|“||No act done in the service of the Lord of Light can ever be a sin.||„|
|~ Selyse Florent|
Queen Selyse Florent, formerly known as Lady Selyse Baratheon is the wife of King Stannis Baratheon and a character of A Song of Ice and Fire. In the TV series Game of Thrones, she served as tertiary antagonist of the fifth season. She is the key person to make Melisandre to spread her faith in Dragonstone, and she is the most fervent supporter of the new religion and more fanatic than her husband.
Selyse is the daughter of the deceased Ser Ryam Florent and the older sister of Ser Imry and Ser Erren. She is married to Lord Stannis and they have one daughter, Shireen Baratheon. She is the niece of Lord Alester Florent, the head of her family. In the TV series, Ser Axell Florent is her elder brother, while in the novels he's her uncle.
She was portrayed by two actresses. Sarah MacKeever initially appeared as Selyse in the Season 2 premiere "The North Remembers", but as an uncredited placeholder with no dialogue. Due to time constraints the production team waited to officially introduce Selyse until Season 3, when Tara Fitzgerald was cast in the role.
Game of Thrones
Selyse is the wife of Stannis Baratheon, the Lord of Dragonstone and claimant to the Iron Throne. She was born into House Florent of Brightwater Keep, a noble house of the Reach and bannermen of House Tyrell.
Selyse and Stannis have a single daughter, Princess Shireen Baratheon. The rest of Selyse and Stannis' offspring, Petyr, Tommard, and Edric, were all stillborn. She keeps their bodies in crystal containers filled with chemicals in her chambers.
Queen Selyse is present at the ritual burning of the statues of the Seven on the shores of Dragonstone, standing at the side of her husband and King. When Stannis pulls the flaming Lightbringer from the "heart" of the statue of the Mother, she kneels alongside the rest of the worshippers of the Lord of Light and the other bannermen. After the ceremony is over, Stannis extends his hand and Selyse rises to her feet to walk after him.
Melisandre notes that Selyse has failed to give Stannis a son, only stillborn boys, and that Selyse is sickly and often confined to her tower at Dragonstone.
Stannis later recalls to Ser Davos Seaworth how his wife nearly died during the siege of Storm's End during Robert's Rebellion before Davos was able to breach the lines and bring supplies in.
Depressed following his defeat at the Battle of the Blackwater, Stannis visits Selyse for the first time since returning from the battle. He finds her in her chamber, praying over a fire to the Lord of Light: Selyse is a fanatical believer in the religion of R'hllor and it was indeed Selyse who first invited Melisandre to Dragonstone. Stannis and Selyse do not have a loving relationship, but she reveres and is in awe of him as her king and the Lord's Chosen. She tells him not to despair despite his defeat, and he will be victorious, but he laments that he used to believe that once.
Due to his extreme belief in duty, (unlike his hedonistic brother Robert) Stannis is badly shaken by the fact that he broke his marriage vows to Selyse, when he had sex with Melisandre to create the Shadow assasin that killed Renly Baratheon. He begins to confess to Selyse that he has sinned and shamed her, but she interrupts him and says Melisandre already told her everything - and that no act done in service of the Lord of Light can be a sin. Indeed, she wept for joy when Melisandre told her of this service she did for the Lord of Light with Stannis, and because the Red Priestess gave him a "son" (of sorts) which she never could. Stannis' face is filled with a mix of shock, disgust, and relief. Selyse had three sons with Stannis but they were all stillborn, and she walks over to a corner of her chamber where she keeps their tiny corpses preserved in glass jars. The deaths of her "sweet boys" and failure to produce a male heir deeply affected Selyse, and caused her to zealously embrace the foreign religion of the Lord of Light. She weeps, and laments that she has given Stannis nothing - he does not blame her, and with pity he says that's not true. Selyse understands he is referring to their daughter and only child, Princess Shireen Baratheon. She grows annoyed when she realizes he's come to see her too, and says he shouldn't waste time on such distractions, but insists that she is his daughter, and she relents because it is not her place to question her king.
On the beach of Dragonstone, Melisandre presides over a public burning, setting three people chained to stakes ablaze as an offering to the Lord of Light. One of the condemned is Queen Selyse Baratheon's own brother, Axell Florent, condemned for his lack of faith in the Lord's power. Melisandre is surprisingly silent throughout the proceedings; it is Selyse who takes the greatest pleasure in the ritual. Afterwards, Stannis and Selyse eat dinner, with Melisandre as a guest at their table. The royal couple argue over their daughter, Princess Shireen Baratheon; Selyse believes the girl's disfigurement is a punishment from the Lord of Light, but Stannis angrily forbids his wife from trying to physically chastise their daughter for her perceived faults. Selyse switches tactics and suggests that Melisandre speak to Shireen.
Queen Selyse speaks to Melisandre, who is enjoying a bath. She quips that the Lord of Light told her to enjoy it as it was the last time she would have a good bath, but the joke goes over Selyse's head. To cement Selyse's position as Melisandre's most devoted follower, the Red Priestess tells her about using potions and illusions in serving the Lord of Light and that a bit of pageantry and deception in helping converts see the truth will be forgiven later on. Selyse asks her if she used the potions when she slept with Stannis, to which she replies that she did not. Selyse then remarks on her desire to leave their daughter Shireen behind when they go to the North but Melisandre is as dismissive about Shireen's "heresy" as she always is, and assures Selyse that Shireen will be needed where they are going.
