'Game of Thrones' Season 8 May Scare Us With Lady Stoneheart From the Books

One big way the Game of Thrones HBO show deviates from the books written by George R.R. Martin has everything to do with Catelyn Stark. The family matriarch fell victim to the Freys during the Red Wedding, but in the books she was resurrected as a vengeful zombie called Lady Stoneheart. Now, fans think Game of Thrones Season 8 could find a way to give Lady Stoneheart the screen time she deserves during the Great Battle of Winterfell.

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In Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Brotherhood Without Banners discover Catelyn’s corpse after Nymeria (Arya’s direwolf) drags it out of the river the Frey’s dumped her in. Beric Dondarrion essentially trades his life for hers, but because Catelyn is partially decomposed, her mind isn’t all there. She becomes a vengeful, waterlogged zombie that can barely even speak on account of her throat being slit, and she ruthlessly leads the Brotherhood Without Banners to murder anybody associated with the Freys or the Lannisters. She even tries to have Brienne and Podrick killed.

Game of Thrones Lady Stoneheart
Fan art of Lady Stoneheart by zippo514

In “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” pretty much every major character had a line about how the crypts were the safest place in Winterfell — which only leads everyone to assume that’s not the case. Game of Thrones has primed us all to always expect the worst case scenario, and Ned Stark’s decomposed, headless body rising from the grave to rip apart the women and children hiding down there definitely qualifies.

Map: Here’s where all your favorite characters will be during the Great Battle of Winterfell.

Lots of fans are talking about how the Winterfell crypts are actually super-dangerous, so Game of Thones seems primed to finally debut a zombie like Lady Stoneheart.

One redditor has pointed out that in the books, Jon Snow dreams that “the dead kings [of Winterfell] came stumbling from their cold black graves.” We’ve seen wights that are pretty much just walking skeletons, so it doesn’t seem beyond the Night King’s power to resurrect the dead bodies of Ned Stark and even older bodies of dead Starks.

In the Game of Thrones Season 8 trailer, it looks like Arya is injured and running from something in the crypts — and she looks terrified. Not much phases her these days, but seeing one of her dead parents could do it.

There’s also one shot from the Episode 3 teaser in which Beric and the Hound are indoors. Why would they be moving cautiously with weapons drawn indoors if the battle is at the gates? It sure seems like they’re under attack from something inside of Winterfell.

Game of Thrones Red Wedding Catelyn
Catelyn Stark shortly before her untimely death.

Since most Starks are buried in the crypts, it’s easy to assume that Catelyn might be among them, however, based on sparse details from the aftermath of the Red Wedding, Catelyn’s body was unceremoniously tossed from the battlements of the Twins into the Trident’s Green Fork, and her body would have flowed southeast from there. If she’d crossed paths with the Brotherhood on the show, we’d probably know by now. It’s far more likely that her body was ravaged by the local wildlife.

If Lady Stoneheart does somehow show up as the Night King’s wight, it probably won’t be in Episode 3. It’d have to be later this season, if/when the Night King makes it further south.

When Entertainment Weekly asked Game of THrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss in 2015 about Lady Stoneheart appearing on the show, their non-answer was to say that people should see the whole series before they start “whinging” (as the Hound would say).

“People will complain about things because they don’t know what’s coming up ahead,” Benioff said. 

Is that some kind of hint that it still might happen? Not likely, but zombie-lovers can dream.

Game of Thrones Season 8 airs Sundays on HBO at 9 p.m. Eastern.