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09 September 2011 @ 12:26 am
We Love the Women That Fandom Hates- Day 1  
It is past midnight and thus officially September 9th which means it is the first day of the We Love the Women That Fandom Hates project. For those of you who have only watched Game of Thrones and not read A Song of Ice and Fire, the Catelyn meta today does not refer to events that happen after the first book. However, it does refer to events that take place before the show begins, but that weren't really expanded upon in the show and probably will never be. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my tl;dr thoughts and can appreciate these wonderful women!

Rose Tyler Day One – "Introducing Rose. Where did she come from?"

To start off this week celebrating Rose Tyler, I thought we should start by understanding where she comes from because in order to understand who she becomes, we have to first understand the person she used to be. A lot of this information comes from supplementary sources such as the 2005 Storybook or Doctor Who Magazine, but I consider it to be canon, so I’m going to use it to help provide some background.

Rose’s father died when she was just a baby, so she was raised by a single mother, living on a council estate. At the age of 16, after sitting her GSCEs instead of continuing her education and getting A-Levels, she left school and moved in with a 20 year old musician named Jimmy Stone. As one might expect, this didn’t end well and a few months later she moved back in with her mother, hundreds of pounds in debt. She gets a job working in a shop, and it’s at this point that we first meet Rose.

It seems like Rose is trapped in this mundane life. After the store she works at is blown up by the Doctor, she mentions to Mickey the possibility of going back and getting some A-levels, but she doesn’t really seem to have any purpose or direction in her life.

Rose: Do you think I should try the hospital? Suki said they had a few jobs going in the canteen. That's it then... dishing out chips... I could do A Levels...

That’s all that Rose sees for her future. She could maybe do A Levels, but realistically, she thinks she’s looking at a life of working low paying and unrewarding jobs. This is where Rose is when the Doctor offers her all of time and space.

I related to Rose so much when I first watched the show. We came from completely different backgrounds. I was firmly middle class, having grown with both of my parents in the suburbs in a house that they owned. I was attending a top university and had my entire future ahead of me with all of the advantages that Rose didn’t have. And yet, I still related to Rose so much. Even though I had all these advantages, I still felt completely directionless. I think this is part of what makes Rose so wonderful. You don’t have to come from the same place she did in order to understand her. Her emotions and experiences are just human nature. They’re universal. That feeling of purposelessness happens to people from all walks of life.

This is just the beginning of Rose Tyler’s story. The rest of the week I hope to demonstrate how Rose transforms from this shop girl without a shop to work at into a woman can save the world.

Catelyn Stark Day One – "Understanding Her Flaws"

I feel like the best way to start my meta series on Catelyn is to come right out and address one of the criticisms that is most commonly lobbed at her- that being, of course, her treatment of Jon. I’m not going to defend her actions because clearly she is in the wrong here. She’s being unfair and petty in taking her resentment out on Jon instead of Ned. However, I am hoping to examine the context of the society she is in, as well as her own personal history, in an effort to understand her actions.

To begin with, Westeros is a patriarchal society. It is loosely based on medieval Europe, and as a noble woman, Catelyn’s main value to society at large is her value in terms of being married off for political alliances and her ability to produce heirs. I say this to set the backdrop for Ned and Cat’s marriage and to underscore why Cat’s own children are so important to her. While they do grow to love each other, Ned and Cat are strangers when they marry. Catelyn was supposed to marry Brandon, Ned’s older brother, until he died at which point she was promptly handed off to his younger brother in order to maintain the alliance. They are together for two short weeks before Ned rides off to war with Robert Baratheon. The next time she sees him is when she joins him at Winterfell where he greets her with his son by another woman.

"Many men fathered bastards. Catelyn had grown up with that knowledge. It came as no surprise to her, in the first year of her marriage, to learn that Ned had fathered a child on some girl chance met on campaign. He had a man’s needs, after all, and they had spent that year apart, Ned off at war in the south while she remained safe in her father’s castle at Riverrun. Her thoughts were more of Robb, the infant at her breast, than of the husband she scarcely knew. He was welcome to whatever solace he might find between battles. And if his seed quickened, she expected he would see to the child’s needs.

