SPOILERS for both the Game of Thrones TV show and the novels. Sure, Game of Thrones didn’t have the most graceful of endings, but for the majority of its run, the HBO series was pretty damn amazing. The show had something for just about everyone, from newbies to the world of Westeros to long-time fans of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” saga, but it couldn’t hope to include everything from the novels, and one of the more noticeable omissions was Lady Stoneheart.
In an excerpt from the upcoming book “Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon” courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss explain just why the character didn’t appear in the series. First off, just who is Lady Stoneheart? For those you haven’t read the novels, Lady Stoneheart is the undead Catelyn Stark, who was murdered during the Red Wedding and was resurrected by Beric Dondarrion to become the leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners. Consumed with a desire for brutal vengeance on anyone involved with the events of the Red Wedding, Lady Stoneheart makes for a terrifying figure.
Although the shocking reveal of the character’s resurrection was a big deal in the novels, David Benioff said that “There was never really much debate about [including Lady Stoneheart]. There is that one great scene.” D.B. Weiss added, “The scene where she first shows up is one of the best ‘holy s—’ moments in the books. I think that scene is where the public response came from. But then…” The showrunners went on to explain that there are three reasons why they didn’t include Lady Stoneheart in the series. “Part of the reason we didn’t want to put it in had to do with things coming up in George’s books that we don’t want to spoil [by discussing them],” Benioff said. Secondly, the pair already knew in season three that they would be resurrecting Jon Snow in a couple of seasons and wanted to make sure that it had the proper impact. “Too many resurrections start to diminish the impact of characters dying,” Benioff said. “We wanted to keep our powder dry for that.” Lastly, they felt that the Red Wedding was one of the show’s most powerful moments, and that by bringing Catelyn Stark back, they would rob the scene of its power as well as diminish Michelle Fairley’s haunting final performance. “Catelyn’s last moment was so fantastic, and Michelle is such a great actress, to bring her back as a zombie who doesn’t speak felt like diminishing returns,” Benioff said. As far as George R.R. Martin goes, he fought for Lady Stoneheart to be included in the series, which points to the character still having a role to play in the remaining two novels of the series.