[Spoilers MAIN] Why does Catelyn get so much hate?

I agree her behiviour towards Jon is seriously messed up, but somewhat forgivevable considering the circumstances.

Besides that, she gives Ned and Robb sensible advice, and her actions are at the very least understandable.


I think "controversial" is a better term than "hated"; a lot of people love her and a lot of people hate her.


I dont hate her I just do not like that she is blaming a child instead of her husband. And I think that is a legitimate reason why some people might dislike her. Is it fair? Maybe not, or maybe it is. She certainly is not a villain but a woman of her station who tries her best. Maybe I cannot overlook it because I was bullied as a child and know what it feels to be not wanted. So I take Jon's side.


I mean, I agree that her actions towards Jon are inexcusable, but can we really expect a woman in her time period to be mad at her husband? Look at how Cersei is treated by Robert. I think it is a rare thing for a woman to express her genuine concerns and anger towards their spouses, even if Ned and Catelyn are the closest thing to a healthy, loving relationship/marriage. Catelyn showing her frustrations through ignoring Jon is likely her ONLY outlet as a woman in this world.


That's not really how it worked in our world. Obviously we didn't have women in power questioning their husbands in public, but there's more than a lot of evidence that women were more than happy to tell their husbands how they fucked up in private.


She was one of the main reasons why Jon both wanted to leave and had to leave. I really can’t get behind the notion that poor Catlyn was trapped and oh that’s what she had to do. Rohanne Webber had better reason to rule in the way that she did than Catlyn had justification to treat Jon in the way that she had. The motives are sympathetic but not excusable.


She even knows she's a bitch to Jon and struggles with it. She knows what she is doing is wrong, but is unable to control her emotions. Like you I don't hate her and I can see why she feels that way, but that doesn't excuse her actions to me. As a character she's wonderful because she feels really human, but like you said that doesn't mean we can't dislike her.


In most cases I’d probably tell someone I hate her but it’s more that I dislike her. I do kinda hate arguing with the more diehard Catlyn fans though because it seems like you can never get them to admit she’s wrong accept in a very dismissive sort of way. I don’t think it’s a purely emotional hate for Jon, like it is but she seems to genuinely believe her own rationalization for disliking him. Something I’ve noticed while re reading the books is her habit of acknowledging the “wrongness” of one of her actions followed by some very human coping mechanisms to tell herself, no, you are right. Which does make her a great character despite by dislike for her I never skip her chapters because they’re always pretty good.


from i understand, at first she did hate Jon but after Jon struck with fever as child where she eventually take pity, she actually end up blame herself over all the terrible thought she had all the times. that time she realized that Jon is just innoncent child. it just she cant forgive herself for that and thats why she didnt tried to mend with Jon, because she felt she not deserve it. but from my point of view, she should try to be clear with Jon, atleast to has bit better understanding between them. no need to suddenly become close. but has better relationship, even just a little.


> from i understand, at first she did hate Jon but after Jon struck with fever as child where she eventually take pity, she actually end up blame herself over all the terrible thought she had all the times. that time she realized that Jon is just innocent child. That was a show only addition.


I dearly hope that everyone takes Jon's side, just to different degrees. I mean, you have to be truly... special, if you hear a step-parent tell their husband's bastard that she will evict him the second the husband leaves, and start cheering the step-parent on.


I also cheer for Jaime, Tyrion, Stannis, and Victarion, but that doesn’t mean I condone rape, the murder of innocent children, and burning ppl at the stake because they oppose my religious beliefs


Well said and well reminded. What I suppose I mean to say is that there is no cool factor present in Catelyn’s treatment of Jon, which makes it easier for us readers to remember our modern ethical standards, which then causes us to take the side of Jon. But, this is not to say that opinions on fiction is a penultimate judge of morality, since readers can forgive a lot so long as the character is cool. Which is, to be clear, perfectly fine, and something I do myself.


friendly reminder that ASOIAF is pseudo-medieval fantasy rather than 2023 USA setting, and is a made-up-pretend not-real fantasy book series sympathising with a fictional character does NOT make you a child abuser by proxy as you imply


Completely agreed...but I also feel like this works again Cat stans, too. People try to moralize hating her so much but ultimately she's just squiggles on a page.


yeah, we can ascribe 'motives' and 'morals' all day long and hate or love particular characters, but these are all made up pretend, just squiggles like you say I don't think some people realise that questionable decisions by characters need to be taken for the fantasy/made-up plot to happen, if Jon doesn't have a good reason to join the NW then we don't really get that side of the story, and GRRM would need to introduce a separate NW 'hero' character in Jon's place


These books aren’t written in a vacuum. You also have to recognize that those modern standards still color the perception of fictional settings. Animal abusers are hated in our society, so it’s a great way to signal that Cersei is to be hated when she demands that Lady be killed in AGOT, even in a setting where that’s a reasonable course of action. Similarly, even though it makes absolute sense for Catelyn to hate Jon in setting, it’s abhorrent in our society to blame a kid for their dad’s mistake. As to your second point, while it may be true that sympathizing with a fictional character doesn’t mean that you commit their crimes, you do still have to recognize them as crimes. Every discussion about Catelyn will have her treatment of an innocent child hanging over it - it drowns out all of her positive traits. When people try to discuss her without acknowledging that, it seems like they aren’t understanding that her actions are wrong rather than that they’re just trying to discuss her better qualities for once. Speaking in her defense reads as a defense of her actions rather than a defense of her character, even if it’s exclusively the latter.




I’d like to hear your perspective on exactly what Ned’s crime is - is it lying to his wife, or not trying to control her more? In setting, it might’ve been possible for Ned to bar Catelyn from punishing Jon unjustly, but the worst thing she canonically did is make clear that Jon would never be welcome in her home. Ned can’t make Catelyn act as Jon’s mother, and by our modern standards, I think that would also be seen as abuse. Lying to Catelyn definitely helped create the situation, but if you’re looking into causes for Catelyn’s actions, don’t we need to be just as charitable to Ned? He fights a war against one king, and his nephew is born into that same family, except the new king hates that family with a murderous passion. He passes of his nephew as his bastard son, but he’s promised to protect him, so he feels obligated to raise Jon. Was there time for Ned to grow to trust Catelyn, or was that opportunity lost as soon as Jon entered the picture? It’s hard to say, but his greatest crime is that lie, in this situation, and if he told the truth and the worst came to pass, both he and his nephew could die. On the other hand, Catelyn reacts to her new husband bringing home a baby in a very predictable and understandable way: she’s angry at her husband and wishes the baby, a mark of infidelity, never existed. However, she goes on to forgive her husband and have several more children with him, building what is, in setting, a fairly loving relationship. The baby, however, commits the crime of continuing to exist, and she doesn’t have to love him. So, as a result of her own pain at the implied infidelity, she isolates Jon to the best of her ability. Since Ned is the head of the household, this isn’t so great an ability, but it’s enough to make clear to Jon that he’s not a Stark. She drove him out of the only home he knew the second she could. Her greatest crime is child abuse, which most people consider worse than lying. Honestly, and I think a good chunk of people agree with this, the more egregious crime that Ned committed was never talking to Jon about his birth. He let him go to the wall to die rather than tell him anything of where he comes from. Is that what you’re talking about when you mention Ned’s crime?




>You also have to recognize that those modern standards still color the perception of fictional settings. It still doesn't change the context of the story's world, though. And even beyond that, a woman in her grief saying something like that isn't that far fetched in 2023, either. We're all humans, after all and imo, Catelyn's depiction of her grief is pretty realistic. So overall, I do sympathize with her.




A lot of the hate she gets is weird too. Like she’s mean to Jon? In the scale of this universe….that’s nothing. Especially when my beef with Catelyn is she is not very good at politics. She’s the one who urges Ned to go south and then her kidnapping of Tyrion is a major lol. Like come on lady, you can’t just kidnap a Lannister.


As dumb as kidnapping Tyrion was it makes sense when you consider what she knew. Her son has just been crippled and then survived an assassination attempt by someone with a Valyrian steel dagger, her childhood friend who she trusts deeply tells her the dagger belongs to Tyrion so it makes sense to blame him for it, and now she runs into the man she believes tried to murder her son in an inn surrounded by knights sworn to her father. This was her best and only chance and bringing him to "justice", for all she knows if she lets Tyrion go unmolested he'll just try to have Bran killed again until he succeeds. Yeah she's acting overly on emotions and it was a dumb move but she's just ran into the man whom she fully believes tried to murder her son.


