A Case Against the Inclusion of [SPOILER] in HBO’s Game of Thrones

Brienne and Pod

This guest editorial concerns a story-to-show change and thus contains major book spoilers (including A Dance with Dragons material) in its argument, so please read at your own risk. The opinions expressed below do not necessarily reflect those of WotW or its staff.

By Lion of Night

 “The outlaws parted as she came forward, saying no word. When she lowered her hood, something tightened inside Merrett’s chest, and for a moment he could not breathe. No. No, I saw her die. She was dead for a day and night before they stripped her naked and threw her body in the river. Raymund opened her throat from ear to ear. She was dead.” (A Storm of Swords, GRRM, 2000)

The epilogue of A Storm of Swords hits heavy. In what is one of the most shocking revelations in RedWedding3the novel, the reader is introduced to Lady Stoneheart, formerly known as Catelyn Tully. With this introduction, GRRM proves that he has complete control over our petty emotional connections to characters. As if the Red Wedding, (occurring approximately halfway through the volume) wasn’t traumatic enough, the final paragraphs in the epilogue reveal that Catelyn has been resurrected as a homicidal zombie out for revenge, primarily against the Freys who coordinated the Red Wedding. While this twist is widely considered to be a favorite among fans, HBO’s Game of Thrones would be better off not including Lady Stoneheart.

The goal of this piece is not to deny that it would be cool or interesting to see a resurrected Catelyn zombie in the TV adaptation; who wouldn’t want to see a vengeful, Frey-slaughtering machine that viewers can root for? I contend that in the context of the plot and the context of advancing character development, it simply does not make sense to include her.

In this discussion, it is important to ask what purpose Lady Stoneheart serves in the novels. Although the number of ASOIAF novels that have been released thus far inherently limits our knowledge on the topic, one can make reasonable insights based on what we know.

For instance, the ghoulish new leader of the Brotherhood without Banners is painted quite Beric_Dondarrion_HBOdifferently from Beric Dondarrion, the only other character we’re acquainted with who has been resurrected via the powers of R’hollor. Beric has been resurrected a number of times before his final death and manages to seem relatively human. Of course, Beric’s appearance deteriorates after a number of revivals and he begins to lose some of his memory after each incident, but his personality seems largely intact. Furthermore, the one resurrection of his that we do witness occurs immediately after Beric succumbs to the Hound in combat.

On the other hand, Catelyn’s body decomposes in a river for days before her resurrection. When she is finally resurrected, we see that she has lost most of her former self, her desire for revenge being all that’s really left. Lady Stoneheart, a shell of Catelyn Tully, most likely does not serve the sole purpose of roaming the Riverlands killing participants in the Red Wedding. In fact, her inclusion in the novels probably has more to do with Brienne’s character development. Because of this, it is worthwhile to examine Brienne of Tarth and what purpose Lady Stoneheart serves in relation to Brienne.

Lets examine Brienne from the perspective of the TV show. Brienne can easily be described as loyal. Loyalty is a central part of her identity. When the king she swore to protect was assassinated, Brienne blamed herself for his death even though there wasn’t much she could have done to fend off Melisandre’s cunning shadow baby. In the aftermath of Renly’s death, Brienne swears fealty to Catelyn and later makes an important promise to escort Jaime Lannister to King’s Landing for the purpose of exchanging hostages. Catelyn would get her daughters back in return for releasing Jaime to his family. Brienne understands what is at stake (potentially the lives of two young girls, although at this point neither Catelyn or Brienne realizes that the Lannisters do not have Arya) and is determined to complete her mission, keeping her promise in the process. Her journey is made all the more unpleasant because the man she is escorting is the “Kingslayer.” Brienne initially sees Jaime as someone who goes against everything she stands for: a treacherous liar who killed the king he was sworn to protect. Needless to say these perceived differences make for a particularly volatile relationship.

Brienne-of-Tarth-Jaime-Lannister-jaime-and-brienne-34359883-1024-576However, the first major milestone in Brienne’s development and growth occurs on her journey with Jaime, when Brienne learns why Jaime killed the Mad King Aerys. Jaime reveals to Brienne and to the viewers that the king, finding himself on the losing side of Robert Baratheon’s rebellion, ordered Jaime to slay his own father, Tywin. Additionally, the King commanded that the entire city be burnt to a crisp with flammable vats of wildfire. Had he gotten his way, King Aerys would have committed a massacre, killing thousands of people along with himself, simply to avoid surrendering to Robert. With the situation more properly framed, Brienne starts to realize that by breaking his oath, Jaime uses sound judgment and saves not only his family, but also the thousands of residents of King’s Landing.  It is this almost too perfect Ethics 101 “what would you do” scenario that helps Brienne change how she looks at the world.

The novels have been building to a similar checkpoint in Brienne’s character development—her decision regarding Lady Stoneheart. After her initial encounter with Lady Stoneheart, Brienne is given the option to kill Jaime Lannister (whom she now has respect and even admiration for) or die. Brienne’s encounter with Lady Stoneheart is not the reunion Brienne might have hoped for simply because Lady Stoneheart is not Catelyn. At this point she simply represents a drive to kill and refuses to listen to Brienne’s pleas about upholding her oath to find the Stark daughters. Ultimately, what matters here is not so much Lady Stoneheart, but the fact that Brienne is put in a situation that largely mirrors Jaime’s experience with King Aerys and how sometimes in order to do good, one has to break promises even if it tarnishes that individual’s reputation.

So what I hope I’ve made clear is that Lady Stoneheart is a replaceable component. Still, a valid question is: why not use Lady Stoneheart in the TV show instead of some replacement?

Well, given that Game of Thrones already has a very large cast, I would argue that it is better to use established characters to absorb the roles of characters we have not seen at all yet. There are some obvious caveats to this rule of thumb: it applies primarily to characters that do not serve a larger purpose or significantly alter the course of events in Westeros or Essos.

ayra-tywinFor example, the TV show effectively replaced Weese with Tywin Lannister. If you don’t remember Weese, don’t concern yourself too much. He was just the ugly, violent man Arya knew for a while at Harrenhal. Weese didn’t impact the world in any noticeable way and was disposable (killed by Jaquen at Arya’s request).  The show’s solution to casting this largely unnecessary character that gets a disproportionate amount of screen time was to have Tywin join his forces at Harrenhal, so that Arya could become his cupbearer. Although Tywin never discovers Arya’s true identity, the interaction between the two characters and the resulting tension made for a much better on-screen story than any incarnation of Weese would have.

Lady Stoneheart is much like Weese: she doesn’t serve much of a purpose other than to facilitate the decisions of more important characters. As such, she can be replaced by people that viewers have invested more heavily in. The show-runners have utilized this technique many times, usually successfully in my opinion. These types of replacements tend to raise the stakes and create rationally driven yet more meaningful conflict. Whereas Weese vs. Arya creates almost no cognitive dissonance for the reader, the Tywin vs. Arya scenario is more successful in challenging our perceptions of characters and our loyalties to them. Tywin still takes the role of the antagonist, but he is much more compelling and nuanced.

I mentioned at the beginning of this that despite her relative unimportance, Lady Stoneheart is a cool concept. That is the one thing the character has going for her. However part of the case I’m making is that her exclusion is a tough decision and leaving her out, albeit disappointing to book readers, is a much better call for the narrative of the show.

Another factor that affects the consolidation of Lady Stoneheart is where we are chronologically in the series. Generally it is better to introduce important characters earlier than later in the series.

By DiegoGisbertLlorens

By DiegoGisbertLlorens

To use a slightly exaggerated circumstance to illustrate: if a major player is introduced in the final season of Game of Thrones and affects events in some major way, we might think to ourselves that the show has cheated us. A character we have not heard of and have no emotional investment in is making major decisions and impacting the world in ways that should be reserved for major characters we are invested in. Often as a result, the characters we are invested in get less screen time. Lady Stoneheart is a special case in that she looks like a character we were invested in, but in reality is not the Catelyn we know.

Given D.B. Weiss and David Benioff’s track record of adapting incredibly dense fantasy story lines and making successful “consolidation” changes (such as with Tywin and Arya), I do not doubt that they will be able to set up Brienne’s character development in ways which preserve the important parallels to Jaime’s past while not relying on the crutch of a character that seems important but actually isn’t. It doesn’t make sense to go to the effort to reintroducing a major character we’re invested in, only to reveal that she is destined for a Weese-like role.

Jon-SNowThe last part of the argument for Lady Stoneheart’s exclusion from Game of Thrones revolves around a lot of theory and speculation, albeit theory that has a lot of support in the form of textual evidence. As you probably guessed, I am referring to the R+L=J theory. For my purposes here, I’m assuming its true and will leave R+L=J discussion for another time. So, assuming it is indeed true, Jon becomes a very important person in the future of the series. As such, it makes sense that Jon will be revived via R’hllor via Melisandre after his implied death at the end of A Dance with Dragons. As a result of his death, he would be relieved from his oath as a Night’s Watch member. Jon’s death is essential because it frees him up to do whatever important things he needs to do as the series comes to a close. In show canon, resurrections have been established from the Beric Dondarrion episodes.

Adding Lady Stoneheart would be overkill. If Stoneheart were to be included, Jon’s resurrection would lack the shock or surprise that surely would accompany viewers’ initial reaction to the resurrection of a beloved character, Catelyn Tully. Because I contend that Jon is ultimately more important that Lady Stoneheart, I argue that we save that most impact for Jon, rather than watering down the moment with resurrections up with wazoo for characters that ultimately don’t matter.

Because of her relative lack of importance, the effective ways in which Brienne’s development can be progressed without her, and the preservation of the sheer impact of resurrections, I say Lady Stoneheart is better left out of Game of Thrones. By all means, take this with a grain of salt. I cannot and do not claim to know with utter certainty what Lady Stoneheart’s role will be in the future novels; the show-runners probably can. I cannot confirm the assumption of R+L=J. Given faith in the one theory many fans take as fact and some well-placed insight about the show narrative, as well as observations made about the released novels, it makes sense to exclude Lady Stoneheart. Let Catelyn rest in peace.

223 responses

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    1. STANNIS AND DEEPWOOD MOTTE!

      That being said :], I don’t mind LS exclusion if they use the Blackfish for her role instead. If they don’t give us Blackfish than I hope the Brienne fan fic/filler is good enough to hold it’s own

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    2. The argument around Brienne’s character development is unnecessarily convoluted, IMO. The best argument for NOT including LS is that the TV show needs to move beyond telling the story of the parents, in order to tell the story of the children. It’s the Stark children who should avenge their parents, not one of the zombified parents themselves.

      Bringing LS into the story is regressive.

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    3. Before I read the article I think it might be wise to change the main article photo as it could be a little spoilery (bearing in mind what the headline is).

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    4. Some facts are wrong. Arya was never cupbearer to Weese, she one of his errand workers. Arya was cupbearer to Roose Bolton in the books

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    5. “He was just the ugly, violent man Arya became a cupbearer for while at Harrenhal. Weese didn’t impact the world in any noticeable way and was disposable (killed by Jaquen at Arya’s request).”

      Arya was not Weese’s cupbearer. She reported to him in her duties as a servant.

      Weese certainly did impact the world in a noticeable way – his treatment of Arya (and her subsequent decision to kill him via Jaquen) were critical in changing her from a timid victim into an empowered killer. It triggered her transformation.

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    6. Not totally convinced by the Brienne argument.

      I do have to reluctantly admit that the speculation-based argument on a future resurrection is a good argument against her inclusion, especially because the show actually has Melisandre see Thoros resurrecting Beric.

      I really want to see LS and the show definitely needs to give the North/revenge on the Freys some attention.

      However, LS would make the (speculated future spoiler) totally anticlimactic.

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    7. Meh, the cupbearer point is minor. I edited it out.

      The pic is fine though. No one should be clicking on this article if they haven’t read the books, with that huge spoiler warning, and it just says ‘a case against the inclusion’ of something. Could be referring to absolutely any plot point.

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    8. I disagree wholeheartedly with her just being someone “who serves no purpose other than to facilitate the decisions made by other more important characters.” You seem to forget LS had Brienne and Pod on a noose, that’s a pretty major decision made by herself (as was the dilemma she put forth to Brienne earlier re: killing Jaime). She is too big of a plot twist and would generate far too much buzz around the show to just skip over and act like she’s a fly on the wall. George wouldn’t have brought her back for nothing. And the fact that D&D haven’t legit confirmed her expulsion from the show beforehand, like they did with Strong Belwas, leads me to believe she’s isn’t cut (I hope so anyway).

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    9. In my opinion, the best argument you put forward is the bad effect it would have on JS’s resurrection, which would be less of a shock if we saw Catelyn resurrected a few episodes before. The rest is pure speculation as we do not in fact know what her role is eventually going to be. A lot of what is said in the article makes sense only if you consider what we know of the story so far. The fact remains that she might actually have a pretty big and important role to play. The mere fact that she didn’t have a lot to do in books 4 and 5 doesn’t mean she won’t by the end of the book series.
      Personally, I was furious that they left her out. But now that they did, I think they would be better off not bringing her back at all. It’s simply too late.

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    10. As a follow-up to my post, I’ll add that I would still be happy to see LS, especially because Catelyn’s last scene seemed to be a great foreshadowing- you could see the moment where Catelyn died and LS was born when she slit Lady Frey’s throat.

      At the same time though, assuming that Jon is going to be resurrected (maybe a big assumption), having another resurrection before that when we’ve already seen Beric is something hard to pull off without seeming like death is cheap.

      Come to think of it, that may be why Gregor was somewhat more alive when last seen in the show than he was at the equivalent point in the books.

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    11. I don’t quite follow the LS being “replaceable” comment. She was simply ignored by the showrunners. Brienne will wander around the riverlands anyway trying to find a purpose and storyline. Although it hasn’t yet been pursued with vigor in the books, I found the absolute conflict of Brienne holding to and struggling with her vows to Cat & Uncat quite fascinating….but we won’t see that in the show. Maybe Brienne can do something (for Sansa or Arya or Rickon) as an homage to Cat in the show, but that is as close as we will get to UnCat.

      In any case, the darkness of UnCat IS fascinating and worth exploring…..in text…in our minds…..especially if she ever gets to run into one of her daughters (I’m hoping for a quiet subtle Arya-LS meet up someday). But in the show, it is best to reserve the surprise of Mel’s resurrection of Jon rather than repeatedly see main character resurrections. It wouldn’t get old for me (it is canon) but it may for others.

      Btw, what is that pic of Rhaegar doing in this article? Or are you referencing the YG/fAegon spoiler reference?

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    12. Hodor’s Bastard,

      I think the Young Griff picture was included as Bex made the point about some readers/watchers feeling cheated if a new comer is able to affect the story in a drastic way. I don’t feel this way however as I love Young Griff’s inclusion. He is the representation of Vary’s endgame and the 2nd Dance of Dragons that is to come

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    13. The show is not even an adaptation anymore. It is fan fiction that no longer has any similarities to the A Song of Ice and Fire novels.

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    14. Turncloak,

      you know, i don’t know why, but that’s something that has always bothered me..
      people claiming that d&d are geniuses for adding that tywin and arya storyline to the show when all they really did was just swap out roose for tywin..

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    15. This is, as of now, an impossible argument to make either way. No, LS should not have been included yet: you don’t put a gun like that on a wall and then not fire it. However, it is entirely possible that LS will be an important and useful foil for one of the main protagonists in Winds or Dream. If so (and we do NOT know that she won’t be!), then and only then will it be advisable to bring her back.

      The other thing to remember is that there are ways to use LS that will not involve including the original actress much. LS could be kept a cloaked and veiled figure quite easily: a final unveiling might not even be needed before a final scene (whatever that might be). Sure, the book-readers will know who she is, but the vast majority of TV viewers won’t be bothered to find out, anymore than they were bothered to learn other things.

      Again, what is going to be important in the end is whether she is important to the story. B&W have shown great willingness to streamline plots, but they have not streamlined story; if LS really doesn’t help focus the story for the small screen (and we don’t know yet if she’s ever going to affect story in the text), then it would be bad adaptation to keep her. Gills on land are not just extraneous: they are harmful!

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    16. Bex,
      Turncloak,

      Cool…and good article, btw. (Thx Lion of Night!).

