(MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE IN THE ARTICLE AND IN THE IMAGES BELOW)
We first meet her in the epilogue chapter of A Storm of Swords when she is hanging one of the Freys. After Beric passed the life force to her he died - she is now the leader of the Brotherhood and hangs any Boltons and Freys she can find as a vengeance for Red Wedding. They also help the small folk, but Stoneheart is so blind with rage and deaf to pleads of mercy that she hangs anyone who is even remotely related to the crime committed at the Twins. Even the children.
If you would have told me after I read A Storm of Swords epilogue 2 years ago that there is even a slight chance that this event, let alone this character, won't make it into the series I would never believe you. This is far and away my favorite moment in the whole series and the most creepy, fascinating and mysterious storyline, from Stoneheart's horrific appearance to the splendidly morbid imagery that surrounds her. But now things are starting to look truly worrisome for her being in the show and for what will be - for me - the official nail to the coffin - I'll watch the show but I'll never enjoy it as much as I used to. The exclusion of Stoneheart means something else too - it's not really based on A Song of Ice and Fire anymore, it's just a watered down imitation.
The fact that she was brought back as something so different raises two incredible points in the story - that beautiful, proud woman who could be so loving towards her children and so reassuring towards others came back as a pale monster with rotten flesh, scarred face, brittle hair and with nothing but hatred and sadness in her heart. It's still Catelyn - only it's Catelyn stripped off everything that was noble and good about her.
Where the show screwed up already:
Add to that - the reactions from the characters about the wedding massacre were incredibly underwhelming - given how important to Brienne her oath is I cannot, cannot believe we didn't get to see her being depressed and distraught about RW and lady Catelyn's death - Jaime talking about her reaction - Since that day, Brienne had been like one half-dead. Even calling her “wench” failed to provoke any response. The strength is gone from her. The woman had dropped a rock on Robin Ryger, battled a bear with a tourney sword, bitten off Vargo Hoat’s ear, and fought Jaime to exhaustion…but she was broken now, done. And what about the people outraged all around the realm? Giving us one scene of Arya and Hound with that man and his daughter is not enough. They could still show that people are repulsed by what was done in s5 but a) I doubt they will b) considering all the filler in season 4 this time would have been better spent on showing this. How on earth do you do the adaptation of Red Wedding and not even focus on the aftermath on the show?
2. The lack of Gods' answer - in Mhysa we got the story connected to RW - the Rat Cook legend:
Signs she is out:
In season 1 we had Tyrion mention his wife Tysha. He mentioned her again in season 3. There was even a small reference in season 4. Yet the most important scene related to Tysha from the books - the murder of Tywin and Tyrion's falling out with Jaime were drastically altered in the show. Most of the hints we have for Stoneheart are in the show but it may not amount to anything.
3. What Michelle Fairley said - not so much the fact she said that Cat is dead (because technically she is dead) but saying this - "You respect the writers’ decision. I knew the arc, and that was it. They can’t stick to the books 100 percent. It’s impossible—they only have 10 hours per season. They have got to keep it dramatic and exciting, and extraneous stuff along the way gets lost in order to maintain the quality of brilliant show"- it just seems to me like something that a person who thought she will return would say to the press after the showrunners called her to say 'oh by the way we won't be doing that' and threw the word 'extraneous' at her - especially since Michelle has always stated just how much she would love playing vengeful Catelyn.
Signs she is in:
1. the inclusion of Brotherhood without Banners and resurrections
argument against - they are there to set up another resurrection. I've seen some people talk about how this may be why Melisandre went there. But what, did she learn how to do that just because she touched Beric?
argument for - we don't know if the above even happens
against - they simply didn't think it would work on TV, point against that - they pulled off Oberyn's death almost exactly the same as in the books
for - whenever there is a horrific facial injury in the books they tend to downplay it on the show because that would create a big problem for make up department in future scenes
3. We saw what was done to Robb's body and they didn't show us Cat
against - Sansa mentions it, to put the matter to rest
for - Sansa mentions it, to set up the BwB story about finding Catelyn
4. The Rat Cook story being featured on the show
against - The Tysha precedent
for - there need to be repercussions with supernatural involved for this to make sense and not become yet another hollow scene, we saw nothing happening to the Freys so far
5. Catelyn was mentioned in 8 out of 10 episodes in season 4
against - it's a coincidence
for - they are trying to make sure the audience remembers her
6. The whole story arc with Brienne swearing an oath to Catelyn and vowing to find her daughters
against - it may not need LS to appear, gutting the book story in effect, but maybe being the only way given the time constraints. The oath was already pledged and it's hard to tell what will happen with Brienne and Jaime in Winds of Winter.
for - it seems to be the most important part of Brienne's story and so far even with all the alterations we are practically at the exact place in the story where Brienne is about to meet Stoneheart. Also - her relationship with lady Catelyn is what started her connection to Jaime. It's also what may kill one (or both?) of them.
