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Old Nan: "I know a story about a crow."
Bran Stark: "I hate your stories."
Old Nan: "I know a story about a boy who hated stories."
— Old Nan's storytelling[src]

Old Nan was an elderly servant at Winterfell, known for her storytelling.

Biography

Background

Old Nan is an elderly woman living in Winterfell. She is a retired servant of House Stark known for her tale-telling abilities. She has entertained the children of Eddard and Catelyn with stories throughout their childhoods.

Season 1

After Catelyn Stark leaves for King's Landing, Old Nan sits by Bran Stark's bedside to watch him. She suggests the story of Duncan the Tall and Bran replies that he hates her stories — he prefers the scary ones. She retorts that he is a "sweet summer child" who knows nothing about fear, and tells him that fear is for the winter and for the Long Night, a winter season thousand of years ago that lasted a generation, in which those who didn't freeze to death had to face the White Walkers, who ventured south for the first time and swept through Westeros.[1] Theon Greyjoy interrupts another story and says that he would go mad if he was left alone with Old Nan.[2]

Season 6

Bran sees Old Nan and Hodor in a vision.

She is seen in the vision by Bran Stark, preventing Hodor, named Wylis, from practicing with young Benjen Stark, because Wylis is a stableboy and should not play with the nobles. Jon Snow and Sansa Stark later reminisce about the kidney pies Old Nan used to make for them as children.[3]

During Bran's frantic warging during the Battle at the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven, Nan is seen trying to help Wylis, in the throes of the seizure that ultimately robs him of his mind and leaves him unable to say anything except "Hodor".[4]

Appearances

Game of Thrones Season 1 appearances
Winter Is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Game of Thrones Season 6 appearances
The Red Woman Home * Oathbreaker Book of the Stranger The Door *
Blood of My Blood The Broken Man No One Battle of the Bastards The Winds of Winter

* Bran's vision

Gallery

Behind the scenes

Actress Margaret John, who played Old Nan, passed away only two months before Season 1 began to air, though all of her scenes had already been completed. The character does appear during the second book, however, in the TV series canon the showrunners decided to retire the character out of respect.

In the books

In A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Old Nan is the oldest person living at Winterfell. She came to Winterfell to act as wetnurse for a Brandon Stark, which one is unsure, only that his mother had died birthing him. This Brandon Stark is believed to be either the brother of Lord Rickard Stark or a brother of his father. She's retired but tells stories and legends to the Stark children. She lost two sons in Robert's Rebellion and her grandson during the Greyjoy Rebellion, while her daughters moved away and died. Her only surviving family is her great-grandson, the gentle, slow-witted Hodor.

In the books, Bran recalls that his father Eddard Stark told him that she is so old that she was called "Old" Nan even before Eddard himself was a child.

In the books, it is Old Nan and not Osha who interprets the arrival of the Red Comet to mean the return of dragons.

"Nan" might be short for "Nymeria". When Arya Stark is on the run after escaping from King's Landing, one of the aliases she uses is "Nymeria", but she says to call her "Nan" for short.

Among the stories she used to tell the Stark boys are:

Following the Sack of Winterfell, Old Nan is brought to the Dreadfort. Her fate is unknown.

See also

References

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