Wiki of Westeros

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Wiki of Westeros
Wiki of Westeros
House of the Dragon
Game of Thrones
This page is about the Great House. For the short, see: House Stark (short)

Eddard Stark: "Look at me. You're a Stark of Winterfell, you know our words."
Arya Stark: "'Winter is coming'."
Eddard Stark: "You were born in the long summer, you've never known anything else. But now winter is truly coming. In the winter, we must protect ourselves, look after one another."
— Lord Eddard Stark and his daughter Arya.[src]
House Stark banner

The banner of House Stark of Winterfell, the rulers of the North.

House Stark[1] of Winterfell is a Great House of Westeros and the royal house of the Kingdom of the North. They rule over the vast region known as the North. It is one of the oldest lines of Westerosi nobility by far, claiming a line of descent stretching back over eight thousand years. Before Aegon's Conquest, as well as during the War of the Five Kings and early on in the Last War, the leaders of House Stark ruled over the region as the Kings in the North.

Their rule in the North seemingly ended after the events of the Red Wedding when House Frey and House Bolton betrayed House Stark after forming a secret alliance with House Lannister, during which Roose Bolton murdered King Robb Stark. Both the North and Winterfell were taken over by House Bolton. However, the Boltons' hold was jeopardized when Sansa Stark escaped their clutches after learning her brothers Bran and Rickon Stark were still alive and reunited with her half-brother, Jon Snow, at Castle Black. Sansa and Jon marched on the Boltons to save their younger brother Rickon, who was later murdered by Ramsay Bolton, and retake Winterfell. House Stark was restored to their former stature after the Battle of the Bastards. The Stark victory led to House Stark's return to royal status in the North with their bannermen declaring Jon as the King in the North. He later abdicated his title as king in order to gain the full support of Daenerys Targaryen in the Great War, becoming the Warden of the North. Following the Battle of King's Landing, Bran Stark was chosen as the new king of the Six Kingdoms, allowing the North to secede as an independent kingdom under Sansa.

House Stark's sigil is a grey direwolf on a white background, over green. They are one of the few noble houses whose words are not a boast or threat. Instead, the House Stark family motto is a warning, one that, no matter the circumstances, will always be relevant: "Winter Is Coming,"[2][3] which served as a reminder of their beginnings in the wake of the Long Night and a grim portent of things to come.

House Stark, as the only First Men dynasty to resist the coming of the Andals, proudly hold on to the worship of the Old Gods. Due to their rule over the North and knowledge of it's troubles, they are unfailing supporters of the importance of the Night's Watch, despite it's fall from glory in current times. As one of the last remaining Valyrian steel items, from Old Valyria, House Stark greatly treasures it's ancestral sword of Ice, which has been used in battles and executions.



Before Aegon's Conquest, the leaders of House Stark ruled over the region as the Kings in the North.[4] The house traces its roots to Bran the Builder, a legendary First Man who lived during the Age of Heroes and founded House Stark. The Starks were not originally the monarchs of the North; they began as vassals to the Barrow Kings, who lost support due to their inactive rule while their ancestor Bran the Builder built the Wall and protected the North. They warred with the Barrow Kings, emerging victorious. The Starks ruled as Kings of Winter over one of the many smaller, petty First Men kingdoms that were established in the North, with their chief rivals for domination being the Red Kings of House Bolton. Eventually the Starks united the North under them. Although their stronghold of Winterfell has been the capital of the North, war helped make it it's strongest castle, in opposition to the Reeds' Greywater Watch and the Dreadfort of House Bolton, with attacks from from the latter raising the need for more keeps, more walls, more guard towers and the expansion of their granaries and larders to survive sieges. Winter town would be raised from smallfolk seeking shelter from winter, and these would also join the Stark soldiers in fighting the Boltons.

They gained a new vassal from the Reach after House Manderly's exile, giving them a new home at White Harbor in exchange for their guarding the river against pirates. They defeated the Boltons, drove pirates away from the White Knife, slew the last Marsh King and wed his daughter for the Neck, with it's governance being given to House Reed and, according to legend, King Rodrik Stark wrestled with an Ironborn for Bear Island and won, giving it to House Mormont. Karlon Stark, a younger son of the King in the North, was awarded lands in the eastern regions of the North after successfully putting down a rebellion led by House Bolton. Over time Karlon's seat of Karl's Hold came to be known as Karhold, and the Starks that descended from him became known as Karstarks.

