This is a listing of ancestral members of House Stark in A Song of Ice and Fire.
For the main character index, see here
For the main Northern entry, see here
House Stark Ancestors
The Starks are an ancient house descended from Bran the Builder, a legendary figure from the Age of Heroes said to have raised their ancestral home at Winterfell thousands of years in the past, as well as the Wall. They are descendants of the First Men and still follow some of their ancient traditions and the old gods of the forest. The Starks were Kings of Winter in the north for eight thousand years since the Age of Heroes, possibly beginning with Bran the Builder.
No precise lineage of House Stark is known before approximately 100 AC.
- Cartwright Curse: Presumably where Eddarion got the nickname "The Bridegroom" from.
- Due to the Dead: Although it is customary to retrieve and bury as many Starks as it is feasibly possible (not all leave retrievable bodies due to things like dying in shipwrecks far out to sea or what have you) in the crypts, only kings and lords are supposed to have statues on their resting site. We know of three exceptions: Artos the Implacable, who avenged his brother Lord Willam's death by acting as the Stark battlefield commander, and may have gone on to serve as his underaged nephew Edwyle's regent, making him an honorary Lord of Winterfell in every capacity; Ned's brother Brandon, who might have died after his father did and would have been the Lord of Winterfell until his own death shortly after; and Ned's sister Lyanna, who only has a statue because Ned loves her.
- Heroic Bastard: Brandon Snow, the chief adviser and champion for his brother, King Torrhen Stark.
- Incest Is Relative: The sons of Cregan Stark, Jonnel and Edric married their half-nieces Serena and Sansa Stark. Both Cregan and Rickard Stark married cousins.
- Last of His Kind: If the wildling folk tale has to be believed, Brandon the Daughterless was the last Stark of the male line, so his heir was his daughter's only son with the wildling hero Bael the Bard.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The guy simply known as Brandon the Bad.
- Noodle Incident: The funny nicknames of many Stark Kings (the Bitter, the Sweet, the Bridegroom, the Spring King, the Moonking, the Bad) are yet to be explained.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Cregan Stark outlived his eldest son Rickon, and it is very likely that Edric Stark outlived both his twin sons Cregard and Torrhen.
- Posthumous Character: The books constantly remind readers that all the characters here are dead and buried in the Winterfell crypts.
- Succession Crisis: Cregan Stark, "the Old Man in the North," lived so long that he outlived his oldest son and heir Rickon, who only had daughters, and when those daughters either didn't have children or only had girls themselves, the succession passed through three of Cregan's five sons before the unpublished story "the She-Wolves of Winterfell," which will detail the consequences of that succession dispute when Cregan's great-grandson is on his deathbed.
- They Call Him "Sword": Barthogan Stark known as Barth Blacksword.
- Unexpected Successor: Cregan's sons Barthogan and Brandon Stark were never expected to become Lords of Winterfell, being ninth and tenth child respectively, yet they did because their siblings and half-siblings died without male issue.
- Walking the Earth: Rodrik Stark, the Wandering Wolf, who even became a Second Son.
- Wrestler in All of Us: How King Rodrik Stark won Bear Island from the Ironborn and gave it to House Mormont.
- Youngest Child Wins: Brandon, youngest child of Lord Cregan Stark, ended up continuing the Stark line after all of his siblings had died without (surviving) male issue.
Eddard and Benjen's family
Lord Rickard Stark
The previous Lord of Winterfell and father of Eddard, Brandon, Benjen and Lyanna. He was the son of Edwyle Stark, himself son of Willam Stark and Melantha Blackwood, and Marna Locke. Killed at the order of the Mad King.
- Adult Fear: Oh, poor man. His daughter suddenly disappears, allegedly kidnapped by the Crown Prince. His eldest son and heir storms to the capitol demanding the Prince's head and his sister back to the Mad King: he's unsurprisingly hold prisoner and his companions executed. He tries to save him but gets executed in the king's favorite style of execution, and probably knowing that his son will kill himself by trying to save him.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: He is noted for having had "southron ambitions", (unusual for the Starks, who rarely got involved with the South) which reflects his marriage choice for his children (marrying Lyanna off to the Stormlands and tidying Brandon to the Riverlands), his choice of fostering Ned to the Vale and also visiting King Aerys in King's Landing. He eventually ended up too involved with the South as his daughter gets kidnapped by (or runs off with) the Crown Prince, and his son demands justice from that batshit insane King and is imprisoned as a result. Then he got imprisoned too and executed along with his son.
- Cryptic Background Reference: It's not clear what his "southron ambitions" were. However, they involved Brandon's betrothal to Catelyn Tully and Ned's fostering at the Eyrie; for that matter, Robert Baratheon was fostered at the Eyrie to strengthen ties between the Vale and the Stormlands as well. According to Lady Dustin, he was coerced by his maester to proceed with those engagements, as it was rather unusual for a Northerner to marry outside the region.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Tried to rescue his children through Combat by Champion. The Mad King's champion is fire and roasted him alive. This was so cruel that Ned softened the story by saying he was only beheaded.
- Didn't Think This Through: Accepting the betrothal between Lyanna and Robert Baratheon. Between Lyannas willful personality and Roberts philandering behavior before and while betrothed to Lyanna and his subsequent marriage to Cersei, the marriage would have likely gone very poorly.
- Generation Xerox: Rickard was executed by The Caligula, with his eldest son dying horribly trying to avenge him, with his Tomboy daughter going missing. The same thing happens to his son Ned 15 years later. The next time however, the Starks lost the war.
- Kissing Cousins: He married Lyarra Stark, his first cousin once-removed, daughter of Rodrik Stark and Arya Flint.
- Named After Somebody Famous: After his ancestor The Laughing Wolf.
- Papa Wolf: Seemed to be very protective of his children based on what little characterization we have, riding immediately for King's Landing in order to free Brandon upon receiving Aerys' summons and offering to fight on his son's behalf in a Trial by Combat.
