Game of Thrones showrunner David Benioff just confirmed a tragic off-screen death in the show: King Tommen's beloved cat, Ser Pounce.
Die-hard fans may recall Ser Pounce's starring appearance in Season 4, Episode 4 of Game of Thrones. It came shortly after Joffrey was killed, and Tommen was crowned king. During Margaery's night time visit with Tommen, the cat hops on the bed between them, showing Tommen's innocence and Margaery's new tactics for seducing a new boy-king.
Fans will also likely remember how Cersei's explosive plans left Margaery and the entire Tyrell house dead. Her grief-stricken son, Tommen, took his own life rather than deal with his mother's actions, leaving Cersei herself on the throne. Now, Benioff has revealed the ugly truth of how Cersei dealt with the cat in her castle.
"Cersei hated the name 'Ser Pounce' so much she could not allow him to survive," he told Entertainment Weekly on Monday. "So she came up with her most diabolical [execution]. Ser Pounce's death was so horrible we couldn't even put it on the air."
Benioff's co-showrunner, D.B. Weiss even used the joke to slip in an advertisement for the Game of Thrones box set coming later this year, promising it showed the grim footage in the DVD extras.
"If you buy the super-extended, super-charged Game of Thrones box set that comes out, the death of Ser Pounce will be in there," he said. "Just one whole episode devoted to the death of Ser Pounce."
In reality, the writers explained that the cat was simply too much trouble on set. In the George R.R. Martin's novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, King Tommen's cats are a major part of the story. They help characterize the young, innocent king, and they show the abuse he suffers at the hands of Joffrey, who often threatens to kill them. When she is courting him, Margaery even gives Tommen some kittens, who follow him everywhere in the red keep.
"That cat was really not fun to work with," Benioff said of the TV adaptation. "There's a reason the phrase 'like herding cats' came into existence."
"Dogs generally do what you ask them to do if they're smart and well trained," Weiss added. "Cats have their own agenda."
Even the dogs — or Direwolves — of Game of Thrones have gotten less and less screen time over the years, as they are too hard to train and require too much CGI editing to be worth it.
While Benioff and Weiss may have final say, actor Dean-Charles Chapman, who played Tommen, did have a happier theory about Ser Pounce. Back in 2016, he told Huffington Post that he hoped the best for his erstwhile cat.0comments
"I don't know [what happened to him]," he said at the time. "I suppose there's a lot of staff around the kingdom to look after him. Hopefully, he didn't get caught up in the blast. That'd be a tragedy. I like to think he'd also move on with his life and get a girlfriend maybe."