Catelyn Stark is one of the most controversial characters of the whole franchise, and in a side-discussion over at the Tower of the Hand I got into an argument with user mirdad, which merits a bigger response, so I used this to let you all take part if you so desire. His argument, edited for clarity:
My main beef with Catelyn is that she doesn't have political savvy in the "real" world. She is like Sansa with the "well, no one would violate guest rights" style of thinking. I have a great question, who was winterfells master of whispers? Who was keeping an eye on the queen during Roberts hunt? not even to spy, but just as a courtesy? Why were the Lannisters not under close watch the entire time? Why didn't Ned have his agents infiltrate all corners of Kings Landing before he arrived? They thought themselves above the game and they got played. Being the man means you have to get your hands a little dirty, I get that Ned and Cat were noble and trust me I loved them at first. But as the series has unfolded we see how hopelessly outgunned they were as far as intelligence gathering and spycraft was concerned. That's my whole point about Jeyne, yeah that wasn't necessarily Catelyn FAULT but damn northerners get your king a few camp followers. A 16 year old after a battle is going to put his dick in something, they should have controlled the something. It's that fantasy of nobility, the "my son is noble and good, and pure, and he is already promised to another' yeah, cuz Ned would never have done that right? oh wait, you raised his bastard after he did the same damn thing. Alleged bastard anyway. This is all viewed through my lenses of having a mother that guided me through the complicated ugliness that is life and death and politics with a deft hand, so Catelyn has always represented that naïve woman over her head surrounded by sharks and thinking she is going to survive with breathing through a straw and reading the good book. [...] I'm conflicted about my feelings on the matter, but it really has bugged me since my first reading. [...]So, let's go at it.