Hi there, all. You're reading this post because I made the perhaps ill-considered decision to sign up for We Love the Women Fandom Hates
and commit to posting one thing every day for a week on the topic of Lady Catelyn Stark nee
Tully, of A Song of Ice and Fire
and Game of Thrones
fame, a major protagonist in the A Song of Ice and Fire
series who's probably also, of the protagonists, the most universally hated by fandom. Obviously, I think this is a problem. So before I go into today's mini-essay, I'll start off with kind of a mission statement for the week: what I hope to accomplish by writing about Cat Stark. This is going to be restricted to the books for the sake of scope and consistency, but a lot of this stuff also holds true of the Game of Thrones
I'm not here to convince anyone to love Cat. Realistically, not everyone will fall in love with every sympathetic character, especially in a series like ASoIaF when so many of them are flawed, prejudiced, frustrating humans. On the scale of POV characters, Cat is maybe a tier 2 in intended hierarchy of reader sympathy -- principled and intelligent, but judgmental and unforgiving. Cat's a character you're supposed to care about, grin when she kicks ass, worry when she's in trouble, grit your teeth when she's stubborn or short-sighted. She's not perfect. She's not meant to be perfect. You're not meant to agree with everything she does. And I wouldn't set out to try to get anyone to: go ahead and dislike Catelyn. It doesn't mean you're a bad person. It doesn't even mean you're a misogynist. But hating her for misogynistic reasons does -- and I hope I can convince at least a few people not to dislike her for the wrong reasons.
I think A Song of Ice and Fire
is all the better for having her as a character, but to be able to appreciate that you have to appreciate her part in the story as a complex individual.
All of these are going to contain spoilers
for the books and TV series.( Day 1: Cat Tully )