With Game of Thrones approaching its final season, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who stars as Jaime Lannister on the hit HBO series, reminisced about the character who he thinks suffered the most devastating death so far.
“There’s the sadness of not going to work with a certain actor. But if you look at the story, by far the most horrendous one was Princess Shireen when she was burned,” Coster-Waldau told BuzzFeed News’ Profile. “I thought that was so brutal.”
Princess Shireen was the daughter of Stannis Baratheon, who was one of those asserting their claim to the Iron Throne. Fans were introduced to Shireen, her face left scarred by Greyscale as an infant, in Season 3, when she builds a friendship with Davos Seaworth — she even teaches him how to read.
In Season 5, Melisandre convinces Stannis that he needs to sacrifice his own daughter to the Lord of Light so that his army will be successful in its conquests. As a result, Shireen is tragically and publicly burned alive. Her death also signals to Baratheon soldiers how extreme his dedication to the Lord of Light has become, prompting many to abandon him. Ultimately, Stannis is killed by Brienne of Tarth.
“I mean, storytelling-wise, I thought it was so strong because it just showed how when you get into this extremist way of thinking, people are willing to do insane things,” Coster-Waldau said. “And here you have a father who’s willing to sacrifice his kid.”
The Game of Thrones actor said he’s excited for viewers to see the eighth and final season, which premieres April 14. He’s also looking forward to watching the show himself, calling the end of the iconic series “bittersweet.”
“I know what’s coming and I can’t wait for people to see it and experience it,” he said. “I think at the end, hopefully it’ll be like when you’ve read a great book, you kind of get to the end...you know you’re happy that it was a great story, but you’re also a little sad that it’s over.”
Watch Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s complete Profile interview here: