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I understand that Lady Selyse Baratheon is a little off her rocker, but is there a particular reason that she appears to hate (or at least, strongly dislike) her daughter Shireen so much? Surely she can't blame Shireen for her face, which - as the result of getting Greyscale as an infant - is no fault of her own OR the child's. Stannis himself doesn't appear to bear the child any ill will.

The only thing I can figure is that Shireen is a reminder of her failure to provide Stannis with a son, something that he desperately wanted. Is this the case?

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    I was under the impression that shes a visible reminder of her failure to provide her husband with a son, instead of a son she births a monstrous daughter. – Himarm Mar 26 '15 at 14:56
  • @Himarm I agree, that's probably going to be the answer. Shireen wasn't born that way, though - she came out normal but caught greyscale in her first year. People who survive greyscale have that scaly, dead skin patch like that. – Omegacron Mar 26 '15 at 15:03
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Selyes Florent is very unhappy with her life, largely because of her marriage to Stannis. In her mind, it has been cursed from the very beginning. Robert actually slept with someone on Stannis' wedding night on Stannis' bed, and Selyse has subsequently blamed all the faults of her marriage on being cursed from that event.

Stannis, in general, is not a depicted as a very loving or emotionally supportive person. One thing he did hope for (and expect) from his wife was to give him a male heir. Instead, she only managed to have one child, Shireen; even that baby was "cursed" at a very young age with greyscale.

At this point, Selyse looks at Shireen as a representation of everything that is wrong with her life:

  • Stuck in a loveless marriage
  • Unable to bear her husband an heir
  • Only daughter cursed with a disfiguring disease

This bad attitude is not unique to Shireen, she's merely a very convenient target of Selyse's displeasure. But, it's also the reason she took up with Melisandre in the first place, and why she has no problem sacrificing members of Stannis' court to the flames.

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FWIW this is a TV-series-only characterization, and doesn't appear in the books.

Queen Selyse is not shown to be mentally stable. Add to that her new found belief in the Lord of Light, which puts emphasis on the Red God punishing humans for their sinfulness. As the wife of not just a nobleman, but a king, her greatest duty is to provide a strong heir. Selyse's only issue is a sickly girl, with all her other pregnancies ending in miscarriages and stillbirths. This has lead her to believe that the Lord of Light is punishing her for her sins (true or imagined). Thus Shireen becomes (in Selyse mind) not a child, but a punishment from the Lord of Light. Selyse has grown to hate her daughter because of that. So when the chance comes where Shireen's sacrifice could lead Selyse's salvation, she does not hesitate to take that grisly route.

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