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Characters: Game Of Thrones House Stark
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Ned Stark: Do you understand why I had to kill him?
Bran Stark: Our way is the old way.
The oldest of the Great Houses of Westeros, very big on honor and tradition. Once, the Starks were Kings in the North and Kings of Winter, but the Lord Stark's rank was reduced to Warden of the North after the Targaryen conquest. The old titles are revived following the execution of Ned Stark and his son's acclamation as King.
- 100% Adoration Rating: The Starks are unbelievably popular with their vassals and smallfolk, Boltons and Karstarks notwithstanding. Hell, even the Riverlords loved Robb Stark enough to rebel against the Iron Throne and accept him as King of the Trident.
- Accidental Misnaming: "Winterfell" is called several times "Winterhell" by some characters, seemingly by mistake, not out of gratuitous malice. But after everything that has happened it wouldn't be a mistake either.
- Aerith and Bob: Or Eddard and Robb if you will, but Stark men tend to have names that are less fantastic (Brandon, Robb, Ned, Jon, Ben) than the girls (Lyanna, Sansa, Arya).
- Age Lift: Robb and Jon are 17-18 in the beginning of the series as opposed to 14 in the books, and their siblings are aged up accordingly. More time also passes within the show's timeframe than the books, so they age about twice as fast, too (then again, this applies to everyone in the narrative).
- Animal Motifs: The sigil of House Stark is the direwolf, a wolf the size of a small horse.
- To House Lannister. At the beginning of the series the two houses can barely stand to be in the same room together without being drunk and Joffrey quickly manages to turn the Starks into mortal enemies of the Lannisters. Though, initially their differences were ideological rather than personal, and driven by Ned feeling bitter about the Lannisters souring Robert's Rebellion with their craven power-grab and his bias against Jaime Lannister's Bodyguard Betrayal of Aerys, it gets sour immediately and reaches a point of no return when Joffrey decides to execute Ned. An action which the Lannisters did not want to do, with even Cersei wanting Ned to be sent to the Night's Watch. After that, Tywin and Tyrion realize that It's Personal and the remaining Starks will hunt them down.
- Historically, House Bolton were this to the Starks, rivals for hegemony over the North. They even rebelled against the North once(a la the "Reynes of Castamere") but the Starks pardoned them after they bent the knee. Since then, the Boltons have been forced into Teeth-Clenched Teamwork for the most part, with the Starks forcing them to outlaw their "traditions" of flaying people and Roose Bolton fighting for Ned Stark during Robert's Rebellion and supporting Robb during the War of the Five Kings. Until Roose found an opportunity, courtesy Tywin Lannister, to become The Starscream, and he along with the Freys betrayed the Starks during the Red Wedding with Roose personally killing his Liege Lord Robb Stark and becoming Warden of the North and claiming Winterfell as a reward.
- Badass Family: This House is full of legendary heroes, warriors and wargs.
- Badass Boast: Subverted. The Stark's moto is meant as a warning and also indicates a great concern for their subjects. However Robb still manages to find a way to use it as a boast.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Every member of the Stark family is quite attractive and unambiguously good (though none are without their flaws) in an extremely Crapsack World.
- Being Good Sucks: In Westeros, the decent way rarely is the efficient or happy way. Doing the right thing has its tolls.
- Deconstructed in Season 4. Even after their downfall the Starks still command 100% Adoration Rating among many of their former vassals and allies, all of whom would not hesitate a second to help any of the surviving Stark children.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: A notable aversion, as House Stark is one of the few great houses whose members unquestioningly love each other unconditionally.
- Book Ends: There are two involving Ice, the Stark ancestral Valyrian steel greatsword. One of the Starks' first scenes was Ned's execution of the Night's Watch deserter with Ice. The last scene of "Baelor" is Ned's execution with the same sword. And the first scene of Season 4 shows Tywin Lannister having the same sword melted down, after the final Lannister victory, to make two new Valyrian steel swords, Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail. From the books...
- Butt Monkey: Nothing ever goes well for the Starks at all (except during the times of Robert's Rebellion — and even then Ned and his younger brother Benjen were the only surviving Starks of their generation — and the early War of the Five Kings, when the Starks and Tullys were unstoppable). By Season 4, they've lost almost everything, both in human and social (i.e. titles) terms, including Winterfell, the Lordship Paramount of the North, and the Wardenship of the North. The only remaining Starks are in no position to reclaim their previous rank.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: The Starks are reduced down to a few children by the end of Season 3.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Of the House of York. The North as a whole draws inspiration from Northern England and Scotland. In turn, The First Men, of whom the Northmen descend, are this to the Picts.
- Fatal Flaw: The Starks' reoccurring flaw is that they often assume that others share their morals in principals. This naivety often leads to the Starks being manipulated and several of their deaths.
- The Fettered: In contrast to the Lannisters.
- Generation Xerox: All of Ned's children seem to embody one of his traits. Robb has his leadership skills (both in war and peace), Bran has his father's Nerves of Steel and his overriding concern for his subjects (literally begging for Ser Rodrik's life) as well as his friendship with the children of Howland Reed, Ned's best friend. Jon has Ned's solemn demeanor, his rigid sense of honor and strong leadership skills. Arya has Ned's fierce commitment to justice and love and empathy for the small-folk. Sansa, despite her earlier infatuation for Joffrey, has his idealism, love for family and her home, Winterfell.
- Good Is Dumb: When it comes to playing the game of thrones. When it comes to winning battles and ruling the North, it's a different matter.
- Good Old Ways: They still keep to the traditions of the First Men: honor, bravery, belief in the old gods, and "the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword".
- Grim Up North: By reputation.
- The Heroes: The Starks are the most classical in terms of heroes, honor-bound warriors devoted to each other.
- Heroes Love Direwolves: Direwolves are their House sigil and the recent generation has each received one as a pet.
- Honor Before Reason: By tradition, specially under the rule of Ned Stark, who lives and breathes by this trope. To their detractors they frequently cross the line to being Lawful Stupid.
- Horrible Judge of Character: It's almost a family trait for Starks to place their trust in people who REALLY should not be trusted.
- Meaningful Name: Stark has several meanings, including "rigidly conforming," "desolate" and "strong." All of these meanings can apply to the Stark family or the North.
- Modest Royalty/Working Class Hero: Compared to other great houses.
- Monument Of Humiliation And Defeat: Their enemies take special relish in displaying their triumph over them. the Freys make a horrific effigy out of Robb Stark and Grey Wind, Tywin Lannister has Ned Stark's sword Ice melted to form two new Lannister swords and burns the wolf-pelt scabbard while gloating with satisfaction and King Joffrey installs a statue of himself wielding a crossbow with his foot standing on a direwolf.
- Nice Guy: All of the Stark children share this as a common trait, along with Ned Stark himself.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A trait common to all Starks is that many of their actions tend to backfire on them and aid their enemies. Namely, their dislike for Lannisters leads them to buy Littlefinger's lies about them killing Jon Arryn and later his phony accusation against Tyrion, actions which helped spark the War of the Five Kings.
- Party Scattering: To a degree that almost none of the Starks are aware that the others are alive, leave alone how far they are from each other. At the end of Season 4, Bran is beyond the wall under the care of a Humanoid Abomination, Rickon and Osha were sent to the Umbers but Roose Bolton states that no Northern Lord has seen or heard of them, Jon Snow is at Castle Black, Sansa Stark has changed her identity and become a willing accomplice to the lecherous Big Bad and Arya Stark has left Westeros all together for the Free City of Braavos. At the moment, only Jon and Sansa are believed by all their living siblings to still be alive.
- Quality Over Quantity: House Stark and their Tully allies can muster only about 30,000 men (due to early Tully defeats and reversals, they are not able to muster the full strength of the densely populated and prosperous Riverlands), but face upwards of 60,000 Lannister forces (many, many more when the Tyrells join the Lannister side). And despite almost always being badly outnumbered in individual battles, they have never once been defeated (except for that 2,000-men decoy force sent to confront Tywin in Season 1). Ultimately, though, the strategic imbalance between Stark/Tully and Lannister/Tyrell means that the Starks can't win a protracted war outside of the North.
- Unwitting Pawn: Their entire conflict with the Lannisters was instigated by Littlefinger, who used the values of both houses to move them against each other. The Starks' Honor Before Reason and the Lannister's Might Makes Right ethos.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: They're essentially a family of classic fantasy heroes who haven't quite caught on that they're living in a Darker and Edgier fantasy world where their idealism counts for very little. Though some of them get better about it.
Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark
"The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword."
"I grew up with soldiers. I learned how to die a long time ago."
Eddard "Ned" Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, becomes the Hand of the King after Lord Jon Arryn's death. He is known for his sense of honor and justice. He took part in Robert's Rebellion after his sister Lyanna was kidnapped by Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. When Ned's father and brother went south to reclaim her, the "Mad King" Aerys Targaryen burned both of them alive. Ned and Robert Baratheon led the rebellion to unseat him from the throne. As the show opens, Ned has been content to remain in the north, but after the death of Lord Jon Arryn, he is convinced that it is his duty to accept the position of Hand of the King. Ned is not interested in politics, and prefers to rule with honor and follow the law.
- Action Dad: Being the father of six children hasn't slowed his sword swing or dampened his willingness to use his sword when needed.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Eddard Stark is described in the books as being long-faced and plain, in contrast to his late brother Brandon, who was more dashing. On the show, he's played by Sean Bean◊, and described as "an even more impressive specimen" than his late brother.
- Adaptational Badass: To an extent. In the books, he is a great general and capable warrior, but his skill with a sword is never mentioned as being exceptional. In the series, Barristan notes his fearsome reputation as a fighter. When Ned engages Memetic Badass Jaime Lannister, he gets the better of the exchange until a Lannister guard puts a spear through Ned's leg from behind. From the books...
- Authority Equals Asskicking: You know this applies to you when Ser Barristan says you're a fearsome fighter. Ned being the awesome guy he is, chooses to be modest about it.
- Ancestral Weapon: Ice has been this, gifted to the Starks by Aegon the Conqueror after Torrhen, the last Stark King of Winter, bent his knee.
- Anyone Can Die: If there is a character that can illustrate this trope, it's Ned.
- BFS: Ice. So big that Tywin Lannister describes it as "absurdly large" and is able to reforge two normal Valyrian swords out of it.
- Badass: Fights against Jaime Lannister and dozen of Lannister's men, and holds his own. Furthermore, between Jory and himself, they manage to kill 6 Lannister guards. No mean feat. A short Mythology Gag in the Kingsguard Book of Brothers confirms that like his Book Counterpart, he led a Badass Crew to face the likes of Gerold Hightower, Oswell Whent and Arthur Dayne and defeated three of the greatest knights of the age.
- Badass Beard: He wears a full (although not too thick) beard and as mentioned above, is very much a badass.
- Badass Bureaucrat: After becoming Hand.
- Badass Family: Fathered one.
