Catelyn Stark

Lady of Winterfell


As much as anyone, Catelyn Stark’s life was defined by the War of the Usurper and the madness of King Aerys. Like her husband Eddard, she wishes only to remain in the peaceful fastness of the North where she can care for her family and her realm. Unfortunately for Catelyn, as for many others, the intrigues and violence of Westeros rarely stay confined to one place for very long.

Catelyn is a graceful and attractive woman, even after giving birth to five children. Her hair is dark red, even as her husband grows prematurely grey, and her pale eyes and fair skin are a perfect match for the rugged beauty of the North. 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.

House Tully’s dedication to duty and honor is as strong as that of the Stark’s, so Catelyn accepted her match with Eddard Stark with good grace. Catelyn’s devotion to her new husband was tested by Jon Snow’s presence, but despite this, Catelyn has come to love Ned as a husband and father. Catelyn is not so naïve as to believe war and violence will never again touch her family, but she does her best to prepare them and keep them safe. Thanks to her upbringing in the riverlands, Catelyn is an intelligent and capable woman, with a good head for running both a household and a realm. 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 her family is threatened. She knows how dangerous the world can be, and she is understandably cautious about exposing her children to it.


Catelyn Stark is the eldest daughter of Lord Hoster Tully, and she spent her childhood at the great castle Riverrun with her sister, Lysa, and her father’s ward, Petyr Baelish. Although the ward sought her hand, Catelyn never shared his feelings, seeing him more as a little brother than as a lover. When she came of age, her father arranged a marriage with Brandon Stark, then the heir to Winterfell. When Brandon came to Riverrun to meet with Catelyn, Petyr challenged him to a duel and lost, his life spared only by Catelyn’s insistence. In any event, the life she was to have with Brandon ended abruptly when he and his allies descended on King’s Landing to demand justice after Prince Rhaegar stole away Lyanna, Brandon’s sister. For this, Brandon was imprisoned and later executed, plunging the Seven Kingdoms into civil war.

As is the custom, Eddard Stark would wed Catelyn in his brother’s stead. Pregnant with his child, she waited for him at Winterfell until he finally returned from his campaigns in the south with his bastard in his arms. Eddard’s single act of faithlessness would haunt their marriage ever after, for in spite of Catelyn’s protestations, Eddard raised the boy among his other children. Normally a kind and caring woman, Catelyn can barely stand the sight of the boy, whose very existence brings back painful memories and reminds her of Ned’s failure as a husband. Nevertheless, Cat has truly become the Lady of Winterfell, well respected and loved by nobles and smallfolk alike.

Catelyn Stark

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