Game of Thrones Wiki


Game of Thrones Wiki
Game of Thrones Wiki
This article is about Eddard Stark's elder brother. For other uses, see: Brandon Stark

Eddard Stark: "I understand you knew my brother Brandon as well."
Petyr Baelish: "All too well. I still carry a token of his esteem from navel to collarbone."
Eddard Stark: "Perhaps you chose the wrong man to duel with."
Eddard Stark and Petyr Baelish talk about Brandon at their first meeting.[src]

Brandon Stark was the heir of Rickard Stark, the Lord of Winterfell, and the older brother of Eddard, Lyanna and Benjen Stark. He was killed by strangulation by the Mad King when he protested the kidnapping of Lyanna by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. His father Rickard died along with him by wildfire.



Brandon Stark was the eldest son and heir of Lord Rickard Stark. Rickard was the head of House Stark and Lord Paramount of the North. The North is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms and House Stark is one of the Great Houses of the realm. House Stark rules the region from their seat of Winterfell and Rickard also held the title Lord of Winterfell.[2]

Brandon spares Petyr Baelish's life at Catelyn Tully's urging.

Brandon's father arranged for his betrothal to Catelyn Tully. Brandon fought for Catelyn in a duel with Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish. He defeated Baelish easily, nearly disemboweling him in the process, but Catelyn begged Brandon to spare his life. The maesters were able to save Baelish and he eventually recovered, but he was left with a deep scar running from his stomach to his collarbone, a "token" from Brandon that Baelish would always carry with him.[3][4]

During the Great Tourney at Harrenhal, he asked Ashara Dayne if she would dance with his bashful younger brother Eddard.

Brandon strangles himself trying to save his father.

Brandon was killed on the order of Aerys Targaryen, along with his father, after they protested the kidnapping of Lyanna by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Rickard was burned alive inside his armor with wildfire, while Brandon was tied to a strangulation device, with a sword mere inches from his hands and strangled himself by trying to reach the sword.[5] This brutal act triggered Robert's Rebellion, the civil war that led to the removal of House Targaryen from the Iron Throne.[6]

Season 1

Reaching King's Landing, Eddard is greeted by Jaime in the throne room, who recalls listening to Eddard's father and brother scream as hundreds watched them die at the whim of the Mad King. He suggests his assassination of the Mad King was an act of justice, but Eddard dismisses that as a paltry self-justification for breaking his solemn vows. Shortly afterwards, Littlefinger recounts how Brandon wounded him in a duel. Eddard is unsympathetic to Littlefinger's predicament.[3]

Season 4

Lysa mentions Brandon while speaking to Sansa at the Eyrie. In a blind rant, she briefly compares Petyr's attraction to Sansa to Catelyn's infatuation with the late heir to Winterfell. She is clearly resentful of him for nearly killing Petyr in their duel, and Catelyn still loving him anyway.[7]

Season 5

Brandon is indirectly mentioned together with his father Rickard on two separate occasions to Daenerys, the Mad King's last surviving child.

Barristan Selmy vaguely alludes to their deaths when he tells her about how her father murdered sons in front of their fathers and how his actions led to a rebellion that killed every Targaryen, save for Daenerys and her other brother Viserys, who has also since died.[8]

Later, when Tyrion is advising Daenerys about her strategy of reclaiming the Iron Throne, he points out her lack of support by the Great Houses. As he lists them, he reminds her that House Stark is effectively dead due to the actions of their "two terrible fathers" though he doesn't discuss the specifics - her father executing Brandon and Rickard and his father orchestrating the Red Wedding.[9].

Season 7

Jon Snow refuses to bend the knee to Daenerys, reminding her of how her father executed his uncle and grandfather. Daenerys admits her father was an evil man and asks forgiveness for the crimes that he committed against House Stark.[10]

Family tree



Catelyn Stark
née Tully House-Tully-Main-Shield.PNG



Talisa Stark
née Maegyr



Bran I the


(Aegon Targaryen)



