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"I, Rickard Stark, promise to be faithful to King Viserys, and to his named heir, Princess Rhaenyra."
―Rickard swears allegiance to Rhaenyra Targaryen as heir to the throne[src]

Lord Rickard Stark is the Lord of Winterfell and head of House Stark in the early reign of King Viserys I Targaryen.

Biography

Lord Rickard is the Lord of Winterfell during the youth of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.[1] He has a son, Cregan.

In the books

In Fire & Blood, this character is named Rickon Stark. The official English subtitles for the second House of the Dragon teaser trailer state his name is "Rickard Stark", but all non-English subtitles say "Rickon" as in the books: either the English subtitles made a mistake, or the name was officially changed but the non-English subtitle teams weren't contacted about it. This awaits confirmation from casting resumes. George R.R. Martin wanted to reflect that names frequently repeated in real life historical dynasties: "Rickon Stark" is also the name of one of Ned Stark's sons, though "Rickard Stark" is actually the name of Ned's own father (though he was rarely referred to by name on-screen).

Rickon Stark was the eldest son of Lord Benjen Stark and Lady Lysa Locke. He had a brother, Bennard Stark, and a wife, Gilliane Glover. He was the father of the famous Cregan Stark, head of House Stark during the Dance of the Dragons. He had another unnamed son who died young, and some histories say that he also fathered a bastard daughter whom he acknowledged and brought to live at Winterfell, the mysterious Sara Snow.

At Great Council at Harrenhal in 101 AC, the Starks were among the few Houses who supported Rhaenys Velaryon over her first cousin Viserys I Targaryen for the Iron Throne. Rhaenys had been passed over a decade before when her father died but Viserys's father was named heir - yet after his death in 101 AC she pressed that if the throne must be held by a man, it should go to her son Laenor Velaryon. Laenor lost the final vote by twenty to one, but his three most prominent supporters had been the wealthy House Velaryon itself (under his father Corlys Velaryon), House Baratheon (because Rhaenys's mother was Boremund Baratheon's sister), and House Stark (though unlike the other two, the Starks had no blood ties to Rhaenys).

The Gift south of the Wall.

In the full century since the Targaryen Conquest, the Starks had remained aloof from royal politics in the south, thus it was unusual that they suddenly took a controversial opposition stance on the royal succession at the Great Council. Historians suspect that the Starks opposed Viserys because he was the favored heir of old King Jaehaerys, and they were still bitter with him for ordering forced land donations to the Night's Watch some decades before. Jaehaerys was a great benefactor of the Watch and donated significant funds to them, but he also commanded that the lands of the Gift should be doubled to the south, creating the "New Gift". The Starks actually opposed this because they argued they could administer those lands better than the Night's Watch could, whose focus would always be north of the Wall instead of south of it - a prediction that came true, as in later times the New Gift fell into disuse and was largely abandoned.

The Stark lord who voted at the Great Council of 101 AC itself was actually Ellard Stark, of unclear relation to Rickon Stark. It is unknown if he was still alive four years later when all the great lords of the realm swore to honor Viserys's choice to name his daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen as his heir (contradicting the exact precedent from the Great Council that had put him on the throne in the first place). The TV version (as shown in teaser trailers) depicts Rickon/Rickard swearing oaths that Rhaenyra is the rightful heir.

The history of Ellard Stark is a bit complicated by retcons: early prints of The World of Ice & Fire said that he was head of House Stark when the New Gift land donation was made, but later editions removed this because a full timeline of Jaehaerys's reign and the Starks in it had not yet been firmly established. When Fire & Blood was released six years later in 2018, it clarified that the New Gift land donation happened at least thirty years before the Great Council of 101 AC, as it happened during the reign of Alaric Stark who died in 72 AC. Thus the land donation happened some time before Ellard himself came to rule, but the Stark family was still upset about it well into the next generation (and so, they were probably still unhappy about it by the time Rickon ruled). The exact history of House Stark from Alaric to Rickon is also somewhat obscure and a full family tree doesn't exist, so it's unclear how Ellard was related to either of them.

See also

References



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