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 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 from their seat in Winterfell. It is one of the oldest lines of Westerosi nobility by far, claiming a line of descent stretching back over eight thousand years. Before the Targaryen conquest, as well as during the War of the Five Kings and early on in Daenerys Targaryen's war for Westeros, 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 a green escutcheon. They are one of the few noble Houses whose family motto is 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."



Before the Targaryen conquest, the leaders of House Stark ruled over the region as the Kings in the North.[1] 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 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. They defeated the Boltons, drove pirates away from the White Knife, slew the last Marsh King and wed his daughter for the Neck, and, according to legend, King Rodrik Stark wrestled with an ironborn for Bear Island and won. Several centuries before the Targaryen conquest, 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.

King Torrhen Stark was on the throne at the time of the Targaryen conquest and marched his army south to face them. He surrendered when he saw the Targaryens' greater host and their dragons, believing that fighting was futile. He was made Lord Paramount of the North and served the Targaryens as 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.[2]

Season 1

Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark became Hand of the King to King Robert Baratheon after the death of Jon Arryn. Ned took his daughters Sansa and Arya Stark to King's Landing. It was there that he discovered the true lineage of Robert's assumed children. Upon Robert's death, Ned publicly declared that Joffrey Baratheon was the product of incest between Queen Cersei Lannister and her twin brother, Jaime Lannister, and therefore was not the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. He was subsequently executed for treason. His firstborn son and heir Robb Stark was declared the King in the North by his bannermen (the first in 300 years) and fought to secede from the Seven Kingdoms in what would become the War of the Five Kings.[3] Sansa Stark becomes a political captive of House Lannister, while Arya escapes King's Landing with Yoren of the Night's Watch.

Season 2

Robb Stark continues his campaign against the Lannisters, winning a trio of victories in the Riverlands and a further three victories in the Westerlands at Oxcross, the Yellow Fork, and the Crag. Bran Stark and Rickon Stark leave Winterfell after a traitorous Theon Greyjoy takes control of Winterfell. Theon pursues them, but is unable to find them, and instead burns two farmer's sons and declares that the bodies are those of Bran and Rickon Stark, leading the majority of Westeros believing that all the male Stark heirs are dead (as Jon Snow is a bastard son of Ned Stark and sworn to the Night's Watch).

Season 3

Although Robb continues to win every battle that he fights, House Baratheon of King's Landing 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, such as Rickard Karstark who lost two of his sons, begin to lose faith in King Robb and are aware that he broke his vow to marry one of the daughters of Lord Walder Frey when he married Talisa Maegyr. Robb and his host arrive at Harrenhal to discover that Ser Gregor Clegane has put 200 northern prisoners to the sword and left Harrenhal without a fight. King Robb received news at Harrenhal that his grandfather Hoster Tully has died, and Robb goes to Riverrun to attend the funeral, leaving Roose Bolton and his men in charge of Harrenhal.

At Riverrun, Robb chides his uncle, the new Lord Edmure Tully, for attacking Ser Gregor Clegane at the Stone Mill, forcing Gregor's host to retreat to Casterly Rock and losing more than 200 men in the battle. Later Lord Rickard Karstark murders the two Lannister captives, Willem and Martyn Lannister, which causes Robb to execute Lord Rickard, making the Karstarks abandon King Robb. With his host diminished due to the Karstarks' abandonment, Robb opts to have the support of House Frey but finds it difficult because of his broken vow. However, the Freys agree to support Robb if his uncle Edmure marries Roslin Frey. Robb and Edmure agree to the terms of the Freys and prepare to head to the Twins for the wedding.

Robb falls dead

Robb and Talisa Stark lie dead at the Red Wedding.

Robb and all of his bannermen arrive at the Twins where Lord Walder Frey begins preparations for the wedding. All the northern lords of Robb's host attend the wedding while the northern army camps outside during the feast. After Edmure and Roslin are taken away for the bedding, the Freys and Boltons betray King Robb and massacre them in an event known as the Red Wedding, secretly orchestrated by Tywin Lannister. King Robb, Queen Talisa, Robb's mother Catelyn, Robb's direwolf Grey Wind, the present Northern lords and most of the Northern army, are murdered during this event.[4] In the aftermath of the Red Wedding, the Freys sew Grey Wind's head to King Robb's body as a final insult to the King in the North. 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.[5]

Bran and Rickon, who have been travelling north along with Osha, Hodor, Jojen Reed and Meera Reed, as well as their two direwolves, Summer and Shaggydog, part ways, with Bran, Jojen, Hodor, Meera and Summer headed beyond the wall and Rickon, Shaggydog and Osha headed to the Last Hearth to seek shelter from House Umber.

