A Symbol of Love... (I make up the titles on the spot okay? haha)
((It’s kind of short, but I LOVE how it turned out))
((Word Count: 1,066))
The pregnancy had been a surprise to both of you. Robb, the
King in the North, was warring and even though he had been told by his Mother,
Uncles, and Lords that it was in the North’s best interest for him and you to conceive,
he hadn’t wanted to. He had three brothers, sure one was illegitimate but he
could always be legitimized, and two sisters. He had five heirs already. He
didn’t want to have a child, and then die, and then for you to have to raise a
child all on your own and have that child never know their Father.
Catelyn always greatly identifies with her own family and her own House’s words. She constantly refers to herself as a Tully and the words Family Duty Honour are all but engraved on her heart. She is very much Catelyn Tully, but, and this is a significant but, she is also very much Catelyn Stark.
Some people take issue with her always being referred to as Catelyn Stark, being identified by her married name, while people like Cersei are still called Lannister despite being a Baratheon by marriage. But it’s not a case of identifying Catelyn by her marriage, it’s identifying the fact that she loves her family, loves being a part of it; Catelyn is no longer just a Tully, and throughout the books, it’s something she herself realises. That even though she is not a Northerner by blood, she has Stark in her regardless. You could say carrying five Stark children (and possibly more) left it’s mark, but it’s much more than that.
While Catelyn values family, duty and honour, these three things seem to be very important to the Starks as well. They are known for being a very honourable family, Ned did his duty as she did hers, and they are extremely close, far closer than any other family in Westeros I would say, and much more affectionate. So, for one, the Tully ideals fit neatly into the Stark lifestyles. But as we’ve seen from her brother Edmure and her sister Lysa, Catelyn is the most grounded of her siblings, and the most steadfast. Lysa is prone to fits of madness, whilst Catelyn, even when her family is falling down around her, continues to fight. Edmure has such good intentions and care for his people and sometimes makes bad tactical decisions because of this whereas Catelyn, whilst she makes mistakes as well, is a better strategist, which even her Uncle Brynden remarks upon. When she says ‘a woman rule as well as a man’ Brynden replies 'Make no mistake, Lysa is not you, Catelyn’ implying he believes her capable of rule. This could all be said to make her a good match for the Starks, and was probably part of the reason why she and Ned’s marriage developed so well.
But, from things Edmure says, and from what Lysa has said to Sansa, we know that Catelyn was not always so austere. Lysa openly says she was more prone to fun, but that she adopted Ned’s attitudes and behaviour quickly. She essentially, for all intents and purposes, goes native. The Starks are honest, honourable, loving duty-fulfilling, respectable, and kind family. All things Catelyn values and shares herself. Her love for Ned, increases her love for the North, for she often thinks to herself how Ned seems to be a part of the North, and so how can she love him and not the land.
When she speaks to Cersei of thinking the place grim, she speaks in the past tense; these are no longer her thoughts of Winterfell. She sees the warmth and heart instead. While she loves Riverrun, Winterfell is home, and if not for the tragedy that followed she would have lived in Winterfell far longer than she ever lived in Riverrun. Her children also grew up there, so she has attachments because of that.
While Cersei Lannister remains Cersei Lannister because in no way shape or form does she adopt Baratheon ways (she wears Lannister colours, speaks the Lannister words and never the Baratheon ones, even her children are Lannisters) Catelyn has become intrinsic with the Starks. She wears the Stark colours, she is fully at home petting direwolves like they’re little puppies, and even the Stark words begin to fall off her tongue often once Ned is killed.
So many people see her as a wolf rather than a fish, even Tyrion thinks of her as 'this little she-wolf’. And through the war, because of being at Robb’s side, of needing to carry on, she actively becomes more Stark, she chooses to be 'You must be a Stark for true now’. It is not a sacrifice for her, she’s always been part Stark, but she makes it her predominant side when she has to be strong. They say 'you Starks are hard to kill’ and this is undoubtedly true. Everyone believes Sansa to be the only still alive, when in truth Robb and Ned are the only ones dead (and interestingly, the only ones decapitated) and even Catelyn is upholding to the saying, as despite having her throat cut, and the red priest saying that she shouldn’t have been able to waken after being three days dead, she rose, and for all intents and purposes, comes back to life.
Catelyn may be a Tully by a blood, but she is a Stark by nature. And it is this constant internal debate for her; she can’t help but feel a foreigner now wherever she goes. In the South, she feels a Northerner, in the North, a Southerner. Surrounded by Starks, she thinks of her Tully roots, but when surrounded by Tullys, she behaves more as Stark. The fact at the Red Wedding she says “on my honour as Tully, on my honour as Stark” shows how much she feels both are part of her. She doesn’t just swear upon one family’s name, but both. In her last truly living moments she names herself as Stark as well as a Tully, in some strange, bittersweet way, finally being at peace that she is both and not one or the other.