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teemo

[BOOK SPOILERS] Cat and Jon Snow

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Catelyn in the novel doesn't have a burning hatred of Jon. She doesn't want him around, that's about it. She isn't expected to want him around, by the values of her society.

"It should have been you" speaks pretty clearly. Yes, she's in an extreme amount of stress and grief and sleep depravation when she says this, but the thought would not exist in her head without a straightforward burning hatred of Jon Snow being right there. Stress and grief and sleep depravation remove the filters between brain and mouth, they don't cause hateful sentiment to spring out of nowhere. Her thought is not that Bran should not have fallen, it's that Jon Snow should be dying instead, that that would make everything better. I don't see how this could be much clearer.

Book!Catelyn would be completely unsympathetic if filmed as written and so I certainly appreciate the difficulty of translating her to screen in a palatable way. The scene is still a bit of a mess, and the tone of the episode as a whole is all over the place, but it's well-acted and it gives an opportunity to place some internal conflict within Catelyn that is explicitly absent in the books, and that helps a bit.

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The problem is that she says only a mother can make one of those things for her child. Ergo, she understands that she has an obligation to Jon as his step-mother. This makes her a bad mother.

In the novels, she has no such obligation.

Watch the scene again. In a moment of guilt, she feels she should act as a mother to the child. When she can't follow through, when everything returns to normal, she does not.

This adds another dimension to her relationship with Jon. It wasn't just blanket hatred of a bastard boy who threatened her trueborn children by his mere existence.

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"It should have been you" speaks pretty clearly. Yes, she's in an extreme amount of stress and grief and sleep depravation when she says this, but the thought would not exist in her head without a straightforward burning hatred of Jon Snow being right there. Stress and grief and sleep depravation remove the filters between brain and mouth, they don't cause hateful sentiment to spring out of nowhere.

That's kind of silly. People in extreme distress will say awfully exaggerated things. How often do arguments between parents and children end with the kid saying, "I WISH YOU WERE DEAD!" Do they have a burning hatred for their parents? No. They're upset. They say exaggerated things. They don't really want their parents dead. Catelyn doesn't really want Jon to die, even in the novels. She doesn't want him around, she's angry that Ned has placed her in that position, and that's about it.

I love the confidence in which someone can just say the character in the novel would be completely unsympathetic on the screen.

How about I make the equally unprovable assertion that she would be totally sympathetic, and we leave it at that?

Garlan,

I've watched the scene several times. She's insistent only a mother can make it for her child. She made it for Jon. She said she prayed that she would actually be a mother to him if he lived, which means that she would actually go on to fulfill her obligation to him, obligation which up to then she had shirked, and which afterward she finds herself unable to carry out.

But fundamentally, she understands she has an obligation. This is very, very different from the position of Catelyn in the novel.

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Cat is definitely religious. If you want to understand her motivation here, jump into the mind of someone who really believes that the gods have power. She's also a real person, a person who cannot subsist on pure hatred. It's reasonable to think that she couldn't keep up a hatred for Jon Snow for 14 straight years. So, so far, we have these:

-Cat prayed for Jon to die

-Jon begins to die

-Cat recognizes that her prayer for Jon's death has been answered.

So, naturally, Cat feels guilty. If Jon dies here, she'd never be able to live it down, knowing that she deliberately murdered this child. So, she tries to "take back" her prayer, to make promises in order to not live with that guilt. However, Cat cannot keep her promises. She falls right back into hating Jon Snow.

There's really nothing wrong with this scene. If anything, it makes Cat that much more of a tragically-flawed character, showing more internal conflict in one of the best characters of the series. I like it.

Her children are all scattered and in great danger, As a religious woman, she may believe the Gods are going to even the score for the vow to them she broke by taking her natural born children. She's desperate to protect them, and feeling guilty for having broken her vow because it may come back to haunt her own children.

The Seven-Catcher she's making is to protect her own children that she believes are horribly at risk. And she realizes that the promises she's making to the Gods hoping they'll save her own children are being undercut by the vow she broke the first time she made one. So, she's regretting the broken vow that may doom her own children. It's not a scene from the book, but it hardly destroys her book character.

But fundamentally, she understands she has an obligation. This is very, very different from the position of Catelyn in the novel.

I don't think she saw herself with an obligation towards Jon. What I think is that her normal emotions towards Jon as a boy were resentment, dislike, perhaps even hatred occasionally. At the same time, I don't think it is inconsistent to believe that her attitude towards a sick baby/child, on death's doorstep, about whom her husband cared deeply (and depending on age, siblings as well) would be a good bit softer. That seems completely consistent to me with her overall maternal demeanor, because it takes a pretty cold-hearted bastard as an adult to wish a sick baby/child dead from the pox, and I don't think that's Catelyn.

In a sense, her making the dream catcher for sick-baby Jon is simply the flip emotional extreme of her being cruel to Jon after Bran's fall. Events can affect temporary emotional outlook.

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I liked the scene. It was completely in line with Catelyn's character and her attitude towards Jon. Don't understand the hate at all.

