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[book spoilers] the gutting of Catelyn's motivation


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#1 scurvy

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 09:47 AM

My favorite chapter in CoK and perhaps the whole series is the Catelyn chapter in which she learns of the boys "death" and discusses it with Brienne. It is heartwrenching. It provides complete and unrefutable reasoning for releasing the Kingslayer. She then parlays with him and makes him swear an oath to return the girls.

Yet, in the show the boys are only captives. Robb even says there's no risk to them. Having only three children instead of 5, with two captives, and no male heir to her son the King is a lot different than having all five children with 4 captive. They've gutted her motivation. And, the parlay with Jaime while good, did not have him swear an oath. I'm sure it will be aluded to later, but they really made her a weak woman. Terrible. Terrible. A grieving mother is someone everyone can empathize with. A worried mother, not as much.

They could have at least had her stitting with a parchment telling Robb that the boys were dead and that's why she released them. But, Theon poisoned the Ravens and nobody even knows of his mummer's farce. And, Robb's motivation for having sex with "Jeyne" is weakened b/c he's neither injured nor grieving.

Very disappointed with this reinvention.

#2 Harrad

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:56 PM

I refute it.

#3 Onion Smuggler

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 03:43 PM

I agree with the weakness of her motivations. My brother, a non-reader, was asking why on earth she let the Kingslayer go. I tried to argue that she was worried for her daughters but he still thought that her motivation was lacking.

#4 The Monkey

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 04:01 PM

She was sure that Jaime would've been killed during the night by the Karstarks. If he died, he daughter(s) would almost certainly have died too. And since she had no chance of protecting him with "just" Brienne, she had no choice but to release him. It's certainly a good motivation, possibly even more so than in the book.

However, why she didn't use this argument when Robb confronted her is beyond me.

#5 turdle

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 04:13 PM

this whole season has been HBO just trying to touch on all (or a bunch) of the bullet points of acok without worrying about whether or not the shit they put inbetween actually makes them make sense, or making sure that the intended implications of a scene from acok are what they are supposed to be.

i have non-reader friends who are sure that the shadow is going to show up during the finale. the reason is because, yes, HBO showed both the assassination of renly and the birth of a shadow. but the order that these appear IS important. in the book, renly's death is the set up, and the birth is the pay off. the implication is that melisandre and/or the lord of light, are to be taken seriously. on the tv show, they made the birth the set up, and renly's death the pay off. and because this is the only shadow that exists, it really makes the shadow itself the important thing. yet we're not going to see it or any other shadow now, and that shadow is going to seem REALLY bizarre and totally deus ex machina when non-readers think back to it.

cat's situation is no different. yep, they managed to cross that bullet point off the list. is it as strong a moment as in the book? no, definitely not.

#6 Gingerly Grumkin

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 04:17 PM

It's fucking awful the way HBO butchers Cat (Joff style). Robb's story is also fucked over by this. What I really don't get is why did Theon burn the kids in the first place? If the Iron Born knows what's up and Westeros is ignorant on everything then why kill 2 random kids? To piss of the people of Winterfell, and only the people of Winterfell?

#7 Buckwheat

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 05:33 PM

scurvy, I am out of Likes, but I like that you started this thread!

I agree that Cat's characterisation is off. They made her look much weaker character, I think. She does not participate on Robb's war councils and she keeps saying she should be at home with the little children, not helping Robb being a commander - which, lets face it, she is not really doing. I also do not like her arguments with Robb. In the books, I do not remember them ever shouting at each other (if I am wrong, please correct me). Here, she is made much less likable because Robb is made into this "badass" commander, young hero, the one who speaks back to Jaime Lannister (while he is chained up) and who has a large wolf (which never appears when he is needed to tell Volantene intruders keep distance) - and you are a negative character as soon as you dare to argue with the favourite hero character (if you are not a young hot Volantene, that is). I think that Robb's role has been made more important at the expense of Catelyn's to the point she is now a minor character only there to miss her children and look concerned.