Although the Starks had to content with defiant Houses in their unification campaign, some chose to submit and become loyal vassals, like the Umbers of Last Hearth and the Glovers of Deepwood Motte, with even their greatest rivals for dominance, the Red Kings of House Bolton, who made a sinister reputation for themselves with their practice of flaying, with one of them being notorious for ripping out the entrails of captive Starks, choosing to bend the knee, and their hostility being put on hold, due to the need for the end of unrest. Their timing proved crucial just then, due to the Andals landing and invading Westeros, swiping all lands of First Men rule except the North due to the other Houses fighting on their own, while the North opposed with a united front, with the Manderlys attacking their ships and the Reeds attacking their incursions into the Neck.

King Torrhen Stark was on the throne at the time of Aegon's Conquest and marched his army south to face them. He surrendered when he saw the Targaryens' greater host and their dragons, despite being suggested to resist from Moat Cailin or assassinating the sleeping dragons, believing that fighting was futile, due to the Targaryen victories at the Burning of Harrenhal and the Field of Fire. He was made Warden of the North, thus escaping the fates of House Gardener of the Reach and House Hoare of the Riverlands whose lords refused to bend the knee and were rendered extinct after failing to resist the invaders. Thereafter, Torrhen was known as "the king who knelt", though those who criticize him for this often forget that they are only alive to do so thanks to his surrender.

Centuries later, Lady Lyanna Stark was taken by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, and when her father and brother demanded justice, King Aerys II Targaryen had them both viciously executed. Eddard Stark claimed his father's titles and participated in Robert's Rebellion.[5] At the end of the rebellion, Eddard found his sister in the Tower of Joy, where she perished in a bed of blood.

Eddard is married to Lady Catelyn Tully of Riverrun, and has five children with her: Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon. He also has a rumored bastard son, Jon Snow, who is actually the offspring of Prince Rhaegar and Lady Lyanna.

Game of Thrones: Season 1

Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark becomes Hand of the King to King Robert Baratheon after the death of Jon Arryn. Ned takes his daughters Sansa and Arya to King's Landing. It is there that he discovers the true lineage of Robert's assumed children. Upon Robert's death, Ned publicly declares that Joffrey Baratheon was the product of incest between Queen Cersei Lannister and her twin brother, Jaime Lannister, and therefore is not the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. He is subsequently executed for treason. His firstborn son and heir Robb is declared the King in the North by his bannermen (the first in 300 years), and fights to secede from the Seven Kingdoms in what would become the War of the Five Kings.[6] Sansa becomes a political captive of House Lannister, while Arya escapes King's Landing with Yoren of the Night's Watch.

Game of Thrones: Season 2

Robb continues his campaign against the Lannisters, winning a trio of victories in the Riverlands and a further three victories in the Westerlands. Bran and Rickon leave Winterfell after a traitorous Theon Greyjoy takes control of Winterfell. Theon kills two farmer's sons and declares their bodies are those of Bran and Rickon, leading the majority of Westeros believing that all the male Stark heirs are dead (as Jon is a bastard son of Ned Stark and sworn to the Night's Watch). Arya is held captive at Harrenhal, but escapes with Gendry and Hot Pie.

Game of Thrones: Season 3

Although Robb continues to win every battle that he fights, House Lannister secures an alliance with House Tyrell that effectively leads to victory over Stannis Baratheon at the Battle of the Blackwater. As Robb continues to march further in the Westerlands, many of his bannermen begin to lose faith in him since he breached his pact with Lord Walder Frey by marrying Talisa Maegyr.

Robb falls dead

Robb and Talisa Stark lie dead at the Red Wedding.

