Eddard Stark

Eddard Stark believed in honor. Though in a cruel world, he remained a man of great character; this led to his death.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Lord Eddard Stark was the Lord of Winterfell and head of House Stark. He was like a brother to King Robert Baratheon, the Demon of the Trident. After Robert began a rebellion against King Aerys II Targaryen, Eddard supported him and fought on the rebels’ side. However, after a calamity struck, he broke ties with his friend as he stated he got engulfed by blind rage.

Eddard Stark Details

  • Name: Eddard Stark.
  • Year of Birth: 263 AC in Winterfell.
  • Year of Death: 299 AC at the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing.
  • Allegiance: House Stark.
  • Parents: Lord Rickard and Lady Lyarra Stark.
  • Siblings: Brandon Stark, Lyanna Stark, Benjen Stark.
  • Aliases: Ned, The Ned, The Quiet Wolf.
  • Titles: Lord of Winterfell, Warden of the North, Hand of the King, Protector of the Realm, Lord Regent.
  • Culture: Northmen.
  • Religion: Old Gods of the Forest.
  • Wife: Catelyn Stark.
  • Children: Robb Stark, Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, Rickon Stark.
  • Foster Children: Theon Greyjoy.
  • Hair Color: Brown.
  • Eye Color: Grey.

Appearance and Personality

Eddard is a handsome man with dark grey eyes and a trimmed beard. He has a long face with long brown hair sprinkled with wisps of grey. When angry, his eyes change in intensity to become much colder, and when he is in a lighter mode, they switch back to becoming warm. Though Ned is handsome, he is less good-looking than his brother, Brandon. However, he is much more relaxed and cool-headed.

While atop his great warhorse, Ned Stark wears clothes made from leather and fur. He occasionally wears linen and a heavy belt made from silver links. On special occasions, he clads in a white velvet surcoat with the direwolf crest of House Stark. For his primary weapon, Ned wields a long sword and a dagger.


Early Life

Eddard Stark was born in Winterfell as the second son of Lord Rickard Stark and Lady Lyarra Stark. As the second son, he had two younger siblings, Lyanna and Benjen. At age 8, he got sent to the Eyrie to foster under Jon Arryn. There he met Robert Baratheon, and soon, they became as close as brothers. 

After maturing, Eddard began spending time at Winterfell and Eyrie. When Robert told him about his intentions of getting married to Lyanna, he traveled to Winterfell with the message. Lord Rickard Stark agreed to wed his daughter to Robert, and soon, Lyanna became his betrothed. 

While at the Eyrie, Robert impregnated a peasant woman, leading to the birth of his first child, Mya. Upon learning what he did, Lyanna lost interest, and even with Eddard stating Robert would change, her desire to wed him waned.

The Tourney at Harrenhal

In 281 AC, Eddard and his siblings, Brandon, Lyanna, and Benjen, traveled to Harrenhal to attend a tourney held by Lord Walter Whent. At the tourney, Lyanna saved Howland Reed, a bannerman of the Starks, after he got jumped by three squires. He and Ned later became close friends.

At the tourney, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen participated in jousting and crowned Lyanna the queen of love and beauty after he won, to the surprise of everyone; this, according to Ned, was the moment all smiles died.

Lyanna’s Kidnap

A year after crowning Lyanna the Queen of love and beauty, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen allegedly kidnapped her. Furious at the crown prince’s actions, Brandon Stark headed to King’s Landing to demand justice. However, he got arrested, and later, his father got summoned, and together, they got killed. After killing Brandon and Rickard, King Aerys ordered Jon Arryn to hand over the heads of Ned and Robert; this led to a rebellion.

Robert’s Rebellion

Upon the Aerys demanding the head of Eddard and Robert, Jon called his banners in a rebellion against the Iron Throne. With Brandon and Rickard dead, Eddard became the Lord of Winterfell, but he had to travel from the Vale of Arryn to the North to call his banners. Eddard journeys through the Mountains of the Moon and the Fingers to reach Winterfell. While crossing the Bite on the sea, he almost drowns but gets rescued by a fisherman’s daughter. He eventually reached Winterfell and called his banners against Aerys.

Upon learning the rebellion was gaining strength, King Aerys banished Lord Meryn, his former Hand, and appointed Jon Connington as the new Hand of the King. After Lord Randyll Tarly dealt Robert a defeat, Connington pursued him into Stoney Sept. Robert Baratheon hid at a brothel long enough for Eddard and Jon Arryn to arrive. Upon their arrival, the Battle of the Bells began, and Jon Connington got defeated. Later, at the Battle of the Trident, Robert killed Rhaegar.

After winning the Battle of the Trident, Eddard headed to King’s Landing to secure the crown from Aerys II Targaryen. Upon reaching the city, he discovered the Lannisters had taken over, and the King was dead. Upon entering the throne room, Eddard saw Ser Jaime Lannister, a member of the kingsguard, on the Iron Throne, with King Aerys dead on the floor. After learning what the knight had done, he charged Robert to send him to the Night’s Watch. However, Robert’s blind rage made him forgive Jaime. Eddard became furious with Robert for sparing the Lannisters after they killed Elia Martell and her children. His anger caused him to leave King’s Landing.

Upon leaving King’s Landing, Eddard traveled to Storm’s End, where he liberated Stannis Baratheon and his men, who got fed by the smuggler Davos. He then traveled to the Red Mountains of Dorne with six men. At the tower of joy, he found that Lyanna got guarded by three members of the kingsguard, Oswell Whent, Ser Arthur Dayne, and Gerold Hightower, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.

