This story has spoilers for Game of Thrones fifth season finale. If you aren’t caught up, you’ve been warned.
A Reddit user has uncovered the original script for the final episode of the fifth season, and it reveals the show’s final scene originally had a bit more dialog.
Thanks to the show’s producers submitting “Mother’s Mercy” for an Emmy nomination, we learned Stannis Baratheon’s death was a bit more emotional in print. You can see the episode’s full script for yourselves, but here’s how Stannis was originally written to say goodbye:
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 even 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.
That final line — “Go on, do your duty” — was the only thing that actually ended up in the show.
This episode followed “The Dance of Dragons,” the fifth season’s dramatic penultimate episode, where Stannis sacrificed his daughter, the princess Shireen, to the flames — assuming the vile act would help his army overcome a blizzard to retake Winterfell. It was a low point for a character who started out as an extreme rule-follower.
Fans in r/gameofthrones were divided as to whether the lines of dialog should have been cut. “I think this bit of dialogue helps humanize Stannis after he murdered his daughter. I don't, however, think anything can forgive what he did. I would've liked this kept in,” one wrote.
“I had problems with Stannis' final scenes, but I thought his final line was perfect,” another wrote. "‘Go on, do your duty.’ No nonsense, to the point, zero bullshit. Totally Stannis. This would have been weird. I'm glad they cut it.”
That may have been the director’s feeling too, but we won’t ever know how far along these lines made it before ending up on the cutting room floor.