And….. It happened. Another one of my biggest fears came true. Not only did Benioff and Weiss rip off the story of Agamemnon sacrificing his daughter Iphigenia whilst trying to get to Troy, they also failed to understand the context of this Greek classic. So instead of killing a child in a brutal fashion one can argue that they had the opportunity of doing something else completely – making Shireen looking like a true here by the means of sacrifice done out of love for her father and for the greater good of the realm. Who knows, maybe the Gods would save her for this act of courage? Instead, now, on one hand we have Shireen dead and on the other we have Stannis, the confirmed kinslayer (who did not only kill his brother second hand but his daughter too).
Davos will be pissed. And if I were him I would go look for Rickon, like he did in the books, and I would swear my allegiance to the Starks of Winterfell. I would then become a part of the large army of all the creatures and men in the North and storm the remaining Baratheons (as well as Lannisters, boltons, Tullys, Freys, Tyrells etc.) making sure the King, Queen and their witch are burned alive. Justice for all. Why not?
WHAT MAKES A KINSLAYER A KINSLAYER
The scene was terrible. It was horrific. Same horror like that day we watched Viserys get his golden crown. Same, yet somehow different.
Yes, Stannis killed his daughter, but he did not light the fire. It was Mel who did it. Yet, we all blame him. Why? Because he just stood there and did nothing as his daughter begged for her life? If that is the reason, then can we all agree that Daenerys did the exact same thing to her brother? Or is that act going to be argued differently? How? If you look at both of these scenes calmly, deprived of emotions, you will come to realize that we are talking about exactly the same thing. It was done in front of a large number of people. Publicly. Both victims screamed and begged their family to save them and both victims died in a brutal way. If you ignore the fact that Viserys was an awful human being and Shireen was a beautiful human being, the act itself is the same, with one exception – we all cried during this scene and we all wanted Viserys dead back then.
One can argue the motifs for the act of killing were different. And yes, they were. Khal Drogo killed Viserys because he threatened his wife and his unborn child and because he didn’t want to fulfill his end of the deal. He was selfish and far from honorable. But who, then again who, a part from Starks, really is? Regarding the former, there were many other ways one could’ve dealt with Viserys who wanted to leave anyways. A bit of gold and he would be off. So I am prone to believe the reason Viserys died was the latter, Drogo’s dishonor. When it comes to Stannis, he did what “was needed to be done”, in his eyes of course. He doesn’t agree with it but he did it because according to his belief without it they all die anyway. This does not excuse him, in fact, it makes it even worse.
So, different motifs created two kinsayers.
If you kill a person, any person, and not by mistake, you are a killer and if you kill a member of your family, you are a kinslayer. And if you are a kinslayer, well, in the world of Ice and Fire you are doomed. In a real world and in a religious fashion, if you kill anyone, you are bound to go to hell or prison. Both of them killed a person. Both of them killed a member of their family. Sure, there is a difference between the killings but the act itself, the pure act of killing was done in the same manner. If Daenerys didn’t kill Viserys then Stannis didn’t kill Shireen. It is simple as that. I, however, do not believe that. In my eyes Stannis killed Shireen. But then again, in my eyes Daenerys killed Viserys. Daenerys did not stop Khal Drogo and likewise Stannis did not stop Mel. There is no difference there except in the motif. But motif is a different layer and can be discussed, which is not what I am doing now. I am talking about the pure act of killing, which just is. That said, although their ways are, for most part, different, Stannis and Danerys are actually one and the same, which comes as no surprise given the fact that Stannis Baratheon is partly a Targaryen. And he killed his daughter.
WHAT KIND OF GOD IS THE GOD THAT DEMANDS DEATH OF SHIREEN BARATHEON?
I don’t know if there is a point in saying how this never happened in the books? Probably not. After Loras, Jaime, Varys and Sansa it has come the time for absolute destruction of Stannis’ character and during the first season he was finally made likeable. Few episodes ago they showed us Stannis we’ve never seen before, a caring father who loves his daughter and who would do anything for her, anything to save her life. Now, he is the one that takes it away in the most horrific way. I know I have been on and on about the narrative inconsistencies and you probably think I am boring but it is the way it is and I cannot keep silent about it. It is puzzling. It really is. I am not a “book purist”. I don’t mind a change here or there. I loved and praised the last episode that was, for most part, completely fabricated. But it was logical and it was well done. The killing of Shireen is not only fabricated, it is illogical. Like raping of Sansa was. And please, keep one thing in mind – it is not about killing or raping. We are all well aware of what kind of show we are watching. It is not about book vs. show either. It is about show vs. its previous episodes. It is about inconsistency. That said, this is where the real problem of Game of Thrones originates – in its writing. What a paradox that is considering they are telling a story using a perfect source material. The fail in this one is truly strong.
I get angrier as I write. By all means, Stannis was never my favorite character. But I admired his attitude, his bluntness, his sense of humor and above I admire the fact that he is a well written character. The fault is with the show runners who just can’t get it right. What a horrible and infuriating way not only to ruin Stannis as a character but also to twist the events of these stories beyond recognition in such a grotesque manner. It’s one thing to get rid of Jeyne Poole and place Sansa in her stead—at least it might possibly serve as a catalyst that furthers the story of Sansa. But killing off Shireen this way absolutely destroys and cheapens Stannis as a character rendering his passionate, moving speech to Shireen meaningless. Even Randyl Tarly didn’t stoop this low. Cersie, a horrible person full of herself would never do this to any of her children and not to mention Roose Bolton, a sadistic coldblooded killer, who treats his bastard sone Ramsay better than this. Hell, Tywin didn’t kill Tyrion, a child he hated and blamed for everything that went wrong in his life. What a terrible writing this was. What a terrible decision. And for what? Shock? Shock without a meaning and narrative logic ceases to be a shock and becomes something else – a poor skill in writing. I always hated sensationalism and this was exactly the purpose of this scene. Nothing more. Nothing less.
