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Characters / A Song of Ice and Fire - Northern Houses

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This is a listing of houses in the North that appear in A Song of Ice and Fire that do not have enough members or tropes to justify their own page (yet).

For the main character index, see here

The North
"The north is hard and cold, and has no mercy."

The North is the largest region of Westeros, almost as large as the other regions combined, but very sparsely populated in comparison. Most houses in the North keep to the Old Gods instead of the Faith of the Seven, and its populace is extremely hardy and disdainful of the comforts and customs of the southern regions. The geography of the North is highly diverse, including the swamplands of the Neck, the hilly plains of the Barrowlands, the heavily forested Wolfswood, and a large mountainous area to the north of Winterfell. The Wall separates the North from the lands inhabited by the Wildlings. The Great House of the North is House Stark of Winterfell, but House Bolton contested their control in centuries past, although the two houses are currently at peace. House Manderly is another powerful house in the North, controlling the port city of White Harbor and being the only major Northern House to follow the Faith of the Seven. Bastards in the North are given the surname "Snow".

The North is largely inhabited by peoples who are descendants of the First Men and follow religiously the tenets of the heritage. Northmen are for the most part hard, stern and determined people who greatly value loyalty; they are molded into sternness by the harshness of the North, with its harsh, long winters and its snowy summers. Due to the association between the practice of knighthood and the Faith, and much unlike the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, there are no knightly houses in the North (though there are some individual lords that have been knighted); also, the participation of Northern lords in tourneys is scarce save for some sporadic, but notable, examples.

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    Tropes applying to most Northmen 
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Not as strong as for the Free Folks but the northmen believe in that to a degree, preferring to follow a strong leader and testing his/her authority to be sure he/she is worth following, as the northern lords do with Robb Stark who passes the test by reasserting his authority on the Greatjon who had challenged him and having Grey Wind bite his fingers. After that the Greatjon and most northern lords follow Robb with utter loyalty.
  • Badass Creed: "The North Remembers" Unofficial motto of the North. The people of this region have long memories. Honorable reputations engender enduring loyalty and injustices are not easily forgiven or forgotten.
  • Best Served Cold: After the Red Wedding, most Northerners are just biding their time to get revenge on House Frey and the other participants, including the Houses that support House Bolton as Warden of the North.
    • Taking vengeance on those who have wronged you is part of the religion of the old gods, which most of the Northmen follow. If you cannot pull it off sooner for whatever reason, later will definitely do: there are no statutes of limitation.
  • Cold Equation:
    • It is common during winters—which can span decades—for old men to announce they are "going hunting" and leave their homes so so as to leave a little more food for the young.
    • It's also not unheard of, during a bitter winter, for large numbers of Northmen to volunteer for the army en masse in hopes of being killed honorably in battle and reducing the number of mouths to feed. This was the case with the army that Cregan Stark brought south in support of Queen Rhaenyra during the Dance of the Dragons - unfortunately, poor weather conditions kept them away from the fighting for much longer than they'd have liked.
  • Decapitated Army: The Northmen being so diverse and having been ruled by House Stark for so long that the North will lose all semblance of coordination and unity should the Starks be missing. During the War of the Five Kings the leadership in the North is decapitated when Theon Greyjoy takes Winterfell and kills "Bran and Rickon Stark" and when Ramsay Snow and the Bolton forces kill Ser Rodrik and his army, before sacking and burning Winterfell, forcing Bran and Rickon who were hiding in the crypt to flee. This throws the North into chaos, preventing a unified and coordinated response from the remaining northern lords and forces to the Ironborn invasion. Later Roose Bolton decapitates the remaining northern armies by murdering Robb Stark at the Red Wedding.
  • Demoted to Dragon: The Starks reduced the Boltons, Umbers, Dustins, Glovers and Lockes to vassals. The Starks then surrendered to the Targaryens and became Wardens.
  • The Dreaded: The inhabitants of Skagos, where even the most fearsome smugglers fear to go, and whom Roose Bolton has no wish to learn more of.
    • The crannogmen also qualify, as they are pretty much the sole reason why the North is all but impossible to invade. The best solution anyone's come up with is to simply circumvent the Neck entirely. That's right, even the Ironborn are terrified of facing them, mainly because they employ various poisons which lead to cruel and unusual deaths for anyone stupid enough to try and conquer them. Just ask Ralf Kenning. Roose Bolton is also extremely wary of them, and travels with a decoy while in the Neck, largely because of the Reeds' Undying Loyalty to the Starks.
  • The Federation: They might be one of the Seven Kingdoms on paper, and also quite willing to chance it alone again as a single kingdom under one technically autocratic king; but, in practice, they're more like a loose confederation of states (in this case: Houses) that have collectively agreed that the Starks have earned the role they initially took by force as the arbitrators of internal disputes. After centuries of decent enough management, it makes sense that they are willing to call the head of the family "lord" or "king" and will generally look where they look. This makes the rulership of the Starks generally rather less autocratic than most in the South would expect of Lords Paramount or Kings of Winter. Disregarding the local consensus by refusing to reach out when they make their decisions or rulings is a quick way for any Stark to simply get ignored, undermined or plain side-lined in favour of the next Stark who comes along. Which is amply demonstrated with Roose Bolton's attempted coup of the region: the political consensus is quite firmly against him, thus he gets a boat-load of uphill work for his trouble. Had he had the opportunity to focus more on the community aspects of the North, he'd have had a better chance of getting the change accepted. As it is, Ramsay forced his hand quite a bit, so buttering the neighbours up properly just couldn't happen, and the resulting crackdowns, mismanagement and turmoil feed even further into the region's division. Which is costing House Bolton dearly. The North does not take kindly to having its opinions and traditions squished.
  • The Golden Rule: All of the North, including over the Wall, has this as the cardinal rule from which others derive. The upshot is: stick to the rules and act with honor and others will deal well with you. Break the rules or do something heinous, and those you hurt or disgust come after you with a vengeance.
  • Going Native: House Manderly was originally a Reach house, with them still worshiping the Faith of the Seven and having a knightly tradition, before settling and integrating itself in the North and becoming some of the most loyal vassals to the Starks. Also many of Cape Kraken and Sea Dragon Point inhabitants are descendants of the Ironborn but are fully assimilated within the North.
  • Good Old Ways: "We keep the old gods." This also applies to some of the North's more barbaric practices like flaying and the rite of the First Night.
  • Grim Up North: By reputation. The region is the northernmost formally settled land in the known world (aside from the island of Ib); in contrast, the lands beyond the Wall are even grimmer, but are neither properly charted nor have proper human establishment (as the Wildlings are nomadic).
  • Had to Be Sharp: The people of the North are of this opinion about their homeland, with the people getting tougher the farther north you go. By the same token, the wildlings see the Northmen as soft, pampered southerners.
  • Human Sacrifice: At some point in their history, Northmen practiced blood sacrifices before the weirwood trees.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: Cannibalism is rumored to be practiced by the inhabitants of Skagos. One of the biggest pieces of evidence for this comes from The Edge of the World, a collection of tales and legends of the North written by Maester Balder, a member of the Night's Watch who command Eastwatch-by-the-Sea during the reign of Lord Commander Osric Stark. Among the tales recorded by Balder is the Feast of Skane, in which a Skagosi fleet sacked the smaller island of Skane for a fortnight, raping and kidnapping the women of the island while killing and cooking the men. The truth of the tale is unknown, but the island of Skane, while currently uninhabited, shows clear signs that people once lived there and that a battle occurred on the island. The North draws a very clear line between this kind of thing and occasionally having to resort to eating the already dead in order to survive famine.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: It's First Man custom that "the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword".
  • Lord Country: The Cerwyns and Hornwoods.
  • Metallic Motifs: Iron (strength and simple practicality) and bronze (antiquity and tradition) are both strongly associated with the North.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: Cannibalism as an everyday affair isn't exactly welcomed with open arms in most of Westeros. But, there isn't as strong a taboo against it as you'd think. The North, however, has even less of one than most regions of the Kingdom. Harsh winters mean harsh measures sometimes need taking, and the culture reflects this. When Stannis has men executed for resorting to deliberate cannibalism once the supplies run beyond dangerously low, the Northern contingent of his army only don't argue against the death penalty because 1) it seems the culprits might, maybe, perhaps (if you squint) have murdered for that cookpot as opposed to having been pragmatic about a death and 2) nobody particularly felt like burning at the stake for speaking out against the Queen's Men for being ridiculously zealous by Northern standards. Mainly #2.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • During the War of Five Kings, smallfolk report northern soldiers burning villages, killing innocents, and raping women just like southern soldiers. A Dance With Dragons reveals they are not above the cutthroat politics typically associated with the southern court. However, the lord that is most adept at scheming (Wyman Manderly) is of Southern descent.
    • And to the wildlings. Frankly, the Northern culture and political structure is, underneath it all, mostly the same deal. For all they have lords and keeps, they've done the same thing the Thenns have, while still keeping a strong, consensus-based form of politics. The northmen and wildlings are both descendants of the First Men, worship the Old Gods, and have very similar value systems. In fact, the northmen have more in common with the wildlings than with the southrons, but you try telling that to either side...
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Do unto others what others do unto you or yours. And, if they've done an outright evil, you're more than justified in returning it, according to their traditions. In fact, it's a moral imperative to return like with like. This has a habit of turning into a Cycle of Revenge if brakes aren't applied, though — and, one of the most important of those brakes is Sacred Hospitality. If in doubt, though, they get House Stark to play referee if it looks like things could escalate beyond stupid levels.
  • Posthumous Character
    • House Greystark of Wolf's Den was a rebellious cadet branch of the Starks that was wiped out. Their lands was passed around other Houses until it was finally given to the Manderlys who turned it into White Harbor.
    • House Woodfoot was exterminated by the Ironborn when they took over Bear Island.
    • There's also the houses of Amber, Greenwood, Fisher of the Stony Shore, Flint of Breakstone, Hill, Frost, Ryder, and Towers, who were either vanquished or subjugated by House Stark in the multiple conflicts after the Long Night which led them to become Kings in the North.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Worship of the Old Gods is taken very seriously among the mountain clans, even more so than in the rest of the North.
  • The Remnant: The North is considered the last stronghold of The First Men, being the only kingdom that repelled Andal invasions.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Respecting the guest right is a huge deal in the North. Harming someone in your own home after you've shared the customary bread and salt with them is the most heinous thing a man can possibly do, no matter the history between host and guest. The Freys learn this the hard way after the Red Wedding.
  • Shrouded in Myth: The island of Skagos, which is in the Bay of Seals to the east of the Wall.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Subverted. They can't openly proclaim their fury and disgust about the Red Wedding or they'll be accused of treason (again). Though many northern houses such as the Manderlys are plotting and secretly undermining the Iron Throne and its allies.
  • Undying Loyalty: Except for the Boltons most of the Northern houses are historically loyal to House Stark and this tradition carries to this day. It speaks volumes that, during Robert's Rebellion, House Stark is the only major rebel faction to have all of its bannermen's unanimous support.