My biggest fear is now that they will make Catelyn talk Robb into the marriage with the Volantene for some idiotic reason, after all these changes this could not surprise me anymore. Please tell me I am wrong.

Edited by Buckwheat, 24 May 2012 - 05:35 PM.


#8 Keep Shelly in Athens

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 05:47 PM

A grieving mother is someone everyone can empathize with. A worried mother, not as much.


I agree with everything you said, especially this!

#9 David Selig

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:08 PM

Honestly I was more annoyed that for some unfathomable reason Cat didn't explain to Robb that while he was out on a romantic stroll, she had to do something to save Jaime from a certain death (which would've meant the almost certain death of Robb's sisters), while his trusted bannermen sat around and did nothing to help her. This really made no sense and made her look weak.

It's still a shame that we didn't get the scene where Cat is grieving after receiving the news and Brienne is the only one she shares her pain with, it's such moving and powerful moment which works even when you know Bran and Rickon are not dead.

#10 Wolfmage

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:27 PM

She was sure that Jaime would've been killed during the night by the Karstarks. If he died, he daughter(s) would almost certainly have died too. And since she had no chance of protecting him with "just" Brienne, she had no choice but to release him. It's certainly a good motivation, possibly even more so than in the book.

However, why she didn't use this argument when Robb confronted her is beyond me.

Yeah, I agree. I think I prefer the idea that Cat saves Jaime from certain death to ensure she at least has some leverage left, to the idea that she makes another rather impulsive and emotional decision as per the books, whatever the understandable context of receiving such terrible news from Winterfell.

Perhaps if she hadn't already followed pique with Tyrion's arrest, I would be more open to it; but I actually thought this shored up her character.

Edited by Wolfmage, 24 May 2012 - 07:29 PM.


#11 House Snow

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:36 PM

Honestly I was more annoyed that for some unfathomable reason Cat didn't explain to Robb that while he was out on a romantic stroll, she had to do something to save Jaime from a certain death (which would've meant the almost certain death of Robb's sisters), while his trusted bannermen sat around and did nothing to help her. This really made no sense and made her look weak.

It's still a shame that we didn't get the scene where Cat is grieving after receiving the news and Brienne is the only one she shares her pain with, it's such moving and powerful moment which works even when you know Bran and Rickon are not dead.


Someone else surmised that she didn't want to throw Karstrark or Robbs men under the bus so she ended up taking the blame. I prefered the way the show did it so thats how I'm taking it.

#12 Howdyphillip

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:34 PM

Here is another example of the negative treatment of the show that people seem hell bent on doing. I don't mind discussing that there are very real differences in Catelyn's motivations from the show and in the books. I don't even mind saying that I preferred the books version, but to come out and say that they have "gutted" a character, or that the writing is "terrible" is nothing more than childish over reaction.

This is a deliberate change from the books. Do you think that the producer's can't read and are just doing things to piss off book fans? I have no doubt that there will be a legitimate narrative reason for the change. Off the top of my head, I would venture to guess that it will be so that the Reeds can be introduced. Due to budget and time constraints, these characters couldn't be introduced this season, so they are showing up to the story late. If it is general news in Westeros that Bran and Rikon are dead, then why on earth would Howland send his children to him? Do I like this version as much as the books? Well, no, but that is a far cry from saying this show has been ruined and it is terrible, or that the producers don't know what they are doing. This show is not "ruined" Catelyn has not been "gutted", and the use of the word "terrible" in relationship to this show is miles off base.

#13 Jolene Brown

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:43 PM

That's, like, just your opinion man. If someone feels Catelyn's motivation has been gutted, then that's what they feel. This is a major change, like it or not, and it's certainly at least arguable that it greatly impacts her characterization. There IS a big difference between releasing Jaime because she had just found out Bran and Rickon had been murdered and releasing him in the situation on the show. The people who make this show make plenty of money; they can handle some criticism from some people on a message board that I am sure they are wise enough not to read.

