Death isn’t always permanent on Game of Thrones (just ask Jon Snow), which sometimes leads to conspiracy theories whenever a character is seemingly killed off without showing us the fatal blow onscreen.
Such is the case with Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), who died at the vengeful hands of Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) in the Season 5 finale.
(Yes, he did.)
Despite persistent fan theories that Brienne might have inexplicably decided to spare the life of the man she’s been trying to kill for three seasons mid-swing, a newly uncovered script for the Emmy-winning episode confirms what most of us accepted all along — that Brienne succeeded in her mission and fulfilled her vow to make Stannis pay for the murder of his brother, Renly (Gethin Anthony) back in Season 2.
As discovered by an observant Reddit user and signal-boosted by Watchers on the Wall, the cut dialogue and stage directions seem to definitively confirm Stannis’ fate:
BRIENNE: Do you have any last words?
STANNIS: Do you believe in the life to come?
STANNIS: I don’t. But if I’m wrong, and you’re right… tell Renly I’m sorry when you get there. I don’t imagine I’ll see him wherever I’m going. (beat) And my daughter. Tell her… tell her…
[“Sorry” doesn’t begin to cover what he feels about Shireen. The thought of it brings tears to his eyes, and he’s not going to die weeping in front of a woman he doesn’t know. Stannis stares up at her.]
STANNIS: Go on. Do your duty.
[Brienne raises her sword and brings it down with a mighty swing.]
In the aired version of the scene, when Brienne asks if Stannis has any last words, he simply answers, “Go on, do your duty” — which is probably a more fitting sendoff for a man who’s arrogant and emotionally stunted enough to burn his only child alive in the hope of winning a battle.
In other words, don’t expect a triumphant comeback for Stannis the Mannis — at least on the show. In George R. R. Martin’s books, on the other hand, the author has confirmed that Stannis is still “very much alive,” (as is Shireen, FWIW), much like Mance Rayder, who was also definitively killed off on the show but apparently still has a part to play in Martin’s ongoing A Song of Ice and Fire series.
We got the Hound back, what more do you people want?!
Watch Stannis’ honest-to-goodness, totally official death scene as it aired below: