Do you like Shireen? I'm really sad about the thought of her burning, I don't want her to die and fire seems so painful and scary for a little kid. And it's going to be her own dad that burns her, right? Poor shireen :(
Of course I love Shireen! My heart breaks for her. Nearly killed by greyscale as an infant, “far from pretty” and “homely” in a society where the idealized feminine form is a beautiful one, apparently the only child in they grim and gray household of Dragonstone (at least for the majority of her life), the child of unhappily married parents, her sole constant companion through most of her youth a terrifying, prophecy-spouting, eldritch-risen clown. Yet despite everything, Shireen can still be courteous, gentle, even cheerful and fun-loving, making friends and being sweet. When I think of Shireen, I think of this exchange:
“Are you the wildling princess?” Shireen asked Val.
“Some call me that,” said Val. “My sister was wife to Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall. She died giving him a son.”
“I’m a princess too,” Shireen announced, “but I never had a sister. I used to have a cousin once, before he sailed away. He was just a bastard, but I liked him.”
It’s Shireen in a nutshell, innocent and childish in the best possible way. She’s a princess, she announces, not out of snobbery or pride in her place, but simply because it’s a fact; she seems to treat being a princess the same as if, say, Val had said she had black hair, a mark of commonality between the two. She has to note Edric was a bastard - you can imagine Selyse hammering into her that Edric was only “Robert’s by-blow”, not her social equal - but given what we saw of her and Edric in ASOS, it’s clear what matters to Shireen is that “I liked him”.