Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

scurvy

[book spoilers] the gutting of Catelyn's motivation

Recommended Posts

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

So true. My opinion of Catelyn went down several notches after that scene. I just didn't get it. Her decision did not seem in keeping with her character. She suddenly seemed weak and selfish. I would have had far more understanding had she assumed her boys were dead. I was so annoyed that I began calling her names (behind her back of course).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Cat's motivation barely makes sense in either the book or the TV series. Trading the almost guaranteed security of having a highly valuable hostage to exchange for your daughters for the highly dubious chance that the Kingslayer will keep his word, assuming he's able to keep his word, assuming he even makes it back to King's Landing? I don't care how crazed and irrational a mother's grief makes you, this whole plot point is force-inserted by GRRM so that he can F the Starks. F-ing the Starks is one tried and tested way for GRRM to provoke strong emotions in his readers.

However, there is one way in which the TV series makes more sense than the book: it looks as if Catelyn has to get Jaime out of there or the unruly northerners will kill him - and her daughters would then be killed by Joffrey and Cersei in revenge as sure as night follows day. All they had to do to make this clearer was give Catelyn one line, like "I'm going to have to do something or Jaime will be dead by morning and my daughters will soon follow" (ok, something a bit better written than that). If Catelyn could just have said one line like that before going in to see Jaime, it would have helped the audience make sense of it.

Of course, it would still have made much more sense for her to just protect Jaime by removing him from danger (disguise him, hide him in her tent, etc) rather than just letting him go...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If Jaime didn't swear an oath, then Oathkeeper's namesake is gone..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Trading the almost guaranteed security of having a highly valuable hostage to exchange for your daughters

Except Robb was never going to exchange Jaime for Arya and Sansa. And Jaime as a hostage never stopped Tywin from ravaging the riverlands, from trying to force the crossing of the Red Fork, for plotting with the Spicers and Freys to bring about the Red Wedding.

Jaime's functional value as a hostage was, in other words, nearly zero -- the only real value he had was not as a hostage, but simply as a prisoner who could not take part in the military campaign against the Starks. He had some modest value as a battlefield commander, although he wasn't exactly a brilliant one, so... who knows how much that was worth.

for the highly dubious chance that the Kingslayer will keep his word

As Jaime realizes, she's trusting in the fact that Tyrion made a public statement before the entire court that he would exchange Sansa and Arya for Jaime. She's trusting Tyrion needing to maintain Lannister reputation ("A Lannister always pays his debts"), not Jaime. Catelyn thinks about this as well, later on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Except Robb was never going to exchange Jaime for Arya and Sansa. And Jaime as a hostage never stopped Tywin from ravaging the riverlands, from trying to force the crossing of the Red Fork, for plotting with the Spicers and Freys to bring about the Red Wedding.

Jaime's functional value as a hostage was, in other words, nearly zero -- the only real value he had was not as a hostage, but simply as a prisoner who could not take part in the military campaign against the Starks. He had some modest value as a battlefield commander, although he wasn't exactly a brilliant one, so... who knows how much that was worth.

As Jaime realizes, she's trusting in the fact that Tyrion made a public statement before the entire court that he would exchange Sansa and Arya for Jaime. She's trusting Tyrion needing to maintain Lannister reputation ("A Lannister always pays his debts"), not Jaime. Catelyn thinks about this as well, later on.

Yeah, but that doesn't figure in the TV series.

I'm saying TV Cat's motivation made sense - but wasn't made clear enough to the audience. My wife (who hasn't read the books) was like 'Why in the hell did she let him go??!' and I'm sure plenty of other people in the audience were the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I simply don't understand why D&D felt the need to dick around with Robb/Cat's story arc so drastically. First we have the "gutting" of Robb's character with the ridiculous love interest sub-plot. Then we have Cat letting an able-bodied Jaime (a guy who moments ago battered a man to death with his cuffs) go sailing off with one woman because things happened to get a bit rowdy at the camp. *Then* even when we draw some motivation for her actions (protecting Sansa & Arya should Jaime have been slain), she explains it was to buy their freedom and doesn't make any point about the Karstarks forcing her hand. It's all so disjointed and contrived. Why couldn't they leave well alone?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah, but that doesn't figure in the TV series.

I was refuting your complaint about the book version being "force inserted" and . I'm taking by the "Yeah" that you are walking back from that, which is cool.