He did more than that. The Starks were not like other men. Ned brought his bastard home with him, and called him ‘son’ for all the north to see. When the wars were over, and Catelyn rode to Winterfell, Jon and his wet nurse had already taken up residence."
-Game of Thrones, Catelyn II

It’s pretty clear that Catelyn does not object to Jon’s existence, but rather the fact that he is being raised at Winterfell. The portrayal of other bastards in the series shows that this is atypical. Robert’s bastards are all raised with their mothers, away from the court. Roose Bolton’s bastard, Ramsay, is also sent off to be raised by his mother. Even Walder Frey, who has scores of bastards and their offspring does not house them in the same castle as his trueborn children. The bastards are in a castle on one side of the crossing while Walder and his trueborn children live in a castle on the other side. Therefore the fact that Ned is raising Jon alongside of his trueborn children is extremely unusual, and perhaps, from Cat’s point of view, says a lot about how Ned felt about Jon’s mother.

"the shadow of his dead brother still lay between them, as did the other, the shadow of the woman he would not name, the woman who had borne him his bastard son."
-Game of Thrones, Catelyn II

From this, it seems to me that part of Catelyn’s resentment stems from feeling insecure about Ned’s feelings for her. After all, Ned and Catelyn were still practically strangers when they married, and then he left for the war. From Cat’s point of view it’s not inconceivable that Ned has loved someone before his duty-bound marriage to Cat and even after he left for war. Perhaps Catelyn wonders if Ned truly loved Jon’s mother and still carries a torch for her. She certainly sees Jon’s mother as a ghost in their marriage.

Now that we understand where Cat’s anger and bitterness comes from, we have to ask why she directs it at Jon instead of Ned. Ned is certainly the one at fault here. He’s the one who is disrespecting Cat by raising Jon at Winterfell. He is the one who refuses to discuss Jon’s parentage. Ned is the person that Cat should be angry at. Instead, she projects her resentment onto Jon and is cold towards him. I think that this comes down to the fact that on some subconscious level Cat really wants her marriage to work out. The Tully house words are “Family. Duty. Honor.” Ned is part of her family now. Jon is not. Her responsibility is to Ned, and I think she wants to find happiness in her marriage, and she does. She does eventually come to love her husband, and he loves her. In the end, I think that Cat made an unconscious decision to project her feelings onto Jon so that her marriage could work. It’s not right, but it is very human. It’s easier to dislike a baby or a child that you can distance yourself from than it is to hold a grudge against your husband, and so we get Catelyn’s coldness towards Jon.

Catelyn’s outburst at Bran’s bedside was not a good moment for her, but again, it is understandable. She had been at Bran’s bedside for weeks. She was exhausted and half-mad with grief. The brain to mouth filter that usually exists was just not there. And so she says something that she would never actually say under normal circumstances. She wishes that Jon had fallen from the tower instead of Bran. It is important to note that in a correspondence with a fan GRRM confirms that Catelyn’s behavior at Bran’s bedside was not the norm.

Thus, the question I have is if Catelyn went out of her way to mistreat Jon in the past -- and which form this might have taken -- or if she rather tried to avoid and ignore him?

GRRM: "Mistreatment" is a loaded word. Did Catelyn beat Jon bloody? No. Did she distance herself from him? Yes. Did she verbally abuse and attack him? No. (The instance in Bran's bedroom was obviously a very special case). But I am sure she was very protective of the rights of her own children, and in that sense always drew the line sharply between bastard and trueborn where issues like seating on the high table for the king's visit were at issue.

And Jon surely knew that she would have preferred to have him elsewhere.

In conclusion, would it have been admirable if Catelyn had treated like Jon as one of her own? Of course! Was it expected from her by society? Nope. She didn’t owe him anything. Did Jon deserve the way that Cat treated him? Of course not, but the fact that Catelyn projects her feelings of resentment onto Jon instead of Ned is an understandably human response to the situation she finds herself in. Catelyn is an intensely real character. She has very real human emotions and responses to things. She’s not perfect, but she is still good. Over the next six days, I hope to share with you all just why I love this character so much.

Cordelia Chase: Day One – "Tact"

As a preface to my week of celebrating Cordelia Chase, this meta series is going to be a bit different than my series of metas on Rose Tyler. With Rose I am going (somewhat) chronologically though her character journey and exploring her growth, but since eleusis_walks wrote an epic and thorough meta about the journey of Cordelia Chase that is pretty much the final word on the subject, I’m not going to try to top that. Instead, I am going to take individual moments from across Buffy and Angel and use them as a window into her character.

Today’s scene is going to be a moment from season 2 of Buffy.

Buffy: Maybe it wasn't death. Maybe it was something else.

Cordelia: So this isn't about you being afraid of hospitals 'cause your friend died and you wanna conjure up a monster that you can fight so you can save everybody and not feel so helpless?

Giles: Cordelia, have you actually ever heard of tact?

Cordelia: Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass.

