Catelyn Stark

Catelyn Stark was the Lady of Winterfell and the wife of Eddard Stark, Warden of the North, under King Robert Baratheon’s reign.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Lady Catelyn Stark, née Tully, was the first surviving child of Lord Hoster Tully of House Tully Lady Minisa Whent. She had a younger sister Lysa and a brother Edmure Tully. She was her father’s favorite child and got betrothed to Brandon Stark of House Stark. However, he got killed by the Mad King, and Robert’s Rebellion began. For an alliance with House Tully, Catelyn and her sister Lysa marry Lord Ned Stark, Brandon’s younger brother, and Lord Jon Arryn. After her wedding, she and Ned never saw her till after a year.

Catelyn Stark Personal Details

  • Name: Catelyn Tully.
  • Year of Birth: 264 – 265 AC at Riverrun.
  • Year of Death: 299 AC at the Twins.
  • Titles: Lady of Winterfell, Dowager Lady of Winterfell.
  • Allegiances: House Tully, House Stark, Brotherhood without Banners.
  • Parents: Lord Hoster Tully and Lady Minisa Whent.
  • Children: Robb Stark, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, Rickon Stark.
  • Aliases: Cat, Lady Stoneheart, Mother Merciless, The Hangwoman, The Silent Sister, Stoneheart.
  • Culture: Rivermen.
  • Religion: Faith of the Seven.
  • Eye Color: Blue.
  • Hair Color: Auburn.

Appearance and Personality

Catelyn is a beautiful woman with auburn-hued hair and blue eyes. She has fair skin, long fingers, and high cheekbones taking after her mother. She is slightly taller than her oldest son, Robb, and shorter than her brother Ser Edmure. Though some people believe she looks down on smallfolk, Catelyn is an honest and honorable woman who tries to uphold her family’s words: ‘Family, Duty, Honor.’ She believes in duty first before desire and fervently protects her family.

Though a peaceful woman, Catelyn dislikes Jon Snow, her husband’s bastard son, and sees him as an outsider. She also treats Eddard’s ward, Theon Greyjoy, as a hostage than a ward ever since his arrival after the Greyjoy’s Rebellion. For her attire, she wears gowns and woolen cloths in the color of House Tully; red and blue.

Catelyn Stark Biography

Early Life

Catelyn was born as the eldest child of Lord Hoster Tully and Lady Minisa Whent. She got named at the Sept of Riverrun. She had two older brothers who did not make it through infancy. She later had a sister and brother, Lysa and Edmure. Catelyn and her sister were close and would play with Lord Hoster’s ward, Petyr Baelish. After her mother died during childbirth, Lord Hoster told Catelyn she would be the new lady of Riverrun. She became his favorite, and he would take her on journeys and ask her to read.

Catelyn and her sister, Lysa, were close and invented a secret language for themselves. They once baked mud pies and gave them to Petyr, Littlefinger, who got sick for a week from the pies. They also practice kissing with him, and while Catelyn rejected Petyr sticking his tongue in her mouth, his sister Lysa enjoyed and encouraged him to do more. Catelyn continued following her father on journeys and even accompanied him to the Inn at the Crossroads. She and her sister got lost in the mist while returning from Seaguard and got found by Petyr.


At the age of twelve, Catelyn got betrothed to Brandon Stark, the heir of Winterfell. She thanked her father for choosing an incredible suitor for her, but Petyr got displeased as he had fallen in love with her. After Petyr tried kissing her during a dance, Catelyn shoved him away and mocked him; this made him get drunk. While in a stupor, Lysa came to him, and he slept with her, thinking she was Cat.

When her wedding date got announced, Petyr challenged Brandon to a duel for Catelyn. Cat begged Brandon to spare him, and Petyr got sent away. On his way to Riverrun, Brandon learned his sister got kidnapped by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and headed to King’s Landing demanding justice from the King. However, he got arrested, and after his father traveled to represent his son in a trial by combat, they got executed by King Aerys II Targaryen; this led to Robert’s Rebellion.

Robert’s Rebellion

After the Starks lost Lord Rickard and Brandon, Eddard, and Robert rebelled against King Aerys Targaryen. Catelyn and her sister married Ned Stark and Lord Jon Arryn. After her wedding, Cat did not see her husband for a year but conceived her first son Robb with Maester Luwin’s help.

After the rebellion, she and her son traveled to Winterfell, where she met Jon Snow, Ned’s alleged bastard son. She tried learning the name of Jon’s mother but never got an answer from her husband. Jon’s appearance created a rift between Eddard and Catelyn, and it further widened when he learned she got betrothed to Brandon. However, Cat and Ned soon grew to love each other and had four more children.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

After Lord Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King dies, King Robert rides to Winterfell and asks Ned to become the new Hand of the King. Though he tries to reject the offer, Catelyn convinces him to take the position, fearing that Robert may try to harm her family if he does not. She gets a letter from her sister, Lysa, stating that Queen Cersei Lannister killed her husband; this makes Cat weary of the Lannisters.

