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The Wisdom of Catelyn Tully


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#1 Salinda

Salinda

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 08:27 PM

From what I can see, many readers often misconstrue Catelyn's character as "just an emotional woman who makes bad decisions". While certainly some of Catelyn's decisions are less than ideal (due mostly to unforeseeable circumstances), in my view minimalizing her character to just this is a misreading of text. Upon further analysis, I think Catelyn is one of the strongest voices of reason, and one of the most intelligent characters in the series

 

I. Catelyn recognizes the real threat before any other character

 “He was the fourth this year,” Ned said grimly. “The poor man was half-mad. Something had put a fear in him so deep that my words could not reach him.” He sighed. “Ben writes that the strength of the Night’s Watch is down below a thousand. It’s not only desertions. They are losing men on rangings as well.”

 

“Is it the wildlings?” she asked.

 

“Who else?” Ned lifted Ice, looked down the cool steel length of it. “And it will only grow worse. The day may come when I will have no choice but to call the banners and ride north to deal with this King-beyond-the-Wall for good and all.”

 

“Beyond the Wall?” The thought made Catelyn shudder.

 

Ned saw the dread on her face. “Mance Rayder is nothing for us to fear.”

 

“There are darker things beyond the Wall.” She glanced behind her at the heart tree, the pale bark and red eyes, watching, listening, thinking its long slow thoughts.

 

His smile was gentle. “You listen to too many of Old Nan’s stories. The Others are as dead as the children of the forest, gone eight thousand years. Maester Luwin will tell you they never lived at all. No living man has ever seen one.”

 

“Until this morning, no living man had ever seen a direwolf either,” Catelyn reminded him.

 

It takes several hundreds of pages for anyone else to even remotely acknowledge the Others, while she does it in her first chapter

 

II. Catelyn wanted Ned to stay in Winterfell

Despite popular belief that Catelyn urged Ned to go to King's Landing, this is only true initially. After Bran falls...

 

She had begged Ned not to go, not now, not after what had happened; everything had changed now, couldn’t he see that? It was no use. He had no choice, he had told her, and then he left, choosing.

 

How much misfortune could Ned have avoided by listening to his wife in this instance?

 

III. Catelyn surmises that Jaime threw Bran out of the window on little evidence

 

“My sister Lysa believes the Lannisters murdered her husband, Lord Arryn, the Hand of the King,” Catelyn told them. “It comes to me that Jaime Lannister did not join the hunt the day Bran fell. He remained here in the castle.” The room was deathly quiet. “I do not think Bran fell from that tower,” she said into the stillness. “I think he was thrown.”

 

She quickly pieces together Jaime's absence, with Bran's fall and later assasination attempt meant he was thrown by Jaime. This shows just how quick she is

 

And why does she come to this conclusion? Because she knows correctly that..

 

“There is no limit to Lannister pride or Lannister ambition,” Catelyn said.

 

IV. Catelyn and the oarsmen

 

When Catelyn travels to King's Landing with Rodrik, she decides to thank the oarsmen of the Storm Dancer for getting her there quickly by giving each a silver stag. When the captain tells her that she should give their bonus to him, so that he may hold it for them as to keep them from spending it badly, she tells him

 

“A man must make his own choices,” Catelyn said. “They earned the silver. How they spend it is no concern of mine.”

 

For she knows the captain will likely pocket the money himself, at no gain to the oarsmen. She also goes further and hand delivers the silver stags to each man, to make sure they get it.

 

V. Catelyn on Varys

 

“But Varys has ways of learning things that no man could know. He has some dark art, Ned, I swear it.”

 

“He has spies, that is well known,” Ned said, dismissive.

 

“It is more than that,” Catelyn insisted. “Ser Rodrik spoke to Ser Aron Santagar in all secrecy, yet somehow the Spider knew of their conversation. I fear that man.”

 

Given how dangerous Varys has grown to be in this story, and how we the readers endlessly debate his motives, it seems to me that Catelyn was more correct about how he is than anyone else. She knows it extends beyond simple information network

 

VI. The arrest - Tyrion outwitted

 

When Catelyn arrests Tyrion stating she was to take him to Winterfell, Tyrion learns..

 

“This is the high road,” he gasped, looking at Lady Stark with accusation. “The eastern road. You said we were riding for Winterfell!”

 

Catelyn Stark favored him with the faintest of smiles. “Often and loudly,” she agreed. “No doubt your friends will ride that way when they come after us. I wish them good speed.”

 

Even now, long days later, the memory filled him with a bitter rage. All his life Tyrion had prided himself on his cunning, the only gift the gods had seen fit to give him, and yet this seven-times-damned she-wolf Catelyn Stark had outwitted him at every turn.

 

This was a wise move in itself, by misdirecting her pursuers she gets to the Vale with Tyrion in tow, before anyone is the wiser. Of course, things do go badly for her later, but this is the fault of her sister more than anyone else

 

VII. Catelyn on female power

 

“A woman can rule as wisely as a man,” Catelyn said.

 

These thoughts are far ahead of most people in her time. For example, if the Iron Islanders thought like Catelyn, there would be a Queen Asha instead of a King Euron.

 

VIII. Catelyn and Lysa

 

“We’re safe here,” Lysa was saying. Whether to her or to the boy, Catelyn was not sure.

 

“Don’t be a fool,” Catelyn said, the anger rising in her. “No one is safe. If you think hiding here will make the Lannisters forget you, you are sadly mistaken.”

 

Lysa covered her boy’s ear with her hand. “Even if they could bring an army through the mountains and past the Bloody Gate, the Eyrie is impregnable. You saw for yourself. No enemy could ever reach us up here.”

 

Catelyn wanted to slap her. Uncle Brynden had tried to warn her, she realized. “No castle is impregnable.”