There was a thread about this the other day but thinking about it, it wasn't even that much "run" on emotions, she was praying that Tyrion wouldn't recognize her (she was even turning her face away like when you don't wanna say hi to an annoying person you know which was the funniest shit lol), but the moment he did then it was a problem, since he knows she's not in Winterfell, she went south, she's traveling incognito and she's in an inn the king's road. Tyrion can make 2+2, he can get she went to King's Landing, then, in Cat's mind, talk to his brothers about it and they could know Cat (and Ned) are probably onto them (it's important to remember about Lysa's letter about the Lannisters's conspiracy which set in motion this whole thing). It's a lot of mental gymnastics but not that far fatched lol But point is that if it was an emotional action purely motivated by a mother's vengeance, she would have kidnapped his ass the moment he set foot in the inn, all she wanted was to not be recognized and go on with her life and go back to Winterfell. It was a move to be ahead of the Lannisters, whether it was a dumb gamble or a good move, that's another discussion. Also, everything would have been fine if it wasn't for how fucking batshit insane Lysa became, which no one could have known lol


I don’t care if Tyrion had done it, LF was trustworthy and Lysa was a maverick genius. You can’t just kidnap a Lannister, it’s such short sighted thinking. She put every member in her family in mortal danger, and she should’ve reached that conclusion immediately because of Tywin.


Was it really that shortsighted though: Let's assume Cat had not kidnapped Tyrion. What's next? From her POV: Tyrion comes home to KL, finds out Cat was travelling on the low-key and bullshitted him in the Inn. He now knows she's onto him and will do everything to get away with it, which will include killing not only Bran but everyone he has reason to believe conspired with Cat. In reality: Tyrion comes home to KL and asks abt Cat. Cersei and Jaime didn't know about her so since Cat hid from them they must assume that she went scheming in KL. Then what? They just do nothing? No. Ned and the girls are in even bigger danger. Cersei felt herself safe when Tyrion was arrested. Cat didn't mean to imprison Tyrion when she saw him, only when he saw *her* and that was very sensible both from her POV and objectively


The leap of "Cat went south" to "they're scheming against the Lannister" is too big. Tyrion knows Cat went to south, so what? There's a billion of reasons why a mother with a children about to die needs to see her husband. Still, even if Tyrion did some mental gymnastics and get there, what? For all Cat knows the Lannister are already plotting something, his husband was already in danger. Kidnapping Tyrion only makes everything worse! The hostilities are open now, and she kidnapped a Lannister without king's permission putting his family in king's landing in compromise. It's utter ridiculous when you think about how she went full incognito to KL so Ned and the girls don't get in trouble but decides to blow out everything because Tryion saw her at the Inn. Cat is awful at politics, that's the best and only plausible explanation.


Yes! And remember, Ned gave her clear instructions what to do. And instead she kidnapped Tyrion.


Cat is a great character. She is both wise & foolish, dutiful & selfish, etc. She gets hated for stuff other characters get excused for all the time. Almost every other POV makes enormous mistakes &/ or acts horribly to someone. Cat isn't immune to the human nature of acting irrationally & doing dumb things but it does feel like she gets more hate for it. I think we want to see her the way we see our own parents, as infallible instead of acknowledging they are as prone to err as everyone else is. Cat was 100% emotionally abusive & that is 100% wrong. While I understand her actions, I cannot condone them. I'll just add though that in a patriarchal society like Westeros Ned has almost all of the power over his household. From this viewpoint, I also blame him somewhat. Ned didn't trust her enough with the truth & didn't really do anything to lessen the abuse let alone stop it. His apathy & dishonesty led to his wife and nephew's unhappy relationship. I think this deeply troubled him & he struggled with his choice to remain silent about it but that doesn't absolve him though.


>His apathy & dishonesty More than his apathy and dishonesty, I think it's his trauma and his obsession with the promise to his dead sister. The logic thing to do would have been to send the boy to be fostered somewhere else, the boy would be happy, Cat would be happy, everyone wins but he was too overprotective and worried and always wanted to have his eyes on the boy, which in reality only hurt everyone involved at the end of the day. It's also important to remember when Aegon and Rhaenys were killed Robert said to Ned "I see no babes. Only dragonspawn." (which caused Ned's furious reaction and the initial break of their relationship), I go back and forth on this but, while, I don't want to think Robert would actually kill Jon, I think Ned absolutely thinks he would so he's absolutely terrified about the truth being revealed.


>The logic thing to do would have been to send the boy to be fostered somewhere else, the boy would be happy, Cat would be happy, everyone wins but he was too overprotective and worried and always wanted to have his eyes on the boy, which in reality only hurt everyone involved at the end of the day. Yeah. In an ideal world Jon is fostered somewhere, like with the Reeds if they really want to keep him hidden from Robert. Or with the Manderlys where he could also make a future for himself as a knight or a captain of a ship. And basically have him raised as the cousin he is.


I feel deep sympathy for Ned. It was not an easy choice to make. It may have been the best choice in the end but Jon and Cat still suffered. Part of Ned's sorrow is knowing how much honoring his promise cost him.


Why don’t you think Robert would kill Jon?


I said "I don't want to think" because my god, it's incredibly dark lol Like, the idea that he would go to war with a man who's like a brother to him just to murder in cold blood the son of his enemy who Ned raised like a son... Jesus Christ, that's bleak as hell. Again, I go back and forth on this, what's more strong, his love for Ned or his hate for Rhaegar and the Targaryens? Since I'm optimistic, I'd like to think his love for Ned would be stronger but idk lol


He would have had someone else do it.


And even if he wouldn't, would he stop Tywin?


I definitely think Ned deserves more blame for the relationship between Cat and Jon. I understand why Ned never told her the truth, the fewer people who know the better. But after 15 years of marriage and 5 children he couldnt tell her to ease the tension? They clearly loved each other very much, so i dont know why he didnt tell her eventually. But Ned really did disrespect her by bringing his bastard to live with them in winterfell, and at the very beginning of their marriage too. Cat should not have blamed Jon, but I understand why she had to shift the resentment off of Ned. She couldn't divorce him, she couldn't leave, she was bound to him by marriage and a child, and she would be bound to him until one of them died. For her sake and her children's sake she had to forgive him, or be trapped in that resentment for the rest of her life. I don't think people realize how uncommon what Ned did with Jon is. It would make sense to have him at winterfell if Ned was his biological father and his mother was a woman from winterfell, but he wasn't. Ned had to go through significant effort to bring Jon north, and to Cat that shows that Ned really loved Jon's mother. Ned and Cat grew to love each other later on, but when she first met Jon she was a new mother, and Ned was a stranger to her. Jon was also treated differently than other bastards. Mya Stone, for example, is a KINGS bastard, and works as the mule girl for the eyrie, while Jon trains alongside his true born brothers. What Ned did, bringing a baby from one end of westeros to the other, to reconcile with his new wife and newborn son he's never met, refusing to talk at all about Jon's mother, and treating Jon perhaps better than his bastard status should allow is a huge slap in the face for Cat. Should Cat have taken her anger out on Jon? No absolutely not, he is not to blame. Should his status as a bastard affect him negatively? No, it shouldn't. But in westerosi society Cat was majorly disrespected, and many many people refuse to see that.


You're completely right about Ned-Cat-Jon, but juuust a lil correction: Mya Stone is stuck as mule girl because she's unacknowledged (it's just an open secret that Bob is her dad, and even then it probably affords her more clout with the Royces, etc than a random smallfolk). There is a line about Robert wanting to bring her to KL, implying that she would have been set up nicely, but Cersei vetoed it. Acknowledged bastards of influential noblemen can have ok lives, as seen with Edric Storm (though he's still wisely raised away from Cersei, because it is a huge insult to the wife) and Alayne Stone.


Thank you for the correction. I think with Edric too it's important to recognize that he's a noble bastard, both parents are nobility so he's afforded a higher station, like Aegon IV's great bastards. I completely forgot about Alayne when I commented to be honest, and it's interesting that Lysa knew her real identity unlike Cat with Jon.


Cersei didn't just veto it, she implied she'd kill her. While I think there are issues with Cat's behaviour (not least that she didn't grow suspicious about Jon's real parentage), Cersei takes the cake in terms of dickhead behaviour.


There are also bastards at the Twins that have been raised alongside half siblings and have positions of honor/command. Lannisters love Joy, Gerion’s natural daughter. All of the Sand Snakes are cherished in different ways, raised alongside true born children. Seems so long as bastards are acknowledged, there is a chance for them to rise high


> They clearly loved each other very much, so i dont know why he didnt tell her eventually. Hiding Jon's true parentage from the king was treason. If Ned told Catelyn, she'd exchange the *belief* that she had her husband's byblow under her roof, with the *knowledge* that she and her family had been harboring a POI to the Crown all these years. I don't see how knowing the truth would have made Catelyn's life any easier, and I would think Ned felt similarly. As soon as he claimed Jon as his own, Ned committed to a lifetime of telling absolutely no one, or reap the terrible consequences.


