HBO aired the Game of Thrones Season 4 finale Sunday evening and it was full of the kind of twists and Westeros-shaking events that have become expected of the show. However, the most shocking event for fans of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels is which characters did not show up at all.
Warning: This article contains major spoilers. If you have not watched the Season 4 finale of Game of Thrones, we suggest you save reading the rest of this article for later.
Season 4 of Game of Thrones has diverted from the books more than any other, not always for the better. The sword fight between Brienne and the Hound that devolved into a brutal bout of no holds barred hand-to-hand combat, for example, never occurred in the books. Likewise, Jojen Reed meeting an unfortunate end at the hand of wights on an icy field never happened either.
Despite the changes, the critical plot points in Game of Thrones from approximately the same period in the books remain. The battle between the Viper and the Mountain was epic two episodes ago. Stannis Baratheon’s army overruns the Wildlings just as things are looking dire at the Wall for Jon Snow. Tyrion kills Tywin Lannister on the toilet after a life-long chain of injustices against him reaches its breaking point. Brandon Stark finally reaches the three-eyed crow and is told that he will never walk again, but he will fly. Daenerys Targeryan is forced to lock up two of her dragons in a heartbreaking moment with the third still on the loose. Arya Stark leaves the Hound for dead and decides once and for all that there is nothing left for her in Westeros and sails to Bravos.
Is that enough for fans of the books who have already seen favorite characters like Strong Belwas and not so favorite characters like Vargo Hoat written out of HBO’s Game of Thrones? Well, it just got worse and makes a tease from Leana Headey (aka Cersei Lannister) seem even more cold-hearted.
Yes, that is a heart of stones posted two months ago by Headey on Instagram. Fans took it as a reference to Lady Stoneheart, the resurrected Catelyn Stark who goes on a vengeful rampage in the books against all those loosely associated with her own death and Robb’s at the Red Wedding. Unfortunately, Lady Stoneheart makes no appearance at all in the Game of Thrones season finale.
Also missing is Coldhands, the intelligent and friendly wight beyond the Wall. In the books, he helps Samwell Tarley and Gilly safely escape from Crastor’s Keep to the Black Castle before helping Bran, Hodor and the rest of the group reach the three-eyed crow.
It appears safe to say that Coldhands has been completely written out of Game of Thrones now, but Lady Stoneheart is not completely out of the picture, yet. Brienne and Podrick Payne’s scrambling search for Arya could easily lead to the same tragic encounter as in the books, but fans expressed disappointment on Twitter.
— CE Henry (@cehenry) June 16, 2014
The Game of Thrones producers promised an epic finale…but the lack of Lady Stoneheart made this a false promise… #GameOfThronesfinale
— Addie C (@dontcallmedora7) June 16, 2014
Game of Thrones fans will now have to wait almost a full year for Season 5 to find out if they will ever get their Lady Stoneheart appearance. One thing is for certain, Westeros changed Sunday night in more ways than one. What did you think of the finale?