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Is Catelyn Stark dead?

Updated on September 4, 2012

Catelyn Stark

Spoiler Alert!!

Before reading this hub about whether Catelyn Stark dies or not, do heed this traditional spoiler warning: don’t read on to the rest of the hub if you have not yet finished all of the published novels within George R R Martin’s terrific Song of Ice and Fire series. Knowing about Catelyn Stark's death or otherwise isn't the only potential spoiler contained herein, and it would be a shame to spoil your enjoyment of such a terrific series of novels.

GRRM Keeps us on Our Toes

George R R Martin is a demon for keeping us guessing; he's renowned for it. All the way through his astonishing Song of Ice and Fire series of novels numerous members of the substantial cast of characters are shown to switch their allegiances, realign their moral position and win and lose our affection. Sometimes we are shown what we think is a character’s death, only for them to reappear unscathed several chapters later. Sometimes a character to whom we are particularly attached and whom we would assume is going to be there until the final page of the last book is killed off unexpectedly. As well as using these twists and snares to surprise and delight the reader every couple of pages, GRRM even goes one step further and uses his notoriety for such twists and turns to keep us on our toes and leave us hanging- using his very repuation for being unpredictable to make us question what we read. Is a death scene all it seems to be, or is there a twist coming? For example, is Jon Snow dead or not? When we see Tyrion Lannister do something nefarious, is he actually a good guy or not? And lastly, sometimes characters do actually die but then refuse to let that stop them walking around, talking and interfering with events- of course they do, this is GRRM!

Is Catelyn Stark Dead?

Such a character is Catelyn Stark, the wife of Ned Stark of Winterfell. Also known as Catlyn Tully, Catelyn Stark is the matriarch of the Winterfell family and one of those characters that we might comfortably think might be there until the death of the series, supporting her children and mourning her lord husband. So when the huge shock of the red wedding comes and Catelyn Stark is killed along with her son Robb Stark and a good proportion of his kinsmen, lords and retainers, the reader is stunned. But GRRM being GRRM, this isn’t quite the end of the story. Is Catelyn Stark dead? Does Catelyn Stark die? Or is Catelyn Stark still alive?

In A Storm of Swords, there’s no two ways about it, we are shown Catelyn Stark’s death. Does Catelyn Stark die? Yes, she most certainly does: the Catelyn Stark death scene is fairly unequivocal on that account: her throat is cut at the red wedding by arch villain, Reymond Frey. She then bleeds to death and is chucked fairly unceremoniously into a river, which tends to have a fairly fatal effect and as such definitely constitutes Catelyn Stark's death scene: yes, Catelyn Stark dies. So much for the noble house of Stark! But is Catelyn Stark really dead? Yes, we saw a scene where Catelyn Stark dies, of course. But then, later in the same book we begin to hear rumours of Lady Stoneheart, the ruthless and frankly vicious leader of a group of rebels who are seeking whatever vengeance they can against the Freys and any other allies of the house of Lannister.

It is revealed eventually that after Catelyn Stark dies she is revived by Beric Dondarrion, who had previously been kept alive after death by the Red Knight. Lord Dondarrion chooses to forego his own life in order that Catelyn Stark might be revived after her death. So does Catelyn Stark die? Yes, she does, but only for about three days!

Following Catelyn Stark’s death and subsequent resurrection, she’s substantially different. It seems that being killed can have a fairly detrimental impact on a person’s sense of humour, so after Catelyn Stark’s death, she is revived as a vitriolic and evil woman, half alive and hell-bent on revenge against all those who have sinned against her, her Stark family and anyone connected with Winterfell. This eventually leads to Catelyn seeking vengeance on Brienne Stark- believing her to be a sympathiser with the Lannisters, Catelyn threatens to hang Brienne and her friends if she doesn’t agree to hand over Jaime Lannister. This ends up being just one more example of GRRM’s tricky twists in the tail- we think Brienne’s fate is sealed, and yet...

Comments please!

What do you think? Is Lady Stoneheart’s role in the series over? Or will she be coming back once more? Is Lady Stoneheart so different from Catelyn Stark that we might still ask is Catelyn Stark dead? Or will Stoneheart become more like the real Catelyn Stark?


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    • profile image

      teo 5 years ago

      when the revival going to happen on show?

    • profile image

      raytothiezzo is wrong 5 years ago

      I really have no idea where that comparison of Cersie and Catelyn comes from. Cersie is well charecterized by one of the post-ers above and we'll leave it at that. But how on earth do you not hang Brienne when she consorts with Jaimie and fails to deliver the two of her daughters, both alive and very well far out of her reach. Frankly, Brienne is useless. She*(Stoneheart) never does hang her though, only (I suspect), Stoneheart kills Jaimie. Pod by the way is also alive. Read the fouth and fifth book. Her venegance ridden Psych is also very well understandable. Don't you go around defending Boltons or Lannisters or Freys(spit). You really don't judge a person without looking at their background. She has not completely lost her mind either. She lets the Septon leave, if you hadn't read that (and I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't because you sound like an impulsive person prone to hasty conclusions). The only thing common between Cersie and Catelyn is that their names start with 'C', that's all.

