Game of Thrones showrunners explain why they cut Lady Stoneheart


For years, Game of Thrones fans have wondered why the show cut Lady Stoneheart. Now, we finally have an answer from the people who made the call:

Game of Thrones got to know Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) over the first three seasons of the show. The proud matriarch of the Stark family, Catelyn’s journey came to a violent end at the Red Wedding, where she died along with her son, her daughter-in-law, and many of the Stark men.

But in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books, Catelyn is resurrected by Beric Dondarrion as the vengeful Lady Stoneheart, who becomes the leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners and goes around hanging Freys. This continuation of the character was cut from the show, and book fans have long wondered why.

And now we know, kind of. Of late, Entertainment Weekly’s James Hibberd has been publishing excerpts from his upcoming Game of Thrones oral history book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon. In a new one, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss explained why they decided to cut the character.

“There was never really much debate about it,” Benioff said. “There is that one great scene,” referring to the epilogue of A Storm of Swords where Lady Stoneheart reveals herself by hanging Merrett Frey.

“That was the only debate,” 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.”

Stoneheart hasn’t made too many appearances in the books since then, although there is a key moment towards the end of A Feast for Crows where she meets up with Brienne of Tarth.

So why not include her? Benioff and Weiss give a few reasons, although they can’t say much about the first because it has to do with classified information straight from Martin himself. “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” Benioff said.

Second, there’s the whole Jon-coming-back-from-the-dead thing. “We knew we had Jon Snow’s resurrection coming up,” Benioff said. “Too many resurrections start to diminish the impact of characters’ dying. We wanted to keep our powder dry for that.”

Third, Benioff and Weiss didn’t want to risk blunting the power of the Red Wedding. “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.

Still, while Stoneheart may have been cut from the books, Martin still has plans for her. “One of the things I wanted to show with her is that the death she suffered changes you,” the author told Esquire China. “In the sixth book, I still continue to write her. She is an important character in the set of books. [Keeping her character] is the change I most wish I could make in the [show].”

Next. Crosstalk: Should Game of Thrones have included Lady Stoneheart?. dark

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