      FAegon really isn’t a latecomer though, as many think. He physically appeared midway through the 2nd act of the 3-act ASoI&F tale (and was hinted at beforehand). Hardly a deus ex machina component. 🙂

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    17. GhostOfWinterfell,

      The two play a similar role, but I think the role played is different.

      Tywin and Arya have a relationship and the scenes develop Tywin’s character and I think Arya’s.

      Tywin and Roose don’t really have a relationship- their interactions effectively show Roose is a sociopath, but so does every other scene Roose appears in. In terms of Arya, that arc does show her growing darkness, which the show does somewhat differently.

      By the way, the show winks at the change by giving Twyin Roose’s speech to Theon about saying “M’lord” instead of “My lord” when acting like a peasant.

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    18. Jordan,

      Pretty sure they know all about the fake trailer- they’re the person who posted the link to begin with.

      Bub, if you were trying to pull the wool over our eyes with a new screenname, you should’ve changed your IP too.

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    19. Turncloak: the point about some readers/watchers feeling cheated if a new comer is able to affect the story in a drastic way

      If so, then it is a poor complaint. Every new story in a series should introduce something new. Now, a major protagonist should not be introduced at that point: but there is no reason why major secondary characters or plot elements should not be. For comparison, look at the Harry Potter series. Rowling introduced major characters (obviously secondary: the only protagonist was introduced in the first book!) in the 5th and 6th books (e.g., Luna Lovegood, Slughorn), and she introduced major plot elements in the 6th and 7th books (Horcruxes, Hallows). Far from “cheating” the reader, she kept the books moving along: just recycling the same cast and crew can get a more genuine accusation of “cheating” the readers and viewers. (For a great example of that, look at the Jordan books….)

      At any rate, Aegon is not going to be a protagonist. He’s going to be a foil, primarily for Dany. Protagonists need foils of different sorts (especially of the sort that induce Angel A saying “Thou Shalt Do X, Not Y” on the right shoulder and Angel B saying “Thou Shalt Do Y, Not X” on the left shoulder, at least if you are G. R. R. Martin!). Of course, he would be useless for that task in Season 5, so it would have been bad TV to include him. (He worked fine in the books, but, then, if Martin had streamlined Tyrion’s adventure, cut Arianne, Victarion and Asha, streamlined Mereen and (especially) Kings Landing a bit, then Crows + Dragons could have been one long but improved book; a small loss would have been a larger gain.)

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    20. Sue the Fury:
      Jordan,

      Pretty sure they know all about the fake trailer- they’re the person who posted the link to begin with.

      Bub, if you were trying to pull the wool over our eyes with a new screenname, you should’ve changed your IP too.

      What?

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    21. meh… it is best not to adapt “For the Watch” and give us LSH. The death of Jon Snow seems to me like a last attempt to make aDwD a little bit more dramatic. Absolutely cuttable for TV.

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    22. The main reason not to include her is because most of the audience would not like it. Book fans seem to be under the impression that show fans would love this. Two prominent critics Andy Greenwald and Alan Sepinwal were spoiled on this plot twist and they both thought it was lame, the majority of the audience would agree. She is a pretty cheesy character in the books in the first place and this would be even more apparent when brought to life on screen. She is tolerable in the books so far because she only exist on the peripheral, I don’t see a character like this getting significant story time without it getting ridiculous nor do I see a satisfying end game for her arc.

      More importantly despite some of the comments Michelle has made I don’t think she would have any interest in playing this character due to limited screentime and strangeness of the character. It is also far to late to include her now, hell, if they were going to include her they should have done it back at the end of season 3.

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    23. JamesL: It is also far to late to include her now, hell, if they were going to include her they should have done it back at the end of season 3.

      That would have required major expansion of the character’s roll. Again, if anything, then the opposite is the case: don’t bring her back until she is relevant to the story (or at least plot) again. (You can replace “her” with “X” and use this for any character that has dropped out of the picture for now, btw.) Her cameo (or literary equivalent of cameo) appearance in Crows does not come close to meriting a return in Season 5. However, Martin might have a part for her in Winter that does merit a return. That’s why it’s pointless to discuss this now: unlike B&W, we are a bunch of Jon Snow’s on this score! After we read Winter, then (and only then) can we have informed opinions on whether LS should be brought back and the most cinematic way in which she should be re-introduced that will fuel the story (or at least plot).

      That written, I don’t think that viewers would necessarily dislike her. Now, a lot of book readers complained about how she came back “good as new” at the end: but they didn’t read it very carefully, because she was far from good-as-new. On TV, there will be no inability of a reader to grasp words the way that so many do. It will be far from cheesy: unless you are comparing her to a Camembert or Limburger, I suppose! 🙂

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    24. The main issue as I see it is not whatever brienne promised when she said sword, but how LS will be involved in the jaime and brienne storyline going forward. If both of them live then fine – you don’t ned her. But if one or both die, I wonder if another character would be as impactful as she would be in that act.

      Similarly with LF some have suggested that LS might kill him. Personally I’d rather sansa arrange it. But, depends on what happens in the books I guess.

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    25. Sue the Fury:
      Jordan,

      Pretty sure they know all about the fake trailer- they’re the person who posted the link to begin with.

      Bub, if you were trying to pull the wool over our eyes with a new screenname, you should’ve changed your IP too.

      Owned

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    26. StandOzone:
      meh…
      t is best not to adapt “For the Watch” and give us LSH. The death of Jon Snow seems to me like a last attempt to make aDwD a little bit more dramatic. Absolutely cuttable for TV.

      Ok lets cut the most climactic moments from the book. No need to show the Red Wedding, Robbs not important anyway. Lets go ahead and offscreen that. Jon>Zombie Cat 10 times out of 10. Also, for the watch is happening if you read between the lines from Finn Jones’ interviews

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    27. I can see both pros and cons of having LS on the show but, at this point, the con that makes it undoable is the timing. If the wanted to introduce her they should have done it in season 4. Im not sure how I feel about the omission because, even though I like the character, I understand that it would probably not translate well for the TV audience.
      EDIT: By the way, could anybody post a link to the fake trailer? I’m curious to see it now 😉

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    28. Hodor’s Bastard:
      Bex,
      Turncloak,

      Cool…and good article, btw. (Thx Lion of Night!).

      FAegon really isn’t a latecomer though, as many think. He physically appeared midway through the 2nd act of the 3-act ASoI&Ftale (and was hinted at beforehand). Hardly a deus ex machina component.

      Agreed I’m very much looking forward to more fAegon in the next book :-]

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    29. Turncloak,

      It wasn’t the most climatic moment in aDwD. The GNC and Theon’s are the most exciting moments. And if the Daznak Pit is going to be better in TV show, “For the Watch” is not required. LSH will be an excelent substitute for the most impactant scene in the whole series.

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    30. At this point, I’d prefer they not include LS simply because the way the show has handled Cat up until now has been horrid. I do agree, though, that if any resurrection is going to happen with Jon, including LS on top of Dondarrion would cheapen the effect, but that’s assuming there will be any resurrection for Jon. Who knows? He could spend the rest of the series running around as Ghost.

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    31. StandOzone,

      Show only watchers would flip the fuck out if Jon Snow got stabbed. I would say it would be more impactful than LS. Especially since many of them have already been spoiled about UnCat already thanks to inconsiderate fucks writing spoilers on their headlines after the the show failed to include LS in season 4 (James Hibberd).

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    32. Jorge Tuero:
      Awesome article, quality writing with actual knowledge about proper storytelling, thank you.

      I should have written the same! I will add the caveat that it still applies only through Season 5: we really don’t know what Martin has in store for LS in Winter or Spring, and thus we really don’t know if LS should/not be included in Seasons 6 and/or 7.

      But, ultimately, it is all about storytelling, and brevity is the soul of more than just wit!

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    33. Turncloak,

      It will (if it is included) be something of a “who shot JR?” moment. (For those of you too young to remember that, people obviously did learn that JR was not going to die before the season restarted because they couldn’t keep it secret that Larry Hagman star re-signed; however, it did set up a bit of story-telling fun and speculation for the audience.) Now, they wouldn’t be able to keep the outcome secret indefinitely: but it would still add some good dramatic tension for a while.

      At any rate, remember that this is a pretty thick-skinned audience: in general, the HBO & Showtime series like Thrones attract people who like many shades of gray (and splashes of red) in their dramas. This isn’t exactly the Harry Potter crowd!

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    34. The anti-Stoneheart smear campaign in this site and others (EW) is getting a bit obvious now. If she is cut, it will be because D&D are too stuck up in their own non-imaginative view of dramatic “realism”. Stoneheart is a supernatural element that directly or indirectly involves the gods in the story – it perpetuates the horror of the Red Wedding and makes the stain impossible to clean up. Far from cheapening death, Stoneheart makes it unavoidable.

      That may be too much to deal for filmmakers with limited cinematic vision, though. It’s feasible they see her as “a stupid zombie” and fail to see what she represents to the story as a whole.

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    35. Stuish:
      At this point, I’d prefer they not include LS simply because the way the show has handled Cat up until now has been horrid. I do agree, though, that if any resurrection is going to happen with Jon, including LS on top of Dondarrion would cheapen the effect, but that’s assuming there will be any resurrection for Jon. Who knows? He could spend the rest of the series running around as Ghost.

      Atleast the show did not include this Cat quote which would have made Cat less likable for show only viewers.
      “Honor,” she spat. “How dare you play the noble lord with me! What do you take me for? You’ve a bastard of your own, I’ve seen him. Who was the mother, I wonder? Some Dornish peasant you raped while her holdfast burned? A whore? Or was it the grieving sister, the Lady Ashara? She threw herself into the sea, I’m told. Why was that? For the brother you slew, or the child you stole? Tell me, my honorable Lord Eddard, how are you any different from Robert, or me, or Jaime?”

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    36. Clitorismestra:
      The anti-Stoneheart smear campaign in this site and others (EW) is getting a bit obvious now. If she is cut, it will be because D&D are too stuck up in their own non-imaginative view of dramatic “realism”. Stoneheart is a supernatural element that directly or indirectly involves the gods in the story – it perpetuates the horror of the Red Wedding and makes the stain impossible to clean up. Far from cheapening death, Stoneheart makes it unavoidable.

      That may be too much to deal for filmmakers with limited cinematic vision, though. It’s feasible they see her as “a stupid zombie” and fail to see what she represents to the story as a whole.

      D&D have included dragons, White Walkers, sword-wielding skeleton wights, an old dude in a tree, a mystical Child of the Forest who hurls fireballs, sorcerer Pyat Pree, a shadow baby, a resurrected Beric, an imminent Frankenstein Gregor Clegane, a man who magically changes his face, babies being changed into zombies, a zombie army, guys warging into eagles and owls, mammoths, Giants etc etc

      There is clearly no issue with “imagination” or “supernatural” on this program. If LS has been cut, it’s because it’s what makes the most sense for the adaptation. It’s not because they think zombies are dumb or unrealistic.

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    37. And it clearly is judging by the responses.

      Personally I’d like to see her in, and I’m still not convinced she’s out. No reason why they couldn’d do a few episodes with Brienne ending with her getting captured by Stoneheart and then have her turn up in Dorne to collect Jaime in ep 10. I don’t expect this to happen but it would be a nice way to bring the story back to the end of ADWD.

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    38. Turncloak,

      What…? Cersei said that.

      Still, I don’t see the problem with Cat’s portrayal. It’s different, I’ll grant you. Personally, I like her better in the show.

      King Tommen,

      Exactly! In terms of the magic, D&D have only shied away from prophecies and the people’s (even some intelligent people’s) automatic belief in magical stuff. Most characters in the show are certainly more modern in their skepticism towards supernatural issues than they were in the books, and than people were a thousand years ago in Europe. In the show there’s pretty much no worries about bad omens and other superstitions, which otherwise intelligent characters are very concerned about in the books. That’s a pretty big and deliberate change in how magic is presented. The same with prophecies, which we know will finally be introduced in some way next year, but they’re obviously never gonna be as prevalent as in the books.

      However, both of those changes are mostly about how the characters perceive magic; the actual magic itself has been shown quite unambiguously. If anything, the fact that the characters believe less in magic makes the magic on-screen even more striking. The first season began with White Walkers and zombies and ended with dragons. Since then we’ve had sorcerers, shadow monsters, illusions, more zombies, and a hell of a lot more. If LSH is cut, it’s not gonna be because of any pretense of realism.

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    39. Jordan,

      I’d argue that them sending Melisandre to meet Thoros and Beric already makes Jon’s potential resurrection anti-climactic as everyone knows that Melisandre learned that she can resurrect people and has yet to do it. As her and Jon interact on the show it will become even more clear that she has some sort of interest in him and when he dies, most viewers with a memory will realize Mel is going to resurrect him.

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    40. I’m over the exclusion of Stoneheart, to be quite honest. I’ve gotten to the point where I really don’t care what the show does or doesn’t include.

      However, writing these baseless articles full of speculations doesn’t really help much, either. There are two books left, and none of us know the full extent that the character will play in them. You can rationalize it as much as you want, but you’re doing so from an incomplete point of view. And that’s a fact.

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    41. Wimsey, et al…

      “For the Watch” will end S5ep10. Danzak’s will be ep9. Also in ep10, Stannis will be approaching WF, Theon/Reek will jump (but with whom?), and Cersei will walk.

      (imho)

      Regarding the other threads, I throw up my hands…

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    42. Turncloak,

      Mea culpa! I guess I never see or use “flip out” in a good way: in fact, most of the time, I see (and use) it as “don’t flip out, but (insert something disastrous here)” For example, I often tell my wife, “don’t flip out, but our son did X today: but there were survivors!”

      Yes, it would be a good “flip out.” I don’t think it would catch “Who Shot JR?” simply because no TV show gets that kind of viewing numbers anymore, but it would generate a bit of speculative buzz.

      Luka Nieto: It’s different, I’ll grant you. Personally, I like her better in the show.

      Yes, Catelyn was quite a bit more shrewish and nagging in the books, particularly in the first one. (She nags Ned to take the position of Hand, in part to secure good marriages for both Sansa and Arya, and endlessly laments how hopeless Arya is!) The show made some of her subsequent actions much less self-centered, too: for example, even if we don’t entirely buy that she releases Jaime solely to prevent discord in the camp, it’s presented as if she could convince herself of that. She’s also a lot less nasty about Jon: or at least she gets a redemptive moment where Jon is concerned on the TV show, at any rate. (I found her sufficiently unlikable in the books that I wasn’t sorry to see her go.)

      dtones520: I’d argue that them sending Melisandre to meet Thoros and Beric already makes Jon’s potential resurrection anti-climactic as everyone knows that Melisandre learned that she can resurrect people and has yet to do it.

      Chekhov’s dictum works both ways. You don’t fire a gun in later acts without putting it on the wall in earlier acts. That gun needed to be mounted. Even if it isn’t used (and I still don’t think that Jon is going to need resurrection, only major magical healing), then it does show that Mel and her order are capable of very strong magic of this nature. That gun had to be put on the wall before getting a big firing: and the healing/restoring of Jon is going to be a big firing. If it was not set up in advance that something like this is possible, then it’s basically Deus ex Machina. (Well, it is Deus ex Machina no matter how you do it in the most literal sense, but in the “figurative” sense that the phrase literally means now. There: that was perfectly clear.)

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    43. Wimsey,

      I feel it has been too long to bring her back now, audiences have moved on and it would probably be considered a jumping the shark moment for Catelyn to come back out of nowhere as a creepy zombie-like character. I’m almost positive she will never appear in the show and they will write around her character. I don’t even think the show will have the same ending as GRRM has planned for the books. They’re doing their own thing now, the story is too big to translate accurately to TV. It is obvious that GRRM won’t have the final book out by season 7 and I think that finale season will be almost completely original material. I don’t believe they will spoil the ending to the story GRRM has been working on for over 2 decades even though they can.

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    44. *Sigh* Did James Hibberd write this? I may be wrong, but I feel like most readers who don’t like the LSH plot device/twist/character/whathaveyou are those who started reading after they became viewers. It just seems to me like due to the very bad adaptation of her character from book to screen*, not many Catelyn fans were made from the show only and hence none of the late readers (is there a term for those who became viewers first and then started reading?) “root” for LSH or give a sh!t about her at all. My Stark Filter is strong and I am a huge fan of the LSH/Manderly plots in the last 2 books and I feel they hold great promise, even if they’ve been barely fleshed out thus far. So I guess my pissed-offness at her likely exclusion is twofold. In addition to the above, it will annoy me if GRRM included her and it doesn’t really go anywhere.

