Shireen Baratheon’s Death was just wrong in last night’s Game of Thrones!
Spoilers through Season 5 of ‘Game of Thrones’ follow.
I won’t sugar coat my feeling on the latest Game of Thrones, ‘The Dance of Dragons’ season 5 episode 9. It was a very epic episode and in terms of Daenerys Targaryen she is all caught up as far as the books goes. Next time we see Daenerys (according to the book) she is thousands of leagues away at a hill in the Dothraki sea which she names Dragonstone after her birthplace. She and her dragon are eventually discovered by the khalasar of Khal Jhaqo.
It was just difficult because Shireen and Stannis’s character suffered alot. It was difficult because image of Stannis Baratheon is tainted in a way which is now inconsistent, disturbing and unnecessary. Remember that incest boy-King of Cersei and Jaime, he was cruel, sadistic and downright insane so it was consistent that he beheaded Ned Stark and the crimes he commited against those closest to him including his grandfather the mighty Tywin!
However Stannis Baratheon is no hero but certainly no villain either. It is in the HBO series when Stannis Baratheon told his daughter, Shireen, how he found a way to save her from the greyscale — to save her life, against all odds, when she was just a baby. When he was told to send his sick daughter to Old Valyria to live out her days with the stone men, he refused.
“Because you did not belong across the world with the bloody stone-men,” he told her at the time. “You are the princess Shireen of the House Baratheon and you are my daughter.”
Davos Seaworth realizes something is up and will a mutiny happen after he returns to find out what Stannis did? Let’s see! However this plot was very bad in a show which is all about betrayals, politics, treachery and do onto others before it is done unto you.
I understand that instead of introducing new characters like Jeyne Poole, saving Mance Rayder to fetch Arya Stark/Jeyne Poole from Boltons, the show merged Jeyne Poole into Sansa Stark but that too was understandable and I was cool with that.
But killing off Shireen this way absolutely decimates Stannis as a character (the show already ruined Barristan Selmy, and now it’s ruined Stannis, too.) It renders his passionate, moving speech to his daughter meaningless. It makes him not so much a hard-to-like good guy struggling against the villains, but a villain himself and one of the worst we’ve seen. Even the ever-deplorable Cersei would never stoop so low. Even Roose Bolton treats his horrible, sadistic son better than this.
It’s also a bait-and-switch which is not only morally wrong form of marketing it is also illegal in many jurisdictions. We finally see Stannis’s softer side, we finally warm a bit to his character, and then he kills his daughter. It’s terrible storytelling. Surprisingly bad.