People like to complain :)

I thought it was wonderful scene. Catelyn is a mother. If she didn't feel regrets about the horror that happened to her children, and blame herself because she did something wrong, she wouldn't be a good mother. This really shows the mother side of Cat (more than in the books imo).

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Catelyn in the novel doesn't have a burning hatred of Jon. She doesn't want him around, that's about it. She isn't expected to want him around, by the values of her society.

Even in our day and age, I suspect almost any wife would feel much the same way as Catelyn did, if their husband suddenly fathered an illegitimate child, and expected her to bring it up as her own. I think it would take a remarkably forgiving person not to feel the same way.

Unlike Catelyn, they could get divorced.

I've yet to watch this episode, but the scene, as it's described, doesn't seem to be a "character assasination."

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People like to complain :)

I thought it was wonderful scene. Catelyn is a mother. If she didn't feel regrets about the horror that happened to her children, and blame herself because she did something wrong, she wouldn't be a good mother. This really shows the mother side of Cat (more than in the books imo).

You're really, really, really wrong. It shows Catelyn is a BAD mother because she identifies herself as Jon's mother, meaning she failed as a mother to him. In contrast, book!Catelyn knows that she's not Jon's mother and therefore has no obligations towards him.

This fandom is really living up to its reputation today...

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I don't think it's quite as much of a deviation from the character as the Westeros analysis said. I think that analysis put a bit too much emphasis on Catelyn disliking Jon, while I personally think her dislike for him is in a significant part misdirected anger towards what he becomes a representation of.

As for the obligation to him, I see it as more of a moral thing as she came to love Ned and in order to accept him fully (family and duty) she somewhere feels that she should accept his choice with Jon. Naming him a Stark might be a bit much since that affects her children through laws, but when just looking at the sentiment I think you can draw conclusions that stay a little bit closer to the original.

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I love this scene. A lot of TV-only viewers hate Cat more than any other character because she was "mean to Jon Snow in the second episode". If anyone's going to feel any sadness for her because of the RW then they've got to make TV viewers like her a bit more.

And the way to do it is by revealing that she constantly prayed for Jon Snow to die as a kid and didn't follow on her promise to get him legitimised and be a mother to him? But because she feels bad about it now, it makes her more sympathetic than if all you know about their relationship is that she gave Jon a mean look and wanted him to be allowed to join the NW? Really?

Besides, catering to irrational Jon fanboys shouldn't be a priority at all for the show.

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I really don't get the hate for this. I didn't like the scene too much as I didn't really see what it was trying to accomplish in the larger scene of things...but while it's some departure from her character, it's not as major as people are making it out to be, imho.

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You're really, really, really wrong. It shows Catelyn is a BAD mother because she identifies herself as Jon's mother, meaning she failed as a mother to him. In contrast, book!Catelyn knows that she's not Jon's mother and therefore has no obligations towards him.

This fandom is really living up to its reputation today...

It's an opinion, so I'm not sure how it can be "wrong, wrong wrong." However....

Catelyn only identified herself as Jon's "mother" on two occasions. When he was a small child on his deathbed from pox, and during a war when all five of her natural children are at horrible, horrible risk and she's begging the gods to keep them alive. Those are both events that would push a normal person to more of an emotional extreme, and otherwise, her resentment of Jon was very consistent. It's simply a way of emphasizing her core self-identification as a mother, and I thought it was pretty effective.

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Even in our day and age, I suspect almost any wife would feel much the same way as Catelyn did, if their husband suddenly fathered an illegitimate child, and expected her to bring it up as her own. I think it would take a remarkably forgiving person not to feel the same way.

Unlike Catelyn, they could get divorced.

I've yet to watch this episode, but the scene, as it's described, doesn't seem to be a "character assasination."

This does not make sense at all. Comparing their marriage to a modern western marriage is impossible.

They never married for love, they married because they had to. Thus making it different for her that her husband, whom she had met once, slept with someone else. Love wasn't a feeling involved at that time, only her own pride.

Ned showing up with a bastard son was a wound on her pride as a highborn woman and as a wife.

And yet people here keep saying that 'her caring for Jon Snow like a mother' would be something impossible in the Westerosi society but seem to forget that Ned fathering a bastard is different from a father in our time, who married for love, fathering a child on another woman.

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It's simply a way of emphasizing her core self-identification as a mother.

But why is this necessary, it's not like they haven't beaten us over the head with this throughout the show. Plus it easily could've been done without involving Jon Snow and destroying the plausibility of the setting.

This does not make sense at all. Comparing their marriage to a modern western marriage is impossible.

They never married for love, they married because they had to. Thus making it different for her that her husband, whom she had met once, slept with someone else. Love wasn't a feeling involved at that time, only her own pride.

Ned showing up with a bastard son was a wound on her pride as a highborn woman and as a wife.

And yet people here keep saying that 'her caring for Jon Snow like a mother' would be something impossible in the Westerosi society but seem to forget that Ned fathering a bastard is different from a father in our time, who married for love, fathering a child on another woman.