Great House

    House Stark 

House Stark of Winterfell

"Winter is Coming"
House Stark words

House Stark of Winterfell is one of the Great Houses of Westeros and the principal noble house of the north; many lesser houses are sworn to them. In days of old they ruled as Kings of Winter, but since the Wars of Conquest by House Targaryen, they have been Wardens of the North. Their seat, Winterfell, is an ancient castle renowned for its strength.

Their sigil is a grey direwolf racing across a field of white. Members of the family tend to be lean of build and long of face, with dark brown hair and grey eyes. Several of the POV characters of A Song of Ice and Fire are members of House Stark.

After Robb Stark's death in the Red Wedding, the Starks are considered deposed.

See the House Stark page.

Noble Houses

    House Bolton 

House Bolton of the Dreadfort

"Our blades are sharp"
House Bolton words

House Bolton of the Dreadfort is a noble house from the Dreadfort in the north. They are an old line descended from the First Men and dating back to the Age of Heroes. The Boltons are known for their practice of flaying their enemies.

The Bolton sigil is a flayed man, red on pink.

The Boltons are now considered the Great House of the North after betraying the Starks.

    House Cerwyn 

House Cerwyn of Cerwyn
"Honed And Ready"
Cerwyn house words

House Cerwyn of Cerwyn is a noble house from the north. They are one of the closest bannermen to the Starks, Castle Cerwyn being just a half day's ride from Winterfell, and are among the most powerful as well.

Their blazon is a black battle-axe on silver.

  • Famous Ancestor: Lord Robard Cerwyn, who married Aregelle Stark and had issue.
  • No Name Given: The Lord Cerwyn who was the closest friend of Cregan Stark.

Lord Medger Cerwyn, Lord of Cerwyn

Head of House Cerwyn and Lord of Cerwyn.

  • Bit Character: He appears only a couple of times in a minor role before his death.
  • Distressed Dude: After being badly wounded at the Battle of the Green Fork, Medger is taken captive by the Lannister army and held prisoner at Harrenhal.
  • Due to the Dead: After he passes, the Lannisters allow his body to be taken by the Silent Sisters and returned to the North.
  • Hope Spot: He is one briefly for Arya at Harrenhal, since he is the only Northerner imprisoned there who she knows and who would recognize her. However he dies before she can talk to him.
  • My Nayme Is: Medger as opposed to Edgar.
  • Red Shirt: He has very little personality or traits established before his death.
  • Undying Loyalty: Arya, from what little interaction she had with him during visits to Winterfell, believes he'd help her escape and get back to her family. He dies before this can be put to the test, however.

Lady Jonelle Cerwyn, Lady of Cerwyn

First child and only daughter of Medger Cerwyn. Becomes the head of House Cerwyn when her father and brother are killed.

  • Big Eater: During the feast at Winterfell before the Northern army marches south, Bran Stark notices that she never lifted her eyes from her plate even though she was supposed to be courting Robb.
  • Les Collaborateurs: She is one of the supporters of the Bolton regime, although Roose harbors serious doubts about her loyalty, believing she is likely only loyal due to the weakened state of her house and Castle Cerwyn's close proximity to Winterfell. Given that Cerwyn soldiers who survived Ramsey's massacre at Winterfell joined Stannis' army, those doubts are likely to prove correct.
  • Old Maid: Unmarried and still a maid despite being thirty years old at the start of the series. She is considered well past the age for first marriage by the standards of this world.
  • You Are in Command Now: Lady Cerwyn unexpectedly becomes head of House Cerwyn after her father and younger brother are killed.

Lord Cley Cerwyn, Lord of Cerwyn

"Good morrow, Bran. Or must I call you Prince Bran now?"

Second child and only son of Medger and the heir to Castle Cerwyn. He is friends with the Stark children.

  • Alliterative Name: Cley Cerwyn.
  • Childhood Friends: With the Stark children, though we only see him interacting with Bran.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: He becomes the new head of House Cerwyn following his father's death.
  • Child Soldier: He's only fourteen, but is one of the commanders of the Northern forces that combat the Ironborn invasion of the North.
  • Eye Scream: Gets shot in the eye by an arrow when the Bolton forces turned on the Northerners besieging the Ironmen holding Winterfell.
  • Nice Guy: Unlike most other Northern nobles who pity or have disdain for Bran after he became crippled, Cley treats him as he always has.
  • You're Insane!: Disbelievingly asks Theon Greyjoy if he is mad when he demands that the almost 2,000 Northmen besieging the seventeen Ironborn occupying Winterfell swear loyalty to Balon Greyjoy or be destroyed.

    House Dustin 

House Dustin of Barrowton
"Even here in Barrowton the crows are circling, waiting to feast upon our flesh."
Roose Bolton

A powerful Northern noble house seated at Barrow Hall in the town of Barrowton, from where they rule over the Barrowlands. The claim descent from the First King and the Barrow Kings, who styled themselves Kings of the First Men. They have a few smaller houses sworn to them, including House Stout. Through family ties they are close allies of House Bolton. Their arms portray two rusted longaxes with black shafts crossed, a black crown between their points, on yellow. Their words are not known.

