Shireen Baratheon's immolation
Season 5, Episode 9: "The Dance of Dragons"
Some people just don't consider a little girl screaming for her life as she's reduced to ashes appropriate Sunday night entertainment. However, if you were genuinely shocked by this turn of events -- five seasons in, no less -- you hadn't been paying attention. Melisandre has been burning people alive since her Season 2 introduction, and the fire priestess has had her eyes on Shireen since Season 4, when she insisted that the adorable princess be brought along their military campaign, citing more of her ominous fire visions.
Still, Shireen's burning at the stake was yet another instance of fans hoping for the best, especially given the fact that her father, Stannis, temporarily looked like the most worthy contender for the Iron Throne, having just rescued Jon Snow from a wildling assault. The show provided us with back-to-back moments of tenderness for the princess before subjecting viewers to her agonizing screams of anguish. Season 5 added the last straws to a lot of backs, and this development acted as a bale of hay -- especially for young parents.
It's no wonder events like these cause fans to tune out: all these rape and torture scenes take away from the things Game of Thrones gets right, such as artful landscape shots and strong female characters. Here's hoping there's a lot more of the latter in Season 6.
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Ben Philippe is a writer based in New York City. The only episode of television that ever made him stop watching a show permanently was when Ryan Atwood turned to underground boxing to cope with Marissa Cooper’s death on The O.C. Find him on Twitter: @GoHomeBen.