      * I’m not a D&D hater. I think they’ve elevated a lot of the lesser material/characters from the book and haven’t made too many gross missteps. But their Catelyn was terrible. Oy that Jon Snow story she told to Talisa still makes me cringe.

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    45. Laura,

      That’s gotta be the strangest argument I’ve ever heard.

      I loved Ned —I still wouldn’t have wanted D&D to get rid of his demise and have him live. It was a big moment, a great end to his character. Similarly, one of the main reasons I wouldn’t want LSH to be on the show is that I liked Cat so much in the show. She had her story and it ended strong, and that’s precisely why I’m not particularly fond of her coming back as a vengeful zombie whose “meat” is more about theme and plot than any actual character.

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    46. Well, we don’t know the final purpose of LS. Her story in the books is not done yet. If D&D know that her role is not that much more than what has been shown in the books already, then the decision to cut her should be considered, sure.

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    47. I don’t think it’s a strange argument at all Luka. She wants some Stark vengeance and LS is a vehicle for this. Albeit a pretty disturbing and ignoble one when you think about it.

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    48. ctid,

      Did you read the rest of my comment, or what Laura said, which was what I was replying to in the first place?

      Quite explicitly, the “strange argument” I was referring to was Laura arguing that show watchers wouldn’t like LSH only because Cat is not as likable a character in the show. Which I dispute first on a personal note, because I did like her, but more importantly… it’s precisely because I DID like Catelyn and her story and her dramatic ending that I wouldn’t want her to come back at all, but especially not as a being who has more to do with fulfilling a thematic and plot-related purpose more embodying her original character.

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    49. In answer, Yes and Yes.

      In response to you I think the point is Cat’s story ended and LS’s began. They’re very different stories:

      One a tragic mother and wife losing everything and eventually dying horribly. The second is an angel of death figure hell bent on vengeance, it does demean Cat’s story, even in the book and I think that’s the point.

      I don’t get the rest of your argument though, Ned’s story is great and he doesn’t come back so it ends job done. Cat’s story is also great but she does come back, just a little different.

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    50. dtones520,

      That sounds like effective setup and payoff to me. Including Melisandre in those scenes demonstrates they were thinking far ahead. Was a smart move on D&D’s part and it is all about what happens to

      Jon.

      Lady Stoneheart probably could have worked if they’d revealed her earlier. Now I believe they’ve left it too late. They’d be placing two resurrections way too close together, cheapening both deaths. At this point they should focus solely on Jon’s likely resurrection and leave the LSH storyline for GRRM and the books.

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    51. ctid,

      If, as you and I seem to agree, LSH fulfills more of a thematic and plot-related role than she does Cat’s original role… it’s not so important who LSH actually is, or who it is that fulfills that role. Yes, exactly, Cat’s story is done. So leave it there, is my point.

      My Ned argument is simple. Just as Cat, he was a great character with a great story arc and a dramatic ending. It’d be cheap and it’d demean his story arc and his death for him to come back to life. He didn’t, thankfully! Cat did. I don’t have a particular problem with it in the books, but I am certainly pretty happy it doesn’t seem to be happening on the show, precisely because of the same reason.

      I’m not completely stupid; I get her thematic role. I don’t think anyone who doesn’t like LSH doesn’t get it, so it’d be a strawman to argue that. It’s just that ASOIAF has always been more focused on characters than theme and plot (that’s not to say they aren’t important), especially comparing to someone like Tolkien (who actively and explicitly was against the idea of focusing the story on character development), so to reopen someone’s great story arc and death just to make a point seems, as you said, demeaning.

      I’m not as hard on it as it seems, honestly. It’s not like I found it outrageous while reading it. But now that there’s an adaptation and it seems they will not adapt that part… I found myself surprisingly okay with it, and thinking about it more now I get why.

      Sunfyre,

      Agreed on both points.

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    52. I don’t see why everyone is so up in arms about this. If she’s in, she’s in. If she’s out, she’s out. Let’s put this stupid debate to rest.

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    53. JamesL: I feel it has been too long to bring her back now, audiences have moved on and it would probably be considered a jumping the shark moment for Catelyn to come back out of nowhere as a creepy zombie-like character.

      It would be no more difficult than introducing a new character: and, in a way, it will be. At any rate, the far, far bigger sin would be to re-introduce her and then do nothing for one or more seasons. (Again, think Chekhov!)

      Here is a comparison. Doctor Who just brought back the Master after 5 years. Moreover, they teased the audience over an entire season before unveiling exactly who the Master was. It worked just fine. However, suppose that Doctor Who had teased the Master three years ago: and then done nothing with the Master for the next two seasons before doing this year’s arc. 1) it would have been bad TV three years ago; and, 2) it would have done nothing to “prep” the audience for what was coming this year.

      If LS is going to be important and worth keeping in Season 6, then the audience will have no problem figuring out who/what she is in Season 6. There will almost certainly be other new characters introduced, and the audience will take to them just fine. It will just be a smidgen easier in this case. (Again, the difficulty here is that we really don’t know what Martin is going to do in Winter: and it’s quite possible that he would have delayed LS’s “unveiling” had he known how many years and how many pages would be between the end of Storm and whenever she becomes relevant again.)

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    54. So, here is where I come across as the nut. Sorry.

      Catelyn was not resurrected. She was resuscitated. “Resurrect” appears 12 times in this column. In one form or another. Resurrect is to conquer death. Resuscitate is to bring back to life from death or near death.

      Jesus was resurrected. (If you choose to believe ). Lazarus was resuscitated. Lazarus would die again later. Lady Stoneheart can be killed (again). As evidenced by lord Berrick. She has conquered nothing. There is a difference in the definition.

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    55. Luka Nieto:
      ctid,

      If, as you and I seem to agree, LSH fulfills more of a thematic and plot-related role than she does Cat’s original role… it’s not so important who LSH actually is, or who it is that fulfills that role. Yes, exactly, Cat’s story is done. So leave it there, is my point.

      My Ned argument is simple. Just as Cat, he was a great character with a great story arc and a dramatic ending. It’d be cheap and it’d demean his story arc and his death for him to come back to life. He didn’t, thankfully! Cat did. I don’t have a particular problem with it in the books, but I am certainly pretty happy it doesn’t seem to be happening on the show, precisely because of the same reason.

      I’m not completely stupid; I get her thematic role. I don’t think anyone who doesn’t like LSH doesn’t get it, so it’d be a strawman to argue that. It’s just that ASOIAF has always been more focused on characters than theme and plot (that’s not to say they aren’t important), especially comparing to someone like Tolkien (who actively and explicitly was against the idea of focusing the story on character development), so to reopen someone’s great story arc and death just to make a point seems, as you said, demeaning.

      I’m not as hard on it as it seems, honestly. It’s not like I found it outrageous while reading it. But now that there’s an adaptation and it seems they will not adapt that part… I found myself surprisingly okay with it, and thinking about it more now I get why.

      Sunfyre,

      Agreed on both points.

      Nobody is saying we should bring Ned back though.

      And the only reason people want LS is because she’s in the books and fills a probable purpose as well as giving some bloody randomly fired vengeance and mystery for those that was blood for the Starks.

      I agree with you that her role, if important, could be filled by another character. I would find that really weak when there is an established one there. If done well there is no reason her reintroduction would be weak or bad. Hell they’re bringing Jaquen back and probably Lancel too and they’ve been out for 2 seasons.

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    56. Luka,

      Nobody is saying we should bring Ned back though.

      And the only reason people want LS is because she’s in the books and fills a probable purpose as well as giving some bloody randomly fired vengeance and mystery for those that was blood for the Starks.

      I agree with you that her role, if important, could be filled by another character. I would find that really weak when there is an established one there. If done well there is no reason her reintroduction would be weak or bad. Hell they’re bringing Jaquen back and probably Lancel too and they’ve been out for 2 seasons.

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    57. I think exclusion of LS is, in a way, good for show canon since it will surely complicate things in an already convoluted story. Plus, Riverland story did not move the plot forward in any major way. Okay, we got to know Edmure and Jeyne are heading for CR and there might be an ambush but Jeyne(Talisa) is already dead in the show. They can always tell us about Edmure whereabouts off-screen. So, I see no point for including the Riverland story so far. Also, Jon Snow’s apparent resurrection would not hold the shock value if LS is included. That is the reason we got to see Mel wandering around in the riverlands with BWB.
      Which takes me back to Jaime and the inclusion of Dorne and not Iron Islands or the Griffs. With Balon and Oberyn dead, Iron Islands, Dorne, and the Griffs will be entirely new storyline in which there are so many. Already so many Unsullieds cannot keep up with every storyline and inclusion of all three in this season would have been a disaster.
      Dorne is the only part of the region connected with Westeros, so it is easy to move around players already in that region to Dorne. Since, Riverlands does not hold much of a value in terms of plot development, Jaime had to be doing something else. I think it is best for Jaime’s storyline and Dorne’s. We will get Jaime’s sword training chapters with Bronn and it will be much more exciting than a mute Illyn Payne. Plus, we will be introduced to a new place from a familiar person’s perspective. That is why Dorne was chosen and not the other two storylines.
      After Balon’s dead there is no one we can be familiar with. Damphair was only in episode and I am not sure many people would recognize him as Theon’s uncle. Theon is with Boltons and Asha/Yara has a role to play in Stannis’s storyline. Making her go to kingmoot and back again to be captured by Stannis will make for bad tv in terms of pace. (Sansa’s marriage proposal drama, anyone remember?) Hence, we do not have a familiar face to care about the kingsmoot or the entire Iron Island storyline. Yes, we can hear about them through out this season about their reaving and raiding and the Balon dying and his brother now sits the Seastone Chair. But production wise, there is no point to show them yet. Maybe Season 6, who knows?
      Now with the Griffs, I am glad they did not doing this storyline this Season. First, Tyrion needs to get to Dany before Episode 9. Putting the Griffs in his storyline and his whole travelogue or even part of it would make for bad tv again. Because first they have to show him with Illyrio, then with the griffs, the travellogue, and the reveal, then kidnapped by Mormont and then ambushed by slavers and the whole Meeren plot. It is alot of storyline to fit in 9 episodes if he has to be there sitting alongside Dany. That is the reason they got cut and it was a good decision, in my opinion. Because the reveal would not be like OOhhh wooaahhh, it would be more like WTFF?? Who are they now??
      I think the reveal would work much better through Vary’s mouth and the best way to reveal this is in the scene with Kevan with Pycelle dead. Varys will tell Kevan and the audience his grand plan from the beginning and after he kills Kevan, the very next scene would take us to Aegon and Jon attacking stormlands. They can do this either the last scene of Season 5 or maybe the very first scene of Season 6 and maybe first part of S6 would have 3 or maybe 4 battles (Meeren, Winterfall, Wall after Jon’s stabbing, and the Stormlands.

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    58. Cannibal,

      I agree with you entirely regarding the Griffs. I have no idea if they are going to do it, but their invasion would be a good “teaser” towards the end of Ep. 10. I did like the way that Martin used them in Tyrion’s story, but I also thought that it was something that worked well in a book that wouldn’t work well on screen. (Full disclosure: I was one of those people arguing back in 1999 that a certain corpse had incorrect id!)

      The big difference between this and LS is that the Griffs will (almost certainly) be very important in Season 6. So, gun hung in Episode 50, gun fired in Episode 51 (albeit 9.5 months later). Now, if LS is going to be important in Episode 51, then Episode 50 might be a good place to introduce her, too. (I would do it differently still, if I were them: but that is another issue.)

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    59. A few thoughts:

      For those bagging on D&D for deviating from the novels. All times I have seen D&D and GRRM together, there is tremendous mutual respect. The deviations are not great, even Stannis’s alteration is subtle. They are dealing with the limitation of 70 hours of footage to show seven 1500 page novels. Things have to get cut.

      LS is just bad in practice, she’s bad in theory. I agree she cheapens death and takes the edge of the Red Wedding.

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    60. Clitorismestra,

      It’s an opinion piece. I’m sure WOTW will post a rebuttal if one gets submitted. You could even write one.

      The “zombie” quote came from Alex Graves btw, who isn’t involved in s5. D and D have not said a word on the subject. James Hibberd doesn’t think she’s cut because of what they’ve said to him, they’ve said nothing, he thinks she’s cut based on what Graves and MF have said.

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    61. I don’t know why people assume she has no reason other than to kill Red Wedding people, which is awesome, and furthering Brienne’s story. If anything, this series has taught us to expect the unexpected. What if she runs into Arya? Sansa? Why do some people assume we already know where her story is going?

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    62. I have posted the same thing before that for TV you can’t do too many resurrections…and after establishing one with Beric we get one more big one with Jon.

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    63. I think this article makes a huge and critical assumption that cannot be supported: that the only point of Lady Stoneheart is to hang random Freys, and then force Brienne to break her word.

      That’s not the end-all and be-all of Lady Stoneheart.

      1. The Second Red Wedding. The Freys and Lannisters are gathering outside of the newly-captured Riverrun for a wedding between Daven Lannister and a random Frey. The BWB know about this because of Tom o’Sevenstreams, their man on the inside. The BWB are in the forest around Riverrun, bushwhacking Freys, roughly around the same time that Brienne is sent to fetch Jaime. I believe that Lady Stoneheart is going to engineer a reverse Red Wedding, and that this event may well be the place where Walder Frey dies.

      2. What happens after Brienne’s decision. The attempted hanging isn’t just about making Brienne break her word – it’s also about bringing Jaime to Lady Stoneheart. Given the extreme danger to both Brienne and Jaime, it’s quite possible that either Brienne or Jaime might die in this encounter. Not only does chopping out LSH require an extensive re-write to get Brienne to go back on her word, but it also creates a problem for Jaime’s storyline.

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    64. Stannis the Mannis,

      The red priests (and priestesses), who enable such awesome characters as Beric, LS and maybe one other, are not bad in practice or theory. The BwB, like Coldhands and Nymeria, have been given the shaft because of a limited SFX budget and conservation of story. Probably a purely arbitrary/logistical decision on D&D’s part, letting GRRM relate those supporting arcs with his unique vision & words.

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    65. I agree in terms of television that LS resurrection could tarnish the impact of Jon’s revival (if he indeed does get revived). However, in the books wouldn’t it be like that anyway? I mean, it’s what we’re all assuming what’ll happen and that’s mainly because we’ve seen it happen, twice. And with Jon’s resurrection will make it three, and we all know how well the power of three works. So I personally don’t think LS will take that much away from Jon. Sure, it’s possible and the only real reason we are all thinking that is because the unsullied, but think about this other possibility, what if people forgot about the Beric resurrection, and despite the fact that they may play the ‘previous on’ part showing the brotherhood, but really only be for the resurrection aspect, and could come of as confusing because we would assume we will see the brotherhood in that particular episode, or maybe we wouldn’t see that in the ‘previously on’, that way it’s a big what the f*&%!! when Jon gets resurrected. But maybe the unsullied will have forgotten about Beric because as bad ass as Beric is, he is no LS who will undoubtedly be of some importance that’ll be greater than Beric’s but that’s besides the point. So where people might go “oh shit, Jon’s dead!? Oh wait, the red bitch will just bring him back” isn’t that the idea anyway? Isn’t that what we sullied are expecting? So when, and i suppose for safety sakes IF it happens, will any of us be truly surprised? I won’t be, I’ll be like hell yeah i knew it! And honestly, so what? Who cares if something is relatively predictable? GRRM has even said something along the lines that if fans decipher and predict the story should he change it in order to keep it a twist or stay honest to himself despite what people have predicted correctly. So I for one am all for LS, I understand people’s argument about the cheapening of her death and where I agree with you, but wouldn’t that be the same for Jon? Oh sure Jon is the chosen one type thing no doubt but so what? Ned got killed off and he was pretty much like a main character. So killing Jon and bringing him back cheapens that death too. Sure, with no LS unsullied will think Jon is truly dead, but you know there will be many that will remember Beric and many more that know about LS and that whole story aspect so they will predict Jon’s resurrection anyway. So truthfully the only thing that’ll be shocking for unsullied is Jon’s death, but his resurrection won’t be, too much is known already. So for those arguing about it being anticlimactic reconsider, because it doesn’t always matter about twists and surprises but just bad ass storytelling. So please bring LS, if not I’m cool, I got her in the books for however long she lasts, just at least bring back the brotherhood i need me some Thoros and Anguy.

