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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, ruling 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 Daenerys Targaryen's invasion of 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 Bolton's 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 their family home 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 Ned Stark's illegitimate son Jon Snow 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.

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."

History

Background

Before the Targaryen conquest, the leaders of House Stark ruled over the region as the Kings in the North.[1] 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' vast host and dragons, believing that fighting was futile. He was made Lord Paramount of the North and served the Targaryens as Warden of the North. Thereafter, Torrhen was known as "the king who knelt".[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 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 Greywind, 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 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 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.

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]

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.[18]

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.[19]

Season 7

At Winterfell, the King in the North Jon Snow organizes the defense of the North against the Night King and his army of the dead. He asks that all maesters start searching for dragonglass, stressing it is now more valuable than gold due to its effectiveness against the White Walkers. Jon also requests that Tormund and his people man Eastwatch-by-the-Sea as Tormund and the other wildlings were present at Hardhome and have seen the Night King and Tormund agrees to defend this castle. Jon orders for all able-bodied men and boys aged 10 to 60 in his kingdom to be trained in combat in order to defend against the encroaching threat of the White Walkers. Because having only half of the population in the North fighting the White Walkers is not enough, he also orders that every woman and girl should also be trained and equipped as well. When Robett Gloverquestions Snow, Lady Lyanna Mormont remarks that girls will not remain idle and volunteers to help, giving her assurance that every girl on Bear Island will be trained alongside the boys. Sansa Stark urges her half-brother to strip the Umbers and Karstarks of their castles as punishment for turning against the Starks. However, Jon advocates forgiveness and insists that children will not be punished for the crimes of their fathers. Despite Sansa's continued insistence, Jon insists his decision is final and summons Ned Umber and Alys Karstark - both of whom are not even in their teens. He asks them to reaffirm their loyalty to House Stark. They oblige and kneel before King Jon. Jon says that the mistakes of the past don't matter anymore. Petyr Baelish watches the proceedings with a smile

In private, Jon chides Sansa for questioning his decision-making in front of the other lords and ladies. He tells Sansa that while she is his sister and she can question his decisions, doing so when he is publicly addressing the Northern lords and ladies undermines his position with them. When Sansa responds that the late Joffrey Baratheon did not tolerate dissent, Jon reassures her that he is not Joffrey. Sansa tells Jon that she knows he is nothing like Joffrey and assures Jon that he is good at leadership, but she wants him to be wiser than their late father and brother. She confides that their father sought to protect her from the harshness of reality, including swearing. Maester Wolkan then delivers a message from the newly-crowned Queen Cersei Lannister; though she is apparently not opposed to House Stark reclaiming the North from House Bolton, she demands that they submit to her authority. While Jon is preoccupied with preparing to fight the Night King, Sansa warns him not to underestimate Cersei.

Beyond the Wall, Bran Stark and Meera Reed reach the gate beneath Castle Black. They are greeted by the Acting Lord Commander Eddison Tollett and several armed Black Brothers. Edd asks if they are Wildlings, but Meera introduces herself and Bran. When Edd asks them to verify their identities, Bran responds by "recognizing" Edd from the conflicts at the Fist of the First Men and Hardhome, observing that he has seen the army of the dead. Edd decides to bring the two of them inside, glancing nervously at the increasingly hostile lands beyond the Wall.

At Winterfell, Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, and Davos Seaworth discuss a letter they received from Tyrion Lannister about a potential alliance. Jon asks for Sansa's opinion and while Sansa remembers that Tyrion was kind to her and was unlike the rest of his family, she wonders if the message is truly from Tyrion. Jon confirms the letter's authenticity as it ends with the line "all dwarfs are bastards in their fathers' eyes," which is what Tyrion told Jon when they first met. Even so, Sansa worries it is too big a risk and Jon concedes that now is not the right time to go to Dragonstone. Davos opines that Dany will make a good ally in the war to come against the White Walkers.

Some days later, Maester Wolkan brings Jon Snow a message from Samwell Tarly in the Citadel. Jon gathers the Northern lords in the main hall and announces that Sam's letter reveals there is a vein of dragon glass beneath Dragonstone. He adds that Lord Tyrion has invited him to Dragonstone to meet with Queen Daenerys and announces his decision to travel to Dragonstone to convince Daenerys to join their fight against the White Walkers, declaring that he plans to travel with Davos to White Harbor and sail to Dragonstone island. Lords Yohn Royce and Robett Glover voice their opinions that a Targaryen cannot be trusted. Lady Lyanna Mormont urges the King in the North to stay at home. Jon accepts that he is taking a risk but stresses that the fight against the White Walkers is more important, and they need Daenerys' aid if the North is to be saved. Jon emphasizes that the North is his home, it is part of him, and he will never stop fighting for it. Sansa reiterates her objection to Jon's leaving, and Jon tells Sansa that he is appointing her as ruler of the North in his absence as she is his sister, regent, and a Stark. Sansa accepts.

In the riverlands Arya Stark encounters her old friend Hot Pie at the Inn at the Crossroads, accosting him to give her some pie and ale. Hot Pie then reveals to her that he Boltons are now dead, killed during the Battle of the Bastards by her half-brother Jon Snow, who has been named King in the North. Arya decides to head north.

At Winterfell, Sansa and Petyr Baelish learn from Maester Wolkan that they have about 4,000 bushels of wheat. Sansa realizes that they don't have enough food for the coming winter. She advocates building granaries to stockpile for a famine. Sansa also orders Yohn Royce to see that the armor made for their armies is outfitted with leather to keep warm. While walking, Baelish and Sansa talk about the threat of Cersei. Petyr urges her to fight every battle and to look for threats in every corner. They are then interupted by a guard who tells Lady Stark that she has received a visitor, who turns out to be her younger brother Bran Stark, accompanied by Meera Reed.

Following a tearful reunion, the two siblings retreat to the Godswood, where Sansa tells Bran how she wishes Jon were there with them at Winterfell. Bran agrees, noting that he needs to speak to Jon. When Sansa points out that Bran is the rightful Lord of Winterfell since he is the last remaining true-born son of Ned Stark, he refuses the position, stating that he is the Three-Eyed Raven and thus can't be any sort of Lord. Sansa begs for Bran to explain what that means, and Bran then demonstrates his newly-acquired power to a skeptical Sansa by recalling details from the night of her marriage to Ramsay Bolton. Startled, Sansa walks away in shock and tears.

Jon and Davos arrive at Dragonstone, and are immediately greeted by Tyrion and Missandei. Upon meeting, Tyrion address Jon as the bastard of Winterfell, while Jon addresses him as the dwarf of Casterly Rock – the two share a friendly grin. Jon observes that Tyrion has picked up some scars. Jon also introduces Davos while Tyrion introduces Missandei, who requests that they surrender their weapons. Jon and his entourage hand over their weapons to Daenerys's Dothraki guards.

On the walk to the castle, Missandei walks with Davos and tells him that she comes from the island of Naath. Davos remarks that it was a paradise full of palm trees. Jon and Tyrion talk about Sansa Stark's marriage to Tyrion. Tyrion assures Jon that it was a sham and was never consummated, and remarks that she is a lot smarter than she lets on, to which Jon agrees. While Jon is aware about the fate of the previous Starks who had met with the Mad King, Jon insists that he is not a Stark. Jon and Davos are startled at the sight of Drogon and Viserion flying low over the causeway and dive to the ground, while an amused Missandei and Tyrion retain their composure. Offering Jon a hand up, Tyrion says he wishes he could tell Jon he'll get used to the dragons – but no one is quite used to them except their mother, who is waiting for Jon within. In the throne room, Missandei introduces Daenerys by her many titles. At Jon's awkward prompting, a slightly amused Davos introduces Jon simply as King in the North. Daenerys thanks Jon for travelling so far but refers to him as a Lord. Davos begs to differ, but Daenerys responds that there has been no King in the North ever since Torrhen Stark bent the knee to Aegon the Conqueror (not recognizing Robb Stark as the last King in the North) and adds that an oath lasts for perpetuity. Dany then reiterates her demand for Jon to bend the knee, but he refuses. When Dany accuses him of breaking faith with House Targaryen, Jon reminds her that the Mad King burnt his grandfather Rickard Stark and uncle Brandon. Daenerys apologizes for her father's actions and stresses that children should not be punished for the crimes of their parents. She then urges Jon to renew the historic allegiance between their two great houses. Jon expresses agreement with Daenerys' view that children should not be punished for the crimes of their parents, but argues that he is not beholden to his ancestors' oaths. Jon tells her that he has come because he needs her help--and she needs his. Getting to the point of his trip, Jon likens the fighting between the Great Houses to children squabbling over a game. Jon points out that the army of the dead is their true enemy. Daenerys is sceptical, but Tyrion vouches for Jon. Jon says that they need to make cause to fight against the army of the dead. Daenerys asks if Jon knew if his father knew that his best friend had sent assassins to kill her as a baby (not knowing that Lord Eddard Stark had opposed King Robert Baratheon's assassination plot). Dany recounts that she was targeted by assassins, enslaved, raped, and defiled but that her faith in herself rather the gods kept her going. Daenerys talks about the miracle of her dragons' hatching and the Dothraki crossing the Narrow Sea. When Daenerys reiterates that she is destined to rule the Seven Kingdoms, Jon retorts that she will be ruling over a graveyard and points out that the Night King is their true enemy. Davos then speaks up for his liege lord and tells Dany that Jon won the support of the Wildlings and fought the White Walkers, but Jon cuts him off when he tries to mention the true outcome of the Mutiny at Castle Black. Davos says that it doesn't matter who bends the knee, but Tyrion doesn't see the point of Jon's refusal to submit. When Jon disputes Daenerys' claims to Queenship, Dany responds that he is in open rebellion since he has declared himself King in the North. Daenerys then receives a message from Varys. Dany orders Missandei to give Jon and his followers food and lodging, then ominously gives a series of clipped orders, in Dothraki, to Qhono. When Jon asks if he is a prisoner, she says "not yet". After learning about the dragon glass beneath Dragonstone, Tyrion speaks with Dany about Jon's request to access the material. Dany is preoccupied with the loss of two allies. Tyrion convinces Dany to let Jon have the dragon glass in order to court his allegiance, and tells her to give him something so that they can focus on Casterly Rock. Dany listens to her Hand's advice, but seems more preoccupied with what Davos was about to say about Jon in the throne room. Tyrion dismisses it as Northern hyperbole.While Dany is watching over her dragons, she is joined by Jon. Dany tells Jon that she named her dragons Rhaegal and Viserion after her brothers Rhaegarand Viserys Targaryen. Jon realizes that Tyrion has been petitioning her. Dany tells Jon she is determined to remove Cersei. She allows Jon to mine the dragon glass and agrees to provide men and equipment. Desperate for some validation, he asks if she believes in the Night King and White Walkers; she tells him to get to work.