Tropes related to House Dustin:

  • Heroic Lineage: The Dustins claim descent from the First King through the Barrow Kings. According to one legend, the Great Barrow upon which Barrow Hall is built contains the grave of the First King. A book called Passages of the Dead by Maester Kennet claims a curse was placed on the Great Barrow allowing none to rival the First King and that those who tried, including the Barrow Kings, would be made weakened and corpselike.
  • Theme Naming: Everything they rule has "barrow" in the name.

Lady Barbrey Dustin (née Ryswell), Lady of Barrowton

"The day I learned that Brandon was to marry Catelyn Tully, though... there was nothing sweet about that pain. He never wanted her, I promise you that. He told me so, on our last night together... but Rickard Stark had great ambitions too. Southron ambitions that would not be served by having his heir marry the daughter of one of his own vassals."

Current head of House Dustin and Lady of Barrowton. Daughter of Lord Rodrik Ryswell and a close ally of Roose Bolton (being his sister-in-law). Her personal sigil is the quartered sigil of House Dustin with the golden horsehead of her father Rodrik Ryswell. Lady Barbrey is known in the North for her cold demeanor, no-nonsense attitude and is introduced as having a long list of personal grievances against Ned Stark.

  • Always Second Best: Her proposed marriage to Brandon Stark was blocked in favour of Catelyn's hand. She then married Willam Dustin instead, and when her sister, Bethany, married Roose Bolton, she switched her allegiance to the second most powerful house of the North.
  • Ambiguous Situation: An in-universe example: did Brandon Stark really love her and want to marry her, or is that just a line he used to get her to sleep with him, like many other men might have done?
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Or, at least, very, very bitter.
  • Arranged Marriage: To Willam Dustin. They had been married less than half-a-year when Willam went to fight in Robert's Rebellion. She did not make herself illusions regarding her short marriage to Lord Willam, she argues that they would have been happy had they had the time... but he went South when Ned called the banners.
  • The Baroness: Of the Rosa Klebb type.
  • Les Collaborateurs: One of the few voluntary supporters of the Bolton regime.
  • Create Your Own Villain: She would have been loyal to the Starks due to her love of Brandon Stark if Eddard Stark had simply brought her husband's bones back to the North instead of burying him in Dorne.
  • Desecrating the Dead: She means to feed Ned's bones to her dogs because he brought his sister's bones north but not her husband's. She considers this fair retribution.
  • Enemy Mine: She switched her allegiance from the Starks to the Boltons (their historic rivals) due to the fact that Ned Stark left her husband's remains at Dorne with a half-assed explanation and showing no intention of ever going to retrieve them.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Hates Ramsay Snow, suspecting him in the death of her nephew, Domeric Bolton. Though they are allies, she's not a big fan of Roose either. She also dislikes the Freys, having lost men at the Red Wedding, and reminds them that "the North remembers". She also disapproves of Ramsay's treatment of 'Arya', noting that Ramsay openly abusing his wife is enraging the Stark loyalists in Roose's ranks to the point of near revolt, not to mention hates Ramsay for killing her ward, Bolton's trueborn son Domeric, of whom she was fond.
  • Evil Is Petty: She vows to make sure that Ned's bones are never buried in Winterfell out of spite that he did not bring Willam's bones back North with him, only the horse she had given him. She plans to feed Ned's bones to her dogs if she ever finds them:
    Lady Barbrey: Ned Stark returned the horse to me on his way back home to Winterfell. He told me that my lord had died an honorable death, that his body had been laid to rest beneath the red mountains of Dorne. He brought his sister's bones back north, though, and there she rests... but I promise you, Lord Eddard’s bones will never rest beside hers. I mean to feed them to my dogs.
    • She also admits she sent as few men as she possibly could when Robb called the banners without raising Stark suspicions to her loyalty, simply out of dislike for the House.
  • Evil Wears Black: Always dresses in black, and is Roose's one true supporter in the North who would stay with him if the truth ever came out about his participation in the Red Wedding and Ramsay Snow sacking Winterfell.
  • Freudian Excuse: Her hatred of the Starks stems from her previous desire to be a Stark by marrying Brandon Stark, only to have that denied to her despite them being lovers due to Lord Rickard Stark's southern ambitions requiring him to marry Brandon to Catelyn Tully. This was compounded by her eventual husband's bones not being returned to her by Ned Stark, despite him bringing his sister Lyanna's bones back from the south.
  • High Collar of Doom: Several of her outfits are mentioned to have this.
  • Ice Queen: Utterly cold and haughty, she is extremely unapproachable and feared.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: She wanted to be a Stark; she was devoted and loyal to them and she was a good suitor... but they screwed her over again and again. It reached a point where they could not ever make amends with her. Worse, they didn't even try — heck, it's unclear if any who survived even realised she and Brandon even had a thing in the first place, or why treating her with kid gloves was even necessary. So, she turned away from them; never to look back.
  • Iron Lady: According to Theon, Lady Dustin is still a very beautiful woman, though she is the only person in Winterfell who treats him in accordance to his name and office; while she is respectful and graceful, this does not mean that she is a kind woman.
  • Irrational Hatred: She really hates maesters, convinced they are part of a grand conspiracy and are the ones truly in charge of many lords' actions. This stems from Lord Rickard Stark's maester Walys proposing the marriage of Brandon Stark to a Tully. In the series' usual irony, she's right... just not for the reasons she thinks, as the maester's grand conspiracy has more to do with controlling cultural perspectives than governments and not all maesters are keen on it.
  • Not So Above It All: She has spent a lifetime being heartbroken and sorrowful over the fact that she was not allowed to be part of the Stark family. Also, Barbrey might be Roose Bolton's closest ally, but she certainly didn't like losing Dustin and Ryswell men at the Red Wedding; not only that, but she also fiercely hates Ramsay, who she suspects killed her nephew Domeric and she is livid at the fact that Roose did nothing about it.
  • Parental Substitute: To her nephew Domeric Bolton. As she remained a widower, Barbrey came to think of Domeric as her own son. Her anger at Roose (other than losing men at the Red Wedding) comes from the fact that Roose basically sat on his hands doing nothing when Ramsay killed Domeric.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The darker side of the trope. Exhibit A: whatever Frey-murder she has in mind as soon as she gets the chance. Exhibit B: by her lights, Ned's sister didn't have the rank to justify his unconventional, tradition-bucking and too-special treatment of her remains over any of the vassal Lords who fell trying to get her back from Rhaegar. She was merely the headstrong daughter of a ruling lord. So, she is willing to desecrate Ned's remains as part of this trope. Joke's possibly on her: if Lyanna died as an acknowledged Co-Consort and mother to a Targaryen heir-presumptive, she actually did have the rank to be interred in the Stark crypt. See how the Blackwoods treasure the memory of Melissa Blackwood.
  • Pet the Dog: Treats Theon Greyjoy far better than anybody else during the events of A Dance With Dragons, even referring to him as lord at some points. This stems from their once mutual desire to be Starks.
    Barbrey: Why do you love the Starks?
    Theon: I... I wanted to be one of them...
    Barbrey: And never could. We have more in common than you know, my lord.
  • The Resenter: She blames Rickard Stark and his maester for taking her love, Brandon Stark, away from her. She also hates Ned Stark for burying her husband in Dorne and not in the North.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Yup, she's hit the nail on the head: the Citadel isn't as neutral as it claims to be, and many individual maesters follow personal agendas that all too often do include picking sides they technically shouldn't support. She's just wildly wrong with how and why. And, forgets that personal pride usually plays some part, rather than institutional schemes or familial ties: after all, they're just a bunch of people.
  • Slasher Smile: Gives one to Aenys Frey when reminding him that all of the Northern houses lost men at the Red Wedding, including hers. And, that nobody will forgive or forget that — not ever.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Claims she and Brandon Stark were this, with him even having taken her maidenhead, and that he had not wanted to marry Catelyn Tully.
  • Trauma Conga Line: You are removed from the person you love and he is given away to a Southern lady; you marry another man, a decent man, and you enjoy six months of marriage; he travels South to avenge the death of your original lover, his lord father and the kidnapping of his sister when their brother calls for the banners; your husband is killed in battle rescuing the sister; this brother of your original lover says that your husband did a terrific job and that he left his remains waaaay south where they can basically never be found while giving no reason whatsoever for not bringing them... while carrying your original lover's and kidnapped sister's remains. And no, he's never going south to bring them for you. No wonder Lady Dustin hated Ned Stark.
  • The Unreveal: Why she is ruling Barrowton despite being only the widow of the previous lord. Per Westerosi laws, widows are not entitled to the lands of their husbands, as one Ellyn Reyne found out when her Lannister husband die and his brother took over instead of her. A popular fan explanation is that Ned let her keep it in memory of her husband's good service to him.
  • Woman Scorned: The Starks have unwittingly done everything possible to undermine her and her position, as she has been the unintended victim of their political decions and logistical moves. Her primary motive for anger is the seething anger caused by the rejection of her betrothal to Brandon Stark.