- Plot-Triggering Death: His death proved the Iron Throne's justice was a mockery and convinced Lord Jon Arryn to rebel.
- Second-Hand Storytelling: Most of what little we know of him comes from Lady Dustin. Who has her biases.
- Unwitting Pawn: Lady Dustin asserts that Rickard was manipulated by his maester into betrothing his heir to Hoster Tully's daughter for some unknown reason.
The Wild Wolf
Eddard Stark's older brother, Brandon was the heir to Winterfell and originally betrothed to Catelyn Tully. However, he died alongside his father at the hands of the Mad King Aerys II.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Very fond of honing his sword, and wanted it to be "sharp enough to shave the hair from a womans cunt".
- Arranged Marriage: To Catelyn, in order to join the Tullys and Starks as part of Rickard Stark's "southron ambitions". He died before it could go through. According to Barbrey Dustin, Brandon never loved Catelyn, though Catelyn loved him.
- Big Brother Instinct: After his sister Lyanna's abduction it's perfectly understandable that he goes seeking answers from the royal court. Still, marching into King's Landing and demanding the Prince come out to die without an army behind him was not at all wise. Especially given the nature of the King.
- The Charmer: Very likely an example. People who knew him tend to have a generally positive view of him, and he certainly appears to have had a way with the ladies. Ned and other men who knew him also have a generally positive impression of him (well, except for Littlefinger — for obvious reasons). Even though most of them also note his flaws, he's usually forgiven for them and/or they are excused. Of course, charm does you very little when faced with acute paranoid-crazy which is thus immune to it.
- The Casanova: He was quite the ladies' man, going far enough to deflower Lord Ryswell's daughter Barbrey, which is a definite no-no. Fans speculate that he was the father of Ashara Dayne's stillborn daughter as well.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Strangled himself to death trying to reach a sword and save his father. Ned softened the story by telling Catelyn that he was beheaded.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Delivers one to Petyr when the latter challenged him to a duel for Catelyn's hand and he was probably holding back.
- Death by Irony: Being a Master Swordsman wasn't any use for him since his enemies used a sword to bait him to his death.
- Didn't Think This Through: Let's go to the Mad King and demand the head of his son! There are five of us! What Could Possibly Go Wrong??
- Disappeared Dad: Possibly. According to Martin, Brandon might have fathered several bastards. If he did, those kids were left without a father or financial support when Brandon was killed, and Brandon probably never acknowledged them at all because Ned wouldn't have left Brandon's children to their own devices.
- Disproportionate Retribution:
- His sister is abducted by the prince and he understandably comes to King's Landing a very angry older brother. However, for openly threatening his son the Mad King has him arrested and, along with his father, their entire noble entourage, and their fathers, brutally killed. And if Aerys had have gotten his way, Ned and Robert would have been next in line with the rest of their houses. However, Jon Arryn refused to hand them over.
- He himself committed Disproportionate Retribution when Littlefinger challenged him to a duel for Catelyn's hand. He almost disemboweled young, spirited Petyr, though he survived to claim vengeance. However, to be fair, he gave Petyr Baelish several chances to yield before he chose to end the duel. Also keep in mind that given the massive difference in skills between them, Brandon could have made Petyr into literal mincemeat had he wanted to do so.
- History Repeats: Just like it was mentioned in Ned's entry, what happened to Brandon in King's Landing happened to Ned years after. It also started a war, though the second time, the Starks lost.
- Hot-Blooded: Ned described his temperament as such, saying his brother had the "wolf blood" like his younger sister Lyanna.
- I Coulda Been a Contender!: Ned insists Brandon would have made the better Lord than he. Of course, given Brandon's impulsive personality got him killed practicing what passes for politics/revenge, Ned may well not be correct on this point. Consider, too, that the next time Ned got himself into trouble with a (once) boisterous and still impulsive brother-figure/friend he much admired, they both wound up dead.
- Identical Stranger: He bears a lot of similarities with Robert Baratheon: The eldest son of a Lord Paramount, each a skilled warrior with a thirst for battle and for women, with a close relationship with Eddard Stark. Note, Brandon almost got these two killed when they were young; they both managed it together, later... But, Robert could have attempted to do things without dragging Ned into it. Much as Brandon could have gone about getting his sister back without (eventually) dragging most of the Seven Kingdoms into it.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Judging by his reaction to Prince Rhaegar's attentions to his sister, he seems to have been this kind of brother. Bit of hypocrisy, here: his sister was off-limits, but other cute girls on his radar who may or may not have had their own brothers? Perfectly acceptable!
- The One That Got Away: To Barbrey Dustin (née Ryswell). The angry, regretful manner in which she refers to him indicates that she was head-over-heels in love with Brandon. She says their love was mutual, though she's alive and he's dead, making it impossible for him to refute it if he was just playing around.
- Present Absence: Despite being dead for more than a decade, he is still very much present in Ned's thoughts, nurturing his sense of inferiority since Ned feels everything he has should have belonged to Brandon, even Catelyn. Catelyn even thinks that Brandon is one of the ghosts that haunts her otherwise happy marriage with Ned, the other being Jon Snow's mother.
- The Promise: To Catelyn.
- Romantic Wingman: He asked Ashara Dayne to dance with Ned, who was too timid to ask her himself.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Of the Red Oni, Blue Oni variant. Brandon was pretty much a skilled warrior who loved fighting, a skirt chaser and had the wolf blood, which led him to reckless actions and ultimately signed his fall. Eddard is honorable, rigid and wise, and although he never holds back when he's needed in fights, has never loved warfare as much as his brother and best friend did.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He's described as tall and handsome, with the dark hair and long face of the Starks. Catelyn was initially disappointed that Eddard wasn't as good looking as his brother, but got over it.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
- If he had not injured Petyr in their duel, Lysa would not have been able to "seduce" Petyr the second time and get pregnant, meaning Hoster Tully would not have given her the moon tea and (likely) would not have married her to Jon Arryn. Their sexual history and Lysa's unhappy marriage would lead to Lysa conspiring with Petyr to kill Jon fifteen years later and eventually to the War of Five Kings.