The TV show surely made a blunder by making it very clear that her motivation was fear that Jaime would be killed, and dubiousness that any men in the camp would protect him from the Karstarks, and then having her never mention it again while Robb rants and raves and she seems to accept the blame. It was very poorly handled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ran, I'm probably hijacking the Catelyn thread with a Lannister question, but do you think the way the show delivered Jaime's escape attempt and the killing of Alton was out of character as compared to the somewhat witty attempt involving Cleos in the books?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's like they had two thoughts in mind here, make Catelyn grovel to Robb, and make Jaime out to be a "monster" and a "beast" (their words). Then force fit everything else to make that so.

Catelyn ends up looking stupid and weak (in the book, she was neither) and Jaime ends up uncharacteristically killing a Lannister (in the book, he called Cleos coz, warned him of danger when they were under attack, and later expressed sympathy to his aunt, who he liked).

So not only do the characters no longer resemble the book characters, but so much is lost from a storytelling perspective.

In the book, Tyrion attempted to rescue Jaime, and then later we see Jaime rescues Tyrion. Jaime's swordfighting skills are brought to the fore in the book escape attempt, and this underscores what he is about to lose.

And the oath is central to the Jaime/Catelyn/Brienne dynamic that continues right through the latest book. But they just bypassed it on the show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ House Martell, you have the right of it. Book Catelyn abandoned her two little ones because she did not want to let her eldest grow up. I can't decide which motivation makes more sense, but either way both book and tv Catelyn have control issues. I would just argue that her consistency is reflective of her inflexibility. If

she were a real person I would say she had a personality disorder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ House Martell, you have the right of it. Book Catelyn abandoned her two little ones because she did not want to let her eldest grow up. I can't decide which motivation makes more sense, but either way both book and tv Catelyn have control issues. I would just argue that her consistency is reflective of her inflexibility. If

she were a real person I would say she had a personality disorder.

I've been rereading ACoK lately and her references to being with her dying father have jumped out with me more than before also. Not only does she feel she needs to be with Robb instead of Bran/Rickon but also her delirious dying father instead of her young and recently crippled children. Obviously Hoster is in the MOST dire situation of all, on deaths door step, but there is absolutely nothing Cat can do for him and he hardly knows she's there most of the time. So this too plays into the "control issue" you bring up. She worries too much about things she can't control and ignores raising her young children and running her house (things she can control). The whole Jamie scenario too seems to be her grasping for some type of involvement in the situation. I have no doubt she has good intentions and she seems lost without Ned and is thrust into a unmanageable situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So basically what the majority of you are saying is that the two Davids are terrible writers and the show is mediocre??? I mean, the show has it flaws, but some of you make it sound like a blight upon television, a sign of the coming apocalypse and a deep betrayal of the source novels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The TV show surely made a blunder by making it very clear that her motivation was fear that Jaime would be killed, and dubiousness that any men in the camp would protect him from the Karstarks, and then having her never mention it again while Robb rants and raves and she seems to accept the blame. It was very poorly handled.

I agree with your previous point about Catelyn's motivation in the show vs. in the books. I find her thought process in the TV show to be more appealing: "The Stark soldiers all want to kill Jaime --> They'll kill him by morning --> if Jamie dies, the Lannisters will kill the girls, too" compared to the "grieving mother loses all common sense" that is seen in the book. It's a theme that is seen with both Catelyn and Cersei - women can't think straight when it comes to their children - and I'm not a huge fan of it. As you say, the should could have done a little better with making Cat's thought process clear in the show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...that is seen in the book.

Err. Correction. That you see in the book. Many others have begged to differ, at length, on just what the book shows. For my part, Catelyn's actions are very rationally motivated, and the idea that they are nonsensical reflects more on those making that argument then it does on what Martin's writing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Err. Correction. That you see in the book. Many others have begged to differ, at length, on just what the book shows. For my part, Catelyn's actions are very rationally motivated, and the idea that they are nonsensical reflects more on those making that argument then it does on what Martin's writing.

