What the writers seem to be doing with Catelyn is really upsetting me. In the original text, she was a pragmatic feudal lady with keen political insights, whose less competent teenaged son pushed her aside and wanted her to go away and leave him alone. A teenaged son who was portrayed as generally politically inept, and whose chest-thumping refusal to trade the Kingslayer for his sisters enabled the Red Wedding, a Lannister power grab through Sansa, and a Bolton power grab through a false Arya.
The way that she has been adapted for the screen is, frankly, sexist. She was a politically smart and ambitious woman who was ignored for merely being a woman while a young teen ruined their House through misplaced trust and naiveté. She is hated by fans for, well, being a politically smart and ambitious woman who interferes with the male “heroes” and points out their poor decisions instead of going back to her babies where she belongs.
So the way HBO decides to adapt her is to make Robb recite her lines from the book that show political insight, remove her from the table where the political decisions are being made, and validate all the misogyny being directed her way by having this adapted character say that her place is back with her babies (because, of course, that’s where a good woman belongs and should want to be!).
In the books, she was *right* in almost every call she made — but her opinions are dismissed because she is a woman and Robb is 1) a rebellious teen; and, 2) has embraced some of the ingrained sexism of his society and doesn't want his bannermen to see him taking advice from Mom. The commentary here, which passes straight over the heads of a lot of fans, is really genius. If Robb *had* listened to mommy, House Stark would not have been demolished the way it was.
And the writers chose to not only ignore that, but to diminish the female character so as to pump up the male — in a way that completely validates the misogyny targeting the character (a good woman’s place is with her babies and not involved in politics – in fact, if she’s involved in politics at all, it should be reluctantly!) but that also misses the point of the entire arc. My honest-to-God reaction was, WTF are you doing HBO?
Catelyn's plotline deals heavily with themes of sexism. After Ned’s execution, she was calling for peace while the men around her chose war (and devastated the North and the Riverlands). Robb wanted her to go back to Bran and Rickon but she wanted to stay with him, where the future of their family was being decided. It was her idea to visit Renly to attempt to make an alliance, not Robb’s. She wasn’t entirely against sending an envoy to Balon, just not Theon. She wanted Ned to go south to become Robert’s Hand.
Now, she’s been downgraded. One assumes that the reasons for it are three-fold: 1) To pump up Robb and make him sexier to the audiences instead of portrying the tragic boy king in over his head that he actually was; 2) to make her more palatable to audiences (because a woman’s place is with her babies, doncha know); and 3) to amend Cersei’s characterization as she gets the storyline of a son who has slipped her control instead.
Congratulations on either completely missing the entire point of a character arc and plotline or demonstrating a stupendous level of sexism, all while validating the misogyny that permeates this fandom.
I said it to myself when I was reading ACOK and I'll say it again. Robb would have been better off without Catelyn standing over his shoulder. Would things have turned out better or worse, I'm not GRRM so I can't say. However Catelyn really never proves her worth as this shrewd diplomat a lot of people are trying to make her out to be. One person has said it over and over again "Shoulda woulda coulda but didn't." What ifs are useless. And no way a general, and the only heir to Casterly rock (as far as I know, pretty sure Tyrion wasn't going to inherit.), is a fair trade for two young girls with absolutely zero political or military prowess. I'm sorry, I'm a huge fan of the Stark family, and I'd have loved to see the two girls returned to Winterfell where they belong, but Robb was absolutely right. Two useless girls are not worth the exchange of a man who could potentially lead armies, and has proven himself one of the best swordsmen Westeros has to offer. Not to mention all the Northmen that died trying to claim him as a prisoner.
And the treating with Renly. How can you even try to justify it? It didn't work, Catelyn tried, and it just didn't work. Even if Renly had been murdered, his terms were clear, and although I saw his terms as fair, I don't believe the North would. And what's all this bull about the war being unwinnable. The war was winnable up until the Red Wedding. And I'll be glad to argue with whoever wants to prove me otherwise in a brand new post, since it'd be difficult to argue points not made yet. What else has Catelyn done, to prove her worth as an advisor to Robb? Not sending Theon? Sending Theon or not, Balon's intentions were the same. However, sending Theon made it possible for Winterfell to be taken. But at the same time, Theon was Robb's brother. Not in blood, nor in name, but they were raised together for what was it, 9 years? Robb was a young lad, inexperienced in pretty much everything he came across, and acted as best he could to make his father, and his family proud. And the Starks aren't doomed, Robb nor Catelyn doomed the Stark family. Two members of the Stark family died, just two. I don't consider Catelyn a real member, because she's a tully. Some Northern bannermen died as well, but only two full blooded Starks died. There's still plenty lurking around.
Really, I don't dislike Catelyn at all. I can understand her motives, and she's maybe not as politically inept as Eddard was, but none the less none of her choices would have spared the North, or her son. Please tell me one piece of advice she gave that could have saved her son? Or ended the war? Renly wasn't going to treat, atleast not with the terms Robb and the North were looking for. Stannis, even LESS likely to treat on those terms. The Lannisters? The family that killed their lord father and holds Robb's siblings ransom? Of course he can't make peace with them, not until his family was avenged and the Lannisters made to pay for their crimes. What really gets me though, is all this crying about sexism. Get off that, people can choose to like or dislike characters for whatever reason they want, rather it be because they don't like their appearance, their attitude, their deeds, or even the places they come from. You don't get to simply yell sexism because you're a woman and people don't like your favorite character. Get over it, Catelyn wasn't some savior that could have spared the North, or Robb. She was just another player in the Game of Thrones, and not a very good one at that.
Edited by Greatjon_umber, 03 April 2012 - 09:44 PM.