Stannis Baratheon Is Still Alive In A Song Of Ice And Fire, Apparently (And He'll Probably Never Die, Ever)

At least one character in A Song of Ice and Fire is proving surprisingly difficult to kill. It turns out that human garbage Stannis Baratheon is still alive — in the books, if not the show — despite the fact that Jon Snow received a letter from the admittedly not super reliable Ramsay Bolton insisting that the wannabe king had died in the Battle of Winterfell. George R.R. Martin revealed Stannis' survival in a comment to an unrelated post on his LiveJournal, responding to a fan's request that he "cut the crap" and state definitively whether the character was dead or alive, with "In my books? Alive, beyond a doubt."

This quote, of course, leaves some ambiguity to Stannis's fate in the show: in the most recent finale, Brienne seemed to gleefully slice off his head (sweet justice for poor Shireen!), but a cut to black made it somewhat unclear whether she'd actually killed him. That episode's director did state unambiguously that Stannis died at Brienne's hand; of course, he could just be covering for a surprise reveal down the line, as many suspect is the case with the repeated assurances of Jon Snow's final demise.

So basically, Stannis is dead in the show, unless he isn't, and alive in the books, unless he isn't. We won't really know until the next book and next season arrive. Meanwhile, fans have some mixed feelings about this news, because apparently there are still people in the world who like emotionally constipated grammar nazis:

Image: Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO