Author George R.R. Martin says if he had his way, Catelyn would have been resurrected as Lady Stoneheart on Game of Thrones. With only one season left of the show, it’s clear Game of Thrones won’t adapt certain key book moments. From locations to plots to characters, many readers of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series have been continually disappointed about what’s been left out of the HBO TV adaptation of the material. Arguably, the Lady Stoneheart and her absence from the hit show has prompted the loudest outcry from fans.
For context: in Martin’s source novels, Catelyn is actually brought back to life after being murdered at the Red Wedding, when her body is discovered by the Brotherhood Without Banners. However, revival from death comes at a cost, leaving Catelyn decayed and barely able to speak, and prompting her to adapt the name Lady Stoneheart and lead the broken Brotherhood on a quest of vengeance against those who orchestrated her family’s downfall. It’s a deeply fantastical storyline, but one with dark twists and a deepening of Catelyn’s character that could have been fascinating to see on screen. Martin, for his part, agrees with the sentiment.
Esquire China (via Forbes) has a cover story on Martin this month, and in it the author is asked which character from A Song of Ice and Fire he most wishes was on Game of Thrones. Unsurprisingly, it’s the same one many fans also want to see:
“In the book, characters can be resurrected. After Catelyn is resurrected as Lady Stoneheart, she becomes a vengeful, heartless killer. In the sixth book, I still continue to write her. She is an important character in the set of books. [Keeping her character] is the change I most wish I could make in the [show].”
As Martin confirms, Stoneheart will play a big role in The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in the series. Her story was left on a bit of a cliffhanger in book five (A Dance with Dragons) and it’s clear her role in leading the Brotherhood (showing the downsides of resurrection) is part of Martin’s longer game in the story. It’s because of that fans have been so disappointed the character has yet to appear on Game of Thrones the show, and presumably never will at this stage in the series’ run.
Even without Lady Stoneheart, the final episodes of Game of Thrones should offer plenty of action and intrigue. Between the coming of the White Walkers, the promise of dragon-on-dragon combat, and the continuing machinations of the show’s different forces, there’s a lot the series has to get through over the course of its final six episodes.
As for the future of the novels, Martin has confirmed there will only be seven Game of Thrones books. While fans will naturally want more material, that also means a more succinct story and less work for the author, who seems to be having trouble finishing the sixth entry alone. In the end, Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire will probably wind up in both similar and different places. Lady Stoneheart may never appear on Game of Thrones the series, but who knows – perhaps the character will appear on a future spinoff instead.