‘Game of Thrones’ Showrunners Had 3 Reasons for Not Including Lady Stoneheart in Series

Character is a fan favorite from George R.R. Martin novels, but never made it into HBO adaptation

Catelyn Stark (played by Michelle Fairley) was famously killed off at the Red Wedding in Season 3 of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” just as the character was in George R.R. Martin’s novels. And on the now-concluded show, that is where her story ended — but that’s not the case in the books.

In Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series — which still has two more upcoming books, “The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring,” before it concludes — Catelyn is resurrected as the vengeful Lady Stoneheart, a fan-favorite character.

So why did Lady Stoneheart never make it into “Game of Thrones”? According to interviews with showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss included in James Hibberd’s upcoming book, “Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon,” there is a threefold explanation.

“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, in an excerpt from Hibberd’s book published by Entertainment Weekly.

Another reason was Benioff and Weiss were planning for the death of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) while writing Season 3. “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.”

And the third point was keeping Catelyn’s death at the Red Wedding a pivotal, devastating scene in the series. “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.

But according to Weiss, he and Benioff did “debate” whether or not to include Lady Stoneheart because of how much they loved her “great” first appearance at the end of Martin’s “A Storm of Swords.” “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,” Weiss said, pointing out why he thinks fans’ wanted her in the show so much.