Mon
Apr 4 2011 1:29pm
The Women of Game of Thrones: Catelyn Stark

Catelyn Stark

George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is full of relationships, and the loyalty or treachery associated with each of them propels each and every action occuring within the pages—as it will soon do on the small screen. HBO debuts its miniseries version of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones on Sunday, April 17th (they showed a 14-minute preview last night!), so this seems like a perfect time to take a look at the women behind the Thrones, so to speak, starting with the driving matriarch of the series, Catelyn Stark.

Selected spoilers for the series below.

Eddard Stark had married her in Brandon’s place, as custom decreed, but the shadow of his dead brother still lay between them, as did the other, the shadow of the woman he would not name, the woman who had borne him his bastard son.

Catelyn Tully Stark feels slightly off balance, always slightly out of place, throughout Game of Thrones. She enters the book seeking out her husband in a place that is still unfamiliar to her, even though she has lived there for fifteen years. As she walks, her thoughts are on the differences between where she grew up and the place she now calls home, as well as the religious differences that separate her from her husband. And, despite all of their differences, their marriage has grown from an arrangement into one of love. And, perhaps more importantly, of respect.

It is that respect that makes Eddard send his bastard son, Jon Snow, to lifelong service on the Wall rather than let him stay with his half-brother at Winterfell. Surely, as Lord of Winterfell, he could have insisted that Jon be allowed to stay with his brother Robb. The two of them were, after all, very close. Robb certainly would not have sent him away. But it was Ned’s respect for Catelyn that ultimately made him agree to her demands that Jon leave.

At the beginning of the book, when one of the younger Stark children is injured, Catelyn’s breakdown is complete and spectacular. She, literally, cannot function other than to sit at her son’s bedside. It is almost stereotypical “motherhood” at its worst. Yes, there are other children who need her. Yes, she has an estate to run in her husband’s absence, but none of that matters to her. Her own well being doesn’t even matter to her. It isn’t until things go from bad to unbelievably worse that she snaps out of her grief, going to nearly the opposite extreme.

Catelyn becomes emphatic about protecting her family from all enemies (foreign and domestic), which sends her out on a quest of her own. The idea of a woman, especially a highborn noble mother, striking out on her own to thwart plots and engaging the political landscape more directly, is very unusual. Catelyn is often contrasted with Cersei Lannister, almost by default. Cersei’s political machinations drive much of Martin’s Game of Thrones, without a doubt. But Catelyn’s political astuteness and her own attempt to shape political and military circumstances in her favor, are equally impressive. For all of the men playing the game of thrones, it would not be too much of a stretch to say that the women move their share of pieces across the board. By the end of the book, however, time, tiredness and tragedy have taken their toll on Catelyn Tully Stark. The war is only beginning, literally, but she is tired of fighting.

Again, the shouting began. Catelyn sat despairing. She had come so close, she thought. They had almost listened, almost…but the moment was gone. There would be no peace, no chance to heal, no safety. She looked at her son, watching him as he listened to the lords debate, frowning, troubled, yet wedded to his war. He had pledged himself to marry a daughter of Walder Frey, but she saw his true bride plain before her now: the sword he had laid on the table.

What had spurred her to action was her attempt to protect her family and, in the end, she saw it all come apart, her efforts unsuccessful. At the end of the book, Catelyn wants nothing more than to try and gather up the remaining pieces to Winterfell and be done with it. Instead, winters comes—and all too soon.

This article and its ensuing discussion originally appeared on our sister romance site Heroes & Heartbreakers.


Robin Bradford is a lawyer, a librarian and, most importantly, a longtime lover of words. You can check her out on Twitter @tuphlos, On Unpaged, or read the backlist at Obiter Dictum.

35 comments
Rob Munnelly
1. RobMRobM
SPIOLERS/SPOILERS/SPOILERS




One can note Cat also is off balance in having to seek help from her childhood friend (and perhaps more?) Littlefinger and from her not quite stable sister, Lysa. She's juggling like an acrobat until the last quater of the book, where she really begins to kick butt as an advisor to the northern forces.

Rob
Evan Langlinais
2. Skwid
Mini-series? I think that's an error!
Joseph Kingsmill
3. JFKingsmill16
SPIOLERS/SPOILERS/SPOILERS





"But Catelyn’s political astuteness and her own attempt to shape political and military circumstances in her favor, are equally impressive."