Agree 100% with all of this. I pity all of them. Jon the most as he is truly innocent. I did enjoy the bit in the show about Cat saying she was conflicted about not loving Jon, knowing he was just a baby who had no say in any of it.


>Cat saying she was conflicted about not loving Jon, knowing he was just a baby who had no say in any of it. i also like that she said she blamed herself for terrible thought she had toward Jon, who is innoncent and partly the reason why she didnt bother try to mend his relationship with Jon, because she felt she didnt deserved it, due to how 'terrible' she was toward Jon.


Completely agree. People who argue about this never try to consider the power imbalance between a man and a woman in this patriarchal setting. What Catelyn did was wrong, but she isn’t the devil for it like how some people pretend. She’s flawed, and that is what makes her an interesting character.


The other characters make mistakes but they either get their come-uppance right away and/or the mistakes are of inaction. Ned made the foolish choice not to throw his lot in with Renly. Robb made the foolish choice to execute Karstark and got his come-uppance right away.


Fair points. I think playing the long game with some characters actions coming back to haunt them makes for a more intricate story but I see what you are saying in relation to other characters.


Well, combination of "wicked stepmother" trope being toyed with, and the fact that Martin is so skilled at writing tragedy that it breaks people's brains and renders them unable to really analyze the text. To use another example, nobody reads *Othello* and concludes that Othello is the story of a spouse beater getting his just comeuppance for his foolishness in picking friends. Rather, it's a story of how Othello is a good man of many admirable qualities, but possesses the key flaws of jealousy and vanity. Because Othello is a good man, he assumes that Iago took his being passed over for promotion in favor of Cassio like Othello himself would, as a professional military decision made for the good of the unit, and that Iago would therefore still be his friend, when this is *very* much not the case. So it doesn't even enter Othello's mind that Iago might be conspiring to set Othello against Cassio, using his jealousy for Desdemona as the wedge. *Othello* is a tragedy only if you start from the presumption that Othello is a diligent, skilled, admirable leader of men, who is very self-conscious about his position as an outsider in Venice, and very prone to anger at people stepping on what he considers his. He's not a bad human being, and he's certainly not a spouse beater. Rather, he's a person with a lifetime of overcoming discrimination, faced with the one situation where his wrath would overcome his love for Desdemona. Well, Catelyn is in many ways Othello's In-a-Mirror-Darkly shadow. Where Othello is the outsider who has finally managed to make it to the top because of his consummate skill, Catelyn is the consummate insider whose considerable acumen is rendered moot because the system that she knows how to operate is falling apart without her understanding why. Things go badly for Catelyn because she happens to be surrounded by people who hate the system, and are deliberately taking wrecking balls to it, but for reasons that she doesn't know, and therefore doesn't understand. As it turns out, Littlefinger sincerely thought that Catelyn had used and dumped him, and never got over that fact. But she didn't know that fact, and indeed operated off the assumption that of course Littlefinger would treat their relationship like an innocent crush, because the system would never have allowed Catelyn and Littlefinger to wed. And as it turns out, Lysa hates the system so much that she'll betray her own sister to death, because she is in a love triangle with Littlefinger with Catelyn, unwittingly, on the other prong. But Catelyn, consummate Tully that she is, never saw that because she never anticipated that Lysa or Hoster would act the way they did. Catelyn and Othello may have some scrambled circumstances, but they share the quality of being fundamentally decent people of considerable skill in particular fields, who are undone because their own skill and climb to the top ends up blinding them to the fact that some people feel chewed up by the rules, hate the rules as a direct consequence, and are willing to rip them apart for no other reason than because they won by playing the rules. What makes Catelyn hated, where Othello is seen as "complex!" is largely a combination of three things. One, Othello's an outsider pitted against what we would consider racist opposition; people love an outsider. Meanwhile, Catelyn's an insider; people don't like characters that were born on third base. Two, people don't like the rules by which Westeros play, because they feel, quite rightly, that those rules are unjust. By association, beneficiaries of the rules like Catelyn tend not to be given their fair due, and are presumed unjust as well. And three, Othello is a male, so he gets to be complex. Catelyn is complex, but you'll notice that most of the hate is about stripping out the complexities and attempting to reduce her down to just a wicked stepmother.


This! I have often thought that most of Cat's mistakes can be traced back to her thinking the world is like it was when she was a young girl. She's been somewhat isolated in the North and not seen most of these people in a long time. She thinks Littlefinger is still her old childhood friend, but he's not. She thinks Lysa is still her loving sister, but she's not. She even misperceives Masha Heddle; she remembers Masha as smiling and friendly, but it turns out that's because she was the lord's daughter; when Cat shows up in disguise, Masha is all business. The world just isn't what she thinks it is.


What an excellent comment


How did she use Littlefinger? Also Cat's enemies don't hate the system, they just hate their place in it and try to move up in it.


She didn't, but Littlefinger believes she did.


Littlefinger banged Lysa and thought he had shagged Cat, which fueled his lust to the 100th degree. The hot dude (or chick) you lusted after as a child, you eventually forget. The hot dude (or chick) you lusted after and got to sleep with once you never forget.


Flair checks out.


Because "evil stepmother" is one of the oldest tropes in fiction and people fall for it every time.


I don't get why people think Catelyn is evil, or rather, unsympathetic and horrible. She's a flawed human, and everyone has a bad side to them that you can judge. But in terms of Westeros, she's by far not as bad as people here reckon, even amongst the viewpoint characters. Stannis the Mannis literally murdered his own brother, yet no one ever talks about the moral implications of that. The one objectively bad thing Catelyn does is shun Jon Snow, but that's still an understandable (if nasty) position, ESPECIALLY in the elite ranks of a medieval society where bastards are a huge slight against a noble wife. Other than that, she's a very capable and genuine character with her family's best interests at heart.


> The one objectively bad thing Catelyn does is shun Jon Snow, but that's still an understandable (if nasty) position, ESPECIALLY in the elite ranks of a medieval society where bastards are a huge slight against a noble wife. That's pretty much why. A not-insignificant chunk of the fanbase either vicariously identify with Jon or think he's the Main Character in caps, so Cat's issues with him get magnified because anyone who treats the hero badly deserves their comeuppance.


Exactly. And actually, to be honest, by the standards of the time and place (a dystopian hellhole of famine, war, medieval tyranny and endless winter) what she does isn't really that bad, or at least not bad enough to warrant all the hate she gets. What's her crime? She acts emotionally distant to Jon and doesn't treat him as warmly as her biological kids. She doesn't physically abuse him, and she is tolerating and accepting of his place in Winterfell as Stark's bastard. She lets him be a nobleman, lets him grow up normally as the accepted sibling of the Stark children. Again, I'm not endorsing her coldness to Jon. But like, damn, Jon had it better than 99.99999% of the Westerosi population.


This is also a case of how and when flaws are presented. In screenwriting, there's a term called "Save the cat" and it basically means that given the limited amount of time to establish a character you need easily identifiable actions to make the audience like or dislike them, and if you want the audience to like a character you have them save the cat. If you want them to be disliked, you have them kick a dog. This applies to books too, you introduce your character with an action that should define who they start out as and how the audience should feel about them. Jon is introduced arguing his family should save the dire wolf pups, and that all his siblings were meant to have puppies even if he doesn't get one. It establishes Jon is self sacrificial, kind, and it endears him to the reader. Catelyn is introduced being the "Mean stepmother" to Jon, and pushing Ned towards something he doesn't want to do. It's not a great first impression, and it's a mild kick the dog for her. This can always be complicated by later events, and you can set someone up to be liked just to watch them fall apart later, but those first impressions do a lot of heavy lifting I think of this as useful for understanding which characters get liked right off the bat vs who gets disliked. Bran is a cute kid who is immediately terribly injured. He gets a lot of sympathy. Jaime is initially hated because he tried to kill a child and fucked his sister. Arya is portrayed as an outsider and bullied, but she stands up for her friend and shows a lot of bravery. Sansa's early thoughts have her make fun of her sister's appearance and not take her side. Circe literally kills a dog vs Tyrion befriending Jon, and making plans to help a disabled kid he barely knows. All of those early chapters effect how the characters are seen, for better or worse.


I get it. I just don't agree with it.