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    66. Also, regarding it cheapening Jon Snow: I actually think this cuts the other way, with Lady Stoneheart raising the stakes.

      Every other example of resurrection has shown significant downsides – Ser Beric comes back less each time, Lady Stoneheart is an inhuman force of nemesis. And now Jon’s died and is going to be brought back to life – what if he comes back wrong?

      And I don’t think Jon’s death is going to just be about him coming back as normal, or about freeing him from his NW vows. It’s pretty damn clear that he’s Azor Ahai, or at least one of them (arguably Dany and Tyrion also qualify), and this death and rebirth has huge mystical significance – it’s necessary to save the world. The idea that Jon’s going to come back as a normal human being who’s going to become Lord of Winterfell and marry Val and settle down and have some kids completely misses the point.

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    67. I don’t mind if they leave her out but not because her arc in the books isn’t necessary for the show. It is very important in the book because it gives the reader a vengeful anti-hero who is fighting for a cause we (most of us) support.

      It would be like if suddenly the Hound turned up alive killing rapists. We might think “well, this isn’t important to the plot but… he’s killing rapists… this is not nothing.”

      NOT EVERYTHING IN A TV SHOW HAS TO TIE INTO THE FINAL PLOT POINTS. That kind of thinking creates wholly predictable story telling, something the books are not…. and the show wasn’t until season 4.

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    68. JamesL,

      I don’t think small screentime would trouble Michelle Fairley. Earlier this year she was in a UK one-off serious show “Common” and she played someone’s aunt; she wasn’t one of the main stars.

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    69. Congrats for a great article, it almost changed my mind. 🙂

      Your reasoning, albeit based on two great big assumptions, is quite solid. Maybe there were other or additional reasons for cutting LS out of the show (production costs, D&D fanfic and whatnot), but the ones described here do a lot to make me feel better about the outcome. 🙂

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    70. I disagree. I think L.S. has a place and a purpose in the ASOIF saga, and she would on the show also. As clearly pointed above, one of the handicaps readers face is the absence of the last two (?) novels in the cycle, which would supossedly and hopefully resolve her appearance. So we cannot assume that she is an entirely superfluos concotion.

      But as a fan of the show also, I personally, can understand why she might be cut from the show. Besides, her appearance would have been more effective had it already ocurred. However, since every nitwit, numbskull and dingleberry has already mentioned her ad nauseam, whatever element of suprise her character entailed, has pretty much evaporated…so for now there seems little reason for her return…

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    71. I couldn’t agree more… But as it was already written above, we do not know yet what GRRM intended for LS, so we don’t know the purpose of her resurrection.
      Frankly, when i read ASoS, I thought that the presence of LS was just bad storytelling. As if GRRM wanted to comfort the readers for the Red Wedding. Frankly, I feel the same about Young Grief – it’s an “artificial additive”.
      As for the truth about Jon Snow’s birth – whatever happens to Jon, and whoever is his mother/father, there is only one man who can confirm it – that’s HOWLAND REED, of course. He will have a major role in the future books and also in the show. He was already mentioned briefly in the show (When Jojen and Meera are introduced), so I think there’s a good chance we’ll see him. Personally, as if anybody asks me, I would cast Jeremy Northam to play him… Just a thought…

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    72. Okay, this article has sealed it for me, and I’m going to call it now.

      In the show: Melisandre will bring JS back after the “For the Watch” moment.

      In the book: JS will warg into the body of Ghost and live out the rest of his life through him.

      This will be the first major difference between the show and books and the final season (at least Jon’s arc) will be completely different to Winds. I predict JS will die for real in the final battle in season 7.

      What led me to this?
      When I got to Jon’s stabbing in Book 5, I just didn’t buy that he’d died. And the first thought that occurred to me was that he’d be resurrected/resuscitated by Melisandre. But this is too obvious for George. We’ve already seen Catelyn and (to a lesser extent) Gregor being resurrected and I can’t see it happening again. As per the article above, if they were to resurrect Catelyn AND Jon, that would be overkill and everyone would know it was going to happen by the time we got round to the stabbing. But there’s no way they can portray the rest of JS’s life inside the mind of a wolf on screen; it just ain’t gonna happen. And that would also explain why they haven’t shown any of his warging ability (whereas Book 5 was heavy with the warging stuff all round).

      It would make for great TV seeing JS battle it out to the end having been resurrected, but would seem really cheesy in book format.

      And likewise, it’s just impossible to show JS continue through the mind of Ghost on screen (especially as they’ve dropped his warging completely from the show!).

      I think Brienne will bump into the BWB in season 6 and they themselves may threaten her with the noose – I think Beric may even allude to the fact they found Cat’s body and maybe in show canon a sacrifice was attempted but failed because she was too far gone. Speculation, obviously.

      Oh and Sue The Fury –

      Sorry to say it, but people seem to be right regarding the photo that accompanies this article. I got a text from a friend saying, “Just seen the article headline on Watchers on the wall site. With a pic of Catelyn. Does this mean she’s not done?”
      I just replied “what do you mean?”
      He said “i could be reading too much into it but the headline made me think she’s still alive / brought back from the dead like that guy in the cave”.

      So yeah, I don’t know how his mind got to that, but it’s amazing what mental gymnastics the mind can do with something visual next to a headline.

      Sorry to not back you up on this! Haha.

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    73. My biggest issue with this article is the comparison to a bit part like Weese and the idea that she be replaced by characters that the audience would be more invested in. I’m sorry but we’re talking about a character who was with us for three seasons/books who was one of the main protagonists, the matriarch of the Stark family, who died in one of the most dramatic events of the series, who has now been brought back from death, darker and more vengeful seeking to destroy those who destroyed her. The audience would be much more heavily invested in her than any other character who could replace her. Now if they leave her out because of narrative flow or logistics that’s fine, but to not use her because the audience wouldn’t be invested enough is absurd. And yes I am aware that she is no longer the same person, but it is who she once was that will cause people to care about who she is now. Think Fred/Illyria from Angel for anyone who’s seen it. It was because of Fred that made Illyria so compelling.

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    74. I thought LSH was necessary in the TV sho for 2 reasons:
      1. to give the poor Stark family some sort of revenge feeling. We are now in the 5th season of the TV show and The Starks have received blow after blow after blow without an ounce of hope. And now even Jaime-Blackfish confrontation, one of my favorite parts in the books and that show that there are still people who fight,seems to be left out
      2. For Brienne story. Knowing Brienne, we know that nothing and no one could make her betray Jaime, except maybe Catelyn. I know that maybe she yelled the word to prevent Podrick death that the fact that LSH was the person she made a pledge to is important
      Otoh I agree about the Jon resurrection. It might be an overkill if we have LSH too…..

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    75. If Mel resurrects Jon, it could quite possibly not be that simple either. Bran and Bloodraven might interfere, Mel herself could die in the process, Jon could come back as JonGhost, his own spirit having fully merged with Ghost’s. I have a feeling we are being set up for a resurrection, both in the show and the books, but the carpet might be pulled from under our feet. The Varamyr prologue was put in aDwD for a reason, and Bran seeing a blood sacrifice the Old Way through the Weirwood might also be significant. So Jon’s comeback can happen but in a way that is deeper and more mystical than just a R’hollor kiss. However I don’t think he’ll come back as a zombified/ undead Jon.

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    76. ReekReek:
      I don’t see why everyone is so up in arms about this. If she’s in, she’s in. If she’s out, she’s out. Let’s put this stupid debate to rest.

      Thumbs up to this post. Couldn’t agree more. Let’s just see what happens (or doesn’t).

      Jay Sutherland and Morna the Witch, you may be right in your predictions about Jon in the books and in the show. Poor Jon in any of those scenarios if they happen. They’re not much of an existence. 🙁

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    77. I was hoping Brienne would kill LS, like Jamie killed his former master, the Mad King. Then she really would understand his choice.

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    78. I just thought of a great idea.

      What if Vary’s has 2 trump cards next season? The first is Trystan who is actually fAegon (you can see this theory in the forums). The next is Gendry.

      Now let me explain what makes this awesome. When Aegon the conqueror took over Westeros his right hand man and eventual hand of the King was Orys Baratheon. Gendry serving as fAegon’s right hand would bring more substance to their rule, especially if Gendry is legitimized. If Varys intercepted Gendry and sent him to Dorne we could get a budding freindship between Gendry and fAegon(similar to Quentyn and Gerris in the books). This also brings Gendry into a more relevant role while at the same time not half assing Vary’s meticulously created plans (fAegon was always his initial trump card). Aegon the conqueror’s crown was lost in Dorne when Daemon the Young Dragon was murdered there. It is my belief that Doran has this crown which will be bestowed upon fAegon. I also believe that Varys has the conqueror’s sword “Blackfyre” which he can give to Gendry. IT FITS!

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    79. I really have no bias one way or the other. I didn’t care for the character in the book and didn’t care much for Fairleys portrayal. If she returns then I’ll probably be OK with it. If she doesn’t, then I’ll also be OK with it.

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    80. StevenAttewell: And now Jon’s died and is going to be brought back to life – what if he comes back wrong?

      People are getting ahead of themselves! Jon has not died. He has been grievously and possibly mortally hurt, but the narrative ends before he is dead. This is very much still a “Who Shot J.R.?” Pt. 1: will the character live? (I’m betting: yes, and that he is going to be healed, not resurrected.)

      aci: 1. to give the poor Stark family some sort of revenge feeling. We are now in the 5th season of the TV show and The Starks have received blow after blow after blow without an ounce of hope.

      The story will almost certainly be providing that with Arya and Maleficent Sansa. Martin will be, too: after all, they are protagonists, and LS is going to be just a background character from here on out. As Luca noted above, this is a character story: and it’s going to be the protagonists that do things. (Rickon no doubt will be important, too, but he probably will be a literal and figurative tool for other protagonists.)

      Turncloak, I think it far more probable that Trystane is going to, if anything, take over Arianne’s and Quentyn’s rolls. That is, He’s going to encourage Myrcella to stake a claim for queen and thus his claim to be prince-consort. Jaime’s story will be, of course, to try to be Tywin II when dealing with this.

      Regarding Aegon, it will be much, much simpler to just use Aegon as Martin is going to use him: a big moral and ethical dilemma for Dany’s conviction that she is the true heir to the Iron Throne. Angel A on the right shoulder (Primogeniture) says “he is”; Angel B on the left shoulder (Deed and Three Dragons) says “I am.”

      If I were doing the show, then I would have a small “Here Come the Griffs” scene towards the very end of Episode. It could be done quietly and late, which would work all the better to keep it under wraps as long as possible. Unlike the LS scene that people craved last year, it would set up something big for Season 6. Keep in mind that Season 6 will need some new bit players: every season has given us some, and that keeps the show fresh. And, yes, it is possible to do this: for example, Paul McGann’s and Tom Baker’s bit parts for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who were well-kept secrets up until the last minutes.

      One final thought given what people are anticipating for Jon. People seem to be ignoring the parallels between Jon’s and Dany’s story lines. Both are struggling to rule conflicting factions and basically having to choose which enemies are worse than the other enemies. Both are struggling to make decisions given “bad” and “worse” choices. Both fall in association with attempted assassination in which it seems that “lesser of two” (or three or four) evils is responsible. Both are basically saved (or will be saved) by essentially supernatural power. Now, GRRM advances one of their story lines a little further in that we the readers know that one of them is alive and well (although no relevant characters do).

      Given all of that, the TV show might very well parallel Jon and Dany to a greater degree. On the small screen, this is very useful for emphasizing story. We could wind up with two “who shot JR?” situations or we could wind up with two “saved by the ‘dragon'” situations. Either would be a good narrative device (or pair of devices) for hammering home this year’s story.

      Jay Sutherland: And why include the Varymr prologue otherwise?

      In the books, that set’s up what Bran is doing. Now, a gun fired once can be set up again: but it’s a fired gun at this point.

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    81. I think your last argument is what urged the showrunners to exclude Stoneheart. And I would have done the same. In GoT, death is meaningful. To use the resurrection too many times would feel cheap.
      It reminds me of comic books. A lot of people hate the fact that a lot of superheroes die, only to be resurrected soon. It diminishes the emotional impact of the death. And if GoT uses the resurrection on two major characters, it would change the way we look at death in the show universe.
      It works in the books because of the grander scheme of things. But on the show, it could easily make a lot of viewers apathetic towards death.

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    82. Turncloak,

      You may be right about show Trystane. It would be an economical way to merge the Dorne and fAegon storylines. I’m not sure about Gendry, though. I think he’ll be mixed up in the Brienne-Sansa-BWB storyline. . .unless show Varys or someone in Dorne puts in motion plans to find and bring Gendry, to use him in Trystane-fAegon’s cause. Maybe this is the way for Jaime and Brienne to reunite, without the Riverlands/Lady Stoneheart book subplots.

      Another commenter mentioned that in the show it should be the Stark children who get revenge for the Red Wedding. I actually think it may be Sansa who will do it in Season 6, with the help of the Blackfish.

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    83. I wish people would stop likening her to a zombie just because she can’t talk and her body looks pale and mauled now. LSH isn’t undead. She was brought back to life, not reanimated. She can die again like anyone else. She isn’t a violent killing machine. She isn’t mindless. She doesn’t crave human flesh. Calling her a zombie makes her easily dismissed as silly. There are already zombie-like beings in the story; they’re called ‘wights’ and there’s a clear distinction between her and them.

      LSH is a personification of ‘revenge’, (something devoutly wished for by Stark fans) and as such, the point of her story now isn’t just as an auxiliary to other characters; it’s a cautionary tale about the path of blind vengeance.
      When she is first revealed, LSH represents a dark hope for readers. She seems to be the source of balance for all the wrong-doing that’s happened in the first three books and we instantly join her side, excited for all the justice she will dole out. But of course this was another of GRRM’s classic inversions. By the time we see her again she’s trying to kill Brienne and deaf to all reasoning past her own vengeance. We realise we may have been fooled into siding with the ‘bad guy’.

      I liken a lot of this desire to see LSH on screen to those desperate to see Wyman Manderly in the show. They both represent ‘The North Remembers’; the Starks fighting back. But while LSH is the negative force destroying those who she perceives has wronged her, Wyman is the positive force working to put things right; he represents the good guys slowly winning the North back for the Starks and is doing a much better job in the long run than LSH is – and that’s the point of her. Despite the reader agreeing with her intentions for justice, we know no good will come from the path she has started on. In a sense Cat becoming LSH is a mirror of Jaime’s redemptive arc. As he tries to become a better, more honorable person, she has abandoned/forgotten the compassion that originally set her apart.

      Oh, and get your facts straight- she was brought back to life three days after the Red Wedding, not weeks later, which is part of the reason D&D have bungled their chance of including her now anyway, by leaving it too long.

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    84. Sansa getting all psycho crazy on the Frey’s is a far better and more satisfying concept than another resurrected zombie.

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    85. The replacement of Arya’s Harrenhal story with the book with her scenes with Tywin in the show is one of the worst examples you could have used, if you wanted to prove that the show can make changes but retain the character development from the books and have more or less the same arc.

      Arya from season 2 did not have the same arc as book Arya at all, nor the same character development. Book!Arya had a terrible, traumatic experience in Harrenhal, being repeatedly beaten and mistreated, witnessing mistreatment and abuse of others, realizing how helpless she is and what it’s like to be a (presumed) common person during the war, feeling like a “mouse”, and learning to keep her mouth shut and use stealth and cunning to get things done and feel less helpless. Even when her position got a little bit better – getting to be cupbearer for Roose Bolton (as a result of having contributed to his overtaking of Harrenhal a bit easier and faster than he would have otherwise), a plum serving job compared to what she had before and what most people in Harrenhal had, she was still not allowed to talk back to him, under threat of having her tongue ripped out.

