One of the most talked about characters in the universe of A Song of Ice and Fire – the novel series by George R R Martin that critically-acclaimed fantasy series Game of Thrones is based on – is Lady Stoneheart.
She’s somebody that we thought for years would be coming to television screens across the globe, but a woman we now know will be reserved for those fans who take the time out to read what’s on offer so far in the books (and are patient enough in waiting for Martin to finish the series).
Stoneheart is, of course, the resurrected Catelyn Stark, who was murdered by the Freys and Boltons on the orders of House Lannister at what has been famously called the Red Wedding. However, how much do you really know about the mysterious character?
It's time to discover her secrets, as we explore yjr 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Game Of Thrones' Lady Stoneheart.
15 She was resurrected by the Brotherhood Without Banners
Following the death of Catelyn Stark at the infamous Red Wedding, Catelyn’s naked body was thrown into the river before being found by Arya Stark’s former direwolf, Nymeria.
Pulling her out of the water, Nymeria left the corpse to be found by the Brotherhood Without Banners. However, when Thoros refuses the pleas of Hawin, the former Master of Horses at Winterfell, to revive her because she'd been dead for too long, it was left up to Beric Dondarrion to bring her back to life.
Thinking that he would have to exchange his own life for hers through a process known as “the last kiss of R’hllor." Thus Lady Stoneheart was born, as the flame of life was passed on from Beric to Catelyn.
14 She hangs Brienne and Podrick in the books…
When Brienne of Tarth-- along with Podrick Payne and their party-- come across the Brotherhood Without Banners in A Feast For Crows, Stoneheart notices that Brienne is carrying Jaime Lannister’s former sword, Oathkeeper, forged from Ned Stark’s Valyrian steel blade following his execution.
Jumping to the conclusion that Brienne has turned against the Stark family and is now working for the Lannisters, Stoneheart labels her a traitor and immediately sentences both Brienne and Podrick to death.
Brienne promises that she is still faithful to Catelyn and her cause, but Stoneheart wants proof. She forces her former friend to choose between the “sword or noose.” When Brienne lets her twisted past with Jaime get the better of her, Stoneheart believes that she’s seen enough and allows the Brotherhood to go ahead with the hanging. However…
13 But a single word from Brienne saves both their lives
Upon being hanged, Brienne finally makes her choice, screaming out “sword” before she is cut down, along with Podrick, right before the life is choked from them both.
This was something that was confirmed by George R R Martin at Miscon 2012, where the author read a few of chapters from the upcoming novel in the Song of Ice & Fire series, The Winds of Winter.
Not only confirming the word that Brienne shouted out, he said that the decision was made by the talented fighter not only to save herself, but to save the life of the innocent Podrick Payne. Brienne has always been a hero in the show, but this scene really does cement her as one of the kindest characters that the series has seen.
12 There are a number of interesting theories on why she was resurrected
When the shocking twist of Catelyn’s resurrection comes, many are left reeling from what this may mean for the story. When readers were able to pick their jaws up off the floor, they managed to come up with a variety of plausible theories about why Catelyn was brought back to life as Lady Stoneheart.
The theory that holds the most weight is that she plays a huge part in the Lord of Light’s plans for their followers, as the Last Kiss which Beric used to revive her doesn’t work on everybody. However, some believe that, when Bran fully masters his abilities in the novel series, he will be able to speak directly to Catelyn and encourage her to stop taking reckless vengeance against those she would deem her enemies.
In this theory, he’d be the one to break through to her, forcing her to realize that Robb Stark is never coming back. Stoneheart would then cease to exist and Catelyn Stark would finally be allowed to rest in peace.
11 She became the leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners
After losing her seat as the Lady of Winterfell upon her death, Catelyn, now under her new mantle of Lady Stoneheart, became the Outlaw leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners.
Assuming the position following her resurrection, she instantly becomes a more vengeful and far less forgiving character than she had been in the past. With a desire to take revenge against all those who had caused her or her family anguish, she’s less gracious than ever before.