Lord Willam Dustin, Lord of Barrowton

The former head of House Dustin, killed during Robert's Rebellion.

  • Always Second Best: Invoked. He married Barbrey Ryswell after she was rejected as Brandon Stark's betrothed; Brandon dies at King's Landing and she ended up losing Willam to the Starks as well, earning them her anger.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Ned Stark never disclosed why he left the remains of Lord Willam at Dorne nor why he never brought them back to the North. This was seen as a slight by Barbrey Ryswell, who switched her allegiance to the Boltons.
  • Arranged Marriage: To Barbrey Ryswell. They had been married less than half-a-year when Willam went to fight in Robert's Rebellion.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard Or so Willam thinks, as he helped in the bedding Catelyn to Ned and bawdily commented on her breasts making him wish he had never be weaned.
  • Cool Horse: A great red stallion given to him by House Ryswell as a wedding gift. He rode it to war in the south, and it was the only thing which Ned brought back North to return to Barbrey.
  • The Faceless: Ned Stark has trouble remembering his face.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: His death and the whole situation regarding his remains led to his widow Barbrey to switch the allegiance of the houses Dustin and Ryswell to the Bolton side against the Starks.
  • Last of His Kind: Barbrey never had children with him and no other Dustins have been mentioned in the books, so his keep and lands will most likely become House Ryswell's property. He is at the very least the last Dustin of the house's main line.
  • Posthumous Character: He died years before the series began, but is mentioned by several characters and appears in one of Ned's dreams.
  • Pride: When Ned called his banners, Willam could have sent some of his relatives to fight. Instead, his honor made him go himself.
  • True Companions: With Ned and the other warriors who went to the Tower of Joy.

Historical Dustins

Denys Snow

The Bastard of Barrowtown

A bastard of House Dustin who supported Prince Aegon against his uncle Maegor I Targaryen, dying at the Battle Beneath the God's Eye.

  • Heroic Bastard: Fought against the unlawful succession of Maegor the Cruel, so in the eyes of history, he was this.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: It isn't explained why a bastard from the North would support the prince of a dynasty that, at the time, only nominally held control over his homeland.
  • Token Minority: He was the only Northerner of note that fought on the rebellion against Maegor I Targaryen.

Lord Roderick Dustin

Roddy the Ruin

"Best make an end to these lions before the dragons come."

Lord of Barrowton during the Dance of the Dragons, he was commissioned by Lord Cregan Stark to lead the Northern forces sworn to Rhaenyra Targaryen and became one of her top generals.

  • The Berserker: He and his Winter Wolves were known for throwing themselves headfirst into the worst part of the battle, screaming war cries as they cut through the enemy with little regard for their own lives.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: By the end of his final battle Roderick was covered in his own blood and the blood of many foes.
    Archmaester Gyldayn: As the singers tell it, Lord Roderick was blood from head to heel as he came on, with splintered shield and cracked helm, yet so drunk with battle that he did not even seem to feel his wounds.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Invoked by Roderick at a parley with Criston Cole before the Butcher's Ball; when Cole argued that even though they outnumbered his own forces, many of the northerners would die if battle ensued, Roderick just laughed and told Cole his men would rather die in one last glorious battle than freeze or starve to death with the onset of winter.
    Roderick Dustin: No better way to die than sword in hand.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: At the First Battle of Tumbleton, his shield arm was cut off by Ser Bryndon Hightower, but Roderick retaliated by killing Bryndon and then Lord Ormund Hightower before dying of his wounds.
  • Famous Ancestor: His actions have merited him to go down in the histories of the Seven Kingdoms
  • Four-Star Badass: Commanded 2,000 Northmen who were known as the Winter Wolves, who won several critical battles during the war.
  • Frontline General: As per the norm for Northerner commanders, he fought alongside his men.
  • If You Thought That Was Bad...: Relax, sit back and imagine what would have happened if Cregan Stark had sent more Northmen under the command of Lord Dustin.
  • Long-Dead Badass: He has been dead for nearly around 170 years by the time of A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • Old Soldier: By the time of the Dance Roderick was old and hoary, but no one could deny that he was still a savage combatant.
  • The Paragon: One of the greatest military commanders in the history of Westeros and he isn't from a house that is close to second in the North; the amount of mayhem he gave to the Greens was borderline absurd. Lord Roderick gives a prime example of what a Northern army, even a relatively small one, can accomplish with the right commander and the right drive.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Staunchly refuses to fight Ser Criston Cole in single combat, as the Kingsguard was a sizable opponent; instead, Dustin agreed with Ser Pate of Longleaf's order to riddle Cole with arrows.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: The highest ranked Northern lord who fought in the Dance, and he was one of the most feared and capable commanders on the side of the Blacks.
  • Screaming Warrior: Yandel notes he screamed in battle
  • Straight for the Commander: His strategy at Tumbleton, where he charged at Ormund Hightower and killed him and Bryndon Hightower. Despite dying himself, Roderick's strategy works since Ormund's army doesn't last long past his death.

    House Glover 

House Glover of Deepwood Motte

House Glover of Deepwood Motte is a noble house from the north and is among the principal houses sworn to Winterfell.

Their blazon is silver mailed fist on scarlet. Their words are not mentioned in the books.

See the House Glover page.

    House Hornwood 

House Hornwood of Hornwood
"Righteous in Wrath"
Hornwood House words

The rulers of the Hornwood Forest and other lands that extend west to the White Knife, House Hornwood is a noble house seated at the castle of Hornwood, although they control other castles as well. They are among the principal bannermen of House Stark. The lands of House Hornwood border those of House Bolton to the north and House Manderly to the south. Their sigil is a bull moose, brown on a field of dark orange.

  • Famous Ancestor: Hallis Hornwood, known as Mad Hal, who accompanied Cregan Stark in his journey south. He would later found his own sellsword company alongside Timotty Snow called the Wolf Pack.

Lord Halys Hornwood, Lord of the Hornwood

Head of House Hornwood and Lord of the Hornwood.

  • Alliterative Name: H's.
  • Nice Guy: He's referred to several times as being very jovial and friendly.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: The death of him and his son kicks off a major subplot in ''A Clash of Kings" as various Northern houses begin fighting over his lands and widow.
  • Red Shirt: He appears in one scene before dying during the Battle of the Green Fork.

Lady Donella Hornwood (née Manderly), Lady of the Hornwood
"I am past my childbearing years, what beauty I had long fled, yet men come sniffing after me as they never did when I was a maid."

Wife of Halys and head of House Hornwood after he and her son die.