- If he had not ridden into King's Landing demanding the head of Prince Rhaegar, neither he nor his father would have been killed (meaning Brandon would have married Catelyn and Ned would never have become the Lord of Winterfell), Elbert Arryn would have remained his uncle's heir (meaning Jon Arryn wouldn't have married Lysa), and Robert's Rebellion would not have gone the same way, though it was inevitable that a civil war of some sort would break out after the crown prince abducted the daughter of a lord paramount.
Lady Lyanna Stark
Lya, The She-Wolf
Ned's younger sister, Lyanna was betrothed to Robert Baratheon before Rhaegar Targaryen abducted her, starting the Rebellion. She died from unknown causes in "a bed of blood" when Ned found her.
- Always Someone Better: She was such a skilled rider than she was said to be "half a horse", or a "centaur", but Roose Bolton theorizes that Domeric Bolton could have out-raced her. However, this should be taken with a grain of salt, as Domeric was around two years old when Lyanna disappeared and besides being a boastful father, Roose Bolton is, well, Roose Bolton.
- Animal Motif: Lyanna is known as the she-wolf. She is also referred to as "half a horse" and a "centaur" because of her skill as a rider.
- Arranged Marriage: To Robert Baratheon. She was unhappy with the marriage because he believed he would be unfaithful to her due to his reputation. Ned assured her that Robert loved her and was a good man, but Lyanna was unconvinced.
- Berserk Button: Don't tease her 'cause sad songs made her weep.
- Big Damn Heroes: Saves Howland Reed from getting the ever-loving shit kicked out of him by three fourteen year old squires at the famous Tourney at Harrenhal. He returns the favor when he goes with her brother Ned and five other of Ned's most trusted companions to the Tower of Joy in an effort to rescue her, with the group killing the three remaining members of Aerys's Kingsguard to get to her. Everyone save Ned and Howland are killed, and Lyanna dies anyway.
- Bully Hunter: Beats the living shit out of three squires who were bullying crannogman Howland Reed. And if she was posing as the Knight of the Laughing Tree the revenge had gone even further, arguably into Honor Before Reason territory. Yup — Stark.
- Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: Ned claims that Lyanna's Last Request was to be buried in Winterfell. Note that she died in Dorne, roughly 3000 miles away. Ned, however, actually brought her bones all the way to the North.
- Cryptic Background Reference: The exact circumstances of her death are never accurately explored in-universe. The accepted version is that she got kidnapped by Prince Rhaegar and then died, but how remains a mystery. Ned Stark's POV in A Game of Thrones sees her dying in a bed of blood, and also found her greatly weakened by "fever". On the other side, Ned also let slip once that her hot-blooded nature led her to a premature end. This directly leads to all sort of speculations.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: She died in Ned's arms shortly after he found her.
- Distressed Damsel: Abducted, and needing to be saved, though the details of her abduction are scarce. Some of the remaining evidence is also contradictory. Also a deconstruction; Lyanna is kidnapped and her would be rescuers find her in a tower in a distant land after a war of epic scope and scale that was in part caused by her abduction, only to be confronted by three of the greatest knights in Westeros, assigned to guard her. It has all the makings of a classic feel good adventure story... only Lyanna dies in a pool of her own blood, and nearly everyone is killed in the ensuing battle, with only her brother (Ned) and a man she once helped long ago (Howland Reed) surviving the skirmish, which in the end proved really incidental to the larger picture of what was happening to the realm at the time.
- Famous Last Words: "Promise me, Ned..."
- Flower in Her Hair: The infamous crown of winter roses given to her at the Tourney at Harrenhal. Multiple characters dream of her wearing it while covered in blood or crying bloody tears.
- Flower Motifs: She was fond of flowers, and Ned recalls she died in a room that smelled of blood and roses.
- Arya Stark. Her niece Arya is pretty much her Junior Counterpart, and is frequently compared to her by many characters, especially Ned, from looks to personality. Like Lyanna, Arya is a Hot-Blooded tomboy who defends the weak. Both were separated from their families during a war, and never got rescued.
- Jeyne Westerling. A liaison with a highborn nobleman of the royalty leads them to elope against everyone's wishes to disastrous results. Lyanna and Jeyne are considered overtly willful by their own families. They are both reminisced by the Lannisters as women who were not worth going to war for or throwing away a kingdom for (Robb put his kingdom and war campaign in jeopardy for marrying Jeyne; Rhaegar started a war due to his kidnapping of Lyanna). Lyanna ends up dying, while Jeyne is made a captive of her own family (who are Lannister loyalists).
- Girl in the Tower: At the end of Robert's Rebellion, Eddard went to rescue her from the Tower of Joy, where she was being kept by three Kingsguard. But the sheer number of questions that surround the whole thing propel it into a less-than-classical take on the trope.
- Go Out with a Smile: She smiles before she dies after Ned vows to keep her promise.Narrator: Ned remembered the way she had smiled then...
- Hot-Blooded: Ned seemed to think so, saying Lyanna had "the wolf blood": her first reaction when she saw Howland Reed being beaten was not to call for help but to beat his attackers, and she threw a cup of wine on Benjen because he teased her. In front of the Prince. And the court. Ned also notes that Arya bears a lot of similarities to Lyanna, including appearance.
- Iconic Item: The crown of blue roses that Rhaegar gave her, which she still wears almost every time a character dreams of her.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: The Gwen Stacy to both Ned and Robert, who blame themselves for her death.
- In-Series Nickname: Meera calls her "the She-Wolf" in her story about the Knight of the Laughing Tree, and Cersei likewise refers to her as "the wolf girl".
