Sunday, May 12, 2013

Catelyn Stark: Episodes 3 - 6 & 8 - 10, with special guest Lysa Arryn!

Note: This post will involve many jokes about Harry Potter and Gormenghast. It was unavoidable. 

SPOILER ALERT: A Storm of Swords and (probably) GoT season four.

     Mama Stark traveled all the way from Winterfell to King's Landing with only Ser Rodrik in order to warn Ned about the Lannisters and how they may or may not have tried to kill Bran twice. She is traveling light with only one guard and, as far as we can tell, only one outfit. Her clothes are well-made but plain, in shades of green that are somewhat drab. The road is dangerous and King's Landing even moreso. Cat does not want to call attention to herself: these are her Go Get Shit Done clothes. She will wear this basic outfit in various configurations for the rest of the season - the scarf in particular will do a lot of heavy lifting.

While making these photosets, we were loathe to cut Ser Rodrik out of any of them because we love his beard so much.

     Lady Stark and Ser Rodrik are probably a touch overdressed for summer in King's Landing. Cat is without a doubt the most modestly dressed woman in Littlefinger's brothel (as she reminds him, she is no back alley Sally). While Petyr is probably right that a brothel is the last place most people would think to look for Lady Stark, she certainly stands out in her heavy, dark wool robe with dark fur cuffs and somewhat matronly northern hairstyle. (Compare her to the prostitute in the background, in her colorful, revealing clothes with hair that is doing its best to mimic the Queen's.)

"Not looking at the prostitutes. Not gonna look at all."

     There was no reason to include this picture except that Cat's head popping out of the window is cute and we want to watch Littlefinger get messed with again.
     Note to Ned Stark: when someone tells you not to trust him, you should listen.

     So remember a couple of posts ago when we discussed Sansa and Joffrey's clashing outfits as a harbinger of things to come in their relationship? Here we see a couple who have a strong and loving relationship, dressed in outfits that compliment each other almost perfectly. Even though Ned had no way of knowing Cat was coming, they look family-portrait perfect together. (Albeit a gloomy, somber family.)

     The last time Ned and Cat see one another. The simplicity of their clothes, the setting, and the dialogue serve to highlight the strength of their relationship. They are not Lord and Lady Stark here, they are Cat and Ned, loving husband and wife, saying goodbye.

Hey, it's Marillion. Sup Marillion? Sorry about your tongue.  

     This entire trip, Cat has been trying for some discretion. And it's no different here: she hopes that her simple clothes will help her blend in at the Inn at the Crossroads. It works for a while, but then who should come in but Tyrion Lannister, making no attempt to conceal himself whatsoever, not to mention calling attention to Cat by greeting her by name when he sees her.  

     Cat has the best faces here. Tyrion should have run the second she looked at him like that.

Check out that braid hanging down her back from beneath her headscarf, and remember the Game of Clothes essential equation: BRAIDS + COMMENTARY = IMPORTANT

     Tyrion, however gets more than he bargained for when Lady Stark drops the scarf, and the just-a-simple-traveler act, and calls on all the men in the Inn loyal to House Tully to seize Tyrion. Make no mistake: Mama Stark is in charge here. (Do note the thick braid she's been wearing ever since leaving King's Landing.

     In this scene, Tyrion starts to poke holes in Cat's "Tyrion Lannister came into my home and sent an assassin after my son" theory. And Cat begins to doubt herself, ever so slightly. Not that she'd admit it. Same basic outfit (the scarf she was wearing over her head is now wrapped around her neck) but this variation is perhaps a bit more Catelyn Tully than Lady Stark. Her light blue gown is clearly visible under her dark robes. Check out that braid: Cat may be shaken up after after that battle, but her hair is demonstrating her resolve.

     But here is Lady Stark, on a black horse with a wolf pelt around her shoulders. She looks completely at home on the rocky bluffs of the Vale.

     And now it's time to visit the Eyrie, the creepy-ass Ravenclaw tower with a healthy dose of Gormenghast.

Seriously, it looks like Death Owls should be roosting all up in there.
      Tyrion warned Cat than her sister had gotten a lot crazier in the five years since they'd last met, but she remains skeptical, right up until she actually sees her breastfeeding her eight-year-old. (It's saying something that one can't concretely state that this is the height of Lysa's crazy. There's just so much!)

     Lysa doesn't so much sit as perch upon her throne. It is placed high and made out of a tree.

Yep, that's the face of someone sure they made the right decision.

     Lysa has been living in King's Landing until recent events, and some of her wardrobe still reflects the Cersei-mandated fashions. But here in her own court she wears an ensemble unique to the Vale. The high collar, sleeveless gowns, and opened-armed capes all reflect a feeling of air and flight. Her hair is attempting an intricate style that invokes a crown, but the braids falling over her shoulders are sloppy and become ragged at the ends, indicating a lack of consistency in Lysa's mental state. She's in charge, but her paranoia has created an unstable hold on her lands within her own mind.
     Her son is never apart from her for long - she obsesses over his health and has coddled him to an extent that has actually fostered some of her own madness within him. The child is bloodthirsty, and his moods swing back and forth just as much as his mother.