Catelyn was never one of the most forgiving people – she harbored a hatred for Jon Snow more than anybody – but she was always a good person at her core, with family values at the heart of everything she did. Now, whilst family is still her number one priority, her goals and ambitions are widely skewed.
10 She has a variety of different titles
With both Catelyn Stark and Lady Stoneheart titles that we now know her by (or at least used to know her by), we must remember that there are various other names that the resurrected character takes on. Aside from the obvious Cat, she’s also known as The Silent Sister, Mother Merciless and The Hangwoman.
The latter title is obviously synonymous with her affinity for hanging those she deems an enemy, while Mother Merciless is self-explanatory – she’s a woman who won’t take mercy on those who are affiliated with her enemies.
The Silent Sister, meanwhile, is a reference to her condition; she rarely speaks due her throat, which was slit at the Red Wedding. Whatever you want to call her, one thing’s for sure-- this isn’t a woman who you would want to get on the wrong side of.
9 She doesn’t look like Catelyn Stark any more
With flesh that is soft and described as being the color of curdled milk thanks to her submergence in water for so many days, Catelyn Stark is completely unrecognizable as Lady Stoneheart.
This isn’t the same woman that both Eddard Stark and Petyr "Littlefinger" Baylish fell in love with. In fact, with half of her hair missing and the rest of her being white and brittle, she’s somebody who’s now forced to wear her scars with pride.
Her face is torn with self-inflicted scratch marks which she caused upon hearing about the destruction of her son’s army, and the slit in her throat is still a massively prominent feature. For those who aren’t aware of how Catelyn’s former life or how it was taken, she’s a completely different personal altogether.
8 She even has trouble speaking thanks to her injuries
As we’ve mentioned, Lady Stoneheart is somebody who still suffers a lot due to the injuries that were inflicted during the Red Wedding. The worst of those injuries is, of course, the deep slit to her throat, and it’s still something that affects her even after her resurrection.
Because of the severity of the cut, Stoneheart has some trouble speaking with those around her, and even has to hold her hand to her neck in order to be understood by her companions.
Thankfully, Stoneheart is a character who can convey emotion with just a look, and as George R R Martin writes in A Storm of Swords, she’s able to show her hatred for Merrett Frey, aka Merrett Muttonhead, just by glaring at him before his execution…
7 She wants to execute all those who support her enemies
Touched upon earlier, Lady Stoneheart is a woman who seeks vengeance for the Stark family betrayal-- this is at the center of all she does. If you even so much as breathe the words "Frey," "Bolton," or "Lannister" in a positive light anywhere near her, she’ll see it as enough cause to wipe you from the earth.
Her preferred method of execution is, of course, hanging, but as long as the bodies of her enemies are cold and she's able to dump them when she’s finished with them, she sees any execution as a job well done.
Unwilling to listen to reason, it’s easy to understand why so many around her would be nervous in her presence, but the Brotherhood plough on, loyal to their new leader and ready to fight to the death alongside her.
6 She’s already hanged a number of those who oppose her
Merrett Frey isn’t the only person Lady Stoneheart has managed to take revenge against. In fact, there are a number of people affiliated with the Freys, Boltons, and Lannisters that she’s executed in the past.
The first of her executions in the books was that of Walder Frey’s great grandson Petyr Frey. When the Brotherhood capture him, they demand a hundred dragons in exchange for his release.
Merrett Frey is the one who arrives to deliver that ransom, but Petyr has already been hanged by the time he makes it to Oldstones where the Brotherhood and Stoneheart reside. Merrett joins him, with a noose soon added around his neck.
It’s later implied in A Feast For Crows that Stoneheart has hanged Walder Frey’s grandson Ryman Frey, along with the three knights out of the 12 men that accompanied him.
5 She won’t be coming to the television series
Author George R. R. Martin has also confirmed that Lady Stoneheart will definitely not be coming to HBO's television series Game of Thrones.
