[*SPOILERS EVERYWHERE*] When Stannis Baratheon chose to have his daughter burned alive in last night's Game of Thrones 'The Dance of Dragons' episode, fans were inconsolable.
Showrunner Dan Weiss believes this only exposes their own hypocrisy however.
Following a dramatic scene in which Shireen realises her fate and her mother has a change of heart but fails to save her from the funeral pyre, EW caught up with Weiss and asked him: "How could you do that to Shireen?"
His reponse was to "flip the question", and ask why we only care now, when Stannis has been burning people alive since season 2.
"It’s like a two-tiered system," he said. "If a superhero knocks over a building and there are 5,000 people in the building that we can presume are now dead, does it matter? Because they’re not people we know. But if one dog we like gets run over by a car, it’s the worst thing we’ve ever seen.
"I totally understand where that visceral reaction comes from. I have that same reaction. There’s also something shitty about that. So instead of saying, ‘How could you do this to somebody you know and care about?’ maybe when it’s happening to somebody we don’t know so well, maybe then it should hit us all a bit harder."
It is these sorts of moral debates Game of Thrones stokes so well with its capricious and sudden disposal of beloved characters, as with season 3's Red Wedding, which culled a handful of beloved characters, but arguably to save the lives of thousands we don't know.
Shocking Game of Thrones scenes
Shocking Game of Thrones scenes
1/9 Sansa/Ramsey rape scene
Season 5, episode 6: Fans were outraged as the episode ended with Sansa Stark being brutally raped by her new husband, Ramsey. The camera soon panned to Theon as he watched on, terrified.
2/9 Shireen burns at the stake
Season 5, episode 9:Stannis burns his daughter Shireen at the stake after Red Priestess Melisandre advises him to make a sacrifice to gain more power
3/9 Theon gets his penis chopped off
Season 3, episode 10: While being tortured by Ramsey, Theon Greyjoy goes through all sorts of pain. The most horrible though is when his penis is cut off and then sent to his family.
4/9 George Bush’s head on spike
Season 1, episode 10: According to the directors, they couldn’t get enough prosthetic heads made up for the show and ended up using the spare one’s lying around. One of those just happened to be the fake head of George Bush, which eventually ended up on a spike.
5/9 Joffrey murders two prostitutes
Season 2, episode 4: In one of his most violent moments, Joffrey finds himself with two prostitutes in his room and the most disgusting thing he can think to do with them, uses them as living targets.
6/9 The Red Wedding
Season 3, episode 9: It was the turning point for the entire show. Just as everyone thought it was going the Starks way, they nearly all end up murdered in one of the bloodiest episodes of any TV series ever.
7/9 Rat torture
Season 2, episode 4: Torture is a pretty common occurrence on Game of Thrones, but none were quite a bad as this. In the scene a bucket of rats is put to a man’s chest and then heated up with a flame so they must eat through the man to escape. Terrifying.
8/9 Mountain head explosion
Season 4, episode 8: Just as everything was going Oberyn Martell’s way, it all literally blew up in his face. The warrior ended up looking like a squashed watermelon in one of the most awful scenes in the entire series.
9/9 Theon botched beheading
Season 2, episode 6: Beheadings: In one of the more gruesome beheadings, Theon strikes Ser Rodrick Cassel not just once but four times in the neck, finally taking it all the way off with a kick.
Weiss added that last night's scene said something about how religion can cloud judgement.
"People who watch Game of Thrones don’t see the same world as Stannis and Melisandre," he added.
"To those characters, magic is real and it works. That’s something fun about this genre because when magic is real and you can see it with your own eyes in the show, it gives you a window into the heads of people who believe irrational things on faith.
"I can’t really get my head around how those people operate in our world, as they’re so completely disconnected from the way I process the world. So in a strange way, fantasy is a cock-eyed window into the heads of people who would do something terrible for an irrational reason."
Game of Thrones has had two massive weeks, with the last seeing a 20-minute battle sequence that took a month to film.Reuse content