(from 2x18 “Killed by Death”)

Firstly this scene has a classic Cordelia line. "Tact is just not saying true stuff. I’ll pass." Cordelia is brutally honest- sometimes to a fault, to be sure. But Cordelia doesn’t believe in filtering her opinions. As she later says in an episode of Angel (1x07 “The Bachelor Party”), "I think it; I say it. It's my way." While this can definitely be difficult for the people around her (and there are times when she should probably have censored herself), if you’re her friend, you can be sure she isn’t going to bullshit you. Buffy-era Cordelia might flatter a guy she is flirting with and early Angel-era Cordelia might turn on the charm and butter up a client in hopes of getting paid, but if Cordelia is your friend she is going to tell you what she thinks. We don’t really get to see her be a friend in Buffy (she was always a definite outsider with the Scoobies and her relationship with Harmony and Cordettes was more of a leader-minion relationship), but in Angel we see that Cordy is really a good friend who doesn’t mince words. She’s always up-front and direct with Angel or Wesley or anyone who will listen to what she has to say, and I love her for it.

Another aspect of Cordelia’s character that the aforementioned scene brings out is her ability to read people. Sure, in this case she’s wrong and there is actually a monster, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that this could all be in Buffy’s head. Cordelia really can see through people and says some really astute things sometimes in spite of the flippant exterior she presents to the world.
Dilek: thrones: lady starkthelake on September 9th, 2011 07:42 am (UTC)
the fact that Catelyn projects her feelings of resentment onto Jon instead of Ned is an understandably human response to the situation she finds herself in. Catelyn is an intensely real character. She has very real human emotions and responses to things.

100% agreed. I've never hated Cat and I never will. She is a real mother and she acts the way a woman in her status should act.
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 08:08 am (UTC)
Yep. I think some people judge Catelyn because she's not a 21st century heroine, but she's not trying to me. She's definitely a character who has been shaped by the pseudo-medieval European society that is Westeros. But she's still a very realistic character and her actions and emotions ring very true to me.
(no subject) - thelake on September 9th, 2011 08:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
Sadako: matematyka wyższa z Buffysa_da_ko on September 9th, 2011 08:26 am (UTC)
Hello :)
You're writing about three characters I know and two of them really, really like :) And I'm willing to be convinced to Catelyn ;)

I kept my fingers crossed for Rose all the time and her evolution was very interesting, I think it's why I even started liking her.

I can only agree with what you wrote about Cordelia, her directness and saying always what she thinks are two of main reasons why do I love her :).
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 08:48 am (UTC)
I hope my metas do make you like Catelyn or at least appreciate her more as a character! She's a character that I immediately connected with and loved, only to find out that a lot of people hated her. I hope that I can share and explain my love for her so maybe more people can see her the way that I do.

Rose is one of my all time favorite characters. Her character growth is just amazing to watch, and she just has so much warmth and joy in her.

Cordelia's directness makes her really funny. In my opinion, Cordelia's lines are some of my favorite parts of Buffy's first season.

Opalshinyopals on September 9th, 2011 12:17 pm (UTC)
yay Rose. I have nothing to say being agreeing with you, so I shall just do that and look forward to the rest of your posts.
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC)
Rose is the best. It is fact. I'm having a lot of fun planning all my metas around her. SHE IS SUCH A BRILLIANT CHARACTER. WHY DOESN'T EVERY ONE LOVE HER LIKE I DO?
Mnemelady_theta on September 9th, 2011 12:44 pm (UTC)
While I tend not to agree with Catelyn's actions in the book, I never got why she got so much hate. If ASOIAF was set in modern times, then maybe I could understand but it's not. ASOIAF is set in a MEDIEVAL setting. Thus contextually, her actions make sense. Her status at Winterfell, and Westeros as whole, is dependent on the fact that she is the mother of legitimate heirs. Jon is a lingering shadow over that status.
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC)
There are some characters in the series who definitely feel like they've just been dropped in there from the 21st century which is all well and good (and I even love a lot of them), but Catelyn isn't one of them. She is definitely a part of the pseudo-medieval culture of Westeros, and like you said, as such her status is highly dependent on her ability to produce heirs. It makes sense that she's so protective of her kids and their futures.
poważny zamyślony kwadrat: got::godswoodpellamerethiel on September 9th, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
I loved your meta about Catelyn - I still have some issues with this character,but i cannot wait to read more of your metas and confront them with my own opinions :-)
the meta about Cordelia was also fabulous!
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
Catelyn isn't perfect and her character arc wasn't handled perfectly. But I do think that there is a lot of fabulous stuff about her character that I hope I'll be able to bring to the front over the next few days.