Season 4

Bolton has roughly half of his whole army trapped south of the Neck, since the ironborn captured Moat Cailin, and cannot properly rule the North.[6] His son Ramsay takes back the Moat and the Boltons ride to Winterfell in order to rule the North from there, as it is the ancient stronghold of House Stark and the capital of the North.[7]

Tywin Lannister's eventual plan was to return the North to the Starks under Lannister control via the possible son of Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark, but Tyrion and Sansa each escape King's Landing and separate as the result of King Joffrey's assassination. Tywin himself was killed before his plan could come to fruition.[8][9]

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

Season 5

Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish secretly returns Sansa to Winterfell in the hopes of wedding her to Ramsay Bolton. The Boltons are eager to cement their control over the North, particularly since they are now living in a Westeros without solid Lannister support as Tywin Lannister is now deceased. Littlefinger tells Sansa that she is perfectly situated; Stannis Baratheon is likely to liberate Winterfell soon, and will likely declare her Wardeness of the North. Even if he doesn't, Sansa will be perfectly placed to retake Winterfell from within House 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.[10][11]

Although Sansa's attempt to contact her supporters (and unknown to her, Brienne of Tarth) ends in failure and the brutal death of a Winterfell servant, Sansa herself begins to have hope for her House after she forces a distressed Reek to admit that he killed two farm boys and not Bran and Rickon.[12] She later flees Winterfell with Theon Greyjoy during the Battle of Winterfell.

Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch at the time, is betrayed by his men and stabbed to death by Alliser Thorne, Olly, and several other Black Brothers.

Season 6

Sansa flees from Winterfell with Theon at her side; they ford a wide river at great risk and take shelter in an attempt to conceal themselves from Ramsay Bolton's hounds. They are cornered and nearly caught despite Theon's attempt to ward them off by revealing himself. However, they are saved by Brienne and a now-trained Pod, who eliminate Ramsay's hunters. With the threat neutralized, Brienne again offers herself to serve Sansa in order to keep the oath she made to her mother. [13] Unlike before, Sansa accepts, and the two recite the oath of service, with assistance from Pod. Sansa is heading to her resurrected half-brother Jon at Castle Black as he will protect her and keep her safe. However, Theon opts to leave Sansa's side - with her blessing - to return home to Pyke, knowing that he could never make amends for his grave misdeeds against his former adoptive family.[14]

Smalljon Umber trades Rickon Stark and Osha over to Ramsay Bolton, the new Warden of the North, in order to secure an alliance with House Bolton against the Free Folk.

Meanwhile, Bran Stark experiences a vision of his family while training with the Three-Eyed Raven. He witnesses several of his family members including his father Ned, uncle Benjen, and his aunt Lyanna Stark.

Book of the Stranger 36

Jon Snow and Sansa Stark reunite.

At Castle Black, the Red Priestess Melisandre resurrects Jon Snow from the dead.[14] Jon decides to leave the Night's Watch on the grounds that his watch has ended through his death.[15] Sansa, accompanied by Brienne and Podrick, reunites with her brother Jon. Sansa urges Jon to help her re-take Winterfell from the Boltons. Later, Jon finally agrees after receiving a letter from Ramsay stating he has their younger brother Rickon and demanding the return of Sansa. Jon resolves to march on the Boltons, leading an army of able-bodied Free Folk under Tormund and gathering forces he and Sansa plan to rally among the remaining loyal houses in order to save Rickon and reclaim Winterfell from the Boltons.[16]

Jon and Sansa are rebuffed by House Glover and receive no response from Houses Cerwyn and Manderly. They recruit a few hundred soldiers from Houses MormontHornwood, and Mazin. Sansa argues they need more men but Jon resolves to march on Winterfell with the forces they have, arguing there is no more time left. Sansa sends a further raven to an unknown party, likely Littlefinger.[17]

Battle of the Bastards 34

Rickon Stark is killed at the onset of the Battle of the Bastards.

