Rickard Stark: "Remember that you are a Stark. Comport yourself with dignity at the Vale, and try to stay out of fights."
Eddard Stark: "Yes, father."
Rickard Stark: "But if you have to fight, win."
— Rickard Stark advising young Eddard Stark before his departure to the Vale.[src]

Lord Rickard Stark was the Lord of Winterfell, the Lord Paramount of the North, the Warden of the North and head of House Stark until he was executed along with his eldest son and heir Brandon by the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen. He was the father of Brandon, Eddard, Lyanna and Benjen Stark. Both Rickard Stark and the Mad King are grandfathers to Jon Snow.



Rickard arrest

Rickard and Brandon are arrested by Targaryen guards.

Aerys Rickard Brandon

Rickard is burned alive with wildfire by the Mad King.

Rickard Stark 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 rule the region from their seat of Winterfell and Rickard also held the title Lord of Winterfell. He was also the Warden of the North.[1]

He served under King Aerys II (known as the Mad King). He was saved from drowning by Ser Arthur Dayne during the siege of White Harbor by the outlaw Sea Kings.[2] Rickard is the father of Brandon, Eddard, Lyanna and Benjen Stark. He arranged for the betrothal of his daughter Lyanna Stark to Robert Baratheon, the Lord Paramount of the Stormlands. He also betrothed his son and heir Brandon Stark to Catelyn Tully, the daughter of Hoster Tully, Lord Paramount of the Riverlands. Both engagements were broken when Prince Rhaegar Targaryen abducted Lyanna.

When Lyanna was kidnapped by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, the son of the King, Rickard's eldest son and heir, Brandon, rode to King's Landing seeking justice. Aerys II imprisoned Brandon and ordered that Rickard ride south to answer for his son's impertinence. Against advice, Rickard agreed, assuming that the matter would be settled through a trial or a bargain of some kind. Instead, Aerys had Lord Rickard burned alive while Brandon strangled himself trying to save his father.[3]

Aerys then ordered Jon Arryn to hand over his ward and new Lord of Winterfell Eddard Stark. Having sworn a sacred oath to protect Eddard, Jon instead rose his banners in rebellion. He was supported by the North, Lyanna's betrothed Robert Baratheon, and Hoster Tully. This sparked the beginning of the war known as Robert's Rebellion, which led to the near-destruction of House Targaryen and its removal from the Iron Throne.[4]

Season 1

Reaching King's Landing, Lord Eddard Stark is greeted by Ser Jaime Lannister 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 Kingsguard vows.[5]

Season 5

Rickard and Brandon are indirectly mentioned on two separate occasions to Daenerys Targaryen, 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.[6]

Later, when Tyrion Lannister 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 gone due to the actions of their "two terrible fathers" though he doesn't discuss the specifics - her father executing Rickard and Brandon and his father orchestrating the Red Wedding.[7].

Season 6

Bran Stark, with the aid of the Three-eyed Raven, has a greensight vision of Lord Rickard give some parting words to the young Ned Stark as he prepares to leave Winterfell to be fostered in the Eyrie. Rickard advises his son to comport himself with dignity and stay out of fights, but implores him to win if he must fight. Seeing and hearing his grandfather for the first time brings a smile to Bran's face.[8]

Season 7

When Jon Snow agrees to meet with Daenerys Targaryen to discuss an alliance, Sansa Stark angrily reminds her half-brother (in reality cousin) what Daenerys's father, the Mad King, did to their grandfather, Lord Rickard.[9] When Jon refuses to bend the knee to Daenerys, he reminds her of how her father executed his grandfather and uncle. Daenerys admits that her father was an evil man and asks forgiveness for the crimes he committed against House Stark.[10]

After the execution of Randyll and Dickon Tarly, following the Battle on the Goldroad, Varys compares Daenerys to Aerys, as he did the same with Rickard and Brandon Stark. Varys then implores Tyrion to make her listen, fearing that this will make her be viewed in a similar vision to her father.[11]

Season 8

Rickard is mentioned under the entry about Ser Arthur Dayne, in The Book of Brothers, which the new Lord Commander of the Kingsguard Brienne of Tarth was flicking through.[12]

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"


Spoken about Rickard
"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]
Eddard Stark: "My father once told me you were the best he'd ever seen. I never knew the man to be wrong about matters of combat."
Barristan Selmy: "He was a fine man, your father. What the Mad King did to him was a terrible crime."
Barristan Selmy recalls Rickard's death.[src]
"That's my grandfather, Lord Rickard. He was burned alive by the Mad King, Aerys."
Bran Stark in the Winterfell crypts.[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]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Rickard's role is unchanged. His wife Lyarra, with whom we had his four aforementioned children, was his first cousin once removed (her name was already "Lyarra Stark" before they were married). Her father was named Rodrik Stark, and he was the younger brother of Rickard's grandfather Willam Stark. First cousin marriage is not considered incest in Westeros.

In A Clash of Kings, Jaime Lannister explains to Catelyn Stark just how he died: Rickard demanded trial by combat to clear his son's name, assuming he would face a Kingsguard such as Jaime, but the Mad King had him locked in a cage with fire spewing beneath it, saying "Fire is the champion of House Targaryen" and mockingly offering that all he had to do to win the trial was not to burn. When Brandon tried to stop his father's death, he ended up strangling himself due to the device the Targaryen men had strapped him to. Jaime did not say how many knights were present, only that Gerold Hightower was there, and (having noticed Jaime's visible disgust at the proceedings) told him afterwards that they were sworn to defend the king, not to judge him.

In A Storm of Swords, Jaime offers to swear an oath not to harm Brienne of Tarth in exchange for being unchained so that the two of them can share watches after they are attacked. When Brienne reminds Jaime about how he broke his oath to the Mad King, Jaime alludes to Rickard's death saying she never cooked anyone in their armor as far as he knows.

Rickard's father was Lord Edwyle Stark, son of Willam. Edwyle's sister (Rickard's aunt) married a junior member of House Royce from the Vale, and through her the Royces are blood relatives of the Starks. The Royce whom Rickard's aunt married was a member of the cadet branch of the main line of that family known as House Royce of the Gates of the Moon (or perhaps, he was specifically the founder of that cadet branch). Thus Nestor Royce, the head of House Royce of the Gates of the Moon at the time of the War of the Five Kings, is Eddard Stark's second cousin. After hearing of the Sack of Winterfell and the alleged deaths of his brothers, Eddard's son Robb Stark felt the need to name a new heir (otherwise the Lannisters would press a claim to Winterfell through Sansa's forced marriage to Tyrion). Eddard's widow Catelyn Tully suggested naming one of the Royces due to this distant blood relationship - either way the point was rendered moot after the deaths of them both and the destruction of the Northern army at the Red Wedding.

See also


v  d  e
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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