 

Lysa is half right, because the Eyrie is impregnable by the common route of assembling an army to assault it. But Catelyn wisely tells her that the Lannisters won't forget her, and no castle is impregnable. And what happens later? The Lannisters, who wish to bring the Vale to their side, allow Littlefinger to go to the Vale. Lysa lets him in, he kills her and is planning to do away with her son. Impregnable by an army, but easily conquered by one man. Had she listened to Catelyn she would have prevented this fate

 

IX. Tyrion's trial by combat

 

“The dwarf has played her like a set of pipes, and she is too deaf to hear the tune.”

She sees how badly this will go and tries to prevent it

 

X. Catelyn handling her son's position

 

“And you are fifteen now. Fifteen, and leading a host to battle. Can you understand why I might fear, Robb?”

 

His look grew stubborn. “There was no one else.”

 

“No one?” she said. “Pray, who were those men I saw here a moment ago? Roose Bolton, Rickard Karstark, Galbart and Robett Glover, the Greatjon, Helman Tallhart … you might have given the command to any of them. Gods be good, you might even have sent Theon, though he would not be my choice.”

 

“They are not Starks,” he said.

 

“They are men, Robb, seasoned in battle. You were fighting with wooden swords less than a year past.”

 

She saw anger in his eyes at that, but it was gone as quick as it came, and suddenly he was a boy again. “I know,” he said, abashed. “Are you … are you sending me back to Winterfell?”

 

Catelyn sighed. “I should. You ought never have left. Yet I dare not, not now. You have come too far. Someday these lords will look to you as their liege. If I pack you off now, like a child being sent to bed without his supper, they will remember, and laugh about it in their cups. The day will come when you need them to respect you, even fear you a little. Laughter is poison to fear. I will not do that to you, much as I might wish to keep you safe.”

 

She knows her son is less than ideal for command, but she knows that sending him back will be damaging to her son's authority in the future. She therefore chooses the best option and decides to help him while leaving him in charge. She also knows a remarkable bit about the relations between a bannerman and his liege lord. Laughter being poison to fear is one of Tywin's central ideals. There can we call Catelyn foolish while praising Tywin's leadership?

 

XI. Catelyn sees through Cersei's ruse

 

“There was a letter,” Robb said, scratching his direwolf under the jaw. “One for you as well, but it came to Winterfell with mine.” He went to the table, rummaged among some maps and papers, and returned with a crumpled parchment. “This is the one she wrote me, I never thought to bring yours.”

 

Something in Robb’s tone troubled her. She smoothed out the paper and read. Concern gave way to disbelief, then to anger, and lastly to fear. “This is Cersei’s letter, not your sister’s,” she said when she was done. “The real message is in what Sansa does not say. All this about how kindly and gently the Lannisters are treating her … I know the sound of a threat, even whispered. They have Sansa hostage, and they mean to keep her.”

 

XII. Surrender is not an option

 

When considering their next course of action, and the danger the war will bring to Sansa and Ned, Catelyn states..

 

“What I do know is that you have no choice. If you go to King’s Landing and swear fealty, you will never be allowed to leave. If you turn your tail and retreat to Winterfell, your lords will lose all respect for you. Some may even go over to the Lannisters. Then the queen, with that much less to fear, can do as she likes with her prisoners. Our best hope, our only true hope, is that you can defeat the foe in the field. If you should chance to take Lord Tywin or the Kingslayer captive, why then a trade might very well be possible, but that is not the heart of it. So long as you have power enough that they must fear you, Ned and your sister should be safe. Cersei is wise enough to know that she may need them to make her peace, should the fighting go against her.”

 

“What if the fighting doesn’t go against her?” Robb asked. “What if it goes against us?”

 

Catelyn took his hand. “Robb, I will not soften the truth for you. If you lose, there is no hope for any of us. They say there is naught but stone at the heart of Casterly Rock. Remember the fate of Rhaegar’s children.”

 

 

She is politically perceptive enough to know that at this point, battle is unavoidable. But she knows a captured Tywin or Jaime can put an end to this

 

XIII. Bannermen are not your friends

 

Robb hesitated. “The Greatjon thinks we should take the battle to Lord Tywin and surprise him,” he said, “but the Glovers and the Karstarks feel we’d be wiser to go around his army and join up with Uncle Ser Edmure against the Kingslayer.” He ran his fingers through his shaggy mane of auburn hair, looking unhappy. “Though by the time we reach Riverrun … I’m not certain …”

 

“Be certain,” Catelyn told her son, “or go home and take up that wooden sword again. You cannot afford to seem indecisive in front of men like Roose Bolton and Rickard Karstark. Make no mistake, Robb—these are your bannermen, not your friends. You named yourself battle commander. Command.”

 

She is more right than she knows

 

XIV. Knowing who is best fitted to a job

 

When Robb suggests putting Greatjon in charge of the foot, she tells him how a fearless man like him would be ill-suited to the position. Robb changes his mind based on this to Roose Bolton which Catelyn agrees to. She can see that Roose Bolton who is cautious and calculating would make a better commander against Tywin than Greatjon, who as we know is reckless and unwise. Given that there are heavy losses at the Green Fork despite this, I can't help but think that it would be even worse with Greatjon. It's likely he would have fallen for Tywin's trap

 

XV. "Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens"

 

Sound familiar? Catelyn thinks of it before Tywin ever does

“Damn the man,” Robb swore. “If the old fool does not relent and let me cross, he’ll leave me no choice but to storm his walls. I’ll pull the Twins down around his ears if I have to, we’ll see how well he likes that!”

 

“You sound like a sulky boy, Robb,” Catelyn said sharply. “A child sees an obstacle, and his first thought is to run around it or knock it down. A lord must learn that sometimes words can accomplish what swords cannot.”