      Show!Arya, on the other hand, only has one episode in season 2 where she experiences the same things book!Arya did, witnessing the terrible torture of commonfolk by the Tickler and other Mountain’s men. But immediately afterwards – at the end of the same episode, no less – a very OCC, nice and grandfatherly version of Tywin Lannister arrives and makes Arya his cupbearer for not reason at all, or just because she’s a cute little girl, I guess, and proceeds to have fun little conversations with her, in which she’s allowed to talk freely and say whatever she feels like, where he treats her almost as an equal (even comparing her to his daughter, something extremely OOC for someone as proud and class-conscious as Tywin), rather than treating her the way Tywin Lannister normally treats commoners or people of lower ranks of nobility, and, even more incredible, doesn’t attempt to find out who she is and use her a hostage once he realizes that she’s a actually a highborn northern girl. Show!Arya gets none of book!Arya’s development, and her arc is completely watered down from the moment Tywin appears; she gets to be just a “cool tomboy” character, the same thing she was presented as in the pilot, without subverting the trope at all, she doesn’t go through abuse and trauma in Harrenhal, she doesn’t learn a thing. All that the scenes with Tywin tell us about Arya is how cool she is, because she’s “not like the other girls” (because “most girls are stupid” – something Cersei would say, not book!Arya – that’s another example of the show misrepresenting her character), so cool that Tywin turns into a nice grandpa figure around her and appreciates her coolness.

      In short, the show sacrificed Arya’s Harrenhal arc and her character development from A Clash of Kings in order to give Charles Dance more screentime (even while playing a highly OOC Tywin) and feature a few “cool” fanficcy scenes between two characters who never meet in the books.

      Oh, but they did fix that in season 3, right? Some people even think that the show version is a better story. Well, yes, if you can only envision your characters turning dark after having their family members killed, and revenge as their only motivator. It’s simpler than showing a character turning dark after living as a common person and witnessing horrors done to common people during war – the child soldier experience GRRM talks about – and struggling to survive on their own and have a degree of control over their life, where the revenge list is more of a defense mechanism and something to hold on to, than the main motivation.

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    86. Just speculating.
      Regarding the potential JS resurrection, if indeed he does warg into Ghost, which seems likely, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Melisandre has to sacrifice Ghost to help Jon back into his body. Assuming Ghost has merged with Jon somewhat what if Jon takes on some of Ghost’s physical traits in the resurrection process i.e. his hair turns white like Ghost’s fur. Suddenly Jon Snow looks a lot more like a lost Targaryen prince than before. Maybe his eyes could turn red as well, making him look like Bloodraven.

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    87. Mine is the Furry:
      Sansa getting all psycho crazy on the Frey’s is a far better and more satisfying concept than another resurrected zombie.

      If you don’t mind completely rewriting Sansa’s character into something she’s not and completely changing her arc and development.

      Why not? Apparently, the showrunners feel it would be the coolest if every character in the story has a U-turn becomes revenge-driven over night because their family members were killed. Who needs separate characterizations or subtle character development. Characters are interchangeable after all, apparently. They also had Catelyn be revenge-driven from season 1, which negates the need for any arc and development on her part – if you don’t get that she was not all gung-ho, “kill them all!” from the start, of course you won’t understand why Lady Stoneheart is an integral and tragic part of her arc. It looks like Ellaria may be the latest victim of characters being all made to conform into the “I’m taking my revenge” mold that everyone must conform to in the show.

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    88. Annara Snow,

      Annara Snow: If you don’t mind completely rewriting Sansa’s character into something she’s not and completely changing her arc and development.

      How is that changing her arc and dynamic development? The descent of Maleficent Stark down the stairwell shows us where her arc is going. Sansa has learned many things from Cersei, and ruthlessness against your enemies is one of them. If Sansa does become a power in the Vale, then she will use that to avenge her family. What we finally have is what I (now) think Martin wanted us to realize that Sansa was getting in Crows: an ability to start thinking. (I would write “for herself” but “thinking for oneself” = “thinking”: letting other people put ideas into your head is believing.) Sansa is angry, Sansa is disenchanted, and Sansa is beginning to make plans: and angry, disenchanted people would plan this sort of thing.

      In other words, this scenario is completely within the curve of her arc. The next key ingredient is “power to enact the plan” and that might be coming.

      However, this isn’t the only option: Arya could well be a player here. Martin recently noted that he put a big pack of wolves on the wall for a reason. The show hasn’t done much with this yet, but this year really sets up a good opportunity for them to do so. Both show and books are building towards a Sansa vs. Arya vs. Rickon contest for who will be Ned’s heir, and dealing with the Freys will be something that one of the claimants will use to justify his/her claim.

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    89. Wimsey:
      Annara Snow,

      How is that changing her arc and dynamic development?The descent of Maleficent Stark down the stairwell shows us where her arc is going.

      “Maleficent Stark” does not exist except in bad Internet memes, and the only thing that descent down the stairs shows is that D&D were desperate to try to overturn the “stupid Sansa” portrayal from season 3 and show people “Look, she is a player now!!!” (probably after learning about the rest of her arc from GRRM), which they did in a silly OTT way. Wearing a black dress with feathers and looking confident is supposed to show that Sansa is going to take control in playing her role in the Vale, manipulating Littlefinger and “playing the game”.

      Wearing a black dress that looks vaguely Goth to the viewers does not make one evil, revenge-driven, murderous or ruthless. Trust me. I wear black, Goth-looking clothes often and I go out on Goth night where there’s a lot of people in black, Goth-like clothes. There have been no murders so far caused by black, Goth-like clothes.

      Sansa has learned many things from Cersei, and ruthlessness against your enemies is one of them.

      No, she hasn’t. If she’s learned anything from Cersei, it’s that she shouldn’t trust everyone who speaks nicely to her at first, and that she really doesn’t want to be Cersei and completely disagrees with Cersei’s ideas, which she was thinking the last time she gave Cersei’s “teachings” any thought, during the battle of Blackwater.

      (““The night’s first traitors,” the queen said, “but not the last, I fear. Have Ser Ilyn see to them, and put their heads on pikes outside the stables as a warning.” As they left, she turned to Sansa. “Another lesson you should learn, if you hope to sit beside my son. Be gentle on a night like this and you’ll have treasons popping up all about you like mushrooms after a hard rain. The only way to keep your people loyal is to make certain they fear you more than they do the enemy.”

      “I will remember, Your Grace,” said Sansa, though she had always heard that love was a surer route to the people’s loyalty than fear. If I am ever a queen, I’ll make them love me.“)

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    90. Annara Snow,

      Yes. It makes for far better television which is what would be one of my biggest concerns with adapting an unadaptable body of work. It gives Sansa an arc and avoids the silliness of another zombie that may or may not be significant to ending of the novels.

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    91. Mine is the Furry:
      Annara Snow,

      Yes.It makes for far better television which is what would be one of my biggest concerns with adapting an unadaptable body of work.It gives Sansa an arc and avoids the silliness of another zombie that may or may not be significant to ending of the novels.

      I’m pretty sure that Sansa already has an arc in the books. What makes you think she hasn’t? Have you read TWOW?

      And no, I don’t think that a bunch of interchangeable characters without specific personalities or motivations all fighting to kill each other makes “good television”.

      As for zombies, there are going to be lots of zombies in the show. They’re called wights. Lady Stoneheart has nothing to do with zombies.

      Though if you want a bunch of interchangeable characters without specific personalities fighting each other, you may as well have a bunch of zombies and nothing else.

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    92. The Dragon Demands:
      No.We need Lady Stoneheart.It is silly not to include her.End of argument.

      Yes. This. I have always (and continue to) disagreed with anti-LS arguments. No, it doesn’t diminish the effect of the RW, if anything it increases it. No, it wouldn’t make Jon’s resurrection any less surprising : we already know red priests have this power since mid-s3, it won’t be a new thing. No, LS isn’t a useless zombie that’s just there to give Brienne something to do. GRRM isn’t batsh*t crazy, you don’t make a major character come back for nothing. My guess is that she’ll probably have Jaime or Brienne killed by the end of twow, im willing to bet on it. D&D probably didn’t include her because they’re like Hibberd and countless others in this thread : they just happen to hate the idea of bringing back the character. And as a result, silly reasons are given as excuses for her being cut. Fact is, it’s in the books. To me, it’s as if Peter Jackson decided to cut Gandalf the White and work around it. It’s ok to cut some stuff in the adaptation process, but not something that big, sorry.

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    93. Good article and points, though I believe the viewers will be seeing BWB again at some point, their story arc has not had closure yet, and D&D and HBO audience are to intelligent to leave and notice story arcs left in the air.
      Where and when will the Brotherhood show up in HBO’s adaption now that it has moved into somewhat uncharted woods. Will the BF be leading them now or will he appear in the Vale or at the Wall w/o them. Lots of questions and the viewers and fans will have the answers to them if not this season by season 6 at the latest.

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    94. Annara Snow,

      With their tanks and their bombs and their bombs and their guns in their head in their head they are dying. And being resurrected. Jesus was a zombie. There I said it.

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    95. Annara Snow,

      Sansa has had enough done to her in the series up to this point to certainly validate a change from the unconfrontational naïve to being a zombie focused on revenge.

      I never said Sansa doesn’t have an arc in the books. Where did you get that? I said that turning Sansa into a ruthless killer gives her an arc in the show, not that she doesn’t have one already.

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    96. Annara Snow: “I will remember, Your Grace,” said Sansa, though she had always heard that love was a surer route to the people’s loyalty than fear. If I am ever a queen, I’ll make them love me.“)

      It’s called dynamic development. That was Sansa then: pre Red Wedding, pre downfall of her house, and regurgitating the beliefs embodied by her fairy tales. She’s thinking now: and her thoughts will differ from her old (now largely eradicated, I suspect) beliefs.

      As for Sansa becoming a player, it was Martin who told us that Sansa is learning and that she would do so. Your disdain for the graphic model used ignores the fact that this is cinema: and therefore cinematic motifs must be used. Of course, the stories that Sansa recites early in the books indicate that her world accepts similar visual motifs: and just because Sansa is starting to think, it does not mean that she would not have suddenly gotten new imagery in her own head.

      Your refusal to accept that Cersei is the one who has been Sansa’s ultimate mentor is simply rank denialism. I suspect that you are imposing some sort of “good girl” morality on Sansa and other characters. This is very much at odds with the themes that Martin is developing. This isn’t Tolkien: it’s a modern novel where often the best choices are still bad ones, and attempting to apply simplistic one-size-fits-all values systems is going to lead to badly misunderstanding what the author is saying (as well as some of the characters losing their heads). The sword cuts both ways: if one is ruthless with no good purpose (such as Cersei), then it costs you: but if you refuse to be ruthless, then it costs you. Machiavelli explained it perfectly (although many people have understood what he meant very imperfectly): some amount of ruthlessness is always necessary for the Prince (or Princess) to hold sway; and if you don’t do it, then the one that beats you certainly won’t.

      (Your comments above that the show somehow corrupted Catelyn into being all about revenge in the first season underscore this: Catelyn’s determination to get revenge for Bran is what starts the whole damn war! The difference between Show and Book Catelyn is that Show Catelyn is a lot less shrewish at the outset: Book Catelyn nagged Ned to become the Hand in order to advance their children; Show Catelyn was much more understanding of why Ned would not want the position.)

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    97. Mine is the Furry:
      Annara Snow,

      Sansa has had enough done to her in the series up to this point to certainly validate a change from the unconfrontational naïve to being a zombie focused on revenge.

      LOL Well, too bad then that she is neither a zombie nor focused on revenge, that her priorities are staying alive, not being used as a pawn, and going home if possible, and that her arc is about learning to become a political player, none of which has anything to do with killing random Freys in an exercise of futility that has nothing to do with politics or any goals she has.

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    98. Wimsey,

      Your arguments show the two problems with your reasoning:

      1) you are confusing your own beliefs, speculation and wishful thinking with the actual canon (it’s funny to hear that it’s “rank denialism” to deny something that is not supported by any evidence in either book canon or show canon)

      2) you are confusing humorous Internet memes about Sansa’s dress with her actual characterization.

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    99. Schrodinger’s Cat

      There is a very cool theory over at the Ice and Fire forums that go into this possibility quite a bit. Just google Jon+Ghost Ice cell theory. Thing is, if Jon wakes up merged with Ghost, with a new awareness of who he is or possibly a major identity crisis (because Bran shows him his true parentage via the Weirnetwork while he is warged and comatose), he could end up being more feral and aggressive and thus ultimately ready to face a supernatural enemy.

      Whimsey and Jay Sutherland

      Jay, I was trying to reiterate what you said, just forgot who said it. And I love the Jon/ Dany parallels. It means we could get a possible blood sacrifice with fire and King’s blood. If Jon is a Targ, it is only natural that the “Fire and Blood” sorcery that caused Dany’s rebirth/ dragons to be born, would apply to him (and save his life in the form of a rebirth) as well.

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    100. This article is from the idiot Hibbard

      and he is DEAD wrong.
      what is BwB there for, Why introduce Beric and Thoros among them if they could just have done BwB without these 2 characters if no LS ?

      What is Oathkeeer there for ?

      What was with them saying thrown in river with throat cut. We saw her throat being cut why did they have sansa say it again if there is no meaning to it ?

      Why did the family Arya and Hound was with say Freys will pay for killing a guest in their own home ?

      Why did they kill Cat that way if there is no LS there was laready so many changes they could easily have killed her in another way ?

      What is with Pod and Brienne bonding and on the road if not meeting LS later to test her loyalty ?

      Why the reference from Bran on the Rat cook legend ?

      Why the secrets if she is cut they might as well just say she was cut like they did with coldhands,strong belwas and Tysha, no ironborn, no Bran in s5,Arianna ?

      They also recently said that they are gonna stay true to the various stories thats in the book, how can they do that with Brienne, Pod and Jaime if there is no LS ?

      with all this included ALL of it would have been a freaking waste of time if no LS

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    101. Wimsey,

      You didn’t find a bit disconcerting that Sansa went from at worst having this idea of revenge by putting something into the mattress that she jokingly mentions to Tyrion, kind of straight to the “aha!” moment during the Vale “trial” where she turns around and plays three lords and Littlefinger into a perfect powerplay?! Don’t you feel there were a couple of steps missing there in her turn to the “dark side”.

      Because Martin has in his books all these internal monologues, Sansa having several secret meetings in the Godswood with Dontos building up this duplicitousness of character in the middle of a hostile environment, all those inner little moments of rebellion followed by a strong repression of those like the outside world is about to discover them. She also has a lot more time to witness Petyr’s talent of manipulation. That’s building up to Sansa’s future change.

      I saw little to nothing in show Sansa in that regard. The saving grace in the stairway moment was the fact that it was a cliffhanger. They treated it pretty much 180 degrees. No gradual transformation. In fact it was one single ep that gave credibility to that switch for me. The ep where Petyr literally asks her (foreshadowing no doubt) “Given the opportunity, what do we do to those who hurt the ones we love? “.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think in show context, her change was handled as best as they could, according to their plan. I just think the books do a better job when it comes to this.

      Normally, I let Miss Snow handle all Sansa things, because she obviously enjoys the character much more than I, but sometimes I do wonder if I might have missed those little character development steps towards her revengeful self. Then I read her walls of texts and I realize I’m all good!

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    102. Annara Snow: you are confusing your own beliefs, speculation and wishful thinking with the actual canon

      That is backwards: I’m the one actually using the books in proper context. I would, for example, never make the mistake of citing something from an early book as meaning much for what a dynamically evolving character is going to be like in Book 5 or 6. (Moreover, I was in the camp that thought that Sansa was too dumb to learn anything. However, I now think that the people in the “Sansa has learned from Cersei” camp were correct, and that I misunderstood what Martin was doing.)

      As for humorous internet memes, no, that’s what I thought as soon as I saw her. (Indeed, I’m irked: those internet memes, if they exist, clearly stole that from me! Or my wife. Or from a dozen other people I know who watch the show: the other dozen called her “Darth Sansa.” Or probably the 49.5% of the viewers that called her Maleficent rather than the 49.5% that called her Darth. OK, I’m not calling my lawyers now.)

