House Stark of Winterfell is one of the great houses in Westeros. It is the primary house in the North, and before the arrival of Aegon Targaryen, it ruled as the King of Winter. As the descendants of the First Men, the Starks had a close history with the mythical beings of Westeros, including the Children of the Forest and Giants. They even started worshiping the Old gods of the Forest after the Children. Though most of the weirwood trees got cut in southern Westeros, there are still quite a few in the North.
House Stark Details
- Name: House Stark.
- Sigil: A running grey direwolf on a white field.
- The Seat of Power: Winterfell (formerly).
- Region of Power: North (previously), Riverlands (past).
- Current Head: Bran Stark (legally).
- Heir: Rickon Stark (legally).
- Titles: Kings of Winter (formerly), King of the Trident (previously), Lord of Winterfell (onetime), Warden of the North (before), King in the North (earlier).
- Ancestral Weapon: Ice (destroyed).
- Bannermen: House Greystark (extinct), House Karstark.
- Year Founded: Age of Heroes.
- Founder: Bran the Builder.
- Words: “Winter is Coming.”
The Starks have long faces, grey eyes, and brown hair. They are renowned for their iciness. They get called “wolf blood,’ for having hot bloodiness. Recently, members of House Stark, Arya Stark, Jon Snow, and Bran Stark have an ability called warging. They can enter their direwolves and see through their eyes while sleeping. However, Bran is the strongest of all as he can warg into the mind of a human.
The Starks worship the Old Gods of the Forest instead of the Seven of the Faith like the rest of the Seven Kingdoms. They have a different culture than those of the South. As with the Old gods, the weirwood tree is sacred, and there is a godswood in Winterfell.
When a House Stark member dies, they get buried in the crypts below Winterfell. Though the Starks get buried there, only past Kings or lords get a statue of themselves and a wolf, except Lyanna Stark and Brandon Stark. On the lap of the Kings and lords’ sculptures are swords; this gets used to ensure the spirits of the dead are at rest.
After the creation of the Night’s Watch, the Starks became heavy supporters of the brotherhood. Many members of House Stark joined the Watch, and the youngest Lord Commanders have been the sons, brothers, or bastards of the Kings of Winter.
House Stark got founded during the Age of Heroes by Brandon the Builder. The great founder also constructed Winterfell and the Wall, with other stories connecting him to Hightower and Storm’s End. After the construction of Winterfell, the Starks became the Kings in the North for eight thousand years. During their reign, they fought against other rivals like the Red Kings of Dreadfortand the Barrow Kings.
According to legend, the mysterious Night’s King was a member of House Stark. After House Bolton, the Red Kings, ended their flaying ways and swore loyalty to the Starks, King Jon Stark fought against the pirates in the White Knife. After chasing them away, he constructed the Wolf’s Den, a stronghold that later became the stronghold for a branch of the Stars, the Greystarks. King Jon’s son, Rickard, fought the Marsh King and defeated him, bringing the Neck, governed by House Reed, under Winterfell’s reign.
The Arrival of the Andals
When the Andals arrived in Westeros, they tried to conquer the North. However, King Theon Stark combined forces with the Boltons and fought against Argos Sevenstar in the Battle of the Weeping Water. The war ended in the Starks’ favor. After defeating the Andals, Theon traveled to Andalos, where he pillaged in retaliation. He later fought the ironborn, conquering the Three Sisters and taking Bear Island. However, King Loron Greyjoy retook the places subjugated by Theon. After Loron’s death, King Rodrik Stark retook Bear Islands in an alleged wrestling match.
The Starks went to war against House Arryn from the Vale when they tried retaking the Three Sisters. The conflict continued for a thousand years but ended in favor of the Arryns. When House Manderly got driven away from the Mander by Lord Lorimar Peake during Perceon III Gardener’s reign, they traveled to the North, where the Starks took them in and gave them the Wolf’s Den; this led to the creation of White Harbor.
When Karlon Stark fought and defeated a rebel lord, he got a gift of land. He created Karhold, and soon his descendants became the Karstarks. On Wall, House Stark helped the Night’s Watch fight many wildlings. They defeated Gendel and Gorne, the Kings-Beyond-the-Wall.