She may be all these things, but unfortunately almost every decision she makes leads to disaster. She allows emotion to cloud her "political astuteness" which directly leads to quite a few characters deaths by the end of a GoT.
Gentleman Farmer
4. Gentleman Farmer
JF Kingsmill,

SPOILER SPOILER





I agree entirely. I also think she could to some extent be held responsible for the deaths and risks to her various children. Ms. Bradford's comment that she's always slightly out of place is, to my mind, a good summary.

Catelyn reflects early on how tired she was as a girl of waiting for her father to come home, and as a result, she impetuously runs here, there and everywhere, always seeming impatient and unhappy with her current place in the world, unwilling to wait, unwilling to fulfill her role or duty because she is so anxious to make things happen. In contrast to her sister, who wants to wait and hide, Cat is the other extreme, running around in the middle of things like a chicken with its head cut off.

I find her chapters give me the most frustration to read, because she acts like she's thinking things through, but never pauses in her actions to really give thought to the long term consequences or how each choice she makes of necessity involves weighing and discarding other obligations. Because she lacks that willingness (or ability) to weigh the risks and look beyond the short term, she is woefully poor at prioritizing.

Compare that to Cersei, who is capable of both planning and action, while also getting exactly what she wants, unlike either of the Tully girls.
Philip Thomann
5. normalphil
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS








SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS






@3 JFKingsmill16


I think that's results-mongering. Catelyn made astute descisions and actions, and the table on which they were carried out had been set up by a hostile third party beforehand, and tweaked during. Even her hostile fixation on Jon wasn't emotion based, it was family policy based... Tully family policy. Astute if you're a Tully matron, kinda strange and diverting fixation if you're a Stark wolf woman; Karstarks at their worst weren't as bad as southern equivilents got.
Church Tucker
6. Church
But it was Ned’s respect for Catelyn that ultimately made him agree to her demands that Jon leave.

Not quite. She loved the idea, but it was Jon's and not Ned's or Cat's.

It's her respect for Ned that she tolerates his bastard living in the household all these years.

It was Ned's respect for Cat that he thought it might be best for Jon to take the oath earlier than he (or Benjen) would have thought a good idea otherwise.
Joseph Kingsmill
7. JFKingsmill16
SPOILERS/SPOILERS/SPOILERS






@5. normalphil




You are right that with the cards she is being dealt that some of her decisions are the correct ones. Unfortunately IMO, her choice to take a prisoner and flee to the Eyrie defines her character for me, and is one of the single greatest blunders by any character in the series next to Cersei in the fourth book.
Rob Munnelly
8. RobMRobM
SPOILERS





- Dislike of Jon was understandable.
- Decision to accept LF's claim of Tyrion's knife and firm proof of complicity without considering lack of motive for him in particular was a mistake.
- Decision to grab Tyrion at crossroads when her family was in Kings Landing surrounded by Lannisters was a big mistake.
- Decision to go to Aerie as opposed to other options was brilliant sound - Lysa messed that one up.
- Advising of Robb on military/leadership points was brilliant.
- Later decisions re Jamie were questionable at best.
Marcus W
9. toryx
I agree with Gentleman Farmer's perspective @ 4. I also think that the key is that sense of unbalance that she'd lived with pretty much forever.

Church @ 6:

Spoiler

Spoiler





Actually, that's not true. Jon wouldn't have gone to the Wall if Ned hadn't talked to his brother about it. As you might recall, Benjen turned Jon down. The only reason Jon ended up at the wall when he did was because Catelyn insisted that he cannot stay at Winterfell.
Claire de Trafford
10. ClairedeT
I found this all a bit artificial to be honest. 15 years is a long time especially as she knew she was to live in Winterfell from an early age. I've been married for nearly 15 years and we've moved to the other side of the world and I don't wander round thinking I don't know the place! I've gone round and learnt all about it.

And also, Jon is no threat to a Tully matriarch. There is no way that he can displace her children or inherit even if they all die. Winterfell would go to cousins or more distant relations before a bastard. She might not like him but again 15 years is a long time to hold a grudge against a defenceless child. Poor Catelyn has just been given the sticky end of the stick for plot reasons.
Philip Thomann
11. normalphil
@10 ClairedeT

No Spoilers!

Well, there's learning a place and there's a place learning you. There are communities in this world where fifteen years living there still makes you an outsider; still makes your children outsiders, even if they were born there. The North stands to be like that.

