You Win Or You Die: Ranking the 99 Game of Thrones Deaths

42 of 53

Image credit: HBO/Helen Sloan

Stannis, Selyse, and Shireen Baratheon

For awhile, Stannis seemed our best shot at a decent king of Westeros. His gruffness wasn’t exactly loveable, but we could at least respect it. He was “Stannis the Mannis,” and had well earned the title. That is, until he totally went off the deep end and gave Melisandre his blessing to burn his daughter alive. So much for that #1 Dad T-shirt Shireen gave him for Father’s Day.

Stannis permitted his daughter’s sacrifice in his desire to win the Iron Throne. The need became so all-encompassing that he lost sight of reason. Even his wife, who seemed to have no great love for their daughter before, realized their mistake as Shireen burned. Stannis, meanwhile, didn’t see that it was all for naught until Selyse too was dead, and his men and Melisandre had abandoned him. There are lines you can’t cross and still expect good men to stick by you. Shireen’s murder was the final straw for most of Stannis’ troops. He had nothing left to march on Winterfell, let alone take King’s Landing.

Overcome with grief at what they’d done to their daughter, Selyse hangs herself. If Stannis had been able post-battle, he might have taken his own life as well. He didn’t bother to plead with Brienne when she arrived and announced her intention to execute him. “Go on. Do your duty,” he invites, as he had failed in his own duty to his family.

Stannis killed his brother, his daughter, and effectively his wife on the off-chance that a mystical god would grant him the power with which he ha become obsessed. He had been gaining ground, and he lost it all in one fell swoop, with one decision to tear his family to pieces. Stannis’ quest for power blinded him to why he was seeking it in the first place. And when it was all said and done, nothing was left to him to make any of it worth the fight.