, but resents Davos. He enjoys making fun of Davos in presence of other lords, by stressing the point that Davos is lowborn, and therefore not fit to be king's Hand.
Axell, alongside Melisandre and Selyse, urges Stannis to sacrifice his bastard nephew Edric Storm in order to awake the stone dragons of the castle, but Stannis refuse. After the deaths of the other 2 kings, Balon Greyjoy and Robb Stark, Axell insists that Stannis must kill the bastard child, claiming the Red Wedding was R'hllor's doing, but Stannis says it's nothing but Walder Frey' work. However, after the death of King Joffrey, Stannis is a bit convinced by the power of kingsblood and agrees to sacrifice Edric, but Davos, helped by Maester Pylos, has him shipped off to the Free City of Lys, with a group of loyal king's men of Stannis and men of Salladhor Saan. Still, Ser Axell is robbed of the pleasure of the death of Davos and himself becoming Hand, after Stannis decides to spare him and sail to the Wall and help the Night's Watch.
At Dragonstone, Melisandre burns Alester alive in order to obtain favorable winds for their expedition to Eastwatch. The new head of House Florent is now Lord Alekyne Florent. Because Garlan is preparing an army to claim Brightwater, Alekyne flees to Oldtown to seek refuge at the Hightower, leaving Brightwater and the rest of the Florent family to be defended by Ser Colin Florent. Because Alekyne is not that loyal to Stannis, Axell thinks he might become the new Lord of Brightwater Keep.
Stannis leaves Ser Rolland Storm as castellan of Dragonstone with a small garrison, while Ser Gilbert Farring holds Storm's End for him as well. Stannis sails with his fleet and army, along with Axell, Selyse, Shireen, Davos, Melisandre, Salladhor, and Patchface.
When Stannis goes north to the Wall, he leaves Ser Axell at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea with Selyse, Shireen, Patchface, Davos, Salladhor, and his guarded fleet.
Axell takes charge of the household of his niece Queen Selyse at Eastwatch, using the title Hand of the Queen. Stannis plans to get rid of the Boltons to avoid attacks from the south while he's defending the Wall. Selyse is unhappy with her accommodations at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and her treatment by its commander, Cotter Pyke. She demands that she be allowed to move into the Nightfort that was to be given to Stannis when repaired. Later, while Stannis is marching to Winterfell with his army and Davos is at White Harbor with Wyman Manderly she found that the Nightfort is habitable, so she leaves Eastwatch for Castle Black with her daughter, Shireen; Ser Axell; Patchface; her serving girls and lady companions; and a retinue of knights, sworn swords, and men-at-arms fifty strong.
Stannis left Melisandre, Devan Seaworth, and other soldiers at Castle Black. Axell, Selyse, and the others are greeted by the giant guard Wun Wun. Selyse is given the royal chamber in the King's Tower of Castle Black. Val is presented to Selyse and her daughter Shireen. Val is wary of Shireen because of her greyscale, and mentions to Jon that the child is not clean and should be killed. This horrifies Jon, who is grateful that neither Selyse, nor her queen's men heard Val when she said it. Axell plans to marry Val, the wildling princess, as part of the alliance between the Free Folk and King Stannis.
Lord Commander Jon Snow grows to dislike Axell after a short conversation, especially because of Axell's ribald comments about Val, and tells him bluntly "Ser Axell, if you are truly the Queen’s Hand, I pity Her Grace".
Axell attends with Selyse the wedding of the Thenn Magnar Sigorn and Lady Alys Karstark. The ceremony is conducted by Melisandre, as the wildlings have been forced by Stannis to take R'hllor as their new god, much to Selyse's pleasure. Jon Snow sent a letter to King Stannis, informing him about Arnolf Karstark's treachery and his plan with the Boltons.
When Tormund arrives at Castle Black with 4,0000 wildlings, Selyse wants to please Stannis by forcing them to convert to R'hllor, but Jon only wants to work with them for survival against the Others and prepare for the upcoming winter.
Later, Axell intends to marry the elder daughter of the wildling raider Gerrick Kingsblood, who declared himself as King of the wildlings, while Selyse decides to have Val married to Ser Patrek of King's Mountain. Jon receives a letter from Cotter Pyke, informing him about the desperate situation in the ruined village of Hardhome, full of thousands of wildlings: during the voyage to the place many ships of the Watch have been wrecked by storms and when Cotter arrived at Hardhome with six ships left, the situation has grown very bad. Wildings are eating their own dead and there are presumably wights in the forest and in the sea. Slavers have already taken some of the wildlings to Braavos, and the wildlings try to take Storm Crow by force which costs Cotter six of his crew. With Hardhome surrounded by wights, Cotter pleads for help via land from Jon, since traveling by the sea is far too dangerous.
Melisandre states that Hardhome will be the target of a massive assault of wights. Othell Yarwyck says the place is cursed, and Axell, Melisandre, and Bowen Marsh urge Jon to let Cotter, the wildlings, and the men of the Night's Watch die, but Jon won't hear any of it and prepares to sail with Tormund to rescue the men at Hardhome. However, a letter from Winterfell changes Jon's plans: whoever wrote the letter claims to be Ramsay Bolton, and says he has defeated Stannis after seven days battle in the North. The letter says Ramsay has Stannis' red sword, Mance Rayder, and demands to have back Reek and 'Arya Stark', along with Selyse, Shireen, Val, and Mance's son; threatening he will attack the Night's Watch if Jon refuses or ignores the demands of the letter. Tormund thinks it's a trick, possibly to take easily hostages. Axell learns the unconfirmed news about Stannis' fate and goes to tell Selyse about it. Jon was planning to attack Winterfell with the wildlings and loyal men of the Watch, while Tormund is to sail to Hardhome to rescue Cotter and the others; but when Ser Patrek of King's Mountain is killed by Wun Wun in a conflict, a group of mutineers led by Bowen Marsh uses the distraction of the other men at the moment and stab Jon to death, meaning to protect the Watch from more damage.
In the TV show Shireen has been sacrificed for the Lord of Light. It's yet unknown how her fate will occur at the Wall. However, since it has been confirmed that Shireen will be burned as a sacrificial lamb in a future novel, it is possible that Ser Axell will approve it instead of Stannis, since he's willing to forsake his family to serve his god.