- Bash Brothers: With Robert during the war against the Targaryens. And later the Greyjoy Rebellion, where he and Robert fought side by side when they laid siege on the castle of Pyke.
- Big Good: To the North as a whole but also across Westeros as one of the three heroes who deposed the Mad King's regime. The Lords of the Vale, the Stormlands and even independent figures like Ser Barristan, Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr (who were appointed by Ned to stop Tywin Lannister's terror campaign in the Riverlands) admire him.
- Book Ends/Death by Irony: His death mirrors the same way he decapitated a deserter from the Night's Watch; somewhat inverted in that he sticks to his own mantra of the one speaking justice doing the executing, while Joffrey uses the Royal Executioner. He's even killed with his own ancestral sword, Ice, the same one he used to kill the deserter.
- British Accents: Sean Bean supplies his Sheffield accent to the character.
- Cool Sword: Ice was made of Valyrian Steel, which made it impossibly sharp.
- Death by Irony: Twice, he has a chance to come out on top of the Gambit Pileup but doesn't make the obvious move, because he doesn't want to see the history repeat itself — he hates the idea of killing children. In the end, he is killed by one of the very children he spared.
- Deconstruction: Like several honorable classic heroes, he refuses to make moral compromises and tries to save everybody. This only ends up making things worse. One of the best examples is warning Cersei to save her children. Not only does this lead to his own death, but leads to the crowning of a deranged psychopath, the very child he refused to kill.
- Decoy Protagonist: He's not only played by the biggest name in the cast, he's the character the audience spends the most time with and follows on his journey to discover the secrets hidden by the Lannisters.
- The Everyman: He might be a Lord, but he's a hard-working man who is unfamilar with the twisted inner workings of King's Landing.
- Expy: To Richard, Duke of York, who as a Plantagenet King tried to seize the throne away from Margaret d'Anjou(a Cersei Expy) only to fall in battle driving his sons to seek revenge. He's also one for Richard III, the son of the Duke of York, who was named Lord Protector by the dying King Edward IV (Robert Baratheon), who in the early part of his reign was loved by the people of Northern England for his fair sense of justice and being a man of high honor.
- Face Death with Dignity: Once he sees that Arya's out of sight, the look in his eyes shows him accepting his fate peacefully.
- Famed in Story: Lord Eddard Stark is renowned across Westeros as one of the leaders of Robert's Rebellion who deposed a psychotic King.
- Fatal Flaw: His unbending pride and honour leads to all kinds of problems, and eventually his death. That said, he is aware of this. And refuses to change anyway.
- A Father to His Men: Don't fuck with his bannermen; when confronted by Jaime at the end of "The Wolf and the Lion", Ned tries to talk his way out of the situation. It was only when his guards were killed did he bring out his sword.
Robb: He once told me that being a lord is like being a father, except you have thousands of children and you worry about all of them. The farmers plowing the fields are yours to protect. The charwomen scrubbing the floors, yours to protect. The soldiers you order into battle.
- Fish out of Water: He is out of his element in the cutthroat, dishonourable and slimy environment of King's Landing.
- Four-Star Badass
- A Friend in Need: Despite the opposition of his wife, Ned accepts the petition of his old friend Robert to be Hand of the King and goes South, especially after reading a letter sent by Lysa Arryn that accuses the Lannisters of killing Jon Arryn and plotting to kill Robert Baratheon. This letter was sent to him by Lysa, on Littlefinger's behest, to specifically invoke this trope.
- Genius Bruiser: Crosses over with him being an adaptational badass. Ned is not only a tactical genius, he's also skilled enough with a sword to go toe-to-toe with Jaime Lannister, the best swordsman in Westeros.
- The Good Chancellor: We don't see many instances of him performing the duties of the Hand of the King, but when we do he's trying to reduce the kingdom's debt, dissuade Robert from putting himself in unnecessary danger, and actually attempt to give justice to the commoners, by taking down a band of psychotic marauding knights led by Ser Gregor Clegane who are in service to the richest, most powerful House in the kingdoms.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Ned Stark's advice is often dismissed as just being Honor Before Reason, but there are often very good reasons for his choices.
- He doesn't back Renly's bid for the throne, but Renly's a diplomat with no combat experience in a situation that WILL require winning a war. Sure enough, Renly does nothing but divide the forces against the Lannisters. He also does not have a right to be king at the time, and you can't kick Joffrey off the throne because he's not the rightful king and replace him with someone else who isn't the rightful king.
- He tries to broker a compromise with Cersei Lannister: she needs to go into exile before he tells Robert that she's been cheating on him with her brother and none of the children are Robert's. But as the daughter of the richest, most powerful man in the realm and the sister/lover of an infamous warrior who already killed one king, letting Robert bludgeon her to death in a fit of rage really isn't a wise move either.
- Good Is Not Soft: Ned's probably one of — if not — the most just and righteous characters in the entire world of Westeros, particularly amongst the nobility. He also happens to be hard, stoic and difficult to connect with for outsiders, who subsequently view him as cold and (at times) terrifying. However, he clearly does love his wife, children, and bannermen, and as noted above refuses to be involved in plots that would endanger the lives of children (up to and including Daenerys Targaryen, who's in her mid teens). While all the while being one of the fiercest warriors in Westeros.
- The Good Lord: Ned excels at two things: battle and administration. He is so loved by his bannermen and the smallfolk that his death at the hands of Southern rulers motivates them to never again submit to the Iron Throne and wage a civil war to avenge him.
- Good Parents: If there's anyone who can illustrate this trope, it's Ned. In fact, he's probably the only father in this setting along with Davos Seaworth, who is not an asshole.
- Grim Up North: Despite being from there he's still the only unambiguously good guy in the setting. Played straight however in that he's still hard, cold and stoic.
- Happily Married: To Catelyn, from a Perfectly Arranged Marriage, even.
- The Hero: For Season 1, indisputably. Even three seasons after his death, he casts a long shadow with nary an episode gone by that his memory isn't invoked or referred to.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Due to the machinations of Littlefinger, he ended up as this to the people of King's Landing. He publicly had to 'confess' to being a traitor despite being nothing of the sort. Though this seems to fade and the people hated Cersei and Joffrey's guts and latched on to Tyrion as a scapegoat.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: He sports Ice a lot in his promos.
- Honest Advisor: To Robert. "You're too fat for your armour" isn't a comment the king would accept from many people and least of all laugh about. This is also the reason why Robert asks him to join up as Hand of the King.
- Honor Before Reason:
- There is his desire to ensure that Stannis becomes the King as Robert's rightful heir and at the same time ensure that Cersei and her children are spared which is incredibly naive to say the least. The dark side of this honor comes when Littlefinger advises him to Take a Third Option (blackmail Cersei and make Joffrey a Puppet King and rule as Regent) which Ned refuses to consider citing the Lannister's treatment of his children. Littlefinger points out that this would lead to open war between the Starks and the Lannisters and bring the Seven Kingdoms into war again which Ned fully accepts as a consequence of pursuing his current course.
- Another point made by Jaime Lannister and Jorah Mormont is that he tends to be highly judgmental and self-righteous, condemning people who made dubious actions without listening to their side of the story. Jaime Lannister tells Brienne that when Ned Stark saw him standing over Aerys' body he didn't try to explain his side because he felt that Ned would never listen to him. Even when Jaime expresses genuine commiseration on the deaths of his father and brother, Ned refuses to accept it because to him Jaime is a selfish Lannister who stabbed his King and stood by while his father sacked the city and murdered the Princess and her children. Jorah Mormont also tells Daenerys when she gets her bout of self-righteousness that Ned Stark had the same attitude and if he had his way, he would be dead and denied his opportunity to redeem his honor in her service. What makes this tragic is that Ned admits to Cersei himself that he made mistakes in his past and is known across the realm to have fathered a bastard.
- Horrible Judge of Character: "Of course I'll trust the man who hates me for marrying his childhood crush and has told me repeatedly that I shouldn't trust him. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" Though, to be fair, he doesn't trust Littlefinger at first, but Catelyn tells him that he can trust Littlefinger so part of the blame also goes to his wife as well.
- Inspirational Martyr: His life, example and the manner of his death, a good man undone by corrupt schemers simply because he sought justice, has made him this across Westeros for the likes of his family, but also for Stannis Baratheon (who despite his irritation with his son Robb for seceding from the Iron Throne) who wants to bring the Lannisters to justice, Varys, Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion.
- Judge, Jury, and Executioner: "The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword". A completely honourable version of the trope, it's meant as a safeguard against tyranny because a ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is. For Jorah Mormont, its more literal, since Ned Stark outright wanted to execute him for selling poachers into slavery forcing to him flee to Essos.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: It's not an audible sentence, mind you, but he's clearly in the middle of the some sort of prayer when Ser Ilyn beheads him and is unable to finish it before the stroke falls.
- Kingmaker Scenario: He's placed into one, but doesn't take advantage of it like he probably should have. This was also not the first time, since Cersei pointed out that he could have taken the throne for himself at the end of Robert's Rebellion, which she states is his "biggest" mistake. Ned disagrees:
- Master Swordsman: He can match Jaime Lannister blow for blow. Also, Barristan is impressed by his skill.
- Modest Royalty: Definitely one of the most humble noblemen in all of Westeros. Case in point: when the servant who receives Ned in King's Landing asks if he'd like to change into something more appropriate for the King's Council meeting, Ned just takes his riding gloves off and goes as he is.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Ned's sense of duty and honour means he will not refuse a direct order from his King. When Cersei demands the execution of Lady in lieu of the direwolf that bit Joffrey, Ned looks about ready to tell her where she and the other Lannisters can shove it. He only eventually acquiesces when Robert gives him a "get it done" look before storming out. However, as shown by his initial refusal to partake in the conspiracy to assassinate Daenerys Targaryen, his loyalty to Robert does have it's limits.
- Nerves of Steel: Seems awfully calm when surrounded by Lannister soldiers, with Jaime Lannister in front of him.
- Naïve Newcomer: To the Court. Poor Ned never gets where he is getting into.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Warning Cersei? Really? Varys calls him out on this the following episode telling him that his mercy towards Cersei's illegitimate children led to Robert's death, the very reason he became Hand in the first place. This ends up having serious repercussions. Not only does it lead to his own death, but the death of several of his family members and the destruction of his entire House. To top it all off, this action leads to Joffrey being crowned king and we all know how that went.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: His warning of Cersei to save her children and his refusal to take Joffrey hostage get him arrested.
- Not So Stoic: That said, when he's around friends and family, he's a lot more relaxed and cheerful.
- Number Two: To King Robert as Hand of the King.
- The Obi-Wan: His actual role. Played with by making him a Decoy Protagonist. But he serves as an inspiration and example to all his children, who one way or another try to follow his example, whether its Robb being A Father to His Men, Arya's compassion for smallfolk and her hunger for justice and Jon Snow's own stoic attempt to follow his duty in the Night's Watch.
- Off with His Head!: Poor Ned's ultimate fate, when Joffrey instructs Ilyn Payne to 'bring me his head'.
- Odd Friendship: The two are best friends, despite Ned being the exact opposite of Robert in nearly every way.
- Old Friend: To King Robert, stemming from the two of them growing up as foster brothers.
- Papa Wolf: Not only a pun; a clear example is his anger when his daughter isn't brought before him first after Joffrey ends up mauled. It even makes him forget he's speaking to his King. Not that the King minds.
- The Paragon: Ned Stark's memory serves as this to many characters even after his death, lasting well into Season 4. All his children in various ways try to live up to his teachings and example, while the North thoroughly adores him. Even the Lords of the Vale, who knew him as a young man when he fostered with Jon Arryn know him well. Even Jaime Lannister, who did not get along with him at all, resolves to try and redeem his honor by tasking Brienne with safeguarding Ned Stark's daughter Sansa with "Oathkeeper", a sword Tywin re-purposed from "Ice":
"You'll be protecting Ned Stark's daughter with his own sword."
- Plot-Triggering Death: Jon Arryn's death may have set the process in motion, but it's Ned's execution that ultimately plunges Westeros into all-out, bloody war.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: If the observations of Jaime, Tywin and Varys are to be believed, the Northmen seem to have a shade of this. And Ned's one of them.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: His marriage to Catelyn was political, but they're mostly very compatible.
- Real Men Love the Old Gods: Ned is a devout follower of the Gods of the First Men and Children of the Forest.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Robert's reason for wanting Ned as Hand of the King. In fact, if he had it his way, he'd let Ned rule the Seven Kingdoms with him.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Robert.
"I followed you into war, twice. Without doubts, without second thoughts. But I will not follow you now. The Robert I grew up with didn't tremble at the shadow of an unborn child."
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Robert's Red.
- Replacement Goldfish: He himself is one. After his older brother, Brandon, was executed it fell to Ned to become Lord of Winterfell and marry Catelyn Tully.
- Retired Badass: Ned's had enough of fighting in war and clearly intends to spend his remaining years governing the North with his family. That is, until Robert showed up out of the blue, hellbent on making him the next Hand of the King.
- Sacrificial Lion: Conclusive proof that decency, honesty and Westeros don't mix very well.
- Sadistic Choice: How he feels upon learning of the illegitimacy of the Royal Children. He can be loyal to his friend Robert tell him the truth and drive him in an insane fury to kill not only Cersei and Jaime, but also Joffrey, Tommen and Myrcella who upon being declared as abominations will be murdered as well, or he can listen to Cersei and ignore the issue altogether and allow the Lannisters to install their inbred corrupt dynasty. In the end he gets killed by the very boy-king, Joffrey, whose life he hoped to spare.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: In stark contrast to Robert, who misses war and his glory days. Best shown in Lord Snow, where Ned watches Arya practicing fencing with Syrio Forel, only to have his amused expression slowly turns grim as he's gradually reminded of the hell of war, apparently hearing the distant sound of swords clashing and men dying.
- Shoot the Dog: His killing of Lady, Sansa's direwolf because, in his words: "The wolf is from the north." It's worth noting that Ned refuses to ask or even let someone else take responsibility for Shooting The Dog, as shown with both Will the deserter and Lady. He even looks them in the eyes (and hears out their last words, in Will's case).
- Stay in the Kitchen: While he loves his daughter Arya, and even appoints a tutor to teach her basic swordsmanship, Ned never sees it as more than a hobby and doesn't quite understand why Arya takes it as seriously as she does. He still expects that when she grows up she would become a Proper Lady and have an Arranged Marriage. Arya bluntly tells him, "That's not me!" and it's the only point on which she disagrees with her father.
- The Stoic: Grim, cold, and distant.
- 10-Minute Retirement: As Hand of the King, due to a disagreement with Robert.
- Token Good Teammate: To the Deadly Decadent Court of King's Landing.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Robert, who Catelyn even lampshades in the first episode has a tendency to lead Ned into trouble. If only she knew.
- Tragic Hero: Ned is a straight example in that his very values and character and identity leads him to his death, if he had done otherwise he would not be the same person. He absolutely will not commit or condone the heinous action of killing a child regardless of the political benefit. In the end, he gets killed by the cruel whims of the same child that he had intended to spare from Robert's wrath.
- Tranquil Fury: Indulges in this when Jaime kills Jory. And it nearly carried him to victory.
- Trauma Conga Line: Ned is arrested, stripped of his lands and titles, forced to falsely confess treason and conspiracy to take the Iron Throne for himself, sentenced to death after being promised he would be spared if he confessed and finally beheaded with his own sword — the same he used himself to kill criminals, no less — in front of the mob, with his head put and left to rot on a pike.
- Turn in Your Badge: He turns in his badge as Hand of the King after a disagreement with Robert. Within hours he finds that this leaves him and his household unprotected against reprisals from the Lannisters.
- Warrior Lord: Ned is one of the greatest fighters in Westeros, and also wields a great deal of authority. It's right there in his own creed: He who passes the sentence, should swing the sword.
- Would Not Hurt A Child: After seeing what happened to the Targaryen children during Robert's Rebellion, Ned does not want to see history repeat itself. While warning Cersei to take the children and run might have been the noble thing to do, it wasn't the smartest thing to do. Ironically, this action alone did not result in his death. Cersei never intended to kill him, merely sent to the Night's Watch. He was finally killed on the whim of a boy-king, the very person he had intended to spare.
- Wrong Genre Savvy:
- Not in general, but this goes a long way toward explaining why he trusts Littlefinger. Ned seems to think that he's a Sarcastic Devotee, who despite his snarkiness, is a loyal ally. The reality is very different. He might also have been working under the assumption that since Littlefinger is hopelessly in love with Cat, he wouldn't betray him and risk hurting her. Unfortunately, there lies the main reason he does turn on him!
- Also, Littlefinger probably would have stuck by Ned if Ned had gone along with Littlefinger's plans for the throne, which involved controlling Joffrey as a Puppet King after he received the throne through blackmail (in hindsight, Littlefinger was probably too confident himself about this scheme's success, since even he didn't know at that point just how insane Joffrey really was). Ned is Wrong Genre Savvy when he expects that Littlefinger will continue to help him after he turns down Littlefinger's bid to share power.
- He told Cersei that he found out about her little incestuous secret in the hopes that it would drive her and her son away from the Iron Throne. It got him and his guards killed instead.
Lady Catelyn "Cat" Stark, née Tully
"...all this horror that's come to my family... it's all because I couldn't love a motherless child."
"You have inherited your father's responsibilities. I am afraid they come at a cost."
Catelyn Stark, Lady of Winterfell, is the wife of Lord Eddard Stark. Born to the Lord and Lady of the Riverlands, she is the elder sister of Lysa Arryn, Lady of the Vale and Mistress of the Eyrie. Murdered at her brother Edmure's Red Wedding to Roslin Frey at the Twins by the Boltons and Freys.
- Apron Matron: Not visually, but she's defined by her role in her family.
- Crusading Widow: After Ned dies at the Lannisters' hands, she vows to get revenge on them: "We will kill them all."
- Death Glare: While she is usually too Hot-Blooded to not simply explode in someone's face should they piss her off, the enraged glare she fixes on Jon Snow while he is saying goodbye to the comatose Bran rivals the worst of Tywin's patented glares, and at her father's funeral she is able to keep Robb from breaking down in laughter at Edmure's Epic Fail at lighting the raft by shooting him one of these.
- Demoted to Extra: Robb becomes an Ascended Extra at the expense of Catelyn. She is a major POV character in the books (Robb's storyline is seen entirely from her point of view) but doesn't get as much screentime or lines as Robb himself.
- Despair Event Horizon: After Robb is killed she seems to lose the will to live, as she doesn't even try to resist when the Freys proceed to slit her throat.
- Did Not Think This Through: While she doesn't trust anyone but Brienne to exchange Jaime for the girls, considering that prisoner exchanges usually have a lot of backup to secure against any possible betrayals, how did she expect Brienne to actually pull this off?
- Also, her arrest of Tyrion, believing that he tried to have her son murdered since she was told that the assassin was using his dagger. When Tyrion asks the obvious question of why someone would be dumb enough to arm an assassin with their own blade, she is unable to answer.
- Didn't See That Coming: She knew fully well that Walder Frey was a "dangerous man to cross" but its quite clear that she never expected that Frey would stoop to the level of violating Sacred Hospitality, killing their guests after offering them bread and salt.
- Expy: There are a lot of similarities between her and the mythological Hecuba, the wife of King Priam of Troy, who went mad with grief at the separation and deaths of her children, and death of her husband.
- Fatal Flaw: Her love for her children drives her to do incredibly irrational things (such as kidnapping Tyrion and releasing Jaime). Her release of Jaime, in particular, is one of the major factors that leads to the death of her and Robb.
- Genre Blind: Doesn't even consider that Tyrion was obviously being framed. As he himself noted, only an extreme imbecile would arm an assassin with their own weapon.
- Going Native: She's become quite comfortable with her Northern home after being married off to Ned. Lysa Arryn later tells Sansa that her mother in her youth was quite a big eater and far less austere than when she was Lady of Winterfell, pointing out that she assimilated into Ned's world very easily.
Catelyn Stark: Take him to the stockade and bind him with every chain you can find!
Jaime Lannister: You've become a real she-wolf in your later years. (dragged off) There's not much fish left in you!
- Happily Married: To Ned, with whom she has five children.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Played straight with Ned. Inverted with the Faux Affably Evil Littlefinger.
- Heroic BSOD: Has a pretty serious one after Robb reveals to her, at the same time, that her father has died, and that Winterfell was burned, the inhabitants slaughtered, and that Bran and Rickon are missing. And when Robb dies before her eyes she loses it completely.
- Hidden Depths: Not that Catelyn was ever shallow in the slightest, but in the second episode of Season 3, she reveals whole new depths to her character to Talisa about her relationship with the baby Jon Snow: she initially wished him to die, and, when he did get seriously ill and she was riddled with guilt over wishing death on an innocent baby and apparently getting that wish, promised to love him as if he was her own child if the gods let him recover. She blames her failure to keep said promise for all the horror her family has endured.
- Horrible Judge of Character: She's actually quite astute, warning Robb about crossing the Greyjoys and the Freys. But she makes several terrible errors of judgment with dangerous consequences.
- Even though she doesn't fully trust Walder Frey, she has absolute faith that Walder Frey would never let any harm come to her. As stated above, however, breaking Sacred Hospitality is practically unheard of in Westeros.
- She has absolute trust in Unlucky Childhood Friend Littlefinger, who is behind pretty much everything bad that happens in the series, vouching for him before her skeptical husband who would never have given him the time of day otherwise. Leading directly to Ned's capture and execution.
- She also believes that Tyrion is just as bad or worse than the rest of the Lannisters.
- Also of her sister. Seemed to trust in her absolutely when she blamed the Lannisters for Jon Arryn's death and believed that Tyrion would receive a fair trial if brought to her. In her defense, she hadn't seen her in quite some time. It's not until they meet again does she realize how crazy her sister has become.
- Hot-Blooded: Some of her more questionable decisions have been the result of her following her Mama Bear instincts instead of her sense of reason, such as her impromptu capture of Tyrion and her later release of Jaime, against both the interests of Ned and Robb respectively.
- It's All My Fault: Blames herself for the misfortunes of the family because she failed to keep her word in a Bargain with Heaven regarding the raising of Jon Snow as her own son.
- Kick the Dog: Her not treating Jon Snow like a son despite his love of her could be seen as this, though she does feel very bad about it.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Believes herself to be on the receiving end of this from the Gods, due to wishing Jon Snow dead in a moment of anger. Made even more poignant since she dies believing that Jon is the only son of Winterfell to survive.
- Mama Bear: Try to murder her son in front of her! And the moment she tells Robb that after saving Arya and Sansa they will kill all their enemies. From the DVD commentary track discussing that moment:
This is an interesting scene, because up until this point, Catelyn has really been the voice of reason. Dan:
Eh. After everything her family has been through, 'kill them all'
kind of IS the voice of reason.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Catelyn admits that she regrets having refused to love Jon Snow and treat him like a son, and believes that the misfortunes of her family are the gods' way of punishing her.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Her capture of Tyrion really pisses off Tywin Lannister, and helps spark off a civil war between their families. Her only evidence was Littlefinger's testimony and even then, Ned insisted on a measured approach while she arrested Tyrion on the spur of the moment and then kidnapped him by taking him to the Eyrie.
- Letting Jaime go is a huge mistake, considering that he is their only bargaining chip. Also, there was absolutely no guarantee that the Lannisters would agree to release Sansa and Arya even if they got Jaime back. On top of that, it also undermined Robb's position with his vassels, not to mention making him look weak and unable to control his own people.
- Non Action Woman: She's a typical noblewoman and thus mostly defenseless. But this doesn't stop her when Bran is in danger. Nor when Robb's in danger during the Red Wedding.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: To Talisa, initially. In "The Rains of Castamere", she finally seems to warm up to her after overhearing Talisa say that she's going to name her and Robb's child, "Eddard", if it's a boy.
- Oh, Crap: She obviously realizes something is up when "The Rains of Castamere" starts playing and they bolt the doors during the Red Wedding. And then she finds chain mail on Roose Bolton...
- Only Sane Woman: Definitely the smartest and most down-to-earth of the Tully sublings.
- After the Season 2 finale, she might also count as the one sane person in Robb's camp, although this depends on how justified you think she is in releasing Jaime or whether it was a truly boneheaded decision. A point in her favour, at least, is that Robb's bannermen actively plot to murder Jaime, so she isn't wrong in thinking that they'd lost their only bargaining chip either way.
- Once again in the middle of the conflict between Renly and Stannis.
- And in "The Rains of Castamere", when Lothar Frey closes the doors and "The Rains" start playing, she is the only member of the Stark retinue that suspects something bad is coming. Well, her and Grey Wind.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: According to the History and Lore videos, she believed she would have this with Brandon, who she was initially betrothed to. She ended up having this with his younger brother when Brandon was murdered. Despite the rough patch when Ned brought home another woman's child, their marriage has been pretty smooth sailing.
- Prisoner Exchange: Tries to pull one off with the Lannisters — Jaime for her daughters — but it doesn't go over too well. Still, due to Brienne's absolute loyalty, she's still trying to retrieve Sansa and Arya.
- Proper Lady: While she was a Tully, although she's gone native with the Starks. Still, she retains an air of refinement and mild strictness.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives a very mild, but very pointed one to Renly in Season 2.
Catelyn (reviewing Renly's troops):
I pity them. Renly:
Because it won't last. Because they are the knights of summer, and winter is coming
- Red-Headed Heroine: A big point is made of her red hair.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: She's Red to her husband's blue and Blue to her son Robb's red.
- Settle for Sibling: Enforced. After Brandon Stark's death, she married his younger brother Eddard.
- Shipping Torpedo: Catelyn displays visible disapproval of her son Robb's starting relationship with field nurse Talisa Maegyr due to his existing betrothal. And hell, she's right...
- Silk Hiding Steel: Don't let her Proper Lady demeanour fool you: she'll cut your damned throat if you think to touch her children with anything less than a hug.
- Slashed Throat: At the hands of Black Walder Frey.
- Team Mom: To the Starks, in addition to being their actual mother.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly Girl to Brienne's Tomboy.
- Tragic Heroine: Despite her efforts to see her children safe, she spends her final days with Sansa a captive of the enemy, Arya missing, and Bran and Rickon apparently dead. When her firstborn son is killed right in front of her, she gives up all hope.
- Tranquil Fury: In the first season finale, Catelyn, mourning her husband, very nearly bashes in the Kingslayer's head with a convenient rock. Also apparent when she calmly but fiercely calls upon her father's bannermen to stage a citizen's arrest of Tyrion Lannister, who she blames for the attempt on Bran's life.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Gets one from Robb and Lord Karstark when she goes behind their backs and releases Jaime Lannister in the hope of getting Sansa and Arya back.
- She gets him right back by pointing out how monumentally stupid breaking his deal with House Frey, just to marry a field nurse, is.
- Wicked Stepmother: While not abusive, she makes pretty clear to Jon Snow that in her eyes, he's not welcome. Different from the usual stepmother scenario in that he's the product of adultery, so she's got some reason to be unhappy about his presence.From the books... She comes to regret her dislike of Jon after all the tragedy that befalls her, believing that it was karmic retribution for betraying the promise she made to love him.
- Worthy Opponent: Despite suffering a Kangaroo Court because of her Mama Bear tendencies, Tyrion has great admiration for her:
"I admired her... she wanted to have me executed but I admired her. She was a strong woman and she was fierce when it came to protecting her children."
King Robb Stark
"One victory does not make us conquerers. Did we free my father? Did we free my sisters from the Queen? Did we free the North from those who'd have us on our knees? This war is far from over."
Eldest son of Eddard and Catelyn Stark. King in the North, King of Winter and King of the Trident. Murdered by his bannerman Roose Bolton and his host Walder Frey at his uncle Edmure Tully's wedding to Roslin Frey, known thereafter as the Red Wedding.
- The Ace: According to Jon.
Jon: I was jealous of Robb my whole life. The way my father looked at him? I wanted that. He was better than me at everything. Fighting, and hunting, and riding. And girls. Gods, the girls loved him. I wanted to hate him, but I never could.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: His hair is brown instead of auburn like in the books.
- Adaptational Badass: Of a sorts.
- In the book, Robb is still badass and an excellent commander. However, he's also very young and makes several additional political blunders, whereas in the show he's more politically astute. At several instances, his mom calls him out on acting childish, and some of his bravado is seen as posturing to cover up insecurity.
- He also botches up the Karstark execution in the books, where as in the show he gets it on the first go.
- While Robb fights where the fighting is thickest in both the books and the show, in the books he needs a quasi-Kingsguard of 30 skilled warriors (mostly the sons and one daughter of his bannermen) and his direwolf to do it. In the show, his honor guard was left out.
- Theon and Jon consider Show!Robb The Ace and he's shown to be clearly superior to them. In the books Jon is noted to have been a better swordsman than Robb. Theon is noted to have been at the front of Robb's honor guard with the Smalljon keeping him alive in the Vanguard.
- Adaptation Expansion: In the books, Robb's campaign in the Westerlands is never actually seen, instead being referred by other characters. Parts of it are seen in the show, and a romance subplot has been added, as well. More importantly, the context around his marriage is changed as well.
- Always Someone Better: Seen this way by Jon, whom reminisces that Robb was better at fighting, riding, hunting, and being a ladies man. He's this to Theon too, who always looked up to him and felt he stood in Robb's shadow.
- And Then What?: Asked verbatim by Talisa, who then points out that Robb is in the middle of a clash of kings, fighting to overthrow and kill king Joffrey and yet he has no plan for what comes after.
- Arranged Marriage: As part of the agreement with Lord Frey, Robb is bound to marry one of his daughters. He breaks the betrothal in "Valar Morghulis" by marrying Talisa Maegyr.
- Ascended Extra: See Adaptation Expansion. In the books, most of his story was told from the point of view of his mother Catelyn. The show cuts down much of Catelyn's commentary and importance, instead delegating screentime and lines to Robb.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: When other Northern Houses initially doubt him, his strength of character and skill (in addition to having a direwolf) quickly have them calling him the King in the North.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Robb's is made all the more badass by not involving a crown at all. Instead, he's acclaimed as King in the North by his bannermen and certain Riverlords at Oldstones.
Assembled Lords: *Drawing swords, kneeling* THE KING IN THE NORTH! THE KING IN THE NORTH! THE KING IN THE NORTH!
- Badass: His fight with the Wildlings in "A Golden Crown" reveals that he certainly doesn't wear the sword for show. Even Tywin Lannister is impressed.
- Badass Beard: He has one.
- Badass Cape: He loves these. He wears one in almost all of his scenes after his crowning. It doesn't save him from death, however.
- Badass Army: He leads one.
- Badass Boast: Oh, many.
- When sending away the spy with misinformation:
Robb: Tell Lord Tywin, winter is coming for him. Twenty thousand northerners are marching south to find out if he really does shit gold."
- When sending Alton Lannister to King's Landing:
Robb: If she accepts these terms I will give her peace. If not I will litter the south with Lannister corpses."
- He ups it in episode five of Season 2 where he absolutely crushes a Lannister host at Oxcross, and the viewers are shown the aftermath of the battle. Indeed, the victory is so decisive that Lord Bolton turns a statement of fact into a Badass Boast (which is also a testament to Michael McElhatton's skill):
- Batman Gambit: He pulls off one of these when he tells the Lannister scout that his army is 1) larger than it is and 2) is marching towards Lord Tywin instead of against Jaime Lannister. Even Tywin seems begrudgingly impressed.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Talisa, a surgeon he meets in the aftermath of Oxcross. They eventually marry.
- Big Brother Instinct: Subtly looks disapproving at Sansa's attraction towards Joffrey in "Winter is Coming" and protects Bran from Wildlings in "A Golden Crown".
- Blood Knight: Shows occasional signs of this.
Robb: The Lannisters have been running from us since Oxcross. I'd love a fight. The men would love a fight. But I don't think we're going to get one.
- Broken Pedestal: Robb breaking his marriage vows ended up causing him to become this to his men in the third season.
- The Chains of Commanding: Starts to feel them in "Baelor", when he has to send two thousand men to their deaths in a battle with Tywin in order to defeat and capture Jaime Lannister, and it only gets worse as the war rages on and his men begin to lose faith. In Season 3, his leadership decisions start to put him at odds with some of his more prominent men.
