Happy Monday! The adorable regal cat on Game of Thrones is dead.
With so many characters and plotlines still up in the air heading into Thrones’ final season in April, the fate of Ser Pounce—the feline with a great name who belonged to the late king Tommen Baratheon—probably wasn’t at the top of anyone’s list of pressing questions. If Thrones can’t even bother to provide substantive updates on one of the last remaining direwolves, what chance did we have for a domestic cat? But man, what a cat he was. Ser Pounce made a memorable cameo in Thrones’ fourth season, jumping on his owner’s bed when Tommen was visited by his queen-to-be, Margaery, who seemed to be hastening the Boy King’s puberty with each passing second in a way that’d make even the Hormone Monsters of Big Mouth blush.
But that was that for Ser Pounce, who, I’d like to imagine, spent most of his days chilling with some catnip and picking off mice in the Red Keep with his ferocious little paws. There was certainly no need for a Ser Pounce update from showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who haven’t been offering many details about the final season, let alone new footage. Still, for some reason, these dudes thought it was essential to inform fans that Ser Pounce had been murdered in the most callous Thrones act since the Red Wedding.
“Cersei hated the name ‘Ser Pounce’ so much she could not allow him to survive,” Benioff told Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
It’s quite possible Benioff—husband of his wife, Amanda Peet—was just joking around since, you know, he is one of the men behind the series that constantly, brutally murders beloved protagonists. But even in jest, it seems like Benioff and Weiss are betraying the spirit of their own show.
Are there awful humans in Westeros? By the Old Gods and the New, yes, so many! Cersei Lannister is, by all accounts, not great; she seemed to be at her happiest immediately after committing an act of mass terrorism. But she doesn’t seem like the kind of person who’d giddily murder her dead son’s cat for the sake of it. And to hate the name Ser Pounce; c’mon Cersei, that’s just a good name. An important rule about pet names: They should either be really silly (like Ser Pounce) or just a totally normal human name because it’s funny (imagine naming a cat Allen; I giggle ebulliently at the notion).
Would it really be that hard to give a minor character with 10 seconds of screen time on this show a happy ending? Couldn’t Ser Pounce live long enough to find a place in King’s Landing’s first cat café? Does Flea Bottom need a bodega cat? Really, anything other than cat murder would’ve sufficed. This is all one bad joke, but given no other discernible outcomes, does this also become show canon?
Either way, we have only Benioff and Weiss to blame. Ser Pounce’s death has yet to be written into George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, and, assuming he gets around to finishing the books—big if!—I doubt he’s sadistic enough to let Ser Pounce, Boots, and Lady Whiskers suffer a similar fate. (Yes, Tommen had three cats in the books; yes, he really was too pure for Westeros.)
Whether a cat, a dog—hell, a Burmese python, for all I care—hold your pet close tonight and thank the Gods that Cersei can’t send Zombie Mountain to wipe them out of our lives and scatter their corpses where the Sept of Baelor used to be. Two months before Game of Thrones even airs, the show is living up to the dark conclusion we expect in its final season. Now I’m definitely rooting for the Night King.
If you are also heartbroken by the Ser Pounce news, I have created a vow for all of us to recite: A sworn oath for the Cult of Pounce. Repeat after me:
Night gathers, and now my Ser Pounce mourning begins. It shall not end until Ser Pounce’s death is avenged. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die shitposting about Ser Pounce. I am the keyboard warrior in the darkness. I am the blogger on the internet. I am a devout cat lover that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the memory of Ser Pounce, for this night, and all the nights to come.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.