Caution: Spoilers for the Game of Thrones finale, AND a book spoiler from George R.R. Martin’s saga:
For readers of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire novels, the most shocking thing about Game of Thrones‘ fourth season finale was what didn’t happen on the show: No Lady Stoneheart, the vengeful, zombified resurrection of Catelyn Stark who first appears in the epilogue of Martin’s third Song of Ice and Fire novel A Storm of Swords. Entertainment Weekly Radio talked to the epic finale’s director, Alex Graves — helmer of several pivotal Thrones episodes — who added a glimmer of clarity about the decision not to include Stoneheart.
After being asked if the show even shot a Lady Stoneheart scene — since so many book-reading fans assumed she would appear at the episode’s end — Graves replied, “It’s a great question, because it’s all I asked about last year when I was doing [the episode with Brotherhood Without Banners leader] Beric Dondarrion — who ultimately is the person who finds Catelyn and turns her into Lady Stoneheart. But no, they didn’t do it. It was never on the docket to do this season — ever.”
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.”
Graves also suggested that The Hound will not be coming back after Arya left him to die on that hillside. “As far as The Hound, as I told the story … he’s gone. How is he going to survive that? The real point of it was that she walks away, it wasn’t that it’s left open ended.”
Here’s the audio of Graves on EW Morning Live on Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM channel 105: