In Game of Thrones, Catelyn Stark was the wife of Ned Stark and the mother of his five children, Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon. She and Ned had a very strong and loving marriage, with the only source of contention being the existence of Jon Snow, Ned’s “illegitimate” son. For the most part, she was a very intelligent woman, often more politically savvy than her husband, but she too would make her fair share of mistakes that would eventually lead to her death and could have even been the foundational pieces used to start the war.
Though she was the one smart enough to determine that Bran’s fall hadn’t been an accident and that the assassination attempt that had followed was a scheme set in place by the Lannisters, Catelyn Stark failed to bring in the correct Lannister, choosing the overly friendly Tyrion over either of his significantly less friendly siblings.
What made this worse is that she was still more than willing to kill an innocent man if it meant avenging her son. While a mother’s rage is something to be admired (just take a look at House of the Dragon‘s Alicent Hightower), it is not ideal when it almost throws a kingdom into war.
It was the first of many bad decisions that Catelyn Stark would come to make that had a definite impact on the way the War of the Five Kings would play out and led almost directly to the death of both Robb and Ned Stark.
Decisions that Would Lead to the Fall of House Stark
She would do absolutely anything to keep her children alive including several decisions that could have led to the fall of House Stark. The worst was Catelyn Stark’s decision to let Jaime Lannister go free.
While she is a very intelligent woman, fans will often find her with her emotions clouding her judgment. After her eldest son, Robb had finally managed to capture Jamie Lannister, the greatest of the Kingsguard there had ever been and the man that had been responsible for Bran’s fall, Catelyn Stark had still released him in the hopes that it might lead to Arya and Sansa being returned to her safely.
She went further in her attempts to secure Arya’s survival, by securing a marriage with both her and Robb to one of the Frey’s, a house that would eventually betray the Starks. It was her most ruthless attempt to ensure the survival of her youngest daughter yet and ultimately led to the death of Robb, an innocent Lady Frey (who had no part in the plans of her husband), and then herself as she went numb with grief and became an easy target for Walder Frey.
Michelle Fairley’s Lady Cat is clearly a mother first and a political leader second, thinking only about the safety of (most of) her family before she thinks of anything else. Unfortunately for her, a lot of Catelyn Stark’s emotionally made decisions were what would lead to the end of a lot of her family in Game of Thrones.
It seems there are more than a few similarities between Game of Thrones‘ Catelyn Tully and House of the Dragon‘s Alicent Hightower (or Rhaenyra Targaryen, for that matter).