- Cool Big Bro: As the eldest Stark sibling, he's this to pretty much everyone else.
- Cool Pet: His direwolf, Grey Wind.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Every tangle with a Lannister army he has ends up with him doling this trope out. He keeps a 5:1 casualty ratio.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not often, but he has his moments.
- When threatening to litter the south with Lannister corpses:
King Joffrey is a Baratheon, your grace. Robb
: Oh, is he
- When meeting Talisa:
You'd have us surrender, end all this bloodshed, I understand. And the country would be at peace, and life would be just under the righteous hand of "Good King" Joffrey.
- When chewing out Edmure:
Robb: Tywin Lannister has my sisters. Have I sued for peace?
Robb: Do you think he'll sue for peace because we have his, father's brother's great-grandsons?
- At the Red Wedding:
Talisa: But if she had her way I'd be back in Volantis playing my harp, and you'd be sitting over there eating blackberries out of Roslin Frey's hand.
Robb: Perhaps I've made a terrible mistake.
- Deconstruction: Of the classical fantasy hero. In a less cynical world, Robb would be an Ideal Hero, but here his nobility and honor doesn't translate to political maneuvering. As the war effort begins to fall apart around him, he himself becomes more cynical and embittered. Just when he starts to get back on the track towards victory, his mistakes catch up to him, costing him everything.
- Despair Event Horizon: When Talisa is killed, he just crawls to her corpse, makes an effort to stand up and lets Roose Bolton stab him in the heart.
- Doomed Moral Victor: Admits it's starting to look this way in "The Climb";
Robb: I've won every battle, but I'm losing this war.
- Defrosting Ice King: Very stoic initially; Talisa defrosts him.
- Didn't Think This Through: Instead of marrying Roslin Frey to keep the Freys on his side for the war effort, he marries Talisa out of love. Instead of putting aside his honor and simply holding him hostage, he executes Rickard Karstark.
- Due to the Dead/Dead Guy on Display: Defied by the Freys; as soon as he's killed by Roose Bolton, they savagely hack his head off and impale Grey Wind's head on top of his chest, so they can parade it in front of his dying men on the battlefield.
- Elected Monarch: Elected King in the North by acclamation of his bannermen. As it turns out, what the bannermen give, the bannermen can take away just as easily.
- Embarrassing Nickname: The King Who Lost the North.
- Et Tu, Brute?:
- His reaction upon learning that Theon had seized Winterfell in his command tent.
- Feels deeply betrayed by his mother Catelyn when she releases the Kingslayer behind his back.
- Betrayed and killed by his bannerman Lord Bolton in "The Rains of Castamere" although he's too numb to register it.
- Expy: King Edward IV of the House of York, whose father was executed by his enemies, never lost a battle and ultimately damaged his effort when he made a secret marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, angering one of his supporters, Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick. Though unlike Robb, Edward IV got off lightly. He also has some similarities (Young Conqueror genius tactician from the Grim Up North who ends up betrayed) with Charles XII of Sweden. In fact, they march to war at the same age in the show continuity.
- Face Death with Dignity: According to Richard Madden, Robb standing and calling out to Catelyn before his death is his way of letting her know he's accepted his inevitable death and that there's no point in fighting it.
- Famous Last Words: "Mother..."
- Fatal Flaw: He's honorable and assumes honor in others. He assumes he can win back Walder Frey's loyalty by making amends. He assumes that Lord Walder will honor Guest Right. He assumes Roose Bolton's unwavering loyalty as his bannerman. All of this culminates in betrayal and murder.
- Like his father he also suffers heavily from Honor Before Reason which causes him to execute Lord Karstark in retaliation for killing two Lannister boys when it would have been far wiser (if somewhat less noble) to simply hold him prisoner until the war was over. Because Karstarcks men leave him after their lords execution Rob is put in the position of needing Walder Frey's help in the first place.
- A Father to His Men: His leadership style, as seen in "The Old Gods and the New", where he takes the time to mingle with the rank and file.
- Four-Star Badass: Like father, like son.
- Foil: It may not be obvious at first, but he is one for Tywin Lannister. Tywin is a grand strategist, though nothing is said of his tactical abilities, with decades of experience in war, an older man, basically treats his family like pawns instead of people and his bannermen like chesspieces and acts like arrogant royalty. Robb is a tactician, though less known for his strategy, with almost no war experience, a younger man, who treats his family and bannermen with love and respect and acts like Modest Royalty.
- Generation Xerox: To his father. Richard Madden even mentions this in Robb's featurette. Though there is one crucial difference that separates them, as pointed out by Catelyn herself. Ned entered into a political marriage during the course of Robert's Rebellion and honored that vow, never considering to marry for love (even if there might have been another woman in his life).
- Genre Savvy: Why he insists on taking Jaime with them on every march. He's fully aware that if he leaves him with a bannerman Tywin will either bribe them to get his boy back or will just launch a lightning raid to do so. He trusts his bannermen with his life... just not Jaime's life.
- Good Counterpart: Robb is this to Joffrey. They both rise to power around the same time frame of their fathers' deaths. Robb is characterized as being a beloved leader and tactician who doesn't shy away from combat while Joffrey is The Caligula and a Dirty Coward who would sooner let his guards do his dirty work for him. They both share the same flaws of making political enemies due to their rash behaviors (Robb's Honor and Joffrey's Greed). This ultimately causes them both their lives, dying in a similar manner at a wedding within weeks of the same time frame.
- The Good King: He aspires to this, and embodies some aspects of the trope.
- Good Is Dumb/Good Is Not Dumb: Zig Zagged Trope. Robb starts his campaign (and kingship) taking everyone by surprise tactically and showing that he can show reason as well as honour (refusing to fight Jaime 1v1 is a good example). Then he makes mistakes later on, which start adding up...
- Guile Hero: As of "The North Remembers". He's pretty much required to be this, due to the fact that he is badly outnumbered by the Lannisters.
- The Hero: The closest fitting character to the fantasy hero archetype.
- The Hero Dies: In "The Rains of Castamere".
- Heroic BSOD:
- When Theon betrays him.
- Another one when the Freys kill Talisa, which makes Robb refuse to flee or fight back before Roose Bolton puts him out of his misery.
- Honor Before Reason: As with his father, he does the honorable thing even if it would be wiser to do elsewise. However, he finds ways to still twist this to his advantage, or to do the intelligent thing without compromising his honor.
- When his men capture a Lannister scout that was spying on their army, he sets the boy free to return to Tywin with a warning that he's coming for him, when actually he sends a skeleton army against Tywin and marches the bulk of his forces against Jaime.
- He tells Roose Bolton's son when he goes to retake Winterfell from Theon that any Ironborn that surrenders will be spared, since this is not only honorable, but it means they're more likely to hand over Theon to them without a fight.
- When Jaime challenges him to single combat to settle the war personally, Robb is perfectly aware Jaime is a better warrior and pointedly tells him that they both know Jaime would win, so Robb refuses.
- Icon of Rebellion: For the North.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: By Roose Bolton, just after several arrows pierced his body.
- Insult Backfire: Jaime makes a point of referring to him as boy, Robb's response amounts to "The boy who kicked your ass, bitch."
- Kick the Dog: He's quick to remind Theon that he's not one of them. Still, though, he later admits he considered Theon his closest friend.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Especially as the war goes on.
- The Leader: Of the northern cause. Type I.
- Love Makes You Dumb: In contrast to the books, where he marries Jeyne Westerling out of a sense of honor (and so believes the Freys will understand), here he marries Talisa because he's madly in love with her and completely ignores how terrible a decision, politically, it is. It gets worse in Season 3, as he doesn't even realize what a monumentally stupid idea it is to parade his new wife right in front of the Freys. From the books The context makes Robb seem more brash and impulsive than his book counterpart.
- Love Ruins the Realm: The newly re-established Kingdom in the North is as good as doomed the moment he doesn't honor his marriage pact with the Freys. It doesn't just cost Robb, his wife, and mother their lives but the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of his men when they're massacred along with him.
- Mangst: Upon hearing of his father's execution, he substitutes a nearby tree for one of the Lannisters.
Catelyn: You've ruined your sword.
- Marry for Love: Forgoes his betrothal to a Frey girl in order to marry Talisa. The Freys are understandably insulted. They even kill him over it.
- Memetic Badass: In-universe. He's known as "The Young Wolf", and Northmen trade tales about how he rides into battle on the back of a giant direwolf, that he can turn into a wolf, and that he can't be killed. All sides of the war note that despite his youth, inexperience and inferior numbers, he wins every battle he fights.
- Military Maverick: Initially a green commander in chief, he frequently ignores senior bannermen who try to rein him in. This is apparently the main reason he's giving Tywin such hell on the battlefield; none of Tywin's commanders can predict his movements because between his inexperience, boldness and confidence at his success so far, he's willing to take risks none of them would dream of taking, and pull them off.
- Modest Royalty: He doesn't wear a crown (though neither is Stannis or Balon Greyjoy, only Renly and Joffrey among the Five Kings wears one). Even his book counterpart wears a crown in the same style of those worn by the old Kings of Winter. Additionally, when the Stark troops cheer after their first victory against the Lannisters, the first thing he does is to somberly remind his men that the war has only begun, and that their final victory is far from assured.
- Mr. Fanservice: Gets quite a few nude scenes.
- Nice Guy: An overall warm, righteous and compassionate man, rare traits for the leaders of The War of the Five Kings.
- Nice to the Waiter: He's even nice to enemy soldiers outside of combat. As far as Robb's concerned being King is no excuse for being a dick.
- Not So Stoic: Once The Chains of Commanding start tying him down harder, his stoic demeanor begins to slip on occasion when his men harm the war effort or commit despicable acts. When he finds out Ned has been killed, he also ruins a sword by smashing a tree in pure rage.
- The Oathbreaker: He breaks his oath to marry one of Lord Walder Frey's daughters by marrying Talisa. Walder perceives it as a major insult and slaughters him.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Leads the small party that captures the Kingslayer, not before the Lannister kills 10 men in the ambush. Only the return with the prize is shown.
- Off with His Head!: Posthumous.
- Papa Wolf: He states to Talisa he must be this for every man, woman, and child of the North, as their king.
- Properly Paranoid: Unlike the book version.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: See Ned's entry. One of the reasons Robb is respected by his fellows is because he's almost always on the frontlines with them and has ample opportunity to show his skill as a fighter to them. In contrast to most other prospective kings in the war, who rarely fight on the front lines.
- Rasputinian Death: Gets peppered with multiple crossbow bolts before being stabbed by Roose Bolton.
- Rebel Leader: Tywin views him as a 'Rebellion in the North' as opposed to 'The King in the North'.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He will not be a dick to his subjects, is merciful to enemy combatants and will hear them out. He also follows Ned's example that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.
- Red Baron: The Young Wolf.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Once he's crowned King in the North.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: His opinion of marrying Talisa.
