HBO's official press release for Season 3 describes her as: "An avid reader, she escapes her lonely life through myths and stories – her books are her most treasured possessions."
She is the daughter of Stannis and Selyse Baratheon. Her father Stannis is the head of House Baratheon of Dragonstone and has declared himself King on the Iron Throne. She is Stannis' only child and heir. She is the same age as Arya Stark.
Behind the scenes
Her inclusion in the TV series was uncertain; She appeared in the first season House Baratheon family tree issued by HBO and was then removed from the second season family tree. However, she was confirmed as a role for the third season. Child actress Kerry Ingram later tweeted that she had got the part.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Shireen is the daughter of Stannis Baratheon and Selyse Florent. She is described as a sad, sweet and gentle child, far from pretty. She inherited the unattractive features of both the Baratheons and Florents: the square jutting jaw of her father, and the large ears of her mother. When she was infant she contracted the dreaded disease known as Greyscale, which is usually fatal. It nearly killed her, but she survived, however it horribly disfigured her: it left a swath of flesh on her left cheek and neck visibly dead, grey and flaking. As a result (and possibly combined with her parents' relatively unloving marriage) she became a sullen and quiet girl, withdrawn around all except for the castle's court jester, Patchface.
The TV series' official description of Shireen describes her as escaping her lonely life through stories in books. Shireen isn't described as a shy bookworm type in the books, however this is in keeping with how the books describe her as withdrawn and lonely. Shireen isn't a POV character in the books and hasn't received much focus so far, so the TV series is rounding out her character much as it did characters in Season 2 who weren't POV characters in those parts of the books, such as Margaery Tyrell.
Shireen, like her father, has some Targaryen blood. Steffon Baratheon, father of Robert, Stannis, and Renly, was the son of King Aerys II Targaryen's aunt Rhaelle Targaryen, thus he was Aerys' first cousin. Robert, Stannis, and Renly are actually second cousins to Rhaegar Targaryen as well as Daenerys Targaryen. Thus Shireen is the second cousin once removed of Daenerys. This might be moved around somewhat in the TV continuity, which removed Aerys II's father Jaehaerys II to simplify his relationship with Aemon Targaryen (Jaehaerys II had a brief rule and died young).
Stannis' opinion of Shireen is ambiguous. Certainly, he is as distant from his family as he is everyone else around him. Stannis is also deeply troubled by the fact that he has no male heir to carry on the Baratheon dynasty, thus Shireen doesn't seem to be very valuable to him. On the other hand, Stannis has remarked in the books that should he ever die in the war, he expects his soldiers to keep fighting to put Shireen on the throne.
- Shireen Baratheon at A Wiki of Ice and Fire. (spoilers from the books)
|Lord:||King Stannis Baratheon||Heir:||Princess Shireen Baratheon|
|Seat:||Dragonstone||Lands:||Blackwater Bay and the Stormlands|
|Title(s):||Lord of Dragonstone|
|Current members:||Queen Selyse Florent|
|Household:||Maester Cressen · Lady Melisandre · Ser Davos Seaworth · Ser Imry Florent · Matthos Seaworth · Bert|