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      Timberwolf7869 5 years ago

      Kw Colorado... Catelyn's positive attitude? For the past 2 books since the red wedding the has just been a well of depression and hopelessness.

    • profile image

      Metriki89 5 years ago

      As Thoros and Beric Dondarrion both stated, death is an entirely unpleasant experience, especially when a return to life allows for reflection. Whatever Lady Stark was before, she is not the same person now.

    • Edward William profile image

      Edward William 5 years ago from UK

      No doubt it has, but I still reckon that she was pretty unpleasant beforehand, as witness her treatment of Jon and Tyrion- blind to actual honour and integrity where it interferes with the wellbeing of her children. It's the same motivation that Cersei has but is only taken to its full extent when the situation demands it (ie after the red wedding).

    • kw colorado profile image

      kw colorado 5 years ago from colorado

      Perhaps betrayal, getting ones throat cut, losing all family members, and becoming a zombie has been detrimental to Catelyn's positive attitude.

    • profile image

      Raytotheizzo 5 years ago

      I completely agree that Catelyn is very much similar to Cercei. Of course there are some significant differences as well but after just finishing A Feast for Crows...I am convinced that these 2 female characters are much more alike than not. The non dead Catelyn was much more honorable than Cercei however the dead Catelyn is nt the slightest bit honorable. Just as Cercei's character, dead Catelyn is out for vengeance on anyone who was or is a threat to her children no matter how small their role. Pod?? Really? The is guilty for nothing but being a faithful squire to Tyrion, a man who also never caused any harm to her or her family. In fact if I remember correctly, he actually went out of his way to stop mistreatment of Sansa from the cruel Joffery. All dead Catelyn is out for is vengeance for not only those who mistreated or caused the deaths of her children (which I am all for btw) but she is also out for vengeance for anyone who was associated with the enemies in any way, no matter how little. Guilty by association....even Brienne!! Who would gladly give her life to honor the oath she made to Catelyn reguarding finding her daughters. Dead Catelyn would have Brienne hanged for no other reason than the fact that she and Jaime are working together to keep this oath! In this sense, I find that Dead Catelyn is much worse than Cercei. For she will have the very 2 people who are on a mission to find and protect her own child(ren) killed...and for what? At least Cercei doesn't claim to be honorable and righteous and in her own twisted mind has valid reasons for the horrible things she does to people she considers a threat to her and/or her children. When I read Catelyn's POV from the red wedding, I cried and I desperately hoped that there would be vengeance for anyone involved with this betrayal. I still do. but while Lord Walder Frey and Balton and many others who actually had a hand in this still go on living like it was no big deal, Dead Catelyn would rather take vengeance on the very people risking their lives to find and protect her children. What a b*tch!!!

    • profile image

      LordStoneheart 5 years ago

      Catelyn is like Cercei? Don't compare the two. Cercei is a manipulative incestuous whore who is willing to murder anyone for power.

      Catelyn said a mean comment to a boy who is a constant reminder of her husband's infidelity while her son was comatose and near-death.

    • kw colorado profile image

      kw colorado 5 years ago from colorado

      Interesting. As a "mama wolf" myself, I had identified with Catelyn. I did find her attempt to return Jaime in exchange for her daughters (with no communication between her and Lannisters except Tyrion, purely on spec) to be a bit unbelievable.

      But perhaps it really fits in with her character as GRRM has drawn it.

    • Edward William profile image

      Edward William 5 years ago from UK

      I'm doing a re-read and I'm starting to realise the second time around that Catelyn is pretty much an evil cow from the off. Originally you think the way she treats Jon is understandable. Sort of. But the more you think about it, the more unreasonable she is- he can't help who his mum and dad were. She's similarly motivated to Cersei; purely interested in protecting her kids and their interests, and as it turns out she and Cersei are similarly capable of horrendous acts, the only difference is that Catelyn is a bit more loyal to her husband than Cersei.

    • RichusFridum profile image

      RichusFridum 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      fuck man don't do shit like this. i haven't read them yet! HA! lol

    • Edward William profile image

      Edward William 5 years ago from UK

      Man wolf hybrid would be mint.

    • kw colorado profile image

      kw colorado 5 years ago from colorado

      Catelyn will definitely be back - however, she may seriously need a new body, as, unlike the wights, (due to the higher temperatures down south??), her body is slowly decaying.

      I can't imagine that GRRM won't allow for some communication between Bran, in his role as human tree-radio, and his deceased mother. Arya, Sansa, and Rickon, will interact somehow with Catelyn, as well, possibly through the wolf pack, led by Arya's estranged wolf, Nymeria, and Rickon's Shaggydog.

      Rickon is already living in a Godswood, as I understand it. Not much of a stretch for him to communicate with his big brother, Bran.

      Also, what about Rob with the wolf head sewn on? I think that would be an awesome and terrifying zombie comeback.


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