On that note, strip away all ties of power, and who is really Ned Stark's heir? Jon looks like him; looks like Northerner, carries himself like him; carries himself like a Stark. Ned Stark says he's his son, and refuses to be parted from him, and above all refuses to have him parted from Winterfell. Her children look like Tullys, carry themselves like Tullys (some more than others, and at least when held up to Jon). If Ned were out of the picture, she could stand on a platform and scream "but he's just a bastard!" to her hearts content, and half expect people to laugh at her and back Jon anyway. That kind of insecurity not a good place to be, mentally.


Background spoilers!

And really, that was the exact same problem with the Blackfyres. Daemon Blackfyre was the avowed firstborn son of the Targaryen king, fathered on a Targaryen princess, and had been given the royal sword.

Daeron, the "lawful" king was a suspected bastard with a Martell court who had the septons saying he was legitimate and his brother was uniheritable. That could be laughed down by thinking with your gut; Blackfyre was more legitimate than legitimate, truer than true, more Targaryen than the Targaryen. The King had the septons, Daemon Blackfyre had REALITY.

Catelyn sees Jon in that position, regards her children. In the end it would fall on what Jon would be willing to do and her Tully upbringing tells her all bastards are inclined to evil, being bastards. He'd murder his brothers, and either do the same to his sisters or pack them off to a Sept, and the North would help him do it as much as stop him.
Gentleman Farmer
12. ZorbaTheFreak
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS



@4 Gentleman Farmer

On the other hand, Cersei uses a lot of tactics that Catelyn is simply too moral to use. Catelyn is a woman who is unwilling to play dirty, until a certain event causes her to snap, and that's when she starts getting results.

Lysa Tully, ironically, got exactly what she wanted. She just wanted someone who was very, very bad for her.

@9. toryx

I think that's more on Ned. Fostering him out was a definite alternative to the Wall, Winterfell and King's Landing, but Ned didn't ever plan that out.





I found Catelyn a fallible and real character. She made some sketchy decisions but put up a commendable fight as a woman with very little weaponry in a very mean world. To balance out the errors pointed out, I'll mention her advice to seek peace, keep Theon Greyjoy close, send better terms to Cersei, let Tywin Lannister pass unengaged, the way she won Robb the Twins, and her assistance to the Maid of Tarth. She was too decent to play the game well and not nice enough to be loved by the readers for it.
Claire de Trafford
13. ClairedeT
I'm not unsympathetic to Catelyn, but my point is that 15 years is a long time to carry these feelings. I could understand more if it had been a shorter time frame; I would have been very unimpressed if my husband had come back from the war with an infant too but for my own peace of mind I think I would have had to let it go in the longer term. It's more Ned that Catelyn is angry with, for not giving any ground over Jon (and why is that we all wonder...) and having to subsume that anger but again 15 years is a long time to be pissed at someone.

We're in medieval/Wars of the Roses country here and under the English Common Law there is no way a bastard could inherit or be legitimised to inherit. Given a different title, and different lands, yes like the Baratheons, but not inherit the whole shebang. Even girls are better than bastards! Only a pre-contract of marriage would legitimise Jon (even just a promise to marry would cause problems for Catelyn if that could be proven), but there's no hint of that in Ned's story. Now possibly in someone close to Ned...
Gentleman Farmer
14. Maetrix
In relation to the article itself - is this the first of a series? If so, I'll be eagerly awaiting the discussion on Cersei.

After reading the comments and myself being a guy, I found that I may have overlooked her character as a whole. But I think the fact her flaws were so believable made for a better story. GRRM did a great job of not letting the reader grow complacent in the story and while the Male leads may at times move great plot arcs, the Female leads deteremined if those arcs succeeded or failed outright.
Gentleman Farmer
15. Megaduck
Catelyn screws up, and she screws up badly. At the same time I would like to point out that she is not the only charecter to make an utter hash of things. Ned, Rob, Cersai, and Robert all make decsions that get a lot of people killed stupidly.
Jonathan Levy
16. JonathanLevy
1. RobMRobM

Paranoid about accidental spoilers, are we? :)
Iain Cupples
17. NumberNone
MANY SPOILERS!




5: regarding Cat's 'arrest' of Tyrion, of all the decisions she makes in the book this is the one above all where the author deliberately forces her hand. Remember, she tries to avoid Tyrion's notice altogether - clearly she does not want a confrontation. But when her cover is blown (by authorial fiat, the same force that brought Tyrion there in the first place) she has literally seconds to react. And, again thanks to the author, she has some very good reasons to think that if she doesn't react by seizing the initiative, her life and possibly that of her husband and children may be at risk. After all, by what she knows, Tyrion is a cold-blooded killer who is in league with Cersei.

