King Tommen’s beloved pet in “Game of Thrones” was played by a Maine coon cat named Womble, Jo Vaughan of animal training specialists Birds and Animals U.K. told HuffPost over email. Though the character of Ser Pounce is gone, the real cat is still around today.
“He is owned by us still and is retired with one of our trainers,” Vaughan said.
Let’s take it back to Feb. 11, 2019, a day that goes down in “Game of Thrones” infamy. It was then that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss announced ahead of Season 8 that King Tommen’s cat had died off-screen.
“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.”
The world took paws.
“Yeah, it took me. It got me. I cried,” Dean-Charles Chapman, who played Tommen, joked to HuffPost at last year’s New York Comic-Con. “There’s so many different versions of what could happen in it, and the way it went, that’s just the way it went. So Ser Pounce had to die. Just the way it was.”
But fear not; cats have nine lives for a reason. While many beloved famous animals from the past decade are gone, we now know the cat that played Ser Pounce is not.
Vaughan said that, along with Ser Pounce, Birds and Animals U.K. also trained the Inuit dogs that played dire wolves in the first season and Ramsay’s hounds.
“They are all pet animals and many are now enjoying their days of retirement!” Vaughan said.
Womble was also one of the cats that played Mrs. Norris in “Harry Potter,” Vaughan confirmed, adding to the slew of actors that crossed over between “Potter” and “Thrones.” The list also includes Michelle Fairley (Mrs. Granger, Catelyn Stark), David Bradley (Filch, Walder Frey), Natalia Tena (Tonks, Osha) and now Womble (Mrs.Norris, Ser Pounce).
Ser Pounce’s lone appearance on “Game of Thrones” came in Season 4. Chapman told us in 2016 he suspected that was because it was “quite hard” working with the feline.
“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?’” Chapman said then.
Even so, Pounce made an impression on viewers, becoming an overnight internet sensation after interrupting an intimate moment between Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) and Tommen. Though the original news about Pounce’s demise was cat-aclysmic for his fans, they should know that, as of mid-January, Womble is doing purrrfectly well.
Womble wasn’t available for an interview. If he had been, he might’ve said something like, “Meow,” or maybe, “Season 8 was a rush job! Where’s the character development? What a cat-astrophe!”
Maybe it’s for the best he doesn’t speak English. He was somewhat of a cantankerous kitty on set, after all.
Regardless, in the “Game of Thrones,” all men must die. We’re just glad that Womble is no man.