Although it’s long been eclipsed by other controversies, there was a time when the biggest sticking point readers of A Song of Ice and Fire had with HBO’s Game of Thrones was that it left out a plotline about Lady Stoneheart, a character who only appears in the books. In case you’re still planning to read them, I’ll put the rest of this story under this SPOILER WARNING.
So everyone knows what happened to Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding: she was brutally killed alongside her son Robb and most of their men. It was horrible. It’s still horrible, and I’ll never get over it.
But in George R.R. Martin’s books, things played out a little differently. After Catelyn is killed, Walder Frey’s men dump her in a river. She washes downstream where she’s eventually found by Beric Dondarrion and his Brotherhood Without Banners. Beric, who himself was raised from the dead, gives Catelyn the kiss of life, sacrificing whatever remains of his own un-life in the process. She rises again, not as the stern-but-kind Catelyn Stark but as the vengeful Lady Stoneheart, who lives only to kill those who harmed her family as the new head of the Brotherhood.
Lady Stoneheart has appeared only twice in the books so far: at the end of A Storm of Swords, where she hangs an unfortunate member of the Frey family; and in A Feast for Crows, where she tries to hang Brienne (it looks like that doesn’t take, although we’re still not sure of the specifics).
Obviously, none of this happened on Game of Thrones, but it seems like the actor who played Brotherhood Without Banners member Lem Lemoncloak — Jóhannes Haukur — kind of wishes it did. A few years back, around the time Lem came back into the story in season 6, Haukur recorded himself saying some of his character’s iconic lines from Storm:
“She don’t speak. You bastards cut her throat too deep for that. But she remembers. What do you say, m’lady? Is he one of them?” Brrrr.
You know, I never thought much of the Lady Stoneheart storyline — even in the books — and thought cutting her from the show was the right move, but I’ll admit that watching that clip gave me chills. Now I find myself feeling wistful.
Also, I have no idea how I went this long without seeing this. It’s definitely a fun glimpse into what could have been.
As for Stoneheart’s future, well…Martin did promise us (in a light-hearted way, admittedly) that The Winds of Winter would be complete this year, but I’ll believe it when I see it.