During the Battle of the Bastards, Jon Snow attacks Winterfell with 2,405 men. Rickon Stark is killed by Ramsay Bolton as the battle begins. As Jon is on the verge of losing, the Knights of the Vale arrive to join the battle with Petyr Baelish. Jon and Sansa reclaim Winterfell after Jon beats Ramsay in a one-to-one combat, leaving Ramsay's fate for Sansa to decide. Jon orders his brother Rickon to be buried in the crypt next to his father. Sansa visits the dog kennels and kills a bloodied Ramsay with his own dogs. With Ramsay's death, House Bolton is rendered completely extinct, Winterfell finally returns to her rightful owners and the Red Wedding is partly avenged.[18]

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

Jon Snow is hailed King in the North.

After the battle, the Northern lords, along with the Lords of the Vale meet in the hall at Winterfell to treat with House Stark and discuss provisions for the Winter. Lord Cerwyn floats the idea of hiding behind castle walls, but Jon Snow rejects this, reminding the Northern houses of their true enemy and that this enemy "doesn't wait out the storms, he brings the storm." Lady Lyanna Mormont berates the Manderlys, the Cerwyns and the Glovers for not supporting House Stark in the Battle of the Bastards and declares Jon Snow the King in the North, despite his bastardy, as he has the blood of Eddard Stark, the last rightful Warden of The North, and Robb Stark, the last King in the North. Lyanna Mormont is then followed by Lord Wyman Manderly, Robett Glover, and the rest of the gathered lords, who all declare Jon their king. Meanwhile, in the Riverlands, Arya Stark personally slays Lord Walder Frey and every member of the house who participated in the Red Wedding massacre, finally avenging the North.[19]

Season 7

At Winterfell, Jon Snow organizes the defense of the North against the Night King and his army of the dead, whilst asking that all maesters start searching for dragonglass as it destroys White Walkers and wights. He orders all males - and females - between 10 and 60 years old to be trained and equipped.

GOT Season 7 05

Jon Snow, the King in the North, at Winterfell.

Jon lets House Umber and House Karstark retain their holdings and titles despite Sansa's insistence to the strip them of their status. In private, Jon chides Sansa for questioning his decisions in front of their bannermen. She states that she wants him to be wiser than Ned and Robb. They receive a message from newly-crowned Queen Cersei Lannister demanding the North submit to the Iron Throne and Sansa warns him not to underestimate her. Elsewhere, Bran Stark and Meera Reed reach the Wall and are allowed passage by Lord Commander Eddison Tollett.

At Winterfell, Jon, Sansa, and Davos discuss a letter they received from Tyrion Lannister about a potential alliance with Daenerys. Sansa advises Jon against the alliance while Davos thinks it will be beneficial due to her dragons which can breath fire against wights. Some days later, Maester Wolkan brings Jon a message from Samwell Tarly in the Citadel regarding a vein of dragonglass beneath Dragonstone, which he shares with the other lords. Despite the objections of the lords and Sansa, Jon decides to sail to Dragonstone with Davos to negotiate with Daenerys, appointing Sansa as regent while he is away.

After meeting with her old friend Hot Pie at the Inn at the Crossroads, Arya decides to ride north to Winterfell instead of south to King's Landing. Back at Winterfell, Sansa plans to keep their soldiers warm and the food reserves from running low during the coming winter. She later reunites with her brother Bran and states he deserves to be the Lord of Winterfell, being the last legitimate son of Ned Stark. He rejects it because of him becoming the Three-Eyed Raven.

703 Daenerys Davos Jon

Jon negotiates with Daenerys.

Jon and Davos arrive at Dragonstone and are greeted by Tyrion and Missandei. There, he also encounters Daenerys' dragons for the first time. In the throne room, Jon and Daenerys are introduced to each other, but he refuses to bend the knee to her. Jon however proposes they both help each other, informing her of the army of the undead coming for the Seven Kingdoms. She gets angered at him, seeing it as defiance but departs after receiving a message from Varys. She later allows them to mine the dragonglass beneath Dragonstone.

Sansa Arya Bran TSOW

The surviving Stark siblings are reunited.