  • Autocannibalism: She chewed on her own fingers while imprisoned in a tower, reportedly having gone mad from hunger — although, given what we know from Theon/Reek, it is more likely that Ramsay flayed her fingers and she tried to bite them off since that was preferable to the pain she had to endure.
  • Comforting the Widow: Numerous Northern lords try to get permission to woo her mere days after her husband dies. The only one she shows any possible liking towards is Ser Rodrik Cassel, but as a household knight from a minor House he is not a suitable match for the widowed lady of a respectable House. Unfortunately for her, Ramsay Snow doesn't ask for permission.
  • Courtly Love: She and Rodrik Cassel get on quite well, with Donella even entertaining the prospect of marrying him. It never goes beyond this due to their different social rankings.
  • Damsel in Distress: She gets locked in a tower by Ramsay, leading Ser Rodrik to lead a force to rescue her. Unfortunately they're too late, and find her starved to death and having eaten four of her own fingers to try and stay alive.
  • Defiant to the End: Even though Ramsay captured her, forced her to marry him and then locked her in a tower to starve to death, she called him a Snow (his bastard surname, which he hates) to his face at least once before she died.
    Ramsay: Snow, my wife called me before she ate her fingers, but I say Bolton.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The deaths of her husband and son put her right on the edge of it, with Bran noting she seems to be a "pale husk" when first meeting her. At that point she was still able to carry out her duties as head of House Hornwood, but then Ramsay came along and finished the job of pushing her over the horizon.
  • Deus Angst Machina: First her husband and child are killed, then several Northern nobles begin plotting to take her lands, with varying degrees of concern for her own wishes in the matter. The one who succeeds is Ramsay Snow, who forces her to marry him (and presumably rapes her to consummate the marriage) then locks her in a tower where she starves to death — though not before she starts going mad and turns to eating parts of herself in a desperate bid to stay alive long enough to be rescued. All of which takes place within the span of a few weeks or months.
  • Fingore: When Roderick tries to free her, he finds her dead with missing fingers and a bloody mouth. It's left ambiguous if she ate them to try and ward off starvation or if Ramsay flayed those fingers and she chewed them off to stop the pain.
  • Girl in the Tower: A nightmarish iteration of the trope, and proof positive that you don't just have to be a silly spring chicken to wind up on the wrong side of it.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: She loses her only son to the War of the Five Kings.
  • Silver Vixen: She's past childbearing years, but noted as still quite attractive.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: If Barbrey Dustin is to be believed, the men loyal to House Hornwood are just biding their time for an opportunity to avenge themselves on Ramsay for their lady's murder.
    Barbrey Dustin: Do you imagine the Hornwood men have forgotten the Bastard's last marriage, and how his lady wife was left to starve, chewing her own fingers?
  • Trauma Conga Line: Poor Donella could not catch a break once the war began.
  • Unwanted Harem: She has multiple suitors all vying for her hand, although what they really want is her claim to Hornwood.

Daryn Hornwood

Eldest child of Halys and heir to House Hornwood. He is slain by Ser Jaime at the Battle of the Whispering Wood.

  • Arranged Marriage: He had been arranged to marry Alys Karstark before his death.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: One of Robb Stark's personal guards, which put him in the path of Ser Jaime Lannister at the Battle of the Whispering Wood.
  • My Nayme Is: Daryn instead of Darren.
  • Red Shirt: Has no established personality or any other role in the plot aside from getting killed, which helps trigger the troubles of House Hornwood.

Larence Snow

Bastard son of Halys Hornwood. A ward of Galbart Glover.

  • Badass in Distress: He's taken captive by Asha Greyjoy after the fall of Deepwood Motte.
  • The Ghost: He has yet to make an appearance in-story.
  • Last of His Kind: Although he is a bastard, he is the last male alive with Hornwood blood who does not belong to another house.

    House Karstark 

House Karstark of Karhold

"The Sun of Winter"
House Karstark words

House Karstark of Karhold is a noble house from Karhold in the north. They are a cadet branch of their overlords, the Starks of Winterfell, and are among their principal bannermen. Karstarks are big, fierce men, bearded and long-haired, with brown hair and blue-grey eyes, and favor wearing cloaks made of the pelts of seals, bears, and wolves. Their blazon is a white sunburst on black.

    House Locke 

House Locke of Oldcastle

A noble house seated at castle Oldcastle, on the northern shore of the Bite, southeast of White Harbor. They once ruled as kings before being reduced to vassals by House Stark. They were among the houses who held the Wolf's Den, charged by House Stark with defending the mouth of the White Knife for two centuries.

Their banner is two bronze keys crossed on a white pale on purple. Their words do not appear in the text.

  • Better the Devil You Know: A member of House Locke at the Merman's Court invokes this trope, pointing out that while a cold sadist, Roose Bolton is infinitely more preferable as Warden of the North to his psychopathic bastard Ramsay.
    House Locke member: Roose Bolton's cold and cunning, aye, but a man can deal with Roose. We've all known worse. But this bastard son of his...they say he's mad and cruel, a monster.
  • Famous Ancestor:
    • Lady Lysa Locke was the wife of Lord Benjen Stark, and mother of two Starks, Rickon and Bennard.
    • Lady Marna Locke, the wife of Lord Edwyle Stark and mother of Rickard Stark.

Lord Ondrew Locke, Lord of Oldcastle

old Lord Locke

"The gods have turned against us. This is their wroth. A wind as cold as hell itself and snows that never end. We are cursed."

An old man who is the head of House Locke and the Lord of Oldcastle.

  • Animal Motifs: During the wedding of Ramsay Snow and the Fake Arya, aka Jeyne Poole, he reminds Theon of a vulture.
  • Minor Major Character: House Locke is a major vassal house of the North, but Lord Ondrew has thus far had little impact on the series.

Ser Donnel Locke

A knight of unspecified relation to Lord Ondrew.

  • Badass in Distress: He is captured early in the War of the Five Kings, presumably during the Battle of the Green Fork. He is freed at some point and rejoins Robb's army.
  • Bit Character: He has only a couple of minor appearances in the books.
  • Human Pincushion: During the Red Wedding he is felled by multiple crossbow bolts.
  • Red Shirt: Nothing about his personality is established before his death.

Sybbelle Glover (nè Locke)

See the House Glover link above.

Ser Mallador Locke

A knight of House Locke who serves in the Night's Watch.
See the Night's Watch Rangers page.

    House Manderly 

House Manderly of White Harbor

House Manderly of White Harbor is a noble family in the north whose seat is the New Castle in the city of White Harbor. They are among the most powerful and loyal vassals of House Stark as well as the richest northern family due to their control of the only city in the region. Unlike most other northern houses, the Manderlys follow the Faith of the Seven instead of the old gods, as the family emigrated from the Reach after the Andal invasion.

The Manderlys' blazon is a white merman with dark green hair, beard and tail, carrying a black trident, over a blue-green field. Their words do not appear in the books, neither has George R. R. Martin submitted them in semi-canon material. Manderly guards wield tridents instead of spears.

    House Mormont 

House Mormont of Bear Island

"Here We Stand"
House Mormont words

House Mormont of Bear Island is an old, proud, and honorable house of the north, one of the principal families sworn to House Stark. Their seat is at Bear Island, located in the Bay of Ice far to the north-west of Winterfell. Their blazon is a black bear over a green wood.

    House Reed 

House Reed of Greywater Watch

House Reed of Greywater Watch is a noble house from Greywater Watch, and one of the principal families in the north. They rule the crannogmen, small men who live in swamps and marshes in the Neck.

According to semi-canon sources their arms are a black lizard-lion on grey-green. Their motto does not appear in the books.

    House Ryswell 

House Ryswell of the Rills

A noble house that rules the Rills, the extensive area between the Barrowlands and the Stony Shore.

Their blazon is a black horse's head, eyes and mane red, on bronze within a black engrailed border. Their words are not mentioned in the books.

Tropes related to House Ryswell:

  • Alliterative Name: Lord Rodrik Ryswell and his three sons: Roger, Rickard, and Roose.
  • Born in the Saddle: Their sigil, and the mention of Willam Dustin's horse (a gift from Lord Rodrik) imply this.
  • Famous Ancestor
    • An unnamed Lord Ryswell and his son are at the center of the story of the 79 Sentinels.
    • Robyn Ryswell became Lady of Winterfell but was childless.
  • Meaningful Name: Horses and light cavalry are their thing. So... the vast majority of them are expected to ride well. Geddit?
  • "Near and Dear" Baby Naming: Roose Ryswell was named after his brother-in-law, Roose Bolton.

Lord Rodrik Ryswell, Lord of the Rills

Lord of the Rills and the head of House Ryswell in the North.

  • Alliterative Name: R's.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Lord Rodrik may be one of Roose Bolton's allies, but he is disgusted by the Red Wedding and hostile towards House Frey.
  • The Quisling: One of the first to accept Bolton rule.
  • Social Climber: Married off one of his daughters to Roose Bolton, and plotted to marry the other off to a Stark of Winterfell. He also named one of his sons after Roose.

Ser Mark Ryswell

A knight of House Ryswell. It is currently unknown how he is related to the current Ryswells.

