Big Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire SPOILERS in this post.
One of the biggest shockers in the season 4 finale of Game of Thrones, at least for fans of the novels, was that the character Lady Stoneheart did not appear, as she was expected to. Stoneheart makes her first appearance in the prologue of A Storm of Swords, the primary basis for the show’s fourth season, but was nowhere to be found in the show.
For those who don’t know, and here’s where the spoilers come in, Lady Stoneheart is Catelyn Stark resurrected. She still looks like a wet corpse, and all of the wounds she sustained at the Red Wedding remain, but she’s alive enough to lead the Brotherhood without Banners in her quest for revenge on anyone she perceives as responsible for the downfall of her family.
Rumor has it that the Game of Thrones showrunners told Michelle Fairley that the transformation into Lady Stoneheart was likely not going to happen. Entertainment Weekly caught up with Fairley and asked if this was true.
“Yeah, the character’s dead. She’s dead,” Fairley said.
Fairley was asked a follow-up question about whether she had an opinion on the showrunners’ decision, or if she felt Catelyn’s story arc ended properly.
“You respect the writers’ decision,” she said. “I knew the arc, and that was it. They can’t stick to the books 100 percent. It’s impossible—they only have 10 hours per season. They have got to keep it dramatic and exciting, and extraneous stuff along the way gets lost in order to maintain the quality of brilliant show.”
This seems to confirm that Lady Stoneheart is a definite no show in Game of Thrones, and that whatever George R.R. Martin has planned for Catelyn in her new persona in the novels is considered too “extraneous” for the streamlined television series.
As a reader, it’s hard to argue one way or the other since we don’t know where Stoneheart’s story is going yet, but the amount of disappointment voiced by fans following her non-arrival in the show speaks to just how shocking and exciting her reappearance in the books was. While she’s mostly been in the background since then, she does play a major role story arcs of at least one or two other primary character. You have to wonder how the showrunners plan to adapt those threads in order to compensate for her absence.