      Look, this is called “dynamic character development.” Early on Character A is X. Character A undergoes many life changing events. Later, Character A is Y. This concept is vital for understanding this season’s story. Jon Snow thinks it best: Kill the Boy, Become the Man. Sansa is going to kill the Girl and become the Woman. However, she’s undergoing very different stresses than (say) Jon and Dany, and thus will show different strains. Jon and Dany are dealing with the effect of winning. Sansa is dealing the effect of losing. Winners need to step it “up.” Losers need to step in new directions. However, if you hold that Character A cannot be Y in Season 5 because they were X in Season 2 or 3, then you are going to miss the story, which really is the parallel in X->Y between Sansa and the other protagonists. (Indeed, the arrow IS the story!) People evolve (that’s the point of dynamic development), and the Sansa we are getting in Winter is going to have about as much to do with Sansa from Clash as a dinosaur has with an early Paleozoic fish.

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    103. Am I the only one that came to this post just to read the comments? Although, I did forget to bring the popcorn, ha! I will say, I hope/wish to see LS on screen.

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    104. Michael,

      Perhaps D&D are simply teasing and baiting the Sullied? I am a victim of all the supposed foreshadowing and loaded guns that the showrunners have given us regarding Cat, the BwB, Brienne’s vows, etc., and I watched with bated breath and hope for a moment of revelation or resurrection….but alas, D&D have engaged in some truly evil mummery regarding LS. They only chose to show GreyRobb and have dismissed LS and Nymeria….and the BwB as far as we know.

      Pep,

      Death has many modes and dimensions in the ASoI&F tale.

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    105. I think one of the reasons why LS seems so uncuttable is because it’s a major event for a major character. Skipping Cat’s resurrection would, to some, be like skipping Ned’s death or Jaime’s hand slicing or the Red Wedding.

      But if it is truly Catelyn who is resurrected, then doesn’t that take a lot of the sting out of the Red Wedding? How is that not like resurrecting Ned after his death? The Red Wedding is more powerful as the tragic finale of Catelyn’s story than as a particularly big bump in the road for her overall story, imo.

      The response to this is uually something like “Cat’s story did end at the Red Wedding, LS is a not Cat, it’s a new character.” But if she’s a new character…does it really matter that much that she’s cut? Isn’t she just a two-dimensional, very cuttable addition to a story that already has enough storylines?

      This is where I think LS fans are between a rock and a hard place concerning her inclusion. Either her introduction would take a lot of power from the Red Wedding, or she’s completely separate from Cat’s story and it isn’t a big deal if she’s cut.

      Personally I’m really happy that so far, it seems like she is indeed cut. The circumstances of her resurrection were contrived (BwB just happens to come across her body?), it adds a storyline to a show which already has enough, and it replaces the powerful end to Cat’s story at the RW with an ambiguous one that has almost zero chance of making much of a difference in the overall storyline.

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    106. Like most character’s inclusion/exclusion debates, it’s a question of “my assumptions/interpretations/bias are better than yours”.

      Boring. And predictable.

      The show-related news well has really dried for the last few weeks. It shows.

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    107. Mine is the Furry,

      Well, I didn’t agree with you calling Simba a p**sy through a third party character. Let’s be honest. He so wasn’t. He was just a puppy. And so was Sansa until now (I’m adding that so I’m making the parallel clear).

      So I’m totally on board with you getting edited for a Disney PG-13 rough inappropriate language! Think of the children.

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    108. So far, LSH’s biggest contribution has been as shock factor. I’ve seen people insist that cutting her is the biggest mistake that D&D have ever made, which I find ridiculous. She could play a bigger role later, but until then, I think it’s a little premature to say it’s a big mistake to cut her.

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    109. Wimsey: That is backwards: I’m the one actually using the books in proper context.I would, for example, never make the mistake of citing something from an early book as meaning much for what a dynamically evolving character is going to be like in Book 5 or 6.

      No – instead, you’re not citing anything from any of the books and putting forth your own ideas that have nothing to do with the actual text.

      (Moreover, I was in the camp that thought that Sansa was too dumb to learn anything.However, I now think that the people in the “Sansa has learned from Cersei” camp were correct, and that I misunderstood what Martin was doing.)

      Yes, she’s learned – to not be anything like Cersei. If he concluded she had to be like Cersei, that would mean she’s dumb. Anyone with half a brain can see that Cersei is only a good example what not to do. She’s awful as a player, as LF noted in ASOS (to Sansa!) and subsequent events proved. For Sansa to decide to start emulating Cersei of all people, now, would be incredibly dumb and unmotivated.

      If you think that Martin created Sansa in order to make her a cheap knockoff of Cersei, I think you’re still misunderstanding what he’s doing.

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    110. Hodor Targaryen,

      I’m one of those jibjabs who want GRRM to go even further with LS and give her a PoV. Just think of the possibilities…darkness, rage, revenge, savage internal screams, death intimacy, forced existence….I would think that would be an awesomely creative mind/clusterfuck of a PoV….and an opportunity for GRRM to bring in some of his horror stylings from yesteryear (a la Fevre Dream).

      Can you imagine a Coldhands PoV as well?

      Oh well, a man can dream. Won’t happen in the show though…too over the top…and too fuckin’ late. Although, would always love to see MF give it a go!

      I really would like to have a Ghost PoV soon though…in TWoW.

      That would be cool too, full of unexpected perspective and insights.

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    111. it doesnt cheapen the js scene on the contrary it shows how resurrection changes people and i think any resurrection in book 6 wont happen for a while making it scary to imagine what happens. I also think arya will kill lsh to give her peace which will be a huge moment. GRRM didnt create the character just for shock value. LSH represents all the themes of the book and i find one key theme revolves around vengeance nd how it never works out. LSH is the embodiment of that.

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    112. I don’t wanna sound harsh, but I’m probably going to. Ever since the infamous James Hibbert called her a zombie, I’ve given no credibility or concession to that idea. Cat shouldn’t come back as a zombie because, at least from my POV, she isn’t one. At all. She might be seen as a carcass, a figment of the Cat we knew, but at the same time I see her as the cruel side of a woman that had been wronged one too many times. The only part of Lady Stark who is still alive is her hatred and sorrow, which is devastating to think after all she’d been through. It’s, as has been argued many times, another extension of the horrors of the Red Wedding, and a never-ending rendition of them it would seem.

      It has a lot of potential and space for improvement in her television rendition, sure, but not including her creates way more plotholes than freed screen time for other characters: What’s up with the Brotherhood, as my unsullied friends have often asked me? What about the Blackfish? And what the hell will they do with Brienne? Will she go on a rampage and end the Frey lineage all by her own? I think from both a plot and a character-developing point of view, LS should be included. Also, were Jon to be resurrected not immediately but after some time, the show could teasefor a while the idea of him coming back as crazypants as LS is. Showing the imperfections in the resurrection process can also reduce the idea of “cheapness” associatd with it. Again, I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, but I’m very protective of Brienne and Cat’s story and really want to see it through sooner, rather than later.

      /rant.

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    113. Anyone think that when Jon Snow dies in the TV-show, every newspaper will (the very next day) have a “Jon Snow is dead…or is he?”-article? Probably with details of Melisandre and so and so…. And every unsullied will lose the effect of his death anyway.

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    114. daario greyjoy,

      It cheapens it a little bit, because now most people don’t think he’s dead. Instead of being shocked, I only shrugged my shoulders and said, “Oh well, nothing to worry about.”

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    115. The Drowned Fool:
      Anyone think that when Jon Snow dies in the TV-show, every newspaper will (the very next day) have a “Jon Snow is dead…or is he?”-article? Probably with details of Melisandre and so and so…. And every unsullied will lose the effect of his death anyway.

      How is that different than book readers? If unsullied actually pay attention to the show they would come up with this theory on their own

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    116. Here are the main point of conflict is

      (*) People know how they felt with the reveal / expectations to how it would play out on TV to the unsullied. This makes it required as a scene.

      However I think LS is one of GRRM’s greatest regrets and that while it was an insane ending to a fantastic book, it was a twist without merit. The show needs to avoid this pitfall because now he doesn’t know what to do with her. I expect the Jamie / Brienne / LS scene in TWOW to be anticlimactic or to just not happen (She backs out and doesn’t lead Jamie to the trap). At the very best Jamie would kill LS. At the very dramatic Brienne would have to duel Jamie for his life.

      It’s a dead end. She’s a dead end. A twist with no use. It makes death pointless. Yes, resurrection is a thing but with Jon it has a plot purpose (freeing him of his oath). Otherwise LS is fun but now GRRM doesn’t know what to do with her.

      Lots of Love,
      House Ray

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    117. I think this post tried too hard to justify her cut. I wonder why Martin would make such a mystery about her situation with Brienne and Jaime if it won’t have any significant payoff. The Brienne’s character point development wasn’t very good to be honest.

      And no, it won’t cheapen anybody’s resurrection since we don’t know if that person is dead, specially since most clues point he is not.

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    118. Ironborn:

      And no, it won’t cheapen anybody’s resurrection since we don’t know if that person is dead, specially since most clues point he is not.

      Yes, those clues being that there have been multiple resurrections.

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    119. Ironborn: I wonder why Martin would make such a mystery about her situation with Brienne and Jaime if it won’t have any significant payoff.

      It might have a payoff. However, the “when” of the payoff is the key. It wasn’t in Crows or Dragons, which is why it would have been inappropriate to bring her back at the end of last year. This is part of the reason why I find the argument that she’ll never be in the show to be basically a negative evidence argument: if LS was going to be in it, then she wouldn’t be in it yet. So, both the “she’s cut” and the “she’ll be back” arguments make the exact same prediction.

      And, again, it bears repeating that the show could keep the character more mysterious than the book did. Yes, the book readers and people who look up spoilers would know who it was: but the rank and file audience members wouldn’t.

      Oh, and I agree that I don’t think that said character is actually going to die. (I do think that he’ll come very close to it, and that he’ll basically owe the same debt to the same person.)

      Ironborn: Clues being he’s not quite dead, even one hint by Martin himself.

      Indeed, in one of the first interviews Martin gave after Dragons came out, he seemed surprised that the interviewer thought that X was dead! (Martin’s response was something like: “Oh, so you think he’s dead?”)

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    120. Ironborn,

      I knew he wasn’t dead, even before hearing Martin’s remarks. LSH significantly diminished the impact of this scene, which I’m sure was not Martin’s intention.

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    121. I don’t think zombies are the problem. Parents are the problem. The story has moved on to the Stark children. It is they who must avenge their parents (and sibling), not one of the parents themselves. The reappearance of Catelyn yanks the story backwards.

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    122. ArgonathofBraavos,

      So it’s nothing but a tale of quarrelsome children? Ok, we have Ned/Cat’s kids, Tywin’s kids, Aerys’s kids, Doran’s kids, Mace’s kids, Balon’s kids, Roose’s kid, R/L’s kid, Elia’s kid, RV’s kids, Stannis’ kid…wow you’re right! What a boring, ill-conceived, simplistic piece of crap! :/

      It’s much more than a tale of kids, imho….ASoI&F is at its best when considering the ongoing multi-generational conflicts (dead, undead or alive).

      By the way, does anyone know what dragon is the parent of R, V, and D?

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    123. ArgonathofBraavos,

      Right, by the end of the third book, Ned’s dead, Catelyn’s dead, Tywin’s dead, a whole generation of main characters has moved aside so that the three Lannister siblings, (most of) the Stark children and Daenerys can be important players. Either Lady Stoneheart’s appearance pulls the focus too much on one of the parents, OR the children remain the major movers of the plot and Stoneheart’s importance never rises to a level that justifies her resurrection. I kind of think it might be the latter given how little she had to do in FeastDance.

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    124. House Ray:
      Here are the main point of conflict is

      (*) People know how they felt with the reveal / expectations to how it would play out on TV to the unsullied. This makes it required as a scene.

      However I think LS is one of GRRM’s greatest regrets and that while it was an insane ending to a fantastic book, it was a twist without merit. The show needs to avoid this pitfall because now he doesn’t know what to do with her. I expect the Jamie / Brienne / LS scene in TWOW to be anticlimactic or to just not happen (She backs out and doesn’t lead Jamie to the trap). At the very best Jamie would kill LS. At the very dramatic Brienne would have to duel Jamie for his life.

      It’s a dead end. She’s a dead end. A twist with no use. It makes death pointless. Yes, resurrection is a thing but with Jon it has a plot purpose (freeing him of his oath). Otherwise LS is fun but now GRRM doesn’t know what to do with her.

      Lots of Love,
      House Ray

      totally agree!!!

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    125. Hodor Targaryen: Right, by the end of the third book, Ned’s dead, Catelyn’s dead, Tywin’s dead, a whole generation of main characters has moved aside so that the three Lannister siblings, (most of) the Stark children and Daenerys can be important players

      Well, from the perspective of the books as literature, the “children” always were more important, anyway. Dany and Jon have been the two principle protagonists from the start, and Tyrion has sort of crept up there (although that might have more to do with how much Martin enjoys writing Tyrion than to do with Ice and Fire).

      Really, the focus has always been on those people that the “old white men” of Westeros would lump into the “bastards, dwarfs, and broken-things” (with all women qualifying as a “broken thing” to such men). Ned is the closest thing there is to an exception: and there are serious hints that he is mentally something of a “broken thing” because of the moral compromises reality has forced upon him.

      That written, “avenging the Starks” is going to be only part of what Sansa and Arya are going to do. They might not be up there with Jon and Dany, but Arya certainly is the #4 protagonist, and Sansa isn’t too far behind. Their continued dynamic development is going to be key to the final two stories in the novel series and final three stories in the TV series. In some ways, Sansa might be a key in that Martin delayed her dynamic development longer than he did any of the other major protagonists. So, the shift that embodies the story might be most obvious in her. What choices Sansa makes and her motives for making them concerning putting the Starks back on the map might summarize the Winter and/or Spring stories as much as “Kill the Boy, Become the Man summarized the Crows/Dragons story.

      And to that end, it means that LS is never going to be anything more than a foil for the protagonists. One good thing about foils when adapting stories is that they are much easier to replace than are, say, protagonists!

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    126. Young Dragon,

      He planned the story long before and knew the main plot points. So, I don’t think he suddenly included LS for the sake of shocking value without knowing the implications in the future, otherwise Beric would diminish the impact of LS considerably.

      Jon’s situation is different, Catelyn really died, Jon is in the same boat as characters like Davos and Tyrion were before.

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    127. Ironborn:
      Young Dragon,

      He planned the story long before and knew the main plot points. So, I don’t think he suddenly included LS for the sake of shocking value without knowing the implications in the future, otherwise Beric would diminish the impact of LS considerably.

      For some readers, Beric did diminish the impact of LS considerably.

      I’m not sure what you mean about GM planning the story long before and knowing the main plot points. When he began writing, it was going to be a trilogy, if I recall correctly it was to end around the Red Wedding and … there wasn’t going to be any dragons.

      He’s been winging it for nearly 20 years.

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    128. Cumsprite,

      Yep, this is correct. He’s said himself he’s a “gardener”, not an “architect”; meaning he plants the seeds and sees what happens. It’s why the “Mereneese knot” happened.

      It makes for cracking, unpredictable reading, but is probably the reason each book’s release has dragged since book three.

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    129. Cumsprite,

      For some, others say it was a foreshadowing. Either way, I don’t think the impact was smaller to be honest.

      I was talking about the main storyline, we all know the structure had lots of changes (some terribly bad, like Dance, by the way). He stated that he began creating the story in his head and then knew what the main plot points would be, he just needed more time to write how to get there, ex the red wedding.

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    130. Ironborn: So, I don’t think he suddenly included LS for the sake of shocking value without knowing the implications in the future, otherwise Beric would diminish the impact of LS considerably

      It is possible that Martin thought that LS would be a more important plot piece much more immediately than she was. However, plotting evolves, and story-telling is a dynamic process in itself.

      Cumsprite: For some readers, Beric did diminish the impact of LS considerably.

      Sure, but some people like to listen to music with clashing chords. Part of the reason why people keep bringing up things like Chekhov’s guns is that there are some very general rules of storytelling that transcend any genera. One of those is that it is very poor story-telling to suddenly use a major game-changing plot element without introducing it any way: people call these Deus ex Machina, and they don’t mean it as a compliment. This is just Chekhov’s Inverse Rule: if you are going to fire a gun late, then you have to show the gun early. For every reader who felt that LS’s impact was diminished by Beric, many many more would have felt that her resurrection was completely arbitrary if that gun had not been put on the wall.

