HBO’s Game of Thrones boasted more than its fair share of shocking and heartbreaking moments over the course of its eight seasons. However, few of Thrones’ twists were quite as devastating as The Red Wedding, the series’ Season 3 massacre that forced viewers to say goodbye to several major characters prematurely. The iconic sequence was the last time fans ever got to see Robb and Catelyn Stark on Thrones, but that wasn’t the case with author George R. R. Martin’s original books.
Martin famously brought the character of Catelyn Stark back to life in the final chapter of the same book in which he killed her, and some fans believe that the character (known post-resurrection as “Lady Stoneheart”) will play a major role in Martin’s highly-anticipated next Song of Ice and Fire novel, The Winds of Winter.
The Theory — Some Game of Thrones fans believe The Winds of Winter will see Lady Stoneheart willingly sacrificing herself to resurrect Jon Snow. The latter character was killed by the Night’s Watch mutineers in Martin’s most recent Song of Ice and Fire book, A Dance with Dragons.
Unlike Game of Thrones, Martin has yet to resolve the mystery of Jon’s death or reveal how he’s brought back to life. It’s one of the biggest questions fans are looking forward to having answered whenever Winds of Winter is released, and the possibility of it being Lady Stoneheart who brings him back is one worth considering.
Catelyn Stark Comes Full Circle — Jon Snow’s death was one of the biggest moments in Game of Thrones, and fans spent the whole year in between the show’s fifth and sixth seasons speculating about whether or not he’d be resurrected. They got their answer in the second episode of Thrones’ sixth season, which concluded with Jon coming back to life thanks to the efforts of Stannis’ former advisor, Melisandre.
While it’s possible that Melisandre will be the one who brings Jon back in Winds of Winter as well, there are a few other characters who could fulfill that role in the book. Lady Stoneheart might be the most interesting choice of all.
Catelyn Stark had a notoriously bad relationship with Jon, both in Martin’s books and Game of Thrones. Angry that her husband Ned had (supposedly) fathered a bastard son, Catelyn endlessly mistreated Jon throughout his formative years. It’s a mistake that she never manages to rectify before her death in the Red Wedding either.
But Catelyn is technically still alive in the books, which means there’s still the chance that she could heal the pain she’d caused Jon for so many years. By transferring over her second life to Jon, she could quite literally do just that. It’s not the only role she could play in Winds of Winter, but it’s certainly one of the most compelling possibilities.
The Inverse Analysis — There are a few reasons why this theory might not come to fruition in The Winds of Winter. The first and biggest is that Lady Stoneheart is pretty far from The Wall the last time she’s seen in Martin’s books, which means the author will have to explain and come up with a reason for her to travel that far up north. That doesn’t totally disqualify the theory, especially if Jon does end up spending a large portion of Winds of Winter inhabiting the body of his direwolf, as many fans believe he might.
Lady Stoneheart isn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, a sentimental character either. She’s vengeful and unforgiving, so the chances of her being so moved by Jon’s death that she sacrifices herself for him feel slim. It’s not impossible, but her current personality doesn’t indicate she’s capable of something like that right now.
One thing for certain is that Lady Stoneheart will have a major role to play in The Winds of Winter. George R. R. Martin wouldn’t have publicly said that he wished the character was in Game of Thrones if that wasn’t the case. For now, though, fans will just have to wait to see how exactly her story in Winds of Winter plays out.
The Winds of Winter will be released whenever George R. R. Martin finishes it.