If Cat had been given time to reflect on whether LF was telling the truth rather than being forced into a split-second choice, I'd agree with the criticism. But that's not what happens.

13: Claire, we are not in War of the Roses territory in that respect. There's clear precedent in Westeros for bastards being legitimised to inherit. In ACOK, it's even suggested that Robb as King in the North should legitimise Lord Hornwood's bastard so that he can succeed his father. And in ASOS, there's a very strong hint that Robb may have legitimised Jon, knowingly displacing Sansa in his favour. Yes, the circumstances of that decision may justify it - but that's the point. In Westeros, these things can and do happen.
Marcus W
18. toryx
Zorba @ 12:
SPOILER ALERT!







I don't know. I think that fostering a bastard would be pretty difficult to do, even in the North. Besides, there's a considerable amount of honor in joining the Night's Watch, in the Stark's eyes at least. It makes sense that Ned would be willing to do so, but he'd not have considered it if it hadn't been for Catelyn insisting that Jon leave.

Personally, I'm not a particular fan of Jon (Arya and Tyrion are my favorites) but I've never approved of Catelyn's approach to him. I think her concerns that he offered a threat to Robb were reasonable, but only because she did so much throughout Jon's lifetime to ensure that he'd always be the Outsider. In other words, I think Catelyn's fears were justified but only by her own actions.

There are a lot of things I admire about her but there were a lot of things I didn't as well, and I can't help but think that Catelyn's choices often made a bad situation hugely worse. And largely those choices were made out of ignorance and very much colored by her prejudices.
Tricia Irish
19. Tektonica
Toryx@18: Spoiler Alert!

I agree with you about Catelyn. Some good parts, some petty. She did her utmost to exclude Jon, politely, ensuring his outsider status. In fact, he and Robb were close. Jon is an honorable kid/man, and would never have done anything but support Robb.

I suppose given the prejudices of the day, her position is somewhat understandable, but she should be able to judge character by observation.

The part that always drove me nuts about the Ned/Catelyn/Jon situation was that all of this angst could've been alleviated if only Ned had confided in one person...his wife. I can understand not doing so at first, as it was an arranged marriage of obligation, but they grew into each other, and I think there was true love and respect there. I think her view of Jon would've been much different had she known his true heritage. But then, maybe not....;-)
Gentleman Farmer
20. Megaduck
Tektonica @19

SPOILER ALERT






I have to disagree with you in that I think that Ned confiding in Catelyn would have made things worse, especially if Ned is really his uncle as some fans have theorized.

Throughout the series Catelyns overridding concern has been for her children. Emphasis here, HER children. She never shows much concern for anyone elses and she has no loyalty to nor even knew Jons theorized real parents.

Jon as Ned's bastard is a future threat to her children and line. Jon as, someone elses bastard, possibly brings House Stark into a long running blood fued with some of the most powerfull people in the kingdom who would put all of their heads on spikes.

That moves Jon from a possible future threat to her children to a very real and immediate one to them. I'm not sure I'd want to know how Catelyn would react in that situation. Secretly trying to poison him is not out of the question in my mind.
Marcus W
21. toryx
Tektonica @ 19:

Even More Spoilers!






I don't really blame Ned for not telling Catelyn. I'm certain that one of the promises he made included not saying a word about who Jon's true parents are (and given Robert's feelings, for damned good reason). He couldn't break that vow, not for anything or anyone. If he did, he wouldn't be Ned.

I also think that Catelyn would have freaked out if he'd told her the truth. If Jon's father is who I think it is, just having him in Winterfell put everyone there in serious danger, not just Robb. She'd have been livid to discover that, IMHO.
Maiane Bakroeva
22. Isilel
Tectonica @19:

Jon is an honorable kid/man, and would never have done anything but support Robb.

Who can say what a man of say, 40, is going to do based on how he was at 14? And Cat doesn't even have the benefit of access to Jon's PoV, to learn what he is really feeling.