And before fans storm me with the fact that GRRM gave green light to this scene and was apparently the one to suggest it I have to say the following – it doesn’t mean that these events will play out the same in the books. Nor does it mean the books include scenes with Stannis telling his daughter how he fought for her, saved her life because she is his daughter and because he deeply loves for her. And besides, Stannis doesn’t burn people that easily as people often assume. First of all, Stannis flatly refuses to burn non believers. He says “Pray harder!” The issue with the show is that it doesn’t really explain why would Stannis agree to this particular burning? Is it because he lost a few horses and because it is cold? What? This is the man who wouldn’t surrender at Storm’s End when he and his men were down to eating rats and boot leather, but now because of a little cold weather he burns his daughter? That makes no sense at all. I don’t see how this can happen in the books either. His most significant character development moment was in A Storm of Swords when he saved the Nights Watch from the wildlings because Davos convinced him that saving the kingdom was a better move than burning a child to win the iron throne. Burning his only heir because of bad weather regresses this completely. Not only because it destroys his development but because he has no heir to succeed him, so the whole Iron Throne thing is now meaningless. Hopefully, if this does happen in the books, knowing GRRM’s style of writing and his wits, it will happen in a very different way (Mel and Selyse are still at Castle Black with Shireen so perhaps the Witch and the “Loving Mother” will sacrifice the princess without his knowledge). Otherwise, Martin (hand in hand with HBO) will bear responsibility for the destruction of one of his best characters. Period.
A DANCE OF DRAGONS
Speaking of inconsistencies did you all catch that subtle moment when Jorah offers a hand to Daenerys in the pits? And she accepts – by TOUCHING HIM. Yeah, I noticed that too. Following the show’s narrative one could argue that Daenerys is now infected with a greyscale. Sure, you have to touch the greyscale in order to get infected and Jorah did cover it up but this was never mentioned in the show. The show told us that greyscale spread with touch. I am nitpicking but at this point I have to. Knowing how Benioff and Weiss operate, they will just scroll over this tiny little detail and let past be in the past. After all she is a Targaryen, not only a “fireproof” (she is not) but also a grayscale resistant (she is not).
Hizhdar (presumably) died. No one shed a tear. Drogon arrived and everyone lost their mind. Me included. This scene is my favorite scene from the book regarding Daenerys Targaryen. It was the only chapter I actually enjoyed reading. The rest was a bore fest. I had hard time keeping my eyes open. It was that terrible. But her jumping on Drogon’s back and flying away from the pits was so exciting. Momma finally gained control over her child making that the first scene of witnessing first hand a human riding a dragon in this saga. The show has done a wonderful job of portraying that spectacular moment. And I loved Drogon. And Jorah. Even Daario. Yes, I loved them. I admit.
But as always there is something I didn’t like and what I didn’t like was Daenerys leaving everyone behind to fend for themselves, surrounded by the remaining Sons of the Hrapy. That was not cool. Are people, who just mere seconds earlier fought with ferocity, eager to give their lives for yours, not worthy saving? The least she could do was make few more circles and let Drogon do the rest. An if not that, at least look them in the eyes before shrugging her shoulders thinking: “I regret nothing”
WORST OF THE EPISODE:
-Stannis killing his daughter, princess Shireen of House Baratheon.
-Stannis killing his daughter in the same episode Daenerys rode Drogon for the very first time. Internet will explode with people yelling “Khaleessssiiiii”. Unfortunatley.
-Daario peacocking around Hizhdar.
-Meryn Trant is a pedophile. I am betting Arya is the “fresh girl” he will have next week.
-Selyse is a caring mother now?
-Dorne. It is pointless. Get Jaime out of there. But don’t send him to KL because this time he should not be there! He was not there for Joffrey’s wedding and he should not be there for Cersei’s trial. Please, don’t make him go there. Kill him if you must don’t contribute to the further destruction of his character. Please. No more.
BEST OF THE EPISODE:
-Jorah killing the Son of the Harpy with a spear.
-Arya killing Trant soon.
-Daenerys riding a dragon. It gave me chills.
-Those 2 minutes at the Wall.
-And this sight
“You have a good heart Jon Snow. It will get us all killed.”
Not unless we kill you first….is how he should’ve ended this perfect foreshadowing.
-Stannis’ attitude towards burning people
“Half my army is made up of unbelievers,” Stannis had replied. “I will have no burnings. Pray harder.”
-Stannis’ attitude towards his daughter
“It may be that we shall lose this battle”, the king said grimly. “In Braavos you may hear that I am dead. It may even be true. You shall find my sellswords nonetheless.”
The Knight hesitated. “Your Grace, if you are dead…”
“…You will avenge my death, and seat my daughter on the Iron Throne or die in the attempt”
P.S. I have been a Team Stark and Team White Walker for years now…but I had my doubts regarding the latter. Now, as of this episode, when I have lost that 1% of hope for the realms of men and their worth I have no doubts whatsoever. Lannisters, Boltons, Baratheons, Freys, Tyrells, Sparrows, Snakes, Martells, Tullys, Greyjoys and all the rest should freeze to death, rise with their eye color turning the nice shade of the blue and serve as the slaves to the White Walker army lead by what is left of the Starks.
Text written by: Monika Ponjavic
6/10 although the final scene deserved an 11