George R.R. Martin Offers Fans Hope For Stannis Baratheon

Fans of Stannis Baratheon have found renewed hope for the character's future despite his fate in the fifth season finale of Game of Thrones, as author George R.R. Martin has spoken out regarding what actually happened to the Lord of Dragonstone.

[Game Of Thrones Season 5 Spoilers Follow]

While Game of Thrones fans spent much of their time following the latest season finale debating whether or not Jon Snow was really dead, we also witnessed Stannis Baratheon apparently meeting his own end at the hands of Brienne of Tarth. The camera cut away from the killing blow, but it was altogether obvious for anyone watching that Stannis had finally met the Many-Faced God. As Salon points out, episode director David Nutter spoke about Stannis' fate at Comic-Con, confirming to fans that Robert Baratheon's brother had failed in his attempt to claim the Iron Throne.

"From the beginning, and [through] the script process, that was the intent — he's dead."

Despite Stannis' demise in the HBO series, however, no less an authority than his creator has given fans a glimmer of hope that the character may yet live on. As Entertainment Weekly notes, A Song Of Ice And Fire author George R.R. Martin recently responded to a fan's question regarding the would-be king on his LiveJournal. When asked whether Stannis Baratheon was alive or dead, Martin gave an answer that turned more than a few heads.
"In my books? Alive, beyond a doubt."
While the fifth season finale of Game Of Thrones depicted the battle between Stannis' forces and the armies of the Boltons, no such clash has yet been detailed in the books. As each chapter of Martin's books shifts its point of view, the only depiction of these events so far has come from a letter sent by Ramsay Bolton to Jon Snow, in which he claimed the Boltons won the engagement, and that Stannis had been killed.Misdirection is a powerful force in the world of Game of Thrones, however, and it wouldn't be the first time that one of the characters' fates had been nothing more than a ruse. Davos had previously been thought dead, only to turn up alive, as such Ramsey's letter should be taken with a grain of salt. The television series has also significantly deviated from Martin's books in many respects, to much criticism from fans.

While Stannis Baratheon might be dead in the HBO series, it appears that in the book Stannis remains very much alive and on the run in the North, leaving fans to wonder what his ultimate fate might be.

[Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO via Vanity Fair]