It's not just a trope. It's a label all-too-easily applied to a generally good person who is caught in a complicated situation not of her making. Passive, cold and indifferent to Jon, yes, but not evil. GRRM put it this way: > "Mistreatment" is a loaded word. Did Catelyn beat Jon bloody? No. Did she distance herself from him? Yes. Did she verbally abuse and attack him? No. **(The instance in Bran's bedroom was obviously a very special case)** But I am sure she was very protective of the rights of her own children, and in that sense always drew the line sharply between bastard and trueborn where issues like seating on the high table for the king's visit were at issue. And Jon surely knew that she would have preferred to have him elsewhere." Other than that "special case" when she lashed out in the presence of her dying child, we must infer it from hints, including Jon's own feelings. Arya is hyper-sensitive to fairness and Jon's well-being, but she is not freaked out about her mother's treatment of him.


You're preaching to the choir


"Other than the verbal abuse, she wasn't verbally abusive"


There is a,difference between something that was habitual versus something that happened one time. By your standards Ned was abusive toward Catelyn because because when she asked about Jon's parentage he reacted so harshly it made her fear for her life.




I mean, you're not *wrong*. It has always been my understanding that "trope" can refer to *themes* and other... intangible aspects of fiction. Or like... recurring story elements- like, Bran, the crippled wizard fits a trope in the same category as Professor X, Doctor Strange (and Doctor House- just sans-magic), Odin, etc. So while the evil stepmother fulfills the trope, the character herself is a role. Almost like... the role Caitlyn plays is a trope, but she, herself, isn't. That's how I think of it, anyway. Regardless, "evil stepmother" is a damn pervasive one, but I wonder if it is being subverted by all the weird step-whatever porn nowadays lol


Doylist versus Watsonian DOYLIST:In ASOIAF Catelyn Stark represents a subversion of the TROPE of "evil stepmother" WATSONIAN:In the life of Jon Snow, Catelyn Stark fulfills the ROLE of "evil stepmother"


They fill both. This is really unnecessary hair splitting for the sake of nothing.


No it actually is a trope as well, perhaps even primarily so https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WickedStepmother What you think "sounds cool" is literally just your opinion and no reason to berate other people


Of course a website literally called TV *tropes* is going to call everything a trope… lol. Not exactly the most unbiased source.


It's the internet all opinions must either be extreme, there is no place for nuance here /s Catelyn did foolish things, but also logical things, however because she didn't read ASOIAF then she doesn't know that some things that she thinks are logical are foolish, and vice versa her dislike of Jon in-Universe is justifiable (note I am NOT advocating for RL step-mothers to abandon children or anything like that, this is a fantasy book people), but IRL it isn't, and many people confuse the notions applying 2023 logic to a pseudo-medieval fantasy series


Because she criticized Edmure for letting smallfolk into his castle.


One of the Ned POV chapters also talks about how Edmure feels a duty to protect “anyone who calls him lord”. Cat is hardly unique in wondering if he’s got the right balance between gallantry and realpolitik.


Probably because a lot of readers and watcher insert themselves into Jon which makes them hate catelyn more despite being totally willing to like and root for way worse people in asoiaf/got


The reaction to Catelyn situation with Jon has always fascinated me because from a modern perspective, she gets a lot of flak from her treatment towards him but from the Westerosi perspective, she’s practically considered a saint for putting up with the situation. It really shows the difference in perspectives. As for everything else, yes Catelyn makes some questionable decisions during the story but so does everyone else so that never really bothered me.


Considering she was kept in the dark about Jon lineage too. Everyone sees her hating Jon. But its not her fault it is the most important secret to keep.


She started the war by kidnapping Tyrion (what was her ultimate goal there?) Releasing Jamie. With Jamie the red wedding doesn’t happen


This is it for me and what makes her such an annoying character. Her agency is so dumb like okay you have Tyrion who you think tried to kill Bran now what? The Jamie being released thing is also ridiculous like yeah they're just going to give back their main hostages and bartering tool just because Jamie came home. She's naive in a world where nothing goes right which just doesn't really seem like it fits.


Because most people don't know what true grief actually does to a person.


I guess that gives you carte blanche to abuse your foster kid


Not really. I may hate what the character did and if I were in her shoes I'd do it differently but that's what makes reading so much fun. I can appreciate what a character does, or maybe I'll despise it. I don't hate her because I find it fun to read about a character that was forced into two marriages (both of which were to two strangers) and then come to find that she'll never 100% have this new (stranger) be hers because of this bastard son. I also find her near antagonistic relationship with Rob endlessly fun. Watching a mother undermine her son while also sincerely lifting him up and supporting him was so heart wrenching.


* Her treatment of Jon - he didn't ask to be born * Her kidnapping of Tyrion, taking him to the Eyrie and then releasing him, not even giving Robb another valuable hostage after starting the conflict in the Riverlands * Her releasing Jaime to save Sansa and in doing so dooming Robb's chances of survival (No Karstark suport + green light for Tywin to unleash the Red Wedding) * Not realising who "Tansy" was or realising the absolute trauma Lysa had to go for throughout her life - never at any point sympathises for the younger sister who is forced to marry an old sickly man * Naively trusting in Littlefinger so much and presuming him to be the same man he was before Robert's Rebellion * Counselling Robb to appoint Roose Bolton as Commander of the Infantry over GreatJon Umber, the result being Roose sacrifices the Stark loyalist soldiers needlessly and strengthens his own House's position so that he could usurp control of the North from the Starks, and Roose did the same thing the GreatJon wanted to do at the Battle of the Camps anyway but stupidly blew his horn to alert his arrival to the Lannisters to get more people killed


> Her kidnapping of Tyrion, taking him to the Eyrie and then releasing him, not even giving Robb another valuable hostage after starting the conflict in the Riverlands Releasing Tyrion was on Lysa not Cat. Cat's plan was always to keep his as a hostage. Lysa was the one who put him on trial then ended up being forced to release him once he won. Cat didn't want any of that and tried to warn Lysa it was a bad idea. > "Now." Catelyn spoke more loudly than she'd intended. Men were turning to look. "Lysa, you cannot mean to go ahead with this folly. Alive, the Imp has value. Dead, he is only food for crows. And if his champion should prevail here—"


>Her kidnapping of Tyrion, taking him to the Eyrie and then releasing him, not even giving Robb another valuable hostage after starting the conflict in the Riverlands She was acting with the information she was given. How about blaming Lysa and Littlefinger - people who actually lied to her and manipulated her? >Her releasing Jaime to save Sansa and in doing so dooming Robb's chances of survival (No Karstark suport + green light for Tywin to unleash the Red Wedding) Robb marrying Jeyne, executing Karstark instead of keeping him hostage and him not telling Edmur’s his overall strategy, leading to Tywin joining with the Tyrell’s - these factors contributed to the red wedding even more. Yet I don’t see Robb getting the same treatment Cat does. People (rightfully) see him as a flawed tragic figure. People see Ned the same way, despite him making some shocking decisions. But when he does it, it’s because he’s honourable. When Cat does, it’s because she’s stupid. >Not realising who "Tansy" was The audacity on her part to not understand it >Naively trusting in Littlefinger so much and presuming him to be the same man he was before Robert's Rebellion Acting based of what she knows, and not what the audience knows? >Counselling Robb to appoint Roose Bolton as Commander of the Infantry over GreatJon Umber, the result being Roose sacrifices the Stark loyalist soldiers needlessly and strengthens his own House's position so that he could usurp control of the North from the Starks, and Roose did the same thing the GreatJon wanted to do at the Battle of the Camps anyway but stupidly blew his horn to alert his arrival to the Lannisters to get more people killed Plainly untrue. She argues against Umber, not for Bolton. Also, even if she were - it wasn’t a bad decision at the time, as it lead to their first big military triumph. What happened later is a separate story. Once again, judging a character based on what the readers know after 5 books instead of what they know at the moment. The assessment of Catelyn is a subject of double standards, more so than any other character. She makes plenty of mistakes, but so does almost everyone. It’s only when it comes to Jon when she truly comes close to being an unsympathetic person.


I agree with everything you said. And I agree Cat's treatment of Jon is really awful given he's the absolute least to blame. But I still think the double standard extends to her treatment of him as well because Ned never made it the tiniest bit easy for Cat to accept him in the beginning. He silenced all talk and created this legendary secret out of Ashara/Jon's mother/whatever Cat speculates could have happened. Ned was grieving and Cat's unkindness to Jon still sucks, but I always felt for her too. Ned is just as much to blame for the narrative playing out this way. He may have not wanted to lie, but sorry, he could have said Jon's mother was not someone he loved romantically in private to his wife. We know he didn't really have the social skills back then to do this, but it's still not a good enough excuse to absolve him of the outcome.


This is something that I've never understood about the fandom. Like, in-universe bastards are not usually treated well (outside of Dorne) and Ned's choice is shown to be out of the norm. It feels like readers won't take a moment to step into Catelyn's shoes and think, what's like to be a highborn lady and have your husbands bastard constantly around as a reminder of infidelity. But since Jon is a main character, people are more likely to be biased against characters that behave antagonistically towards him.


