The "Game of Thrones" Season 4 finale, "The Children," lived up to fans' expectations, and readers of the "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels have not stopped talking about a major change from the books. In the epilogue of "A Storm of Swords," Lady Stoneheart appears, and she was expected to show up at the end of "The Children," but the HBO series creators had other plans.
WARNING: Major "Game of Thrones" Season 4 spoilers and "A Song of Ice and Fire" discussion. Do not continue if you want to be surprised for "Game of Thrones" Season 5 and beyond.
So, what happened to Lady Stoneheart? Even though "Game of Thrones" series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss changed many storylines throughout Season 4, I thought the return of Catelyn Stark would easily find a place in "The Children." After the fight between the Hound and Brienne, there is no real conclusion for the Lady of Tarth and Pod. The duo now know that Arya is alive, but they are left with their hands up in the air after letting her escape. I thought it would make sense if, after the fight, Brienne and Pod are captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners and the final scene could lead to the unveil of Lady Stoneheart.
Many fans would know she is the revived Catelyn, since the series would not make her completely unrecognizable, and fans would talk about what's next for Lady Stoneheart in "Game of Thrones" Season 5.
Of course, fantasy booking aside, that did not happen in "The Children," which leads to many questions about the character. Aside from all the deaths in "Game of Thrones" Season 4, the biggest takeaway from the show had to be the willingness to deviate from the source material. Benioff and Weiss have gone beyond what happens in the books, the White Walker scene from "Oathkeeper," streamlined several storylines and even cut Coldhands.
In the "A Song of Ice and Fire" books, the resurrected Catelyn is all about avenging those who have wronged the Starks and were involved in the Red Wedding. In "A Feast for Crows," Lady Stoneheart captures Brienne, puts her on trial and finds her guilty of treason.
The storyline is in its infancy and does not make an appearance in "A Dance With Dragons," but Benioff and Weiss would not need to worry about that as a quick introduction would have sufficed for the end of "The Children" while setting up "Game of Thrones" Season 5.
Lady Stoneheart could still be introduced in Season 5, as there is not much for Brienne to do, but is it possible Benioff and Weiss cut the character entirely? The popular Coldhands was cut from Season 4 and his role as a guide was given to Sam and, later, Bran's vision.
For some, such as Entertainment Weekly writer James Hibberd, the exclusion of Lady Stoneheart may be a good thing. Her storyline may push "Game of Thrones" too much into the realm of fantasy, eliminating the drama and realism that has made the series such a hit with fans. Lady Stoneheart also changes the character of Catelyn Stark, notes Hibbard, which could be a distraction for fans.
Considering Benioff, Weiss and George R.R. Martin have discussed how "A Song of Ice and Fire" ends, or at least a rough sketch of where the series is headed, and Lady Stoneheart must have been one of the topics they discussed. If there was no clear direction for the character, could Benioff and Weiss have decided to eliminate her entirely? That would mean more changes for Brienne's storyline, but the show has already streamlined her story effectively in "Game of Thrones" Season 4.
Naturally, that could all change if Lady Stoneheart appears in Season 5. "The Children" had to cover a lot of ground, and there were more than enough moments to sustain the episode. The final shot of Arya on the ship to Braavos was a great way to close out the season. Season 5 will be interesting as Benioff and Weiss can pull from "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance With Dragons." There are also a lot of new characters, so introducing the resurrected Catelyn could be a good way to add some familiarity while adding a shocking element early in the season.
What do you think? Should Lady Stoneheart appear in "Game of Thrones?" Vote below!