Although he’s always had a pretty strong working relationship with Game Of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss—dating back to a famous five-hour lunch-turned dinner where the trio outlined the initial plans for the HBO series—A Song Of Ice And Fire author George R.R. Martin hasn’t always agreed with every decision the TV producers have made. Indeed, as the ultimate Game Of Thrones book nerd, Martin’s biggest disagreement with the showrunners stems from the absence of a major book character who never managed to make their way onto the show. (And no, we’re not talking about Strong Belwas.) Lady Stoneheart has once again reared her pale, murderous head in discussions of the HBO series, with Martin expressing disappointment during a recent interview that she never made the cut.
For those sweet summer children who’ve managed to remain unspoiled on Martin’s books “Lady Stoneheart” is the name adopted by resurrected Mama Wolf Catelyn Stark, after she’s brought back from the dead in the aftermath of the bloody Red Wedding. Consumed by vengeance, zombie-Catelyn kills anybody involved in the Wedding without pity or remorse—but only in the books. Possibly on the theory that it would be a little tricky to lure Michelle Fairley back to the show, only to trap her in the make-up chair for hours at a time for brief cameos, Weiss and Benioff skipped the character. In doing so, though, they robbed Martin of a chance to stick it to J.R.R. Tolkien on national TV.
You see, Stoneheart is apparently Martin’s attempt to correct the old master’s over-powered resurrection of Gandalf The Grey into Gandalf The White. “As I got older and considered it more, it also seemed to me that death doesn’t make you more powerful,” Martin told Time, while stressing that he’s still a huge fan of Tolkien’s work. “That’s, in some ways, me talking to Tolkien in the dialogue, saying, ‘Yeah, if someone comes back from being dead, especially if they suffer a violent, traumatic death, they’re not going to come back as nice as ever.’”
Still, Martin seems pretty reconciled to the fact that the books and the show are now well and truly their own separate things. (Also, he once again promised not to die before finishing the series, an oath we can only hope he’ll be able to keep.)