#14 Keep Shelly in Athens

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:16 PM

what action can she take when she finds out they're dead? I imagine nothing, but sit there and grieve. Maybe she leaves for Riverrun? Or even worse, Robb sends her there! Really anti-climatic either way. Still hope they include her pressuring Robb to sue for peace and return home. That's my favorite scene of hers.



#15 Howdyphillip

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:16 PM

That's, like, just your opinion man. If someone feels Catelyn's motivation has been gutted, then that's what they feel. This is a major change, like it or not, and it's certainly at least arguable that it greatly impacts her characterization. There IS a big difference between releasing Jaime because she had just found out Bran and Rickon had been murdered and releasing him in the situation on the show. The people who make this show make plenty of money; they can handle some criticism from some people on a message board that I am sure they are wise enough not to read.


Of course that is my opinion, just as it is the opinion of someone else that the writing is "terrible" and a character has been "gutted".

My opinion is that this is reactionary and childish, and doesn't come close to describing the television show that I am watching. I dislike this change as well for some of the very same reasons that people have pointed out, but it most assuredly isn't bad writing, nor does it dramatically effect the overall theme and tone of the series. By necessity, things will change in any adaptation some for the worse, and some for the better. That doesn't mean that the show is ruined. I guess that my main objection is that this is just another thread dedicated to pointing out anything negative related to the show.

Here is another opinion... This is a great fucking show. It is my favorite fantasy series of all time, and one of my all time favorite television shows period.

Edited by Howdyphillip, 24 May 2012 - 10:21 PM.


#16 turdle

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:44 PM

i think the reason is pretty obvious, they wanted to get the kingslayer out and about. the producers basically said as much before the season premiered.

if this were an isolated incident, i would be more apt to agree with you, Howdyphillip. but as many cat fans have been pointing out since the beginning of this season, cat is often doing the exact opposite of what she does in the books. for example, cat wanting to go home at the start of the season.

imo, this season has been mediocre at best. the one redeeming aspect of it has been theons story. they failed to build up to the riot, they failed to build up any tension north of the wall, and they've failed to build up any tension leading into blackwater. just a bunch of bullet points. point a to point b, with unnecessary, long, invented-for-the-tv-show scenes inbetween.

#17 Patchface12

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:50 PM

She was worried they would kill Jaime, and if Jaime dies, Sansa and Arya die. So she still did it for the girls.

#18 Howdyphillip

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:06 AM

i think the reason is pretty obvious, they wanted to get the kingslayer out and about. the producers basically said as much before the season premiered.

if this were an isolated incident, i would be more apt to agree with you, Howdyphillip. but as many cat fans have been pointing out since the beginning of this season, cat is often doing the exact opposite of what she does in the books. for example, cat wanting to go home at the start of the season.

imo, this season has been mediocre at best. the one redeeming aspect of it has been theons story. they failed to build up to the riot, they failed to build up any tension north of the wall, and they've failed to build up any tension leading into blackwater. just a bunch of bullet points. point a to point b, with unnecessary, long, invented-for-the-tv-show scenes inbetween.


On your first point, I agree that the Character of Catelyn has been changed considerably. That started in the first episode of season 1 where she was the one asking Ned to stay, and Ned was saying he had to do his duty. It was the exact opposite of the books. So the changing of her motivations has happened since day one. I also would like to point out that I like the book version of Catelyn better for what that is worth.

To your second point, I can not disagree more. This is not mediocre television. This is epic fantasy storytelling on a scale that has never been seen before in this medium. Every week, I have friends bang down my door on Sunday to watch the next episode. That doesn't happen for mediocrity. No one is over at my house on Thursday to watch CSI Whateverthefuck...

This show is incredibly well produced in all of its aspects. The actors deliver Emmy and Golden Globe winning performances, the set design and costuming wins awards, the score is worthy of a major motion picture, and yes, the writing is so far above par that it competes with the best scripted television that I have ever seen. What I am saying, is that we, as fans of the works of GRRM have it good. We have it unprecedentedly good.