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Remembered as soft spoken and gentle, but those qualities aren't what made him a knight.
  • The Faceless: Ned Stark has trouble remembering his face.
  • Odd Name Out: The only male Ryswell whose first name doesn't begin with an R.
  • Posthumous Character: Died fighting alongside Eddard Stark at the Tower of Joy.

Lady Bethany Bolton (née Ryswell)

Older daughter of Lord Rodrik and sister of Lady Barbrey. She was the second wife of Roose Bolton. They had one son, Domeric.

Lady Barbrey Dustin (née Ryswell)

See House Dustin above.

    House Tallhart 

House Tallhart of Torrhen's Square
"Proud and Free"
Tallhart house words

A noble house seated at Torrhen's Square, a wooden fortress to the south of the Wolfswood and southwest of Winterfell. It is one of the principal houses sworn to House Stark.

Their arms show three green sentinel trees, over a brown field.

According to a semi-canon source, the Tallharts descend from the First Men.

Ser Helman Tallhart, Master of Torrhen's Square

Head of House Tallhart and the Master of Torrhen's Square. He has two children: his son and heir Benfred and daughter Eddara. Killed at the Battle of Duskendale.

  • Colonel Badass: He's a competent commander and given command of the reserve force at the Twins to ensure House Frey's loyalty. Later he joins Roose Bolton's host and functions as one of the North's infantry commanders.
  • Killed Offscreen: Thanks to Roose's Uriah Gambit.
  • Red Shirt: Given little characterization before his death.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Manipulated by Roose Bolton into marching on Duskendale alongside Galbart Glover, where he and a third of the North's infantry are killed, which requires Robb Stark to make repair his alliance with the Freys, leading to the Red Wedding. Roose spins the march as a reckless action motivated by grief over Helman's son dying and the Ironborn taking Glover's family captive, when he had in fact warned the Lannister's they were coming.

Benfred Tallhart

Son of Helman Tallhart and heir to Torrhen's Square.

  • Appropriated Appellation: His uncle dismissed Benfred and his wannabe battle companions as young rabbits, so they dubbed themselves "Wild Hares" and attached dead rabbits to their spears.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Trying ever so hard to be. Possibly trying a bit too hard, actually.
  • Childhood Friend: He got along well with Robb Stark and Theon Greyjoy whenever he visited Winterfell. He is enraged upon discovering that Theon is leading the Ironborn in raiding the Stony Shore.
  • Defiant to the End: Even when captured, he spits in Theon's face and screams obscenities at him rather than answer his questions.
  • Human Sacrifice: Aeron Greyjoy drowns him as a sacrifice to the Drowned God as punishment for spitting in Theon's face.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: The idiot. In this series, that's just painting a bullseye on your chest.
  • Mauve Shirt: Gets a bit more page time than his dad. Ends up just as dead.
  • Stout Strength: Though young, he's heavily built. It takes two men to hold him down when he's captured. His neck is so thick that Theon mentally remarks that he probably did him a favor by having him drowned rather than beheaded, as he didn't have an experienced headsman in his party.
  • Too Dumb to Live: He and his "Wild Hares" sing loudly while marching and he doesn't send any scouts ahead to an area reported to be under attack by raiders. This gets all his men slaughtered, and when taken before Theon Greyjoy, Benfred spits upon him and insults him, causing Theon to have no choice but to order his execution.
  • War Is Glorious: What he and his companions think after hearing of Robb's victories in the Riverlands. They quickly discover it is not.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Is mentioned early on in A Clash of Kings before appearing in a single chapter in which he is killed.

Eddara Tallhart, Lady of Torrhen's Square

The nine-years-old daughter of Helman Tallhart and the new Lady of Torrhen's Square.

  • A Child Shall Lead Them: She is only nine, but thanks to her father and brother both being killed in the war, she is now the head of House Tallhart.
  • Damsel in Distress: She remains a captive of Dagmer Cleftjaw since the capture of Torrhen's Square by his band of Ironborn.
  • The Ghost: She has yet to make an appearance in the series.
  • Theme Naming: She was named "Eddara" obviously to honor Eddard Stark.

Leobald Tallhart, castellan of Torrhen's Square

Younger brother of Ser Helman Tallhart and castellan of Torrhen's Square. He is married to Berena Hornwood and has two sons with her, Brandon and Beren. Killed by Ramsay Snow's forces when they kill the Northerner's besieging the Ironborn occupying Winterfell.

  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: He is one of several Northerners noted to look upon Bran Stark's broken legs with both pity, disgust, and relief that it is not their son who is crippled.
  • Jerkass: Implied to be a bit of one. His introduction has him insulting House Tallhart's smallfolk as lackwits before moving onto angling for his son Beren to become the new lord of Hornwood, which is hidden beneath a concern for the widowed Lady Donella's wellbeing and the continuation of the Hornwood name.
  • Mauve Shirt: He gets some pagetime in A Clash of Kings before being killed near the end of the book.
  • Number Two: To his brother, serving as the castellan for Torrhen's Square.

Berena Tallhart (née Hornwood)

The wife of Leobald Tallhart and mother of Brandon and Beren Tallhart. She is the sister of Lord Halys Hornwood.

  • Damsel in Distress: Currently being held captive alongside her children and niece by Dagmar Cleftjaw in the Ironborn occupied Torrhen's Square.
  • The Ghost: She has yet to appear in the series.

    House Umber 

House Umber of the Last Hearth

House Umber of the Last Hearth is a noble house from the Last Hearth in the North. They are sworn to Winterfell and House Stark, to whom they are fiercely loyal. The Umber sigil is a roaring giant, brown-haired and wearing a skin, with broken silver chains, on flame-red.

See the House Umber page.

Stark Vassals

These families have no seat and reside with the Starks at Winterfell.

    House Cassel 

House Cassel

A small Northern house in service to the Starks, residing with them in Winterfell. According to a semi-canon source, they blazon their arms with ten white wolf heads on grey with a black border.

Ser Rodrik Cassel

Old Ser Rodrik

The castellan and master-at-arms for House Stark at their stronghold of Winterfell. Killed by Ramsay Snow when welcoming Bolton forces to the siege of the Ironborn at Winterfell, with one of his arms being cut off when reaching out to shake his hand.

  • Action Dad: An experienced knight and notable fighter, veteran of many battles, and father of Beth.
  • Battle Butler: Castellans are essentially butlers for castles, so they have the duties of managing both the household and castle defenses. Bonus points since is also the master-at-arms.
  • Cartwright Curse: Has been married three times, but all his wives have died.
  • Character Tic: Tugging at his braided sideburns. Catelyn is amused when he tries to do it and looks sad when he remembers that he had to shave it off.
  • Cool Old Guy: He's old but a very dutiful retainer of House Stark and a pretty skilled combatant.
  • Courtly Love: Lady Hornwood hints at an interest in him, but as a household knight from a minor House, he is not a suitable match for the widowed lady of a respectable House so he doesn't follow it up. Tragically, Rodrik is the one who breaks down her door to find she's been locked in her room and starved to death by Ramsay Snow.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: He's seen a lot of loss during his life, but doesn't complain about it.
    Maester Luwin: One day you will be a good lord for Winterfell, I think.
    Bran: No I won't. Robb's to marry some Frey girl, you told me so yourself, and the Walders say the same. He'll have sons, and they'll be the lords of Winterfell after him, not me.
    Ser Rodrik: It may be so, Bran, but I was wed three times and my wives gave me daughters. Now only Beth remains to me. My brother Martyn fathered four strong sons, yet only Jory lived to be a man. When he was slain, Martyn's line died with him. When we speak of the morrow nothing is ever certain.
  • Green Around the Gills: He doesn't handle being at sea very well, and Catelyn notes the mere mention of another boat trip causes him to turn green.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Despite his cynicism, he is one of the few examples of this trope in the series. He's also one of the few Northern knights.
  • The Mentor: Trained Robb, Jon, and Theon to fight. Considering how badass the three of them are, he must have been a really good teacher. He had also started training Bran, but Bran's injury stopped that.
  • Old Master: Being the master-at-arms, he's responsible for drilling and training the Stark soldiers at Winterfell, along with the Eddard's sons and Theon Greyjoy.
  • Old Retainer: He's served House Stark his whole life.
  • Old Soldier: He is an elderly warrior, but he still has plenty of fight left in him.
  • Papa Wolf: He is fiercely protective of his only daughter, Beth. When Theon threatens to hang her if Roderik does not surrender, he tries to exchange himself as a hostage instead.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Discussed and inverted. He expresses distaste at men doing things he sees as being for women, particularly singing.
  • Stout Strength: He's described as having the build of a keg.
  • Stroke the Beard: Often tugs at his sideburns during conversation.
  • The Worf Effect: Yohn Royce's mentioned curb stomping of him and Eddard Stark is used to show off how badass a fighter the Lord of Runestone is.

