Lena Headey on Cersei’s Long, Humiliating Walk
House Baratheon is no more, and Stannis has only himself to blame.
Killing off the whole family line is a significant departure from the published books of A Song of Ice and Fire thus far. While George R.R. Martin may have certainly planned to have Stannis die, even to have his wife Selyse and his daughter Shireen die, it has not yet come to pass. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have intimated that at least some of these deaths are upcoming arcs that Martin shared with them in plotting out the television series past the published works, but that doesn\'t mean these characters will die in the books in this succession, or under these circumstances. (Brienne, for instance, is in a different part of Westeros; Shireen and Selyse didn\'t accompany Stannis on the march to Winterfell.) The situation we\'re facing on the show is new territory. So what does it all mean?
Fans freaked out when Stannis sacrificed his daughter Shireen in episode nine, burning her at the stake, but King Robert\'s true heir has never been one to care that much about his family line. Soon after we met him in season two, he killed his younger brother Renly via one of Melisandre\'s shadow babies. While killing Renly (and leaving witnesses) was Stannis\'s ultimate undoing, those weren\'t his only murders. He also sacrificed his brother-in-law, Ser Axell Florent, and tried to kill his nephew Gendry, the last living son of King Robert. As far as we know, Gendry is now the only surviving heir of King Robert, but he hasn\'t been legitimized.
The publicly recognized "son" of King Robert, King Tommen, meanwhile, is finding his own claim to the throne less secure by the minute. "Tommen shouldn\'t be there," actor Liam Cunningham, who plays Stannis’s devoted lieutenant Davos, told us. "He\'s a usurper." Tommen, too, has no heirs — his wife is not all that inclined to repeat the antics of their wedding night, and his siblings are dying like flies. (RIP, Myrcella.) Worse yet, he\'s not actually a Baratheon, and his mother Cersei\'s confessions and trials could mean Tommen will lose his crown, or even his head. Should Tommen die as well, the realm will fall into chaos. There is no clear line of succession.
This, more than anything, is Stannis\'s real crime. Part of being king is being protector of the realm, and while he got a good start as one of the only leaders (outside of Jon Snow) to take the threat of the White Walkers seriously, he ultimately failed. He got mired in distractions and ambition, just as his camp got mired in the snow. He killed off his heirs. Who can save Westeros from itself now?
"Any other show, you would say Dany," Cunningham said. "But it being Game of Thrones, it\'s up for grabs. Is it Ramsay who said last season, \'If you think this is going to have a happy ending, you haven\'t been paying attention\'? I\'m as interested as anyone to see what happens next. We\'re plummeting, racing towards the end of the story now."
Kit Harington: ‘It’s Like I’ve Been Sitting on This Big F*cking Secret’
Game of Thrones Finale Discussion: At What Point Do Shocking Deaths Become a Gimmick?
Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey on Cersei’s Long, Humiliating Walk
Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale Recap: Facing the Music
Game of Thrones’ Ian Beattie on Arya’s Revenge, and That Horrific Scene
Game of Thrones’ John Bradley on Jon Snow, Gilly, and Sam’s Power of Persuasion
Dave Chappelle Is ‘Not Going to Do Any Jokes’ About Rachel Dolezal
"She’s just a person, no matter how we feel about her."
Disco Godfather Giorgio Moroder Goes Back to the Future on Déjà Vu
The disco futurist returns with his first solo album in 30 years.
Halt and Catch Fire Recap: Network Connectivity Problems
Beck Wants a Piece of the Song of Summer Pie, Too
The House is no more, and Stannis has only himself to blame.
Through many of the story lines, there was a sense that what we were seeing was the consequence of past actions.
Listen to Childish Gambino’s New Song From Bonnaroo
Smash Mouth Singer Hates Bread, Cusses Out Crowd
Things got real at Taste of Fort Collins in Colorado this weekend.
“I think Maisie still has a piece of my eye.”
Method acting at its finest. Also, watch out: You could be next.
Now Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson Will Also
Veep Season 4 Finale Recap: And That’s Democracy
Silicon Valley Season Two Finale Recap: The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat
Alec Berg’s excellent “Two Days of the Condor” script has a streak of pettiness running through it.
Thomas Middleditch Breaks Down the Silicon Valley Finale’s Response to Season One’s Dick Joke
Shocking deaths are no longer shocking; they\'re perfunctory.
The Summer Culture Calendar: 90 Things to Watch, Hear, Read, and Do
Jon Hamm Fed Zach Galifianakis Gummy Bears at Bonnaroo
Jon Hamm also sang "We Are the World" and fed other people gummy bears too.
The fourth film in the franchise broke multiple records this weekend.
A whisper-thin premise is executed with (mostly) fine writing and directing.
Orange Is the New Black Recap: Oh, Nicki, You’re Not Fine
I didn’t notice how much I loved you, until you took my Natasha Lyonne away.
Watch Lena Dunham Lip-Synch ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’
Jimmy Fallon went with Run-DMC\'s "Run\'s House" and Charlene\'s "I\'ve Never Been to Me."