Back at Winterfell, Littlefinger unsuccessfully tries to ingratiate himself with Bran, hoping to exploit the disunity among the Starks. Arya later returns to Winterfell and reunites with Sansa and Bran, but becomes upset when she realizes that Rickon is dead. She also learns that Bran has visions now and is gifted the Valyrian steel dagger a cutthroat used to try to kill him.

At Dragonstone, Jon is unable to convince Daenerys of helping them because he refuses to bend the knee, but on Tyrion's advise, she agrees to allow him to mine the dragonglass beneath Dragonstone. She later leaves after learning of the destruction of her allies in the Reach, Dorne, and the Iron Islands.

At Winterfell, some northern lords, upset over Jon riding south, suggest to Sansa that she take over the North which she rejects. Arya thinks the lords are committing treason by slandering Jon and should be executed. She goes on to accuse her sister of wanting the northern crown.

Arya later steals a letter from Petyr Baelish's quarters and learns that Sansa had written to Robb to surrender to Joffrey, not knowing that it was Littlefinger's plan all along that she find the letter. Jon meanwhile is introduced to Jorah Mormont after Daenrys returns and decides to head beyond the wall in order to catch a wight so he can convince Daenerys and Cersei of their existence.

At Winterfell, Arya and Sansa dispute over her letter to Robb even though she states that she had written it under duress. Fearful that the northern lords might turn on her, she talks about this with Petyr, who tells her to discuss this with Brienne of Tarth, being her sworn shield. She later receives a message from Cersei inviting her for a parley in King's Landing and sends Brienne to attend in her place. Brienne warns Sansa not to trust Littlefinger.

706 Jon Benjen

Benjen sacrifices himself to save Jon.

Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow and his ranging party hunt for wights but are ambushed by the undead army led by the Night King. Thoros of Myr is killed but they are rescued by Daenerys who arrives with her dragons, though Viserion is killed during the battle. Jon is injured during the battle but is rescued by his uncle Benjen Stark who is overwhelmed by the wights. While recovering, Jon pledges his allegiance to Daenerys as his queen.

Baelish Trial

The Stark siblings execute Littlefinger for his crimes against their family.

At Winterfell, Littlefinger tries to manipulate Sansa against Arya but his plan backfires as she decides to have him tried and ultimately executed for his crimes instead of letting him destroy their family. Sometime later, Samwell Tarly, having arrived at Winterfell, meets with Bran, who tells Sam that Jon's true parents are Rhaegar Targaryen and his aunt Lyanna Stark. Bran states that Jon is still a bastard, albeit a Dornish bastard named Sand, but Samwell informs Bran about Rhaegar's wedding with Elia Martell being annulled by High Septon Maynard and his remarriage to someone else. Bran uses his greensight to confirm this as well as Jon's true name being Aegon Targaryen. Meanwhile, Jon and Daenerys give into their feelings for each other

Season 8

Jon Snow arrives with Daenerys Targaryen and her army of Dothraki, Unsullied, and 2 dragons at Winterfell where Sansa promises allegiance to Daenerys. At a gathering of the Northern lords, however, Jon is scorned for bending the knee to Daenerys and giving up the Northern crown. Sansa later tells Jon that she doesn't trust her and berates him for giving up the crown, but he replies that they need her army.[20]

Sansa and Daenerys agree to let Jaime Lannister fight against the undead despite his actions. Later while talking, Sansa tells of the North's wish to remain independent after seceding from the Iron Throne. At a war council, Bran Stark decides to use himself as bait to lure the Night King in order to kill him and destroy his army. Arya later has sex with Gendry.[21]

The Stark forces fight alongside the Targaryen forces during the Battle of Winterfell against the undead. group of wights. Despite being nearly overwhelmed, the undead army is obliterated after Arya kills the Night King, ending the Great War and saving House Stark and the North.[22]

Stark Siblings S8 EP4

The last of the Starks.

After their victory, the Starks mourn the fallen during a mass funeral. They later celebrate their victory at a great feast, meanwhile Arya rejects the now legitimized Gendry's proposal to marry him. Despite Daenerys urging Jon to never tell anyone about his parentage, Jon states he must tell his sisters. He swears Sansa and Arya to secrecy and has Bran reveal the truth to them. Sansa however later informs Tyrion about it, and he informs Varys. She and Bran remain at Winterfell while Jon leads the remaining Stark and Arryn troops and Dothraki screamers down the Kingsroad to meet with Daenerys and the Unsullied, at King's Landing. Arya, however, rides south with Sandor Clegane, wanting to kill Cersei.[23]


Jon leads the Stark army into King's Landing.

