In Game of Thrones, Ned Stark clearly reads from the book that all true Baratheons are born with black hair. Then why does Shireen Baratheon have golden hair instead of black? Is it the same way as it is mentioned in the book by GRRM? If so, is there any significance for this colour contradiction?

  • 6
    I think the book showed Ned that all known Baratheon-Lannister children had black hair. Shireen's Mother was a Florent so (in the show) you could argue that this rule does not apply to Baratheon-Florent children.
    – josh
    Dec 13, 2016 at 11:15
  • "The seed is strong" is not genetically correct in the first place. Dominant genes do not exclude the possibility of recessive genes emerging in a later generation. E.g. if black hair is dominant over blonde hair, a child of Robert and Cersei would be black haired (but carry a recessive blonde gene). If that child then impregnates someone else who is black haired (but with a recessive blonde gene), there's a 25% chance that their child gets both of its parents' recessive blonde genes. Dominant traits are more likely passed on (75% chance), but not exclusively so (not 100% chance).
    – Flater
    Aug 21, 2017 at 10:13
  • 1
    It's been a while but I recollect Ned examining the history of male Baratheons. Sep 30, 2017 at 4:31

2 Answers 2


In the books she had dark hair. From gameofthrones.wikia.com:

Shireen has the characteristic Baratheon features of dark hair and blue eyes. In the books, this means that her hair color is outright black, but in the TV series it is a lighter shade closer to dark brown. This might be due to the fact that actress Kerry Ingram has naturally light hair, and it was decided that dyeing her hair completely black looked too artificial.

So the show just contradicted Shireen's Baratheon features just out of convenience.

Reddit have a long discussion on it with user speculating reasons for it like greyscale decolorates her hair, she is being bastard etc. But no official statement I can get.

  • @randal'thor Seems more relying on a "wiki of questionable merit".
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 14, 2016 at 18:29
  • @NapoleonWilson True, it's a poorly cited answer, but at least it refers to a good source, albeit not quoting from it verbatim. Dec 16, 2016 at 22:58

I haven't found anything about this online... but this is my theory.

Shireen is not Stannis daughter, and that's why her hair is not dark. AND that's also why Stannis lost at the end, and why the Red Woman's sacrifice didn't work. She THOUGHT Shireen had Baratheon's blood, but she didn't. Ergo, she died for nothing.

I honestly don'think the showrunners thought of this, and I also know she HAS dark hair in the books. But I like to think this can make sense.

  • How does Stannis not prevent it then? Also, his wife, Selyse would have known clearly if it were not Stannis's. She could have said so to save her life in season 5. Jun 30, 2020 at 12:30

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