XVI. Wars aren't won in one battle

 

After the Whispering Wood, Theon brags

 

“But such a battle!” said Theon Greyjoy eagerly. “My lady, the realm has not seen such a victory since the Field of Fire. I vow, the Lannisters lost ten men for every one of ours that fell. We’ve taken close to a hundred knights captive, and a dozen lords bannermen. Lord Westerling, Lord Banefort, Ser Garth Greenfield, Lord Estren, Ser Tytos Brax, Mallor the Dornishman … and three Lannisters besides Jaime, Lord Tywin’s own nephews, two of his sister’s sons and one of his dead brother’s …”

 

“And Lord Tywin?” Catelyn interrupted. “Have you perchance taken Lord Tywin, Theon?”

 

“No,” Greyjoy answered, brought up short.

 

“Until you do, this war is far from done.”

 

Catelyn always has her eyes on the bigger picture

 

XVII. Peace when war is futile

 

After Eddard's death, at the meeting of assembled Northern and River Lords, Catelyn tries to speak to their better judgement

 

“Why not a peace?” Catelyn asked.

 

The lords looked at her, but it was Robb’s eyes she felt, his and his alone. “My lady, they murdered my lord father, your husband,” he said grimly. He unsheathed his longsword and laid it on the table before him, the bright steel on the rough wood. “This is the only peace I have for Lannisters.”

 

The Greatjon bellowed his approval, and other men added their voices, shouting and drawing swords and pounding their fists on the table. Catelyn waited until they had quieted. “My lords,” she said then, “Lord Eddard was your liege, but I shared his bed and bore his children. Do you think I love him any less than you?” Her voice almost broke with her grief, but Catelyn took a long breath and steadied herself. “Robb, if that sword could bring him back, I should never let you sheathe it until Ned stood at my side once more … but he is gone, and a hundred Whispering Woods will not change that. Ned is gone, and Daryn Hornwood, and Lord Karstark’s valiant sons, and many other good men besides, and none of them will return to us. Must we have more deaths still?”

 

“You are a woman, my lady,” the Greatjon rumbled in his deep voice. “Women do not understand these things.”

 

“You are the gentle sex,” said Lord Karstark, with the lines of grief fresh on his face. “A man has a need for vengeance.”

 

“Give me Cersei Lannister, Lord Karstark, and you would see how gentle a woman can be,” Catelyn replied. “Perhaps I do not understand tactics and strategy … but I understand futility. We went to war when Lannister armies were ravaging the riverlands, and Ned was a prisoner, falsely accused of treason. We fought to defend ourselves, and to win my lord’s freedom. “Well, the one is done, and the other forever beyond our reach. I will mourn for Ned until the end of my days, but I must think of the living. I want my daughters back, and the queen holds them still. If I must trade our four Lannisters for their two Starks, I will call that a bargain and thank the gods. I want you safe, Robb, ruling at Winterfell from your father’s seat. I want you to live your life, to kiss a girl and wed a woman and father a son. I want to write an end to this. I want to go home, my lords, and weep for my husband.”

 

Had they listened to her, many people would still be alive. As we can see, Catelyn speaks wisely in this issue as she has several times before

 

XVIII. Sending Theon and Balon's intention

 

Catelyn not only foresees what a bad idea sending Theon to treat with Balon is, but also predicts that Balon may want to crown himself once more

 

Catelyn ignored that. “I’ll say again, I would sooner you sent someone else to Pyke, and kept Theon close to you.”

 

“Who better to treat with Balon Greyjoy than his son?”

 

“Jason Mallister,” offered Catelyn. “Tytos Blackwood. Stevron Frey. Anyone . . . but not Theon.

 

Her son squatted beside Grey Wind, ruffling the wolf’s fur and incidentally avoiding her eyes. “Theon’s fought bravely for us. I told you how he saved Bran from those wildlings in the wolfswood. If the Lannisters won’t make peace, I’ll have need of Lord Greyjoy’s longships.”

 

“You’ll have them sooner if you keep his son as hostage.”

 

“He’s been a hostage half his life.”

 

“For good reason,” Catelyn said. “Balon Greyjoy is not a man to be trusted. He wore a crown himself, remember, if only for a season. He may aspire to wear one again.”

 

XIX. The real enemy

 

“Clegane is no more than Lord Tywin’s catspaw.” For Tywin Lannister—Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West, father to Queen Cersei, Ser Jaime the Kingslayer, and Tyrion the Imp, and grandfather to Joffrey Baratheon, the new-crowned boy king—was the true danger, Catelyn believed.

 

XX. Calling a council to decide the succession

 
“The Lannisters tried to kill my son Bran. A thousand times I have asked myself why. Your brother gave me my answer. There was a hunt the day he fell. Robert and Ned and most of the other men rode out after boar, but Jaime Lannister remained at Winterfell, as did the queen.”


Renly was not slow to take the implication. “So you believe the boy caught them at their incest . . .”

 

“I beg you, my lord, grant me leave to go to your brother Stannis and tell him what I suspect.”

 

“To what end?”

 

“Robb will set aside his crown if you and your brother will do the same,” she said, hoping it was true. She would make it true if she must; Robb would listen to her, even if his lords would not. “Let the three of you call for a Great Council, such as the realm has not seen for a hundred years. We will send to Winterfell, so Bran may tell his tale and all men may know the Lannisters for the true usurpers. Let the assembled lords of the Seven Kingdoms choose who shall rule them.”

 

This is one of the best ideas presented in the entire series, but it falls on deaf ears. Had things not gone south with Renly's death, perhaps this could have worked out in some form and Westeros would be much better off for it.

 

XXI. There is no point in dying for the dead

 

“If you left us, where would you go?” Catelyn asked her.