A fight ensued, and all the men, except Eddard and Howland Reed, survived. Upon getting into the tower, he found his sister, Lyanna, dying. Before giving up the ghost, Lyanna made Eddard promise to keep an unknown secret. After Lyanna died, Eddard buried her in the crypts of Winterfell. After returning to Winterfell, Benjen joined the Night’s Watch.

Recent History

Upon returning to Winterfell, Eddard became its new lord in place of his older brother Brandon. When he brought a bastard son, Jon, to the castle, Catelyn Tully, his wife, got angry that her husband fostered a child with another woman. In 289 AC, Lord Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands declared independence from the Iron throne, sparking the Greyjoy’s Rebellion.

Eddard traveled to the Iron Islands, and after Balon lost his sons in the siege of Pyke, he surrendered. Upon losing, Eddard took Theon Greyjoy, Balon’s son, to prevent him from rebelling against the throne.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

When Gared, a man of the Night’s Watch, gets captured for deserting, Eddard and his children head to kill him for breaking the law. Upon returning from the act, Eddard’s children find six direwolf pups, and though he decides to kill them, they convince him to do otherwise. Catelyn meets him in the godswood and reveals that Jon Arryn is dead. She also tells Ned that Robert Baratheon is on his way to Winterfell.

Upon reaching the castle, Robert Baratheon asks Ned to become the new Hand of the King. Though he tries to reject the offer, he ultimately agrees. After Ned agrees to become the Hand of the King, Robert suggests that his son, Joffrey, marry Sansa. Before leaving for King’s Landing, Catelyn tells her husband of the letter she received from Lysa Arryn, her sister, stating that the Lannisters were responsible for Jon Arryn’s death.

Meanwhile, Jon Snow decides to join the Night’s Watch. Though he chooses to go with his son, Bran, and daughters, Bran gets thrown off a tower by Jaime after he sees him and Queen Cersei Lannister, his sister, sleeping together. The royal court waits for a fortnight but leaves when Bran slips into a coma.

On the journey to King’s Landing, Robert and Ned learn of Daenerys Targaryen’s wedding to Khal Drogo, and Robert gets enraged. During a training session with Mycah, Arya and Joffrey get into an argument. When Arya’s direwolf, Nymeria, injures Joffrey, his mother demands that one direwolf get killed. With no trace of Nymeria, Sansa’s direwolf, Lady, gets killed instead.

Upon reaching King’s Landing, Ned begins investigating the death of Lord Jon. He calls the small council to a meeting and discovers the city is indebted to Braavos and Casterly Rock. After the meeting, Lord Petyr Baelish takes Ned to see his wife, Catelyn. She tells him an assassin tried to kill Bran, but she traced the dagger to Tyrion Lannister.

When Cersei travels back to the North, she arrests Tyrion Lannister at the Inn of the Crossroads; this makes his father, Lord Tywin Lannister, call his banners and begin raiding the Riverlands. When Eddard learns that Tywin is raiding, he sends Lord Beric Dondarrion to execute Ser Gregor Clegane.

Later, Ned’s investigation makes him read ‘The Lineages and Histories of The Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms, With Descriptions of Many high Lord and Noble Ladies and Their Children.’ From the text, he realizes that Cersei’s children are all illegitimate. Upon confronting her, she reveals that Jaime fathered all her children. She then plans the assassination of her husband. 

When Robert gets injured by a wild boar, he dies, and Eddard takes over as Lord Regent. He sends a letter to Stannis stating he is the true King. However, before he can take control, Cersei makes her son King and kills the Starks, including Jory Cassel. Sansa gets detained, but Arya runs away with the help of Syrio Forel.

Lord Varys visits Eddard in the dungeons and convinces him to confess to treason for the sake of his daughters. However, King Joffrey orders Ser Illyn Payne to kill him. When Robb Stark learns of his father’s death, he raises his banners and gets crowned King in the North.

Appearance in Adaptation

In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Eddard’s character got portrayed by Sean Bean. He appeared in seasons 1, 6, and 7 and starred in 19 episodes. In the series, Eddard follows the same story arc as the books. He discovers Cersei’s illegitimacy but gives her time to leave the city, and instead, she orchestrates her husband’s murder. After getting arrested, Ned gets beheaded.

Eddard Stark: The Man who Honor Killed

A Song of Ice and Fire perfectly portrayed a grey world where good did not always prevail. A character George R. R. Martin uses to show how brutal his world gets is Eddard Stark. As a young man, Eddard was courageous and honorable. However, he was too good for a world of dirty politics. Even when he had the chance to save King’s Landing from future turmoil, he decided to be honorable than do what was necessary; this led to the War of the Five Kings and his death.


Who betrayed Eddard Stark?

Eddard Stark got betrayed by Lord Petyr Baelish, the master of coin. Because of Petyr’s betrayal, he got imprisoned. Later, Lord Varys advised him to admit to treason for his daughter, Sansa; this led to his getting killed. Though his primary betrayer was Petyr, Sansa also partially betrayed her father as her revealing his plans to send her back home to Cersei made her move on the Starks.

Was Eddard a good swordsman?

Though he was nowhere near Ser Arthur Dayne, Barristan Selmy, and Jaime Lannister, Eddard was a capable warrior. He was a skilled fighter and a good commander.

Why was Eddard Stark killed?

Eddard Stark got killed because he knew Cersei’s children were illegitimate. If he had remained alive, there would be no way Joffrey would have ascended the Iron Throne.

Was Eddard too righteous?

Yes, though Eddard was honorable, he was too righteous; this led to his death because he could have seized the Iron Throne and waited for Stannis Baratheon to arrive and claim his rightful position. Also, his giving Cersei time to leave King’s Landing gave her the time to kill her husband.

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