First things first: definitely DO NOT read this post if you have not read both parts of A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin, because this includes major spoilers. And I would advise not reading this if you’ve ONLY watched the TV show of Game of Thrones – this one’s for book readers only unless you want spoilers – but you need to have seen the TV show to the end, or at least know what happens in the season 5 finale. You have been warned.
Well now that’s out of the way, the epilogue of A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold has caused much intrigue. I actually thought it was interesting that there WAS an epilogue in this book, as the first two volumes didn’t have one. And things picked up again when we met what appeared to be Lady Catelyn Stark reincarnated. She was described as being damaged (for want of a better word) by water from the river, and the wounds she had inflicted on her own face were present, as well as a large gash from where her throat had been slit.
By all accounts, it sounds like Lady Catelyn. That’s how she died. And Arya dreamt of her in her wolf dream, saw her in the river before men arrived and she fled. At the time I’d assumed those men were Freys, but now it seems they were the brotherhood without banners. So they must have found her and Thoros of Myr resurrected her, with or without the help of R’hllor – that depends on your opinion of how real the gods are and so on. And now in the appendix of A Feast for Crows, she is listed under the section “Outlaws and Broken Men” as Lady Stoneheart, which leads me to believe we have not seen the last of her.
Now what does this mean for our other dead characters? I mean, I thought the only person who didn’t really die would Beric Dondarrion, but now we have another. And after the situation on the Wall in the season 5 finale, my thoughts now turn to Jon Snow. What does this mean for him? One of the most common theories I’ve heard is that Melisandre will bring him back, just as Thoros of Myr has done, and I’ll admit that seems quite likely, especially now we know it’s not only Lord Beric that can survive the ordeal.
But should Jon Snow really come back? As unpopular as this might make me, I don’t think he should. I think that the power Thoros of Myr has should be individual to him, because if it’s something everyone can learn – or at least, all followers of the Lord of Light – then it doesn’t become special. The premise of this world is that ‘all men must die’, and that includes main characters that we don’t expect to die like Ned, Robb, Renly, Lord Commander Mormont, and Joffrey to name a few. No one is safe. For me, bringing back Jon Snow would be like saying “Yeah, no one is safe, but Jon Snow’s too important to die, so he can be safe,” and that contradicts the whole point of this statement that epitomises the cruelty and injustice of the world: valar morghulis.
However, I think Lady Stoneheart is a more interesting development than simply bringing her back to life, because she isn’t alive in the same way. She has been distorted by death and the treatment of her body, and I wonder if that will reflect in her personality too. She can’t speak, and I’m assuming that she won’t be writing any chapters as someone only half alive, but I have a gut feeling that her character may have been changed slightly after tasting death. She seemed quite keen to see Merrett Frey swing for being part of the Red Wedding and I can’t imagine she’d want the other Freys and all involved in said wedding/slaughter to go unpunished. I look forward to seeing more of Lady Stoneheart and what she brings to the table.