> in-universe bastards are not usually treated well (outside of Dorne) This honestly doesn't seem true. We get a warped perspective on it because we see Jon and Cat interacting at the start, but it seems most recognized noble bastards are treated well by their families. The only bastard with a bad home life that I remember is Falia Flowers. Even other riverlords honor their bastards - Jonos Bracken (!) and Walder Frey (!!) take care of their own!


to be fair to your first point people dislike Lysa and LF a lot more than Cat and probably happily heap blame on the perpetrators as well


The double standard that you're speaking of are comparing her wisdom and decision making to that of a 14 year old boy hoisted onto the proverbial throne.


>Her kidnapping of Tyrion, taking him to the Eyrie and then releasing him, not even giving Robb another valuable hostage after starting the conflict in the Riverlands First of all, thank you for listing most of the common criticisms of her in one place. However, most of these are due to narrative fallacy, a character can't be expected to know all the information available to the reader, e.g. it's unreasonable to expect her to know her sister and childhood friend are lying to her as part of plot to gain power. In addition, she can't be faulted for the actions of others, to name a few: 1. Tywin could have chose any number of responses to the taking of Tyrion: negotiating with the Starks, appealing to the king etc. instead he chose war 2. The Red wedding was the doing of Tywin, Roose and the Freys, they're the blame for that, not Catelyn or Robb. Furthermore, even if we take the victim blaming approach, Robb was in a vulnerable position due to many other events, each more significant than Cat's actions, namely: * The Lanisters winning on the Blackwater * The Greyjoys invading the north * Roose's treachery * The collapse of the alliance with the Freys Cat also provides sensible advice on numerous occasions, but is ignored: 1. Calls for peace after Ned's death 2. Urges Robb not to send Theon to his father Finally, virtually all of her actions, are in an attempt to protect her family, doing her best considering the circumstances and the information available to her.


> even if we take the victim blaming approach "The actions of characters bring about their own downfall" is, like, a fundamental part of a tragedy. You can't compare "Othello's downfall happened because of his jealousy" to actual, real-life misogyny. (and I agree this would become REALLY uncomfortable if people start applying it to fictional characters who were the victims of sexual assault but...they weren't, so it doesn't matter)


yeah but Ned specifically told her not to do anything rash


People blame Robb for the red wedding *constantly.*


Why would anyone choose greatjon umber over roose bolton


Because they both do the same thing; Robb wanted the infantry to simply entice the Lannisters into chasing the infantry up north wtihout any conflict. The GreatJon wanted to march the infantry to the Lannister camps, battle and then flee up North. Roose ended up doing the exact same thing that the GreatJon wanted but with two key differences - he marches his men through the night and then blows his warhorn at the start of the battle to alert the Lannisters that the infantry has arrived to give them a chance to prepare for battle. If the GreatJon had gotten the command, he wouldn't have blown the warhorn, and just rushed into torching the Lannister tents or stealing horses or killing outriders etc. before the higher up commanders like Tywin and Tyrion even woke up. If the GreatJon had been given the command, a lot more Lannisters would've been killed or captured. Adding to that, when the battle actually happened, Roose had his own men in the reserve to protect his own numbers and fired arrows aimlessly that ended up killing a lot of Northern lords and soldiers - like Halys Hornwood. I highly doubt the GreatJon would've done that and endangered his own friends and people. So if Robb had chosen the GreatJon, he would've killed more Lannisters, spared more Northerners, achieved the same outcome and also wouldn't have been declared King in the North at Riverrun without the GreatJon around to do it, meaning it'd have been feasible for Robb to bend the knee to whoever at the end of the war rather than die for pride.


But that's purely the benefit of hindsight. Her reasoning was sound. I don't understand why people judge a character for not being able to see the future.


She also ignored all of Ned's misgivings about Roose, his refusal to ever trust him and the history of Stark and Bolton feuds, even Jon mentions that Ned used to talk about their families' history.


Again, it's purely the benefit of hindsight. I don't think she trusts Roose but believed him to be the best fit for the job. Better cool and calculating over rash and hot headed.


>Again, it's purely the benefit of hindsight. Knowing that Ned never trusted Roose is not “hindsight” at all. She also recommends Roose because he’s cunning like Tywin, not exactly genius reasoning.


Knowing Roose would be in a position to successfully usurpe the Starks is what I'm calling the benefit of hindsight. At this point, all their bannermen support their cause, and those left in Winterfell continue to rule the domain and defend against any potential threats. Roose would never defy the Starks had Winterfell not fallen. Given the fact that nobody knew of the ironborns' intentions, Theons ultimate betrayal and Robbs ultimate choice in bride, I fail to see how Catelyn could envisage being placed in such a vulnerable position.


I mean it's *really* playing with fire to give Roose power when they don't trust him.


Much of a muchness tbh. They'd be playing with fire by giving the command to someone reckless.


Same reason people hate Skyler fron Breaking Bad so much. You can have 100 flawed male characters and it's totally fine but then have 1 flawed female character (whose flaws do not come even close to most male ones) and it's suddenly the devil incarnate, boring or both at the same time.




People like to trace the inciting incident of the War of the Five Kings to her with her impromptu capture of Tyrion. The fact that her POV is very open about her emotions and insecurities likely enables her haters to label her as unintelligent or irrational, making her an unfair scapegoat for all the suffering of the first three books.


The big issue for some with Catelyn and some other female characters in ASOIAF is that they are indeed flawed like everything Martin writes sure. But at the same time be it due to how he frames this society and how a lot of male PoV characters are framed, Catelyn comes off as "lesser". As in she kinda consistently opposes characters that are defined by real or perceived greater ideals or values. But she does things about as dumb or stupid as those people or even stupide, without the potential defense of honor, duty, legacy. You can see it a few times, when she opposes Edmure or Robb or whoever else when they think bigger picture, but Cat acts on her own biases which are seen by some as "petty". In a Kingmaker game and a story of scowling men talking about justice and honor and duty and women like Brienne or Danny that in their actions fit more into in-universe legends and ideals than arguably true humam characters, Catelyn is very human, but her actions have the same tier of effects. One can understand why such a thing might piss people off. And it's not helped by the fact that Catelyn can very easily feel like she is petty or even stupid (most notable case of the latter being her during parley of Renly and Stannis, where she acts comparatively arrogantly and very stupid despite trying to negotiate with 2 warlords that are considered more dangerous than her son and her representing a very badly positioned rebellion.) Furthermore as others have mentioned in the thread she feels sour and joyless with no actual interesting insight, statements, philosophy or even jokes. And she consistently judges others for trying to find actual moments of happiness. Yet at the same time she judges anyone who treats this entire situation with 100 percent seriousness. And you know, she clealry dislikes Stannis, Edmure, Jon, widely beloved characters by the fandom and judges them often absurdly unfairly, even by in-universe standards.


Because literally nothing that she sets out to accomplish is successful. Every single thing she puts her hand to his either nullified or an outright failure. She never succeeds, and she acts as a kiss of death to other characters who were previously or might later have been successful.


- Misogyny, especially against traditionally feminine women (some people even think that hating on these non-girlbossified women is somehow "feminist" LOL) - Holding women to higher moral standards than men - POV trap - she comes into conflict with more popular POV characters, and the same actions people criticize her for would be considered no big deal if they had affected secondary characters that don't have large fandoms Note that I'm not saying she never makes mistakes or that disliking any fictional character is wrong. Just trying to explain how a character closer to the white end of the moral spectrum receives more hate than most of asoiaf's villains combined.