 

“Back,” Brienne said. “To Storm’s End.”

 

“Alone.” It was not a question.

 

The broad face was a pool of still water, giving no hint of what might live in the depths below. “Yes.”

 

“You mean to kill Stannis.”

 

Brienne closed her thick callused fingers around the hilt of her sword. The sword that had been his. “I swore a vow. Three times I swore. You heard me.”

 

“I did,” Catelyn admitted. The girl had kept the rainbow cloak when she discarded the rest of her bloodstained clothing, she knew. Brienne’s own things had been left behind during their flight, and she had been forced to clothe herself in odd bits of Ser Wendel’s spare garb, since no one else in their party had garments large enough to fit her. “Vows should be kept, I agree, but Stannis has a great host around him, and his own guards sworn to keep him safe.”

 

“I am not afraid of his guards. I am as good as any of them. I should never have fled.”

 

“Is that what troubles you, that some fool might call you craven?” She sighed. “Renly’s death was no fault of yours. You served him valiantly, but when you seek to follow him into the earth, you serve no one.”

 

XXII. Catelyn tries to prevent Edmure's mistake

 

As we know, by doing battle with Tywin, Edmure delays him long enough so that outriders can reach him of Stannis' attack on the capital. But did you know Catelyn was against this from the start?

 

Edmure swung down from his saddle. He was a head taller than she was, but he would always be her little brother. “Cat,” he said unhappily, “Lord Tywin is coming—”

 

“He is making for the west, to defend his own lands. If we close our gates and shelter behind the walls, we can watch him pass with safety.”

 

“This is Tully land,” Edmure declared. “If Tywin Lannister thinks to cross it unbloodied, I mean to teach him a hard lesson.”

 

Had he listened, perhaps things may have gone better for their war effort

 

XXIII. The wolves

 

Catelyn see the true nature of the wolves better than the Stark children themselves

 

“Any man Grey Wind mislikes is a man I do not want close to you. These wolves are more than wolves, Robb. You must know that. I think perhaps the gods sent them to us. Your father’s gods, the old gods of the north. Five wolf pups, Robb, five for five Stark children.”

 

XXIV. A true King

 

Catelyn tells Robb what his main priority is

 

“The next battle,” Robb said. “Well, that will be soon enough. Once Joffrey is wed, the Lannisters will take the field against me once more, I don’t doubt, and this time the Tyrells will march beside them. And I may need to fight the Freys as well, if Black Walder has his way . . .”

 

“So long as Theon Greyjoy sits in your father’s seat with your brothers’ blood on his hands, these other foes must wait,” Catelyn told her son. “Your first duty is to defend your own people, win back Winterfell, and hang Theon in a crow’s cage to die slowly. Or else put off that crown for good, Robb, for men will know that you are no true king at all.”

 

XXV. Sometimes it is best to do nothing

When Jeyne comes to Catelyn asking her what she should do for Robb after he is angry and disconsolate following Karstark's execution she tells her

 

“Sometimes,” Catelyn said slowly, “the best thing you can do is nothing. When I first came to Winterfell, I was hurt whenever Ned went to the godswood to sit beneath his heart tree. Part of his soul was in that tree, I knew, a part I would never share. Yet without that part, I soon realized, he would not have been Ned. Jeyne, child, you have wed the north, as I did . . . and in the north, the winters will come.” She tried to smile. “Be patient. Be understanding. He loves you and he needs you, and he will come back to you soon enough. This very night, perhaps. Be there when he does. That is all I can tell you.”

 

Wise words we can apply to our own lives

 

XXVI. Knowing when to bend the knee

 

Catelyn tries to prevent her son's impending doom by getting him to bend the knee once the war looks lost. She is rebuffed. Even though she hates the Lannisters as much as Robb does, she knows when things are over, and when to cut your losses. She looks beyond her own feelings to do the logical thing. Funny how "irrational" is the first word used to describe her by most

 

XXVII. Avoding slights

 

It had been her who had insisted that Jeyne remain at Riverrun, when Robb would sooner have kept her by his side. Lord Walder might well construe the queen’s absence from the wedding as another slight, yet her presence would have been a different sort of insult, salt in the old man’s wound.

 

XXVIII. Naming a bastard as heir

 

Catelyn wisely forsees the issues with naming Jon as his heir. As a man of the Night's Watch, he cannot inherit any lands or titles nor can he wear any crowns. Naming him, and then thinking he could be released from his oath by 100 men even though there are no precedents of people being released from the Watch, is foolish. She also sees the issue this could have later on with Jon's potential children contesting trueborn Starks. Indeed, we may see some potential issues in later books thanks to this ill-thoughtout document. The cousins in the Vale would be the better choice by far

 

XXIX. Claiming guest right

 

Catelyn is the only one who predicts that they may be less than safe under Walder's roof. So she urges her son to put himself under guest right protection

 

Catelyn shifted her seat uncomfortably. “If we are offered refreshment when we arrive, on no account refuse. Take what is offered, and eat and drink where all can see. If nothing is offered, ask for bread and cheese and a cup of wine.”

 

“I’m more wet than hungry . . .”

 

“Robb, listen to me. Once you have eaten of his bread and salt, you have the guest right, and the laws of hospitality protect you beneath his roof.”

 

I suppose people don't want to give her any partial credit for this, seeing as how it failed to save them. But she was still the only person intelligent enough to predict something like the Red Wedding before it happened

 

XXX. Trying to save a life

 

Catelyn takes a hostage to save Robb at the Red Wedding, which has a better chance of preserving his life than the feeble attempts the Northerners made to fight off their attackers

 

Overall, I think Catelyn is not appreciated by the fanbase enough, and gets too harshly criticized as "stupid" or "the doom of her house". I think that the real way to see her is as someone whose consistently good ideas and thoughts are never followed upon by the people she directs them too. I think the real tragedy is that people don't listen to Catelyn not that Catelyn herself is a negative influence


Edited by Salinda, 05 June 2014 - 08:33 PM.