Beth Cassel

The last living daughter of Ser Rodrik Cassel and a friend of Sansa.

  • Childhood Friend: Of Sansa and Jeyne Poole.
  • Damsel in Distress: After the Ironborn capture Winterfell.
  • I Have Your Wife: Theon threatens to hang her unless Rodrik withdraws his forces when besieging Winterfell.
  • Sole Survivor: If she is still alive, she is the last member of House Cassel. Considering that she and the other women at Winterfell were taken as captives to the Dreadfort, chances for her survival seem slim considering Ramsay's hobbies.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: According to the index of A Feast for Crows, she was among the women taken by Ramsay to the Dreadfort. Since then, nothing has been mentioned of her fate. But given what Ramsay likes to do with girls… it’s best not to think about it.

Martyn Cassel

Rodrik's brother, he died during Robert's Rebellion while helping Eddard Stark rescue his sister Lyanna from the Tower of Joy.

Jory Cassel

Captain of Winterfell's Guard, nephew of Ser Rodrik Cassel, and the last surviving son of Martyn Cassel. In A Game of Thrones, he accompanied Lord Eddard Stark to King's Landing, where he was killed by Jaime Lannister's men.

  • Deadpan Snarker: To a minor extent. He's pleased but snide when Ned suggests they might need to start inspecting brothels in King's Landing (to search for Robert's bastards).
    Jory: Is there any other service I might perform?
    Ned: I suppose you'd best begin visiting whorehouses.
    Jory (grinning): Hard duty, my lord. The men will be glad to help. Porther has made a fair start already.
  • Honor Before Reason: He actually fought his way free of the Lannister soldiers, but returned to help the others.
  • The Lancer: To Ned in King's Landing, carrying out a lot of the legwork in the investigation into Jon Arryn's death that Ned cannot be seen doing. Jory is the only person in King's Landing who he trusts enough to share and discuss all the details of his investigation with.
  • Mauve Shirt: One of the more prominent and developed members of the Stark household, he is also the first casualty alongside two of his soldiers.
  • Nice Guy: The Starks are devastated by news of his death, with all of them recalling fond memories of times they spent with him.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: His death sets the stage for much greater losses for the North later on.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: After Arya and her direwolf Nymeria attack Joffrey on the road to King's Landing, Jory leads the Stark guards searching for them. He is the first to find them, and although ordered to bring both Arya and Nymeria back, Jory helps Arya shoo the direwolf away to prevent it from being killed and then swears to Arya that he will not tell anyone they did so, including her father, a promise that Ned confirms he kept when he finds out about it.

    House Mollen 

House Mollen

A minor noble house. According to semi-canon sources, they blazon their arms with a pine tree covered with snow in a pale green pile, on white.

Hallis Mollen, captain of the guards


Member of House Mollen and replacement Captain of the Winterfell Guard after Jory Cassel goes with Lord Eddard Stark to King's Landing.

  • Flanderization: He doesn't display his Captain Obvious tendencies until quite late in the first book, at which point it's lampshaded. After this, most of his lines involve stating the obvious.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: He's sent back North to deliver Eddard Stark's remains to Winterfell, but, with the Ironborn invading, his group's location becomes unknown.

    House Poole 

House Poole

A small noble house that serves the Stark family in Winterfell. Their sigil is a blue plate on white, with a grey tressure.

Vayon Poole, Steward of Winterfell

Head of House Poole, Steward of Winterfell, and father of Jeyne Poole. Accompanied Lord Eddard Stark to Kings Landing, where he was killed in the purge of the Stark household when Ned was arrested.

  • Mauve Shirt: One of the more prominent members of the Stark household before his death.
  • Off with His Head!: He is killed during the purge of the Stark household, and his head is cut off and placed on a spike on the walls of the Red Keep.

Jeyne Poole

Daughter of Vayon Poole and friend of Sansa Stark. She goes with her father to King's Landing, but is taken captive when the Stark household is purged. She is later used by the Lannisters and Boltons as a fake Arya Stark to secure the Bolton’s hold on the North by marrying Ramsay Bolton.

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: She wants to marry a nobleman (at the time, Lord Beric Dondarrion). The Lannisters force her to impersonate Arya Stark and marry the newly-legitimized Ramsay Bolton, who uses her as a sex slave and savagely tortures her.
  • Beta Bitch: She is Sansa's best friend, and they both are known to tease Arya for not being a traditional, highborn lady as well as call her "Arya Horseface" due to her lack of beauty.
  • Break the Cutie: "Broken" doesn't even begin to describe what happens to her. Jesus. First, her father is killed by the City Watch when they betray Ned. Then she is separated from Sansa (her only remaining friend) and disappears. When she finally shows up again, she's passed off as Arya so she can be married to Ramsay Bolton, she's been whipped enough to have a scarred back, and has been... "trained" to service him by Littlefinger. Her screams can be heard throughout Winterfell, and when Mance and his spearwife strike team enlist Theon's help to rescue her, she has multiple bite marks covering her breasts, and her comments reveal that not only has Ramsay been quite ruthless in using her, he's also had her do... other things.
  • Covered with Scars: Her back has numerous whip scars, and that's before Ramsey gets his hands on her.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Forced to pretend to be Arya, on pain of a punishment that even George R.R. Martin won't put down on the page.
  • Eye-Dentity Giveaway: When she's forced to impersonate Arya Stark and marry Ramsay Bolton in her stead, Theon realizes the deception because Jeyne's eyes are brown while Arya's are grey. This is played with, however, in that everyone knows it's a deception, because the real Arya Stark is unaccounted for, last being seen in King's Landing at the time of Ned Stark's execution, and so no one can come out with the truth because there is no other proof.
  • Great Escape: At the end of A Dance With Dragons, she and Theon manage to escape from Winterfell by climbing over its walls and into Stannis' camp.
  • Identity Amnesia: She suffers from this after spending time in Ramsay's loving care, but seems to have started recovering once out of his hands.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: At the end of the feast celebrating her wedding to Ramsay, she has emptied her wine goblet several times. Theon guesses that she's trying to make the imminent bedding easier.
  • I Owe You My Life: To Theon, for storming her out of Winterfell; she is so ecstatic and in such disbelief that she can barely keep repeating to him, "You saved me."
  • Lonely Together: She might be the only romantic love left for Theon in the world.
  • Meaningful Appearance: She has expressive brown eyes. This is a key tip-off to Theon and several other characters that she is not Arya, who inherited the Starks' grey eyes.
  • Prone to Tears: After coming back into the story. She cries a lot and is described as looking terrified most of the time. Not that anyone can blame her.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: She disappears after the Lannisters neutralize the Stark forces in King's Landing and Littlefinger offers to find somewhere to keep her. She reappears impersonating Arya to wed Ramsay, having been forced to work in Littlefinger's brothels the whole time while receiving special "training".
  • Sex Slave: She was made one after Littlefinger sends her to one of his brothels to be "trained" for her impending marriage bed.
  • Shameful Strip: Ramsay orders Theon to cut her wedding dress off of her before he beds her.
  • Sole Survivor: She's the only survivor of the purge of the Stark household members in King's Landing.
  • A Taste of the Lash: When she is stripped for her wedding night, she is revealed to have several scars on her back, implying she was whipped while being trained in Littlefinger's brothel. Poor girl.
  • Too Unhappy to Be Hungry: At her wedding feast, she has no appetite for the slice of pork pie set before her. Good thing, too, because that "meat" in the slice of pie they gave her probably wasn't pork.

