The season 5 finale of “Game of Thrones” featured the gruesome deaths of several main characters. While some deaths were shown in great detail, Stannis Baratheon's was left mostly to the viewer’s imagination. Episode director David Nutter explains his decision.
“You could really get a sense that Stannis knew that his time had come, and there was nothing else really to say, nothing else really to do,” said Nutter. He spoke to Wall Street Journal about the season finale, titled “Mother’s Mercy,” which aired last Sunday.
In the episode, Stannis marched upon Winterfell just after he sacrificed his daughter Shireen to the Lord of Light. His day didn’t start out well, after half of his men deserted him upon witnessing Shireen’s gruesome death. His wife, Selyse, couldn’t live with what they had done and hanged herself.
Stannis pushed forward with his army only to be ambushed by Ramsay Bolton’s forces before he could mount a siege. His army wiped out, Stannis staggered into the forest, where Brienne of Tarths confronted him. As he lay injured and helpess against a tree, she spoke to him about how she had witnessed Renly Baratheon’s death. She claimed that he was killed by a shadow with Stannis’ face, and she sentenced him to death. Just before she struck him with her sword, the scene cuts away.
“I think there was a real sense of inevitability toward what was going to happen, and I think anything beyond that would have been somewhat gratuitous," said Nutter. He said that they didn’t shoot a safety sequence featuring the death because it was exactly how he wanted it be portrayed in the episode.
Viewers were not left wanting for gore and gruesome deaths in the Season 5 finale despite the omission of Stannis' demise. The show featured Arya Stark brutally murdering Ser Meryn Trant with numerous stab wounds. She sealed the deal by slashing his throat.
Princess Myrcella died in the arms of her father, Jaime Lannister, after Ellaria Sand poisoned her. Finally, to the disappointment and outrage of millions of fans, Jon Snow fell victim to betrayal and mutiny. His brothers from the Night’s Watch killed him off, and his young steward, Olly, delivered the final dramatic blow.