Lady Catelyn is just as noble and upstanding as her late husband Ned Stark. And we all know how that ended.
On Sunday's Game of Thrones, Catelyn continues to be torn between her wartime duties to the King in the North, her son Robb (Richard Madden), and being separated from her four younger children. "Robb is the only one that she has any sort of communication with at this time, and she doesn't know where the others are," Michelle Fairley, who plays Catelyn, tells TVGuide.com. "Her whole drive for the second season is to get her family back together and then protect them as much as she can. And if she can get them into the castle, and board it up, and never let them leave again, I think that's exactly what she would do. I think she's selfish in that respect. Sometimes when people are selfish they think that they are doing it for the greater good, they are on a singledminded track."
Catelyn has good reason to worry though. Last she heard, sons Bran and Rickon (Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Art Parkinson) were held prisoner at Winterfell and daughter Sansa (Sophie Turner) was held hostage as a political-marriage prospect in King's Landing. Old family friend Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish (Aidan Gillen) and envoy recently told Catelyn that her youngest daughter Arya (Maisie Williams) was with Sansa, although Game of Thrones viewers know this to be a lie.
"Littlefinger has really deceived her into believing that Arya is also in King's Landing as well, and this has got her hopes up because she now thinks that they are safe," Fairley says. "He's there to hoodwink her. He puts a carrot in front of her and is like, 'Look, all you have to do is give back Jamie Lannister, and we will give you your daughters back.'"
Check out the rest of the interview in which Fairley explains why Catelyn trusts Littlefinger, her disdain for Jon Snow and her trust in Brienne:
After Littlefinger betrayed Ned, why would Catelyn take his word on anything?
Michelle Fairley: Well, they grew up together. So she's known him her whole life. So she always thinks of him just as little Petyr, like a brother, not anything else. But he actually has been in love with her his whole life... And when he approaches her with this information, he's paying her back for all of those years, for rejection. And he suckers her in, but she doesn't realize it. The depth of that man's deception will come out eventually.
It doesn't sound like Catelyn can even imagine that people have all of this time and energy to create such deception.
Fairley: Absolutely. Irrespective of all of the deception that man has already created in her life, she thinks, "This is it. It's going to be that easy. It's going to be that simple." Because ultimately she's a good person. She's not a strategist, she's not a schemer, she's not a conniver. She still believes him at his word.
What do you think is Catelyn's biggest strength?
Fairley: Her strength, I think, is her perseverance and her drive and her passion for her family, to get them together. You know she is somebody that evolves as this journey goes on. She's always had these hidden talents, I think. But they remained hidden because she never really had to use them because she's always had a husband before. But now she's mother, father, she's a lioness, she's a warrior, she's a protector. Her son Robb is using her to try to negotiate peace so that the families could come together to fight against the Lannisters.
She's not all noble though. What are her feelings toward Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Ned Stark's bastard?
Fairley: Well, she absolutely hates him. It's terribly sad that a woman as intelligent, and as good, and as gracious, and as high-brow as her, gives in. This is absolutely jealousy and hatred, which comes when she feels complete betrayal from Ned. And it's displaced. It shouldn't be taken out on poor little Jon Snow, you know what I mean? That's one of her failings. But her family adores him. The children adore him. They love him. And he gets on wonderfully with her children, and he's loyal, and he grew up well.
Catelyn just learned that Theon (Alfie Allen) had taken over Winterfell. How's she feeling about their former ward now?
Fairley: When Robb actually tells Catelyn the scenario that occurred and she says, "I told you never to trust a Greyjoy," she is absolutely furious. But she has to be very careful about how she handles it. She knows that Bran and Rickon are there as well. She's still hoping against hope that he will not hurt them because he has been brought up with the family. Where's his loyalty? She hopes that surely something that they have taught them has rubbed off on him.
Catelyn also just witnessed Renly's (Gethin Anthony) mysterious death by shadow. What is going on in her mind right now then? Does she even accept what she saw?
Fairley: She knows there's a really bad force out there or something evil. She doesn't yet know where it's coming from, or who's responsible for it, but it's imperative that she achieves her goals as quickly as possible now and get away from this because there is something really rotten in the state of Westeros. In her heart she knows she's out of her depth in many ways.
She also has a curious relationship with Brienne (Gwendoline Christie). Can you define it?
Fairley: I actually think that she sees a very young Arya in Brienne, a girl who isn't a girly-girl who wants to get out there and fight. She sees a warrior in there. That's exactly what her daughter wants to do. She doesn't want to learn how to sew. She doesn't want to be married to somebody. She doesn't want that. She wants to get out there and be with the guys. She wants to be out hunting, and fighting, and sword-playing, and doing all of those courageous things. But again it's just another manifestation of her daughter, and she recognizes that. And she is a woman of her word as well. And Brienne showed courage, strength, commitment, and honor, which is very important to Catelyn as well.
Do fans still ask you about Ned's death?
Fairley: A lot of people say, "Is he really dead?" When I read the books, I thought, "No he's not really dead. He's going to come back." You know what I mean? You think in some shape or form it's contrived so that they will get him out of there. But unfortunately, it's not. I also get asked a lot about my [TV] children, my beautiful boys. [Laughs] And all I say is, "Good genes. Good genes." You know, or my wonderful, beautiful daughters.
If you had your own personal sigil, what would it be?
Fairley: I think I'd like to have all of the Lannisters' heads on spikes. I think that's what it would be. Starting with Jaime at the top and then [Cersei], and then Tyrion I think. With a big X through them. Blooded, very blooded.
If you were sitting on the Iron Throne, what would your first edict be?
Fairley: I would just make sure that everybody has a lovely place to live, everybody is happy, serene and everybody lives in peace and harmony. If anybody wants to fight, I'm such a coward I would immediately throw them in the dungeons.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.