Okay so there’s been way too much Catelyn Tully hate on my dash today.
I think people forget, in their rage over her treatment of the beloved Jon Snow, that the way she treats him is just how bastards are treated in Westeros. Take Cersei’s take on their relationship:
“I glimpsed him once at Winterfell,” the queen said, “though the Starks did their best to hide him. He looks very like his father.” Her husband’s by-blows had his look as well, though at least Robert had the grace to keep them out of sight. Once, after that sorry business with the cat, he had made some noises about bringing some baseborn daughter of his to court.
“Do as you please,” she’d told him, “but you may find that the city is not a healthy place for a growing girl.”
The bruise those words had won her had been hard to hide from Jaime, but they heard no more about the bastard girl. Catelyn Tully was a mouse, or she would have smothered this Jon Snow in his cradle. Instead, she’s left the filthy task to me.
You are now aware that Cersei would have smothered Jon Snow in his cradle just because he is a bastard.
Catelyn, on the other hand, is a nicer person. She let Jon live in her house and be raised side-by-side with her children. And she never once smothered him to death. Catelyn was actually above the bar for expected bastard treatment.
It’s okay for Catelyn not to like or approve of the personification of her husband’s unfaithfulness. Bastards have a stigma. Him even being in Winterfell was an affront to her honor in Westerosi society. It’s ridiculous to expect Catelyn to forget that. She didn’t owe Jon her love. It was Ned Stark’s fault for putting her and Jon Snow in that position, not hers for being unable to love him. A lot of modern mothers would have a serious problem with raising a kid their husband had with another woman while they were pregnant with their first child.
If she had lovingly raised Jon Snow, he wouldn’t be the same emo character that you love. She helped to create that sense of bitter emo rejection to him. You should appreciate her. It’s the same as appreciating Tywin Lannister for his part in giving his children interesting father issues.
It sounds like Catelyn can’t be likable unless she was some kind of perfect goddess mother, when it’s just the opposite. Her imperfections and mistakes make her an interesting and realistic character. Wanting her to love Jon Snow is missing the point - her despising him makes for a more interesting dynamic, and it makes both characters richer. Wanting her to be a perfect mother to her other children is missing the point - if she had perfectly protected her children, nothing bad would have happened to them in the story. And Rickon wouldn’t be half-rabid. It would be boring.
tl;dr: quit ragging on Catelyn, she’s a great character and the hate is unwarranted