- Knight in Shining Armor: Well, she charged to Howland Reed's defence and beat three squires silly because she took great offense at how they ganged up on the smaller, less conventional and arguably least of nobles present at the tourney. That follows "true knight", Dunk-and-Egg-style rules of conduct, as well as the codes involving in defending your family's bannermen against injustice. And, if she was indeed the Knight of the Laughing tree, she continued her mission. By humiliating the squires' knights in the lists to teach all six men pointed lessons in honor before disappearing off into the long grass. All while following GMMR's all time fave subversion of the trope: being the most honorable knight with the truest of intentions and the most mismatched set of armor... having to take part in a tourney mostly geared to playing politics both inside and outside the lists, while not actually being a fully-dubbed knight at all. Yup, the "distressed damsel" of song might well have been a true knight all along, instead.
- Lady Looks Like a Dude: At the Tourney of Harrenhal, Lyanna was described as a "wild and boyish young thing". Not surprising given her strong resemblance to Arya, who is mistaken for a boy at the start of the series.
- Last Request: Ned promised something to her at her deathbed. The contents of the promise are unknown, but it still haunts Ned to this day.
- Living MacGuffin: Her abduction starts Robert's Rebellion.
- The Lost Lenore: Robert is still in love with her even though she's been dead for more than a decade, causing friction in his relationship with the queen. Ned still has nightmares from the time she died.
- Love Ruins the Realm: Impressively counts on both sides of the pseudo-love triangle as both personal reasons to start a war and just being the spark which set off already brewing tensions: Prince Rhaegar (presumably) running away with Lyanna out of love was seen as kidnapping by her relatives who demanded her return, prompting the paranoid Mad King to torture them to death. The king then used this perceived rebellion as a casus belli for rebellion by executing nobles without trial- demanding the heads of Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon as well- and Robert and others who opposed Aerys' cruelty used his murders and Lyanna's "abduction" as justification to overthrow the king. The result was the death of thousands, the fall of House Targaryen, and a multitude of new grudges among the remaining noble houses.Barristan Selmy: Prince Rhaegar loved his Lady Lyanna, and thousands died for it.
- Odd Friendship: She and Howland Reed became friends at the Tourney At Harrenhal.
- The One That Got Away: Robert is still in love with Lyanna (or a least an idealized version of her), to the point where he calls out her name while he has sex with the queen. Ned, however, notes that while Robert saw his sister's beauty, he never saw the iron underneath.
- Outnumbered Sibling: She grew up with three brothers, two of them older than she. Being the only girl in Winterfell is probably the reason why unlike her Junior Counterpart niece Arya, she grew up to be both revered as a beautiful lady, even if in an unconventional way, and a skilled rider. She never had a traditionally beautiful and ladylike sister to be compared to.
- Passionate Sports Girl: According to most accounts given of her, she lived for riding horses. Ned also mentioned in the first book that she "would have carried a sword" if she could have got away with it, implying she had some interest in swordplay; Bran later has a green dream confirming this, where he witnesses Lyanna getting the better of Benjen at swords as children.
- Peerless Love Interest: For Robert Baratheon. It's implied that his recollections of Lyanna were largely filtered through and distorted by his own mental picture of his "ideal woman."
- Present Absence: Despite being dead for more than a decade, she is still very much present in Ned's thoughts and actions, along with the promise she made Ned keep.
- The Promise: Lyanna made Ned promise her something before she died. It haunts him constantly.
- The Rashomon: She is the subject of several versions of her life and abduction by Rhaegar:
- Robert Baratheon sees Lyanna as lovely and infallible, and was kidnapped and raped by Rhaegar.
- Cersei sees her mostly as a sniveling, uncultured intruder even years after her demise and grew to hate the idea of her, as both of the men Cersei was meant to marry favored Lyanna over herself. Robert continuously scorned Cersei in favor of his fiancée's memory and Rhaegar - whom Cersei remains infatuated with - chose Lyanna over all other women.
- According to Barristan Selmy, Rhaegar genuinely loved Lyanna, making no mention of Lyanna's feelings, though he notes that the prince's love sent thousands to their death since Rhaegar basically failed to do his duty.
- Kevan Lannister muses that Lyanna was fair to look at, but doesn't consider her to have had the kind of beauty compared to other women to make a man like Rhaegar throw everything away for her.
- Renly Baratheon is initially under the impression that according to descriptions given to him, Lyanna looked very much like Margaery Tyrell. Ned promptly dismisses this notion, saying that they didn't look like each other in any way whatsoever. Given later revelations, it's more than likely he was trying to find out how easy it'd be to get Robert in bed with a look-alike of his lost love.
- Rebellious Princess: Like Arya, Lyanna was headstrong and courageous, preferring swordplay and horseriding.
- Samus Is a Girl: From Meera's tale we learn that Lyanna was able to beat the crap out of three squires. There's also quite a bit of evidence that she was the mysterious Knight of the Laughing Tree at the Tourney of Harrenhal.
- Save the Princess: Keeping in the spirit of deconstructing high fantasy, two attempts are made to rescue Lyanna and both end tragically. Shortly after Lyanna was "kidnapped" by Rhaegar, her brother and father went to King's Landing to demand her return... and were horrifically tortured to death. The second rescue attempt was at the end of Robert's Rebellion, with her brother, Ned, fighting and killing the Kingsguard guarding the tower in which she was held. But she dies shortly afterward anyway, Ned being powerless to save her life.
- Second-Hand Storytelling: We only learn about Lyanna through the recollections of other characters.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Discussed trope. Ned commenting that Robert never really knew the real Lyanna. There were accounts of her throwing wine over her brother Benjen in front of the entire court and beating up squires at tourneys, suggesting she was a lot more steel than silk. How much she even lived up to this trope versus how much Robert was blinded by infatuation seems debatable.Ned Stark: You never knew Lyanna as I did, Robert. You saw her beauty, but not the iron underneath.
