It’s been several weeks since the Season 5 finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” but it somehow took this long to kill off one character. It’s been confirmed that one of the apparent casualties in the episode, Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), is not merely dead but really, most sincerely dead.
For those who need a refresher, [SPOILER ALERT] Stannis led his army to its doom after most of his men deserted him. Because of his decision to sacrifice his own daughter to the Lord of Light by burning her alive, many considered the last remaining Baratheon no longer fit to rule. However, you can’t count a Baratheon and his fury out of a fight that easily. He was the last man standing (or sitting) on the battlefield when he was come upon by Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie). She drew her sword, Oathkeeper, and swung it right at Stannis’ head. Unfortunately, the director cut the scene right there and the audience never got to actually see Stannis’ dead body. This caused many to speculate that Brienne may not have actually killed him and that we’ll see more from him and the Baratheon bloodline someday.
As it turns out, that’s not going to happen. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly at the San Diego Comic-Con, David Nutter, the director of the episode, revealed that, despite the fact he did not show the killing blow, that moment spelled curtains for Stannis.
“From the very beginning, and through the script process, that was the intent -- he’s dead,” Nutter said.
For anybody who watched the show, the news that Stannis is really gone isn’t nearly as devastating as some of the other shocking deaths in the Season 5 finale, one in particular. Stannis’ storyline was pretty much done and he, as a character, was largely inconsequential to the story by the time he died. What is a bit shocking about Nutter’s revelation is the reason he chose not to show the killing blow. He told the outlet that it would have been “gratuitous.”
This is something that sites such as the Huffington Post took great issue with, given the show’s predilection for showing graphic content such as Cersei Lannister’s (Lena Headey) walk of shame and the infamous rape of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). It’s worth mentioning that, while Nutter says showing Stannis’ death was a matter of taste, it also helped to cast doubt on the fate of Sansa and Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). Because he did not show the fates of the two characters after they leapt from one of the walls of Winterfell, he has the audience waiting to see whether they’re alive or dead. If they were the only characters in the finale to not have a death-blow image, it would basically confirm that they’re alive in Season 6.
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