Catelyn Stark Featured Game of Thrones Interview Michelle Fairley

Michelle Fairley on Catelyn Stark, Hollywood, and NOT playing Lady Stoneheart

Five seasons into its run, Michelle’s Fairley’s turn as battered matriarch Catelyn Stark remains one of the most compelling performances on Game of Thrones. She brought a subtlety and presence she honed throughout a lengthy career on the London stage, including as Iago’s wife Emilia in a 2008 production of Othello, the role that convinced the Thrones writers that she would be a good fit for Catelyn.

Fairley dropped these and other Game of Thrones-related nuggets during a recent interview with Gulf News Television. Looking back, here’s what she had to say about her arc on the show.

I think in retrospect [the writers] needed somebody to go on an emotional journey…Catelyn goes through the loss of her husband, the loss of her children and eventually makes the decision to kill herself because she thinks that there’s nothing left to live for — and they thought, because of the final scenes in Othello, that I could maybe achieve that for them.

Now, the bit about Catelyn killing herself might strike some readers as strange, seeing as she memorably—and horrifyingly—had her throat slit at the Red Wedding. Gulf News Television posits that Catelyn’s murder of Walder Frey’s young wife in the immediate wake of her son Robb’s death was a suicidal act, as she knew it meant her life was forfeit.

Speaking of the Red Wedding, Fairley said that director David Nutter told her to play it “on a level” with Walder Frey, and anyone who remembers her intense performance as a proud but cornered mother threatening to kill Frey’s wife before his eyes if he didn’t give her what she wanted will probably agree that she succeeded. “It was not to be as a woman pleading with him,” she said. “It was to be commanding in some way. That they are two equals meeting each other.”


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Fairley is currently back on the stage as Genevieve, the best friend to the wife of a dictator, in Splendour, currently playing at the Donmar Warehouse in London. After her role on Thrones wrapped up, she took a few other onscreen roles, including in Suits and 24, but the theater is where she’s most comfortable. She doesn’t seem terribly enamored of Hollywood. “I hate the place,” she said. “I hate that world. I hate everything about it.” So don’t expect her to be cropping up in a lot of American-produced shows or movies.

As far as Fairley is concerned, that includes Game of Thrones. There’s been speculation—as there has been every year since Fairley left, incidentally—that Season 6 might finally be the year we see Lady Stoneheart, the resurrected version of Catelyn Stark, on Game of Thrones. Fairley made her thoughts on the matter pretty clear.  “I am not under contract to Game of Thrones,” she said. Okay, then.

Something as straightforward as a flat denial isn’t likely to stop Game of Thrones conspiracy theorists, of course, and we’ll have to wait until Season 6 airs to be completely sure of anything.


  • Hodor?

    Of course that won’t stop the speculation, I mean, she is not CURRENTLY under contract, but she might have filmed her Lady Stoneheart scenes before her contract was done, right?…


    • “Of course that won’t stop the speculation, I mean, she is not CURRENTLY under contract, but she might have filmed her Lady Stoneheart scenes before her contract was done, right?…”

      Quite right….Nothing in what she said was an out and out denial…

      • Doesn’t seem likely they would do that. I’ve accepted it now that 2 complete seasons have passed since rw. But they did cast euron and end up shooting the kingsmoot out of sequence so hold on to a slither of hope

  • They could cast a completely different actress seeing cat would be all rotted and decayed. I’m thinking ls is cut altogether though. I believe Sandra maybe gets some of her arc. Its one of the shows greatest blunder omitting her from show. And what was the point of tbwb in season 3? Be shocked if we see them again.

    • Few points of the TBwB:
      The Hound vs Berric Dondarion – This begins Sandor Clegane’s redemption arc.
      Thoros resurrecting Dondarion – Chekov’s gun.. They introduced the ability to resurrect people, on top of that Melissandre now has knowledge of it and will without a doubt use his to bring back Jon Snow.

      • I’m still peddling a combined story line that in the book Dondarion helps resurrect Lady Stoneheart. And, this site has already theorized the Brotherhood would re-appear this season. I think, Melissandre, now questioning her powers (or her interpretation) sends Davos on a hunt to find Dondarion and Thorros. They will return and help Melissandre resurrect Jon Snow. As Kit Harrington, has carefully stated Jon is dead, he also said he would not be back in Season Six. So, I think it could take Davos most of the season to find Dondarion and Thorros as he searches the countryside. This site said on new story line would be a group of rebels who use religion to terrorize the countryside (possible Band of Brothers). This would also force Davos to be at Melissandre’s bidding which he would hate, but being the loyalist he’d follow through. Plus, as Davos searches the countryside he will hear the tales of what happen in Stanis’ camp at the end (from the men who abandoned before the war). When he returns to Castle Black he will also be looking to settle up with Melissandre.

