Just for fun, George R.R. Martin has taken to EW to talk about his favorite characters from his books that have been cut from Game of Thrones. Martin himself admits that the show could never have included the entirety of his massive cast list, which meant that important figures like "Nimble" Dick Crabb, Aenys Frey, and Dickon Manwoody failed to make the cut. Still, he says, among the missing there are five whose absences hurt most of all. (Spoilers within!)
In A Clash of Kings, Barristan Selmy enters Daenerys's service by disguising himself as the squire of Strong Belwas, a gigantic eunuch who used to duel in Meereen's fighting pits. Belwas is your classic "silly fat guy" — he loves to eat, he never wears a shirt, and, after one battle, he turns around and poops on the corpse of the man he just killed. In the books, he has a small role to play in the big fighting pit scene that's coming next week, but his main contribution is being a bit of fun in a part of the series that could definitely use it. "I understand why he was cut," says Martin, "but I kind of miss him."
As you probably know by now, Sansa Stark was never married to Ramsay Bolton in the books. The unfortunate girl who was is Sansa's old friend Jeyne Poole, who was captured by the Lannisters at the end of the first book, taken in by Littlefinger, and forced to pose as Arya Stark in her wedding to Ramsay. Jeyne's fate is even more gruesome than Sansa's, so far: On their wedding night, Ramsay forces Theon to perform cunnilingus on her, and there are implications he makes Jeyne have sex with dogs. Martin apparently relished bringing back such a minor character in a major way, though he doesn't comment on the wisdom of changing Sansa's plot around.
Garlan and Willas Tyrell
In the books, Loras Tyrell is not the heir to Highgarden; he's only the third son, which makes his sexuality slightly easier for his family to swallow. His brother Garlan has only been seen briefly, while his oldest brother, Willas, hasn't appeared at all, but by all accounts, they're both solid dudes. Garlan is kind to both Sansa and Tyrion in their moments of need, and Willas is apparently one of the smartest men in Westeros. In spite of their lack of screen time, Martin insists they've got important roles to play in The Winds of Winter: "I didn't just throw them in for hoots and giggles."
Remember all those fans who were mad Catelyn Stark never came back from the dead on the show? Count Martin among their number. "Lady Stoneheart does have a role in the books," he tells EW. "Whether it’s sufficient or interesting enough … I think it is, or I wouldn’t have put her in. One of the things I wanted to show with her is that the death she suffered changes you." Though one GOT director has indicated the show's staff didn't quite know what to make of her, some fans are still holding out hope for her inclusion, even predicting that the title of the season-five finale is proof Stoneheart will make an appearance. If so, at least one bearded, bespectacled audience member will be cheering.