      Cumsprite: I’m not sure what you mean about GM planning the story long before and knowing the main plot points. When he began writing, it was going to be a trilogy, if I recall correctly it was to end around the Red Wedding and … there wasn’t going to be any dragons.

      The latter does not disprove the former. Martin almost certainly knew the story: remember, he ascribes to the theory that stories are about people resolving internal conflicts. He almost certainly knew the general plot.

      However, there are a gazillion ways in which a story can come together, and storytellers often find that things that they thought would work initially didn’t work later, whereas things that they hadn’t considered early start screaming “I can be a major story element!”

      Plot is worse. Knowing the basic plot is like saying: “We are going to go from New York City to LA by driving to Chicago, then driving to San Francisco, and then heading south until we get LA.” OK, that is good, and really important. Now, you have to fill in the blanks with a bit more detail than that. The plot that most authors have in their head when they begin is very basic. Then, as characters evolve in their own minds (and in print), and as they begin to think of new ways to use plot elements and new plot elements to introduce, well, the route becomes more complicated.

      However, no author ever has these things fully formed in their heads. The Ring was just a magical ring when Bilbo first found it, not the One Ring; Galadriel was just some elf-queen, not a leader of the Noldorin Rebellion; Harry’s parents were initially killed because Voldemort wanted the Philosopher’s Stone, not because of a Prophecy; etc., etc.

      (Incidentally, the RW was something that evolved later; Martin realized that he had to get rid of Robb after he got rid of Ned. If Dragons were not initially planned, then they jumped in very, very early. What Martin no doubt has had in his head all along is the sort of damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t dilemmas that Dany and Jon are going to face in the end: chances are good that was the original idea all along, as that is the sort of thing that gets authors going.)

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    131. Turncloak,

      There is a difference in being able to figure it out, and having the solution broadcasted in your face minutes after it happens on screen. I definitely agree that the TV-show has given the viewers a basis for finding the solution, but I hope newspapers don’t ruin the chance of finding it out (by flaunting the solution)

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    132. The Drowned Fool,

      Much of the reaction is going to depend on how “open” the ending is. My suspicion is that the first question is going to be “is or is not X dead?” or “is X going to die from it?” Keep in mind also that they can do this with more than one of the protagonists.

      (I think it very possible that both will have the same, be it cliffhanger or rescue, with the two done in parallel.)

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    133. I’m over this entire debate. I’m for keeping her out, for JS reasons.

      I hope Darth Sansa and the Blackfish go on a mad killing spree instead.

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    134. Wimsey:

      This is just Chekhov’s Inverse Rule: if you are going to fire a gun late, then you have to show the gun early.For every reader who felt that LS’s impact was diminished by Beric, many many more would have felt that her resurrection was completely arbitrary if that gun had not been put on the wall.

      Don’t think this situation qualifies as Chekhov’s Inverse Rule. Beric’s zombification is not an example of the gun being shown, it is an example of the gun being fired. HOLY SHIT THERE’S ZOMBIES IN THIS STORY! Relatively quickly after, the gun is fired again with ZombieCat. It seems cheap.

      If Beric was supposed to be used as foreshadowing, it was massively overdone. The reader already knows magic is returning to this universe and said magic involves reanimation of the dead. Although it would not surprise me if GM views Beric as such a device: despite all the hype about breaking tropes he’s generally pretty obvious. He stopped being surprising after he chopped Ned’s head off.

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    135. Cumsprite: Beric’s zombification is not an example of the gun being shown, it is an example of the gun being fired.

      No, it’s not. That is our introduction to the idea that Red Priests can raise the dead. Beric isn’t a protagonist, nor is he even an important foil for a protagonist. We don’t see this act being done: we encounter Beric and are told what happened to him. That’s a classic gun-hanging.

      Cumsprite: If Beric was supposed to be used as foreshadowing, it was massively overdone.

      It definitely is not any kind of foreshadowing: that’s a very different concept from this. True foreshadowing is not a direct clue (“Item X has property Y”) but some (usually ironic) hint: the character who says “If X ever does admit he was wrong, then I won’t be accepting the apology” and then dies before X admits error, or the child who is told he’s like his parents but proves it in deed rather than in physical attributes. Another common foreshadowing tool is having life imitate art within a story: for example, the Red Wedding imitates the Rat Cook story much the way that the play within a play in Romeo and Juliet foreshadows that plays ending. It’s very possible that the Freys’ and Boltons’ fates will ironically mirror what happens to the Rat King. (Indeed, we’ve already seen that a little!)

      Beric is just giving us properties of some of Martin’s plot elements and foils: he shows a tool in the arsenal of at least some Red Priests is the ability to raise the dead. Having seen this in a background character, Martin now sets the stage for making this pertinent for some of the protagonists. In Chekhovian terms, the resurrection was the gun and Beric was the wall on which Martin hung that gun.

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    136. Wimsey,

      You seem to only discuss narrative in Chekhovian terms. There are other ways of looking at things, as I’m sure you are aware. I’m not saying I disagree with you, it’s just that pretty much every one of your arguments I’ve seen in the last few days or weeks has been all about the good old Chekhov’s gun. My point is, even if your whole analysis of how the gun was put on the mantle and fired is 100% flawless, that doesn’t mean, or even remotely imply, that was GRRM’s intent or his way of looking at it. Just a thought.

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    137. Wimsey,
      If Beric’s resurrection is classic gun-hanging, what about the prologue in AGOT? I suppose that’s gonna need another set of brackets over the mantel. And, come to think of it, UnCat’s resurrection happened off page just like Beric’s, didn’t it? Wait, the popping of Beric’s undead cherry was, I don’t know about all the other raisings. It’s been a good while since I read the books. So … isn’t she another gun-hanging? Regardless, I was underwhelmed with her appearance. I think I literally groaned when it happened.

      Maybe we should stop playing with guns.

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    138. Luka Nieto,

      Well, in this case it’s not random! You are correct that plot issues are only part of the issue. However, most of this conversation has been about plot: as such, one tends to focus on terms like Chekhov’s Guns, Deus Ex Machina, Plot-Holes, Red Herrings, Arbitrary, etc. It’s sort of like going to a conference about amphibians and hearing a lot more about frogs and salamanders than about other animals!

      Now, if we were talking about story or theme, then I wouldn’t bring up Chekhov’s Gun: it’s not very pertinent to either of those concepts. (Foreshadowing is, but that’s another kettle of fish altogether.) Now, we have a pretty good idea of what the themes will be in Winter and Spring: the same ones that we’ve seen in the first five stories! To this end, we might speculate on whether LSH will be pertinent to these themes. For example, could LSH be used in the uplifting bastards, dwarves and cripples [and girls] theme? Or the falseness of fairy tales theme? (I see definite possibilities there!) If there is a hoist on your own petard theme (and I can sort of see that!), then I can see definite usage there.

      Story is tougher, as it’s really hard to predict what the story will be in Winter and Dream. (Indeed, will it be two distinct stories, or one with some minor split such as Crows and Dragons had?) All of Martin’s stories revolve around protagonists working through conflicting values/feelings/goals/etc.I can envision a lot of ways where Martin could use LSH for those sorts of things (particularly for Sansa and Arya). The issue then would become, would LSH be an expedient way to do that on TV?

      Without reading Winter or Spring, I really have no idea.

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    139. Cumsprite,

      Cumsprite: So … isn’t she another gun-hanging?

      No, because this time it happened to a (now erstwhile) protagonist. Martin set up the possibility of doing it, we knew what happened when it was done, and now we’ve seen the plot device used on characters that count. (This does not mean that it won’t be used again.)

      As for the prologue of Thrones, I’d say that hung some pretty major guns on the wall. Let’s hope Martin lives to fire them.

      Cumsprite:Regardless, I was underwhelmed with her appearance. I think I literally groaned when it happened

      Ah, well, that is a completely different issue! What one likes/dislikes can be very subjective. I don’t like pizza, myself: that’s odd, but it has no bearing on the fact that approximately 6 billion other people love it: it would be pointless for me to argue that pizza is “bad” and the rest of the dimwitted bald monkeys I’m forced to share a planet with are too thick to realize this.

      And that seemingly arbitrary analogy might be relevant depending on why you didn’t like it. If you didn’t like it because you didn’t like Catelyn, well, again: that’s your taste. (I did not like the character, either, although I found her interesting.). However, if you didn’t like it because you wanted LSH’s return to be sprung on us de novo with no warning that Red Priests could do that sort of thing, then you will find yourself in a minority: you might like “curveballs” in plots, but the majority of people criticize these with terms/words such as “Deus ex Machina,” “arbitrary” or “cop-out!”

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    140. Cumsprite (Terrible name, in Australia he would be called Sprog Goblin which is miles better) seems to not follow either of your reasons for disliking LS Wimsey. I think he finds the entire idea of her resurrection lame and suggests it’s jumping the shark.

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    141. Catelyn was my favorite female character in the entire series, above Arya or Arianne. That’s why I cared a lot if she showed or not. I hoped they would bring her immediately after the Red Wedding, that would have been perfect. Anyway, it didn’t happen so I was still hoping to see her in season 4. Well, now, as much as I love Cat, I don’t want them to bring her back, it would be horrible writing.

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    142. The novels are not yet finished. Why are you all stating with certainty that LSH has very little effect on the whole story and serves no other purpose than be a mere plot device? I am still bitter about D&D leaving her out. I cannot wait ’til GRRM makes her the star of Twow and Ados.

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    143. Daphne,

      Good point. I suppose we should consider ZombieCat’s claim to the Iron Throne. Otherwise she’s just a vengeance zombie and/or something that horrifies her remaining children (assuming she ever runs into one of them). As avid readers of GM, we all know he would never, ever, put something gratuitous in his magnum opus.

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    144. Cumsprite,

      LS colliding with one of her children (or step-child) would be a crazy, traumatic, unpredictable moment for all involved, if it ever happens (probably not). I could even see LS giving her final breath of “life” for one of her dying/dead children, via a certain red priest. GRRM has given himself this macabre option, but will he ever use it? Like Wimsey often states…if ya hang a loaded gun on the wall, ya should probably consider using it.

      LS won’t happen on the show though. No opportunities for rapey moments or sexposition…

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    145. vlad: Well, now, as much as I love Cat, I don’t want them to bring her back, it would be horrible writing.

      And bringing her back much too soon would have been good writing… how exactly?

      Daphne: I am still bitter about D&D leaving her out. I cannot wait ’til GRRM makes her the star of Twow and Ados

      Although I am sure you are being somewhat tongue-in-cheek, keep in mind that LSH won’t be a protagonist anymore. Although B&W know what’s going to happen in Winter and we do not, it still comes down to what is good writing and what is not: and having a dramatic return by LSH at the end of Season 4, followed by nothing of her in Season 5 (unless they dramatically adapted from the source material) would have irked viewers. If LSH is important in the 6th story and if B&W think that keeping her is useful for adapting Martin’s story, then the time to bring her back is in Season 6 or as a cameo at the end of Season 5.

      (And if it turns out that LSH is just an expendable foil that can be more easily replaced by another character still present, then it would be bad adaptation to keep her. Conciseness counts!)

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    146. Wimsey,

      Pull yourself together, Wimsey! I was rooting for you for all that defending UnCat gun hanging vs going off against Mr. Sprite’s impudence to think her a “groaning-not-again-rolling-eyes” reaction (because gun went off already for him when Dondarrion woke out for the n-th time), for crying out loud. Now your train of logic is derailing?!

      You just told him this:

      Martin set up the possibility of doing it, we knew what happened when it was done, and now we’ve seen the plot device used on characters that count

      Cat would be the character that counts. Gun went off. Dondarrion’s coming back from the dead x-times off page is gun hanging. Didn’t I get that right? I think I did.

      And then you say this?!

      And if it turns out that LSH is just an expendable foil that can be more easily replaced by another character still present, then it would be bad adaptation to keep her.

      If she’s an expendable character (Seven help us!) then why would then Martin pull the trigger for an expandable character and not let Jon Snow for the big pull?! You better not mess it up when you explain it. I’m an UnCat supporter.

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    147. Strider,

      Hence the word “if”! I was trying to cover as many bases as I could. Quite frankly, I agree with you. However, one key possibility is that Martin won’t execute properly. Literary history is littered with examples of things that authors felt were important that editors and/or critics said: “no, it is not.”

      And, of course, there is the possibility that Martin himself has altered his ideas on what to do with her: it’s been a decade and a half, and it is quite possible that he would do this differently now. Personally, I would be surprised to learn that he did what he did at the end of Book 3 with the intention of having LSH basically be nonexistent in Book’s 4 & 5. (Of course, the fact that he thought 4+5 would just be 4 tells us something right there.)

      That written, yes, you read me correctly: that was a big firing of the R’hllor gun with LSH. And we should keep in mind the more general thing that this is all setting up: R’hllor is something real. This isn’t just some religion based on nothing: 1) these people can tap into some real power; and, 2) that real power has some weird relationship with the White Walkers and the Tree Gods (and possibly dragons) that is not trivial. In a way, this is just one weapon in an armory (to push Chekhov’s analogy still further).

      “If” is the big word: we do not know what Winter and Spring will do, and that means that we don’t know what Season 6 and beyond should do.

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    148. Then why have Thoros and Beric and show the power of resurrection in the show? Was that just filler? If you’re not going to do the resurrection thing with LS then you could have skipped that entire thing…they seem to be skipping the Greyjoys and JonCon and Aegon so why not skip Beric since the ONLY reason he’s in the books is to introduce the power of resurrection

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    149. and using Jon’s resurrection as an example of why we don’t need Stoneheart is stupid since we have no idea if he’s 1. even dead 2. if he is dead will even be resurrected and 3. Melisandra has NO IDEA how to even do it

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    150. The Loon,

      One word:

      Jon.

      Also, no one has any idea how to do it. Thoros didn’t. He said so himself. He just prayed and Beric came back. Then it happened again and again.

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    151. Are these books that good to dissect them as such?

      Do any of you have sex?

      With another person?

      Apologies in advance, Ive had a few.

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    152. The Loon: 3. Melisandra has NO IDEA how to even do it

      There is no reason to think that is true. One thing that both book & show make clear is that Mel is unusually powerful for one of her order.

      But the other thing is that we shouldn’t limit ourselves quite so much as “the power of resurrection.” In Dance, we see that priests have powers to do similar yet distinctly different things. We really couldn’t say: “Wait, George: you never told us that they could do that before! Deus ex machina! Deus ex machina!!” GRRM (and B&W) have shown us that these people wield real power: power to kill, power to save, power to turn back death.

      Perhaps, more than anything else, that is the gun we should be seeing: the power of a real deity (or something that might just as well be a deity as far as humans are concerned). Resurrection might be better thought of as just one of the bullets that this gun fires: a powerful, armor piercing, hollow-tipped, explosive, teflon-coated bullet with radioactive tracer powder, but a bullet nonetheless. For example,

      I think that this power is going to be used to save Jon before he dies, not to resurrect him. It will have the same effect on story and plot either way: but the fact that Martin initially planned to skip from Swords to Winter tells me that he intended Jon to be alive and, if not well, then functioning in Winter.

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    153. Strider,
      You’ve got quite a mouth on you, anyone ever tell you that? If the next book comes out, you’ll see. YOU’LL SEE!

      Happy Thanksgiving to all those Americans out there. To the others: sucks to be you.

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    154. Cumsprite,

      LOL You think so? I always thought I’m rather quiet and shy. Maybe it’s not me, maybe you’re just a delicate flower Mr. Sprite. Who knows….

      When the next book comes out, you’ll see. YOU’LL SEE.

      And yes, a Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it.

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    155. Now … you guys … I’m drunk as fuck and I’ll enjoy that Wimsey guy tearing Annara Snow apart any day of the week, but … take from him his ability to use the words “foil” and “gun” and he’ll be as helpless as … some famously helpless person. Just sayin’.

      Peace out.

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    156. I’m several days late with this and this is way, way, way too long. But since I already went to the trouble of typing it all out a while ago, here goes.

      I’m not fundamentally opposed to Lady Stoneheart appearing at some point. But I don’t find her to be a particularly interesting character, so I don’t have an issue with her absence. On the contrary, I’m concerned that the challenges that Game of Thrones would face in convincingly adapting her for the screen aren’t worth the potentially negative cost that establishing her could inflict on the show’s credibility with its larger audience.