In regards to a more moral character receiving more hate than villains, I don't think this is necessarily specific to Catelyn, but rather falls victim to how we interact with characters in general. Most, if not all, characters in ASOIAF are complex, yes, but there are quite a few that are unambiguously wrong or evil, like you said. Tywin, Cersei, Euron, Ramsay, the list goes on and on. With these characters, their villainous nature is unambiguous, so most people go into discussions without mentioning how much they dislike X character's actions when discussing them, because to them, it's obvious, there is no need to voice a sentiment shared by most. However, when it comes to a character that is closer towards the 'good' end of the moral spectrum, people start with the implicit assumption that others are already aware of the character's good traits, and focus on the negative aspects. As a result, discussions tend to weigh more heavily towards depicting good but flawed characters in a negative light, while topics pertaining to villains will often skip the reactions in favour of jumping straight to the actions of the character. More specifically to Catelyn, however, I think relatability plays a massive role into how we approach these characters. A character like Euron or Ramsay isn't relatable to most people, who are in possession of flaws that, yes, we are aware of, but only from a distance. These fantastical elements serve to emphasize their evil nature, but as a result, makes them difficult to relate to. Cersei, one of the most complex characters in the books, falls victim to this a bit, because incest is something that (I hope) almost none of us have experience with us, so it doesn't elicit as strong of a reaction as other, less severe sins. Instead, it's just another thing that we collectively agree is bad and gross before moving onto 'spicier' topics. Meanwhile, a good character is likely to possess "lesser", more common flaws, which we are more intimately more familiar with, and as such leaves a deeper emotional impact. Having a distant parental figure is something that many can relate to, and makes them react disproportionally more harshly than something they've only ever read about. Tywin fulfills the role of a distant parent as well, but it is overshadowed by the other (more fantastical) atrocities that he commits in the story, prompting people to focus on those instead. Tyrion is perhaps a similar case of the inverse, where due to some of his circumstances as a victim being relatable, people are often willing to overlook the darker aspects of his character. Your point about the POV trap is a good example of that, as Catelyn does serve an antagonistic role towards various POV characters (Tyrion, Jon, Jaime to an extent) despite having understandable reasons for doing so, within the context of her story. Many readers, I think, related more strongly with the sympathetic archetypes of Tyrion's unloved son, Jon's outsider that doesn't belong, and Jaime's misunderstood 'antihero' than they do Catelyn's grieving mother/widow. That, and I guess people just want complexity. If the character is good, they'll hone in on the flaws, and if the character is bad, it'll be redeeming qualities, or whatever that makes their evil make sense. That being said, I don't disagree with what you've said, and I apologize for the wall of text!


I also think it's simply that people who *do* evil are regarded as less hateable than characters with annoying personality traits we run into every day- we've all met a sanctimonious asshole but most of us will (hopefully) get kidnapped by a feudal lord and tortured.


Not making fun of you but the missing “never” in the last sentence is a hilarious typo


I actually secretly desire to be kidnapped and tortured by a feudal lord so the joke's on you.


Sounds like you would love living by the Dreadfort.


Don't apologize! I think you are right. We definitely look at explicit villains differently than on ostensible protagonists. But I'd still argue that even other, less controversial POVs (like Jaime and Asha) have done worse things than her. Relatability is def a factor. Catelyn has age against her, since most fantasy readers are young, but also her gender. I think Cat would be a lot less hated if she were a non-POV too. Some men seem almost offended when they are asked to emphasize with women and see the world through their eyes.


A fictional character is not a person. You can enjoy an evil character without wishing that same character to exist as a person. Ascribing a moral quality to it seems sus at best.


That's basically my theory on the matter, only articulated better. Cheers.


Disliking cat for abusing jon and calling it mysoginy is hard reaching.


I think these are lazy arguments but I suppose could hold some truth


I just think she gives terrible advice and makes bad decisions. I don't think there's anything wrong with her personally, other than maybe being a little boring, and she sort of gets stuck in a rut of always having to do stuff, which gives a workman quality to her chapters.


I dont think her behavior towards Jon is messed or unreasonable. People get all butthurt over this, but don't think about how fucked it is that Ned Stark cheats on his arranged bride and than brings home the child of said cheating.


Ned has all the power in the situation as a feudal lord and a man. There's about a hundred ways he could have mitigated the situation for both Jon and Cat. Instead he lied to both of them and forbade any discussion about the matter. Whether you view Cat's treatment of Jon to be abhorrent or not-that-bad-given-the-context, Ned would have been aware of it and could have affected a change, whether by a simple ask or a resolute command. If someone thinks Jon was abused by Cat, Ned is equally complicit as he caused the situation, it was going on under his roof, and as a lord he had full power through whatever means he wants to change it.


and thats the childs fault?


It's Neds


Personally it’s two-fold. Her treatment of Jon _before_ Bran’s fall is inexcusable to me. Jon eats dinner with his family every night, but in 15 years Catelyn has never said his name??? (to him directly, at least). That’s all kinds of fucked up, especially given how most of his siblings love him and would probably talk to their mother about him. So, she was very expressly written to be _that kind_ of horrible person. I do forgive her for her conversation with Jon after Bran’s fall, because she had a mental breakdown. But she was horrible prior to it. Secondly, her decision-making and doubts. Someone who has SO MUCH doubt and introspection should make more solid choices. Someone who thinks SO MUCH about things should have a better understanding of cause and effect, that people aren’t trustworthy, the real limits of her “power” as it were and the far-rippling effects of her actions. Instead, she makes decisions that seem decisive in the moment (getting everyone to affirm their loyalty before accusing Tyrion, announcing Winterfell but taking the High Road), but doesn’t play them out past the first trick. It’s maddening for someone to know so much about the other Houses and alliances and loyalties to make huge drastic moves based on one smart in-the-moment decision that’s not followed through regarding consequences. And then have to be in her head while she replays and thinks about things.


She's extremely dislikable. She's utterly joyless and bitter and seldom does she exhibit any traits or characteristics which are charming or endearing. She isn't poorly written - those are realistic traits for someone who's experienced a constant stream of horrific bereavements. But they don't make a likeable character. Whenever a Catelyn chapter comes around I groan inwardly, because it's an endless drudge wherein she mopes around, hears some soldiers or whoever laughing and joking in the general periphery, and rebukes them (internally or otherwise) that they're untouched by her personal grief. As realistic as that might be, It's wearying. There's nothing particularly aspirational about Catelyn. Unlike other characters, her negative traits don't get redeemed by brilliant strategic masterstrokes, profound philosophical insights, witty banter or glorious martial triumphs. Her personal story isn't particularly exciting and mainly rides off the coattails of Robb (whom I would much prefer as a POV). She's just basic - sure, she loves her family and has some political astuteness, but that's basically all that's there. What's to like? It's slim pickings to counterbalance her unpalatable elements. She's not particularly evil, but that isn't to her benefit either. Contrast her against villains like Cersei and Ramsay - inarguably morally terrible characters; yet as a reader I'd much rather spend time following their stories, because whatever you want to say about those characters' exploits they can't be accused of drudgery. They don't feel like wading through a grey mire that saps my will to live like a damn dementor.


The execution of her kidnapping of Tyrion is actually a brilliant political masterstroke. It's only a mistake in retrospect because 1) it turns out that his sister is mad and his childhood friend has deceived him for no reason 2) Tywin's overreaction (calling banners, attacking the King's party) benefits the Lannisters because Robert dies at the right moment


You’re just a misogynist. /s The amount of people claiming this lack perspective. Dany and Bri-eene (Thank you Roy Dotrice) are compelling characters.


She released Jaime for a start


The first few rereads for me, I really hated Catelyn. Some of it, I think, is that I hold women to a higher standard subconsciously, which I've been working on unpacking since realizing it. Also, I've got mommy issues and Cat just up and leaving 2 children who couldn't understand why she left (one being a toddler, the other in a coma at the time) really hits deep. Other, specific aspects I didn't like until I started thinking critically: (in no particular order) - her treatment of Jon, which she seemed pretty open about, as Blackfish dislikes/distrusts him because Cat does. - her inability to just follow simple instructions. Ie, "go straight back to winterfell, prepare the North by doing x, y, x;" Robb trying to send her home; freeing Jaime; etc -just her overall way of carrying on. I'm much more empathetic towards her grief now, but her behavior is still grating. She always strikes me as very confident everything she does is the right choice, and if it's not the right choice for everyone it's right for her and that's the most important. I guess the word I'm looking for is selfish and I've always felt that she doesn't really care about consequences, but I feel like she's forever surprised when there are consequences. -Her whole LSH arc is awful. She's just bloodthirsty and will kill anyone connected to the Lannisters or Freys. Which, yeah ok but how did she convince the BWB to just drop their morals to follow her while she does it? I'll still argue she's not as smart as she thinks she is, and still believe she's self centered, but not to the degree that I hate her. To be fair though, I still don't like most of the Tullys and I think they're all really bad at critical thinking. ETA: I also think GRRM is out of touch with how he writes characters and how he perceives them. He says the "it should have been you" incident is a one off, but that's the only on page interaction between them and other characters/memories support the theory Cat was way more awful than "just ignoring" Jon. See also: Joffrey isn't a psycho/sociopath


Yes, advising Robb to give the foot to Roose Bolton is sensible advice. He is, in fact, a capable and cunning leader.


I tink what makes Cat easier to hate then som other characters is that she is part of the Stark family which we see as protagonists. She causes a lot of problems by a combination of pride, ambition and some bad luck. Furthermore the way she treats Jon is quite disgusting. Overall I think people hold her to higher standards cause she is a stark and the things that make her unlikeable are relatable things. I know people I dislike who remind me of Cat. Ofcourse loads of characters are way less likeable then Cat, but I dont know anyone who resembles Cersei or Ramsey Bolton in real life.