The news came a little earlier this year. For those who hadn’t already come to the conclusion that it was too late to bring Catelyn back from the dead, Martin detailed how he had one of his biggest disagreements with showrunners on the series when it came to the inclusion – or lack of – Lady Stoneheart.
“I think one of the biggest ones [arguments] would probably be when they made the decision not to bring Catelyn Stark back as Lady Stoneheart,” he explained. “That was probably the first major diversion of the show from the books and you know, I argued against that.”
4 But there are theories that Sansa or Arya could take her place
In the novels, Stoneheart and the Brotherhood’s main ambition is to completely eradicate House Frey. Those who are up to date with the Game of Thrones TV show will now know that this is a task that’s fallen to Arya Stark, following her training as “no one."
While we don’t exactly know where Stoneheart’s journey will take her in the future of the book series, as George R R Martin has yet to finish writing, we find it unlikely that she would have been able to execute a plan such as Arya’s so brilliantly. Still, there are theories that suggest Arya and even Sansa have taken on the role of which Stoneheart would have played if she made it onto the small screen.
Of course, the most obvious character to have taken on all that Lady Stoneheart would have done is Lord Beric Dondarrion. Having passed the flame of life to Stoneheart in the novels, he’s done no such thing in the television series.
3 HBO and Game of Thrones stars have no trouble trolling Stoneheart fans
Though she’s now removed the post from her Instagram account, Game of Thrones actress Lena Headey – who plays Cersei Lannister – trolled fans when she posted a picture of a heart made out of stones. Though she’s since claimed it was a coincidence and something she found in Palm Springs when she was drunk, the timing seems a little too perfect…
Then, as episode titles were revealed for season 5, eagle-eyed fans spotted one that looked like it could mark Catelyn’s return. "Mother’s Mercy" was the name of season 5’s penultimate episode, and as we know, is one of Stoneheart’s monikers. It was too similar to be a red herring, surely? Nope. HBO trolled us all again. This was in fact the episode where Cersei took the dreaded Walk of Shame.
A year later, during the airing of season 6, actor Jóhannes Haukur, who plays Lem, tweeted that he couldn’t say whether or not “that b---h” (how rude) turned up. Many thought he wouldn’t tweet about Stoneheart at all if she wasn’t coming. Once again, we were all let down.
Still, at least now we know for sure that Stoneheart won’t be making an appearance on TV in the future.
2 There are rumors that she’s Lord Beric’s lover
Speaking with Brienne of Tarth, Ser Hyle Hunt allowed readers in on a little secret – there was chatter of Lady Stoneheart enjoying a romance with Lord Beric Dondarrion.
“And there’s this other band, led by this woman Stoneheart…” he explains. “Lord Beric’s lover, according to one tale. Supposedly she was hanged by the Freys, but Dondarrion kissed her and brought her back to life, and now she cannot die, no more than he.”
Unfortunately, this rumor would prove to be untrue, as Beric had to give his life to save Catelyn from permanent death. Exchanging the flame of life from his body into hers and encountering his final death in the Riverlands, Stoneheart never had the chance to enjoy a romance with the former Brotherhood Without Banners leader.
Though, it's obvious that she’s got more pressing matters on her mind anyway…
1 She’s a morally ambiguous character
Let’s face it, in the world of A Song if Ice and Fire, we cannot think of a single character who is purely good or evil. That’s part of why we love the show so much; it echoes real life.
When it comes to Lady Stoneheart, however, she is perhaps the most morally ambiguous character on offer. Though we wish to root for her and cheer her on in her quest to eradicate the world of Freys, Boltons, and Lannisters, she makes some strange decisions, such as nearly killing Brienne and Podrick.
She also refuses to hear how those associated with the various families she hates may be innocent to their relations’ actions. They cannot choose the family they’re born into, after all. Obviously, Brienne sees Stoneheart as a villain and a shadow of the woman she knew in Catelyn, but when it comes down to judging her actions, a final decision is reserved for each individual reader.
What do you make of Lady Stoneheart? Should she have been included in the Game of Thrones TV series? Let us know in the comments!