Vassals of other Houses

    House Condon 
House Condon is a noble house from the North, sworn to House Cerwyn. They blazon their arms with an eagle's between two crossed tridents, red on white.

Ser Kyle Condon

A knight of House Condon and Lord Medgar Cerwyn's right hand.

    House Stout 

House Stout of Goldgrass

A petty noble house sworn to House Dustin. Their seat is Goldgrass, a small keep near the eastern gate of Barrowton.

Tropes related to House Stout:

  • The Ghost: Ronnel Stout, a warrior who served under Roose Bolton during the War of Five Kings.

Lord Harwood Stout, Lord of Goldgrass

The grizzled old Lord of Goldgrass.

  • An Arm and a Leg: He's missing an arm.
  • Mouth of Sauron: As Lady Dustin has barred Ramsay from Barrow Hall and suspects he poisoned his trueborn half-brother Domeric, it falls to Lord Harwood to host Ramsay at Goldgrass.

Ser Wynton Stout

An elderly knight of House Stout who serves in the Night's Watch.

See the Night's Watch Rangers page.

Other Houses

    House Thenn

House Thenn is a new noble house of the north created in 300 AC.

Their coat of arms combines a bronze disk to honor the Thenn people with red flames to honor the devotees of R'hllor. The sigil echoes the sunburst of House Karstark.

Tropes related to House Thenn:

  • Hidden Backup Prince: Well, ruling house. Between them, Jon, Alys and Sigorn have positioned the Karstark-Thenn alliance to be strong candidate heirs to Winterfell-and-Beyond-the-Wall, not just simply the back-up heirs to Karhold. Just in case House Stark happens to kick the bucket during the crap that's about to hit the North. Think about it; it wouldn't even be the first time Free Folk blood mixed with Winterfell should it come to pass.
  • Foil: The Thenns and their allies show in microcosm more or less the same setup we find in the North. One House held above other families as adjudictors, yet having to work with them. They're basically over-the-Wall Mountain Clans who hit on the same political structure their slightly more southern cousins use. So, in a fit of irony, a Karstark has married a grey-eyed, Stark-like Lord Paramount/ King (Magnar) of a small nation of families from the North... Just, without any of those words ever getting used. No wonder Jon and Alys immediately recognized what they were looking at when it paraded in front of them, when Stannis and others did not.

Sigorn, Magnar of Thenn

The son of Styr, the Magnar of Thenn. He is captured at the battle of the Wall but kneels to King Stannis Baratheon along with most of his men.

  • 24-Hour Armor: Free Folk don't really have a concept of dress clothes — so, Sigorn shows up to his wedding in full bronze plate armour as it's the fanciest suit of "clothes" he owns.
  • Arranged Marriage: Married with Alys Karstark in a move by Jon Snow to keep her from being forcibly married to Cregan Karstark. This makes the new "House Thenn" potential heirs of Karhold should Harrion Karstark be executed or die childless. Then again, it's also possible for Sigorn or, most likely, any of his and Alys' potential spare children to take on the Karstark name while he and Alys jointly run Karhold as stewards until they come of age. There is also a possible claim to Winterfell, as well. The Starks and Karstarks have intermarried fairly often down the years on top of both families springing from the same source to begin with; and, the North knows this. The Thenns, too, can be seen as among the last hold-out kings of the First Men to finally accept Winterfell as being primary (by marrying into the Karstarks). This is not without precedent.
  • Enemy Mine: With the Night's Watch. They killed his father, but he and the Watch need one another in the face of the coming of the Others.
  • God-Emperor: The Thenns view their Magnar as more god than man. Styr personified the concept; Sigorn has inherited the position.
  • Hidden Depths: He looks like another Proud Warrior Race Guy, but can be tender if he wants to and Jon notes that this especially seems to apply to Alys. Once he gets a few glasses of mulled wine into him, he's even willing to dance with his new wife at their wedding feast.
  • Meaningful Appearance: Inherited grey colored eyes from his father. They help add to his serious and older-than-his-years look.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Like most Thenns, he is said to take great pride in his culture's warrior heritage and traditions.
  • The Quiet One: Justified because he speaks only a little of the Common Tongue.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: He looks a lot like his father, right down to the receding hairline.
  • Younger Than He Looks: Because of his receding hair and serious expression, Sigorn looks older than the boy he is.
  • You Are in Command Now: After the death of his father.
  • You No Take Candle: Because he doesn't speak much of the Common Tongue.

Lady Alys Karstark

"You are my only hope, Lord Snow. In your father's name, I beg you. Protect me."

The youngest child and only daughter of Rickard Karstark.

  • Arranged Marriage: Originally betrothed to Daryn Hornwood, but he was killed in the war. Her uncle Arnolf wants her to marry his son Cregan as part of a plot so their branch of the family will inherit Karhold. Once at the Wall, she marries Sigorn, the Magnar of Thenn to prevent it.
  • Brainy Brunette: She is a sharp, smart-witted girl who has her eye on the future of House Karstark and their people, and unlike the rest of her family she is smart enough not to be blinded by revenge or ambition.
  • Deadpan Snarker: A bit of one, yes. She rather enjoys teasing Jon Snow for being so sullen.
  • Determinator: Rides for days in the cold on a dying horse to escape her evil relatives and protect her and her brother's rights to Karhold.
  • Mirror Character: Like Daenerys Targaryen, she is a highborn girl entering a political marriage with a barbarian warlord to get her family's wealth back. But unlike Dany, who had no choice in her marriage because it was made by her brother and Magister Illyrio Mopatis, Alys is making the decision of her own accord, has full agency in her marriage, and is actively working to keep her House politically stable.
  • Nice Girl: By far the nicest Karstark seen so far in the series. Even after Robb executed her father, she remains quite fond of the Starks and understands why Robb did it once Jon explains to her what happened.
  • Plucky Girl: Rides for days along backroads to reach Castle Black, and after only a few minutes to recover some strength she immediately gets down to business with Jon Snow to calmly explain why she is there and ask for help to stop her uncle's plans. Not once does she complain about her situation, and she even throws a bit of snark at Jon about how sullen he seems.
    • And when Jon asks her if she's afraid of marrying Sigorn, she answers that he better be afraid of her. All in all, he's netted himself a spearwife in all but name. Poor bugger: could bode well, actually.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Once she deals with Cregan and exposes Arnolf's deal with Roose Bolton, she becomes the de-facto ruler of House Karstark while her brother remains imprisoned. She immediately takes several very smart steps to strengthen her House. First, she ensures that Stannis will not retaliate against Karhold by marrying Sigorn in a ceremony officiated by Melisandre, which also nets her house two-hundred seasoned warriors as allies. Next, she increases Karhold's ties with the Night's Watch, agreeing to send the elderly men at Karhold who would never live through winter to the Wall so that they could do some good before dying, which helps solve part of the Night Watch's issues with manpower while also making it easier for her remaining people to survive the winter. And, most importantly, she grabbed the Wildling option with the best chance of integrating into the current sociopolitical structure of the North. The Thenns and their allies aren't complete noobs to the idea of inherited responsibility, basically being like Clans such as the Buckets or Flints who got stuck on the wrong side of the Wall.
  • Runaway Fiancé: Flees to Castle Black when her uncle tries to marry her to her cousin Cregan.
  • Take a Third Option: If in doubt, start a new House. With a lot of handy, able-bodied men and women coming along as part of the package.
  • Undying Loyalty: Unlike the rest of her family, she remains loyal to House Stark, and holds no ill will towards Robb for beheading her father. While she misses him, she understands why he had to die and that his murder of two imprisoned squires was wrong.
  • The Wise Princess: What she's shaping up to become.
  • You Remind Me of X: Reminds Jon Snow of his half-sister Arya, and was initially confused for Arya by the Red Woman in her fire visions.
    • Which is Fridge Brilliance. The Starks and Karstarks are distantly related several times over, after all... and Arya has the Stark/Karstark look, as does Jon (aptly explaining why Alys almost immediately snarked at him quite a lot as if he were a brother — because he probably reminds her to some extent of Harrion). Cousins, even quite distant ones, are more likely to look and act like each other than not. See also the horse-faced, dark-haired, grey-eyed Waynwoods.