Cordelia is one of my favorite characters from the Buffyverse that I didn't know was one of my favorite characters until I did a rewatch recently. I'd always liked her, but it wasn't until I rewatched some early episodes of Buffy that I really appreciated her and the perspective that she brings to the group. I'm so excited to go through all my favorite Cordy scenes so that I can talk about how fabulous she is.
an owl on the sill in the evening: i talk too goddamn muchmisstopia on September 9th, 2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
I have comments about the Catelyn & Jon topic! Okay so.

I agree that Cat's resentment of Jon was definitely an unconscious decision. I think she just couldn't help it. But I also think that she tried her best to control it, because part of her knew it was wrong and she wasn't proud of it. She feels a flash of guilt thinking about Jon in the mountains of the Vale, for example, and she dwells a lot more on the pragmatic threats that Jon poses than on her own hurt feelings (though she can certainly admit those to herself). What I think is really telling is how none of her children dwell on it much. Probably Arya and Bran and Rickon are too young to notice, Sansa I'm not sure. Robb is old enough to get it and he definitely knows she has a problem with him. BUT nevertheless when Jon tells him that his mother treated him kindly at Bran's bedside, at the very least it's believable to Robb. At the very least her children probably cannot predict "It should have been you" coming out of her mouth, and while that doesn't make her a saint, at least she knows an amount of contrition over her feelings, and definitely control. I do not think "It should have been you" happens without years of repressed feelings.

Definitely agreed about why she doesn't continue to resent Ned himself. She wants the marriage to work, she doesn't have many options to support herself, really. And emotionally, it's really hard for many people to be so angry so long, and I can see that it'd be hard for her to sentence herself to an unhappy marriage and not try to move on. She wants a fulfilling life, she doesn't see her duty as a cold artificial thing but something meaningful and real. But she just can't move on as well as she would like to (I think she did try to love Jon though, once).

The one thing I would emphasize is that I definitely think she WAS angry with Ned at one point. In ADWD we have that moment where Bran sees his father praying to the old gods that his lady wife could find it in her heart to forgive ... and then it cuts off, but very likely he wants her to forgive him.

I slightly disagree on one point: I don't think modern society would expect Catelyn to love or mother Jon either. She would have the realistic option to divorce Ned if he forced her to live with another woman's child. The part that would change is all of Cat's fears about inheritance lines, and that she would likelier be angry with Ned for the sex itself rather than for bringing Jon home to Winterfell. So I actually think in modern times the standards for her would be even more lenient.

I don't exactly like Catelyn's resentment of Jon, but I appreciate it in the sense that I think it shows one area where Catelyn fails to rationally control every aspect of her emotions. I see her as a person who always controls her emotions and subjects them to the requirements and expectations of her society. But what we get in the story shows us the weak spot where that all breaks down: her children and to some extent her marriage. And ironically that too is because she tries to live up to her duties in a very sincere and real living breathing way. She puts her entire being into her roles as a wife and mother, because she needs them to be meaningful and fulfilling, and so her emotional "outbursts" (both in word and in deed) end up highlighting (and indicting, IMO) the standards placed on women in Westeros: to be nothing more than convenient to the patriarchy, down to every last emotion.

... Can I link this on tumblr?
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 05:11 pm (UTC)
But she just can't move on as well as she would like to (I think she did try to love Jon though, once).
I want to read fic about this!

In ADWD we have that moment where Bran sees his father praying to the old gods that his lady wife could find it in her heart to forgive ... and then it cuts off, but very likely he wants her to forgive him.
I totally forgot about that bit, tbh. Large parts of ADWD went in one ear and out the other, as it were. haha.

I slightly disagree on one point: I don't think modern society would expect Catelyn to love or mother Jon either.
I was thinking more in terms of blended families just because Cat and Ned were total strangers when they married. Because modern Western society doesn't have arranged marriages where strangers marry and then are separated for a year, it's impossible to draw a direct analogy. So in my mind, I was seeing it as more like Ned bringing in a child from a previous relationship.