What's your point? Of course it's different, nobody denies it. But it doesn't make it a realistic option for the wife the raise the kid and be happy.

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I was suggesting that in either type of society (our own, or among Westeros' aristocrats) a wife would be deeply offended at being expected to raise a child that her husband had fathered on another woman, during their marriage.

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That's kind of silly. People in extreme distress will say awfully exaggerated things. How often do arguments between parents and children end with the kid saying, "I WISH YOU WERE DEAD!" Do they have a burning hatred for their parents? No. They're upset. They say exaggerated things. They don't really want their parents dead. Catelyn doesn't really want Jon to die, even in the novels. She doesn't want him around, she's angry that Ned has placed her in that position, and that's about it.

I love the confidence in which someone can just say the character in the novel would be completely unsympathetic on the screen.

How about I make the equally unprovable assertion that she would be totally sympathetic, and we leave it at that?

So ... what you're saying is that I'm being "silly" for castigating behavior that you justify in the context of small children doing it all the time. Children who make such declarations inevitably recant them past the heat of the moment, or when the implications of that wish are explained to them in full.

More to the point, Catelyn is not a small child. That she behaves like one in a moment of stress is precisely what makes her unsympathetic. She is an adult woman who, as you say, was forced into a situation where a child who stood as a constant reminder of her husband's infidelity was forced into her daily presence. So she takes out her frustration on Jon himself, which is irrational enough, not unlike Tywin Lannister blaming his wife's death on Tyrion. But unlike even Tywin, she never has mixed emotions about Jon (Tywin at least acknowledges Tyrion's abilities to some degree, at times); when she deigns to think about him at all, it is always with resentment. She says horrible things to him that she never recants. She displays no complexity of thought or emotion toward these feelings in the books. It's very one-note, and one-note plays better on the page than on the screen.

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I've read somewhere (okay, another fan) that perhaps since Catelyn is a very religious woman. She realized she made a huge mistake when she prayed that baby Jon would die. When Jon caught the pox, Cat was overwhelmed with guilt and begged and prayed to the gods to let him live. If they did, she will love him as her own and even give him the Stark name. Jon survived, but Cat did not keep her promise to the gods, and what happened to the Starks Cat sees as her punishment for this broken promise. If she kept her promise, all of this misery would not have happened.

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So ... what you're saying is that I'm being "silly" for castigating behavior that you justify in the context of small children doing it all the time. Children who make such declarations inevitably recant them past the heat of the moment, or when the implications of that wish are explained to them in full.

More to the point, Catelyn is not a small child. That she behaves like one in a moment of stress is precisely what makes her unsympathetic. She is an adult woman who, as you say, was forced into a situation where a child who stood as a constant reminder of her husband's infidelity was forced into her daily presence. So she takes out her frustration on Jon himself, which is irrational enough, not unlike Tywin Lannister blaming his wife's death on Tyrion. But unlike even Tywin, she never has mixed emotions about Jon (Tywin at least acknowledges Tyrion's abilities to some degree, at times); when she deigns to think about him at all, it is always with resentment. She says horrible things to him that she never recants. She displays no complexity of thought or emotion toward these feelings in the books. It's very one-note, and one-note plays better on the page than on the screen.

My understanding of the books is that Catelyn ignores Jon, rather than being actively spiteful towards him.

The one exception to this is when he visits Bran, before leaving Winterfell. What she says to him at that point is foul, but it's said at a moment of extreme stress and grief.

If Catelyn heard that Jon had got kiled at the Wall, I doubt if she'd feel much sadness over it, but nor is she actively malevolent towards him.

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But unlike even Tywin, she never has mixed emotions about Jon (Tywin at least acknowledges Tyrion's abilities to some degree, at times); when she deigns to think about him at all, it is always with resentment. She says horrible things to him that she never recants. She displays no complexity of thought or emotion toward these feelings in the books. It's very one-note, and one-note plays better on the page than on the screen.

Huh? She said a horrible thing to Jon once. The next time she thinks about Jon, she feels guilt. Before that when we first get info on her feelings about Jon, the exact quote is "she had never found it in her to love Jon.". The situation is a lot more complex than you make it seem.

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I for one absolutely loved this scene. Im sick and tired of hearing complaints about deviations from the book. The books have an unpredictability that sets them apart from most contemporary fantasy, and so does the series and im glad for that. This scene is a perfect example. I was moved by Cat's confession and the Queens proding questions. It was one of those moments that told a story unknowen to the POV chapters of the novel. I for one would have lost interest completely in this show if every step it took was preordained and predictable. Great job HBO. As a huge fan of the books, I love what you are doing with the series.

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But why is this necessary, it's not like they haven't beaten us over the head with this throughout the show. Plus it easily could've been done without involving Jon Snow and destroying the plausibility of the setting.

I don't see it as destroying the plausibility at all. In the books, she did express some guilt over her treatment of Jon, so this seems completely consistent to me given the emotional stress she's currently under with her own children. I personally think her emotional torment about what has happened to her family since Bran fell is a critical part of her character, so the scene advanced that prior to the RW.

Obviously, opinions differ.

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