  • I love theories. This confirms she will not come back for Lady Stoneheart IMO. I believe they cut her storyline to avoid overusing the resurrection plot … because Jon will be reborn and lead the Brothers Without Banners. The Watch betrayed him so he needs a new team … and he will work to reunite his family, avenge Rob and protect Winterfel …

  • This ‘no contract’ statement does not say much.
    When Isaac Hempstead-wright left for one season there was also no guarantee that he would come back.
    I don’t believe in a recasting-situation for LS, it would not work.
    That the scenes would already have been shot could be, but conflicts with the casting-speculations of Merret Fray and the outlaws.

  • I don’t see why it’s so hard for some people to believe that actors can leave GOT behind them and not look back.

  • This is the last season LSH could have been introduced IMO … and Fairley stated she is not working for GOT. Come on, it’s overdue time to accept there will not be any LSH in the show.
    I would have loved to watch Catelyn giving a kiss to Jon to be reborn. It could still happen in the books though…

  • Just saw on IMDB that Fairley is doing a 2 episode role in a mini-series about the birth of modern Ireland.
    Prepare yourself for the next rumours when she is spotted in Ireland or hooking up with the cast which would not mean anything because of this new part.

  • Yeah we’re not getting ls I agree. But, can we please get some riverlands and riverrun. For 2 seasons no freys no tbwb or edmure Tully. Blackfish? Maybe i’m the only one but I actually like Edmure and thinks he gets a bum rap. He’s the people’s Lord . I like the riverlands story all together. Hopefully Jamie heads there season 6

  • why does she get resserected I could care less when will john snow get resserected seriously… That’s all I want to know

  • Forget about LSH, Let’s bring Rob Stark back … Have you seen Richard Madden on Lady Chatterley’s Lover????? … I would forget about Jon Snow too if it was possible…

  • I think Michelle is not in the show daor.
    I think Souad Faress will be our Lady Stoneheart.
    And Happy Brazilian IndepenDay.

  • i dont buy it. the prosthetic “catelyn head” made by HBO (who someone made a twitter page for) means that at some point they decided to cut catelyn’s head off and then decided against it based on sansa’s statement that they cut catelyns “throat to the bone” not that they cut her head off. plus they never actually USED the head. its like they decided LSH was not gonna happen but then decided “actually lets not close that door just yet”. She’s also an important part of Brienne’s storyline since her vows are sworn to lady catelyn. i see this storyline coming together with Jaime’s like it did in the books. the reintroduction into the riverlands and septon meribalds casting tells me the writers didn’t ax brienne’s BwB storyline they simply pushed it back to season 6, same for jaime who took that weird detour to Dorne. jaime NEEDED to take that detour so that his and brienne’s story can match up like it did in the books. i think myrcella’s death will lead to jaime and cersei’s break up which will lead to Jaime going to riverrun and eventually encountering Brienne who is now doing LSH’s bidding by capturing Jaime. but what do i know.

  • Maybe she is first under contract just before they film the scene. LS isn’t POV in the book. Maybe Pod and Brienne get captured by LS and is put in a cage with a Frey, and the witness the execution. Only need one episode for that or they can built it up so it’s two episodes.

  • Personally, I think Sansa will be the new Lady Stoneheart. Since we kind of know that Theon is going to be in the Iron Islands, it seems unlikely that Sansa will be with him. So Sansa has to go somewhere, and personally I think she’s going to take Lady Stoneheart’s place in the show. The way I see it going down is Sansa and Theon get saved?? by Brienne and Pod. This foursome will then run into the Brotherhood without Banners. Sansa will lead them in Stoneheart’s place and let Theon return home as a reward for helping her escape and not actually killing her brothers.

    On a side note, I think it would be immensely disappointing for D&D not to have Lady Stoneheart in some form on the show and not to bring back Fairley as well. But this point has been bemoaned by many a disgruntled fanboy, I’m just one of legion.

  • I get the POV of no LSH, but I just feel her character is going to be great in the last couple books. Therefore, I am dying to see her in season 6!