A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series on which Game of Thrones is based, is massive, with a cast of hundreds of characters. Some of them needed to be cut or combined for the show, but there are a few that book-readers are waiting to see. Perhaps the most famous is Lady Stoneheart. Show and Book spoilers follow, but let’s face it you probably already heard this one.
Lady Stoneheart is the reanimated zombie of Catelyn Stark.
Remember, Beric Dondarrion and the Hound dueling in the cave straight out of Lord of the Rings? Beric died in the battle with the Hound but was resurrected by Thoros of Myr using the power of the Lord of Light. Following her death at the Red Wedding, Catelyn’s body was thrown into the river. Beric and the Brotherhood without Banners happened upon her corpse and Beric resurrected her himself, rather than waiting for Thoros to. Beric died, but Catelyn rose from the dead. However, Cat had been dead so long that her already prickly personality was darkened. Now she is a cold blooded killer, picking off Freys as the new head of the Brotherhood.
On the show, we haven’t seen anything of Catelyn following the Red Wedding, not even her corpse. So they could still reintroduce her. But will they? Here are arguments for and against her inclusion in the television series.
Arguments Against Lady Stoneheart’s Appearance
1. D.B. Weiss and David Benioff the creators and main writers of Game of Thrones said that Lady Stoneheart would not be a character on the show. This was almost immediately following the infamous Red Wedding episode. And Michelle Fairley (who played Catelyn), confirmed that she would not be returning.
2. If Lady Stoneheart was going to return she really should have by now. Understandably, having her return in the Season 3 finale would have seemed rushed. The entire episode “Mysha,” seems more about having a breather following the slaughter in “The Rains of Castamere,” than moving the plot forward substantially. But what about the Season 4 finale, “The Children,”? That would have been the perfect place for her to arrive, and basically where she showed up in the novels. The episode even had an abnormally long fade to black before finally starting the credits, as if they were intentionally playing with book-readers. So they had a place to put her, and she could easily have showed up in Season 5 even if they wanted to end “Mother’s Mercy,” on that horribly tragic shot of Jon bleeding out into the snow.
3. Cutting this character from the show means that she isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things, or book readers have attached more importance to her than there is. Many readers believed Coldhands, a wight like character, to be Benjen Stark, even George R.R. Martin’s editor. Martin told his editor Coldhands isn’t Benjen, and his being cut from the show pretty much confirmed that. So if Lady Stoneheart doesn’t appear at all it means either she isn’t that important, or whatever she does that is important can be given to another character, perhaps Sansa.
4. Another argument for not including her is this. The Red Wedding is the most shocking event on Game of Thrones. There have been several shocking deaths since that fans probably didn’t see coming, but the Red Wedding was the most insane of them all. The Stark army was destroyed and Robb and Catelyn, two of the main characters, one of them a POV character, were both brutally murdered.
5. Raising Catelyn from the dead undoes the horror of the Red Wedding to some extent. It isn’t the same as her not actually dying, which is a trope on many other shows. She did die and the woman who returns is not the same person who’s throat was slashed at the Frey wedding. However, she is walking around again and she remembers what was done to her and her family. After two seasons without her, a return to the sort of living wouldn’t exactly be something most non-book readers would want.
6. Lady Stoneheart needlessly complicates the events of Game of Thrones and if need be Sansa could take her place for any important plot points that arise. And should any of the characters caught in Stoneheart’s clutches at the moment in the books die they could die in other ways on the show. This is Westeros after all.
Arguments For Lady Stoneheart
1. The final twist of A Storm of Swords was insane. The entire last third was insane. It was so crazy that they made almost the entire Season 4 out of it which is the show’s best Season so far. Shocking death after shocking death ended with the reveal of the Catelyn Stark zombie as she got her revenge on anyone involved in the massacre at the Twins she could find.
2. There isn’t much justice in Westeros. Bad things happen to good people. The good people often end up dead. Lady Stoneheart is intimately familiar with this. Her campaign against the Freys and those she feels betrayed her is an incredibly interesting plotline. What can the zombie of Catelyn Stark do with an army and no remorse? That’s a question we need an answer to.
3. It’s a fantastically twisted plotline. It perfectly fits with the tone Martin has created. There are so many possibilities for the character, and her appearance on the show could mean we don’t have to spend as much time in Dorne, (thank God). But also consider this: each of the living, or sort of living, Starks is moving toward the supernatural.
4. Bran is a warg. Although it is implied each of the Stark children is in the novels, only Bran is shown to have wolf dreams on the show. Bran is learning to use his abilities from the Three Eyed Raven. He lives among the Children of the Forest, the mythical figures that built the Wall. Using the weirwood trees he can see visions of other times and places. And there is a good chance that at some point he will warg into one of Dany’s dragons.
5. Arya is a becoming a Faceless Assassin. In fact, she already killed someone using another face in the Season 5 finale. At some point, assuming she is not cast out of the House of Black and White, she will be able to change her face the way others change their clothes.
6. Jon is most likely going to be resurrected by Melisandre. Whether he wargs into his direwolf, Ghost, on the show or just in the books remains to be seen, but either way he is something of a supernatural figure. He survived death by otherworldly means.
7. Rickon and Sansa haven’t yet moved toward the supernatural, but they easily could in the final seasons. Or they could be brutally murdered, this is George R.R. Martin we’re talking about. Lady Stoneheart is a zombie. She fits right in with her children. Dan and Dave have backed off on the magic and prophecies of the book series a bit, but this path of the Starks toward magic and the supernatural is probably deliberate. It is even possible that the Starks survival is dependent on this merging with magic. What part Lady Stoneheart has to play in the lives of her living family is unclear, but most likely it will change them deeply. For that reason alone, she should be included in the show.
8. If she effects main characters in the series, (by killing them, etc.), she really needs to be included. Especially if she kills the Boltons or the Freys who were directly involved in the Red Wedding, it wouldn’t have the same impact on the show if it wasn’t done by someone who was there. Imagine Stoneheart revealing her sewn up throat just before she plunges a knife into Roose Bolton’s chest. “The Starks send their regards.” That would be perverse justice at it’s very best.
Will Lady Stoneheart Appear?
There really is no way to know unless we steal the Season 6 scripts, but the most likely answer is, “no.” Lena Heady tweeted a picture of a heart made of stones but Lady Stoneheart never appeared. There was a perfect opportunity for her to appear, (soon enough that fans won’t have forgotten her, long enough from the Red Wedding that they wouldn’t expect it), and she was a no show.
But the show has three more seasons to go and only snippets of book left to adapt, (unless George R.R. Martin has gotten the creators an advanced copy of The Winds of Winter), so it would make sense that now they have to use the material for a plot in Season 6. Then again, some of the best parts of Season 5 were completely off books so maybe they won’t use her at all and we will get something completely different than the novels but a story on the way to the same ending. And also everyone is probably hoping for another resurrection next year, and it isn’t Stannis…