Theories that are dead may never die, and Game of Thrones fans will cling to some possibilities long after the show passes them by. One such fan is none other than George R.R. Martin himself, who thinks HBO erred in leaving out Catelyn Stark’s famously stone-hearted return.

Even among casual fans, you’ve likely heard of Catelyn Stark’s post-Red Wedding fate as the vengeful and zombified “Lady Stoneheart,” who came to lead the Brotherhood Without Banners, and intersected with multiple characters in the book. HBO’s adaptation made reasonably clear by Season 4 that they had no interest in returning to Catelyn Stark and her undead quest for vengeance, and Season 6 cemented as much with the Brotherhood’s return, sans Stoneheart.

It’s an understandable omission (especially one that could have undercut the surprise of Jon Snow’s resurrection), but author George R.R. Martin tells Time Magazine he still feels showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss missed out:

At some points, when David and Dan and I had discussions about what way we should go in, I would always favor sticking with the books, while they would favor making changes. I think one of the biggest ones would probably be when they made the decision not to bring Catelyn Stark back as Lady Stoneheart. That was probably the first major diversion of the show from the books and, you know, I argued against that, and David and Dan made that decision.

In my version of the story, Catelyn Stark is re-imbued with a kind of life and becomes this vengeful wight who galvanizes a group of people around her and is trying to exact her revenge on the riverlands. David and Dan made a decision not to go in that direction in their story, pursuing other threads. But both of them are equally valid, I think, because Catelyn Stark is a fictional character and she doesn’t exist. You can tell either story about her.

Lady Stoneheart is far from the only character absent from HBO’s version, which has occasionally rewritten familiar faces into major story arcs, or killed others Martin has future book plans for. As Martin tells it, Catelyn’s resurrection was something of an antithesis to The Lord of the Rings’ Gandalf returning to life largely unchanged, but it remains to be seen if Stoneheart has any major function in the Ice and Fire saga.

That said, perhaps worth noting for all you theory junkies – the author also described the resurrection of Beric Dondarrion as foreshadowing for Catelyn, in the process claiming “His heart isn’t beating, his blood isn’t flowing in his veins, he’s a wight, but a wight animated by fire instead of by ice, now we’re getting back to the whole fire and ice thing.” Wait, Jon Snow is a fire wight?! Are they killed by ice? That can’t be right.

We’ll have plenty more theories to break down before and after Game of Thrones returns for Season 7 this Sunday, but was the series right to skip over Catelyn’s return?

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