I never questioned the quality of Martin's writing, so there is no reason to get defensive. You are correct that Catelyn VII does not lay out her thought process step by step, but it is shown in the book that she is beside herself with grief, and that, aside from questioning him, she is not entirely sure what she wants to do with him but goes to see him anyway. Hence my "grieving mother loses all common sense" comment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't necessarily agree with the idea that she is "beside herself with grief" and completely irrational in the books (she rebuts those quite dignifiedly later who try to use that as an excuse for her and says that she knew exactly what she was doing), but I also don't think if that was the reason it would be such a terrible problem. I don't think the idea often promoted by defenders of the TV show's approach, that they are somehow "fixing" a problem from the books by supposedly making Cat's decision more logical and making Robb's love interest supposedly more appealing, is actually positive. To me, that is a more simplistic approach in which everything has to be reducible to 1 + 1 = 2 and all the heroes have to have good reasons for what they do. I like that Cat and Robb make mistakes in the books and let their emotions sway them. That was part of what made that storyline so tragic and emotional for me - that they were in an impossible situation and sometimes they didn't make very good decisions, but they suffered far far far far far more than they deserved as a consequence. They contributed a little to their fate, but they in no way deserved their fate. It makes me so sad that the show's writers have sort of, in my opinion, dumbed things down and chosen a less complex and rich approach to the story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
but it is shown in the book that she is beside herself with grief

No it isn't. She's certainly grieving, but her mental faculties are acute. She puts together a plan involving boosting a prisoner and hostage out of a castle by river, and executes it without a problem. She's thought it through.

she is not entirely sure what she wants to do with him but goes to see him anyway

But it doesn't show that. She was going in there to release him, one way or another. She knew why she was going down there. The conversation was her trying to comprehend his crimes and to try and try to make sense of the things he had done to her family. Remember, from her point of view, the Lannister attempt to murder Bran is the first shot in the war.

I never questioned the quality of Martin's writing, so there is no reason to get defensive.

You're calling the quality into question by your misreading of the text. I prefer to think that's on you rather than on GRRM, to put it bluntly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No it isn't. She's certainly grieving, but her mental faculties are acute. She puts together a plan involving boosting a prisoner and hostage out of a castle by river, and executes it without a problem. She's thought it through.

But it doesn't show that. She was going in there to release him, one way or another. She knew why she was going down there. The conversation was her trying to comprehend his crimes and to try and try to make sense of the things he had done to her family. Remember, from her point of view, the Lannister attempt to murder Bran is the first shot in the war.

You're calling the quality into question by your misreading of the text. I prefer to think that's on you rather than on GRRM, to put it bluntly.

As I agree with the majority of the points that you have made, I do not see why you feel the need to be so hostile towards me. The very first post I made in this thread was agreeing with your point that the TV show made an error in not being more clear when laying out their verson of Cat's reasoning. You chose to jump on my wording and imply that I'm an idiot. We have both taken different things from the text, which is the beauty of GRRM's writing - he doesn't spell out every. little. point. and so gives the fans the chance to debate what is happening in the story. If you can't be respectful when someone has a different take on the reading, I think that's your problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The very first post I made in this thread was agreeing with your point that the TV show made an error in not being more clear when laying out their verson of Cat's reasoning.

I'm not sure why your agreeing with one thing means I should ignore some other thing I consider wrong. Namely your very much erroneous reading of Catelyn in the last ACoK chapter as "grieving mother loses all common sense". In the hierarchy of things, Catelyn Stark in the novels is a superior character than the one depicted in the TV series -- more complicated, by far. Your agreeing with some minor point of mine about the TV show (the lesser of the two works) doesn't mitigate the fact that you're wrong in you're reading of that chapter, and the fact that you're wrong might be suggested by the fact that you aren't trying to back up your claims that she's "besides herself with grief" or "not entirely sure what she wants to do with him" by refering back to the text and trying to prove how that's an inescapable or even defensible conclusion. Instead, you shift to hand-wringing over how mean I'm being by noting how you're wrong and how it's all relative anyways because the text apparently can say anything you want it to say and I can't hold you to just being wrong in fact.

Topics like this have been pretty common for about 14 years now. I've seen a lot of them. When someone comes in and largely seems to sweep aside everything everyone else has been saying and then doesn't stick to the text, it kind of sticks in the craw. If you don't want to cause that reaction, familiarize yourself with how statements like yours are going to be taken, or at least don't start with the passive-aggressive "Don't get defensive" or the even more insulting, "Why are you hostile?!"

If you believe your position, defend it -- prove that she was irrational and that she had no clue as to what she was going to do. The only thing you need to do that is to use the book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×