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Catelyn Stark

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"I wish you were free to follow your heart, but you are promised to another. A debt that must be paid."
Catelyn Stark to her son Robb[src]

Catelyn Stark née Tully, is a major character in the first, second and third seasons. She is played by starring cast member Michelle Fairley and debuts in the series premiere. She was played in the unaired pilot by Jennifer Ehle but the role was recast. Catelyn is from House Tully and married into House Stark. She is a devoted mother and is fiercely protective of her children. Her husband Eddard Stark is the Lord paramount of the North. He becomes Hand of the King to Robert Baratheon and travels south to the capital. Following an assassination attempt on her son Bran she follows Eddard to warn him that House Lannister were involved. On her return journey she chances upon Tyrion Lannister and takes him into custody. This incites further conflict between the houses and Eddard is arrested for treason when Cersei Lannister becomes queen regent following the unexpected death of Robert. Catelyn is forced to release Tyrion when he proves his innocence in a trial by combat. She joins her son Robb Stark who has gathered the Stark banners to fight for Eddard's freedom. Eddard is executed on the order of King Joffrey Baratheon and Catelyn promises Robb that they will avenge him.



Catelyn was born into House Tully and is the eldest child of Lord Hoster Tully. She has a younger brother, Edmure, and a younger sister, Lysa. Petyr Baelish was fostered with the Tullys and Catelyn grew up with him. She was betrothed to marry Brandon Stark of Winterfell, but he was brutally murdered by the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen after Prince Rhaegar had kidnapped Brandon's sister Lyanna. Catelyn instead married Brandon's brother, Eddard. Though they barely knew one another when they wed they have formed a strong and loving marriage.[1]

Ned Catelyn wedding

Catelyn's wedding to Eddard Stark

Catelyn and Eddard have five children: Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon. She is unhappy with Eddard's bastard son Jon Snow living with her family in Winterfell, the only source of friction between her and her husband.

Catelyn has some independent political influence. A former ward of her father's, Petyr Baelish, known as "Littlefinger", is the king's master of coin and one of his closest advisers in King's Landing.

Catelyn says that she hasn't been to the capital city of King's Landing since nine years before her husband went there to be the new Hand of the King, which would be around the time of the Greyjoy Rebellion.[2]

Season 1


Catelyn and Eddard watch Bran.

Catelyn and Eddard watch as their sons practice archery. Ser Rodrik Cassel arrives to tell them that a deserter from the Night's Watch has been captured. Eddard decides to take their oldest son Robb Stark and his second son Bran Stark to watch him execute the deserter despite Catelyn's protest that Bran is too young. While they are gone they find a litter of five direwolf pups (the animal that is the sigil of House Stark) and Eddard agrees to allow their children to adopt the wolves.[3]

A raven bears news of Jon Arryn's death to Winterfell, where Catelyn tells Eddard the bad news. She also tells him that King Robert Baratheon, and much of the royal court rides for Winterfell. Eddard realizes that Robert means to name him Hand of the King in Arryn's place, a prospect that does not thrill him.[3]

Catelyn joins her husband in welcoming King Robert and his family. At the feast, she and Queen Cersei Lannister exchange cordial words once they learn that Robert means to marry Prince Joffrey to Sansa. Cersei approves of Sansa and thinks she will thrive at court in the capital. Later that night, Eddard and Catelyn receive a letter, delivered to Maester Luwin by a messenger from the Eyrie. The letter is from Catelyn's sister, Lady Lysa Arryn, the widow of Jon Arryn. In the letter Lysa says that Jon Arryn was murdered at the order of the Queen, and the Lannisters conspire against King Robert. Luwin counsels that Eddard should accept Robert's offer so he can investigate the truth of the matter and protect the King, whilst Catelyn prefers that he remain in Winterfell. Eddard agrees with Luwin and accepts the offer. He plans to take both of their daughters to court with him.[3]


Catelyn sits by Bran's bed.