Robb also loses the Karstark troops, and his attempt to regain the support of House Frey results in the massacre known as the Red Wedding.[7] House Stark is stripped of its lordship in the North and is given to House Bolton, making Roose Bolton Warden of the North for his contribution to Robb's death.[8]

Arya and her companions are taken captive by the Brotherhood Without Banners. After Sandor Clegane's trial by combat ordered by Beric, the Hound kidnaps Arya.[9]

At the Twins, the Freys and Boltons betray Robb and massacre him, his wife, mother, Grey Wind, the present Northern lords and most of the Northern army, during the event known as the Red Wedding.[10] House Stark is stripped of its lordship in the North, which is given to House Bolton, making Roose Bolton Warden of the North for his contribution to Robb's death.[11]

Bran and Rickon, who have been traveling north along with Osha, Hodor, Jojen Reed and Meera Reed, as well as their two direwolves, Summer and Shaggydog, part ways.[12]

Game of Thrones: Season 4

Sansa escapes from King's Landing, following Joffrey's assassination.

Bran makes his way further north, eventually reaching the weirwood tree occupied by the Children of the Forest and the Three-Eyed Raven.

After travelling for days with the Hound, Arya travels to Braavos.

Game of Thrones: Season 5

Littlefinger secretly returns Sansa to Winterfell and weds her to Ramsay Bolton. Although Sansa doesn't quite realize it, there are many in the North who are already taking heart from the fact that there is again a Stark in Winterfell.[13][14] Sansa eventually flees Winterfell during the battle in the ice.

Game of Thrones: Season 6

Book of the Stranger 36

Jon Snow and Sansa Stark reunite.

Sansa and Jon reunite.[15] They gather troops of wildlings and loyal Northern houses to retake Winterfell from the Boltons.[16][17]

Meanwhile, Bran experiences a vision of his family while training with the Three-Eyed Raven.

As the Battle of the Bastards begins, Rickon is killed by Ramsay, but the Starks win with the help of the Knights of the Vale. Winterfell is finally restored to House Stark.[18]

Jon Snow is declared King in The North Season 6 Episode 10 Preview.

Jon Snow is hailed King in the North.

The lords of the North and the Vale meet at Winterfell. Jon is declared the King in the North.

In the Riverlands, Arya slays Lord Frey and many of his kin, finally avenging the North.[19]

Game of Thrones: Season 7

At Winterfell, Jon and Sansa organize the defense of the North against the army of the dead.

Jon sails to Dragonstone to negotiate with Daenerys Targaryen, in order to make an alliance to face the White Walkers. Bran returns to Winterfell.

Sansa Arya Bran TSOW

The surviving Stark siblings are reunited.

Arya returns to Winterfell and reunites with Sansa and Bran. Littlefinger unsuccessfully tries to drive a wedge between the Starks.

Jon decides to head beyond the wall in order to catch a wight, so he can convince Daenerys and Cersei of their existence.

Beyond the Wall, Jon and his ranging party are ambushed by the undead army led by the Night King, but most of them are rescued by Daenerys.

Littlefinger is tried and ultimately executed for his crimes against the Starks.

Game of Thrones: Season 8

Jon arrives with Daenerys and her army at Winterfell.[20]

The combined Stark and Targaryen forces fight against the undead and eventually win.[21]

Stark Siblings S8 EP4

The last of the Starks.

Sansa and Bran remain at Winterfell, while Jon leads the remaining Stark and Arryn troops and Dothraki to meet with Daenerys at King's Landing.[22]

Jon leads the Stark forces during the Battle of King's Landing, which results in the destruction of the city.[23]

Jon relunctantly kills Daenerys. The Starks participate in a Great Council in the Dragonpit. Bran is then elected king and allows Sansa to declare the North independent.

Stark Sibling's S8 Ep6

Jon Snow bids farewell to his Stark family.

Jon goes into exile, but he don' t renew his vows to the Night's Watch and instead of this, join the Free Folk to help they to re-instale in the damaged Lands beyond the Wall. Sansa is named Queen in the North, and Arya sails for her voyage to the unknown west of Westeros.[24]

Current status

The status of the surviving Starks and what political positions they held was not fully clear after Jon Snow was hailed as the new King in the North, by not only the lords of the North, but the Vale as well. The return of Bran and Arya to Winterfell clarified the ambiguity of all of their political positions in the North.

