Like a venomous Lannister queen bent on revenge, Game of Thrones always chooses violence. The HBO epic has brought to life many of the most notoriously bloody scenes from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books, from the Red Wedding massacre to the murder of Jon Snow. Now, as the series moves past Martin’s source material, we look back on a handful of gruesome moments the show chose to leave on the page—at least for now.
Lady Stoneheart vs. Brienne
In the days after the Red Wedding, the late Catelyn Stark is resurrected by Thoros of Myr, the Red Priest who revives Beric Dondarrion of the Brotherhood Without Banners six times. The priest transfers the Red God’s power into Lady Stark’s corpse and she comes back as the vengeful Lady Stoneheart, a zombie-like being hell-bent on destroying all Freys, Boltons, and Lannisters. Young or old, guilty or not, anyone associated with the men who killed her family is fair game.
Since her corpse spent days submerged in a river, Stoneheart’s appearance is fantastically ghastly: her skin is the color of curdled milk, what’s left of her hair has turned white, and the wounds inflicted on her by Raymund Frey—including the gash in her throat—all remain unhealed.
Brienne and Pod eventually cross Stoneheart’s warpath at Riverrun, circumstances that end with the lady knight and her squire about to be hanged for refusing to kill Jaime Lannister. There’s hope that season six might finally include Lady Stoneheart’s story, especially now as Jaime, Brienne, Pod, and the Brotherhood Without Banners converge on Riverrun, where the Freys are currently up to no good.
Hungry for Frey Pie
Of course, the revived Catelyn Stark isn’t the only one who seeks revenge after the Red Wedding. Wyman Manderly, whose son Wendel was also murdered at the Twins, is widely believed to have killed three of Walder Frey’s sons—Rhaegar, Jared, and Symon—and baked them into three meat pies served at Ramsay Snow’s wedding. While Wyman says the pies are stuffed with “pork,” the lord’s song request at the feast tells us otherwise.
He asks for a song about the Rat Cook, a legendary cook who had a grievance with his king, killed the king’s son, and served him his flesh in a pie. While that cook was punished by the gods for breaking the laws of Guest Right, Wyman’s cannibalistic revenge is cleverly designed to never break the same rules. This makes Wyman a pretty happy man, as observed by a fellow guest at the wedding. From A Dance With Dragons:
“No taste for pork pie, my lord? The best pork pie we ever tasted, our fat friend would have us believe.” She gestured toward Lord Manderly with her wine cup. “Have you ever seen a fat man so happy? He is almost dancing. Serving with his own hands.”
What would make a man whose son was killed by the people he’s feasting with so happy? Cannibalism. Always cannibalism.
Jeyne Poole’s Wedding Night
In the show, the sadistic Ramsay Bolton marries Sansa Stark to secure his hold on the North, circumstances that led to the series’ most controversial depiction of sexual violence yet. In the books however, it’s Sansa’s childhood friend Jeyne Poole (in disguise as Arya Stark) who has the misfortune of marrying Ramsay. On their wedding night, Ramsay forces Theon (still identifying as Reek) to cut off her clothes and orally assault her before Ramsay rapes her. There are scars on her back from being whipped and later bruises from Ramsay’s abuse.
Worst of all, it’s also heavily implied that Ramsay forces her to perform sexual acts on one of his dogs. When Theon finally tries to rescue Jeyne, the poor girl is convinced it’s another trick. She responds:
“Tell him, you tell him, I'll do what he wants ... or whatever he wants ... with him ... or ... or with the dog or ... please ... he doesn't need to cut my feet off, I won't try to run away, not ever, I'll give him sons, I swear it, I swear it …”
Just another sunny snippet from George R.R. Martin’s imagination.
Brienne’s Face Gets Eaten By a Cannibal
Rorge and Biter, two murderous criminals we met back in season one when they were locked in a cage with Jaqen H’ghar, cross paths with Brienne and Jaime in A Storm of Swords and attempt to rape the lady warrior. Later, in A Feast for Crows, Brienne runs into the pair again, this time killing Rorge in a duel and royally pissing off the feral Biter. He attacks Brienne, knocks her down and starts eating her face—literally.
“Biter’s mouth tore free, full of blood and flesh. He spat, grinned, and sank his pointed teeth into her flesh again. This time he chewed and swallowed. He is eating me, she realized, but she had no strength left to fight him any longer.”
Brienne survives the encounter thanks to Gendry, who shoves a spear into the back of Biter’s neck, but is left with heavy scarring across her face. For the love of Gwendoline Christie, we’re glad this one never came to pass onscreen.
Quentyn Martell’s Fiery Death
In the books, Quentyn Martell, Prince Doran’s second son, embarks on a mission to Meereen to forge an alliance with Daenerys. She turns him down but introduces him to her dragons. After Dany flies out of the fighting pits on Drogon’s back, Quentyn hatches a plan to tame one of them, a feat he thinks he can achieve because of his Targaryen blood. He sneaks into the pit where Viserion and Rhaegal are kept and, well, you can imagine how smoothly that goes.
In trying to tame Viserion, Quentyn loses sight of Rhaegal, who sneaks up behind the prince and flambées him in dragon fire. The dragons escape and it takes Quentyn four days to die a slow, painful death from his burns. (As Ser Barristan Selmy accurately remarks, it would have been better had Rhaegal simply eaten him alive.) Quentyn was cut from the show entirely, but some believe it speaks volumes that Tyrion safely achieved what the Doran prince couldn’t. After all, secret Targaryen blood runs strong through the game of thrones.