If you were to make a list of the three most devastating Game of Thrones deaths, where would you go first? Ned was shocking at the time, but then it’s been so long and we’ve lost so many since that we’ve got used to life without him. Robb has to be up there, as does every single one of the Direwolves of course. Hodor’s got to be in the conversation, and what about poor Shireen Baratheon?
Shireen - probably more than any other character - did not deserve what happened to her. Burned at the stake by her own parents on the advice of a witch who got it wrong. Her sacrifice was for nothing.
One of the show’s most heartbreaking scenes came in Season 6, when Davos discovers the little wooden stag he once whittled Shireen, and realises what must have happened. He rages at Melisandre, causing Jon Snow to send her away, and warn her that should they meet again, he will not be so merciful.
Davos and Shireen had built up one of the most pure and genuine friendships in Westeros. Davos treated Shireen like a daughter, and she taught him to read.
Davos is a slow learner at first, but Shireen is a great teacher. She uses historical books of Westeros to get the Onion Knight up to scratch, and it’s Efurthy on Reddit who discovered this little easter egg regarding the first word she ever taught him to read.
“This word is Aegon,” Shireen tells Davos. “When you put A, E and G together, it sounds like egg, and the title of the book is A History of Aegon the Conqueror.”
Of course, thanks to the Season 7 finale, we now know that Aegon isn’t just significant for being the name of the man who first conquered Westeros - it is also the real name of our hero, Jon Snow.
That’s Jon Snow, aka Aegon Targaryen VII, aka the true heir to the Iron Throne - the man to whom Davos has pledged his allegiance as unofficial Hand of the King.
That the first word Shireen taught Davos was the name of his future king was almost certainly a deliberate bit of foreshadowing by the show’s writers. In other shows you may put it down to coincidence, but in Game of Thrones, we know better.
In other Game of Thrones news, earlier this week we found out that the show has cast Harry Strickland - the leader of the Golden Company - ending a popular fan theory that Daario Naharis may be the man to lead the sellsword army across the sea with Euron Greyjoy, putting him in direct opposition to Daenerys.
The show is expected to return in either late 2018 or 2019, but to be honest I’d predict the latter.