Game Of Thrones: Here's Why Shireen Baratheon’s Death Was The Most Tragic
2024/02/07

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Shireen Baratheon had one of the most heart-wrenching deaths in . The young daughter of Stannis and Selyse Baratheon was played by Kerry Ingram in three seasons of the series. Shireen had contracted Greyscale and kept hidden away. Even though Stannis was often preoccupied with gaining the power to get the Iron Throne, he had a soft spot for his daughter. Shireen befriended Ser Davos Seaworth from a young age and even gave him reading lessons. Given how sweet and innocent Shireen was, fans are still wondering why did Stannis burn his daughter alive.

As Stannis and his army marched on Winterfell to take it from the Boltons, they were delayed by a snowstorm.

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could melt the snow but only with a sacrifice of king's blood and the Red Priestess recommended Shireen. After internally debating the decision, Stannis agreed to the sacrifice and handed his only child over to Melisandre for the sadistic ceremony to the Lord of Light. The Shireen Baratheon death scene saw her tied up and burned at the stake — and it turned out to be for nothing.

Stannis Cared More About The Iron Throne Than Keeping Shireen Safe

There were many before Shireen Baratheon was burned alive. Plenty of young characters were killed off throughout the series as well including Rickon Stark, Lyanna Mormont, and all the Baratheon children. The series didn't even avoid killing direwolves, which usually hurt more than seeing humans meet their ends. However, Shireen's death was made worse by the fact that her father took advantage of her love and loyalty. Before sacrificing her, he met with his daughter and explained that a man must meet his destiny. Stannis Baratheon's daughter claimed that she would do anything she would to help her father, and he manipulated her faith in him for his own personal gain.

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Stannis and Selyse blindly followed a religion that they didn't understand, which saw a child burned alive in . Shireen's sacrifice turned out to be a needless decision, because all it brought was more misfortune. Not only did it not give Stannis a better chance at claiming the Iron Throne, but it also caused hundreds of his soldiers to desert his efforts. In addition, Selyse committed suicide, and Melisandre abandoned Stannis after realizing she had misinterpreted the prophecy.

Stannis and his army were easily beaten, and he was later killed by Brienne of Tarth. His selfish actions finally caught up with him, but it came at the price of his family. Shireen Baratheon had a whole life to live and didn't deserve what happened to her. Her excruciating death wasn't at the hands of an enemy or a personal sacrifice for the greater good. Her own father bartered with her young life, making it the most difficult death in

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to accept.

GoT Might Have Gone Too Far With Shireen Baratheon's Death

Shireen Baratheon being killed stood out in a series known for its shocking deaths. The alone caused a huge shockwave as members of the Stark clan met their end in the horrific bloodshed. Oberyn Martell's death at the hands of the Mountain was hard to watch as his head almost literally explodes. Ned Stark saw the wrong end of a sword in season 1's most shocking death. Even Hodor's demise caused quite a few tears. However, none of these deaths, no matter how gruesome or extreme, compared to when a child was burned alive on

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.

The Shireen Baratheon death scene is nearly unwatchable, with the young child's fruitless cries acting as the soundtrack to what is a truly senseless murder. watchers had strong feelings about the scene when the season 5 episode aired, with many taking to social media to vent their opinions about how the show went too far this time. Out of all the deaths in , Shireen Baratheon's was by far the most tragic and difficult to witness. Many people blamed the series for being too misogynistic towards its female characters since the same season also saw the sexual assault of Sansa at the hands of Ramsay Bolton.

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Shireen Baratheon didn't die in the books. However, showrunner David Benioff admitted that George R.R. Martin is the one who suggested that Shireen face her demise in that manner, meaning it probably will show up in the novels somewhere. Either way, it's pretty clear that went too far when they decided to burn a child alive at the stake while she cried out to her father for help.

Shireen's Death Was Ultimately Pointless

The Shireen Baratheon death in is even harder to take given how pointless it was for the rest of the series. This is due to the show failing to properly set up the characters before this horrific event as well as failing to follow key character arcs toward

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once Shireen was killed. The first major failing comes from how the show handled Stannis Baratheon. Despite a standout performance from Stephen Dillane, the show never truly understood the character.

In the books, Stannis is a man burdened by a sense of duty. He does not actually want to be king, but since Robert Baratheon's heirs are false Baratheons, it makes him the rightful heir to the throne and he feels it is his duty to serve the people of Westeros by seating the true heir on the Iron Throne. The show depicts him more as a power-hungry man who is frustrated when he can't get his way. Had he resembled his book counterpart more closely, Shireen's death would have been more of a moral dilemma as he would have been faced with killing his daughter in order to save the kingdom.

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Shireen's death also met nothing for Melisandre's arc that followed. It was meant to be a pivotal moment for her as the magic she was once so confident in led her astray. This led to her embracing her magic once again to . However, that achievement has no real impact since Jon's resurrection feels pointless in retrospect as well. Looking back on Shireen's death, it feels like the main purpose was simply to end the Stannis storyline which had run its course.

Shireen's Death Helped Set Up House Of The Dragon

Shireen's death may have been pointless in the greater world of

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— however, her character did set up . , which focuses on the Targaryen line and chronicles the infighting that leads to the Targaryen civil war, known as the "Dance of the Dragons." The show has made multiple connections to its parent series, most notably through the Song of Ice and Fire prophecy. However, it was Shireen Baratheon who greased the wheels for audiences looking into Targaryen history.

Shireen was a huge Targaryen history buff, and often taught Davos to read through the histories. She provided random tidbits of Targaryen history throughout , and could arguably be deemed responsible for generating audience interest in the dragon clan. Shireen's passion, intelligence, and kindness are what made the character so endearing and her death all the more heartbreaking. A child burned alive in wasn't the way that she should've gone, and the series arguably went too far with her means of death.

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