George R.R. Martin laid out five characters he misses from the books when he sees the show. While a few have had their plots given to others, one big one stands out. Huge spoilers ahead!

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Martin says that he misses a warrior in Daenerys’ entourage, Strong Belwas, and Jeyne Poole, whose marriage to Ramsay has been given to Sansa in the show. He also says that the other Tyrell siblings, Willas and Garlan, “have roles to play in the last two books, and they don’t exist in the show.”

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But, of course, the major omission for Martin is the same one fans noticed a long time ago: Lady Stoneheart, the resurrected Catelyn Stark who is hellbent on revenge. Martin thinks the role she plays is large and significant, and is meant to be a character who comes back from the dead completely changed. As opposed to, Martin explains, the return of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings:

I’ve talked about Gandalf [in The Lord of the Rings], and how the impact of his death was enormous. When I was a 12-year-old kid reading The Fellowship of the Ring and ‘Fly, you fools!’ and he goes into the chasm … it was ‘Holy shit! [J.R.R. Tolkien] killed the wizard! That’s the guy who knew everything. How are they going to destroy the ring without him?’ And now the ‘kids’ have to grow up because their ‘daddy’ is dead. If Gandalf could die, anybody could die. And then just a few chapters later Boromir goes down. Those two deaths created in me the ‘anyone could die’ thing. At that point I was expecting [Tolkien] to pick off the whole Fellowship one by one. And then we also think in The Two Towers that Frodo is dead, since Shelob stung him and wrapped him up. I really bought it because he set me up with those other deaths. But then, of course, he brings Gandalf back. He’s a little strange at first, but then he’s basically the same old Gandalf. I liked the impact we got from him being gone.

Lady Stoneheart is not Cateyln. I’ve tried to set it up beforehand with Beric Dondarrion and his repeated [resurrections]. There’s a brief appearance by Beric in Book One and he rides into the city and he’s this flamboyant Southern knight. That’s not that man we meet later on.

We also miss Lady Stoneheart, a character whose appearance made Catelyn Stark’s death only the beginning of her journey. And, if included in season five, would have made a very strong “Stark women” theme.

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So while the show may be improving on the books in the White Walkers, there’s another supernatural threat — to both the dead’s soul and the living’s body — that the show has just put on the shelf.

You can see more of why Martin misses these characters — and why he thinks they were cut — at Entertainment Weekly.


Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.