Catelyn Stark

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Catelyn Stark
A Song of Ice and Fire character
Catelyn Stark S3.jpg
Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark
First appearance Novel:
A Game of Thrones (1996)
"Winter Is Coming" (2011)
Last appearance Television:
"The Rains of Castamere" (2013)
Created by George R. R. Martin
Portrayed by Michelle Fairley
Game of Thrones
Aliases Cat
Lady Stoneheart
The Silent Sister
Mother Merciless
The Hangwoman
Title Lady of Winterfell
Family House Stark
House Tully
Spouse(s) Ned Stark
Children Robb Stark
Sansa Stark
Arya Stark
Bran Stark
Rickon Stark
Relatives Hoster Tully (father)
Lysa Tully (sister)
Edmure Tully (brother)
Kingdom The North

Catelyn Stark is a fictional character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin, and its television adaptation Game of Thrones. She is a prominent point of view character in the novels.

Introduced in 1996's A Game of Thrones, Catelyn is the lady of Winterfell, an ancient fortress in the North of the fictional kingdom of Westeros. She was born into House Tully of Riverrun.

Catelyn is portrayed by Michelle Fairley on the HBO series Game of Thrones.[1] Jennifer Ehle was originally cast as Catelyn Stark and filmed her scenes in the unaired pilot until she eventually left for family reasons.[2][3] Fairley's portrayal as Catelyn has garnered critical acclaim, with many in particular praising her performance during the episode "The Rains of Castamere".[4] Because of this, many were left disappointed that Catelyn was omitted in the fourth season.[5][6]

Character description[edit]

She is described as beautiful, with auburn hair, blue eyes, and long fingers, and dressed simply in the grey of House Stark or the blue and red of her father’s household. Catelyn is proud, strong, kind, and generous, and has a strong grasp of politics. She is often governed by the desire to protect her children. She is most often in accord with her husband Eddard Stark, but resents his admission of his illegitimate son Jon Snow into their household.


Coat of arms of House Tully and Stark.

Book series[edit]

A Game of Thrones[edit]

After the royal party arrives at Winterfell, Catelyn receives a letter from her sister Lysa Arryn stating that the Lannisters had killed her husband Jon Arryn, the king's 'Hand' (second-in-command). King Robert Baratheon persuades Eddard to take his place. When her son Bran is injured, she protects him until they are attacked by an assassin who comes to kill Bran. After recovering from the attack, Catelyn travels to King's Landing to let Eddard know what had happened. There, her childhood companion Petyr Baelish tells her that the dagger used in the attack belongs to Tyrion Lannister. On her way back to Winterfell, she takes Tyrion to her sister at the Eyrie for trial, where Tyrion escapes execution by demanding and winning a trial by combat. After the news of Eddard's execution by order of King Joffrey reaches Catelyn, she argues for peace, but is overruled by the newly crowned King Robb and his bannermen.

A Clash of Kings[edit]

Catelyn advises against Robb's plan to send Eddard's former ward, Theon Greyjoy, to forge an alliance with Balon Greyjoy. Catelyn is sent by Robb to attempt to ally with Renly Baratheon and his massive Reach-Stormlands host. Catelyn meets Renly at Bitterbridge and follows his host to the ancestral Baratheon seat of Storm's End, where she witnesses first the unsuccessful parley between Renly and his older brother and rival claimant Stannis and then Renly's subsequent murder later that night by a shadow creature. Afterwards, Catelyn flees with Brienne of Tarth, one of Renly's kingsguard, to Riverrun. Upon hearing of her younger sons' supposed murder at the hands of Theon Greyjoy, Catelyn goes to confront the captive Jaime Lannister. Although the novel ends her storyline ambiguously, it is revealed at the beginning of the third novel that Catelyn set him free and asked Brienne to escort him to King's Landing in an attempt to exchange him for her daughters, who were still captives of Joffrey. This, however, causes problems for Robb, and costs him an ally, House Karstark, who had held grudges against the Lannisters.

A Storm of Swords[edit]

Catelyn's brother Edmure Tully places Catelyn under house arrest at Riverrun, but Robb pardons her after he announces his wedding to Jeyne Westerling, invalidating his marriage proposal to House Frey. Lord Walder Frey agrees to forgive Robb if Edmure marries his daughter Roslin, and Catelyn travels to the Frey seat of the Twins to attend the wedding with Robb and other northern lords. However, Walder Frey and his men take revenge on Robb for his slight on their house by slaughtering the northern host, an act of treachery that became known as the "Red Wedding". In an attempt to save her son's life, Catelyn takes Aegon Frey hostage and kills him when Roose Bolton kills Robb regardless, but she still has her throat slashed by Raymund Frey. Three days later, Catelyn is resurrected by Lord Beric Dondarrion, who sacrifices his life force to revive her. However, the period of time she spent deceased has caused Catelyn's body to decay; furthermore, upon her reanimation, she loses most of her previous personality, except for her hatred of House Frey. Catelyn then assumes command of Dondarrion's outlaw band, the Brotherhood Without Banners, and changes their aim to exterminating House Frey. Her uncompromising brutality earns her the moniker "Lady Stoneheart".

A Feast for Crows[edit]

Stoneheart and the Brotherhood come upon a small party led by Brienne. The knight informs Stoneheart that she is searching for Sansa at Jaime Lannister's request. Stoneheart says that Brienne is a traitor, because she carries Oathkeeper, a Lannister sword that was forged from the Stark Valyrian steel blade, Ice. Brienne swears that she is still faithful, but Stoneheart insists she must prove it by killing Jaime, whom she believes played a role in the Red Wedding, but Brienne refuses, even when threatened with a hanging. Just before Brienne is executed, she shouts out a word.

Television series[edit]

In January 2007 HBO secured the rights to adapt Martin's series for television.[7][8] Jennifer Ehle was originally cast as Catelyn Stark and filmed her scenes in the unaired pilot until she eventually left for family reasons.[2][3] Michelle Fairley was then cast in the role which she played for three seasons. Catelyn's storyline diverges from the book following the Red Wedding; as of the end of the fifth season, no mention has been made of Lady Stoneheart, and the two associated POV characters, Brienne and Jaime, have either gone through the Riverlands without encountering her or not returned to the Riverlands at all. It is widely assumed she has been cut from the television adaptation.

Michelle Fairley's performance has received critical acclaim. The closing scene of "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things" was praised by HitFix's Alan Sepinwall, highlighting Michelle Fairley's acting as Catelyn gathers allies to arrest Tyrion.[9]

Family tree of House Stark[edit]


  1. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 19, 2010). "Fairley to replace Ehle in HBO's 'Thrones'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 22, 2010. Retrieved May 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (August 3, 2009). "Trio of actresses cast in TV projects". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Sepinwall, Alan (March 19, 2010). "'Game of Thrones' recasting: Ehle out, Fairley in". HitFix. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  4. ^ Game of Thrones: Michelle Fairley is shunned by the Emmy Awards, but the show picks up 17 nominations (Yahoo TV UK)
  5. ^ Silman, Anna (June 16, 2014). "Book Fans Angered by Huge Game of Thrones Finale Omission". Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  6. ^ Gupta, Prachi (June 16, 2014). ""Game of Thrones" director explains the Lady Stoneheart situation". Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  7. ^ Radish, Christina (2013). "Producers David Benioff, Dan Weiss & George R.R. Martin Talk Game of Thrones Season 3 and 4, Martin’s Cameo, the End of the Series, and More". Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  8. ^ Fleming, Michael (January 16, 2007). "HBO turns Fire into fantasy series". Variety. Archived from the original on May 16, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  9. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (May 8, 2011). "Review: 'Game of Thrones' – 'Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things': Wall stories". HitFix. Retrieved May 10, 2011.