#2 Leonardo

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 08:33 PM

Only stupid people think Cat is stupid. She almost always has good counsel and good decisions, and that's all without having Ned and Robb's knowledge of the North. When Ned went to King's Landing, he knew he probably wouldn't get to see Robb for a few years, meaning to me that he pretty much taught him all he needed to know about leading the North and was confident in his abilities and Cat's.

 

Cat made one or two huge unforgivable mistakes though, or possibly just one if you see it like I do.

 

Her denial of her grief throughout ASOS is really grating as well; she's always like "This was not the decision of a grieving woman!" when it clearly was.

 

I liked Catelyn, she was a good mother. But she should have gone back North after the Renly debacle. Fathers and mothers die, this is war, and her children were being raised by a maester in the North and master at arms, a very good maester, but they weren't their mother and father. This was her principal duty, and she realizes it later. Getting to sit down with your father and watch him die is a luxury most people don't get to have, and Robb and Catelyn seemed to both forget the seriousness of their situations at times.

 

Cat's prejudice against Jon is totally unfounded btw, it's no use trying to make that argument. His sons would be his sons, and only generations down the line would it ever be a problem. Not only that, but Jon was only going to be released from his vows if Robb DIED, though I reckon Robb went ahead and legitimized him in the letter, which will be irrelevant once it's revealed Bran and Rickon are alive(already has in fact)


Edited by Leonardo, 05 June 2014 - 08:35 PM.


#3 not in the face

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 08:36 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if Varys had a glass candle.



#4 Mad Monkey

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 08:42 PM

I think if Catelyn had been King of Winter or Lord of Winterfell the North would probably be in better shape. She isn't very good at battle because she has no training, but she is a great defensive coordinator. Her main weakness wasn't her errors -- honestly, those probably would have been made by most people who had her information.

Her main weakness is that many of her plans require people to be somewhat rational. Robb, Stannis, and Renly should have stepped on Joffrey as soon as possible and then gotten together to work out who has to kneel to who. It made little strategic sense for them all to fight each other while Tywin raises two massive Lannister armies to kill them all, but pride and old bad feelings won the way over Catelyn's logic.

Did you remember how Catelyn immediately deduces that Stannis used magic to kill Renly?

#5 Lord Joker

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 08:56 PM

Problem with Cat is the mistakes she made stick out more, that's why some people tend to think she's not too smart.



#6 myhousigilisthehousecat

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:01 PM

I actually liked Cat (at least in the books) and I'd say she was the savviest Stark of them all. I think most people who hate her are either dwelling on her setting Jaime loose or her dislike of Jon (I don't like him either), or they just hate how un-fun she is while coping with the death of nearly every person who she ever loved (imagine that!)



#7 Mr Bell

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:04 PM

Great OP.

 

I think Cat is an extremely intelligent, and normally rational person. Her irrational or "stupid" acts were driven out of grief and love for her family, and I can't really fault her for them. I think she would do really well in a leadership position, better than her husband or her son.



#8 Cat Alayne

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:11 PM

Thank you for this!!!! Catelyn is certainly an incredibly politically astute who offers a lot of wisdom throughout the series and understands the futility of war. 

She is always criticized for 'starting the war' by capturing tyrion, but really with all the information she had, it is the best possible decision she could have made. Read the catnapping threads for evidence.

 

Contrary to popular belief she does not 'always make decisions based solely on her emotions'. Sure her emotions are considered in her decisions, but other than freeing Jaime for her daughters, which even then was logically reasoned albeit reckless, her decisions are based on facts and Jon's legitimisation is included there.



#9 Salinda

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:11 PM

Cat's prejudice against Jon is totally unfounded btw, it's no use trying to make that argument. His sons would be his sons, and only generations down the line would it ever be a problem. Not only that, but Jon was only going to be released from his vows if Robb DIED, though I reckon Robb went ahead and legitimized him in the letter, which will be irrelevant once it's revealed Bran and Rickon are alive(already has in fact)

 

Generations down the line, but still a problem. A problem she wants to prevent

 

Also, Robb wanted to release him from his vows by trading 100 men for him, using the precedent set by Barristan's dismissal of the Kingsguard. This is basically illegal and would never work, given how highly Night's Watch oaths are regarded in the North. His time would have been better spent searching for his real heir


Edited by Salinda, 05 June 2014 - 09:11 PM.


#10 Qhorin Halfhand and Yoren

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:32 PM

Catelyn was neither wise nor an emotional woman who just made mistakes. She was someone who was over her head dealing with complicated difficult issues, with plenty of fuck ups. Certainly not an expect politician. That beind said she has some wisdom and she gets some things right. She gets plenty of things wrong though, and unfortunately in this world mistakes have more severe consequences than the things you do correctly.



#11 aryagonnakill#2

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:32 PM

I couldn't make it threw that entire op, you were giving Cat credit for straight up ridiculous things.  Calling the white walkers? She did not call the White walkers her statement was meant as some foreshadowing nothing more.  I give her credit for deducing Jaime threw Bran out the window, I even give her credit for knowing what Walder was saying when she went into the Twins, and for convincing Brienne to become hers as well as sticking with her gut that Stannis killed Renly with magic, and for figuring out about her father making Lysa get an abortion, so I think she can figure stuff out, but thats about it.  Figuring some stuff out does not wash out all of the other stuff she did.  Saying she was going North while going to the Vale would have been smart if going to the Vale wasn't a stupid move in the first place.  Its like saying Balons plan to capture the north was smart, maybe, but attacking the North in the first place was really dumb.