- Small Role, Big Impact: She had one of the largest influences in the plot: her kidnapping led to the death of Ned's father and brother and Robert's Rebellion, her death turned Robert Baratheon into a depressed man whose disdain for ruling caused no short end to problems and casts a constant shadow in his marriage to Cersei.
- Spirited Young Lady: Very much so. Lyanna was fair and beautiful, if unconventionally, but she was realistic about her Arranged Marriage to Robert, voicing her belief of his probable infidelity. Ned said also she had a bit of the wolf blood and was proficient in horseback riding, among other things.
- Strong Family Resemblance: While she, Ned, Benjen, Arya, and Jon all have the classic Stark look with dark hair and grey eyes, Arya is most often compared with her. It's not just their looks, but also their shared spirited personalities.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: She is the most likely candidate for the identity of the Knight of the Laughing Tree at the Tourney of Harrenhal, given that she was an excellent horsewoman (which is the most important quality to jousting) and seems that she secretly trained with swords.
- Tears of Blood: In A Game of Thrones Ned dreams of her crying tears of blood, underlying her tragic fate - she died at age sixteen on a pool of her own blood and still haunts her older brother with a promise she made him keep.
- Together in Death: With Rhaegar. Robert bitterly later remarks:Robert: Rhaegar won, damn him. I killed him, Ned, I drove the spike right through that black armor into his black heart, and he died at my feet. They made up songs about it. Yet somehow he still won. He has Lyanna now, and I have her.
- Tomboy Princess: Like her niece Arya, with whom she is often compared. Lyanna was reportedly a master horseback rider, just like her brother Brandon. In a vision, nephew Bran sees child-Lyanna fighting and winning against child-Benjen; he mistakes them for Arya and himself, and is confused because they never played like that.
- Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Yes, she preferred horsemanship and fighting, but Rhaegar's melancholic songs moved her to tears and Ned noted she was really fond of flowers, especially blue winter roses.
- The Tragic Rose: Lyanna is strongly associated with blue winter roses, her favorite flowers. She was infamously crowned as Queen of Love and Beauty at Harrenhal by Prince Rhaegar with a crown of blue roses, died in a room that smelled of blood and roses and in every dream she appears she still wears the crown Rhaegar gave her.
- Tsundere: Rhaegar's harp playing moves her to tears; when her brother teases her about this, she empties a cup of wine over his head.
- Unkempt Beauty: Her beauty is described as "wild", in contrast to the more conventionally beautiful women like Cersei or Ashara Dayne. This is because of her spirited, tomboyish personality, as well as Stark features (eg. a long face, straight dark hair) generally not lending themselves well to "classic" beauty standards.
- Unreliable Expositor: All we know about Lyanna is from such characters. GRRM is generally fond of this trope, but this character is described by unreliable exposition with the exception of her one appearance in Bran's vision of the past during A Dance With Dragons.
- The Unreveal: While Rhaegar's feelings and motivations are subject to "Rashomon"-Style telling, her feelings towards Rhaegar (or Robert) are never mentioned by anyone, and are yet to be discovered.
- White Shirt of Death: In Theon's nightmare of the Winterfell crypts she wears her infamous crown of blue roses and a blood-splattered white gown.
- World's Most Beautiful Woman: Played with: Lyanna was allegedly a lovely young woman for whom the whole realm bled, ala Helen of Troy. However, while it's generally accepted that Lyanna was really beautiful, the ones to believe her beauty extraordinary are Robert (her fiancé) and Eddard (her brother). Some characters, including Kevan and Cersei Lannister, believe that if Rhaegar had married Cersei instead of Elia Martell, he wouldn't have looked twice at Lyanna — although they're obviously pretty biased and resentful about the whole affair (particularly Cersei). Lyanna is also described as wild and boyish in The World of Ice and Fire, which itself doesn't flatter the recent generations of Starks much, having been written in-universe in part after they were branded traitors.
Wardens of the North
Lord Brandon Stark
Brandon the Daughterless
Brandon Stark, also called Brandon the Daughterless, was supposedly the Lord of Winterfell when the legendary Bael the Bard was just a common wildling raider.
- Adult Fear: His daughter, who was his only child, went missing for months and he couldn't find her. Later she showed up in her bedroom with a baby in hand, having been hiding in the crypts the whole time.
- Bullying a Dragon: By calling Bael the Bard a coward, he just invited him to sneak in his home and steal away his daughter.
- Heir Club for Men: Brandon named his bastard grandson the heir to Winterfell rather than his daughter.
- Irony: He ended up naming as his heir the son of the man he previously antagonized and insulted.
- Last of His Kind: Was apparently the last Stark of the male line and was nearly the last Stark.
- Shrouded in Myth: We never learn exactly which Brandon Stark he was, and Jon Snow doubts his existence. This may very well be a mere legend, or simply the Starks covered the fact they were extinct in the male line and actually descendants of a wildling king. The publication of The World of Ice & Fire and the first volume of Fire & Blood give credence to Jon's doubts, as almost all the Lords of Winterfell from the Conquest to the time of the main series seem to be accounted for. However, this leaves open the possibility that the title of "Lord" is an anachronism in the wildling tale and the historical Brandon the Daughterless was a King. It wouldn't be the first such anachronism in a story set in the dawn times; for instance, many of them feature knights in a time before the Faith of the Seven came to Westeros and made knights a thing, and similar anachronisms can be found in the real-world Arthurian cycles. Nonetheless, another damning point that casts doubt on the veracity of the story is the fact that Bael allegedly skipped down the Kingsroad to reach Winterfell. Said Kingsroad was not built until the reign of Jaehaerys I, decades after the Starks renounced their title of Kings in the North.
Lord Alaric Stark
Lord of Winterfell during the reign of King Jaehaerys the Wise.
