Sorry, Thrones fans. Only one Stark-affiliated resurrection per series. No take-backsies.
Lady Stoneheart—the resurrected, vengeful corpse of Catelyn Stark roaming the Riverlands with the Brotherhood Without Banners, executing anyone she believes to be affiliated with the Red Wedding in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels—and her potential appearance on Game of Thrones was one of the show’s biggest theories for years.
People speculated time and time again that this would be the season she would finally show up, only for the creative team of the show to repeatedly note they didn’t have plans to adapt the character from the books. Hell, even George R.R. Martin spent a notable length of time repeatedly complaining one of his least-favorite changes was that her role (and the apparent plans he has for her whenever we actually get to read more ASOIAF) never made it to TV. But after years of silence about why Stoneheart was never on the cards, the team behind the show have finally revealed just why she was cut.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly’s James Hibberd for his new tell-all book about the making of Game of Thrones, Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, showrunners and People Who Absolutely Knew What They Were Doing D.B. Weiss and David Benioff revealed there were several factors that played into the decision. Firstly, something Martin has planned for the character in the novels didn’t align with something they wanted to do as they began to outpace the source material. Another was they felt Stoneheart’s arrival, as shocking as it was, would diminish Catelyn’s tragic final moments at the Red Wedding. But the main reason the showrunners decided to excise the Stoneheart subplot entirely: it was simply one Zombie Stark too many, considering their plans to bring Jon Snow back from his very short time in the grave.
“We knew we had Jon Snow’s resurrection coming up,” Benioff says. “Too many resurrections start to diminish the impact of characters dying. We wanted to keep our powder dry for that.”
Game of Thrones and diminishing returns? Well, good job we avoided all that then. No doubt we’ll learn more about potential could-have-beens when Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon hits shelves on October 6.
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