According to a visual effects supervisor on the show, Lady Stoneheart will not be appearing in Game of Thrones season 8. Anticipation is sky high for the final season of the HBO fantasy series based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, and speculation is naturally heating up as fans try to guess how the show will wrap up its epic story. Among the many fan theories floated around about the events set to go down in season 8, one of the most popular holds that novel character Lady Stoneheart, who thus far has not made the jump to the series, will finally make her belated debut on the show.
In the novels, Lady Stoneheart is the resurrected form of Catelyn Stark, who’s brought back to life after the infamous Red Wedding when her body is found by the outlaw gang Brotherhood Without Banners and returned to life via a magical kiss from Beric Dondarrion, whose own “unnatural” life is consequently given in sacrifice. Of course, Lady Stoneheart is only similar to Catelyn Stark in body, as her resurrected form has been robbed of all human qualities. The character goes on to lead the Brotherhood, eventually killing Brienne of Tarth among others. On the show, Stark did indeed die in the Red Wedding massacre as in the books, but her body was never brought back to life and Brienne of Tarth is very much alive (the fate of Beric Dondarrion remains up in the air after the season 7 finale).
With Game of Thrones entering its final six episodes, fans had begun speculating that Lady Stoneheart or some version of the undead character would at last make her appearance on the TV show. However, it’s now been confirmed by a GoT crew member that the character will not show up in season 8 after all. Speaking to Huffington Post, special effects supervisor Joe Bauer dismissed the fan theory with the blunt statement: “I saw it in the media, but it again never showed up in a script.”
In the same interview, Bauer also debunked several other fan rumors. He said ice spiders will not show up in season 8, as showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss determined that it was better to leave those creatures as part of Westerosi lore without actually visualizing them. He also shot down the big fan theory that the wights formed the Stark sigil as they stormed through the destroyed Wall at the end of season 7, a theory that many think confirms Bran Stark is actually the Night King. According to Bauer, the wights are simply streaming through the remains of The Wall randomly, and it was just a coincidence that looking at them from the top down, they seemed to form the Stark sigil. Bauer also said that, as far as he knows, the headless horseman in the Battle of the Bastards was not a nod to Ned Stark, though he admits the director of the episode might have a different take.
Though Bauer seems to have thoroughly debunked several important fan theories with his statements, it’s always possible that he’s deliberately spreading disinformation, and that Lady Stoneheart and ice spiders will show up in season 8. Fans of course have latched onto the Lady Stoneheart theory after several seeming clues in early trailers indicating that resurrection of dead Starks may play a part in the new season. Indeed, the precedent for resurrection was set on the show when The Mountain was brought back to life. Of course, The Night King himself possesses the power of resurrection, and fans have speculated that he might bring back a zombified Catelyn Stark to menace her surviving children the same way he resurrected the dragon Viserion in order to destroy the Wall.
Though it’s disappointing to many that lady Stoneheart likely will not in fact show up in Game of Thrones season 8, there no doubt will still be a lot of other dramatic and shocking developments as the final six episodes play out. There’s arguably no bigger show on TV than Game of Thrones, and its final season is sure to be one of the biggest and most discussed events in TV and pop culture history.