Game of Thrones’ eighth season hasn’t started yet, but showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss recently confirmed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that at least one fan-favorite character won’t make it out of the final season alive: Ser Pounce, Tommen Baratheon’s pet cat, who was introduced back in season 4.
Spoilers for previous Game of Thrones seasons ahead.
According to Benioff, “Cersei hated the name ‘Ser Pounce’ so much she could not allow him to survive. 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.”
Ser Pounce’s death may not come as much of a surprise, given that the cat only appeared in a single episode, back in season 4’s “Oathkeeper.” Still, the recent reappearance of long-missing characters like Beric Dondarion and Gendry in season 7 left some fans hoping Ser Pounce might have a return in store, too, despite the death of his owner, Tommen Baratheon. Tommen committed suicide back in season 5, after his wife Margaery was killed in the explosion that destroyed the Great Sept of Baelor. Actor Dean-Charles Chapman, who portrayed Tommen, commented back in 2016 that he hoped Ser Pounce “didn’t get caught up in the blast,” and that the cat would “move on with his life and get a girlfriend maybe,” in the wake of that tragedy. Alas, it seems such a return is not to be.
Plot points aside, it’s also possible that the two showrunners may have had other reasons for killing off the cat off-screen — simply, it seems that the cat that played Ser Pounce was kind of a diva.
“That cat was really not fun to work with,“ Benioff notes in the same interview. “Dogs generally do what you ask them to do if they’re smart and well trained,” Weiss says. “Cats have their own agenda.”
Chapman’s similarly said working with Ser Pounce was difficult, telling the Huffington Post that when filming the scene, “That cat that day would have none of it. He was just loving life. He just really wasn’t on his game that day.” Chapman went on to speculate, “I think that was the reason why they didn’t have him back because it’s just hard work. Cats can’t understand English, so you tell a cat, ‘Come on. Jump on the bed,’ and he just looks at you like, ‘What are you talking about?’”
And Natalie Dormer — who shared the scene with Ser Pounce and Chapman — also confirmed the issue in a 2014 Reddit AMA, commenting that “Ser Pounce was a bit of a diva that day, he didn’t want to stay on the bed, he was very difficult to work with.”
It seems that inability to play well with others led to Ser Pounce ultimately being killed off-screen. Or possibly the showrunners are just joking around about their ability to be cruel to both the Game of Thrones characters and their audience. At time of publication, The Verge’s managing editor, TC Sottek — whose 2016 Game of Game of Thrones team was named “Ser Pounce’s Feral Menagerie” — was quoted as saying: “I am very sad.”
Game of Thrones will return on April 14th with its eighth and final season. And if the past books and episodes are anything to go by, Ser Pounce certainly won’t be the last character to meet an untimely, messy fate before the end.