 

Another thing you said was that Catlyn was smart for giving each of the oarsmen a silver, you even said it was smart for her to give it to them each in person... then she was surprised when Varys knew she was there.  It was not smart at all, giving the captain all the silver would have been the smart thing to do.

 

You also seem to ignore the fact that she advised Robb to name Roose Bolton the leader of Robbs infantry, that was before "loosing" any of her children.

 

I think all in all Catlyn was good at figuring things out, but that she was a terrible judge of people, and a terrible decision maker.



#12 The Golden Wolf

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:37 PM

A very long opening post that was. I liked Cat she was a good woman whose family was launched into a horrible situation by those she trusted and loved. a lot of Catelyn's wisdom is just good common sense. 

 

Robb was a lad of 14-15 when he marched off to war so he needed someone like her in his corner to help him make the sound choices. 

 

But in my eyes Cat messed up 3-4 times. 

 

Leaving Winterfell in the first place. Ser Rodrick and a small group could have delivered that message to Ned with little trouble. She was needed by Rickon and Bran more than Ned needed her personally to convey the story of the attempt on Bran's life and present him the dagger. 

 

The abduction of Tyrion was on weak evidence at best and fueled by emotion. What would have happened if Tyrion had went on to Kingslanding? Nothing that would have greatly increased the tensions between the Starks and Lannisters as much as abducting him did.

 

Not going back to Winterfell after the siege of Riverrun was lifted or her meeting with Renly went horribly wrong. Actually I think her time would have been better spent trying to get the Vale on their side. but i bet you if she had been in the North when Ramsey was up to no good she would have made sure that he got squashed quickly. And there would have been no taking of Winterfell by Theon.

 

Releasing Jaime was a bad move. 

 

But overall the plot demanded certain things happen to house Stark so that individual players could be placed for future developments.



#13 voltron

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:49 PM

I don't think Catelyn is extremely intelligent, but she's not stupid either. She was raised for being a lady and a mother, she's just a typical noble lady with a lot of common sense, war and politics is not her strength and i can't blame her for that. She tried her best giving the circumstances. The only man to blame is Ned, he's responsible for everything that happens to the Stark, he's really the definition of stupid. At least, he should have send back his girls to winterfell before doing anything with the incest story. I have sympathy for Cat, she wasn't supposed to deal with all that, she wasn't prepared for that. (none of the Tully was prepared, they're clueless, except for Blackfish)



#14 Salinda

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 10:03 PM

I couldn't make it threw that entire op, you were giving Cat credit for straight up ridiculous things.  Calling the white walkers? She did not call the White walkers her statement was meant as some foreshadowing nothing more.  I give her credit for deducing Jaime threw Bran out the window, I even give her credit for knowing what Walder was saying when she went into the Twins, and for convincing Brienne to become hers as well as sticking with her gut that Stannis killed Renly with magic, and for figuring out about her father making Lysa get an abortion, so I think she can figure stuff out, but thats about it.  Figuring some stuff out does not wash out all of the other stuff she did.  Saying she was going North while going to the Vale would have been smart if going to the Vale wasn't a stupid move in the first place.  Its like saying Balons plan to capture the north was smart, maybe, but attacking the North in the first place was really dumb.

 

Another thing you said was that Catlyn was smart for giving each of the oarsmen a silver, you even said it was smart for her to give it to them each in person... then she was surprised when Varys knew she was there.  It was not smart at all, giving the captain all the silver would have been the smart thing to do.

 

You also seem to ignore the fact that she advised Robb to name Roose Bolton the leader of Robbs infantry, that was before "loosing" any of her children.

 

I think all in all Catlyn was good at figuring things out, but that she was a terrible judge of people, and a terrible decision maker.

 

First off going to the Vale was a smart move, it's just that she had not seen Lysa in many years and could not know how much her mental faculties have degraded. Going to Winterfell as she would have been predicted to do, would have been the bad move. The implication behind her giving the oarsmen the silver is that she fears the captain will simply pocket the money. She is doing what she can to ensure that won't happen. I do address the Roose Bolton issue. She does not name him directly, but simply wants Robb to pick a more cautious commander with Robb offering Roose Bolton, to her agreement. And as it stood, Roose Bolton was a fine choice given that he withdrew his forces in timely order instead of following through into Tywin's trap. It was not a mistake picking him whatsoever, and to designate it as so is hindsight bias. Catelyn is not a terrible judge of people in my view, she only errs in her judgement of Littlefinger. Apart from that, she is right more often than not about what people want



#15 Ceiteach

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 10:09 PM

I never understood the Cat hatred. The Theon/Balon situation always stuck in my mind. Robb was the foolish one.



#16 Cat Alayne

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 10:24 PM

Catelyn was neither wise nor an emotional woman who just made mistakes. She was someone who was over her head dealing with complicated difficult issues, with plenty of fuck ups. Certainly not an expect politician. That beind said she has some wisdom and she gets some things right. She gets plenty of things wrong though, and unfortunately in this world mistakes have more severe consequences than the things you do correctly.

 

Please provide evidence of said fuckups, including why there where not good decisions (with no hindsight remember, no character can see into events they were not at). Name the 'plenty' things she gets wrong. 

 

 

I couldn't make it threw that entire op, you were giving Cat credit for straight up ridiculous things.  Calling the white walkers? She did not call the White walkers her statement was meant as some foreshadowing nothing more.  I give her credit for deducing Jaime threw Bran out the window, I even give her credit for knowing what Walder was saying when she went into the Twins, and for convincing Brienne to become hers as well as sticking with her gut that Stannis killed Renly with magic, and for figuring out about her father making Lysa get an abortion, so I think she can figure stuff out, but thats about it.  Figuring some stuff out does not wash out all of the other stuff she did.  Saying she was going North while going to the Vale would have been smart if going to the Vale wasn't a stupid move in the first place.  Its like saying Balons plan to capture the north was smart, maybe, but attacking the North in the first place was really dumb.