- Sherlock Scan: He doesn't take long to realize Talisa is actually a noblewoman, and not a simple nurse.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: This exchange with Jaime:
Jaime: Three victories don't make you a conqueror.
Robb: It's better than three defeats.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: His romance with Lady Talisa runs on this. He finally lets his feelings for her be known when she tells him a story of how a slave saving her brother's life compelled her to never live in a slaver city again. Talisa is attracted to Robb because he is a good-hearted, ethical man who treats both his allies and his enemies with respect.
- So Happy Together: With Talisa during the wedding at House Frey.
- Starcrossed Lovers: He's promised to a daughter of House Frey whom he has never met, but falls in love with and then marries idealist field medic Talisa instead.
- The Stoic: Very rarely emotes.
- The Strategist: He appears to be turning into this as within a day he manages to sneak up on Jaime Lannister, distract Tywin, defeat Jaime's army in the field, and capture Jaime, giving him an extremely valuable hostage. Subverted in that he is not only thinking up the plans, but is also leading his men and becoming very physically involved with the war.
- Supporting Leader: Averted in the television series. While Robb fits this in the novels, he is upgraded to the status of the other leads in the onscreen adaptation where his status as leader of the Northern rebellion receives a significant amount of airtime.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: It is implied that this is one of the main reasons Theon betrays him. Robb tells Theon that House Stark was not Theon's house, making him feel unwelcome.
- Technician Versus Performer: His leadership of the rebel forces against Tywin Lannister, essentially. Lord Tywin is a good soldier and strategist due to hard and careful work, while Robb is a born conqueror. Ultimately, Tywin's exploitation of the strategic imbalance between the Iron Throne and the Stark kingdom, plus Robb's personal missteps, proves decisive in the Riverlands theater. Robb, on the other hand, bet the whole war on winning enough battles.
- Tragic Hero: Robb's initial success at rallying the forces of the North is cut short because, like his father, he's unable to follow through on the political compromises needed to strengthen his victory. This results in a series of errors that makes him vulnerable to betrayal, culminating in breaking his marriage pact to the Freys and marrying for love.
- Tranquil Fury: He does this a lot, but it really kicks in when he (correctly) accuses Jaime of injuring Bran. You can hear the sheer fury in every word, but his voice is still calm. It's clear that the only thing keeping Robb from beating him to death with his own hands is Jaime's worth as a prisoner.
- Warrior Prince: He's nobility rather than royalty, but definitely becomes one once he leads the Stark bannermen into war against the Lannisters. He becomes King in the North by acclamation of his bannermen.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Worthy Opponent: To Tywin Lannister, enough that he acknowledges how badly he underestimated Robb and how talented the Young Wolf is at war. Not bad for a boy of eighteen.
- Wrong Genre Savvy:
- The extras from the Season 2 box set show that he is inspired by unlikely friendship/Blood Brothers relationship his father and Robert Baratheon had, and believes that it will be the same for him and Theon, fighting together against a new Caligula. Oh Robb... It wasn't entirely one-sided, however: Theon wanted for them to be True Companions fighting against the Lannisters as well, but neither of them had counted for Balon's suicidal revenge fantasies.
- He also seems to think of himself as the protagonist of a classic love story where love prevails over all and marrying the one you love is more important than the arranged marriage you were in. This backfires on him terribly as it gets him, his wife, and his unborn child killed.
- You Are in Command Now: With his father in King's Landing and his mother busy kidnapping Tyrion, he has to take charge of Winterfell. With the death of his father, he becomes Lord of Winterfell and, not long after, the King in the North.
- Young and in Charge: Due to being the highest-ranking person in Winterfell, he has authority over a whole mess of experienced knights and retainers. Despite this, others underestimate him due to his youth. This dynamic is brought to the fore in "The Pointy End" when he calls his bannermen and begins to march south. In particular, it causes some tensions with Greatjon Umber, but the Greatjon changes his mind when Grey Wind bites some of his fingers off. Later, the Greatjon is the first in the Northern/Riverlands army to declare Robb as King in the North.
- Young Conqueror: Neither Tywin nor even his father think he is up to the task, but Varys points out to Ned that Robb would hardly be the first. He quickly proves himself one of the most skilled battle commanders in the series.
Queen Talisa Stark, née Maegyr
"I decided I would not waste my years planning dances and masquerades with the other noble ladies."
"Not very noble, to accuse a Lady of dishonesty... I always thought I was a brilliant liar."
A noblewoman from the Free City of Volantis in Essos. Fed up with slave culture and pointless upper-class ritual, she came to Westeros and found herself working as a medic in the Westerlands, treating Stark, Tully, and Lannister wounded. In the aftermath of the Starks' greatest victory at Oxcross, she met Robb Stark, and they eventually fell in love and married, breaking Robb's vow to marry one of Walder Frey's granddaughters.
- Adaptation Expansion: Jeyne doesn't have much of a Story Arc in the books — indeed, Robb barely appears in the second book and all of the above happens off-page! Replacing it called for a character who could legitimately be around Robb for the entire season; thus showrunners abandoned the more realistic prospect of a noble daughter at home, replacing her with a more active field nurse.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: When she and Robb first meet, she's not impressed by him.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Robb when they first met.
- Blue Blood: Despite initially appearing as a commoner, she's actually of noble birth from Volantis.
- Brainy Brunette: Beneath that brunette hair pulses the brain of a highly competent nurse.
- Canon Foreigner: She replaces the character of Jeyne Westerling from the novels. From the books...
- Deadpan Snarker: Upon first meeting Robb, she is quite blunt and sassy with him.
- Death by Adaptation: Jeyne Westerling of the books misses the Red Wedding, and is still alive. This change has actually gotten some fans wondering if it's a spoiler that Jeyne won't have any more importance.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: She defrosts Robb, and he defrosts her. It's a mutual defrosting.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Subverted — she's already dead by the time Robb cradles her.
- Dies Wide Open: Her eyes remain wide open and staring as she lies lifeless on the Frey's floor.
- Foreign Fan Service: She's from Volantis, one of the Free Cities.
- Good Is Not Dumb: She, along with Catelyn and Edmure, insist that Lord Karstark should be imprisoned for the duration of the war as insurance against the Karstarks' loyalty. This despite having just seen the recently murdered corpses of the Lannister boys she tended to.
- The High Queen: After marrying Robb, she becomes The High Queen in the North.
- Hospital Hottie: A medieval version (she uses a rusty saw onscreen, and mentions turpentine, fennel root and willow bark). Robb is clearly impressed by her and seems instantly attracted.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Multiple times. The Freys really wanted to make sure Robb and Talisa's baby was dead.
- Innocent Bigot: In her back story. She never questioned living as a member of the nobility in a slave culture until a slave committed a hanging offence in order to save her brother.
- Irony: Despite being the Queen in the North, she points out to Robb that she doesn't know where Winterfell is.
- Love Interest: Robb's.
- The Medic: She's a nurse who tends to wounded Stark men during the war.
- Modest Royalty: Compare her manner of dressing to that of Margaery.
- Nice Girl: An all-around pleasant, if snarky, person who has a very low opinion of warfare, because of how it causes nothing but misery as she points out to Robb during their first meeting. Her altruistic need to help others is one of the reasons why Robb falls for her.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Without all the blood and gore that is.
- The Smart Girl: She is an adept healer.
- So Happy Together: With Robb during the wedding at House Frey.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Not particularly vicious or biting, but she makes it clear to Robb Stark as to exactly what the costs will be to him pushing on with his war with the Lannisters, exemplified in the Lannister soldier that he witnesses her amputate.
Lady Sansa Stark
"The truth is always either terrible or boring."
Tyrion: "A great beauty with a very old name."
Elder daughter of Eddard and Catelyn Stark and their second child. She is a sheltered girl who fits easily into the feminine mold that Westerosi nobility demands of their daughters, unlike her sister Arya, with whom she frequently squabbles. Sansa, at the series' start, loves stories and courtly glamour, and loves the idea of marrying Joffrey, uniting the houses of Stark and Baratheon as their fathers wish. But the world does not align with what the songs say
. Sansa never forgets her training, however: "a lady's armor is her courtesy," and she yet remains a daughter of the North. Wife of Tyrion Lannister.
Princess Arya Stark
"Anyone can be killed."
Melisandre: "I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you'll shut forever."
The second daughter of Eddard and Catelyn Stark and the third child.
Prince Brandon "Bran" Stark
"Every night it's the same: I'm walking, running, but I'm not me."
"If we can't protect our own bannermen, why should they protect us?"
The second son of Eddard and Catelyn Stark, their fourth child. Due to Robb's death, Bran is now the rightful King in the North, King of Winter, Lord of Winterfell, and/or Lord Paramount of the North, and Warden of the North.
- Accidental Pervert: It did not end well.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Bran is Tully-colored in the books with auburn hair and blue eyes.
- Addictive Magic: Being a young boy who was very physically active before being paralyzed, he naturally gets very excited at his ability to Warg into Summer until he's spending hours doing it. Jojen warns him that doing this too much will cause him to forget he's actually human.
- Amnesia Danger: Lot of things would be easier if he remembered how and why he fell.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In the History and Lore videos, Bran notes that he always loved the scary stories told by Old Nan:
"I don't like scary stories anymore. I'm in one."
- Beyond the Impossible: While wargs are common beyond the Wall, and there are even some further south, Bran is apparently the first person in history to be able to warg into another human.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Isaac Hempstead-Wright is developing these.
- Children Forced To Kill: Like his older sister he's racked up a body count during his travel, including a couple of wildlings and Locke.
- Composite Character: His green dreams about the sea flooding Winterfell are experienced by Jojen Reed in the books.
- Cool Pet: His direwolf, Summer, who dispatches an assassin sent to kill him.
- I Coulda Been a Contender: He wanted to be a knight, which becomes something of an impossibility after Jaime pushes him out of a window. He is very angsty about it at first.
- Dead Guy Junior: His name is Brandon, the same as his father's older brother.
- Despair Event Horizon: He wishes that he had died rather than being crippled for life. He eventually snaps out of this.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: When he finally follows the crow into the family crypt, he sees his father. That same episode, Winterfell receives word that Ned has been executed by Joffrey. Happens again with Theons's betrayal and Rodrik's death.
- Handicapped Badass: Although he can't walk he's become quite a powerful warg.
- He Knows Too Much: The reason for his accident.
- Ironic Name: Unfortunately, what he discovers whilst climbing aforementioned castle walls, gets him thrown out of a window by Jaime Lannister and permanently crippled for his trouble.
- The Kid with the Remote Control: To Summer and to Hodor too. Later taken to its logical extreme when Robb leaves for war and Bran becomes the resident authority at Winterfell.
- Meaningful Name: He's mentioned as having a love of climbing the castle walls. His legendary ancestor and namesake, Bran the Builder, was the one who first orchestrated the building of The Wall. In Season 3, Jojen Reed tells him that the three-eyed raven he keeps seeing in his dreams is really Bran himself. "Bran" is Welsh for "raven."