Bran slips into a coma after falling from a tower. While unconscious, Catelyn stays by his side for eight days. On the eighth night, an assassin tries to kill her son Bran, but she stops him and gets injured. Bran’s direwolf, Summer, finishes the assassin, and Cat decides to travel to King’s Landing to learn about the dagger the killer wielded. She leaves Winterfell in Maester Luwin and Robb’s hands and travels to King’s Landing with Ser Rodrik Cassel

After learning from Petyr that Tyrion Lannister owns the dagger, Catelyn travels back to Winterfell. She and Ser Rodrik stop in the Inn at the Crossroads, and she meets Tyrion and orders the men there to help her arrest him for the attempted assassination. She takes him to the Eyrie to meet her sister. Tywin Lannister learns of his son’s arrest and begins raiding the Riverlands.

On getting to the Eyrie, Tyrion gets represented by Bronn in a trial by combat who kills Ser Vardis Egen, the Captain of the Guards of the Eyrie. He gets freed and returns to his father’s camp. Meanwhile, on learning of his father’s arrest, Robb calls his bannermen and marches out. Catelyn joins House Manderly at White Harbor and meets her son’s host at Moat Cailin. 

Catelyn convinces her son to appoint Lord Roose Bolton over a part of his army. Though Robb tries sending her home, Cat refuses. She meets Lord Walder Frey and negotiates an alliance between House Frey and Stark, and Robb gets promised to one of Walder’s daughters. Though Roose losses a part of Robb’s army at the Battle in the Green Fork, Robb successfully captures Jaime Lannister at the Battle of the Whispering Woods.

After Ned gets executed, Cat gets grief-stricken but tries to remain strong for her son. Robb then gets crowned King in the North.

A Clash of Kings

When Robb sends Theon Greyjoy to Pyke to meet Lord Balon Greyjoy, Catelyn protests the plan. Lord Greyjoy declares the Iron Islands independent, and Theon betrays the North. Cat begins planning to ally with Renly Baratheon and travels to Bitterbridge to meet him.

Renly learns his brother, Stannis Baratheon, besieges Storm’s End and declares war. However, Catelyn tries to make the brothers settle. Later that evening, Renly gets killed by a shadow, and with only Brienne of Tarth and Catelyn present at the scene, they flee to prevent getting accused of murdering Renly. Theon later captures Winterfell, and after claiming he killed Bran and Rickon, Catelyn grieves.

A Storm of Swords

Grief-stricken, Catelyn frees Jaime and tasks Brienne with returning him to King’s Landing in exchange for Sansa and Arya. When Lord Rickard Karstark learns of Cat’s actions, he gets angry and kills some of Robb’s hostages. Against the advice of everyone, Robb executes him, and the Karstarks abandon him. With his wedding to Jeyne Westerling, Robb breaks the pact with Lord Walder Frey. However, Edmure and Roslin Frey get betrothed to mend the rift between the Starks and Freys.

Catelyn travels to the Twins with her son for Edmure’s wedding, and at the feast, Robb’s men get killed. When Cat sees her son get killed, she goes mad, and her throat gets slit. Her corpse gets discovered by Nymeria, Arya’s direwolf, and she gets the last kiss from Lord Beric Dondarrion. Her wounds partially heal, and she gains command of the Brotherhood without Banners when Lord Beric dies.

A Feast for Crows

The Brotherhood without Banners captures and kills Freys. When Brienne, Hyle Hunt, and Podrick Payne come across the Brotherhood, Lady Stoneheart accuses Brienne of being a traitor for wielding Oathkeeper, the blade forged from the Valyrian Steel sword of the Starks, Ice. After Brienne refuses to kill Jaime, Lady Stoneheart orders her and her group to get hanged, but before they get executed, Brienne screams out a word.

Apparance in Adaptation

In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Michelle Firley portrayed Catelyn Stark. She appeared in seasons 1, 2, 3, and 6 and starred in 26 episodes. As the daughter of Lady Minisa Tully and Lord Hoster Tully, Catelyn married Eddard and conceived five children for him. She helped Robb when he became the King in the North. However, she and her son got killed during the Red Wedding.

Catelyn Stark: The Mighty Lady of Winterfell

In A Song of Ice and Fire, Catelyn Stark portrays the image of an ideal strong woman. She protected and defended her family every step of the way, and even when her husband died, she remained strong for her son. Though she let grief cloud her judgment, she only did everything out of love for her remaining living children.


Who is Catelyn’s favorite child?

Bran is Catelyn’s favorite child. She loved him dearly and almost went crazy when he fell and went into a coma. When Ned agreed to take his children to King’s Landing, she begged him not to take Bran.

What happens to Catelyn in the books?

After arresting Tyrion, Catelyn joins her son Robb and becomes a part of his council. She negotiates with Renly Baratheon but flees with Brienne of Tarth after his death. After Robb breaks the wedding arrangements with Lord Walder Fre, she follows him to the Twins to attend her brother’s wedding. She gets killed, but her body gets found by Nymeria and the Brotherhood without Banners.

Why did Catelyn hate Jon Snow?

Jon Snow reminded Catelyn of her husband’s infidelity. When she married Ned, she did not see him until after one year. Upon reaching Winterfell with her infant son, she saw Jon; this made her feel betrayed.

What does Catelyn Stark come back as in the books?

After getting killed, Catelyn’s body gets found by the Brotherhood without Banners. Lord Beric Dondarrion gives her the kiss of life, and she returns as Lady Stoneheart. She starts killing House Frey and Bolton soldiers.

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