"I was standing right here when it happened. He was very brave, your brother. Your father too. They didn't deserve to die like that. Nobody deserves to die like that."
Jaime Lannister to Eddard Stark[src]
Petyr Baelish: "She told me about all the horses that she liked, the castle she wanted to live in and the man that she wanted to marry. A northerner with a jaw like an anvil. So I challenged him to a duel. I mean, why not? I'd read all the stories. The little hero always beats the big villain in all the stories. In the end, she wouldn't even let him kill me. "He's just a boy," she said. "Please don't hurt him." So he gave me a nice little scar to remember him by and off they went."
Ros: "Is she still married to him?"
Petyr Baelish: "Oh no. He got himself killed before the wedding. And she ended up with his brother, an even more impressive specimen."
— Littlefinger recounts his duel with Brandon.[src]
"Your Uncle Brandon. Your handsome, arrogant, cruel Uncle Brandon. He almost killed Petyr in a duel. And your mother loved him anyway."
Lysa Arryn to Sansa Stark[src]
Varys: "We urged Aerys to pardon Brandon Stark. The boy had threatened Prince Rhaegar, but Rhaegar had stolen the boy's sister, and the boy was the eldest son of our Warden of the North."
Petyr Baelish: "Who's the greater fool? A mad king or the man who reasons with him? Aerys saw knives in every shadow. When you told him to treat the Starks with caution, you made him afraid. And what he feared, he killed."
Varys: "I wouldn't have thought you of all people would bother with recriminations for Brandon's death, Lord Baelish. Not after your...shall we call it...duel with him."
Petyr Baelish: "Brandon was as arrogant as he was stupid. Like his father, Lord Stark, who answered Aerys's summon to the capital. They earned their fates."
Varys and Baelish discuss Brandon and Rickard Stark.[src]
"When Lord Tully announced Cat's betrothal to a brute from the North, whom she had never met, I realized her duty would outweigh any feelings she had for me. Fool that I was, I challenged this Brandon Stark to a duel for her hand. He was a warrior, I was a boy. If Cat had not intervened, he would have killed me and laughed over my corpse."
―Baelish recalls his duel with Brandon.[src]
"Or if I had thought to warn Brandon Stark against his rashness. He came to King's Landing himself demanding Rhaegar return his sister. Poor fool. If he had only known the depth of Aerys's madness, he wouldn't have dared provoke him. Aerys ordered Brandon imprisoned, and I could do nothing but obey."
Barristan Selmy on Brandon.[src]
Daenerys Targaryen: "You've traveled all this way to break faith with House Targaryen?"
Jon Snow: "Break faith? Your father burnt my grandfather alive. He burnt my uncle alive."
Jon Snow reminds Daenerys Targaryen.[src]

Behind the scenes

King Aerys II Targaryen watches as Brandon Stark strangles himself.

An unidentified actor was cast to play Brandon in a flashback scene. Footage of the scene appeared in the "Fear and Blood" first season trailer but has not appeared in any aired episode of the series. The scene was cut for time reasons.

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Brandon was rather hot-blooded, something his younger brother described as coming from the wolfblood. He shared this trait with his sister. Eddard believes this led them both to an early death. Brandon was tall and handsome, and was an excellent swordsman and jouster. Lady Dustin claims that Brandon was absolutely not shy about taking what he wanted.

According to Catelyn, Brandon and Eddard were totally different: Brandon was tall and handsome, and had a fiery personality, while Eddard was shorter and plainer of face, and very somber and reserved.

In his youth, Brandon was fostered at Barrowton with Lord Dustin, father of Willam Dustin, but he spent most his time riding in the Rills. Brandon and his sister Lyanna both loved to ride; Lady Dustin compares them to "a couple of centaurs". Brandon also enjoyed practicing sword-play, and loved his sword. In his youth, he took the maidenhead of Lady Dustin, who was infatuated with him. When he was fifteen, he was promised to Catelyn Tully of Riverrun, who was twelve at the time. Lady Dustin claims that Brandon never wanted to marry Catelyn, and that the match was made when Lord Rickard's maester, Walys Flowers, put the idea in Rickard's head.

Shortly after the aforementioned confrontation between Brandon and Littlefinger, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen kidnapped Lyanna Stark. Brandon and a group of close friends, all sons of powerful lords, rode to King's Landing to seek redress from King Aerys II Targaryen. The Mad King, furious that anyone would question his son's actions, took Brandon prisoner and summoned Rickard to answer for his impertinence. He had both Starks executed: Rickard was cooked alive in his armor by pyromancers led by Wisdom Rossart, while Brandon watched, bound with a leather cord around his neck and a longsword just out of reach, strangling himself trying to get to the sword to save his father.

Brandon's brother Eddard became Lord of Winterfell, married Catelyn in his stead, and raised the banners of rebellion, beginning a bloody civil war that ended with deaths of both Prince Rhaegar and the Mad King.

In the books, Brandon was described as a larger and more handsome man than his younger brother Ned. The TV series makes a departure from this, with Petyr Baelish stating that Eddard is an "even more impressive specimen" than his older brother - though it's possible that Littlefinger meant that Eddard was also a much better partner for marriage (Brandon had a fiery temper and was known as the "Wild Wolf", while Eddard was reserved and dignified).

See also