I keep coming across various discussions on ‘the madness’ of LS and people insisting she is an embodiment of, and proves what, Cat really was like all along (parallels can be drawn but not nearly with as strong connotations as some seem to argue, and the same people seem to willfully forget Cat was the voice cautioning against war and violence while alive), or people who are labelling her resurrection as ‘triumphant’, and cheering for it.
LS reads to me as a tragedy. It should never have happened. Even Thoros, who resurrected Beric not once but six times cautioned against giving Cat’s body the kiss of life. Obviously GRRM has brought her back with an eventual reason in mind and not merely to fully drive home the tragedy of the Starks, but to think that Cat has yet to find peace even in death? There is nothing, absolutely nothing triumphant about the way she is existing now.
There is also debate on the (mental) state in which Cat died, with people arguing she died as vengeful as she is resurrected, and it makes me wonder if people even read the chapter at all.
Yes: She becomes mad. With grief and pain. She begs for an end. Recall if you will the statement she makes to Robb earlier about how if she loses him she will go mad? She keeps that promise. The loss is one too many. But Cat does not die with thoughts of vengeance in mind. Killing Jinglebell is a rational act; she keeps her word, because what good are empty threats. But she does not physically fight to the bitter end; she does not make a go at Walder Frey or Roose Bolton. She is immersed in grief and - as far as she knows at the point of her death, meaning it is her reality - everything she has ever had that was worth fighting for, and worth loving, is gone. Her final thoughts are of her lost loved ones, of wishing the endless physical and emotional pain will stop, not vengeance.
When she is brought back to life (and I use that term lightly), her reality such as it is is still that everything that ever mattered to her is gone and lost to her forever, beyond her reach. Now, at this point - after her death, and not before - the only thing it would seem she has left to grasp for is justice and, yes, it takes the form of vengeance.
But to go so far as to say LS is completely mad? If she were, she would hardly be targeting the specific families she knew to be involved in her family’s murders and sparing others. She would hardly give Brienne the choice between the noose and the sword. There seems to be at least a part of LS that is capable of listening to reason, and I think there is a reason to her madness.
It has been established that a resurrected being loses some of their humanity, but in comparison to Beric, LS has only been resurrected the once (I grant you there is also the delay between her death and resurrection to consider, but again we have only speculation to go on and so it is hard to say how much of her humanity or mind has actually been lost, physical appearance notwithstanding). What we can say is that vengeance has become what she holds on to and what she exists for, but in order for things to be that way she has to remember what she is avenging - and she does. “She don’t speak … but she remembers.” She remembers Brienne, she remembers Jaime, she remembers the Red Wedding, she remembers Robb as evidenced by the way she is brooding over his crown, and I think it is safe to say it can be assumed she remembers her other children and lost ones as well if she is capable of remembering him.
But she certainly didn’t ask to be brought back into this state, and it must be rather like a waking nightmare to the part of her that ‘remembers’.
I wonder what will happen to this vengeful state when she learns that one or more of her children are alive, because I am willing to wager she eventually will. My personal bet would be on her and Arya eventually crossing paths in the books (and if the show creators indeed have been told what will happen, I find it mildly interesting that they are letting their paths almost-cross this early on the show, as reported by screener reviews - could be quite the eerie foreshadowing).
LS still has a role to play even though it may not yet be obvious (I do recommend reading the Northern conspiracy theory, and the chapter on her and the Brotherhood in particular), and we have seen so little of her yet that who is to say with conviction what has fully become of her, including me.
Until we know for sure, I wish people would stop reducing her to Mother Merciless, The Silent Sister, The Hangwoman. I wish people would stop reducing it to ‘she was mad all along’. I wish people would stop reducing it to a ‘triumph’.
There is more to the tragedy that is Lady Stoneheart than revenge.