When Aegon I Targaryen began a conquest of Westeros, King Torrhen Stark raised thirty thousand men against him. However, he knelt to Aegon after learning of the dragons’ burning of Harrenhal and the Field of Fire. The Starks then got reduced to Wardens of the North, and for the next one hundred years, they did not partake in the politics of King’s Landing, including the fights among members of House Targaryen.
After Maegor Targaryen’s death, King Jaehaerys Targaryen sent his supporters to the Night’s Watch. Though the Starks briefly interacted with the Targaryens, they never had a relationship. When Queen Alyssan tried granting the New Gift to the Night’s Watch, Lord Alaric Stark showed constraint, as he knew the lords of the North would get angry about the land taken from them. However, the smallfolk of the North warmed up to the South when the Targaryens constructed the Kingsroad.
The Dance of the Dragons
During Lord Ellard Stark’s reign, the Great Council convened to discuss Jaehaerys’s successor. Ellard was one of only two great houses to support Laenor Velaryon. After King Viserys I Targaryen died, Queen Alicent and Ser Cristone Cole made Aegon II King leading to Civil War. During the war, Price Jacaerys Velaryon met with Lord Cregan Stark for aid; this became the Pact of Ice and Fire.
Cregan supported the Blacks and arrested supporters of Aegon II on arriving at King’s Landing. After the Civil War, a great winter came upon the North and lasted six years. In 132 AC, the North got struck by the Winter Fever, and during that time, the wildings invaded. However, Cregan rallied with other noble houses of the North and fought against the invaders.
When Brandon Stark got arrested by King Aerys II Targaryen after Lyanna Stark allegedly got kidnapped by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, his father, Lord Rickard Stark, traveled to Kings Landing to get his son. However, the King killed them and ordered Lord Jon Arryn to bring the heads of Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark; this led to a rebellion against the Iron Throne. Aerys got killed, and Robert became King. With the war over, Ned Stark returned to Winterfell as the head of House Stark.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
When lord Jon Arryn suddenly dies, King Robert Baratheon travels to Winterfell and asks Lord Eddard to become the Hand of the King. Ned agrees and plans to take his son Bran and daughters Arya and Sansa Stark. However, before he leaves, Bran gets thrown from a tower by Ser Jaime Lannister, a member of the Kingsguard and Queen Cersei Lannister’s brother. Later, while in a coma, an assassin tries to kill Bran, but his direwolf, Summer, saves him. After the encounter, Catelyn Stark travels to King’s Landing leaving her son Robb Stark in charge.
Catelyn learns from Lord Petyr Baelish that the assassin used a blade that belonged to Tyrion Lannister. On her way back to Winterfell, Catelyn meets Tyrion and arrests him; this makes Lord Tywin Lannister invade the Riverlands. At King’s Landing, Ned learns of Cersei’s infidelity and confronts her. However, she plans for her husband’s death and arrests Ned for treason. When Robb hears of his father’s arrest, he calls House Stark’s bannermen and marches to war. When Lord Ned gets killed, Robb becomes the King in the North.
Robb invades the Westerlands and defeats House Lannister at the Battle of Oxcross. To gain more allies, he sends Theon Greyjoy to ask his father, Lord Balon Greyjoy, for an alliance. However, Balon declares independence, and Theon betrays Robb. He travels to Winterfell and sizes the castle. With Bran and his companions hidden, Theon lies he has killed Bran and his brother. He later gets arrested by Ramsay Snow, who sacks Winterfell and kills Ser Rodrik Cassel. Bran and his companions leave the crypts and split ways.
In King’s Landing, Sansa remains a prisoner of King Joffrey Baratheon after her father’s death. Tyrion arrives as the acting Hand of the King and tries to fix the problems created by his nephew. He later learns that Lord Renly Baratheon, one of the claimants to the Iron Throne, got killed mysteriously. When Stannis Baratheon marches on the King’s Landing, Tyrion sends Petyr Baelish to negotiate with the Tyrells. When he almost loses in the Battle of the Blackwater, his father, and House Tyrell come to the rescue. Beyond the Wall, Jon and Qhorin get captured by the Free Folk, and to prove his decampment, Jon kills his brother.
When Catelyn learns of her sons’ deaths, she frees Jaime and tasks Brienne of Tarth with taking him to King’s Landing. Her son, Robb, breaks his promise to Lord Walder Frey by marrying Jeyne Westerling. After he kills Lord Rickard Karstark, many men abandon his cause. To mend things with Lord Frey, Edmure gets married to Roslin Frey, but the wedding gets bloody as Robb and his men get killed during the event that becomes the Red Wedding.