Catelyn tends to Bran after he falls from a tower, and prays for his recovery. Cersei visits Catelyn, sitting by her son's side, and tells her that her first child, a beautiful, black-haired boy, was stillborn. She and Robert were grief-stricken and her prayers and tears were for naught. She offers to pray for Bran's survival, hoping that this time the gods will listen. Jon Snow gives his farewell wishes to Bran, to Catelyn's disgust. Eddard also says his goodbyes to his son and to Catelyn, who is angered at his departure whilst Bran remains comatose.[4]

Catelyn's refusal to leave Bran's side starts to cause problems for the smooth running of the castle. Robb offers to work with Maester Luwin to fill vacancies left by the departure of Eddard's retinue. Robb is drawn away from Bran's room by a fire. This proves to be a distraction to allow an assassin to reach Bran. Catelyn holds the assassin off long enough for Bran's direwolf to enter the chamber and tear out his throat. The next day, Catelyn goes to the tower where Bran fell and finds a blonde strand of hair inside. She summons Robb, Theon Greyjoy, Luwin and Ser Rodrik Cassel, the master-at-arms, and tells that that she suspects that the Lannisters tried to kill Bran because he saw something in the tower. Robb and Theon are for making war, but Luwin schools them to caution. Catelyn decides that Ned must know the truth and resolves to meet him in King's Landing. Ser Rodrik escorts her, whilst Robb commands the castle in her absence. Bran awakens after her departure but is paralysed by his injuries.[4]


Catelyn arrives in King's Landing.

Catelyn and Ser Rodrik arrive at King's Landing and attempt to sneak into the city, but are spotted by an agent of Lord Petyr Baelish (also called "Littlefinger"), a childhood friend of Catelyn. They are taken to meet Littlefinger at a brothel he owns, where Lord Varys, the king's spymaster, is also waiting: one of his 'little birds' told him they were coming. Catelyn is angered by the way she's been treated, but asks Littlefinger for aid in finding the people who tried to have Bran killed. Littlefinger says that the elaborate dagger wielded by the assassin used to be his, but that he lost it in a gamble with Tyrion Lannister. Littlefinger fetches Eddard to meet his wife. Lord Eddard is furious when he realizes he has been brought to a brothel. Thinking it is a bad joke, he assaults Baelish, and is stunned when Catelyn makes her presence known and tells him to stop. After hearing her news, he vows to find the truth and expose the Lannisters to Robert. Littlefinger agrees to be his ally in this, citing the affection he once bore Catelyn as a youngster.[5]

Returning to Winterfell, Catelyn and Ser Rodrik stop at the Crossroads Inn, planning to stay overnight. They are surprised by the arrival of Tyrion Lannister. Catelyn fails to stay incognito, then she calls on several knights present who are sworn to her father's bannermen to help her take Tyrion into custody.[6] Catelyn publicly announces that they are traveling north to Winterfell, but instead takes Tyrion east into the Vale of Arryn. In the hills they are attacked by warriors of the hill tribes, and Catelyn agrees to let Tyrion go unbound to defend himself. Tyrion saves Catelyn's life, but wins no more of her trust. Tyrion warns Catelyn that her sister Lysa has become mentally unbalanced following her husband's death. His warning rings true when on reaching the Eyrie Lysa and her hysterical son, Lord Robin Arryn, order Tyrion thrown into a sky cell, a prison with a wall that opens onto a sheer drop.[7]


Catelyn arrives at the Vale with Tyrion as her prisoner.

Tyrion protests his innocence and demands a trial by combat. The sellsword Bronn, who accompanied the party from the Crossroads Inn, agrees to stand for Tyrion. Bronn defeats Ser Vardis Egen, who takes Lady Lysa's part. Tyrion's victory signifies his innocence in the eyes of the gods and he is released.[8]

Catelyn lingers at the Eyrie trying to convince Lysa to commit the Vale's knights to oppose the Lannisters. Lysa is unwilling to take any action which might endanger her son. Catelyn finally decides to leave after Lysa delays telling her about Eddard's arrest in King's Landing following King Robert's death. Catelyn and Ser Rodrik ride north and meet Robb's army as he marches south. They join his war council, though Catelyn is careful to not embarrass her son or make him appear indecisive. Catelyn points out that to confront the two Lannister armies that have invaded the Riverlands, her father's lands, Robb's army must cross the Green Fork of the River Trident at the Twins, which means negotiating with the famously unreliable and prickly Lord Walder Frey.[9] To Robb's discontent, Catelyn goes into the Twins alone and wins Walder to their cause by agreeing that Robb will marry one of his daughters, along with a number of other, minor concessions. Once across the river Robb divides his forces, sending a small force to delay Lord Tywin Lannister's army whilst Robb force-marches his main force to confront Jaime Lannister near Riverrun. Robb wins a great victory and takes Jaime Lannister prisoner, to Catelyn's pride.[10]


Catelyn comforts her son, vowing to "kill them all".

Word reaches the camp that Lord Eddard has been executed. Catelyn walks stone faced through the camp, while the men bow to her showing respect. Once in the woods she falls against a tree and weeps. Hearing noise coming from ahead, she goes on to find Robb striking a tree with his sword. Catelyn calls him, then tells him that he is ruining his sword. Robb drops the sword and collapses in her arms. Robb wants to kill them all, his mother says they will, but after they secure the release of Arya and Sansa. They are joined by many of the river lords loyal to Catelyn's father, and word arrives that both Stannis and Renly Baratheon have claimed the Iron Throne, severely outnumbering the Lannisters. The northmen and river lords debate on which king to support, until Lord Greatjon Umber suggests that they secure independence for themselves. He names Robb as King in the North, and the other lords join him. Catelyn visits the captive Jaime Lannister, who admits to pushing Bran from the tower but doesn't reveal why. He taunts her, saying widowhood suits her and suggests that the gods aren't real as they don't care about justice. Catelyn strikes him, but Jaime knows that the Starks won't kill him as long as his sister holds Sansa and Arya hostage.[11]

Season 2

Main: Catelyn Stark Season 2

Catelyn is a key advisor to her son Robb Stark in his role as King in the North. She warns Robb against trusting Balon Greyjoy because of his reputation for rebellion. She unsuccessfully tries to persuade Robb to exchange the captive Jaime Lannister for his sisters Arya and Sansa. Robb tasks her with traveling to the Stormlands to seek an alliance with King Renly Baratheon.[12]

Catelyn travels to Renly's camp and finds him hosting a tournament. She watches Brienne win the event and a place on Renly's kingsguard. Catelyn delivers Robb's message and admonishes Renly for treating the war as a game. She is welcomed into Renly's camp by his new wife Margaery Tyrell.[13] Petyr Baelish also arrives at the camp. Catelyn confronts him for his betrayal of Ned and rejects his romantic overtures. He delivers a message from Hand of the King Tyrion Lannister; he would be willing to exchange Jaime for Catelyn's daughters. Tyrion has also sent Ned's remains as a sign of good faith. Catelyn later accompanies Renly to a parley with his brother King Stannis Baratheon but the two are unable to reach a compromise.[14]

Brienne kneels

Brienne swears fealty to Catelyn

Catelyn sees Renly assassinated by a Shadow just after he has agreed to an alliance with Robb. His kingsguard Brienne is mistakenly blamed for the death and she flees the camp with Catelyn. Brienne later swears fealty to Catelyn. Renly's army splinters with the forces of House Tyrell fleeing to Highgarden and the rest of his bannermen joining Stannis.[15] Stannis leads his army in an unsuccessful attack on King's Landing. He is defeated by the newly allied forces of House Lannister and House Tyrell.[16]

Catelyn returns

Catelyn meets Talisa

Catelyn finds Robb's army camped in the Westerlands. She interrupts him talking to Talisa Maegyr and warns him that he is not free to follow his heart. Roose Bolton brings troubling news from Winterfell; Theon Greyjoy has betrayed Robb and seized the lightly defended castle. Theon has taken both Bran and Rickon hostage. Robb denies Catelyn's request to treat with Theon and says that he will execute the traitor. Roose convinces Robb to let his bastard retake Winterfell.[17]

Jaime escapes but is soon recaptured. Robb is away negotiating the surrender of the Crag. Lord Rickard Karstark demands Jaime's head because he murdered his son Torrhen Karstark in the escape attempt. Catelyn convinces Rickard to await Robb's return but fears that his patience will not last the night.

Catelyn and Jaime

Catelyn goes to Jaime's cell

Robb confronts Catelyn

Robb places his mother, Lady Catelyn, under arrest for releasing Jaime Lannister.

