Planetary Posted February 10, 2012 Share Posted February 10, 2012 I kid, I kid. Well, not entirely.I'm one of those newbies who jumped into the books after watching S1 on HBO, and I was genuinely surprised that HBO actually toned down Catelyn Stark's hatred of Jon Snow. All the same, I thought there was no way her character could possibly be more dour than she was in the series. I was wrong on that count too.* Potential Spoilers up to Book 3 *1) Every time the story changes to Catelyn's PoV, it's a misery-fest. And not in a post-capture Jaime sort of way, or even a Samwell despair kind of way. Just abject misery from the PoV of a character who obsesses over perceived slights, imagined problems or the behavior of the always-dissapointing people around her.2) Catelyn Stark reminds me of a great-aunt, who loved to tell stories, knew everything about the family and was an unofficial local historian. Like my great-aunt, Catelyn Stark's stories are always filled with long-dead people no one knows or wants to hear about. Unlike my aunt, the majority of the stories are petty or miserable.3) Balon Greyjoy dead? No time to celebrate, let's bring up four dozen other reasons to be miserable. Robb re-sealing the alliance with the Freys? Not to worry, Catelyn's PoV will focus on how much the rain sucks. Her son wins a significant battle? Let's not get our hopes up, it's right back to the misery! Damn. No wonder Robb Stark tried to get rid of her several times. I'd fall on my sword if she was my mother.4) The "smallfolk." There are a couple of scenes where she's actually annoyed by the fact that they're cheering her. There are several passages where she looks on the commoners with disdain. And when her brother takes in his "smallfolk" behind the walls of Riverrun, she immediately thinks to chide him for it. Mouths to feed and so on. Uh, WTF? Isn't the whole notion of banners, liege lords and keeps centered around the fact that the lord provides protection for the peasants in times of danger? Why would they fight for a lord if he shuts his keep and leaves 'em out to be slaughtered?I know this is the PoV of a woman who has lost a lot, but damn. I also know that George R.R. Martin is a master of characterization, and well aware of how to gain reader sympathies for a character. The surest way is to write a likable character, make them suffer through a long parade of crappy things and get the reader invested and on their side. But failing that, at least make them relatable. But Catelyn Stark's character reminds me of the main cast in Alastair Reynolds' "Revelation Space," where every PoV character is so revolting, obnoxious, selfish and absurd that it's impossible to relate to any of them.Of course, maybe this is all a build-up, and maybe there's some big payoff on the back end of Storm of Swords (which I'm about 70% through) or in future books. But right now, I'd have to say Catelyn Stark is by far my least-favorite character in the series, and I'm tempted to skip the chapter every time I turn the page and see "CATELYN." Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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