Catelyn Stark

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Catelyn Tully
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Catelyn Stark.jpg
Catelyn Tully by Amok©

Alias Cat
Lady Stoneheart
The Silent Sister
Mother Merciless
The Hangwoman
Title Lady of Winterfell
Allegiance House Stark
House Tully
Brotherhood without banners
Culture Riverlands
Born In 264 AC[1], at Riverrun
Died In 299 AC[1], at the Twins
Spouse Eddard Stark
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (POV)
A Clash of Kings (POV)
A Storm of Swords (POV)
A Feast for Crows (appears)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)

Played by Michelle Fairley
TV series Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3

Lady Catelyn Tully, also called Catelyn Stark, is the wife of Lord Eddard Stark and Lady of Winterfell. Together they have five children: Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon. Catelyn was born into House Tully of Riverrun, the liege lords of the Riverlands. She is the daughter of Lord Hoster Tully and Minisa Whent, and her siblings are Edmure and Lysa. She is a major POV Character in the books.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Catelyn Tully

She is described as beautiful, with auburn hair, blue eyes, and long fingers. She dresses simply and avoids the ostentation of the court at King’s Landing, preferring to wear the grey of House Stark or the blue and red of her father’s household.

Catelyn is proud, strong, kind, and generous. She is seen as honourable and upright by acquaintances, holding duty over desire as a governing principle of behaviour. Catelyn also has a strong grasp of politics and possesses considerable insight into what makes Westeros run. Nevertheless, Catelyn is also a fiercely protective woman and more often than not follows her heart rather than her head, especially when it comes to her family, whom she loves deeply. She follows strongly the words of her house. (House Tully's words are "Family. Duty. Honor.", in that order). However, she regards the bastard Jon Snow as an outsider to her family, and has never forgiven Eddard Stark for bringing him into the Stark household. She holds to the Faith of the Seven.


Young Catelyn Tully - by C.Griffin ©

Catelyn is the eldest daughter of Lady Minisa Whent and Lord Hoster Tully, head of House Tully and Lord of the Riverlands. She has a younger brother, Edmure, and a younger sister, Lysa.

She spent her childhood in Riverrun, where she befriended her father's ward, Petyr Baelish. Although the ward fell in love with her and sought her hand, Catelyn never shared his feelings, seeing him as a little brother and nothing more. When she was twelve, it was announced that she was betrothed to Brandon Stark, heir of Winterfell, in what would strengthen the ties of friendship between the great houses.

When Brandon came to Riverrun to meet with Catelyn, young Petyr challenged him to a duel for her hand. Brandon won easily, but spared Baelish's life in compliance with Catelyn's plea. Baelish was banished from Riverrun back to his own home as soon as he was sufficiently recovered; he later sent a single letter after Brandon's death, but she burned it without reading it.

Catelyn's betrothal to Brandon ended abruptly when he, along with his father, was killed by the Mad King, setting off Robert's Rebellion, led by his younger brother Eddard Stark and his childhood friend Robert Baratheon. During the Rebellion, Catelyn father's sought to continue the alliance, so she married Brandon's brother Eddard. She moved to Winterfell, where she and Eddard formed a strong and loving marriage; they are well respected and loved by nobles and smallfolk alike. Catelyn and Eddard have five children: Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon. They have also raised Eddard's bastard son Jon Snow, which was the single act of faithlessness that was a source of friction between her and her husband.

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Catelyn and Eddard at the Godswood - by Denmark ©

After the arrival of the royal party at Winterfell, Catelyn receives a letter from her sister Lysa, stating that the Lannisters had killed her husband Jon Arryn, the late Hand of the King. This puts the Starks on guard, as Eddard has just been offered the position of Hand by his friend the King Robert . Catelyn pushes Ned to accept the offer along with a betrothal that would make Sansa queen one day. Despite misgivings about going to the capital, Ned accepts.[2]

When Bran is left in a coma having apparently fallen while climbing one of Winterfell's keeps, Catelyn stays by his side for eight days, ignoring her own affairs and those of Winterfell. On the eighth night, she is attacked by an assassin who had come for Bran. During the ensuing struggle she grabs the blade of his knife, causing deep lacerations to her palms, before Bran's direwolf attacks and kills him.[3] After recovering, Catelyn travels to King's Landing along with Ser Rodrik Cassel to inform Eddard, sailing on the Storm Dancer. Despite having travelled in secret they are met by guards upon their arrival, and are taken to a brothel owned by Petyr Baelish, Catelyn's childhood friend, who tells her that the dagger used in the attack belonged to Tyrion Lannister.[4]