The Stark-Arryn army encamps outside King's Landing alongside the Targaryen forces of Unsullied and Dothraki. When the Battle of King's Landing begins, Jon Snow leads the forces besieging the city. After Daenerys destroys the city's walls and part of the Golden Company guarding it, they charge into the city and fight its defenders. Coming to a standstill with the Lannister soldiers inside, the latter surrender after the city's bells are rung. However, Daenerys refuses it and decides to raze the city. Their forces start attacking the Lannisters again, as well as the civilians, despite Jon trying to hold his men back.[24]


Arya Stark in a burning King's Landing.

Arya meanwhile sneaks into the Red Keep with Sandor during the battle, but he convinces her to flee so she doesn't end up like him. Jon has his forces evacuate the city as the wildfire caches placed by Aerys II long ago start erupting because of Drogon's destruction. Arya tries to rescue the smallfolk but is unable to save anyone and is knocked unconscious. After reawakening in the city's ruins, she leaves on a horse.[24]

After the battle ends, Jon walks through the destroyed streets of King's Landing with Ser Davos and Tyrion, looking in horror at the carnage. Tyrion later decides to go alone to the Red Keep. As they continue to walk toward the Red Keep, Jon, Davos, and several Stark soldiers run into Grey Worm and several Unsullied about to execute several surrendered Lannister troops. Jon tells him to stop, but Grey Worm states that the Queen has ordered execution of all who followed Cersei. The Stark soldiers and Unsullied almost come to blows, but Davos defuses the situation, advising Jon to take up the matter with the Queen.

As Jon is walking to the Red Keep, he makes his way through the remaining Dothraki and starts to walk up the steps to the castle. Arya watches him from behind the Dothraki. As Jon reaches the top, he sees Daenerys walking out of the castle to address her army, promising to "liberate" the whole world from tyrants. He also witnesses Tyrion being arrested for freeing his brother. As they are walking away, Arya sneaks up next to Jon. She warns him that Sansa will never accept Daenerys as queen and he'll always be in danger due to his parentage.

Later, Jon goes and speaks to the imprisoned Tyrion who warns him of what Daenerys has become and that she is now the greatest threat. He reinforces Arya's comments that he will always be in danger due to his parentage and suggests to Jon that he take action against the new Queen, warning that his "sisters" will be in danger due to Daenerys and he has to make a choice now.

Jon confronts Daenerys in the throne room about the massacre of innocent civilians, but she replies that it was necessary. He pleads for forgiveness for Tyrion and the people of King's Landing, urging her to make them see they are mistaken about her, but Daenerys rejects this, believing she was right. She tries to convince Jon to help her realize her vision of a new world. Jon asks her how she knows any better than anyone else, to which she replies that others don't get to choose. Jon states she will always be his queen and while they are kissing, reluctantly stabs her. Drogon witnesses him laying down her corpse and melts down the Iron Throne after realizing Daenerys is dead, before flying away with her body.

After this, Jon is taken prisoner by the Unsullied. Sansa and Bran Stark travel south to King's Landing with thousands of Northmen for trial of Jon and Tyrion. She threatens Grey Worm with war when he states that they will punish him and he responds in equal measure. Tyrion convinces Grey Worm to let the new king decide Jon's fate. Bran is then elected king and allows Sansa to declare the North independent. He appoints Tyrion as the Hand of the King and decides to exile Jon to the Night's Watch, in order to avoid a war between his supporters and the Unsullied. Tyrion visits Jon in his cell, where he informs him of his exile.

Stark Sibling's S8 Ep6

Jon Snow bids farewell to his Stark family.

Jon bids farewell to his family before going into exile while Arya informs everyone that she has decided to explore the uncharted seas west of Westeros. After returning to Castle Back, Jon reunites with Ghost and the wildlings led by Tormund. Meanwhile, Sansa is named Queen in the North and Arya sails for her voyage to the west of Westeros. After donning his Night's Watch cloak, Jon leaves with the Free Folk for the lands beyond the Wall.[25]

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 Stark to Winterfell clarified the ambiguity of all of their political positions in the North.