She visits Jaime's cell and accuses him of being a man without honor. Jaime asserts that he has more honor than some; he reveals that Cersei is the only one he has slept with and reminds Catelyn how her husband cheated on her and fathered Jon Snow.[18] Catelyn releases Jaime, planning to exchange him for her captive daughters. She sends Brienne to escort him to King's Landing. Brienne successfully smuggles him out of the camp and travels by rowboat to evade pursuit. Robb is furious that Catelyn acted behind his back and orders her kept under guard. He says that Jaime has played her for a fool and that she has weakened their position.[19]

Robb visits Catelyn in her tent to discuss his plan to break his betrothal to House Frey to marry Talisa. She reveals that Eddard did not love her when they first married and explains that they built a strong, enduring love over time. She warns against recklessly breaking his oath for passion but he says that she has no right to call anyone reckless. Going against his mother's advice, Robb marries Talisa in secret.[20]

Season 3

Catelyn, still Robb's prisoner is among the Northern forces that march on Harrenhal, only to find the castle abandoned, and the 200 prisoners slain. Among the dead Catelyn identifies the body of Ser Jaremy Mallister, her father's bannerman. Robb then orders his mother imprisoned within the fortress.[21]


Season One appearances
Winter is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Season Two appearances
The North Remembers The Night Lands What is Dead May Never Die Garden of Bones The Ghost of Harrenhal
The Old Gods and the New A Man Without Honor The Prince of Winterfell Blackwater Valar Morghulis
Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa

Image gallery

Family tree

Family tree Hoster
Hoster Tully
Minisa family tree
Minisa Tully
née Whent Whent shield icon
Family tree Blackfish

Brynden Tully

"The Blackfish"
Eddard tree
Eddard Stark Stark shield icon
Catelyn Tree
Catelyn Tully
Jon Arryn tree
Jon Arryn Arryn shield icon
Lysa tree
Lysa Tully
Family tree Littlefinger
Petyr Baelish Baelish shield icon
Family tree Edmure
Edmure Tully
Roslin tree
Roslin Tully
née Frey Frey shield icon
Unnamed son
Robb fam tree
Robb Stark Stark shield icon
Family tree Talisa
Talisa Stark Stark shield icon
née Maegyr
100px-Tyrion tree
Tyrion Lannister Lannister shield icon
100px-Sansa tree
Sansa Stark House-Stark-Main-Shield
Ramsay Bolton House-Bolton-Main-Shield
Arya family tree
Arya Stark Stark shield icon
Bran fam tree
Bran Stark Stark shield icon
Rickon fam tree
Rickon Stark Stark shield icon
Robin tree
Robin Arryn Arryn shield icon


"All these years and I still fell like an outsider when I come here."
Catelyn Stark to Eddard Stark in the godswood.[src]
"I wish that you were free to follow your heart but you have inherited your father's responsibilities. They come at a cost."
Catelyn Stark to Robb Stark[src]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Catelyn is proud, strong, kind and generous. She has a severe disregard for Jon Snow, whose very presence drives her to anger. She loves her five children very much and dotes on them, but also knows they need to be strong if they are to inherit leadership positions in the North. A letter received by Catelyn from her sister Lysa sets in motion the events of the novels.

According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Catelyn" is pronounced "CAT-lin" ("cat" like the animal), not "Kate-lin" or "Cat-ellen". Indeed, in the TV series, she is sometimes referred to as simply "Cat" by people who know her well, like Ned Stark or Petyr Baelish.

See also


v  d  e
Lord: Prince Bran Stark Heir: Prince Rickon Stark
Seat: Winterfell (formerly) Lands: The North
Title(s): King in the North · Lord Paramount of the North · Lord of Winterfell
Ancestors:Brandon the Builder · Brandon the Breaker · Dorren Stark · Rodrik Stark · Karlon Stark · Osric Stark · Torrhen Stark · Cregan Stark
Current members:Sansa Stark · Arya Stark · Benjen Stark
Deceased members:Rickard Stark · Brandon Stark · Lyanna Stark · Eddard Stark · King Robb Stark · Talisa Stark · Catelyn Stark · Jon Snow
Household:{Ser Rodrik Cassel} · {Maester Luwin} · {Jory Cassel} · {Vayon Poole} · {Septa Mordane} · Jeyne Poole · Osha · Hodor · Farlen · {Old Nan} · Mikken · Varly · Heward · Wyl · Tomard · Tommy · Jacks
v  d  e
Lord: Edmure Tully Heir: Bran Stark
Seat: Riverrun Lands: The Riverlands
Title(s): Lord Paramount of the Riverlands · Lord of Riverrun
Ancestors:Edmyn Tully
Current members:Brynden Tully · Roslin Tully
Deceased members:Catelyn Stark · Hoster Tully · Minisa Tully · Lysa Arryn
Household:Brienne of Tarth

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