SPOILERS (mea culpa):




And didn't we learn in ACoK from his own PoV that Jon _did_ envy Robb? That he _was_ bothered that Robb and not he was the heir to WF? So, yea, who knows where it could have led in a few decades, particularly if he and Robb/Robb's wife/Robb's kids strongly disagreed over something and people wanted to manipulate the situation?
Not to mention, that problems that were caused by the previous crop of bastards that received extraordinary treatment similar to Jon's have plagued the realm for 5 generations, caused untold numbers of deaths and were finally laid to rest only generation ago.

Also, people are kidding themselves if they think that Ned would have behaved better to Cat's bastard if situation had been reversed, LOL. In fact, I dare say that his reaction would have been much worse, even if a bastard had been much younger than his kids or female.
One has to wonder what Ned was thinking with the whole thing - given what most of us suspect, Jon would have been much safer and probably even happier if he had been fostered out as is customarily for anknoweldged bastards.

And really, whatever mistakes Cat made, her menfolk made much worse ones, IMHO.
The reason for Cat-hate is mainly that she was a middle-aged female and that she was terribly unlucky.
Her plans and risks were as reasonable as those of Robb, Tyrion or LF.... but they never ever worked out. It is a flaw in her storyline, IMHO - Ned had his past glory and Robb had his ephemeral victories, while Cat had the bad luck to bump into Tyrion while everything was pointing at a terrible Lannister conspiracy, the bad luck to be present while Renly was shadowbabied, etc.
Joseph Kingsmill
23. JFKingsmill16
@22. Isilel: I find it ridiculous to say that one of the main reasons people have "Cat-hate" towards Catelyn is because she is middle aged.

Has she been unlucky? Yes.

Please don't think I am only picking on Catelyn here. Ned makes even bigger mistakes in judgement. If only he was a little less honorable maybe quite a few more people would still have their heads
Gentleman Farmer
24. Megaduck
Isilel @22



MOAR SPOILERS!

I think saying that the reason everyone hates Cat is because she is a middle aged female is off base. I would say the dislike of Cat, though she is no way the most hated character in the series, is based on three things.

First and least important, she manages to be the match that sets off the entire war when she kidnaps Tyrion. Yes, other people lay the logs, set the tinder, and soaked it all in oil, but she was the one that struck the match.

Secondly, she kidnapped and mistreated Tyrion who, by that point, was a favorite character for many of the readers.

Thirdly, in what I believe is her second appearance she is needlessly cruel to Jon Snow. Her last lines to him are "It should have been you." in reference to the fact that he should have been crippled and near death rather than Bran.

Yes, these incidents are all in character and excusable due to lack of information or emotional turmoil. However, she does spend a lot of time acting cruelly and unjustly to popular characters and I do believe this is a legitimate reason to dislike her.

"Also, people are kidding themselves if they think that Ned would have behaved better to Cat's bastard if situation had been reversed, LOL."

When did anyone say this?
Tricia Irish
25. Tektonica
Isilel@22: **Spoilers **

Well, we can't possibly know what Jon will be thinking in 25 years, but I believe a lot of his resentment at being the "bastard" is created by the treatment he receives, as Toryx states. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy....If you treat someone badly, they're really not going to like you very much. Duh. Robb treats Jon as a brother and they get along well. Jon has a good sense of honor, in spite of his station in life, thanks to Ned and the code of honor he's been taught in the North.

People are born with a unique personality. It can be abused and twisted by their environment, or enhanced and encouraged. From what we are shown of his POVs, I think Jon's basic character is noble and honorable. Ned has treated him well. (As well as this period of time dictates.) Therefore, I postulate that he would be supportive of Robb and house Stark. But I guess we'll find out...eventually.
C C
26. Hatgirl
SPOILERS FOR THE WHOLE SERIES UP TO "A FEAST FOR CROWS"
*
*
*
*
Aaaaah! She's a frigging zombie!
Marcus W
27. toryx
We hate Catelyn because she's a middle-aged woman? I don't think so.
Catelyn made a lot of decisions that I didn't like and I really didn't care for how she treated people. I guess I could go through the books and point out the places where she pissed me off, but since Leigh Butler is doing the read, I'll just wait until they pop up there. But the fact that she's female and especially her age had absolutely nothing to do with my feelings about her.


Edit to remove my originaly flippant attitude.
Iain Cupples
29. NumberNone
@20: you make a good point about Jon becoming an active threat to the safety of the whole family (if the speculation is true), but the notion that Cat would go as far as poisoning Jon is mistaking her entire character.

