We’ve seen a lot of deaths on Game of Thrones over the past several seasons, most of which have been shown in graphic detail on the small screen. However, there’s one death that was actually filmed for the series but that never made it into the final cut of the pilot. That death was the death of the late Jon Arryn, who fulfilled the role of the Hand of the King for Robert Baratheon prior to the events of the series. This week, news broke that Sir John Standing was signed on to play a larger role, and he recently shared details about the death scene that he filmed but that never made it onto the show.
First and foremost, apparently Cersei was going to be involved. John Standing’s character, Jon Arryn, would have ultimately been poisoned during the Season 1 opener of Game of Thrones, whereupon the director explained to the actor how the scene would have unfolded:
I want you to get out of your bed, and I want you to crawl across the room, and I want you to put your hand up, and there’s a bottle of ink on the table and I want you to take it as though you’re going to write something. The bottle of ink will come crashing down, you’ll be covered in ink. And then the queen, she’ll come in, and she’ll stamp on your fingers, and you’ll die.
That’s clearly not the grossest death Game of Thrones has ever created for HBO drama, so I’m guessing the showrunners were not hoping to preserve our feelings early on by cutting the scene from the pilot. Instead, I’d assume the scene was cut for time, for streamlining the story, or for one of many possible other reasons. It also kept us from understanding quite how heartless Queen Cersei could be for at least a bit longer.
Humorously, John Standing told Los Siete Reinos that his only scene to make the series involved him lying as a corpse with rocks over his eyes.
I get fanmail for my part in Game of Thrones… the only performance I’ve got is a corpse, lying there, dead with stones on my eyes!
It, for sure, isn't the actor's best look:
If Standing is seeing fanmail, I can’t imagine the tonnage of letters the lead cast must get each season. Still, I think it’s interesting that a scene featuring Jon Arryn’s death was shot. Arryn has always been an important sidenote in the Game of Thrones universe. Ned Stark eventually believed that Arryn may have been disposed of, and that ultimately led to a chain of events that culminated in his own death. In Season 4, we also learned that it was Arryn’s wife who poisoned Jon, but Cersei’s presence in the room at the time of death would confirm that the Lannister clan was involved, as well.
This year, Game of Thrones is heading into Season 6. We don’t know a ton about the upcoming season—and we certainly don’t know who will make it through alive—but we do expect it to be exciting. You can check out everything we know or get a sneak peek at the new season, here.