Friday, June 22, 2012

Why I Love Catelyn Stark (And Why You Should Too)

Call me Littlefinger because I'm in love with Catelyn Tully Stark.  Game of Thrones has not only forced me into submission, it's also made me crush on yet another older woman: Michelle Fairley, the perfect casting for Catelyn, as only an Irishwoman can play the part of such a stern and bold woman.  And so I give you the reasons to love Catelyn Tully Stark.  WARNING: LIGHT SPOILERS ENSUE.

Catelyn's Tully family motto is "Family, Duty, Honor," and she displays such deeds perfectly, save for occasionally the duty part, as she follows her heart all too often. Catelyn's determination to reunite and save her family is an admirable one, but one that makes her ignore rational decisions concerning power.  Tired of war, tired of violence, she seeks safety for her children, which is why she pushes Robb so hard in marrying a princess.  For her, it's not about holding power.  It's about the effect of having power on her children.

Catelyn's sacrifice of allowing Jamie Lannister, the Kingslayer, to return to his family at King's Landing was a foolish one in terms of the battle between the Lannisters and the Starks, but she did think that his return would ensure her own daughters' return to her.  But little did she know Arya was no longer with the Starks.  Sansa, though captive, is adapting to life under Joffrey's twisted rule, knowing when to speak and when not to speak.  So is a tradeoff between Sansa and Jamie really worth it?  To Catelyn, yes, as long as she knows Sansa is safe, even if it means the Kingslayer is once again free to kill Robb.

Though she discards and dislikes Jon Snow, my other favorite character, her feelings (or lack thereof) towards him are justifiable.  She's reminded of Ned's infidelity and of his cold anger when she asks of Jon's mother.

Despite the devastating loss of her husband, she remains resolute in order to stay strong for her youngest children.  It's an admirable trait not to simply fall apart (though it's admirable and understandable to fall apart).  However, she relinquishes herself into the woods, holding to a tree, a cold comfort, surely, but she doesn't show weakness in front of others.  She stands by her convictions.  Her sorrow is cut short when she sees her son Robb hacking a tree with his sword.  Her words are "Robb, you've ruined your sword."  In other words, "Man up and get a fucking grip.  You're in the middle of a damn war, you childish bint."  There.  I said it for her.

Catelyn largely lives in a world where women are severely mistreated. It's a sad world, and unfortunately this sexism and misogyny yet exists in our world.  That's what fantasy and sci-fi does: reflects our social and political problems, but hides it with magic and science.  Catelyn does not care, though, what people say of her, but she cares what they say of her family and what they do to her family.  She remembers those who are loyal to her family, both Tully and Stark, and she will pay favor.  But she will also remember those who've done them wrong.  And there's no hiding from her.  She is bold, unpretentious, slightly foolish, but headstrong.  She speaks when women's voices are hidden.  And people listen.

So, really, all I'm trying to say is Catelyn Tully Fucking-Stark is damn badass and probably one of the most complex characters, let alone female characters.

No comments:

Post a Comment