George R.R. Martin drops just one Winds of Winter plot hint

The Game of Thrones author says that if he could make one change to the HBO hit show, he'd bring back a character who died at the Red Wedding.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, and generational studies Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

Warning: Possible Game of Thrones spoilers ahead.

Game of Thrones fans have been waiting since 2011 for George R.R. Martin's The Winds of Winter, the planned sixth novel in the Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series on which the HBO hit is based. And honestly, at this point, any little tidbit gets pounced upon, especially if it hints that Martin has pages written, or better yet, is close to completion.

In 2017, Martin appeared on the cover of the Chinese edition of Esquire magazine, but he's just now sharing that cover photograph, featuring the author wearing a crown.

Enlarge Image
Esquire China

Fans, however, are really interested in the content of Martin's interview, not the photo. And that content is in Chinese. I asked a friend who worked for years as a journalist in China to translate the juiciest part, and there's good news for those who miss Catelyn Stark, Ned's wife and the mom of Arya, Sansa, Bran, Rickon and Robb (but not Jon Snow, whose parentage has been a plot point).

Here come those spoilers, but if you're reading this, you're caught up, right? 

Martin talked to the magazine about how Catelyn Stark dies in the infamous Red Wedding. On the HBO show, that's where her story ends. But not in the books, where she returns as the undead and terrifying Lady Stoneheart. And she's still shedding blood in the new book.

"In the book, characters can be resurrected," Martin says, according to our translation. "After Catelyn is resurrected as Lady Stoneheart, she becomes a vengeful, heartless killer."

Martin notes that in the much anticipated Winds of Winter, Lady Stoneheart still plays a role.

"She is an important character in the set of books," he notes. "(Keeping her character) is the change I most wish I could make in the (show)."

HBO, of course, only has one season remaining, and just six episodes to wrap up numerous complex storylines. It's unlikely we'll see Catelyn again, though now we know there's a chance the undead mom could meet up with her surviving children again, if only in the pages of Winds of Winter.

20 things we're dying to see in the final season of 'Game of Thrones'

See all photos

Tech Culture: From film and television to social media and games, here's your place for the lighter side of tech.

Technically Literate: Original works of short fiction with unique perspectives on tech, exclusively on CNET.