On their way back to Winterfell, still travelling in secret, they encounter Tyrion at the inn at the crossroads. He recognises her, exposing her identity to those present, which includes men-at-arms in service to bannermen of House Tully. Catelyn successfully appeals to them to detain Tyrion for conspiring to murder her son, and assist her in returning him to Winterfell to await justice.[5] Despite Catelyn announcing her intention to take him to Winterfell, their party instead makes its way to the Eyrie for trial. During the journey they come under attack by clansmen on the High Road in the Mountains of the Moon. Tyrion successfully persuades Catelyn to allow her captives to take up arms, and goes on to save her during the skirmish.[6] At the Eyrie, Tyrion is thrown into a sky cell, but escapes execution by convincing a sellsword to fight in a trial by combat.[7] Meanwhile, the arrest had become a catalyst for the war that followed, as Tywin Lannister orders Ser Gregor Clegane and other raiders to attack the Riverlands in retribution.[8]

Her son Robb having marched south with his father's bannermen in response to Eddard's arrest in King's Landing, Catelyn joins House Manderly's levies and meets the northern host in the field at Moat Cailin.[9] She is accompanied by her uncle, Ser Brynden Tully, who had left his service to House Arryn, disgusted by Lysa's refusal to help against the Lannisters.[7] When Robb is about to place Greatjon Umber in command of the infantry force sent to engage Tywin Lannister, Catelyn is able to convince him to appoint Roose Bolton, a man of cold calculation.[9] Robb wants Catelyn to return to the North, but she stays with the army in order to see her dying father.[9] When the army finds it necessary to cross the Trident, the delicate task of negotiating with Lord Walder Frey falls to Catelyn, who negotiates passage by promising, among other things, Robb's hand in marriage to one of the many women of House Frey.[10] She is present for his victory at the Battle of the Whispering Wood, where her guard was commanded by Hallis Mollen.[11] After the news of Eddard's execution by order of King Joffrey, Catelyn is filled with grief but maintains composure for the sake of her son. During the war council at Riverrun, Catelyn argues for peace with the south so that Sansa and Arya might be more easily brought to safety, but Robb and the assembled lords make clear their desire to continue the war, with the Greatjon declaring Robb the first King in the North in three centuries.[12]

A Clash of Kings

Catelyn claws her face and screams after the death of Robb Stark at the Red Wedding - by nejna ©

Catelyn advises against Robb's plan to send Eddard's ward, Theon Greyjoy, on a diplomatic mission to offer terms of an alliance with his father, as she does not trust either.[13]

It is Catelyn's idea to attempt to ally with Renly Baratheon, who has a massive host, but she wishes to remain with Robb.[13] When he threatens to send the boisterous Greatjon as his envoy, Catelyn relents and goes herself, accepting the fact that her son was becoming a man. She travels south to Bitterbridge to meet King Renly's host, where she finds him hosting a great melee.[14] When news arrives that Renly's brother Stannis is laying siege to Storm's End, the seat of House Baratheon, Catelyn rides with Renly and part of his host to Storm's End.[15] Catelyn is present for the inconclusive parley between the two brothers, and witnesses Renly's murder later that night by a mysterious creature of shadow. Brienne of Tarth, one of Renly's Rainbow Guard, is the only other person present, so the pair flee in the knowledge that they would be blamed for the murder. They journey to Riverrun, and on the way Catelyn takes Brienne into her service.[16]

Upon hearing of her two youngest sons' supposed murder at the hand of Theon Greyjoy, Catelyn frees Robb's hostage, Jaime Lannister, in a covert attempt to exchange him for her daughters, captives at King's Landing.[17][18]

A Storm of Swords

Catelyn's brother Edmure places her under house arrest at Riverrun, but Robb pardons her after he tells her of his wedding to Jeyne Westerling. She attends Edmure's wedding at the Twins, only for the Freys to betray the Starks, murdering Catelyn, Robb, and many of Robb's men; an act of treachery that became known as the "Red Wedding". In a desperate attempt to save her son's life, she seizes the lackwit, Aegon Frey, and tries to trade his life for Robb's. When Robb is killed nonetheless she slits Aegon's throat, just before Raymund Frey slits hers.[19]

Three days later she is resurrected by Lord Beric Dondarrion, who gives his life for hers. Catelyn's wounds only partially healed, leaving her mutilated and without the ability to speak. She becomes consumed with the desire for vengeance over her family's betrayal and murder. She takes the name "Lady Stoneheart" and assumes command of Beric Dondarrion's outlaw band, the brotherhood without banners. She leads the brotherhood to mercilessly pursuing and executing everyone she considers a Lannister collaborator, among them Petyr and Merrett Frey.[20]