While Jon ruled as the King in the North, Sansa attended court alongside him as the Lady of Winterfell. In his absence, Jon gave Sansa regency over the Kingdom of the North as both his sister and the only Stark (the highest ranking and ruling family in the North) in Winterfell used as precedent.

When Bran Stark, the rightful Lord of Winterfell, returned to Winterfell, he abdicated his lordship for his new role as the Three-Eyed Raven. Once Arya returned to Winterfell, Sansa and Petyr note Arya is next in the line of succession for the lordship of Winterfell. Jon Snow is believed to be Eddard Stark's bastard son, which means would not be included in the line of succession, unless he were to be legitimized as a Stark

However, Jon pledged himself to Daenerys Targaryen, in order to gain her full support in the Great War, stepping down as king and accepted the title and role of Warden of the North. Presently, the North and Vale are reintegrated into the Seven Kingdoms.[25] As of the end of Season 7, the current positions of the surviving members of House Stark are as follows: Jon is Warden of the North, Sansa is Lady of Winterfell, Arya is Sansa's heir, and Bran abdicated his claim to any formal political position.

Jon Snow is actually the son of Eddard's younger sister, Lyanna Stark, and according to the normal line of succession, would rank behind both Sansa and Arya. At the same time, as the trueborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, Jon is currently the heir to the Iron Throne. Samwell Tarly, with the help of Gilly, confirmed through High Septon Maynard's personal diary that Rhaegar had his marriage to Elia Martell annulled and then was remarried to Lyanna.[26][27]

At a Great Council in the Dragonpit, Bran was chosen as the new Lord of the Six Kingdoms, with the king being elected by the lords of Westeros rather than inheriting the crown through a royal bloodline. The North has been granted independence with Sansa Stark being declared the Queen in the North as a hereditary monarch.



Household and retainers


Sworn to House Stark

House Stark tapestry

The sigil of House Stark on a tapestry in Winterfell.

Vassal houses

Prominent allies

The Lords of the North

The Riverlords

The Vale of Arryn

Military strength


Robb Stark in Northern cavalry armor.

During Robert's Rebellion, the Greyjoy Rebellion and the War of the Five Kings, House Stark is able to field thousands of men and has proven itself capable in times of conflict, fighting and prevailing with many engagements within each conflict. Out of 18,000 Northerners that Robb Stark marched south to confront the Lannisters, a large amount of them were Stark soldiers.[28] However, the Red Wedding greatly weakened the once formidable great house, leading to the destruction of the Stark army. Despite this, House Stark managed to retake Winterfell from House Bolton, hence the Stark army was restored.

Stark soldier during battle.

A Stark man-at-arms.

The average Stark soldier wears a brown or dark blue coat with green or grey sleeves, with chainmail worn under it and a suit of studded leather armor worn over it; he also wears a pair of grey or brown leather boots. The soldiers are often equipped with helmets and round shields of steel or iron, both grey in color and the shields emblazoned with the Stark direwolf. Warriors in the Northern heavy cavalry or heavy infantry wear relatively cheap brigandine armor, with many choosing to wear mail underneath as well, rather than the expensive plate armor of the well-equipped Lannister troops.

After the end of the War of Five Kings, House Stark takes part in the Battle of Winterfell, during the Great War, where the House's forces suffer heavy casualties.[29] The remaining Stark forces later partake in the Battle of King's Landing alongside the Vale and Targaryen troops, apparently not taking significant losses.

Family tree



Catelyn Stark
née Tully House Tully

House Targaryen

Night's Watch

Talisa Stark
née Maegyr
House Lannister

Sansa Stark

House Bolton

Bran I the
Bran Stark


Night's Watch


Behind the scenes

The Wall

A view on the areas Beyond the Wall from "Winter Is Coming", an area the Starks must deal with every generation.

The House Stark banner, a direwolf on a white background, is a reference to their northern origin and lifestyle. Throughout the history of Westeros, the Starks have always had a fear of the impending threat of the White Walkers. This manner of life has bred extraordinary stoicism and loyalty within the Starks, one of their chief characteristics. Their surname, "Stark", one reminiscent of the First Men, is an accurate description of where they come from: the barren land of the North. However, white can also be seen as an isolated color, a point made perfectly clear throughout the series.


