The death of Myrcella Baratheon in season 5 of Game of Thrones was changed quite a bit from how it was originally planned. Having a leading role on a hit TV show used to mean job stability for actors. While movies are filmed over a period of months, a series can last for years, even decades. But over time, some TV shows began to raise the stakes by killing off main characters - characters who the audience presumed to be safe. At first it only happened occasionally. But now there are shows on the air like Game of Thrones.
Based on the equally violent series of novels by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones killed multiple major characters off constantly. When the show first aired in 2011 the cast included movie stars Mark Addy and Sean Bean - neither of whose characters survived through the first season finale. So many characters have been killed on the show that other character's roles have been expanded to fill up the episodes. The main cause of death on the show is murder, often gruesome and violent murder. And no one is safe, not even the youngest children.
But apparently one of those murders did not go exactly as planned. Nell Tiger Free - who played Myrcella Baratheon in season five - recently gave an interview to MCM London where she explained that originally, Myrcella's death was going to be far more graphic:
"I don’t know if I should say this, but originally what happened is they gave me those mashed up bananas with like blood- fake blood, and my brains were supposed to be all over the ship and stuff. I was so excited. I don’t like gore but, like, I knew they were just like bananas, so I was okay with it.”
Myrcella's death was caused by poison - the same death that befell her older brother Joffrey. But where Joffrey's death was a public spectacle which left him vomiting, convulsing, and turning purple, Myrcella's death was quick and gentle. Her nose began to bleed, and within seconds she collapsed in her father's arms. A very unique death for Game of Thrones, to say the least. Free went on to explain the reason that her character's death was so toned down from what was initially planned. "They wanted Myrcella’s death to reflect her life, and wanted it to be sweet.”
Of all Cersei's children, Myracella was the one that audiences saw the least of. Both of her brothers were Kings for a time before their deaths, but Myracella was sent away to Dorne in the second season for both political reasons and her own protection. It was only in the fifth season, after the death of Oberyn Martell, that Dorne became one of the regular settings and Myrcella was reintroduced to the story. She was always a sweet and kind child, one of the few characters on Game of Thrones who never hurt anyone else. Myrcella was murdered not for anything she did - but as a pawn in the never ending power play that plagues the Seven Kingdoms.
Her death came as quite a surprise - both because she was returning home after being gone for so long and because her character is still alive in the books. It's become more common for the books and TV series to deviate from each other as time goes on - and as the show has gotten ahead of the books - so Myrcella is not the only character who is alive on paper and dead on TV. Her death is a haunting one though because her character was so innocent. And that innocence was reflected in the way she died.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO on July 16.
Source: MCM London