It’s quite obvious to fans of George R R Martin’s novel series A Song of Ice & Fire that the character of Lady Stoneheart – aka the resurrected corpse of Catelyn Stark – will not be making an appearance in the Game of Thrones television series. With just 13 episodes left in total of the entire series, there’s not enough time to tell her story, so the final scenes of Michelle Fairley’s Catelyn will forever be the slaughter at the Red Wedding.

Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark

Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark

That doesn’t mean that Martin didn’t want the character to make her way onto the small screen. In fact, it’s something he argued with showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss about whilst they were making past seasons.

Speaking to TIME, the author explained: “At some points, when [the showrunners] and I had discussions about which way we should go in, I would always favour sticking with the books, while they would favour making changes.

“I think one of the biggest ones would probably be when they made the decision not to bring Catelyn Stark back as Lady Stoneheart. That was probably the first major diversion of the show from the books and you know, I argued against that, and David and Dan made that decision.”

Fans had for some time following Catelyn’s death been expecting Lady Stoneheart’s emergence, with actress Lena Headey, who plays Cersei Lannister in the series, even teasing the inclusion with a picture of a heart made out of small stones on her Instagram account. Despite that, it’s now confirmed she won’t appear.

Martin continued: “In my version of the story, Catelyn Stark is re-imbued with a kind of life and becomes this vengeful wight who galvanises a group of people around her and is trying to exact her revenge on the Riverlands.

“David and Dan made a decision not to go in that direction in their story, pursuing other threads. But both of them are equally valid, I think, because Catelyn Stark is a fictional character and she doesn’t exist. You can tell either story about her.”

Game of Thrones season 7 premieres tonight on HBO in the US, and is simulcast at 2am on July 17 in the UK, on Sky Atlantic.

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