Eddard Stark about to be executed on the orders of Joffrey Baratheon in "Baelor."

The House Stark motto, Winter Is Coming, is different to all the other mottos of Westeros. In A Game of Thrones, Catelyn muses "...they [other noble houses] boasted of honor and glory, promised loyalty and truth, swore faith and courage. All but the Starks. Winter is Coming, said the Stark words."[30]

It is significant that the Starks do not use their motto to remind of their positive attributes, but rather to remind people to look up at the more impending doom, and a bigger fight up ahead. Their determination to face the odds shows that they are made of different stuff then the Southerners, and are not into their political games of intrigue. Perhaps these are the differences that make the Starks so persecuted, with only three actual Starks (Sansa, Arya, and Bran, or four counting Jon, who is at least half-Stark) alive by the end of the show, as opposed to the six at the beginning of the show (counting Catelyn and Jon). Their differences are even seen in the way they talk, such as when Ned infuriates Robert by calling him: "too fat for his armor" when Lancel Lannister was not able to put it on properly.

The sigil of House Stark, a direwolf, is also symbolic. For starters, the direwolf mother who gave birth to the cubs featured in the series is found with a deer antler sticking out of the mother's side, representing the fact that Ned's downfall was brought on by him accepting the position of Hand of the King. The names of the cubs are also symbolic. Like direwolves, the Starks are loyal and protective, and, like the direwolves, almost go extinct. Sansa names her direwolf Lady, representing her dreams of being Queen Consort to Joffrey, whom she describes as handsome. However, Lady is eventually killed for another wolf's crimes (see below), representing how Sansa's youthfulness died after Joffrey tortured her for most of Season 2 in King's Landing, until he married Margaery Tyrell. Arya names her direwolf Nymeria, after a warrior princess from the Age of A Hundred Kingdoms, a fitting depiction of Arya's warrior spirit. When Nymeria attacks Joffrey, Arya sends her away to avoid her being "executed", and Lady is thus punished for the crime (see above). This is foreshadowing of the way Arya flees King's Landing at the end of Season 1 to the Wall. The losing of the wolf also symbolises that Arya is uncertain of what her future holds. Robb's direwolf, Grey Wind, is absolutely inseparable from him. During the Red Wedding, the Freys lock Grey Wind in a cage and kill him, just as they do with Robb. Bran's direwolf is not yet named when he enters a coma, a result of Jaime pushing him out of a tower. After awaking, however, he names him Summer. Summer dies when White Walkers burst into the Weirwood tree, and his death symbolises Winter truly arriving. Bran is also known as "The Sweet Summer Child", for he has never known Winter and its hardships. Rickon's direwolf, Shaggydog, because Rickon never received a proper education or grooming lessons, and was instead raised by a wildling, Osha. When they seek refuge with House Umber, the Umbers betray them and kill Shaggydog. Likewise, the Umbers are allied with Ramsay Bolton, who is eventually Rickon's killer at the Battle of the Bastards. Jon's direwolf, Ghost, is albino and the runt of the litter, representing a bastard's disadvantage in front of his half-sibilings. The word "ghost" makes us think of the part of a person that lives on, and when Jon is resurrected by Melisandre in Season 6, Ghost is the first being to see him alive. Ghost is white, and Jon Snow is also sometimes called the White Wolf, such as by Wyman Manderly in "The Winds of Winter."

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, House Stark was founded by Brandon the Builder, a semi-mythical figure who is credited with building the Wall and Winterfell, founding the Night's Watch and ensuring the survival of the people of Westeros after the mythical Long Night and the War for the Dawn against the enigmatic Others (called "White Walkers" in the TV series). The family has survived for over 8,000 years and was the independent royal house of the vast territories of the North until King Aegon the Conqueror overran the southern half of the continent. By the time the King in the North, Torrhen Stark, had gathered together his widely scattered bannermen, Aegon had already conquered most of the South. Particularly, Aegon had already used his dragons to inflict a crushing defeat on both the Westerlands and the Reach at the Field of Fire. Torrhen Stark finally advanced south to the Riverlands with the amassed armies of the North to a confrontation with Aegon. However, upon seeing Aegon's vast numerical superiority and his dragons, Torrhen Stark realized he had no hope of victory, and chose to bend the knee in submission.