A Feast for Crows

Lady Stoneheart, with Robb's crown - by zippo514 ©

While leading the brotherhood, she comes upon a small party led by Brienne, who informs her that she is searching for Sansa at the behest of Jaime Lannister. Stoneheart says that Brienne has turned traitor, as she carries Oathkeeper, a Lannister sword forged from the Stark Valyrian steel blade, Ice. Brienne swears she is still faithful but Stoneheart insists she must prove it by killing Jaime. Brienne refuses, stating that Jaime has changed. Stoneheart says she must choose, kill Jaime or be hanged. Brienne refuses to choose. Just before she is executed however, she shouts out a word.[21]

Lady Stoneheart

See also: Images of Lady Stoneheart

Death has changed Catelyn. She is less gracious and forgiving than in life and is consumed with a desire for vengeance on anyone she thinks betrayed her and her son, Robb. She hangs any men associated with the Freys, Boltons, or Lannisters, even if they had nothing to do with the "Red Wedding" or if they are boys, as was the case of Podrick Payne. Her appearance has been altered as well, with her flesh becoming soft and the color of curdled milk due to her corpse being submerged in river water for days. Half of her hair is gone and the rest is white and brittle. In addition, her wounds have not healed with her face covered in scratch marks and her throat still slit open. To speak she must cover the wound on her throat; even then she is difficult to understand.

Quotes by Catelyn

My son lies here broken and dying, Luwin, and you wish to discuss a new master of horse? Do you think I care what happens in the stables? Do you think it matters to me one whit? I would gladly butcher every horse in Winterfell with my own hands if it would open Bran's eyes, do you understand that? Do you?[3]

– Catelyn, to Luwin

Robb, if that sword could bring him back, I should never let you sheathe it until Ned stood at my side once more... but he is gone, and a hundred Whispering Woods will not change that.[12]

– Catelyn, to Robb Stark

If I must trade our four Lannisters for their two Starks, I will call that a bargain and thank the gods. I want you safe, Robb, ruling at Winterfell from your father's seat. I want you to live your life, to kiss a girl and wed a woman and father a son. I want to write an end to this. I want to go home, my lords, and weep for my husband. [12]

– Catelyn, to Robb Stark and his council

I want to weep, she thought. I want to be comforted. I’m so tired of being strong. I want to be foolish and frightened for once. Just for a small while, that’s all … a day … an hour.[14]

– Catelyn's thoughts

I take no joy in mead nor meat, and song and laughter have become suspicious strangers to me. I am a creature of grief and dust and bitter longings. There is an empty place within me where my heart was once.[17]

– Catelyn's thoughts

I want them all dead, Brienne. Theon Greyjoy first, then Jaime Lannister and Cersei and the Imp, every one, every one.[17]

– Catelyn, to Brienne of Tarth

On my honor as a Tully, on my honor as a Stark, I will trade your boy's life for Robb's. A son for a son.[19]

– Catelyn, to Walder Frey

Quotes about Catelyn

All his life Tyrion had prided himself on his cunning, the only gift the gods had seen fit to give him, yet this seven-times-damned she-wolf Catelyn Stark had outwitted him at every turn. The knowledge was more galling than the bare fact of his abduction.[22]

Tyrion Lannister

You have courage. Not battle courage perhaps but. . .I don’t know. . .a kind of woman's courage.[16]

Brienne of Tarth

Quotes about Lady Stoneheart

She don't speak. You bloody bastards cut her throat too deep for that. But she remembers.[20]

Tom of Sevenstreams, to Merrett Frey

Her cloak and collar hid the gash his brother’s blade had made, but her face was even worse than he remembered. The flesh had gone pudding soft in the water and turned the color of curdled milk. Half her hair was gone and the rest had turned as white and brittle as a crone’s. Beneath her ravaged scalp, her face was shredded skin and black blood where she had raked herself with her nails. But her eyes were the most terrible thing. Her eyes saw him, and they hated.[20]

Merrett Frey's thoughts

The Freys slashed her throat from ear to ear. When we found her by the river she was three days dead. Harwin begged me to give her the kiss of life, but it had been too long. I would not do it, so Lord Beric put his lips to hers instead, and the flame of life passed from him to her. And... she rose. May the Lord of Light protect us. She rose.[21]



Lord Tully
2 sons[23]
House Stark
House Arryn

References and Notes

External Links