‘Game of Thrones’ Takes Child Cruelty & Torture to a New Level: Enough Is Enough!

game of thrones shireen

If you watched last night's episode of Game of Thrones, "The Dance of Dragons," well, take a deep breath -- everything will be okay again someday, I promise. If, on the other hand, you didn't watch last night's episode of Game of Thrones, then you should probably stop reading right now: Spoilers are coming. Big-time spoilers about really sad, really unnecessary things that totally didn't have to happen!


Okay, if you're reading this, I'm going to assume you know all about the horrible, grisly death of young, innocent sweetheart Shireen. That's right, Stannis -- despite vague indications that he might have actually been starting to care about his poor, greyscale-striken daughter -- finally took the supremely evil Melisandre's advice and sacrificed his unsuspecting child to the Lord of Light (in the hopes that this offering of king's blood will guarantee him victory over the Boltons). Burned at the stake!! What an unbelievably unjust ending to an unbelievably unjust (not to mention short) life. R.I.P. Shireen, you were truly too good for that world.

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And if you're reading this, I'm also going to assume that you know all about Arya running into Meryn Trant and how Trant pulled a majorly creepy pedophile move in the brothel, making the madame pull a barely pubescent girl out of the kitchen for him because all of the other teen prostitutes were "too old." Blecccchhh. 

What do these two scenes have in common, besides the fact that both of them made you feel sick to your stomach? Both of them feature acts of unspeakable violence against young girls -- and neither of them were in the books. So why include these scenes at all? Everybody hates watching them! 

It seems to me that the Game of Thrones writers are falling into the habit of using child abuse as a way to indicate when a character is an irredeemable creep: Okay, so now we know we hate Stannis forever, and Meryn Trant is even worse than we thought. It was when Theon burned those boys that we stopped caring what happened to him, too -- and of course the very controversial Sansa rape scene only served as further proof that Ramsey was a monster (Sansa being a relatively young girl). It's easy to see what they're trying to do, but does anybody like this particular plot device? Couldn't they maybe try something else, something that's less of an emotional cheapshot for viewers? 

Oh, and not for nothing -- but those arrows in the dragon were a bit of an emotional cheapshot, too. Sniff.

What did you think of last night's Game of Thrones?


Image via Helen Sloan/ HBO

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