Benjen Stark

Benjen Stark’s skills and fierceness made him a thorn in the wildlings’ flesh. Mance Rayder travels to Winterfell to study him.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Benjen Stark is the younger brother of Lord Eddard Stark and the first ranger of Night’s Watch. As the youngest child of Lord Rickard Stark, he witnessed his older sister, Lyanna’s kidnap by Rhaegar Targaryen, and the death of his father and older brother, Brandon Stark. After Robert’s Rebellion ended, he joined the Night’s Watch and took his vows. He was to replace Lord Commander Mormont. However, he went missing, and rumors arose he got killed by Others and turned into a wight.

Personal Details

  • Name: Benjen Stark.
  • Place of Birth: Winterfell.
  • Allegiances: House Stark, The Night’s Watch.
  • Culture: Northmen.
  • Religion: The Old Gods of the Forest.
  • Title: First Ranger.
  • Parents: Rickard Stark and Lyarra Stark.
  • Siblings: Brandon, Eddard, Lyanna.
  • Aliases: Uncle Benjen, Ben Stark, The Young Pup.
  • Eye Color: Blue.

Appearance and Character

Benjen Stark is handsome and has blue-grey eyes, a warm face, and a lovely smile. Ben has long legs, which adds more appeal to his looks. He usually dresses in black, the signature look of the Night’s Watch, but on special occasions, he wears a silver buckle, a heavy silver chain, leather boots exceeding his knees, and rich velvet.

Benjen is a kind and compassionate man with a soft face. He enjoys drinking wine and shares distaste for the Lannisters as his brother does. After becoming a man of the Night’s Watch, Benjen’s skills set him apart, and in a short time, he rose to become the first ranger of the Watch. However, he goes missing.


Early Life

Benjen was born to Lord Rickard and Lady Lyarra Stark as their youngest child. When Lord Walter Whent hosted a tourney at Harrenhal, Benjen went along with his brothers and sisters. At the tourney, Benjen offered Howland Reed a horse and armor to challenge some squires who ganged up on him. He later mocked Lyanna for crying when Rhaegar Targaryen sang at the feast marking the beginning of the tourney. While enjoying Harrenhal, a man of the night’s Watch beckoned for more men on the Wall, and Benjen got moved to join. Rhaegar won the tourney, and to everyone’s surprise, he crowned Lyanna Queen of Love and Beuty over his wife, Elia. A year later, he allegedly kidnapped her.

Robert’s Rebellion

After Lyanna got kidnapped by Rhaegar, Brandon Stark and his father, Rickard, marched to King’s Landing to request that the Mad King put his son to death for kidnapping Lyanna. However, King Aerys II Targaryen ordered Brandon and his father to get killed. He then asked Lord Jon Arryn to hand over Eddard and Robert; this led to the beginning of Robert’s Rebellion.

During the war, Benjen remained in Winterfell, and after Aerys died, Eddard returned to the North, and Benjen joined the Night’s Watch. He took his vows in front of the Heart tree close to Castle Black. After joining, Benjen became one of the best fighters in the Watch, his skills set him apart, and he became the first ranger. Mance Rayder, the king of the wildlings, became skeptical of Benjen as he became one of the worst enemies of the wildlings.

Though he joined the Watch, Benjen continued visiting Winterfell. He talked to Jon Snow and Bran Stark and discussed with his brother, Ned, about making the Gift, an area stretching fifty leagues south from the Wall, repopulated again to tackle the wildlings.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

When King Robert Baratheon begins his journey to Winterfell, Eddard sends a message to the Night’s Watch seeking his brother. A feast gets held in honor of the king. Jon Snow asks to become a member of the Night’s Watch. Though Benjen tries to tell Jon he is too young, the lad disagrees, and later, the ranger meets Maester Luwin, who meets Eddard, requesting that Jon become a man of the Watch. Eddard eventually agrees for Jon to join.

After Robert and Eddard leave for King’s Landing, Tyrion Lannister accompanies Jon and Benjen to the Wall. When they reach, the ranger resumes his duties and tells his nephew that once one takes on the black, they forfeit their families and emotional ties. Jeor Mormont, the Lord Commander of the Watch, sends Benjen and six men to search for Ser Waymar Royce, who had not returned from a ranging mission. However, Benjen does not return.

When a while goes without a word from Benjen, Ser Jaremy Rykker and Qhorin Halfhand lead separate parties in search of him. However, no sign of him gets found except the blazes he left behind, which stopped in the stony highlands. Later, Othor and Jafer Flowers’s dead bodies get found. As they accompanied Benjen on his search mission, speculations arose. Later, the corpses get reanimated, and they become wights. More people, including Dywen and Hake, search for Benjen to no avail. Determined to get him either dead or alive, Jeor begins planning for the great ranging.

A Clash of Kings

After Benjen’s disappearance, Thoren Smallwood claims he is the new first ranger. However, Lord Commander Mormont refuses to give him the role. On reaching Craster’s Keep, he asks Craster if he came across Benjen but gets a negative response. Jeor marches to the Fist of the First Men. He, Sam, and the others get attacked by an army of wights.

Appearance in Adaptations

In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Benjen Stark’s character got portrayed by Joseph Mawle. The show version of Benjen had a different story from the books. He appeared in seasons 1, 6, and 7 and starred in 8 episodes. 

Season 6

Bran has a vision where Benjen almost fights with Hodor but is led away by Old Nan. When Bran and Meera Reed get chased by White Walkers, a hooded man with a flaming chain comes to the rescue. The hooded man reveals he got sent by the three-eyed raven. When asked about his identity, he removes the hood revealing himself as Bran’s uncle. He then narrates how White Walkers stabbed him with an ice sword and how he got saved by the Children of the Forest from turning into a White Walker by getting a dragonglass shoved into his chest.

Season 7

When Jon gets left behind by his group, an army of White Walkers march towards him, and a man on a horse arrives and pulls his hood to reveal he is Benjen. He then tells Jon to take the horse and leave. Benjen faces the White Walkers but eventually gets overwhelmed and dies.

Benjen: A Kind-hearted Ranger

Benjen is one of the few characters who is decent and kind. He is always seen with a smile and puts honor and duty above everything else. As the world of A Song of Ice and Fire has many terrible humans who love the stench of bloodshed, Benjen is one of the few exceptions who strives to protect those he loves.


Did Benjen replace Coldhands in Game of Thrones?

Yes. In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Coldhands got omitted, and in his stead, Benjen played the role of taking Meera and Bran to the three-eyed raven. However, there are slight differences between Benjen and Coldhands. The most prominent is that Coldhands seems to be more mysterious than known.

Where is Benjen Stark?

In the latest novel of A Song of Ice and Fire‘A Dance with Dragons,’ Benjen Stark’s whereabouts are unknown. He first disappeared in ‘A Game of Thrones,’ and though many suspects he is Coldhands, many pieces of evidence shows he is not Coldhands.

Did Benjen Stark fight during Robert’s Rebellion?

No. Benjen remained in Winterfell during Robert’s Rebellion. After Rhaegar got killed and Eddard returned to the castle, Benjen became a man of the Night’s Watch.

Is Benjen Stark Coldhands?

Though it is likely possible that Benjen is Coldhands, he is not. Coldhands is a mysterious figure that helps Sam. His appearance poses many questions, and many believe he is Benjen.

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