The Saddest 'Game Of Thrones' Death, According To Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Wasn’t In The Books
It's safe to say that the final season of Game Of Thrones is going to get emotional. But the saddest GoT moment, according to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, AKA Jaime Lannister is a brutal scene from Season 5 involving Stannis Baratheon's daughter Shireen. And no surprise, this moment is one that is hard to sit through without full-on waterworks.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News' Profile, Coster-Waldau was asked who had the most devastating death on Game Of Thrones. "If you look at the story, by far the most horrendous one was Princess Shireen when she was burned,” Coster-Waldau said. “I thought that was so brutal.”
He's not the only either. The 2015 scene in which Stannis' young daughter Shireen is burned at the stake after Melisandre tells him his little one must be sacrificed to the Lord of Light so his army can win. The young girl covered in greyscale — a skin condition that leaves the skin stiff and scaly — is so innocent and sweet (she teaches Ser Davos to read, remember?) that it's a stab in the heart to see her lose her life so brutally.
Stannis doesn't let Shireen die in the book, which meant this moment in the TV show was purposeful. “You’re not a man who slaughters innocents, for gain or glory," Ser Davos tells Stannis in Season 3 and up until his decision to sacrifice his daughter to save his army, he was this guy.
That's why despite being very sad, Coster-Waldau believes Shireen's death, while sad, made a point at how far some will go in GoT to sit on the Iron Throne. Even those who were portrayed as less cutthroat than others. “I mean, storytelling-wise, I thought it was so strong because it just showed how when you get into this extremist way of thinking, people are willing to do insane things,” Coster-Waldau told BuzzFeed. “And here you have a father who's willing to sacrifice his kid.”
After the Season 5 episode aired fans were distraught over the senseless death, but in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, creator and showrunner Dan Weiss wanted to "flip the question" and ask why Shireen burning at the stake is more upsetting than anyone else Stannis burned throughout the show. For Weiss, it was a question of why some deserve more empathy than others on Game Of Thrones.
"I totally understand where that visceral reaction comes from," Weiss said of watching Shireen die. "I have that same reaction. There’s also something sh*tty about that [reaction]. So instead of saying, ‘How could you do this to somebody you know and care about?’ maybe when it’s happening to somebody we don’t know so well, maybe then it should hit us all a bit harder."
Fans should prepare themselves to be hit hard by the final season of Game Of Thrones, which by all accounts is going to be a bloody mess. Though, it's possible Jaime might survive since Coster-Waldau recently told Star2.com, “My final scene was beautiful.” On second thought, maybe restock on those tissues either way.