We’ve got four weeks left in this season of GoT, and the Riverlands Reunion has finally gotten started, so if Lady Stoneheart is making an appearance on the show, she’s got a month left to do it.
Today at Winter, Razor Harris, a long-time Stoneheart advocate, posted a video by Preston Jacobs, in which he describes his experience in meeting George RR Martin at Balticon. And what did he learn from this event?
From the video:
The Italian then asked George if Lady Stoneheart was going to appear on the show. George said no, that she’d been cut. He said if he were involved in the show things would be different, but he’s busy trying to finish books.
There you have it, folks. Unless Benioff and Weiss are planning a surprise, Lady Stoneheart will not appear on Game of Thrones. As a huge fan of the Stoneheart character, I’m disappointed, although I can begrudgingly admit that, at this point in the story, it may be too late to introduce her.
As soon as I saw this I started wondering: will this be enough for people to accept? It’s enough for Razor, but will it be enough for most fans who’ve been going through that litany of Riverlands, Riverlands, Riverlands, special effects? Are they willing to take GRRM’s word for it?
And…no. For some fans, this is not enough. They say he’s lying, he wouldn’t “spoil” the show by telling the truth, and the Riverlands Reunion couldn’t possibly make the least bit of sense without Undead Catelyn Stark, etc.
Now, I could sit here and talk about how GRRM doesn’t have a history of lying about these things, and he could have answered that question in so many other, squishier ways, but ultimately my question is: can you picture what it looks like when you’re wrong about something?
An important concept in science is the idea of falsifiability. A hypothesis needs to be testable, and to be testable, it needs to have a defined failure mode.
It may seem silly to bring up science and skepticism when talking about making predictions for Game of Thrones, but, to be honest? Predictions for popular TV shows should also be falsifiable. I suppose we could just wait for the episodes to broadcast and show us what happens, but, really? We’re always having these discussions about what’s going to happen because we don’t want to wait and see; we want to get a handle on what’s happening as soon as we can. I think those discussions would be a lot more productive if we could stop getting hung up on wishful thinking like “Stannis lives” and “Lady Stoneheart’s coming to Season 6” and “Cleganebowl GET HYPE” and other areas where we cannot imagine being proven wrong.
As a counter-point, many fans might want to remind me of Jon Snow’s resurrection, and all the cast members and producers who spent all year insisting Jon was really dead, and we all knew the whole time he would come back. How would I have falsified the idea of Jon’s resurrection? For one, I would have liked to hear some response to all the positive evidence we had of Jon having a part to play in Season 6. He was spending a lot of time in Belfast for someone who was just playing a corpse, and we got a photo of him in a battlefield scene. It would have been helpful for D&D to say something like: “Jon’s journey is all finished, but Bran’s coming back, and Jon will be appearing in some flashbacks and visions, and that’s why Kit’s still working with us.” Also, it would’ve been helpful for GRRM to say to us, “Yeah, Jon’s really gone, these things happen to good people in Westeros” rather than, “What makes you think he’s really dead?” The fact that he said the latter regarding the events at the end of Dance is much of what convinced me Jon wouldn’t stay dead. The reality was, we had plenty of positive evidence of Jon’s return, and the counter-point to that positive evidence was not answering our questions, so nobody was really surprised when Jon gasped for breath in Episode 2.
We’ve had no positive evidence of Lady Stoneheart appearing on Game of Thrones, and people have been searching eagerly for such evidence for years. Some fans were even willing to fabricate some evidence, but it didn’t hold up to scrutiny.
(Here’s another problem in making predictions for popular TV shows: if your pet theory has a history of all its positive evidence having been fabricated by fans, that’s a good sign the thing isn’t happening.)
Here’s another example of a theory that could have been falsified: Brienne’s mission to protect Sansa. I spent most of a year arguing for the protection assignment to work out, and mostly with no real, positive evidence in favor, except for some foreshadowing in previous seasons, but I can tell you how I would’ve known the protection assignment was sunk: if I’d heard anything about anyone else getting Sansa and Theon away from Winterfell, that would’ve been sufficient. If I’d heard anything about Brienne & Podrick in the first half of the season that was incompatible with looking after Sansa, that would’ve been sufficient to prove me wrong. We never heard anything about the first half of the season for Team Sansa, we never got any sign of an alternate protector for our surviving Stark, and then the trailers started showing up with glimpses of Brienne cutting through Bolton troops, and it seems the foreshadowing was not just in my imagination.
What would it take to convince you we’re not getting Undead Catelyn Stark on Game of Thrones? Suppose, for a moment, that LSH is really not going to appear on the screen, and the producers want us to know that because they want us to wonder what else they have in store for us? What does that situation look like? Is there anything the producers can tell us that’ll make it clear that LSH isn’t coming to the screen?