- The Men First: Essentially why he surrenders Winderfell to Theon and his Ironborn. Bran is hoping a peaceful resolution where no one got hurt. Unfortunately that is not what happens.
- Nerves of Steel: Just see the kid in his conversation with Theon after the older boy has taken Winterfell. It completely shatters when Theon is about to kill Ser Rodrik.
- Nice Guy: Is following the footsteps of Robb and his father in terms of how nice he is.
- Noble Fugitive: Bran has been on the run since he and Rickon escaped from Theon and the Ironmen.
- Parental Abandonment: Clearly feels this way about Catelyn's journey to the capital.
- Psychic Children: It comes with being a Warg.
- Psychic Link: While sleeping, Bran can feel what Summer feels. He also once had the same dream as his brother Rickon.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Since he's Lord of Winterfell while Robb fights the Lannisters in the Riverlands and Westerlands.
- Recurring Dreams: Keeps dreaming about a crow with three eyes. From the books
- Sorry, Billy, but You Just Don't Have Legs: At first. After Tyrion designs a saddle that will allow him to ride, based on Tyrion's own, it gets a little better.
- Snooping Little Kid: Gets pushed out a window for it.
- Took a Level in Badass: In "The Rains of Castamere", he learns how to warg at will, allowing him to use Summer to attack some wildlings. And as of "The First of His Name", he uses Hodor to brutally kill Locke. That's right — Arya is no longer the only Stark child with major confirmed kills.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: For a child he shows himself far more competent at leading Winterfell than you may expect, and shows that many of the lessons Ned preached have taken root in him. For instance, his justification for leaving Winterfell undefended to send their men to take back Torrhen's Square:
"If we can't protect our own bannermen, why should they protect us?"
- What the Hell, Hero?: Hodor does this to him, in a Hodor-y sense, after Bran wargs into him in order to kill Locke. After getting himself back, Hodor looks at his own bloodstained hands, clearly shocked, and then to Bran, seeming to realize what happened and obviously not being entirely okay with what Bran just did, or made him do. Hodor isn't really capable of the same level of call-out most characters are, though.
- You Are in Command Now: In "The Pointy End", Robb heads south for war, making Bran Lord of Winterfell. With Robb's death at the hand of the traitorous Lord Bolton, legally Bran should be the Lord of Winterfell, though he is unaware of this, and the world believes that he is dead and that his sister Sansa is Lady of Winterfell.
- Young and in Charge/A Child Shall Lead Them: Commands the respect of virtually everyone under his rule, despite being a crippled ten year old. After Robb died, he could be considered the true King in the North.
Prince Rickon Stark
"We are not southerners."
Younger and last son of Eddard and Catelyn Stark.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Like his Tully mother, Rickon had auburn hair and blue eyes in the books.
- Big Brother Instinct: Despite being significantly younger than Bran, he reveals in "The Rains of Castermere" that he sees it as his job to protect him, and is thus distraught when Bran sends him, Shaggy, and Osha to the Umbers for their protection while Bran himself goes north of the wall. The main reason is that Bran is the only Stark who has remained with Rickon through all their struggles, with his father, elder brothers and sisters all leaving Winterfell, being parted from Bran clearly hurts him.
- Break the Cutie: The baby of the family who smiles along with his elder brothers when Bran fails at hitting his target, becomes a depressed, sullen and bored child who wanders the crypts of Winterfell with his enormous direwolf.
- Children Are Innocent: In one of the creepiest ways possible. He seems completely oblivious to what's happening at first. A fact which Robb painfully informs Catelyn about. He also parrots some of the more offensive Wildling stories that Old Nan told him, to Osha. She takes it in her stride as Rickon clearly likes her.
- Cool Pet: His direwolf, Shaggydog.
- Creepy Child: After disappearing for several episodes, he suddenly appears in Bran's room talking about how everyone is doomed. He also spends the time he is forced to hold court with Bran in Winterfell cracking nuts in the most aggressive way possible. He also wanders on his own several times with Shaggydog.
- Demoted to Extra: Shows up so little, viewers keep forgetting he exists. Gets better in Season 2, in which he constantly appears with Bran. Justified due to the Ironborn seizing Winterfell. In Season 3, he gets one of the biggest TearJerkers in the series.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: He and Bran share a prophetic dream in "Fire and Blood".
- The Eeyore: Is quite cynical and depressed for a boy of six. Probably less surprising when considering that most of his family went away in very short succession, leaving him frightened and confused.
- Expy: He and his brother Bran are one to the famous Princes in the Tower in the War Of The Roses.
- Parental Abandonment: Make that Family Abandonment: the only one of his relatives still left in Winterfell is barely older brother Bran. And he finally has to part with him too.
- Psychic Children: Not to the same degree as Bran, but he does have a prophetic dream.
- Put on a Bus: He, Shaggydog, and Osha do not appear in S4 as their incognito while Bran goes through the wall.
- The Remnant: As Bran tells Rickon, if anything were to happen to him and Robb, he is the heir to Winterfell. With Bran going beyond the wall and Sansa and Arya trapped in the South, Rickon is the only Stark left in the North, one who Bran expects will be fostered with the Umbers, loyal bannermen.
- Noble Fugitive: Like the rest of the Starks, he's on the run from the Lannisters but not because he's a criminal.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In-universe. after Bran sends Rickon and Osha to the Umbers. Roose on learning of the survival of the youngest Stark children assumes that they must have died since none of the other Northern lords has seen or heard of them.
- Wild Child: Seems to be as of "The Ghost of Harrenhal".
Robert Baratheon: "You want to know the horrible truth? I can't even remember what [Lyanna] looked like. I only know she was the one thing I ever wanted. Someone took her away from me, and seven kingdoms couldn't fill the hole she left behind."
Eddard Stark's sister and Robert's betrothed. She was kidnapped by Rhaegar Targaryen, which ignited Robert's Rebellion. She died seventeen years prior to the start of the series. (See the character sheets on the original books for more details.)
Petyr Baelish: "I was [Catelyn's] little confidante. Her plaything. She could tell me anything, anything at all. She told me about all the horses that she liked, the castle that she wanted to live in, the man she wanted to marry. A Northerner, with a jaw like an anvil. So I challenged him to a duel. I mean, why not? I'd read all the stories. The little hero always beats the big villain in all the stories. In the end, she wouldn't even let him kill me. He's just a boy, she said, please don't hurt him. So, he gave me a nice little scar to remember him by and off they went."
Ned, Benjen, and Lyanna's eldest brother and former heir to Winterfell. Killed himself trying to save his father from roasting in a ludicrous mockery of a trial by combat.
Stark Household and Retainers
"Maybe magic once was a mighty force in the world, but not anymore. The dragons are gone. The giants are dead. And the Children of the Forest, forgotten."
"When you were born I was the one who pulled you from your mother. I pulled you into the world, both of you."
A Maester in the employ of the Starks. Advisor and confidant to Ned and Catelyn and teacher to Bran.
Ser Rodrik Cassel
"Law is law, milady."
"He who passes the sentence should swing the sword, coward."
An elderly knight and Master-of-Arms at Winterfell. Uncle to Jory Cassel.
- Badass Grandpa: Clearly, his age cannot hold him back. In the fight to the Eyrie, he keeps up with Bronn despite being much older than him, and is one of the few survivors.
- Character Death: He's clumsily beheaded by the inept Theon after he takes Winterfell.
- Cool Old Guy: He's grumpy much of the time, but he's also an extremely loyal Badass Grandpa who doesn't fear death.
- Composite Character: His death is a combination of the execution of both Benfred Tallhart — spitting at Theon and Theon being told to kill him for his disrespect — and Farlen, the kennelmaster of Winterfell — he also demands to be executed by Theon himself; Theon also fails to behead him with one stroke.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Decapitation usually is a clean death, but not when Theon swings the sword. Even a slasher like Cleftjaw is disturbed by the poor execution, which needs several hacks and a kick.
- Death by Adaptation: Dies much earlier than he does in the book, at the hands of Theon Greyjoy instead of those of Ramsay Snow.
- Death by Irony: Botchedly killed by Theon, a pupil turned to evil, in a clumsy way that demonstrates how he hadn't assimilated many of his lessons.
- Defiant to the End: Including a Spiteful Spit. And considering what Theon goes through later, a Dying Curse.
Rodrik: Gods help you, Theon Greyjoy, now you are truly lost.
- Face Death with Dignity: He shows absolutely no fear of death, calmly reassuring Bran and giving Theon one last insult before his beheading.
- "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner
Rodrik: He who passes the sentence should swing the sword. Coward.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Though he lacks in actual shining armor.
- The Lancer: To Catelyn.
- Made of Iron: A mountain clansman hits him with a weapon. He shrugs off the wound and kills his attacker, telling Catelyn he'll be okay.
- The Mentor: To Robb, Jon and Theon.
- Obi-Wan Moment: Towards Bran. While Bran, Rickon and the rest of Winterfell are all begging Theon not to kill him, Rodrick just calmly smiles at Bran and says that he'll be seeing Ned soon.
- Old Master: The man of arms for Winterfell.
- Old Retainer: One of many for the Starks.
- Old Soldier: Clearly rather old.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Killing two Ironborn before getting captured by Lorren and his men.
- Off with His Head!: And it takes several swings and a kick for Theon to accomplish, contrasting with Ned's clean single stroke and Ned's own execution.
- Parental Substitute: To Bran and Rickon, though far less so than Maester Luwin.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Confronts Theon for his shameful backstabbing and gets killed for it.
"It grieves me that you have less honor than a back-alley whore. You were raised here, under this roof! These people are your people! King Robb thought of you as his brother!. [Your brothers] died fighting a war your father started! Lord Stark raised you among his own sons! If he were alive to see this...I should have put a sword in your belly instead of in your hand!"
- Sacrificial Lion: His death shows that Theon is really starting to lose his shit.
- The Stoic: Roderik remains a very stoical man who exhibits, at best, grumpiness and anger.
- Undying Loyalty: To the Starks. This results in his death, and he seems to literally fall under this trope since he tells Bran that he'll be seeing Ned soon, implying that he intends to serve Lord Stark even in the afterlife.
Played By: Kristian Nairn
A large, mentally challenged servant at Winterfell. He used to be a stable boy. Now he is Bran's "horse".
- Age Lift: Possibly. In the books, it's implied not to be much older than a teenager. In the series, he's depicted as possibly middle-aged, played by the 38-year-old Kristian Nairn, who had the size note to play the role convincingly.
- Badass: Despite his utterly gentle and nigh pacifistic nature, he is monstrously strong and durable and capable of snapping a man's neck like a twig, as Locke found out.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Subverted. He's extremely strong, but Hodor himself is far too gentle to use his strength to hurt anybody. Whenever Hodor does use violence, it's because Bran warged into him and forced him to do it against his own will.
