Hardcore, book-reading Game of Thrones fans expected a certain someone to make their first appearance in last night's finale, but that certain someone didn't. Now episode director Alex Graves has explained why. Warning: Spoilers both for last night's finale and future events!
For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about and yet don't care enough about spoilers to keep reading this article, the person that A Song of Ice and Fire fans were expecting to show up was Lady Stoneheart... better known as the reanimated corpse of Catelyn Stark. As the books reveal, the Freys threw her corpse into the river after the Red Wedding, where it was discovered by the Brotherhood without Banners; Beric Dondarrion immediately give up his life so that Thoros of Myr could use his R'hllor-based resurrected powers to bring back Lady Stark. And brother, she is pissed.
The reason folks expected her to make her appearance is because 1) the show seemed to be clearly leading up to it, what with the Brotherhood's consistent appearances last season; 2) Lena Headey's recent tease on Instagram; 3) it's the epilogue in A Storm of Swords, which has otherwise been wrapped up in Game of Thrones season 4; and 4) it's basically the last big mind-fuck A Song of Ice and Fire has left, at least until the next book finally arrives.
Anyways, director Alex Graves talked to Entertainment Weekly, explaining that Stoneheart's cameo had never been discussed as being part of season 4:
Graves continued: "They [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] have such a challenge adapting the books into a really focused television experience. It's very hard, it's very complicated, it's much harder then they've been given credit for, I think — and they do a brilliant job. But to bring back Michelle Fairley, one of the greatest actresses around, to be a zombie for a little while — and just kill people? It is really sort of, what are we doing with that? How does it play into the whole story in a way that we're really going to like? It just didn't end up being a part of what was going to happen this season. And finally one [more] reason: In case you didn't notice, a lot happens this season … To add that in is something they opted out of. But what's funny is that it was never going to be in the season, yet it took off on the Internet like it was going to happen."
We then asked Graves if there's any chance of the Lady appearing next season. "As somebody who's worked deep inside the show, begged to have an answer and wants more than anybody, I have no idea," he said. "They won't tell me. They're very good at being secretive."
Okay. I can get why D&D felt that too much had happened in season 4 in general and the finale in particular to throw Lady Stoneheart in at the end. And given how much fantastical stuff happened in last night's episode, what with Bran and his posse accidentally wandering onto the Clash of the Titans set, maybe Lady Stoneheart would have just been too much fantasy.
In fact, it makes sense on a lot of levels to wait. At this point in the books, she's only appeared in two chapters, and then only briefly. I can very much see D&D waiting to bring her in until she has a bit more to do (especially if they have any thoughts of bringing Michelle Fairley back for the role). Also, it's a tease that would drive TV viewers completely insane, without any possibility for the slightest bit of resolution for goodness knows how long — better to wait. Plus, Lady Stoneheart is such an unknown at this point in the books generating new stories for her is practically impossible compared to other characters whose trajectories are more obvious.
But I don't think anyone needs to worry that we won't be getting Lady Stoneheart at some point. The only reason the show wouldn't include her is if she wasn't necessary to the overall story and could easily be omitted; I have a hard time imagining GRRM doesn't have some kind of a major role for her at some point down the road. As Chekov famously said, "If you resurrect your protagonists' mother and turn her into a heartless monster bent on vengeance in act one, then in act three you must shoot her." Or something like that.
[Via The AV Club]