The civil war known as Robert's Rebellion began when Lyanna Stark was kidnapped by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Lord Rickard Stark and his son and heir Brandon both demanded her return from King Aerys II Targaryen and were executed by the Mad King for their presumption. Eddard Stark, now the head of the family, called the banners of the North to war, supported by House Baratheon, House Tully and House Arryn. It was decided that Robert Baratheon would claim the throne due to his strong claim as the grand-nephew of a previous Targaryen king. During the civil war Stark troops were instrumental in several engagements, including the Battle of the Bells and the Battle of the Trident, and it was Eddard Stark's forces which reached King's Landing just after the Lannisters had sacked it, ensuring the city was turned over to Robert's army when it arrived. The Starks also proved instrumental in the later Greyjoy Rebellion, lending troops used by Robert to storm the castle of Pyke and crush the uprising.

In the novels, four of Lord Eddard Stark's six children inherit the Tully look from their mother Catelyn, possessing the auburn hair and blue eyes distinctive of House Tully. However, Arya inherits the Stark look of dark hair, grey eyes, and a long face alongside her half-brother Jon who, as Eddard's illegitimate son with an unidentified woman, does not possess Tully blood. While this has resulted in Arya being mockingly called "Horseface", Ned assures her that she bears a striking resemblance to his beautiful deceased sister Lyanna when Lyanna was a girl. Jon's own inheritance of the traditional Stark look and resemblance to Ned is a plot point illustrating he is of Stark blood and used by characters in-universe to identify Jon as a son of Eddard Stark. As a little girl, Arya once feared that she might be a bastard child because she and Jon are the only two among the Stark children to inherit the Stark look, but Jon assured her that she is a trueborn daughter.

In the novels, the Stark banner is a whole direwolf. In the TV series, the Stark banner most often used is just a direwolf's head, though the alternate version showing the whole direwolf is also seen (i.e. on banners during the Tourney of the Hand, tapestries at Winterfell, and Ned Stark's wax seal on the letter he sends to Stannis Baratheon). Further, the sigil in the books is just a grey direwolf on a white field. This is used in the TV series, but it also frequently uses a subtle variant which has the grey direwolf on a white field, surmounting a small green escutcheon at the bottom.

Many houses sworn to House Stark in the books did not appear in the series.

Lesser Houses

  • House Condon
  • House Fenn
  • House Flint of Flint's Finger
  • House Ironsmith
  • House Lake
  • House Lightfoot
  • House Locke
  • House Moss
  • House Overton
  • House Slate
  • House Stout
  • House Waterman
  • House Wells
  • House Woolfield

Mountain Clans

  • Burley
  • Flint of the Mountains
  • Harclay
  • Nott
  • Liddle
  • Norrey
  • Wull

Skagos Clans

  • Crowl
  • Magnar
  • Stane

George R.R. Martin has said that the War of the Five Kings is inspired by the real-life Wars of the Roses in England (1455-1485). As such, House Stark is based on the House of York with specific members having some similarities with them such as Sansa Stark for Elizabeth of York and Robb Stark for King Edward IV.




  1. 1.0 1.1 In "The Kingsroad," which takes place in 298 AC, Catelyn Stark states that Eddard Stark went to war with Robert Baratheon "17 years ago;" therefore, Robert's Rebellion occurred in 281 AC.
  2. In "You Win or You Die," Jorah Mormont receives a pardon stating that the current year is 298.
  3. In "Valyria & the Dragons," Viserys Targaryen states that Aegon began his conquest 100 years after the Doom of Valyria in 102 BC, placing it in 2 BC. In "Aegon, First of His Name," Viserys Targaryen states that the maesters divided history into Before and After Conquest following Aegon I Targaryen's coronation in Oldtown; therefore, Aegon's Conquest began in 2 BC and ended in 1 AC.
  4. Conjecture based on information from The World of Ice & Fire; may be subject to change.

External links