- Action Girl: His wife, a Mormont, was one before her death; he proudly tells Alysanne of the time she slaughtered two wolves and made a cloak from their skin.
- Arranged Marriage: Defied. He doesn't want his children to marry followers of the Faith of the Seven, and instead demands they end up with someone of the same faith. It takes some convincing from Alysanne for him to reconsider the issue.
- Brutal Honesty: Bluntly tells the king he blames him for the death of his brother Walton, since Jaehaerys sending so many of Maegor's men to the Wall resulted in a rebellion Walton died to put down.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Implied with the loss of his wife, three years prior to his meeting with Alysanne. Also revealed that the death of his brother didn't do much for his disposition.
- Deadpan Snarker: His humor carries an edge to it; he's so dry that he has a reputation for having No Sense of Humor.
- Defrosting the Ice King: Is abrasive and curt with Alysanne upon her arrival, but the two warm up to one another- to the point where Alaric later concedes the New Gift to the Watch at her behest.
- Foil: He actually had many similarities with Jaehaerys; he was a younger son that inherited when his older sibling died, outlived two sons and was succeeded by a grandson.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Was notoriously prickly, stingy, and humorless...but he is loved by his family and the people of Winterfell.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His two sons predeceased him and was succeeded by his grandson Elric.
- Real Men Love Jesus: Devoutly follows the Old Gods.
- The Scrooge: Notoriously tight-fisted with money.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: While Queen Alysanne manages to defrost him well enough, he and Jaehaerys never became BFFs.
- You Are in Command Now: Became Lord when his brother Walton was killed north of The Wall.
Lord Cregan Stark
The Old Man of the North
Lord of Winterfell during the Dance of the Dragons all the way to the days of Aemon the Dragonknight. He was the son of Rickon Stark, himself son of Benjen Stark and Lysa Locke, and Gilliane Glover. He was married three times, to Arra Norrey, Alysanne "Black Aly" Blackwood, and Lynara Stark, and had a total of ten children by his wives.
- Action Politician: Through sheer strong-arming, he stabilized the Seven Kingdoms and the Royal Court in a single day. Of course, he did it by executing and exiling. Not even the best diplomat in Westeros could be that swift or claim to be nearly as effective. He also was a noted warrior and swordsman, but that fated day of the Hour of the Wolf he was the best politician in Westeros.
- Arranged Marriage: To Alysanne "Black Aly" Blackwood, as part of a deal for Cregan to accept the pardon of Lord Corlys Velaryon. His other two marriages were likely arranged as well.
- The Cavalry Arrives Late: He promised Prince Jaecerys he'd support the Blacks against the Greens, but for a variety of reasons only managed to get to King's Landing after the Dance was over and done, two years after he made his pact.
- Childhood Friend Romance: His first wife Arra Norrey was his childhood companion. She would end up dying giving birth to their only son Rickon.
- Cincinnatus: He served as Hand of the King for a single day and stabilized the realm for Aegon III, after which he returned to the North, doing what Ned wanted to do.
- Dead Guy Junior: Named his eldest son Rickon after his own father.
- The Dreaded: Within about a day of arriving at King's Landing, he managed to flat-out terrify almost everyone into doing as he said. And he was only twenty-three at the time.
- Everyone Has Standards: He was outraged upon learning King Aegon II had been poisoned by his own councilors to end the war, believing that it was one thing to rise against and overthrow a king in battle, and quite another to surprise-poison him when continuing to support him became overly difficult. He arrested twenty-two conspirators, executing two of them (Ser Gyles Belgrave, who did not wish to outlive his king and Lord Larys Strong, whose reasons for choosing death are unknown), while nineteen chose to take the black and serve on the Wall. The only one who was not executed or sent to the Wall was Lord Corlys Velaryon, who was pardoned by Aegon III.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: Much of Cregan Stark's life is yet unexplained. We don't know why he duelled the Dragonknight, what his reaction was when Baelor the Blessed locked up his sisters rather than fulfilling the Pact of Ice and Fire, what he did after his heir Rickon died in Dorne, whether he was involved in his son Jonnel and Edric's marriages to Rickon's daughters Serena and Sansa, or who his five daughters married (if they even did marry).
- Hanging Judge: During the civil war between Aegon II and Rhaenyra, he fought for the latter and later famously executed (Stark style - hands on!) two traitors of the former in an event called the "Hour of the Wolf"; they were traitors to the king he fought against (Aegon II) because they unceremoniously killed said king. Ser Perkin the Flea's pleas that he'd already been pardoned were met with the response "not by me."
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: His best friend was an unnamed Lord Cerwyn.
- Honor Before Reason: He made sure to kill and exile all the conspirators of Aegon II's assassination. He was not loyal to that king, but he surmised that he deserved justice regardless. He had the grace of being incredibly quick about the whole affair, since it took him less than a week. By doing so, he ensured that there were no bad apples for Aegon III's reign.
- And note that this was him being reasonable — when he first arrived in King's Landing, the war was effectively over, the Green armies broken, and Aegon III the only claimant to the throne still breathing. He initially wanted to restart the fighting in order to punish the "traitors" (and give his men the deaths they had come looking for); his allies were eventually able to plead him down from restarting the whole war to just executing 23 people (21 of whom managed to take the black just as he was about to get to work with Ice).
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- When Aegon III asked Cregan why he was being confined to the Red Keep, Cregan pointed out there were still plenty in the city who would either seek to kill Aegon or use him as a puppet.
- He was also correct in pointing out to his Riverlord allies that while Aegon II's last supporters still held power at Storm's End, Casterly Rock and Oldtown, the Dance of Dragons wasn't over.
- Long Dead Badass: He has been deceased for well over a century by the time of the main series.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: His ten children (Rickon by Arra Norrey, Sarra, Alys, Raya and Mariah by Black Aly, and Jonnel, Edric, Lyanna, Barthogan and Brandon by Lynara Stark).