Ramsay Snow gets legitimized, and the Boltons become Wardens of the North. Meanwhile, Arya, who escaped King’s Landing, gets captured by Sandor, who tries to ransom her. When they get to the Twins, Arya witnesses the horror of her brother’s men getting killed.
In King’s Landing, Joffrey gets betrothed to Margaery Tyrell. Her grandmother meets Sansa and learns of how vile Joffrey is. Sansa then gets forced to marry Tyrion when his father discovers that Lady Olenna Tyrell plans on wedding Sansa with her grandson Willas Tyrell. At Joffrey’s wedding, he gets poisoned and dies. Tyrion gets accused of killing his nephew, and after his champion loses in a trial by combat, his brother, Jaime, who got sent back to the capital by Lord Roose Bolton, frees him. Before leaving the city, Tyrion kills his father and lover, Shae.
Bran journeys with his friends to the Wall, where he meets Samwell Tarly and Gilly. Sam helps him pass through the magical gate of Nightfort, and he meets Coldhands. Meanwhile, Jon gets sent by Mance Rayder to scale the Wall. However, he manages to escape and warns the Watch of the attack from the Free Folk. He successfully stops an attack against Castle Black but loses Ygritte, a girl he loved in the fight.
After Robb’s death, Ser Brynden continues flying the Starks banner. Jaime gets sent to negotiate peace, and after successfully taking Riverrun, the primary Stark supporters join the Iron Throne. Arya travels to Braavos and becomes a member of the Faceless Men.
At Winterfell, a fake Arya Stark gets married to Ramsay Bolton. However, with Mance Rayder’s help, under the guise of Abel, Theon, and the fake Arya, Jeyne Poole escape from the castle. In Castle Black, Jon gets stabbed by his men after he proposes to stop Ramsay Bolton.
Relevance in Adaptation
In HBO’s Game of Thrones, the Starks are the protagonists. House Stark is a great house of Westeros and the primary house in the North. Their sigil sounded like a warning for the unknown and became a song in the ears of the North. After Jon becomes King in the North, he asks Daenerys Targaryen for aid with the Night King, and she travels to Westeros.
Together, House Stark and Targaryen defeat the White Walkers. However, Jon learns he is a Targaryen, and Daenerys feels skeptical about the discovery. When Dany destroys King’s Landing, Jon kills her to prevent a mad Queen from ascending the throne.
House Stark: The North Always Remembers
The Starks were a noble house dragged into the madness of Westerosi politics. With Ned’s acceptance to become the Hand of the King, he sealed the fate of his family. Though the Starks got battered and bruised by everyone they trusted, some of their loyal supporters still remember and harbor a great grudge toward the Boltons, Freys, and Lannisters, a hatred that will never get forgotten.
Where are the members of House Stark now?
By the end of ‘A Dance with Dragons,’ House Stark members are scattered across Westeros and Essos. Bran is far beyond the Wall in the cave of the Three-Eyed Crow, Arya is Braavos at the House of Black and White, Jon is at Castle Black, stabbed by his people, and Sansa is in the Vale of Arryn pretending to be Alayne Stone.
What happened to the Starks?
After Lord Jon Arryn’s death, Robert Baratheon traveled to Winterfell and asked Ned Stark to become the Hand of the King. However, before leaving, Bran Stark gets thrown from a tower and falls into a coma. Ned arrives at King’s Landing, and his wife travels to the Vale with Tyrion after arresting Tyrion Lannister. Robb marches to fight against the Lannisters and becomes King when Ned gets killed. As for the Stark girls, Arya escapes from King’s Landing, and Sansa becomes a hostage of the Iron Throne. Jon Snow leaves for the Wall.
Are the Starks the protagonists of A Song of Ice and Fire?
Yes. the House Stark children are the protagonists of George R. R. Martin’s epic tale. With the destruction of their family, they get scattered across the known world and try to survive the brutal realities of the world.
Do Bran and Rickon know about their family members’ deaths?
Bran and his brother learned of the father’s death while in Winterfell. When Robb and Grey Wind got killed, Bran sensed something wrong happened. However, he refused to accept that his brother and mother got killed.