All she needs is a twin sister and she'd be in the running for Cora and Clara Groan. (Oh wait, she's basically created one in her son, so....)
Everything's just a little off here. Hens a'roosting.

     The Eyrie definitely has is own style - aside from hue all the women are dressed identically, and even the colors (sorted into different pairs) are washed out, the colors of clouds. The only other sign of variety within the ladies of the court is hairstyle - they're all mimicking Lysa (sans crown), but a few are wearing airy bits of tulle in their hair (because sometimes the Eyrie has 50s-themed sockhops).

Cersei doesn't have a monopoly on weirdly inbred gossipy clones for ladies in waiting.

     Seriously, can we talk about how Lysa's Ladies-in-Waiting look like a flock of creepy birds? The men and women mostly wear a similar style of cape; the collars are high and made of a stiff fabric that creates the illusion of a bird's long neck. The stiff fabric extends into a yoke in the mens' versions - the pleated capes hanging off the shoulders invokes the high wings of birds of prey. Even the warriors in their dark armor carry heavy cloaks slung across their shoulders. No one escapes the fashions of Vale!

     Cat is clearly trying to hold this show together, attempting a fair and legal trial despite her sister's deranged shrieks.  Lysa keeps her arms free from her robes, displaying the fabric cuffs that attach to her wrists - if she raised her arms, the image of wings would be complete.

     Lysa, it's really hard for us all to take your accusations against the Lannisters seriously considering you were the one who poisoned your husband. Maybe in her twisted mind she's even started to believe her own story

     Oh, Cat, your sensible clothes are the only non-crazy thing in this room. Listen to your instincts girl! I know she's your sister and you don't want to admit wrong, but damn.

     At the trial, Lysa has ditched her regular robes for this heavy knitted version - her son of course continues to be dressed in identical Mommy and Me clothes. These fabrics feel more armored than her usual fair - and this pattern - the only pattern we ever see her wear) looks just like feathers.

     This gown is a mixture of the ladies and mens clothing at the Eyrie - the heavy flowing robes of the women, the birds of prey shoulder design of the men, and an imposing quality that's all Lysa.

"Hmm, am I gonna be reasonable and not-crazy today? Nope!"

     Did y'all know Jon Arryn's second wife was named Rowena? Creepy Ravenclaw Tower.

     Cat is back in the green shift that connects her to Ned, and creating a sartorial barrier between her and her sister. Cat refers to Ned all through this scene, questioning her sister and asking for her support against the Lannisters.

     Lysa is back in a King's Landing robe (so convenient for breastfeeding, especially for an aggressive eight year old). She is in her private quarters, and these robes are clearly more comfortable than her bird capes. It also serves to draw her allegiance away from Cat and her family and back towards King's Landing. By refusing to help her sister, she is defacto siding with the Lannisters, and her clothes enforce that idea.

     Cat finally leaves her sister to stew in her insanity, and rides off to join her son's army. This is the first time we see Cat in the black and furs of a Stark warrior - but that is just what she has become, leaving the Tully side of her behind with Lysa.

So dark, so imposing. But then you see Ser Rodrick's beard and it's hilarious all over again!

     When she hugs Rob, the green and blues of her clothing are clearly visible beneath the furs - she is here as queen of Winterfell defending her own, and these colors are of her family.

     Cat blends in well with the warrior lords of the Rob's council; her robes convey a sense of belonging within this group - Cat's position is never questioned.

     Cat rides to the Freys to ask them to allow passage over the river. Some of the Frey kids actually seem pretty okay, but Argus Filch over here just gets grosser and grosser. Check out that sideeye Cat's giving as he gropes his new fifteen-year-old wife. Sooooo gross. Cat'a a good diplomat, and promises to marry Arya and Rob off to two of Frey's children in exchange for his support. Gee, I really hope no part of this arrangement will go terribly wrong and lead to a horrifying tragedy.

     Ever since Cat left Winterfell and throughout all her travels, whether peeping from under her scarf or out in the open, Cat has worn a simple, thick braid which hangs down her back. Here, as she walks through camp as a queen, the men bowing to her, remaining stoic in her grief until she reaches the forest, what hangs from beneath her furs and in place of her braid, is the tail of a wolf. 

     We usually see the Stark colors under the grey filter of winter. Juxtaposed the black furs and leather with the lightness in this scene emphasizes the darkness surrounding the grieving family.

     Covered in furs and the black of a northern warrior, she comforts Rob as he cries that he will 'kill them all' to avenge his father's death. Cat is a mother wolf - her first priority is her daughters' safety and she reiterates that fact. But her leather gloved hands clench as she strokes Rob's head. We will get you sisters back.

And then we will kill them all.

     Look out Jaime Lannister: Cat's got you prisoner now, she's lost her husband, her kids are in danger, and she wants her daughters back. She's basically wearing an entire wolf around her neck. We wouldn't mess with that, if we were you.

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