- Master Swordsman: The Dragonknight said he never fought a better swordsman, even though Cregan was twenty-eight years older than he was.
- Not So Stoic: Generally all deathly cold glares and seriousness, but when Alysanne Blackwood made a joke about her virginity, and her absence thereof, he actually laughed.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: His marriage with Alysanne Blackwood might have been arranged, but they were clearly fond of each other the moment they met.
- Old Soldier: Known as The Old Man of the North. His worthy opponent Aemon the Dragonknight was twenty-eight years his junior and still considered him the greatest swordsman he ever fought.
- Outliving One's Offspring: He outlived his son Rickon, who died fighting at Dorne under the Young Dragon.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Cregan didn't bother to hide his contempt when accusing Corlys Velaryon of assassinating Aegon II.Cregan Stark: Finish these foes now, or those of us not in our graves in twenty years time will rue our folly when those sons strap on their fathers' swords and come looking for vengeance.Corlys Velaryon: King Aegon said the same and died for it. Had he heeded our counsel and offered peace and pardon to his foes, he might be sitting with us here today.Cregan Stark: Is that why you poisoned him, my lord? Small wonder you are called the Sea Snake. You may slither this way and that but, oh, your fangs are venomous. Aegon was an oathbreaker, a kinslayer and a usurper, yet still a king. When he would not heed your craven's counsel, you removed him as a craven would, dishonorably, with poison...and now you shall answer for it.
Cregan Stark: Are you babes in swaddling clothes, to be cozened by flowers and feasts and soft words? Who told you the war was done? The Clubfoot? The Snake? Why, because they wish it done? Because you won your little victory in the mud? Wars end when the defeated bend the knee and not before. Has Oldtown yielded? Has Casterly Rock returned the Crown's gold? You say you mean to marry the prince to the king's daughter, yet she remains at Storm's End, beyond your reach. So long as she remains free and unwed, what is to stop Baratheon's widow from crowning the girl queen, as Aegon's heir?
- He also gave another one to his allies, the young Lords Tully and Blackwood, mixed with Jerkass Has a Point (on regard to Cregan) and What an Idiot! (in regards to them), in that he pointed out Corlys Velaryon and Larys Strong were just using them as mouthpieces to proclaim the war over, and that while Aegon's loyalists still had strength at Oldtown, Casterly Rock and Storm's End, and could easily proclaim Aegon's daughter Jaehaera his heir, the fighting wasn't done.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: He was promised by Queen Rhaenyra that a princess of House Targaryen would marry a Stark of Winterfell in what is known as the Pact of Ice And Fire, which led to Cregan sending the Winter Wolves to fight for the Queen during the Dance of the Dragons. When all was said and done and only Aegon III remained alive out of all Targaryens, Cregan demanded some satisfaction out of the whole ordeal, leading to him assuming the position of Hand and securing the political stance of the child king by executing and sending men to the Wall during the Hour of the Wolf; when he was done, he resigned as Hand and that same day he headed back to Winterfell without most of his retinue (who mostly stayed in the south to avoid becoming burdens on their families come winter). He was that anxious to be done with all that nonsense.
- Worthy Opponent: To The Dragonknight.
- Young and in Charge: He became lord when he was only thirteen, and when became of age and his uncle Bennard was slow to relinquish his power as regent, he imprisoned him alongside his cousins.
Lord Beron Stark
Beron Stark was Lord of Winterfell and head of House Stark during the reign of King Aerys I Targaryen. He was second son of Lord Brandon Stark and Lady Alys Karstark. He married Lorra Royce and had seven children, Donor, Willam, Artos, Berena, Alysanne, Errold, and Rodrik.
- Foregone Conclusion: The World of Ice & Fire states that his effort to drive away the Ironborn kills him.
- The Ghost: He is only mentioned as he calls for men to help repel some Ironborn.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Like his grandfather Cregan, he fathered many children.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His second son, Willam, inherited Winterfell after his death, implying that his first son, Donnor, died before him.
- Plot-Triggering Death: His death causes a Succession Crisis as his wife and four other recent Stark widows made claim for their own children.
- Sequel Hook: Dunk & Egg are on their way North to answer his call to arms when they stumble upon the Whitewalls Tourney, and resume their way there when it ends.
- Unexpected Successor: Beron became Lord after his brother Rodwell died without issue. He is also a second son.
Artos Stark, also known as Artos the Implacable, was a member of House Stark during the reign of Aerys I Targaryen.
- Due to the Dead: He has a statue in the crypts at Winterfell even though he was never a lord or king. He might have served as his nephew Edwyle's regent, however. On top of his wartime "promotion" and resulting battlefield command. This meant that there was a solid argument to be made that the normal rules upon death didn't apply to (acting-Lord-when-needed) Artos.
- Hyper-Competent Sidekick: What he comes across as having been.
- Number Two: He was a bannerman for his brother, Lord Willam.
- Take Up My Sword: He led the Northern army to victory against the wildlings after his brother was killed. This earned him a load of respect points.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Was not happy that the Night's Watch had allowed a horde of Wildlings to cross the Wall, causing a battle that resulted in the death of his brother Willam, the Lord Stark at the time, that the Watch arrived too late to help with. As punishment, he had the Watch bury the dead.
Kings of Winter/Kings In The North
King Brandon Stark
Brandon the Breaker
Brandon Stark, known as Brandon the Breaker, was a King of Winter and Lord of Winterfell. When the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night's Watch took a wife and declared himself the Night's King, Brandon amassed a joint force of Northerners and Wildlings to remove him.
- Cain and Abel: If the Night's King was indeed his brother.
- Enemy Mine: Joined forces with the Wildlings to fight the Night's King.
- Legend Fades to Myth: Brandon took steps to ensure the Night's King's name was forgotten and all official records of him were destroyed. Much of the in-universe speculation surrounding the actual events are a direct result of this.
