Game of Speculation: Playing Telephone with “Spoilers”

I hear from Winter is Coming that they heard from Irish Thrones that they heard from CLOSE SOURCES that MAJOR SPOILER LEAKS are coming from the filming of S6. Such as:

I agree with Twitter-Block on the Wall: that is a substantial claim, and it requires substantial evidence. And I find it rather odd that Irish Thrones is reporting rumors when they “can’t back anything up,” or they “shall await to see” after they’ve “questioned it [themselves].”

(Of course it’s also kind of funny that WotW is demanding further evidence from Irish Thrones when WotW blocked me on Twitter for taking a skeptical stance to THEIR filming news. Or maybe they blocked me because I also follow Winter is Coming. I don’t know which option is more ridiculous.)

Seriously, though, even if the rumors turn out to be true, maybe it’s not such a good idea to share a supposed confirmation of such a hot-button element as Lady Stoneheart without further supporting evidence? Like, they share this supposed SPOILER, and then suddenly they start acting all cautious about sharing rumors as gospel. Such as:

I think that would have been a good attitude to take BEFORE they posted about their “close sources” reporting the return of Lady Stoneheart plus an army. Also, this:

“Don’t post anything as gospel after all”? Tread cautiously? That horse has already escaped the barn. Also, Sue the Fury at WotW assures us that someone is fucking with Irish Thrones. So, there’s also that.

They also reported this, at the same time:

I’m kind of amused that they’re acting like this is a big revelation. I think the evidence in the first book is such that the burden of proof is on those who want to argue that Jon is NOT the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna. I guess the big news is that we’re getting confirmation this season. Though even there we’ve already had signs of a flashback concerning Jon’s parentage.

Whereas with Lady Stoneheart, we already have precedent of “evidence” supporting LSH’s appearance, which later turns out to be bullshit. Earlier this year, we had this:

At the top is an IMDB screencap that includes Michelle Fairley supposedly working on S5:E10 as "Hooded Woman."

At the top is an IMDB screencap that includes Michelle Fairley supposedly working on S5:E10 as “Hooded Woman.”

Looking back, I actually think that shot from the finale’s teaser was edited. That hill they’ve labeled “Moat Cailin” doesn’t show up in the shot I took from the same teaser. Let’s see that again:

Same picture as the bottom half of the previous graphic, only with better lighting. Do you see a hill at a certain spot in the distance? I don't.

Same picture as the bottom half of the previous graphic, only with better lighting. Do you see a hill at a certain spot in the distance? I don’t.

It turned out that landscape was the hills outside of Meereen, rather than anywhere in Westeros.

It’s almost like there are people who really like to get Game of Thrones fans riled up by dangling Lady Stoneheart in front of our faces. And they’re not above making shit up in order to do that. With this precedent in mind, I think that we need a higher standard of evidence for claims of Lady Stoneheart’s appearance. We need non-blurry photographic evidence, and it needs to come from at least two unrelated sources before we can take it seriously.

Some sign of Michelle Fairley showing up anywhere near the cast or crew would be a start. It’s not impossible to do LSH with a recast, but it would suck. So far the most significant character they’ve recast is Daario Naharis, and that one’s been an awkward fit at best. Michiel Huisman’s an excellent actor, but he’s not the guy we saw in S3, and the difference is jarring. Showing us Undead Catelyn Stark with anyone other than Michelle Fairley would be much, much worse. The only way that they’re recasting the role is if Fairley is completely unavailable. She’s booked solid for months, she refuses to make herself available for filming, she is utterly uninterested in doing any more work for Game of Thrones. That’s the only way they’re doing anything with any part of adult Catelyn Stark without Michelle Fairley. And if they have to do it without her, it’ll be bad.

At this stage in the series, I can understand if LSH fans are getting especially eager for some sign of her appearance. I really think this season is the show’s last chance to introduce LSH. They could’ve shown her resurrection in the S3 finale, but then they would’ve had to do some follow-up before now. They could have given us a glimpse of her in S5, but they didn’t. If they don’t use her in S6, then she’s not part of the show, no matter how many seasons it runs. We’re getting characters that sound very much like the Brotherhood Without Banners or an offshoot thereof. We appear to be getting a follow-up on the Freys! I’ve made the case for Jaime and Brienne reconnecting, and that’ll most likely happen in the Riverlands. If they show us all those elements without introducing Undead Catelyn Stark, then that’s it. She’s a non-entity for the show.

Even so, I do look forward to hearing what else they have to divulge, being “out there and pretty heavy,” assuming they get further supporting evidence first.

In the meantime, maybe I should start making predictions that presuppose Lady Stoneheart showing up. I’ve already written about how the show has changed things so that the story works just as well without her, but maybe I should start speculating about how her presence would look in the changed context.

For now, though, pass the popcorn, motherfuckers.

Michael Jackson enjoys his popcorn in a movie theater.

Michael Jackson enjoys his popcorn in a movie theater.