 

Another thing you said was that Catlyn was smart for giving each of the oarsmen a silver, you even said it was smart for her to give it to them each in person... then she was surprised when Varys knew she was there.  It was not smart at all, giving the captain all the silver would have been the smart thing to do.

 

You also seem to ignore the fact that she advised Robb to name Roose Bolton the leader of Robbs infantry, that was before "loosing" any of her children.

 

I think all in all Catlyn was good at figuring things out, but that she was a terrible judge of people, and a terrible decision maker.

 

Going to the vale was an intelligent move. Again Catelyn was extremely unlucky that her sister's sanity happened to have gone downhill by this point. She thought that Lysa would have the evidence needed to prove the Lannister's murder of JA. I don't know how you can argue this was a bad decision? She was doing the best with the shitty circumstances she was put in. 

 

How the fuck was Cateyn meant to know he would betray him!? Roose Bolton was cold and cunning but he had never shown signs of treason before? They needed someone like him to intimidate the lannisters.

 

I think you are projecting your personal views of the character

 

Leaving Winterfell in the first place. Ser Rodrick and a small group could have delivered that message to Ned with little trouble. She was needed by Rickon and Bran more than Ned needed her personally to convey the story of the attempt on Bran's life and present him the dagger. 

 

The abduction of Tyrion was on weak evidence at best and fueled by emotion. What would have happened if Tyrion had went on to Kingslanding? Nothing that would have greatly increased the tensions between the Starks and Lannisters as much as abducting him did.

 

Not going back to Winterfell after the siege of Riverrun was lifted or her meeting with Renly went horribly wrong. Actually I think her time would have been better spent trying to get the Vale on their side. but i bet you if she had been in the North when Ramsey was up to no good she would have made sure that he got squashed quickly. And there would have been no taking of Winterfell by Theon.

 

Releasing Jaime was a bad move. 

 

But overall the plot demanded certain things happen to house Stark so that individual players could be placed for future developments.

 

Rickon and Bran had an army of maids, a father figure in Maester Luwin, Old Nan, and a full staff of people to love and care for them. Catelyn did not trust others with such treasonous information. 

 

Read the catnapping thread, she tried to avoid Tyrion seeing her but once it happened she knew she had to act. Not an emotional decision but a rational one. 

 

I don't understand why staying in RR was a bad decision?

 

I don't think Catelyn is extremely intelligent, but she's not stupid either. She was raised for being a lady and a mother, she's just a typical noble lady with a lot of common sense, war and politics is not her strength and i can't blame her for that. She tried her best giving the circumstances. The only man to blame is Ned, he's responsible for everything that happens to the Stark, he's really the definition of stupid. At least, he should have send back his girls to winterfell before doing anything with the incest story. I have sympathy for Cat, she wasn't supposed to deal with all that, she wasn't prepared for that. (none of the Tully was prepared, they're clueless, except for Blackfish)

 

She was raised differently to most noble maids. She was the oldest for a long time and was likely raised like an heir until edmure came, when she was 10. Then her mother dies soon after so she has become the lady of riverrun at the age of 12. Hoster Tully was one of the best politicians in the series and Catelyn learned from him. Politics is her strength and she shows far more knowledge than those around her. She didn't make bad decisions (except perhaps freeing Jaime, but thats a totally understandable decision) she is just the unluckiest character in the series where even her rational decisions have negative outcomes.


Edited by Cat Alayne, 05 June 2014 - 10:25 PM.


#17 Cat Alayne

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 10:27 PM

 

But overall the plot demanded certain things happen to house Stark so that individual players could be placed for future developments.

 

Funny you should say that because George has said at least 3 times that Catelyn is a character that seemed to act of her own accord, even when plot wise he needed things to happen, her character would force him in different directions.



#18 The Golden Wolf

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 11:20 PM

Rickon and Bran had an army of maids, a father figure in Maester Luwin, Old Nan, and a full staff of people to love and care for them. Catelyn did not trust others with such treasonous information. 

 

Read the catnapping thread, she tried to avoid Tyrion seeing her but once it happened she knew she had to act. Not an emotional decision but a rational one. 

 

I don't understand why staying in RR was a bad decision?

 

yet they are still little boys who vested with power due to the absence of their mother, father, and older brother. Maester Luwin and Ser Rodrick are both good men do not get me wrong but for issues concerning the running of the North Catelyn would have been better off in the North than in the Riverlands with Robb. she is much wiser and carries much more vested authority than those who were left in Winterfell. Ramsey only acts the way he does because there is no elder Stark in Winterfell. 

 

Also the only reason Rodrick leaves Winterfell to chase the Iron Born is because Bran urges him to. 

 

Had to act why? Was Tyrion going to snatch her himself? What was so dire that she had to grab him? Him possibly telling Cersie or Jaime that he ran into her on the Kingsroad? how would that have made things any worse for Ned in Kingslanding than her abduction of Tyrion actually did? at the most Jaime and Cersie would have made sure not to cross Ned and Jaime would not have actually tried to kill him. 

 

All the imp-napping does is accelerate things greatly and makes it so that house Stark is the one provoking house Lannister. and on flimsy evidence at that! 

 

I will admit staying in Riverrun is not really that bad. Robb did need her for some counseling.

 

Funny you should say that because George has said at least 3 times that Catelyn is a character that seemed to act of her own accord, even when plot wise he needed things to happen, her character would force him in different directions.

 

really? wow. 

 

Why does everyone always criticize Ned and call him stupid? like they would have survived if placed in the same exact situation without the benefit of hindsight.