- Staking the Loved One: This possibly happened if the rumors of The Night's King being his brother are true.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Teamed up with his worst enemy to defeat the Night's King.
- Ungrateful Bastard: The Free Folk see him as this, since they helped him defeat the Night's King yet he drove them back outside the Wall.
King Brandon Stark
The ShipwrightBrandon the Shipwright, was a King in the North and a head of House Stark.
King Brandon was known as Brandon the Shipwright, due to his love of the sea.
- Bold Explorer: He attempted to sail across the Sunset Sea.
- Lost at Sea: After trying to cross the Sunset Sea, King Brandon was never seen again.
- Never Found the Body: His tomb at Winterfell lies empty.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His death at on the Sunset Sea had consequences he could never have imagined, even if he entertained the notion he might never return from his voyage. Tragically he is the last great seafaring Stark.
King Brandon Stark
King Brandon Stark, better known as Brandon the Burner, was the son of Brandon the Shipwright.
- Didn't Think This Through: Destroying his own navy was a massive mistake. It's also not what his father would have wanted in the slightest.
- Excessive Mourning: One of the most famous examples among House Stark. Brandon the Burner took his grief out on the Stark's ships.
- Kill It with Fire: Burned his father's ships after he was lost at sea.
- Love Makes You Crazy: He clearly loved his father a great deal, which made his grief all the more detrimental to his judgement.
- Revenge Before Reason: "Avenged" his father but deprived his realm of valuable naval assets and forced the North to remain landlocked.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Deprived the North of invaluable naval power leading to many defeats over the centuries.
- Unfit for Greatness: His first act as King in the North is to burn his house's naval power to ash. This makes his makes the Starks weaker as a military force, leads to many avoidable defeats down the line and they've never restored their naval might.
Edrick Stark was a King in the North.
King Brandon Stark
Brandon "Ice Eyes" Stark was King in the North, Lord of Winterfell and great grandson of Edrick Stark.
King Rickard Stark
The Laughing WolfRickard Stark, known as the Laughing Wolf for his good nature, was a King in the North and a member of House Stark. He was the son of King Jon Stark.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: King Rickard took the Neck away from the Marsh King and took his daughter as wife.
King Theon Stark
The Hungry Wolf
One of the most fearsome Stark kings who ever lived, he fought off the Andal invasion of the North, as well as several Ironborn invasions and a rebellion in the Rills, before joining the Night's Watch in breaking the power of the wildings so badly they needed a generation to recover.
- Badass Beard: Judging by his statue in the crypts below Winterfell, he had a skinny beard.
- Dead Guy on Display: He tied the body of Argos Sevenstar to the prow of his flagship when he attacked Andalos.
- Decapitation Presentation: Perhaps the most gruesome/awesome example ever: he had all the heads of the Andals he killed during his invasion of Andalos loaded up onto his ships, and when he returned to the North had had them all placed on spikes along the eastern shore to dissuade any further Andal invasions. It worked.
- Enemy Mine: Teamed up with House Bolton to defeat the Andals at the Battle of the Weeping Water.
- Famous Ancestor: One of the most famous Kings of Winter. Even the Ironborn name people after him.
- In-Series Nickname: He was known as "The Hungry Wolf" not just for his constant conquests. He was also famously gaunt and skinny.
- Lean and Mean: He was a thin and gaunt man.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: His determination to keep invaders out of his kingdom at all costs and preserve his forefathers' religion is similar to Vlad Tepes. The story about how he cut up invaders and put them near his borders to scare off invaders comes directly from an account of Vlad doing that to keep the Ottoman sultan away.
- War Hawk: He aggressively expanded the borders of his kingdom, driving the Ironborn from Cape Kraken and Bear Island. He also conquered the Three Sisters, although that gain was later lost back to House Arryn.
- Worthy Opponent: One of the few greenlander kings the Ironborn ever respected. They even started naming their own children after him!
King Torrhen Stark
The King Who Knelt
The last King in the North and first Lord Paramount and Warden of the North.
- 0% Approval Rating: Zigzagged. Bending the knee to Aegon certainly didn't make him popular, but many other nobles, both in his own time and in hindsight, saw the wisdom of not bullying literal dragons.
- Demoted to Dragon: He gives up his title as King in the North, pledging fealty to Aegon the Conqueror.
- The Good King: Aspects of both this and The Wise Prince, seeing as you can argue he effectively stepped down from one to become the other. Putting his people and lands before his title as king meant Winterfell didn't meet the same fate as Harrenhal did, and by maintaining his wardenship of the North for himself and his family, the Starks still had the duties of stewardship, rather than potentially leaving it entirely in foreign (or Bolton) hands. As a result, the North didn't face the same degree of upheaval the Riverlands, the Iron Isles, the Reach or the Stormlands did with their sudden power-vacuums and restructuring and could therefore maintain a significant amount of its unique cultural identity.
- Kneel Before Zod: The only thing he was known for. It extended to having The Inn of the Kneeling Man, complete with illustration on sign, being established at the place where he bent the knee to Aegon.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: He put aside his pride and bent the knee to Aegon the Conqueror to save his land.
- See the House Karstark page.
The bastard half-brother of King Torrhen Stark.
The bastard half-sister of Lord Cregan Stark. According to Mushroom, when Jacaerys Velaryon came to the North to gain the allegiance of her brother, the two grew quite fond of each other. Some doubt she existed in the first place.
- Alliterative Name: Sara Snow
- Love Ruins the Realm: Or it would have had their relationship come out. Jacaerys would have jeopardized his claim to the Iron Throne (not to mention undermine his legitimacy even more), and risk to divide the blacks.
- Shotgun Wedding: According to Mushroom, she and Jacaerys Velaryon married under the Old Gods after he deflowered her. Since Jacaerys was dead not long after, there's no way to be sure.