- Biggus Dickus: Noted with approval by Osha and shown to the audience.
- Dumb Is Good: Despite his lack of intelligence, he is one of the kindest characters in the show.
- Dumb Muscle: He isn't very intelligent, but he can rip chains off the wall and pulverize the throat of a strong and skilled man.
- Fear of Thunder: Gets a massive panic attack during a storm.
- Gentle Giant: Despite being extremely strong and powerfully built, he never so much as hurts a fly, which was probably the reason he was chosen to carry Bran around. Also, despite finding himself increasingly dangerous circumstances, he continually refuses to hurt anyone, and was extremely reluctant to take one of Sam's dragonglass knives and only did so on Bran's insistence.
- In "Oathkeeper", he can't bring himself to fight back against the Night's Watch mutineers.
- In "The First of his Name", he is utterly horrified after being forced via warging to kill Locke.
- In "The Children", he can't bring himself to fight back against wights.
- Man Child: Owing to his limited intelligence, Hodor doesn't really act his age. In the Season 3 finale, he delightedly shouts his name into a well just to hear the echo.
- Mind Rape: Bran warging into him is essentially this.
- My God, What Have I Done?: His reaction upon realizing that Bran used him to kill somebody.
- Pokémon Speak: "Hodor" is the only word he says.From the books...
- Super Wheel Chair: His main task is to carry Bran around, making this trope his job description.Averted in the Season 2, finale, in which he pulls a cart to transport Bran.
- These Hands Have Killed: Hodor looks at his hands in horror after Bran wargs into him to kill Locke.
- Undying Loyalty: To Bran.
- Verbal Tic Name: His true name hasn't been mentioned, and he only goes by 'Hodor' due to his Pokémon Speak.
"The cold winds are rising."
"The little lads have suffered enough."
A Wildling woman taken prisoner by Robb Stark and permitted to serve in Winterfell.
- Action Girl: She goes up against Robb Stark and says she's used to taking care of herself around rougher men than Theon and anyone living north of the Wall has to be tough as nails to survive.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: As well as youthfulness.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She's generally pretty sarcastic and doesn't care much for formalities.
- Badass: By virtue of being a Wildling, but even among the Wildlings she stands out. She's escaped Ironborn and tangled with Wights.
- Cassandra Truth: She keeps saying that the White Walkers are coming, and that Winterfell's army should go North, not South. She also correctly interprets the comet in the skies over Westeros as heralding the return of the Dragons.
- Characterization Marches On: In the first season, she recommends returning North to give Bran, a relative of Night's Watch First Ranger Benjen, to Mance Rayder. By Season 3, she's dead set against ever going back beyond the Wall. Similarly, by the third season she's become such a Parental Substitute towards Bran and Rickon, she'd probably brutally murder her past self for even suggesting such a thing!
- Closer to Earth: Resulting from the trope below this one.
- Composite Character: She takes over aspects of Old Nan, and also from the Reed siblings until they show up in Season 3. Part of this was Real Life Writes the Plot since Nan's actress, Margaret John, died after the completion of the first season. She also takes on the role of Theon's bedwarmer, which in the books is played out by Kyra, a girl from the adjacent Wintertown.
- Dark and Troubled Past: She reveals that when she lived north of the Wall, her lover disappeared one night. He came back as a wight and tried to strangle her, forcing her to burn their tent down with him inside.
- Deadpan Snarker: Her response to Theon hitting on her his to sarcastically mock him.
- Defeat Means Friendship: After Robb bests her in combat and makes her prisoner, she goes from trying to abduct Bran at knife point and ransom him to being his most protective caretaker.
- Fake Defector: After Winterfell is taken by the ironborn, she pledges allegiance to Theon supposedly to save her own ass. She's actually doing it to gain Theon's trust and help Bran, Rickon, Hodor, and the direwolves escape Winterfell.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Maester Luwin in particular during the Sack of Winterfell as both try to keep the Stark boys alive. Before granting him a  she promises him that she will keep the boys safe.
- Honey Trap: Uses this to distract Theon via hanky-panky long enough for her and the boys to slip out, and uses the same trick to distract a guard so she can slit his throat.
- I Gave My Word: To a dying Luwin, that she'd take Bran and Rickon to Castle Black. And no further, as she is quick to remind Bran.
- Kubrick Stare: Aided by actress Natalia Tena's huge eyes.
- Mama Bear: A foe comes to Winterfell, and is a potential menace to Bran and Rickon? Sleep with him to be sure to have a diversion, kill the guard and then take the children away. Likewise, if it weren't from Bran accepting the Reeds as travelling companions, it seems that Osha wouldn't hesitate to kill them in an instant, particularly Meera.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: She's the only survivor of the group of Wildling refugees who attacked Robb. In the books...
- Mercy Kill: Gives poor Maester Luwin a clean exit at his request.
- Noble Savage: While initially a wildling, she later tidies up a bit and settles down, though she's just as badass as ever.
- Not So Different: To Meera Reed, as Bran reminds her — Meera pulled a knife on Osha the first time they met, Osha did the same to Bran.
- Nubile Savage: She might be a Wildling, but she's also very attractive. She uses this to seduce Theon and an Ironborn with 'wild things'.
- Parental Substitute: She eventually becomes one for Bran and Rickon, growing extremely protective of them.
- Show Some Leg: It saves the day twice in "The Old Gods and the New".
- Sitcom Archnemesis: Meera Reed.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: What this leads to. She also has Snark-to-Snark Combat with Meera Reed.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Compare the Osha that tried kidnapping Bran to the Osha that would willingly give her life for him and Rickon. That's one hell of a difference.
- Undying Loyalty: To the Stark boys in particular, but she reveals in "The Rains of Castermere" that she has this loyalty to the entire house due to their taking her in despite having no reason to do so.
- Wild Hair: While far from subverting the trope, she's getting better.
"No one could ever hate you."
A Septa in service of House Stark as a governess and tutor for Sansa and Arya.
- Character Death: Lannister troops kill her, and Joffrey has her head placed on a spike.
- Cool Old Lady: Portrayed as stern and stodgy in the books, whereas in the TV show she's a more warmhearted and pleasant person, and more-or-less saved Sansa's life with her little Face Death with Dignity distraction act in "Baelor".
- Deadpan Snarker: Mildly, but still.
- Face Death with Dignity: Implied in "Baelor", confirmed in "Fire and Blood".
- Heroic Sacrifice: She allows herself to be killed to allow Sansa to escape. Her sacrifice ultimately fails, but she would've been killed either way.
- Maid And Maiden: Moreso to the traditionally more maidenlike Sansa than to Arya; she acts as Sansa's governess and tutor and is so loyal she gives up her life for her.
- The Mentor: To Sansa.
- Off With Her Head: Though not necessarily killed this way, her head is later displayed along Ned's and those of the rest of the Stark household.
- Stern Teacher: To Arya.
- Undying Loyalty: To the Starks and Sansa, hence her Heroic Sacrifice.
"If you threaten my lord again..."
Arya: How many guards does my father have?
Jory: Here in King's Landing? Fifty.
Arya: You wouldn't let anyone kill him, would you?
Jory: No fear of that, little lady.
The Captain of the Stark household guard and a loyal servant of Ned Stark. Rodrik Cassel's nephew.
- Badass: He's no slouch when it comes to combat, and is easily the equal of any two Lannister mooks, despite their better equipment. Unfortunately, he makes the mistake of then attacking Jaime.
- The Captain: Of Eddard's guard.
- Character Death: Jaime Lannister puts a dagger through his eye during a confrontation outside a brothel.
- Distracted by the Sexy: In a brothel, where Ned has to wearily call out, "Jory!"
- Eye Scream: His death. Adding insult to the injury, this happens an episode after he tells Jaime about that one battle where he almost got stabbed in an eye, to the point where you think that Jaime does this deliberately.
- The Lancer: To Ned Stark's Hero.
- Mauve Shirt: Jory has quite a few appearances, boasts a relation to another character and has a few scenes that give him character.
- Sacrificial Lamb: While significantly more badass than most examples, he still counts. His death is just a way of showing things are getting serious, without a major character being killed off.
- The Stoic: Tries to be and largely succeeds, remaining placid and loyal.
"The First Sword of Braavos does not run."
"There is only one god, and His name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: 'Not today.'"
A master swordsman hired by Ned to instruct Arya in water dancing, the Braavosi way of the sword.
"I know a story about a boy who hated stories."
"So is this the sort of story that you like?"
A retired servant living in Winterfell who is known for her tale-telling abilities.
Robb Stark: "There are no direwolves south of the Wall." Jon Snow: "Now there are five." Jon Snow: "Lord Stark, there are five pups, one for each of the Stark children. The direwolf is the sigil of your house. They were meant to have them."
Robert Baratheon: "A direwolf's no pet. Get her a dog. [Sansa'll] be happier for it."
A litter of six direwolf pups found south of the Wall by Eddard Stark and his sons, the first ones to be seen so far south in a long time. Taking it as an omen, one is given to each of the Stark children and the bastard Jon Snow, becoming their companions.
During Season 1, the show used adult Northern Inuit dogs to stand in for the young direwolves. From Season 2, all the direwolves are recreated with CGI, though using actual wolves.
From left to right: Grey Wind, Ghost, Lady, Nymeria, Summer, Shaggydog.
Robb's direwolf, who accompanies him in battle.
- Badass: Has a fearsome reputation on the battlefield, alongside King Robb.
- Big Sleep: Slowly closes his eyes after being shot by arrows.
- Character Death: While he's locked up, Frey soldiers shoot him point-blank with arrows, killing him.
- The Dreaded: Just his growls are enough to put Jaime Lannister on edge and Lannister troops tell chilling stories about him.
- Fingore: Grey Wind bites off two of the Greatjon's fingers. Best behave yourself in front of Lord of Winterfell.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:The Freys and Boltons shoot him with arrows until he dies.
- Noble Wolf: He mirrors his master's personality; courageous and pack-oriented and firece.
- Off with His Head!: Postmortem, his head is sewn and impaled on Robb's beheaded corpse.
- Right-Hand Attack Dog: Grey Wind is a rare heroic example. He only attacks people Robb tells him to and Robb is a good king.
- Undying Loyalty: To Robb.
Sansa's direwolf, the gentlest of the litter.
Rickon's direwolf, all black in color.
- Demoted to Extra: In Season 2.
- Fluffy the Terrible: You wouldn't expect Shaggydog to be the name for a terrifying direwolf, would you?
- Pet Monstrosity: Lord Eddard warns against this happening. Shaggydog really doesn't like being chained in a kennel and has moments of this, justified in that his owner and trainer is a six-year-old boy who has been rendered slightly unstable due to his entire life collapsing around him.
- Put on a Bus: Alongside Rickon and Osha.
- Undying Loyalty: To Rickon.
- Unfortunate Names: Mainly for Brits, as "shag" is a slang term for having sex.