So while I can agree that there are some places in the books that I enjoy the story better than the TV show, the overreaction to changes and the constant childish potshots at the show in general are out of line. It is possible for me to discuss things that I didn't like about the show without framing it in a context that the whole show is "mediocre", or "terrible". If your reactions to the changes are such that you can't enjoy this television show, I truly feel sorry for you because you are missing a hell of a ride.



On a footnote, as this was a setup episode, and it lacked action on purpose in order to better set up next weeks events, I fully expected to hear the naysayers come out in droves this week. I think that after next weeks payoff. we will hear a decidedly different tone.

#19 Evamitchelle

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:19 AM

Of course that is my opinion, just as it is the opinion of someone else that the writing is "terrible" and a character has been "gutted".

My opinion is that this is reactionary and childish, and doesn't come close to describing the television show that I am watching. I dislike this change as well for some of the very same reasons that people have pointed out, but it most assuredly isn't bad writing, nor does it dramatically effect the overall theme and tone of the series. By necessity, things will change in any adaptation some for the worse, and some for the better. That doesn't mean that the show is ruined. I guess that my main objection is that this is just another thread dedicated to pointing out anything negative related to the show. Here is another opinion...

This is a great fucking show. It is my favorite fantasy series of all time, and one of my all time favorite television shows period.


Honestly that line is a bit patronizing. "I respect your opinion but you're being stupid" is basically what you're saying here.

I think D&D's writing for Cat is horrible, like they've missed the entire point of the character. I don't think they're doing it on purpose to "piss off book fans", they just have massively different interpretations on the character. Like when they say that Jaime is a psychotic monster and that Jon lacked a father figure. From the portrayal of Cat on the show my guess is that they see her as the "Good Mother" but not much more. And in my opinion that's missing the mark. For one thing Catelyn should be the main character here, instead of playing second fiddle to Robb most of the time and following his orders like a trained puppy. The idea to go talk to Renly was hers, as was the decision to actually talk to him. Instead she's being ordered around by her teenage son.

Cat spends most of her times fighting that in the books : the prejudice that all the men around her have against her because she's a middle-aged mother who never picks up a sword. Pretty much every major lord in Robb's command tells her at one point or the other "oh you're the gentle sex you don't know anything about war" as a way to shut her up or try to make excuses for her with "it was mother's madness". And because of that prejudice they ignore her sensible advice : send anyone but Theon to the Iron Islands, exchange Jaime for Sansa, ally yourself with Renly, make peace with the Lannisters, don't go fight Lord Tywin at the fords etc. In the show that dimension is entirely gone because Cat never says much of anything. When Robb is named King in the North she tays silent, Robb is the one who suggests going to Renly, she never mentions Theon as an envoy etc. The one thing she can't shut up about is going back to Winterfell with her babies, which she never says aloud IIRC, much less to Robb.

I think Game of Thrones is a great show on the whole, the actors in particular are fantastic, but there a few characters that I think D&D just don't get at all, mainly Catelyn and Sansa. Sansa isn't even a major character anymore it seems, when she's got something like 3rd most POV of all characters in Clash. Instead they have time to include 3-minutes long scenes of Ros being threatened by ultimate pimp Littlefinger or of Joffrey torturing prostitutes because he's evil. I'd consider that pretty mediocre writing.

#20 Morrigan

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:27 AM

This show is incredibly well produced in all of its aspects. The actors deliver Emmy and Golden Globe winning performances, the set design and costuming wins awards, the score is worthy of a major motion picture, and yes, the writing is so far above par that it competes with the best scripted television that I have ever seen. What I am saying, is that we, as fans of the works of GRRM have it good. We have it unprecedentedly good.

This is true, to a certain extent. However, the reason this is true is because the source material is so good, not because D&D are good writers. They aren't. I'm sorry, they just aren't, and their interpretation of the characters is very, very often completely out of whack.