The Importance of Catelyn Stark

From the beginning of the first book, I knew Catelyn Stark was a good person (and a good mother, of course, although I still think she could be nicer to Jon Snow). Maybe liking House Stark was my default mode because they’re the protagonists.

However, like Bran, I didn’t realize what Catelyn Stark represented for me personally until I watched the show. I was watching Season 2, Episode 6, “The Old Gods and the New” the other day, in which Catelyn finally arrives back at Robb’s camp, presumably with news from Renly.

She calls Robb’s name, and before he could even turn around to respond, I squealed “Mom!” out loud. Softly, of course, but I’m still surprised my own mother didn’t hear.

I wasn’t sure what to make of my reaction at first, and it messed with me for days. It wasn’t like I was super invested in the familial relationships in Game of Thrones before. But maybe I was, at least subconsciously.

Because a few days later, the reason for my reaction came to me: Catelyn Stark respects her son’s decisions. She may not always like them, but she doesn’t complain or try to change his mind. She doesn’t undermine her king.

Not everyone is as lucky as Robb Stark. Some of us, unfortunately, have parents who think that their way is the best way to do things, which inevitably makes us doubt ourselves. Or they interrogate us with what seems like a million questions about the most random things. We’re not allowed to make mistakes because they’re afraid our mistakes will make them look like bad parents.

I really hope people as fortunate as Robb know how good they have it.


Appreciation for Bran Stark

I liked Bran Stark as soon as I started reading A Game of Thrones, but the personal significance of his character didn’t really hit me until I saw the first episode of Game of Thrones.

The episode ends with Bran’s fall from the tower window. It isn’t clear if Bran understood what he saw, but the Lannisters weren’t about to take any chances. If word got out that Jamie and Cersei Lannister were having incestuous relations, it would change everything.

Bran’s fall leaves him without the use of his legs, which sort of puts us in the same boat. The only difference between Bran and myself is that I have the use of my legs – with the help of equipment, of course.

At first, Bran is mad at the world, as anyone would be. Sometimes, I find myself thinking “Why me?” too. But he eventually accepts his condition, and House Stark makes it work for him. And it actually starts with Tyrion Lannister, of all people. On his journey back to King’s Landing from the Wall, Tyrion stops with the Night’s Watch at Winterfell. He sketches a modified saddle for Bran and tells him to give the design to his saddler.

And that really makes me want to get back on a horse again. I stopped riding horses when I started college, and honestly, I miss it. If Bran can ride, then I’ve got no excuses. Someday I’ll ride again.