#19 Cat Alayne

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 11:53 PM

 

yet they are still little boys who vested with power due to the absence of their mother, father, and older brother. Maester Luwin and Ser Rodrick are both good men do not get me wrong but for issues concerning the running of the North Catelyn would have been better off in the North than in the Riverlands with Robb. she is much wiser and carries much more vested authority than those who were left in Winterfell. Ramsey only acts the way he does because there is no elder Stark in Winterfell. 

 

Also the only reason Rodrick leaves Winterfell to chase the Iron Born is because Bran urges him to. 

 

Had to act why? Was Tyrion going to snatch her himself? What was so dire that she had to grab him? Him possibly telling Cersie or Jaime that he ran into her on the Kingsroad? how would that have made things any worse for Ned in Kingslanding than her abduction of Tyrion actually did? at the most Jaime and Cersie would have made sure not to cross Ned and Jaime would not have actually tried to kill him. 

 

All the imp-napping does is accelerate things greatly and makes it so that house Stark is the one provoking house Lannister. and on flimsy evidence at that! 

 

I will admit staying in Riverrun is not really that bad. Robb did need her for some counseling.

 

Robb is a boy too. Only he had a much greater weight on his shoulder and needed Catelyn more! They could never have predicted the shit that would have gone down with the ironborn… oh wait… if Catelyn's advice had been heeded that wouldn't have happened anyway! Robb on the otherhand is fighting a war that has put the lives of her family in grave danger. As if she would run off to Winterfell to take care of accounts and minor disturbances when the war directly implicates the lives of her family, yes, including Bran and Rickon.

 

As for capturing Tyrion, at this stage in time what does Catelyn know? Tyrion doesn't have the most positive reputation in the realm to begin with. She has no interaction with him in Winterfell to gauge his nature. Then she gets a letter from her sister saying the lannisters murdered Jon Arryn. Then she deduces that the Lannisters pushed Bran out the window. Then Bran nearly gets assisinated with a dagger. Then her childhood best friend who loved her more than anything and would have died for her tells her the blade belonged to Tyrion Lannister. I say she has a strong case against Tyrion there. 

 

Fastfoward to the inn at the crossroads. Tyrion walks into the tavern. She freezes and tries to hide her self, wishing to go unnoticed by him. When he sees her, she realises that she must capture him. Why? Well just as you said, he wouldn't physically capture her or anything, but the knowledge that she has been incognito travelling from KL, is incredibly dangerous. Of course Tyrion is going to tell Jaime and Cersei and of course they are going to suspect what Catelyn told Ned. And OF COURSE if Cersei thought Ned knew about Bran/incest, she is going to act against him or Robert quickly. By capturing him, Catelyn intented to give him a fair trial to get to the bottom of the situation, choosing to go to the vale for evidence.

 

Lets not forget that it was TYWIN that broke the peace, attacking the Riverlands under no banner, an incredibly risky move in order to lure the Tully's out and blame them for breaking the peace. Luckily Hoster wasn't completely 'gone' at that point and advised Edmure and his Bannermen from attacking Gregor Clegane's brigades, instead going to get permission from Robert, so Tywin couldn't accuse him of breaking the kings peace. Ned sends out men to stop them and would have gotten Robert to bring them to justice and question tywin when he returned from the hunt. Unluckilly for the Starks, Robert dies and Tywin gets away with his reckless move. 

 

Catelyn did not start the war people. 


Edited by Cat Alayne, 05 June 2014 - 11:55 PM.


#20 Salinda

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 12:29 AM

yet they are still little boys who vested with power due to the absence of their mother, father, and older brother. Maester Luwin and Ser Rodrick are both good men do not get me wrong but for issues concerning the running of the North Catelyn would have been better off in the North than in the Riverlands with Robb. she is much wiser and carries much more vested authority than those who were left in Winterfell. Ramsey only acts the way he does because there is no elder Stark in Winterfell. 

 

Also the only reason Rodrick leaves Winterfell to chase the Iron Born is because Bran urges him to. 

 

Had to act why? Was Tyrion going to snatch her himself? What was so dire that she had to grab him? Him possibly telling Cersie or Jaime that he ran into her on the Kingsroad? how would that have made things any worse for Ned in Kingslanding than her abduction of Tyrion actually did? at the most Jaime and Cersie would have made sure not to cross Ned and Jaime would not have actually tried to kill him. 

 

All the imp-napping does is accelerate things greatly and makes it so that house Stark is the one provoking house Lannister. and on flimsy evidence at that! 

 

I will admit staying in Riverrun is not really that bad. Robb did need her for some counseling.

 

really? wow. 

 

Why does everyone always criticize Ned and call him stupid? like they would have survived if placed in the same exact situation without the benefit of hindsight.

Bran and Rickon don't have any power, Bran has the title of acting Lord but the affairs are run by Luwin and Rodrik. Both these men are capable, and more than adequate to stay behind and run things while Catelyn is gone. Catelyn being there would not have made things better. Ramsay was in Winterfell because it was taken by Theon. Had it not been, he would have been executed as that was what Rodrik was planning to do with Reek

 

Bran urging Rodrik to go to Torrhen's Square only happened in the television show. In the books, Bran has no input on this decision. The fact of the matter is, Catelyn was in the prime location to prevent any calamity befalling Winterfell, because she tried to keep Theon a hostage. Freeing him is what set these events into motion

 

Normally, noble women travel with escorts and some household guards/knights. Catelyn travelling with only one other man would be so strange that it would have definitely caught the attention of Jaime and Cersei, and would have put Ned in a precarious position. So arresting Tyrion gives her the headstart on what would have eventually broiled over into some sort of conflict. It went awry only because the Imp escaped her grasp