Selyse accompanies Stannis to the North in his defense of the Night's Watch against the wildlings. She is present at the Watch's funeral for their fallen brothers.
Selyse, alongside her daughter, are present when Mance Rayder is executed by Stannis Baratheon for refusing to bend the knee. She expresses joy as Melisandre speaks of the Lord of Light and when Mance begins to be consumed by the flames.
Selyse finds her daughter teaching Gilly letters so that she may learn to read. The queen disapproves of such action, telling Shireen that her father conquered Gilly's "people" and that as a wildling she is still dangerous. Shireen attempts to defend Gilly, but Selyse simply scolds her for being naive, despite all her knowledge gained from her books.
With an excruciating reluctance, Stannis offers their daughter to Melisandre to sacrifice her to R'hllor, in order for his prophecy to become true. When the ceremony begins, Selyse at first stands firm her belief that this is the right thing to do. However, as Shireen is tied to the pyre, she begins to squirm and scream, pleading to her mother and father for her life. When the flame is lit and Shireen continues her cry for help, Selyse has a drastic change of heart and begins to implore Stannis to stop the sacrifce. As her implores turn into a beg, Stannis remains unresponsive. When Stannis does not respond to her pleas, Selyse frantically runs toward the sacrificial pyre in a last, desperate attempt to stop the ceremony, but is stopped by equally distraught Baratheon soldiers. As Shireen's screams die away with her, Selyse looks up in horror at her corpse, letting out a scream, while Stannis turns away with tears welling in his eyes - a rare occurance for someone seemingly emotionless.
Faced with the enormity of what she's done, Selyse shortly thereafter hangs herself in a copse of trees near the Baratheon camp. Stannis is shaken when his scouts discover her body, and Melisandre in turn flees the scene.
In ASOIAF novels
In A Song of Ice and Fire, Selyse is Stannis' wife. They have a single child, their daughter Shireen. Selyse is extremely tall, the same height as her husband. She is thin with sharp features, has the large ears typical of the Florents, and suffers from hair growth on her upper lip. She is not considered attractive. She is a fanatical believer of the Lord of Light, and places great trust in Melisandre.
Indeed, Selyse was actually the first member of Stannis' household that Melisandre converted to the eastern religion. This extends to the point that those of Stannis' followers who take up worship of the Lord of Light are nicknamed "Queen's Men", referring to Selyse - though some use this in a disparaging sense, referring to Melisandre as the "Queen", to point out that Stannis follows her counsel more closely than that of his wife. It is uncertain if Selyse is aware that Stannis had sexual encounters with Melisandre.
There is no mention in the novels that Selyse ever gave birth to stillborn boys, nor that she is sickly and often confined to her tower.
In an interview with HBO.com, Bryan Cogman - who wrote episode that introduced Selyse, "Kissed by Fire" - gave a detailed explanation of how he wrote the Dragonstone scenes which showed Stannis' relationships with his wife and daughter. Cogman pointed out the difficultly in this given that Stannis isn't a POV character in the books, so these character relationships are mostly left implied but off-screen.
- Selyse and Ellaria Sand are some of A Song of Ice and Fire character who was drastically changed in the TV series to the polar opposite. In TV series, they were changed from heroes or antagonistic heroes (in novels) to villainous characters. Instead Stannis's negative traits are made worse in the show, while mantaining his main traits and personality, making him partially changed unlike Selyse.
- After the fourth season, Selyse and Stannis' storylines from the books have been completely rewritten and changed as well, and they both died during the war against Bolton. In the books, they are both alive.
- However, unlike Ellaria (who is not a villain at all in books), Selyse still has some antagonistic and even villainous sides even in the novels, like she had been urging her husband to slay Renly, despite Maester Cressen's pleads to avoid fratricide, having the murder attempt to Edric Storm, and sacrifising Lord Sunglass (omitted from the TV series and replaced with Axell), the two last surviving sons of Hubard Rambton without her husband's consent and only to provide his victory in the war. She also the one who commands her men to destroy the ancient sept of Dragonstone, a sacred place, and burn their statues (like in the show), and this results with the arrest of Septon Barre, who had criticized Selyse and Stannis. Selyse supports human sacrifice and forcing others to take the Lord of Light as their only god. The TV show has made Selyse less protective of her daughter and more lunatic. In the novels Selyse can start raising her voice when it comes to religion, and those are the only moments she can get a little bit crazy.
- While in the TV series version Selyse is shown to have a great dislike for Shireen and Stannis being the protective parent; in the book version Selyse seems to be very concerned and protective about her daughter and lets her do what she wants at the Wall. There are no interactions shown between Stannis and Shireen in the books and there is no indication about Shireen loving her father.
- Also, in the TV version Selyse's character has been changed and made into an extremely sickly insane fanatic who loves to watch people burning. In the books Selyse is an arrogant, frigid, proud, fanatic, and serious woman who does her duty as a lord's wife, but she is not insane.
- In both books and show she's fully obedient to her husband and her actions are meant to serve and please him, and she's the reason Melisandre has managed to spread her religion in Dragonstone.
- To some point, she has similar traits with Lady Macbeth. For example, both of them urged their husbands to commit kinslaying and royal cruelty.
- The death of the TV series Selyse is the same with Lady Macbeth, by hanging herself in sheer remorse and mental breakdown.