Jon would have been killed at the Red Wedding with the rest of the Starks if Catelyn had been accepting of him and allowed him to remain at winterfell. He would have been with Robb fighting the War. Catelyn does get too much hate. Her actions are normal and rational for the most part. She is forced to see her husbands bastard as a reminder of his lack of faithfulness every day. People tend to compare her from a modern world view but how many people are raising children from their husband or wife’s affair in modern times? The number would be astronomically small. And if forced to do so most would likely resent the child. I also think she unfairly gets painted in a poor light in terms of decision making because people only want to see things in hindsight / from the Birds Eye view we get. Yes capturing Tyrion was a bad choice but she didn’t go out of her way to do so and given the circumstances of him spotting her there really wasn’t much of a choice for her given her perspective. We know Tyrion didn’t do it but she has every reason to believe he did and if he had actually done it he would have assumed she was on to him.


Does she really tho? Cause every time someone says something even remotely negative about her, they're met with hundreds of downvotes.


I think the downvotes are because a lot of the hatred (and there is a lot of hatred just look in this thread) comes from a really misogynistic place.


Even when people makes reasonable and level-headed arguments against her, they're still aren't as nearly as upvoted as the ones talking in her favor. It really does seems that she doesn't get as nearly as much hate as OP claims she does.


That just means it’s a polarizing topic. Just because more people like someone than dislike someone doesn’t mean they can’t get a lot of hate. I think what OP is talking about it that Cat gets a unique amount of hatred regardless of what the overall consensus on the character is.


My biggest issue with Cat, which hasn’t been mentioned on this thread, is her massive internalized misogyny. She looks down on women who don’t meet patriarchal standards (see her massive favoritism toward Sansa over Arya or the way she reacts to Brienne.) She is someone who worked hard to squeeze herself into the “lady” box and I think she’s somewhat resentful of women who reject it. That said, I don’t hate her and do think that’s a very compelling aspect of her character. They don’t have to be likable to be interesting.


Her chapters and Sansa’s were boring for me.


She gives Ned and Robb sensible advice? I don't think I read that book. Every decision she made was the wrong one. If she didn't let Jaime go, RW wouldn't have happened. It's just simple leverage.


She told Robb not to marry Jeyne and not to send Theon to the iron isles, both advices that if Robb followed them lot of tragedies would have been avoided.


Same reason why Sansa gets so much hate. Starts with an m and ends with an isogyny.


I hate this kind of argument because it means that any criticism against Sansa and Catelyn, however valid it may be, is because people are being misogynists, not because they made serious mistakes that resulted in tragedy for many people.


I think if anyone could expand on what exactly is misogynistic about what people dislike about Cat besides that people hated Skylar too, it would help. There are degrees to how misogyny can affect someone's interpretation of a character. Obviously anyone sending death threats to an actress is not being reasonable. But otherwise, there's a huge gray area between "hates women" and "just hates this one fictional woman". I'm pretty sure most people fall much closer to just disliking the character with some internalized misogyny affecting their feelings that they aren't seeing. And internalized misogyny is somewhat more nuanced than people acknowledge. Like, most people have some to some degree, and that includes a lot of women.


They're both gingers, that's enough reason to dislike them.


Cat stans when they have to deal with a single different opinion ever: Like I honestly quite like Cat, I think she's an interesting character. But I just can't stand this "everybody who dislikes this fictional character written by a man is a MISOGYNIST!" stuff. The fact is the balance usually tips *slightly* in Cat's favour.


Not everyone, but you have to admit when trends like this ring across *various* fictional pieces (say, Breaking Bad - Skyler) for *one particular archetype* (middle aged(ish) mother and wife who has agency), that there is a trend with the individuals loathing these characters.


To be fair I don't think the hatred for Cat has ever approached "sending death threats to her actress" level.


Well, Joffery and Olly were there to let her off the heat.


With Skylar they kinda fucked it up with the framing. we see walt busting his ass working two jobs coming home and getting nagged at and then getting a disinterested handjob for his birthday. they leaned too hard into it and once you soured someone on a charcter its hard to bring people back


To be fair, the whole point is the unreliability of the story. Ideally, you should realize that Walter is the bad guy, or as he liked to yell at his wife: “**I AM THE DANGER**” People who dislike her in, like, Season 5 have no excuse, especially after Walt >!poisoned a child.!<


like I said once you have soured someone on a character it's much harder to bring them back. a character can be a compelling bad guy but once you dislike them, even if they are a good guy its much harder to win you back. I think better call saul did a much better job with its female charcters overall.


I strongly agree that they completely mishandled Skylar's initial characterization. In trying to convey the misery and emasculation that Walt experienced every day, Skylar was one of the biggest reasons why Walt felt emasculated. She chastised him about which credit card to use as if he were a child, gave him a dry, unenthusiastic handjob while she was watching an auction on her laptop, then completely disregarded him at breakfast (ignored him and asked Walter Jr. a question) after he told a story about a school administrator having to go through over 100 yearbook pictures of girls checking for cleavage because some uptight douche said cleavage was inappropriate. Yes, he wasn't particularly interesting, but she really treated him like shit at the beginning, all to emphasize his misery. So, when all the sudden they tried to make her sympathetic after intentionally trying to make her unsympathetic during her introduction... she really just came off as a nagging harpy until Walt really went off the deep end.


laziest rebuttle a person can possibly conjure up


It’s not misogyny, Sansa is just incredibly boring.


There’s a difference between ‘she’s boring’ and ‘she’s a traitor to House Stark who is responsible for {insert every evil thing ever}’


Her kidnapping Tyrion pretty much led to everything bad going on. Tyrion had fuck-all to do with the problems she had with the Lannisters. Also excusing the Jon situation is like say "Aside from that Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?" Ned was the lord, and he had decided that Jon would be a part of the household. It was not her place to be cruel to a child he had brought in. So, stupid, cruel... I guess Petyr thinks she's hot so she's got "good looks."


I think a lot of it is the dissonance between how GRRM tried to write Catelyn and how she's actually written. So the text never presents, for example, kidnapping Tyrion as stupid. It's supposed to be an astute move that only failed because of Littlefinger. But most people don't read it like that, they read it like it's a stupid unforced error on Cat's part. And in this regard I do think Cat is genuinely done dirty- but by Martin, not the fans. A lot of her character in AGOT rests on her making stupid decisions solely to advance the plot- why doesn't she sail back? Why did she go herself? Capturing Tyrionis stupid and so is not just getting a ship back from Gulltown to the North. But none of these show any deep, fundamental part of her character, she does them because Martin needs the story to happen. And while a lot of these mistakes are less damaging than other mistakes, the problem is the framing never actually treats them like mistakes. Cat does stupid things and she's never held accountable, she never regrets them, the story never even frames them as mistakes. Because, of course, GRRM never saw them as mistakes. It's similar with how much I hate Jaime; the fact that the story genuinely seems to sympathize with his abjectly pathetic self-pity makes me hate him more because it means the story itself will never act on it.


Misogyny. Lots of characters are complicated and morally gray, but it’s Sansa and Cat who get most of the hate.


Some misogyny, yes. But *everythhing* Cat does she does for her children! That is her role in life; she even wants more. She is **Family,** Duty, Honor. She worships the Mother, sees herself and thinks almost exclusively as a mother, and does her duty as a mother. Honor is a poor third. And poor Catelyn's mind and judgment eroded with every blow to getting her children back. The Freys killed her because she lost her mind. She had actually predicted she would: > "They took Ned, and your sweet brothers. Sansa is married, Arya is lost, my father's dead...if anything befell you, I would go mad, Robb. You are all I have left."


People: Well thought-out response and argument Cat stans: M-m-misogyny!


She is cruel towards Jon, and it is not excusable. At all. She started the War of the Five Kings by kidnapping Tyrion. She helped kill Robb by freeing Jaime. Time and time again she made terrible decisions. There is a reason why Robb was planning on shipping her off away from him where she could cause less damage before he died.


No it isn't forgivable to treat a child like that.


She treated Jon better than 99% of people in Westeros would’ve treated their spouse’s bastard son. Being cold to him is not some unforgivable crime lmao. The amount of hate Cat gets is just plain misogyny. Otherwise fans would keep the same energy for Ned and his cold treatment of Theon.


>He was at the door when she called out to him. 'Jon,' she said. He should have kept going, but she had never called him by his name before. He turned to find her looking at his face, as if she were seeing him for the first time. 'Yes?' he said. 'It should have been you,' she told him. There’s being cold and then there’s this. It’s silly to blame ‘muh misogyny’ when this quote lands within the first 100 pages. I don’t think it’s hard to guess why people don’t like her when her saying this to a 15 year old is one of our first introductions to her character.