Your entire last paragraph was A++++ and I completely agree. And of course you can link to this post on tumblr! I like NEVER post public entries, but for this fandom fest, I just really wanted as many people as possible to read and discuss these fabulous characters so I made the entries public and would love it if you linked to me.
(no subject) - misstopia on September 9th, 2011 06:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 06:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - misstopia on September 9th, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 07:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
kem_viva: Mary Crawleykem_viva on September 9th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
Every time I read your Cat posts I have to ask myself why I don't like her enough to consider her as a character I like a lot. Maybe by the end of the week I will be able to put her in that group.
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 05:12 pm (UTC)
Tbh, it's all part of my diabolical scheme to make everyone in the world love Cat. And then somehow I'll take over the world. I haven't worked out the details just yet though.
geekyphoenix on September 9th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC)
I loved watching Cordelia grow through the years and is the perfect example of character growth.
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
She really does have amazing character growth and it is SO believable. It's not sudden, but rather it comes from a combination of things: losing her money, getting the visions, and the natural process of growing up that happens after high school.
Jasmine: Only Catcyshobbitlass on September 9th, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
Nothing to really add except that I always thought it was cute that Cordelia had the same flaw as her namesake. Shakespeare's Cordelia also gets in trouble for being too honest. ;)
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
Lear is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and you are so right. Both Cordelias speak their mind and refuse to bullshit when it counts.
saz: politics | peacffitisazeracs on September 9th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
I like all of these women. clearly I fail at fandom.
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 11:18 pm (UTC)
You fail at fandom in the best way possible. :D

I love all these ladies so much that when I see the kind of stuff said about them, I just get so annoyed. These women are amazing, and the haters just need to deal with it.
(no subject) - sazeracs on September 9th, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sazeracs on September 9th, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Opal: asoiaf catelyn redoparu on September 9th, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks for so eloquently explaining Catelyn and Jon. I see that tossed around often and your clarification is the best I've seen.

and ♥ for Cordelia.
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 9th, 2011 11:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your kind words! I'm having way too much fun writing about these characters.
(no subject) - oparu on September 10th, 2011 12:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
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Opal: asoiaf winterfell blueoparu on September 10th, 2011 12:08 am (UTC)
I suppose, but the hate is so prevalent. I can only speak for Catelyn, but it seems like every time I click her name on Tumblr, someone complains about her.

That doesn't happen with Ned, Robb, Daenerys...
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(no subject) - oparu on September 10th, 2011 12:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - oparu on September 10th, 2011 12:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - oparu on September 10th, 2011 12:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fauxkaren on September 10th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
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M: GoT - Cat + Robb make me snifflymfirefly10 on September 10th, 2011 09:11 am (UTC)
I love your thoughts on all three of these characters, but Cat especially. I loathe the fact that fandom hates her for her treatment of Jon because, like you, I think it's totally understandable.

I love that Cat is flawed -- that she pushes her anger onto the wrong person, that she lashes out when she's grief-striken, and that her resentment for Jon only grows the longer he stays in Winterfell. These are all realistic, HUMAN flaws and they make her so very interesting.

This is truly fantastic meta. It's well thought-out and straight-to-the-point and really gets to the heart of who these women are.
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 10th, 2011 09:25 am (UTC)
Catelyn is one of the most human characters in the entire series which is why I love her. She's just so believable and real which means she isn't perfect, but that doesn't make her a bad person. She does a lot of other pretty great things and has a lot of really admirable characteristics. I love that I can completely understand why she feels the way that she does and why she acts the way that she does, even if I can objectively say that she is in the wrong.

I'm glad you enjoyed my tl;dr thoughts!
Sylwia (sill-vee-uh): GoT - Catelyn Stark.unnecessary_ on September 10th, 2011 08:28 pm (UTC)
Because I am not familiar with the other women, I only read your Catelyn portion. I like that you wrote this. Her treatment of Jon, in my opinion, is her only flaw. So far in the remainder of what I've read and seen of her, she is a fantastic woman with so much to enjoy about her. I feel like her thoughts/feelings about Jon are the one thing that makes her more, as you said, human. And therefore while I cannot respect or understand why she does it - there is no excuse in my eyes - I can look past it and still appreciate her as a character because it is not the only thing about her.
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 11th, 2011 12:00 am (UTC)
I think it's hard for some people to get over Cat's treatment of Jon because while it is pretty much her only flaw, it's also one of the first things we learn about her, so I think that people tend to have a hard time getting over that first impression.
(no subject) - unnecessary_ on September 11th, 2011 12:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
spellweaver731spellweaver731 on September 10th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
So much love for your post about Rose. I too found myself relating to her so much, even though we had vastly different backgrounds. I once saw a post of a person who said something along the lines of "I just can't respect someone like Rose who never finished school and comes from such a bad background, and I can't believe the Doctor would either." It made me so angry I had to leave the internet for a little while. It is because of where she comes from and where she ends up that makes me love Rose so much.
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 10th, 2011 11:58 pm (UTC)
Rose is such a well-developed character that she has things about her that people can relate to, no matter what their actual background. There's a lot about her that is universal and not specific to a certain situation. I come from such a completely different situation than Rose, but I get her and understand where she is coming from.

Also the person who can't like Rose because of her background sounds like a classist idiot. Ugh. I cannot with people like that.