      I won’t speculate too much about what will happen in TWOW, because none of us know apart from GRMM, Benioff, and Weiss. But it’s worth noting that while Game of Thrones has killed off some minor characters either sooner or under different circumstances than their counterparts in the novels, the fates of the major characters – and the methods of their demise – have generally been the same. So if Lady Stoneheart kills either Jaime or Brienne in TWOW, then it may be worth it to include her. Similarly, if she’s going to have a significant encounter with Jon or one of her children, that payoff may be enough to justify bringing her back. And if Game of Thrones is going to include her, then of course I would like her to be rendered as effectively as possible – because even if the Unsullied are theoretically on board with her return, nothing would turn them off faster than a reveal that feels (or looks) cheap. But if Jaime and Brienne both survive their encounter, and if LS never sees any of Catelyn’s children again, then her dramatic potential rapidly begins to diminish, and the chances that her resurrection will be viewed as anything more than a ploy for shock value diminish with them. At that point, I don’t think that the game is worth the candle.

      I’ll concede that much of my indifference towards Lady Stoneheart in all forms derives from personal preference. It’s widely accepted that A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones subvert both the tropes of the fantasy genre and the conventions that people associate with narrative fiction. Even when those tropes are present, both Martin and the showrunners typically disguised them well enough – at least at the beginning – that people who generally aren’t fans of magic, prophecy, and the like didn’t recognize and object to their presence until they were already invested in the characters and the world. I love the fantasy genre in general, so I have no problems with magic or the prospect of a true central “hero” eventually overcoming the adversity that he or she faces and claiming victory. Nevertheless, this relatively unconventional approach is a great part of the series’ appeal and I’m quite interested when beloved characters fall, nominally “evil” characters reveal themselves to be far more complicated, or a new game-changing power arrives on the scene.

      However, there is one idea that I’ve personally never enjoyed seeing stories subvert – whether they’re classified under the fantasy genre or more superficially grounded in the real world: The significant weight, the enduring consequences, and – most importantly – the absolute finality of death.

      For a series that has derived so much of its success from the idea that any character can die at any time, I tend to value this principle even more – even if the possibility of resurrection is part of the established canon. Once a particular storyteller has established that death is a significant, impactful, and irreversible event both for the deceased character and the people who are affected by their passing, then I really don’t want to see that character brought back. When I first read the epilogue of ASOS and saw what the woman once known as Catelyn Stark had become, I was certainly surprised – so the reveal was dramatic and effective, as per Martin’s intention. But once I got over the immediate shock, my overall reaction was far less positive. Catelyn Stark’s death had been one of the most memorable and iconic moments that I had read in a long time – and a few hundred pages later, it had been undone. I did appreciate how clear Martin made it that Catelyn had been permanently and drastically altered by her experience to the point where she was fundamentally a different character (Had Catelyn simply come back as Catelyn, I would have found her resurrection to be unequivocally cheap and sour). The promise of something different was encouraging, and I was willing to see where Martin took it. Unfortunately, Lady Stoneheart’s subsequent encounter with Brienne in AFFC and the promise of her return in TWOW have done little to alter my initial opinion.

      I don’t see Lady Stoneheart as a cheer-worthy avatar of Stark vengeance, or as an empowered woman finally seizing control after watching her life fall into ruin thanks the callous whims and ignorance of the men surrounding her. I see her as a broken vessel who has been stripped of pretty much everything that made her human and filled that empty space with a single-minded, uncompromising purpose. Is that terrifying and tragic? Is she symbolic of the enduring horror of the Red Wedding? Yes. Is she a morally complex and compelling character at this point in her existence? I don’t feel that way. There’s a reason that she’s no longer a POV character – I’m afraid that her thoughts would not afford us a very informative and insightful perspective on the world. Her dramatic potential is limited to the threat that she poses to other characters. That doesn’t mean that I think that she’s “a stupid zombie”, but I tend to equate her more with a force of nature – a terrible and unnatural reaction to a terrible and unnatural crime. That’s a thematically cool and interesting dynamic to play with, of course, but the relationship between such a force and the characters cross its path isn’t a reciprocal one. A raging storm doesn’t have to contend with moral nuance or the consequences of the chaos it brings. It just exists – and kills those who are unstable to withstand it.

      Given that she’s still technically human, Lady Stoneheart has more potential to engage with the targets of her wrath. But it’s primarily the other characters that are going to change in response to her, and I can’t think of anyone that she can kill – from Walder Frey on down – who will spark my interest in her rather than her victims. I’ll be more interested to see what happens when she meets someone who she doesn’t immediately want to string up. If that interaction never takes place? Then we’re just marking time until someone puts her out of her miserable half-existence for good.

      Then there’s the Jon Snow issue. Given my previously expressed aversion to resurrections, I wasn’t a huge fan of this twist when I read ADWD. But unlike LS, I can see the greater plan here – and that helps. If Jon’s presumed death is a critical moment that will fundamentally shape the story, then obviously it needs to happen. And if his backstory and his potential role in coming events are so important to the overall story that his resurrection is necessary to provide us narrative and thematic closure, then I’m fine with him being brought back to life. But as with any character death, I still think that it’s important for the storyteller to take great pains to establish that this was a critically significant moment and that the character’s resurrection is equally significant – not just temporary kindling for shock value. For both the death and the resurrection to be worth the significant expenditure that they inflict on the audience’s emotional capital, that the audience needs to appreciate just how rare and special this character’s return from the great and unknowable darkness is. That’s a lot of dramatic weight to invest into a single card, so it needs to be played at the precise moment when it will have the greatest impact. And if the show is going to play that game-changing card, then I really think that it can and should only play it once.

      If Lady Stoneheart is revived first, Jon will become the second ‘major’ character to return from the dead after we saw them cut down on screen in brutal and shocking fashion. (Note: I don’t really count Beric Dondarrion against that tally because he died so quickly after we met him, and once he did, he was resurrected within two minutes. His ability to return from the dead is basically a quirky character feature. We knew Catelyn Stark as a living woman for a long time before she was killed, witnessed her murder in horrifically explicit detail, and then had to cope with her death for a much longer period before she suddenly returned). Once you establish that more than one character can come back from the grave, it really doesn’t matter if the show lays down explicit rules for why other characters can or can’t be resurrected. People are going to start questioning why this person can come back but not that one, and they’ll be within their rights to do so, because the rules governing that process are obviously fictional and therefore a bit arbitrary, no matter what mumbo-jumbo is refashioned into expositional dialogue. If the audience starts viewing each character death with a skeptical and increasingly cynical eye – wondering if that death is going to be undone later and if not why not – then their trust has been broken. Once that happens, then the show is in trouble.

      “She don’t speak … but she remembers” was a great way to introduce Lady Stoneheart, but it’s not sufficient to sustain her as a character, and so far she feels like a regressive element in the story – at least to me. That’s not to say that she won’t in the future, but prose and television are two very different mediums, and what works in one doesn’t always translate well to the other. Game of Thrones is its own entity, and it shouldn’t have to take on that baggage unless it knows that the payoff will ultimately be worth it.

      Whether or not Lady Stoneheart ever appears, I trust that Benioff and Weiss have thought long and hard about this issue, and that they didn’t come to their decision lightly. Ultimately, that’s all that I can ask.

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    157. Westernhagen:
      Now … you guys … I’m drunk as fuck and I’ll enjoy that Wimsey guy tearing Annara Snow apart any day of the week, but …

      I’m so sad you don’t get your enjoyment and only live in futile hope of it. Better luck next time? 🙂

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    158. ctid,

      I’ll oblige. 😉

      1. The fates and general arcs of most major characters have generally been the same in the books and the show, so if Lady Stoneheart is going to have a critical and irreversible impact on one of them (e.g. she kills Jaime or Brienne), then maybe it’s worth it to include her. So far, however, she hasn’t done anything that significant, and I’m skeptical that she will.

      2. Personally, I never cared for LS in the books because I don’t enjoy it when stories (overt fantasy or not) subvert the significant weight and absolute finality of death. This is particularly true when the death in question was as horrifically detailed and memorable as Catelyn’s was. Nothing I’ve seen from her so far has been sufficient to overcome that initial resistance on my part.

      3. I don’t see LS as an empowering symbol of Stark retribution for the Red Wedding. I see her more as a tragic symbol – a terrible and unnatural response to a terrible and unnatural crime. I find that thematically interesting, but a bit dramatically inert because I don’t see how the character herself is ever going to change.

      4. Jon Snow’s presumed death in ADWD and his likely resurrection in TWOW is a solid reason to exclude LS from the TV show. Game of Thrones has derived a lot of its cultural weight from the idea that any character can die at any time. Once a major character returns from the dead, that particular seal of trust will be broken with the audience – most of whom have not read the books. Characters returning from the dead may be established in the canon of ASOIAF, but if Game of Thrones is going to cross that line, I really think that they should only do it once (Beric is a minor character in the grand scheme of things, and he came back so quickly that his death never really registered).

      5. Game of Thrones is its own entity at this point, and quite a successful one. Benioff and Weiss shouldn’t feel obligated to bring Lady Stoneheart into the story unless they’re certain that the payoff will be worth it. Whatever decision that they made, I’m certain that they didn’t arrive at it lightly.

      In retrospect, this probably would have been sufficient. 🙂

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    159. Jared: “She don’t speak … but she remembers” was a great way to introduce Lady Stoneheart, but it’s not sufficient to sustain her as a character

      I think that this is part of the key. One difference between LSH & CTS is that the latter was a protagonist and the former has not been one so far. (We don’t know what Winter holds, but I’d be surprised to see LSH step back up to protagonist roll).

      Regardless of what happens to Jon (and I am in the

      he’s not dead but gravely wounded camp, and that Mel’s prayer/magic will “merely” save him from mortal wounds, not bring him back from death: simply because Martin initially didn’t plan to fill in the gap between Swords and Winter/Spring!

      ), he almost certainly will remain one of the primary protagonists. (If you think about it, then only Dany eclipses Jon, and not by much.) The big difference is going to be that he’s going to incur a debt because of this. (And, again, I would emphasize that Martin has set up parallels between Dany’s and Jon’s plot arcs: we should not be surprised if there is some strong parallel between what this means for Jon as for what Dany’s circumstances will mean for her.)

      In the end, it comes back to the fundamental rules of adapting and storytelling: if they are going to introduce LSH, then they need to do so once she is relevant; that will be Winter at the earliest. Contrary to what some people think, it won’t be “too late” then; also contrary to what others seem to think, LSH was not important in Crows or Dragons. And contrary to what still others think, it’s not guaranteed that Martin has something in mind for LSH that merits the page -> screen adaptation.

      But, on the whole, I agree with what you wrote (Martinesque though it was! 🙂 ) In particular, I think that people have limited been too caught up in thinking about LSH as a plot device (“revenge zombie!”), and not as a storytelling device. LSH isn’t going to be a protagonist, so she’s going to present issues for someone that is. OK, she’s doing that for Brienne and Jaime, but those are both secondary protagonists. If she’s going to have big payoff, then she has to have an impact on one of the major protagonists: and as she’s not too relevant to Jon and irrelevant to Dany, that means that she’s got to somehow affect Tyrions’, Sansa’s and/or Arya’s choices. If she doesn’t, then I would recommend just cutting her.

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    160. Wimsey,

      But, on the whole, I agree with what you wrote (Martinesque though it was!)

      Thanks! I’ve really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this topic as well. Unfortunately, excessive verbosity is an tendency that I share with George when it comes to long-form writing (A bit strange, since I tend to be quite reserved in spoken discourse). Why use one sentence when a long paragraph – or several – will do? Unlike George, however, I live in fear of editors, so I’ve broken myself of that habit in professional settings. But every so often in ostensibly casual discussions like this one, it will rear its head.

      To be sure, I didn’t bang that whole fiendishly long screed out all in one sitting. It started out as a response to someone on a different forum who went on a long rant about how the exclusion of LS was definitive proof that D&D were history’s worst monsters. After that person disappeared (or maybe they were banned), I tabled it. Then I revised it a bit when I encountered someone else who was less vitriolic but just as verbose about why they were so upset. I never actually posted that response, though, so it just sat on my computer for a while. When I saw this topic, I figured what the hell – this is as good a forum as any to air such thoughts. I’m just glad that I can delete the file now, to be honest 🙂

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    161. Jared: how the exclusion of LS was definitive proof that D&D were history’s worst monsters

      sigh. I thought that it was definitively settle that Peter Jackson is history’s worst monster for leaving out Tom Bombadil. (Unless you subscribe to the “Alfonso Cuaron is history’s worst monster for leaving out the Quidditch Cup championship” school or the “Stephen Moffat is history’s worst monster for not including all of the living Doctors in the 50th anniversary special” school or the “George Lucas is history’s worst monster for making Phantom Menace” school….)

      (And as for Martinesque posts, well, I’m one to write, aren’t I….)

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    162. Wimsey,

      Truly, there is no faster way to be inducted into the Noble Order of History’s Worst Monsters – and earn the Eternal Internet Infamy that comes with such an honor – than to write or direct an adaptation of a beloved story and leave out someone’s favorite character. Unless, of course, you make a long-awaited prequel/sequel that fails to live up to someone’s expectations and tramples on the nostalgia that he or she feels for the original work. Then all bets are off.

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    163. Jared,

      Indeed, it’s remarkable that Amnesty International doesn’t get involved. “Oh, sure, every day, the military tyrants, economic despots and religious fanatics keep hundreds of millions living in fear, squalor and misery: but did you know that, even now, even in your own neighborhood, some poor fanboy is being forced to endure an adaptation that (pause for dramatic effect)…. (sinister tone) altered the source material. ”

      Now, all we need to do is get Bob Dylan to write a protest song about how bad adapting original material is: nobody would find that at all hypocritical, would they?

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    164. Do not suppose that PJs decision to leave out TB made him the worst monster. It was his refusal to accept Goldberry and her ginger minge as the rightful ruler of Middle Earth that decided his fate as the ultimate tool bag.

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    165. Jared,

      This is truly a thing of beauty, Jared. Well said and I didn’t find it verbose at all. If you’re the Jared I think I’ve read on Westeros.org, I wish you’d post it there, too.

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    166. Interesting article, great debate and comments.

      I wish there was a way of filtering out drunk/crude comments. Booooring and unfunny.

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    167. I’ve been saying this since the WiC days of ol’: In D&D I trust! Ok, so first post and probably a lot too late on this article, as i just discovered that this is where the fun went when WiC (which i think is “they, who shall not be named?”) was bought out – can’t blame the runners, glad they profited off of something they love!!

      But to the article and to some points made finally in this opinion piece,

      LS devalues and deflates Jon’s stabbing at the end of ADWD because in the back of your head you know the Red God is there with Melisandre and you know that resurrection is possible. I think leaving it happening with a minor character like Beric from a few seasons ago and not having the possibility of resurrection even in the viewer’s mind for a few season’s will make Jon’s rebirth all the more awesome because at the early part of season 6 when Jon is stabbed will make his rebirth all the more impacting to the show viewer. Remember the show and book are different and also LS is yes an awesome hell yeah moment but also not important to the story. Freys will hang at someone’s hand and it will still be awesome! But don’t be surprised if mentions of her off-screen actions do happen even and then she is revealed AFTER Jon’s hopeful rebirth.

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    168. I’m mortified that the writer of the above article would compare the omission of LS on par with the omission of Weese. Many of us were heavily invested in Catelyn. Many of us identified with her character as mother and wife and how badly she mucked up everything, though her intentions were sincere. IMHO her story arc is still critical, not just for Brienne. I hope I get to see LS, cold as she is now, vindicate herself when she gives the kiss of life to JS, the baby she so desperately wanted dead years ago.

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    169. Lady Stoneheart’s role will be taken over by Jon Stargaryenheart, once he heads south with his army to retake Winterfell and find what’s in his mother’s crypt.

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    170. “As such, she can be replaced by people that viewers have invested more heavily in.”

      Yeah. You know, like Catelyn Stark. Oh wait…

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    171. 100% in agreement. Cat was a stone-cold bitch who trusted the wrong people and impulsively acted against the interests of her family. Additionally, as the OP points out, there’s nothing left of her in LSH but blind revenge & her main purpose in the books is to catalyze Brienne towards betraying her own values. I feel like leaving LSH out was one of the better decisions made in the tv show.

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