7. The Oathkeeper
against - they had Oathkeeper being the reason why the fight started between Brienne and Hound, there were many moments this season where Brienne book story was altered to have very similar end results as those in the book - she bites another person's ear in the book etc.
for - it's the sword made out of Ned's Ice which is a nice touch given how Catelyn gets to see it, it's also what gets Stoneheart to mistrust Brienne further. However in the show they actually had Brienne come face to face with the Stark girls which seems like even a better reason for Stonheart to be furious if she finds out about Brienne letting them get away
8. Catelyn appearing catatonic right before her death, her howl breaking into the kind of noise Stoneheart makes when trying to speak - a change from what happened in the books where she went mad and laughed
against - it's just a creative choice
for - this is essentially Lady Stoneheart without make up from the moment she cuts the girl's throat to the moment she is killed
9. Bran's creepy dream in season 3
against - it may be just a dream
for - Catelyn is incredibly pale and manic in the dream, when she appears she looks very threatening
10. Ramin Djawadi's Oathkeeper track
against - another coincidence
for - it's a track that sounds very threatening and saddening - its melancholic part played both during the scene in which Brienne swears an oath to Catelyn in season 2 and during her goodbye with Jaime in season 4 - both storylines are very connected in the books and come together in the end, whatever that end may be (the last thing we know is that Brienne is presumably taking Jaime to Stoneheart)
Here comes the frustration:
1. We have Hibberd and Graves openly calling the character a zombie (which she is not) and the whole arc unnecessary and basically suggesting the fans were being stupid for expecting her in finale; the very comments that she is a zombie where it's clearly not the case show that the people so closely connected to the show have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Graves stated that Stoneheart wasn't even a part of conversation while discussing what would be in season 4. How can David Benioff and D.B. Weiss claim they are fans of the books and couldn't wait to adapt Red Wedding when they don't even discuss including the repercussions of that event? It doesn't make any sense.
2. Poor Michelle Fairley is either forced to lie or she really is never returning to the role she loved playing and now she has to answer all the questions the journalists are asking her
3. Given the nature of the story arc it would be in best interest to reveal her as soon as they can because people are getting spoiled - that ship has sailed. Twice. (more on that later)
4. The argument that 'she may not be important in future books so we cut her' is just ridiculous - first of all this is one of the very few story arcs which is guaranteed to work very well on screen - the imagery, the horror vibe - second of all I refuse to believe Martin would bring back a major characrer from beyond and just get rid of her after she makes few appearances. Yes, she was only in 2 chapters so far but Martin tends to procrastinate, what exactly did Daenerys do in these 2 last books? She sat on the throne in Meereen and shat herself. Literally.
|the most famous fanart depicting Lady Stoneheart|
And now it's hell - major news sites are writing articles about the lack of her reveal in finale, adding fanart to them, effectively spoiling non book readers. People on fansites and boards are disappointed, some vowing not to watch the show again. The exclusion of Stoneheart from finale was bad enough but now we have different interviews from all those people showing up over and over again, which only adds fuel to the fire because there really is no definite way of knowing if she is cut.
We have Hibberd and Graves' misguided and ill informed opinions thrown at us along with Fairley being asked about either something that is a disappointment or a big secret for her. Even if it's all a fogscreen and she is indeed in the show and what they are doing is desperately trying to cover that up, in the process they are bringing the attention to the character - spoiling her identity to non book readers and pissing off book readers in the process.
6. It's yet another insult to Martin and to the book readers in the fanbase to even suggest that 'not enough time' is an issue here - they have time to have Tyrion talk about beetles for 5 minutes. They have time for pointless Missandai/Grey Worm romance. They have time for random whores in Molestown. They have time for Yara running away from dogs. They have time for countless brothel scenes. But they don't have time for a character so many of us are looking forward to? Character tying 3 major story lines together? Character that has been with us for 3 whole seasons?
7. We know from leaks Jaime goes to Dorne next season, in yet another deviation from the books. We also know he gets a 'jet pack' and comes back fast. There is still hope that during that time Brienne will get even closer to that Feast for Crows chapter with her and Stoneheart and in the middle of tthe season Stoneheart will appear. But where we are now, while the level of appropriate uncertainty was achieved - nobody has any idea what will happen - there is also, at least for the fan writing this, a rapidly growing contempt for the people behind the show. This whole situation right here shows just how little people involved in the show understand about the plot and how little they know of fans' expectations. Not to mention openly insulting the fans and the author's work is just unacceptable.
What we can do now is sign this. And hope that if she is cut, she comes for them instead: