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scurvy

[book spoilers] the gutting of Catelyn's motivation

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I assume you didn't live with your teachers and your teacher's children. And I never said that parents are unnecessary, what I don't understand is why you give so much value to blood relations ? Are Maester Luwin or Old Nan incapable of properly taking care of Bran and Rickon because they're not related by blood ? The kids grew up with them, they're much better suited at raising them than Hoster, the Blackfish or Lysa would.

Do you have children? And "blood" relation is not important, but being a parent and having a childs life and well being your responsibility and yours alone is something that no one else can be expected to be responsible for. I've taught kids and I have my own and they are nothing alike, a sister or grandmother or family member is the closest possible substitute but some maester or "old nan" is not. And Maester Luwin has many responsibilities, even more so since he has been left to run Winterfell, he is not a nanny and his job is not to raise Bran and Rickon, and Old Nan is hundred yrs old.

What's the advice you'd consider bad, for example ? And I already gave you an example of the practical value of her advice : it saved Jeyne Westerling's life.

Releasing Jamie was a bad idea

So who exactly is "worthy" of the mighty Starks ? Another Great House ? There aren't any matches available, and it's not even the way things usually go. There are only 7 Great Houses anyway, they can't always keep marrying each other without ending like the Habsburgs, so what they do is marry their bannermen's children. See : Mace Tyrell and Alerie Hightower, Jon Arryn and Jeyne Royce, Hoster Tully and Minisa Whent, Stannis Baratheon and Selyse Florent, Kevan Lannister and Dorna Swyft etc. Alerie Hightower is the only one of that lot to be of almost equal standing. House Swyft is not even a noble house but a knightly one. Under normal circumstances the kids would have been married to Ned's bannermen, as said in the text. So who exactly do you think would have been a more suitable match for Arya or Robb ? They needed to go South, the Twins is the only place where the army can cross for hundreds of miles, it's defended by about 4,000 men and there's a castle on each side of the river. Maybe you think the better strategy would have been to lay siege to the twins for a couple of years ?

You're putting way too much into this, my only point with the Freys was that it wasn't a demonstration of Cats great negotiating skill. All she did was marry off her kids. I'm saying this one act didn't prove her value in future negotiations (unless you count the possibilty of trying to marry off Bran and Rickon).

So your advice when facing misogyny is to just accept it and go home because it's pointless. That'll go far.

When you have young children who need you is not the time to go off into grand social conciousness changing endevors. Or if you are then fine but don't say she wanted to be with her kids but couldn't. She made a concious decision that she should "play" war with Robb and that she was a valuable strategist and politican. I disagree with that assesment of Cat Stark and I see no reason why I should think otherwise. She talks of how she would sit and wait for her father to return from his trips, it's not like he took her with him often to sit in on negotiations and dealings with lords. Ned didn't bring her along on any of his war campaigns so why should I believe she would be of value to Robb? And I'm not saying she is heartless and hates her young boys, obviously she cares for them, i'm saying she over values her importance to Robb and would be better served seeing to the needs of her 2 youngest children, who she could help at the time, but instead feels the need to stay away from home and be involved in things she is not qualified to deal with.

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Do you have children? And "blood" relation is not important, but being a parent and having a childs life and well being your responsibility and yours alone is something that no one else can be expected to be responsible for. I've taught kids and I have my own and they are nothing alike, a sister or grandmother or family member is the closest possible substitute but some maester or "old nan" is not. And Maester Luwin has many responsibilities, even more so since he has been left to run Winterfell, he is not a nanny and his job is not to raise Bran and Rickon, and Old Nan is hundred yrs old.

Why ? Blood is not everything, otherwise adoption and foster homes would be worthless. Sure, usually the best is to have both parents around, but when they're not there I don't see why you think a *family member* is the best possible substitute, especially in this case where the kids have never even met those family members. Luwin is not some maester either, he's literally been there since they were born (you know, since he's the one who delivered them all). It's true he has a lot of responsibilities in WF, but hey, so did Ned and Cat, as the Lord and Lady of the castle (which is why they weren't raising their kids in the first place, handing them over to Septa Mordane, Maester Luwin and Ser Rodrik Cassel among others). What I really don't get is your statement that only "family members" are adequate substitutes. It doesn't give you magical child-rearing powers. And you bring up the teacher thing a second time, but it's a false equivalency here. Unless you actually lived with your students, shared all of their meals, healed them every time they were sick and delivered them from their mothers too ?

(And no I don't have kids, though I do have a pre-teen sister).

Releasing Jamie was a bad idea

That's not giving advice.

You're putting way too much into this, my only point with the Freys was that it wasn't a demonstration of Cats great negotiating skill. All she did was marry off her kids. I'm saying this one act didn't prove her value in future negotiations (unless you count the possibilty of trying to marry off Bran and Rickon).

It's not a demonstration that she's incompetent either.

When you have young children who need you is not the time to go off into grand social conciousness changing endevors. Or if you are then fine but don't say she wanted to be with her kids but couldn't. She made a concious decision that she should "play" war with Robb and that she was a valuable strategist and politican. I disagree with that assesment of Cat Stark and I see no reason why I should think otherwise. She talks of how she would sit and wait for her father to return from his trips, it's not like he took her with him often to sit in on negotiations and dealings with lords. Ned didn't bring her along on any of his war campaigns so why should I believe she would be of value to Robb? And I'm not saying she is heartless and hates her young boys, obviously she cares for them, i'm saying she over values her importance to Robb and would be better served seeing to the needs of her 2 youngest children, who she could help at the time, but instead feels the need to stay away from home and be involved in things she is not qualified to deal with.

Robb is one of her young children. Even by Westeros standards he's not an adult yet, the age of majority being at 16. And she was also staying at Riverrun because her father was dying. He died at the beginning of ASoS, when Bran and Rickon had already been "killed". Even if you don't see Cat's political proficiency, I think you can still agree that a dying parent is a good reason to stick around Riverrun, no ? Or are Bran and Rickon's needs so urgent that Cat doesn't even have time to stay with her father before his death ?

And refusing to be sent home by your teenage son is not "grand social consciousness changing endeavors". She's not trying to change inheritance laws or put matriarchy in place, she's just refusing to let a 15-year-old order her around (unlike what's happening in the show). And she's not "playing" at war, she's trying to stop it. Unlike Robb.

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Regarding her negotiating skill, I think the Freys ARE a good example. Frey was in a position of power. He knew Robb had to pass. He know that Robb can't attack him (he would lose too many men). He's clearly in the superior negotiating position. And he has already shown he doesn't care about vows to his liege lord (or anyone really). Marrying off only 2 children is a small price for getting the passage and a few thousand soliders, imo.

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One other reason I like the change of giving Jaimie up before finding out about Bran/Rickon is that it is going to make her decision seem more justified in retrospect, as if she foresaw that you can't hold onto your cards forever or something else will take the decision out of your hands. Now she can say to Robb see, this is what happens when you wait. She couldn't really say that in the book and fans hated her for it. She and Robb are going to be emotional when they find out no matter what. I'm not sure why its so important to people that Jaimie be there (or TAlisa not be there) when it happens. And for Robb the news of Bran and Rickon, along with the message from Mom of see what happens when you wait, provides a nice impetus/motivation for the wedding and now we will have an actual relationship before it happens as opposed to Bran and Rickon dead, straight to marriage non-buildup we got in the book.

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One other reason I like the change of giving Jaimie up before finding out about Bran/Rickon is that it is going to make her decision seem more justified in retrospect, as if she foresaw that you can't hold onto your cards forever or something else will take the decision out of your hands. Now she can say to Robb see, this is what happens when you wait. She couldn't really say that in the book and fans hated her for it. She and Robb are going to be emotional when they find out no matter what. I'm not sure why its so important to people that Jaimie be there (or TAlisa not be there) when it happens. And for Robb the news of Bran and Rickon, along with the message from Mom of see what happens when you wait, provides a nice impetus/motivation for the wedding and now we will have an actual relationship before it happens as opposed to Bran and Rickon dead, straight to marriage non-buildup we got in the book.

agreed.. Cat actually seems more rational on the show because she was attempting to diffuse a highly unstable situation. In the book she comes off as being so grief-stricken she can't think straight.

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Regarding her negotiating skill, I think the Freys ARE a good example. Frey was in a position of power. He knew Robb had to pass. He know that Robb can't attack him (he would lose too many men). He's clearly in the superior negotiating position. And he has already shown he doesn't care about vows to his liege lord (or anyone really). Marrying off only 2 children is a small price for getting the passage and a few thousand soliders, imo.

Sounds like a huge price to cross a bridge protected by someone sworn to the people who want to cross.

Bringing up the point about Frey being a dishonorable piece of shit though, does that make Robb's betrayal of his promised marraige less of a mistake. He betrayed his word to a man whom he had to negotiate with to cross a bridge even though the mans oaths should have forced him to openly let him cross.

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agreed.. Cat actually seems more rational on the show because she was attempting to diffuse a highly unstable situation. In the book she comes off as being so grief-stricken she can't think straight.

Don't they make it seem like it is a given in the show that Jaime will almost certainly be killed by Robb's angry soldiers? I agree that the show has once again made Cat more likeable and dependable than the book.

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I'm sure Cat believes she is doing the best thing for her family, I just disagree. I am empathetic to Cat, her suffering is heart breaking. But she's not experienced in war, her counsel and actions at times have terrible consequences. And based on the male dominated social mores of the time there is no reason for even her to believe her advice will be valued (is that right? No, but that is the way it is). So she is untrained, inexperienced, and is most likely going to be ignored by the men of the North and Riverlands (her son included), so why should she believe that is where she can do the most good?

But that's clearly wrong. The important people on the Stark (Robb, Edmure, the Blackfish) side listened to Catelyn and followed her advice most of the time or at least gave it a serious consideration. Sure, they didn't always agree with her, but that's the way it goes for advisers. Until Winterfell fell, Robb followed her advice on quite a few important matters - the Frey deal, replacing Greatjon as commander of the foot, sending an envoy to Renly.

Untrained? Hoster Tully, a guy who seem to have been a way better politician than any Stark in recent memory, was the one who trained Catelyn.

Inexperienced? She's certainly a lot more experienced than Robb the 15 year old kid. 15 years as Lady of the North, with Ned clearly valuing opinion highly and not hesitating for a second to to put her in charge of the North when he went South instead of appointing someone else, is nothing to sneer at.

. I disagree with that assesment of Cat Stark and I see no reason why I should think otherwise. She talks of how she would sit and wait for her father to return from his trips, it's not like he took her with him often to sit in on negotiations and dealings with lords.

Well, that's not really true. She travelled often with his father all around the Riverlands (it's mentioned in the chapter when comes to the Crossroads Inn) but wasn't always with him - he travelled all the time. But it's pretty clear he taught her a lot.

Don't they make it seem like it is a given in the show that Jaime will almost certainly be killed by Robb's angry soldiers? I agree that the show has once again made Cat more likeable and dependable than the book.

Sure, if you like one dimensional cliched characters...I prefer Book Cat, she's far more interesting and unique.

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Untrained? Hoster Tully, a guy who seem to have been a way better politician than any Stark in recent memory, was the one who trained Catelyn.

Well, that's not really true. She travelled often with his father all around the Riverlands (it's mentioned in the chapter when comes to the Crossroads Inn) but wasn't always with him - he travelled all the time. But it's pretty clear he taught her a lot.

IIRC, there was a point during one of her chapters that she reflects on the deaths of her two older brothers, which left her as a substitute eldest son for Hoster, until Edmure, and substitute mother for her younger siblings. In all, it is her ability to assume those roles that she feels made her Hoster's favorite child. That Hoster would endeavor to teach her seems likely.

Also, the way that Catelyn and Brynden communicate in the books rather suggests that she was schooled in the way of Westerosi politics and warfare by both men, be it deliberately, or because she made it a point to pay attention when present.

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Why ? Blood is not everything, otherwise adoption and foster homes would be worthless. Sure, usually the best is to have both parents around, but when they're not there I don't see why you think a *family member* is the best possible substitute, especially in this case where the kids have never even met those family members. Luwin is not some maester either, he's literally been there since they were born (you know, since he's the one who delivered them all). It's true he has a lot of responsibilities in WF, but hey, so did Ned and Cat, as the Lord and Lady of the castle (which is why they weren't raising their kids in the first place, handing them over to Septa Mordane, Maester Luwin and Ser Rodrik Cassel among others). What I really don't get is your statement that only "family members" are adequate substitutes. It doesn't give you magical child-rearing powers. And you bring up the teacher thing a second time, but it's a false equivalency here. Unless you actually lived with your students, shared all of their meals, healed them every time they were sick and delivered them from their mothers too ?

(And no I don't have kids, though I do have a pre-teen sister).

I never used the term "blood", but I did use parent or family member, whether that family be adopted or whatever, family is the key, not teacher, Maester, or nanny. Maester Luwin is sworn to Winterfell not even the Starks and his responsibility was never to raise the children, his only roll with them was as a teacher, and now he has his old responsibilities and the day to day running of Winterfell. And again you refer to the kids being "handed over" to other people, yes the kids had teachers (like most children do) but they also had parents (until Ned died and Cat ran off for 2 yrs) who I'm sure played a role in the children upbringing. And I don't want to sound condescending but really until you have a child whose your responsibility it's impossible to understand, I never understood it until it happened and there's no way to adequately describe it (at least I do not posses the ability to do so),

Robb is one of her young children. Even by Westeros standards he's not an adult yet, the age of majority being at 16. And she was also staying at Riverrun because her father was dying. He died at the beginning of ASoS, when Bran and Rickon had already been "killed". Even if you don't see Cat's political proficiency, I think you can still agree that a dying parent is a good reason to stick around Riverrun, no ? Or are Bran and Rickon's needs so urgent that Cat doesn't even have time to stay with her father before his death ?

And refusing to be sent home by your teenage son is not "grand social consciousness changing endeavors". She's not trying to change inheritance laws or put matriarchy in place, she's just refusing to let a 15-year-old order her around (unlike what's happening in the show). And she's not "playing" at war, she's trying to stop it. Unlike Robb.

Robb is King and is off to war, either you're grown enough to lead men and rule or you are not. If he was not then she should have sent him home, so calling Robb a young boy who needs his mom is silly. And fine if Cat wanted to say her good byes to her father then she could have done so, that would have only took one night. He slept 90% of the time, didn't know who she was, and there was nothing she could have done for him, so there is no reason she needed to spend weeks with him when she could have been doing something for Bran and Rickon.

and I said the men of the North and Riverlands wouldn't listen to her, nothing about letting her son "push her around". Standards of the day were that her place wasn't at war yet she felt the need to be there,

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Untrained? Hoster Tully, a guy who seem to have been a way better politician than any Stark in recent memory, was the one who trained Catelyn.

Inexperienced? She's certainly a lot more experienced than Robb the 15 year old kid. 15 years as Lady of the North, with Ned clearly valuing opinion highly and not hesitating for a second to to put her in charge of the North when he went South instead of appointing someone else, is nothing to sneer at.

Well, that's not really true. She travelled often with his father all around the Riverlands (it's mentioned in the chapter when comes to the Crossroads Inn) but wasn't always with him - he travelled all the time. But it's pretty clear he taught her a lot.

She said she hadn't been to that inn since she was a girl, so young she was unrecognizable to the inn keeper (so pre-teen, had a 16-17 yr old Cat been to the inn she wouldn't be so different now), and I doubt Hoster included a very young girl at many of his negotiations and dealings with Lords. Now is she more trained and skilled then say Lysa Tully-Aryan? Yes, but I don't think that means she is an expert.

IIRC, there was a point during one of her chapters that she reflects on the deaths of her two older brothers, which left her as a substitute eldest son for Hoster, until Edmure, and substitute mother for her younger siblings. In all, it is her ability to assume those roles that she feels made her Hoster's favorite child. That Hoster would endeavor to teach her seems likely.

Also, the way that Catelyn and Brynden communicate in the books rather suggests that she was schooled in the way of Westerosi politics and warfare by both men, be it deliberately, or because she made it a point to pay attention when present.

Fine even if she had some skill, her advice wasn't taken (there's no reason to believe the men would) and she had very young children who needed her. It's never been a question of whether she should have gone back to WF and worked on her sewing skills, it's about whether she was better served being Robbs adviser at war, or being responsible for her young children who have been through a lot and have been without any family for over a year. And really this discussion all started because I said that book Cat never even expressed as much desire to go be with her young sons as TV Cat has. Writing the boys a letter from Riverrun after being gone for over a year, and lighting a candle for them hardly equates to the gut wrenching desire Michelle Fairley displays in the show. And lets be honest the real reason Cat goes where she goes is because GRRM needed a POV character there...

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Sounds like a huge price to cross a bridge protected by someone sworn to the people who want to cross.

The Freys are sworn to Riverrun, not the North.

snip

I think this is where we agree to disagree. You obviously think that children (under 10) are more important than anything else, and that anything that is not immediately productive is useless. I just don't agree with that.

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Fine even if she had some skill, her advice wasn't taken (there's no reason to believe the men would) and she had very young children who needed her. It's never been a question of whether she should have gone back to WF and worked on her sewing skills, it's about whether she was better served being Robbs adviser at war, or being responsible for her young children who have been through a lot and have been without any family for over a year. And really this discussion all started because I said that book Cat never even expressed as much desire to go be with her young sons as TV Cat has. Writing the boys a letter from Riverrun after being gone for over a year, and lighting a candle for them hardly equates to the gut wrenching desire Michelle Fairley displays in the show. And lets be honest the real reason Cat goes where she goes is because GRRM needed a POV character there...

This "little babies in Winterfell" argument....

So, just for shits and giggles, readers would prefer that Catelyn, being a good and dutiful mommy, returns to Winterfell as is her duty as a mother of five, leaving two in Kings Landing, and one leading an army against the throne, to resume her mommy and me duties with her two youngest....one of which was old enough to witness a beheading at the hands of his father....but whatever, they are young, and need their mommy.

Enter Theon, and the sacking of Winterfell. Wow. Okay, well now we have a mother of five, two still in Kings Landing, one sending Theon to the Iron Islands and still leading an army against the Throne but stranded b/c there was no parley with Freys, and two with her....to bear witness to A) her death, B) her multiple rapes, C) her bending the knee, or some combination of the three.

But she was there, so now we can like her more. If it wasn't for Jon.....

Give me a break, please.

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Enter Theon, and the sacking of Winterfell. Wow. Okay, well now we have a mother of five, two still in Kings Landing, one sending Theon to the Iron Islands and still leading an army against the Throne but stranded b/c there was no parley with Freys, and two with her....to bear witness to A) her death, B) her multiple rapes, C) her bending the knee, or some combination of the three.

But maybe if she was running her own household Theon doesn't take it. We already have one example of Cassel wanting to send a large force with Cat to KL and her over ruling him. So maybe if she's there she doesn't let Ser Roddrik take ALL of the men off to Torren Square and they are able to throw the Ironborn back. Or if Cat's there maybe Theon doesn't even try it, he specifically mentions a big part of his plan is knowing Cassel and how the old knight will ride out in full force. If the wise and experienced Catelyn is there to make sure WF remains adequately protected Theon doesn't even make a move.

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So, just for shits and giggles, readers would prefer that Catelyn, being a good and dutiful mommy, returns to Winterfell as is her duty as a mother of five, leaving two in Kings Landing, and one leading an army against the throne, to resume her mommy and me duties with her two youngest..

Also for shits and giggle this discussion started because I felt the 2 instances in the show where Cat desperately wants to go home but is pulled in another directions were more believable than the feelings she shows us in the book (being away for over a year and sending 1 letter from Riverrun, and lighting a candle in the little church near Storms End). We can debate where she "should" be but my comment was the show did a better job of showing that she truly did want to be with the boys, while book Cat seems happier playing war with Robb.

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Also for shits and giggle this discussion started because I felt the 2 instances in the show where Cat desperately wants to go home but is pulled in another directions were more believable than the feelings she shows us in the book (being away for over a year and sending 1 letter from Riverrun, and lighting a candle in the little church near Storms End). We can debate where she "should" be but my comment was the show did a better job of showing that she truly did want to be with the boys, while book Cat seems happier playing war with Robb.

And my point is that it is because a good deal of dislike for the character of Catelyn is based on the idea that she wasn't with her children, she was mean to Jon, she's an idiot that lacks military skills, or some combination of the three. The show validates this interpretation in small measure by making her desire to be in Winterfell more pronounced and overt, or believable. It is a change to the character provided in the show specifically to address this idea but it lacks substance, nuance, and is frustrating because it presents a infinitely more "modern" interpretation within a non-modern environment. Her presence with Robb was necessary because he is a boy king, who initially needed someone with him he could trust and who possessed a level of political acumen he lacked, which proved helpful. HBO has taken the majority of those moments wherein Catelyn proves herself a valuable and shrewd advisor, and given them to Robb as a means to build his character. I get it, but the result is leaving little for HBOCat but to express a more overt desire to return to Winterfell.

Overall, HBO chose to soften Catelyn and in doing so, diminished the character overall. This idea that she should have been with her youngest children or she hates Jon contributed significantly to that decision, as most of the general dislike for the character falls into either of those two schools of thought. Wanting to avoid this, D&D went this route, modernizing her motivations/character into a very shallow "mother" archetype that satisfies the majority.

The remaining minority simply didn't have an issue with Catelyn in the first place. I'm one of those.

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Overall, HBO chose to soften Catelyn and in doing so, diminished the character overall. This idea that she should have been with her youngest children or she hates Jon contributed significantly to that decision, as most of the general dislike for the character falls into either of those two schools of thought. Wanting to avoid this, D&D went this route, modernizing her motivations/character into a very shallow "mother" archetype that satisfies the majority.

Do you not think part of the change happened naturally when they chose to raise the ages. If Robb was the same age as book Robb it makes perfect sense for Cat to need to be with her boy as he goes to war and it is the most sensible place for her to be. Now they've raised the ages her sticking around a 19/20 year old makes her leaving younger children stand out more as we'd consider Robb an adult. So they stressed show Cat's use to Robb by having her ask to go then him asking her to be a diplomat as she was the only one he had of stature to the South. It changes Cat's portrayel and combined with how other women are portrayed on the show I can see why some people see it as leaning towards sexist but I don't think translating the story exactly would have worked with an older Robb.

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Overall, HBO chose to soften Catelyn and in doing so, diminished the character overall. This idea that she should have been with her youngest children or she hates Jon contributed significantly to that decision, as most of the general dislike for the character falls into either of those two schools of thought. Wanting to avoid this, D&D went this route, modernizing her motivations/character into a very shallow "mother" archetype that satisfies the majority.

Firstly I don't dislike Cat, she is complex and interesting. I enjoyed her chapters (unlike some Dany chapters I found my self skimming through). But because of her complexity and realistic flawed nature I can disagree with some of her decisions. In the show she never does go back to Winterfell and the story would be boring if she did (so I'm glad she doesn't). But I don't think showing more emotion and longing for her boys makes her "shallow", my personal opinion is that it just makes her a more realistic mother. Maybe other people who read the book got that feeling of longing from Cat, I didn't and it seems the HBO writers/producers didn't either so they included additional material.

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@house Martell. I'm sorry, a more realistic mother? Do you mind clarifying? I think that term is a little confusing, and I don't want to put words in your mouth by accusing you of misogyny, or of wanting to put women in their place i.e the kitchen.

Mothers are not one dimensional. There is no set of rules when it comes to mothering, or correct codes of behaviour or feeling. Some mothers care very little about their children, but they are still a "realistic" definition of motherhood.

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@house Martell. I'm sorry, a more realistic mother? Do you mind clarifying? I think that term is a little confusing, and I don't want to put words in your mouth by accusing you of misogyny, or of wanting to put women in their place i.e the kitchen.

Mothers are not one dimensional. There is no set of rules when it comes to mothering, or correct codes of behaviour or feeling. Some mothers care very little about their children, but they are still a "realistic" definition of motherhood.

Your "accusations" have already been addressed, I'm not rehashing those arguments, if you want to know then read the thread. Perhaps "realistic" isn't the most accurate word. A women who we're told does everything for her children and loves them more than anything should want to be near them. She's gone from them for months (well over a year), and in that time she writes them 1 letter saying "don't be mad at me", and lights a candle for all her kids.

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