Remember, Cat *does* show concern for other people's children, and a high degree of empathy: this is part of her opposition to the war. When she prays in the sept in ACOK, she reflects on how 'they are all some mother's children': she even includes Cersei's children in that thought. At another point she wonders if Jon's mother, if she is alive, ever worries about him as Cat does about her children. I can't conceive that someone who has these thoughts would ever resort to poisoning Jon to get him out of the way, no matter what.

@25: Jon's treatment, as we are told, was actually unusually *privileged* for a bastard. Other bastards have a far bigger distinction drawn between themselves and the legitimate children: normally they aren't raised with the legitimate children at all. Arguably it's this failure to draw a clear line that causes Jon's jealousy. Certainly it's hard to support the suggestion that it's a reaction to Cat's resentment.
Rob Munnelly
30. RobMRobM
@all - I don't believe bastards get the honor of being fostered elsewhere. Unheard of in the books as far as I can recall. Not a bad idea but who would take him and would they treat him equivalent to their own true born kids. I doubt it.


SPOILERS



Re Cat dislike - she lets ambition for Sansa overwhelm some legitimate concerns about the match with Joff and Ned's role as the Hand; lets grief for Bran overwhelm family obligations; treats Jon meanly; makes a bad decision to go herself to investigate the knife (should have sent Cassell alone to talk to Ned and decide on a game plan); and makes a horrible and ultimately fatal decision to seize Tyrion while her husband and daughter were unaware and amidst Lannisters in Kings Landing. Other than that she's awesomesauce (especially her interactions with Robb later in the book), but the errors cast a shadow over her many good qualities.

Rob
Iain Cupples
31. NumberNone
@30: again, look at the Hornwoods in ACOK. Lord H's bastard, Larence Snow, is fostered at Deepwood Motte. This seems to be considered fairly unremarkable. For that matter, Edric Storm is fostered at Storm's End, though of course Renly is his uncle. I'm fairly sure there are other examples too.

Fostering Jon was, I think, definitely not 'unheard of' and certainly an alternative to either sending him to the Wall or indeed having him at Winterfell in the first place.
Stefan Mitev
32. Bergmaniac
Spoilers:

Cat, for all her faults, is still much smarter than Ned and Robb IMO, who were definitely not the sharpest tools in the box and predictably failed in the game of thrones as a result of it and their obsession with honour. Those two are responsible for most of the Starks problems.

Cat was tricked by Littlefinger, but then so was pretty much everyone.
Robin Bradford
33. RobinBradford
Again, what great analysis! I love reading these comments. I did feel a little bit hamstrung writing this and keeping it only to what you can see in GoT. Even though, yes, there is so much there, there is also so much MORE to come.

I was never much of a Cat fan, but I think I grew to appreciate her a little more this time around. I'm 15 years older after all, so my attitudes have changed. I still don't like how her attitudes towards Jon played out in the book, but it certainly makes her more interesting that she isn't just the benevolent and accepting wife. I think the "It should have been you" is an uncharacteristic act of cruelty even so early on in the book. You don't know much about her at that point, but even then it's something you would expect from some characters (read: Cersei), but not from her.
James Whitehead
34. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
SPOILERS....





I think Catelyn's comments to Jon was perfectly understandable. She's watching one of her children slip away and Jon, kindly, comes to say goodbye to Brandon. Catelyn overreacts and tells Jon "It should have been you."

Was that the nicest thing to say? Not by a lonshot but hardly out of character for a grieving mother who resents the place her husband's bastard has in her home. Most of Martin's characters are like that; admirable in many ways but still flawed & capable of great cruelty.

Also, I wouldn't say Catelyn is smarter than Ned - Robb, definitely. Politically more astute than him? Possibly. But she gets caught up in the same machinations that Ned does and also allows herself to react with poor or incomplete information, as does Ned.

Unfortunately, the Stark family's downfall started the day Jon Arryn died & Robert needed a new Hand. Ned and the rest were boxed into a corner with no realistic way out at that point.

Kato
Gentleman Farmer
35. Martinsfan
Catelyn's anger towards Jon is so misguided and if she was a rational character she would see that. She should of guided all that anger towards Ned not Jon. Jon had no say in where he grew up, that was Neds doing. Also she is terrible at reading all situations and people. Look at how she treats Tyrion and Brienne in the end. She jumps to coclusions to quick that lead to bad endings.... Looking forward to reading more about her reaction to several characters she has mistreated in her past which she should of actually trusted and to those she trusted and have actually betrayed her. Can't wait for last 2 books.

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