Game of Thrones is no stranger to controversy, particularly this season when many fans claimed the show went too far with the infamous wedding night scene of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon). Many have also complained about poor writing and lackluster fight scenes, or at least, lackluster until last week’s episode, which brought many disgruntled Game of Thrones fans back into the fold with its epic White Walkers battle scene. But now there’s grumbling among many Game of Thrones fans about a potential character death that could cause another uproar. Potential spoilers follow.
As one of the bloodiest shows on television, you’d think many Game of Thrones fans would be desensitized to character deaths, with beheadings, cannibalism and victims being burned or skinned alive on a fairly regular basis. But hints at the possible sacrifice of Shireen (Kerry Ingram) have Game of Thrones fans on edge, as it would mean the brutalization of another innocent character. Shireen’s father, Stannis (Stephen Dillane), is marching toward Winterfell, and his witchy consort Melisandre (Carice van Houten) has been whispering in his ear that he needs to make a ritualistic sacrifice of something he holds very dear to ensure his victory.
When Melisandre suggested such a thing initially, Stannis dismissed her from his sight. But with winter closing in and his army running low on supplies and morale, Stannis is becoming increasingly desperate. And it looks like he may be reconsidering, according to an HBO press release containing the official Game of Thrones synopsis for this episode, “The Dance of Dragons.”
“Stannis (Stephen Dillane) confronts a troubling decision. Jon (Kit Harington) returns to The Wall. Mace (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) visits the Iron Bank. Arya (Maisie Williams) encounters someone from her past. Dany (Emilia Clarke) reluctantly oversees a traditional celebration of athleticism.”
That does not look like good news for Shireen, and Game of Thrones viewers are already chiming in on fan forums that it would be too unspeakable for Stannis to sacrifice his only daughter, even for Game of Thrones. On the other hand, many continue to wonder about the selective tolerance to violence shown by those upset by recent events on the series, yet oblivious to the long history of rape, murder and general mayhem on Game of Thrones and many other shows, such as Outlander and even the network series Hannibal.
Why do Game of Thrones fans have such a soft spot for Sansa and Shireen?
Another significant plot point in the Game of Thrones synopsis is Arya’s reunion with someone from her past. Given that most of her past involves the Stark family, we can probably rule out any reunions with Sansa at this time. Her younger brothers are still missing in action and aren’t likely to the show up at the House of Black and White. Could this synopsis be hinting at the return of The Hound (Rory McCann)? Arya left him for dead last season on Game of Thrones, but viewers never actually saw him die.
Also, note when the Faceless Man (Tom Wlaschiha) was questioning Arya and striking her every time she lied, he struck her when she said she didn’t care about The Hound when she left him for dead. She claims she was telling the truth, but those two did seem to bond in an odd way during their journey together on Game of Thrones. The big question is not so much how Arya feels about The Hound, but if The Hound returns, how he feels about her now.
[Photo courtesy of HBO]