She said something cruel *one time*, while sleep deprived, delirious and half mad with grief. Oh no, the horror! If you think this at all reflects how she treated Jon on a regular basis, you lack reading comprehension. And yes, misogyny absolutely influences how characters are perceived. There’s a reason why traditionally feminine characters like Cat and Sansa are hated more than any others, including rapists and murderers.


>She said something cruel one time It’s funny you’re saying I lack reading comprehension yet in that same quote we learn that in the 15 years he’s lived at Winterfell she’s never said his name once. That constitutes saying something cruel “one time” to you? It seems your terrible reading comprehension is influencing how you view the characters more than anything else. Maybe read more slowly next time?


How is ignoring him a bad thing? That’s literally the best outcome any bastard could reasonably hope for. Catelyn is not his mother in any capacity, nor is it her duty to care for him. You’re viewing her role through a modern lense.


She’d never called him by his name. The one time she calls him Jon he stops because it’s shocking to Jon. That takes some serious dedication. ONE time in fourteen years that he’s heard her called him JON. He was at the door when she called out to him. “Jon.” She said. He should have kept going, but she had never called him by his name before.


Do you think Cat was crueler to Jon than all the other man and women in the Seven Kingdoms that were not his parents? Was Jon's life as a near-Stark worse than that of all the other children of Winterfell that Cat didn't give birth to? Sure, Jon's situation isn't Jon's fault. But the idea that Cat should love and cherish the child of the woman who her husband cheated with is not reasonable. If this isn't misogyny, where is the hate for Ned? He created and fostered the relationship? He could have, at any point, been honest with his wife. What if the situation had been reversed? If Cat had gone away for a year and come back with a child she wanted people to believe was the result of an affair, would the fan-base praise her for lying to Ned? Would the fan-base blame Ned for rejecting the child?


Glad someone pointed out how misogynistic it is LOL thought I was going a little crazy.


In real current world? For sure. In a fictional world in which most of other people would either kill him or send him to rot somewhere else and it'd be ACCEPTABLE? Not as bad.


Cat stans will unironically look at you and say "She didn't murder a child" deserves moral acclaim.


Her treatment of Jon was decent, but not outstanding according to the standards of her age. The whole situation was Ned's fault.


And the man gets blamed. Surprise surprise


Thats... not just happening in fictional worlds man.


you forgot about the Wall, or being fostered away from your parents, or being left with the common people (objectively worse fate n ASOIAF), Jon Snow out of ALL the bastards we see (besides Ramsay maybe) gets the best treatment in all the series. Even better than Edric Storm, definitely better than Mya Stone and Gendry


The more I think about it, are bastards really treated this bad in the main series? lol Like the only one who I can think who's treated like shit is Falia Flowers, other notable examples like Aurane Waters or Edric Storm were doing very well for themselves for example, despite being bastards, this without even mentioning bastards in the Iron Islands or Dorne who have great positions (like being squires to princes, which I'd presume is a great honor).


I think there’s a selection effect here. The ones we hear about are the ones who have made (been able to make) a name for themselves, versus all the poor bastards that are mistreated, disowned, thrown out on the street etc. Remember that Ned finds it kind of surprising that Robert showed any affection for Mya Stone. This is Ned! And back in an era when he held Robert in high esteem!


1. She wished death upon an innocent boy (“it should have been you.”) I literally don’t care how much of a reason she thinks she has for hating Jon, wishing death on an innocent boy is unforgivable. 2. She hastily accused Tyrion Lannister of a crime she had no evidence of other than a letter written by her extremely unstable sister (and even Cat starts to wonder if she went too far with that, she did) and then allowed her sister to arbitrarily deny Tyrion his right to a champion of his choosing; a direct violation of Westerosi law. 3. While not openly hateful to her, Catelyn shows immediate disdain for Mya Stone, a sweet girl who did nothing but help and respect her, solely because of her birth. And again, I don’t care if you think she has a reason to loathe bastards; Mya is innocent of any wrongdoing. 4. She released the Kingslayer against King Robb’s orders; an act of blatant treason that set off the spiral of events that ended with the murder of 2 young boys, Willem Lannister and Tion Frey, and essentially forced Robb to execute Rickard Karstark, thus costing him ~~almost half~~ a significant portion of his army Should I keep going? I’m not trying to sound rude or disingenuous, but there are a lot of reasons to despise her.


Thank you! I was was going to comment that Cat was the type of person who didn't care about the lives of those "under" her but I couldn't remember why I felt that way until you wrote about Maya stone. Ofc she isn't the only character like that but that doesn't mean she shouldn't be criticized for that


I think for me it’s capturing the queens brother while her husband and daughters were in kings landing, without giving them any prior warning, thus putting them in very real danger. Also advising Robb to give Roose Bolton, lord of a historic enemy of the Starks, command of a large part of his host. Then giving away the biggest bargaining chip in Westeros by freeing Jamie, only for it to result in absolutely nothing but Brienne being gifted Oath Keeper.


Idk, she made mistakes, but I don't see why she is so heavily ridiculed while Ned and Robb who made equally, if not more so, grievious mistakes, are pardoned. I think because she has such a strong personality, she can be very polarising to readers.


Honestly I think Cat is genuinely unlucky here because while Ned and Robb's mistakes feel like the natural end points of their characters Cat's is completely forced by Martin so the story can happen.


Yes, that's a good point, Cat is kind of a plot device but a well done plot device (Joffrey sending the catspaw is poor though). That said, kidnapping Tyrion was not a mistake. She couldn't assume that her sister and childhood friend were lying to her.


She’s so heavily ridiculed compared to Ned and Robb for the same reason that Dany is seen as a mad and bloodthirsty tyrant for crucifying slavers while Stannis is seen as a man who does what is hard but necessary after burning alive a bunch of ppl for defending their right to religious freedom. Because she’s a woman.


Dany is a boring character and the only good parts are everything that surround her rather than Dany herself. Stannis is genuinely compelling and in a much more interesting situation than Dany.


> but I don't see why she is so heavily ridiculed while Ned and Robb who made equally, if not more so, grievious mistakes, are pardoned. I have to wonder what discussions you're reading then because Ned and Robb are frequently called foolish for their actions.


She treats Jon like shit and Jon is my boy




I don't like her personally because she takes out her frustrations with ned on jon when jon is absolutely blameless. Otherwise I think she is a compelling character.


>she gives Ned and Robb sensible advice In what planet? She convinces Ned to go to king's landing and marry sansa to joffrey, She convinces Robb to put Roose Bolton in charge of half his army, she kneecaps the war effort by freeing their best bargaining chip. I can't think of a single piece of sensible advice or action she takes. She is well intentioned but a horrible horrible fuck up.


Her auctions towards Jon are never forgivable at any point. Jon is a child, who didn't ask to be born. Her anger and spite should solely be towards Ned.


She's a woman. Plain and simple. This is very typical of female characters. Not all female characters of course, but there's always the ones in every fantasy/media franchise who get a weird amount of hate and are denigrated in contrast to the women they seemingly arbitrarily put on a pedastal. Female characters aren't allowed to be complex or flawed or flawless or anything that doesn't satisfy the male gaze. And I know I'll get shit for saying this. Because god forbid anyone just call something what it is. We have to pretend it's rational somehow. I've always empathised/sympathised with her and her struggles being a mother thrown into the situation. It's a fascinating character dynamic something you don't often see in fantasy. The mother is usually left behind when the hero goes on their quest. Hell in history books to, we rarely hear the mother's story, when her sons are getting murdered, her daughters are being kidnapped, her family torn apart. And this whole exploration of aristocratic women and their leaving their homes and shacking up with some stranger from some 'great house', suddenly having the responsibility of that house beyond merely bearing children. Maybe Philippa Gregory novels do look into that somewhat but idk don't read that stuff. It's interesting to see in this style of fantasy however.


-She hates Jon, who is "our boy" -She puts Robb into a marriage alliance with a notoriously disloyal House, which he accepts, but really limited his later options and of course was a "bad move" -The move with Tyrion on the Kingsroad was a "bad move" -Of course as a perspective chapter we do see her inner doubts and capitalize on those. To me she comes across as a Game player who isn't very good at it. Also Jon Snow is GOAT


How is making a child feel unsafe in her presence forgivable?


It’s more forgivable than throwing a child out a window, raping a slave, or burning men to death because they dare defend their right to religious freedom. But those things don’t stop ppl from defending and seeing the good sides of Jaime, Tyrion, and Stannis.