While Jon ruled as the King in the North, his half-sister Sansa Stark 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.[26] 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.[27][28]

At the Great Council of 305 AC, Bran Stark 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.

Due to the North's vast size, gathering the full military strength of the Starks and their vassals is a difficult process, requiring months of travel time and the ability to supply and feed the host even before it sets out. The total force of the north is 45,000.

For this reason, the 18,000 men Robb Stark takes south to confront the army of the Westerlands is not the full strength of the North, only what could be assembled at relatively short notice.

By the time of the Battle of the Yellow Fork, however, the Stark army is allied with House Tully and their vassals, including House Frey, so it is estimated that their force is even or greater than the Lannister army, which would place it at around 30,000-35,000 soldiers at least in the Westerlands/Riverlands, with at least 1,000 further soldiers left to guard The North.

Stark guard (The Pointy End)

A Stark guardsman.

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.

During the Red Wedding, almost the entire army sworn to House Stark present at the Twins is annihilated, with anyone who manages to escape the massacre being hunted by House Frey. While Houses Bolton and Karstark remain mostly unscathed and possess the largest armies in the North, the only possibility of military support to the scattered heirs of House Stark comes from the remaining garrison and levies of other northern houses, provided they do not bend the knee to the new Warden of the North, Roose Bolton.

During the Conflict Beyond the Wall Jon Snow establishes an alliance between the Night's Watch and at least 2,000 Free Folk. With his temporary death freeing him from his vows, and the Wildlings still loyal to him, the Wildlings are now unofficial Stark soldiers. Jon and Sansa are able to convince some of the smaller houses to unite around them, giving them 2,405 men. During the Battle of the Bastards, the Starks and their allies came close to total destruction; they were saved by the intervention of a sizable army from The Vale led by Sansa Stark and Petyr Baelish. It is unknown how many Stark loyalists survived the battle, but they likely number no more than 800.

Shortly after the Battle of the Bastards, Jon and Sansa treat with all the Northern Lords and the Lords of the Vale of Arryn. Lyanna Mormont declares Jon the King in the North and is soon followed by Wyman Manderly, Robett Glover, Cley Cerwyn and the rest of the Northern Lords. With all of the Northern Houses and wildlings combined, they have around 16,000 men, backed by further 20,000 men from the Vale, which declares for the Starks.

However, the forces of House Stark are decimated during the Battle of Winterfell, leaving it unclear just how many men the Starks have left.

When Jon travels as an envoy to Dragonstone, he laments to Davos that the entire combined strength of arms in the North at this point (including old men and green boys) is probably fewer than 10,000 men (apparently not including the Vale's armies, or perhaps counting just the Vale armies in the North). While it is not specified, it is possible that the North possesses several ships, as Jon Snow uses one for his voyage from White Harbor to Dragonstone.[29]


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 comma as 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 her 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 person 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".

Image gallery

Family Tree

Rickard Stark
Lyarra Stark
Brandon Stark

Catelyn Stark
née Tully House-Tully-Main-Shield
Eddard Stark

Lyanna Stark

Benjen Stark
Robb Stark

Talisa Stark
née Maegyr
Tyrion Lannister House-Lannister-Main-Shield

Sansa Stark

Arya Stark

Bran Stark

Rickon Stark

"Jon Snow"

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 have yet to 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

See also


v  d  e
House Stark
Lord: Sansa Stark Heir: Arya Stark
Seat: Winterfell Lands: The North
Title(s): King in the North · Lord of Winterfell

Under the Iron Throne: Lord Paramount of the North · Warden of the North

Ancestors:Brandon the Builder · Brandon the Breaker · Dorren Stark · Jon Stark · Rickard Stark · Rodrik Stark · Karlon Stark · Theon Stark · Osric Stark · Torrhen Stark · Cregan Stark · Brandon Snow
Current members:Bran the Broken · Jon Snow
Deceased members:Rickard Stark · Brandon Stark · Lyanna Stark · Eddard Stark · Robb Stark · Talisa Stark · Catelyn Stark · Rickon Stark · Benjen Stark
Household:{Maester Luwin} · {Ser Rodrik Cassel} · {Jory Cassel} · {Vayon Poole} · Jeyne Poole · {Septa Mordane} · {Old Nan} · {Hodor} · {Farlen} · {Mikken} · {Osha} · {Jojen Reed} · Maester Wolkan

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