At Winterfell, Littlefinger meets with the recently-returned Bran Stark. Apparently hoping to exploit disunity among the Stark children, he tries to ingratiate himself with Bran, Ned Stark's last trueborn son and rightful heir to Winterfell. Littlefinger gives Bran a gift, the very same Valyrian steel dagger that a cutthroat tried to kill him with while he was in a coma right after he was pushed from one of Winterfell's towers. Bran is still emotionally detached, however, from all of his visions as the new Three-Eyed Raven, and is generally uninterested, only absent-mindedly asking who the dagger belonged to. With a wry look, Littlefinger responds that, in a way, this is the question which started the entire War of the Five Kings. Bran's mother Catelyn Stark took the dagger south with her to King's Landing to try to find who it belonged to, convinced the Lannisters sent the cutthroat to kill Bran (and left it there in Ned's possession, from whom Littlefinger recovered it). Littlefinger tries to manipulate Bran by remarking on how much chaos he must have lived through to get back to Winterfell. In response, Bran looks at Littlefinger and says, "Chaos is a ladder," quoting back Littlefinger's own words to him, which Littlefinger said to Varys in King's Landing years before and which Bran couldn't possibly have been physically present to hear himself. Visibly unnerved, Littlefinger is startled by Meera Reed entering the room. He takes his leave of Bran, calling him "Lord Stark", though again Bran insists he's not a Lord. After Littlefinger leaves, Meera notices Bran's new wheelchair. He explains Maester Wolkan built it for him. She tells him that she has come to tell him she's leaving and say goodbye; she promised to keep him safe, and now that he's back in Winterfell surrounded by his Stark forces, he's as safe as anyone will be before the coming war. Meera explains that when the White Walkers arrive, she wants to be with her family, so she is heading back to the Neck to assist the Crannogmen. She says he doesn't need her in Winterfell anymore; Bran agrees with her and with blank emotional affect, simply thanking her for her help. Meera grows angry that this is all he has to say after everything they went through, when Hodor and Summer and even her own brother Jojen died for Bran. He then explains that he isn't really "Bran Stark" anymore, but the Three-Eyed Raven. He "remembers" the events of Bran Stark's life, but now "remembers" vast amounts of other accumulated memories from centuries upon centuries. Everything that once affected "Bran Stark" now seems distant and trivial to him. In horror, Meera cries that he "died" in the cave and leaves. Later Arya Stark finally returns to Winterfell, after leaving years before with her father, Sansa, and King Robert Baratheon's entourage, right after Bran's fall from the tower. Arya rides up to the gates and dismounts, but the guards don't believe her when she says she is in fact Arya Stark, convinced that Arya has been dead for years. Arya asks that they send word to Maester Luwin and Rodrik Cassel, hoping either can prove her identity but unaware they are both dead. The guards gruffly say that no one by those names is there, so Arya asks for Jon. The two say he'd just left Winterfell. Arya asks who is in charge of Winterfell then, and they say "Lady Stark" (who Arya realizes is her sister). They try to brush her aside, but she dodges them with her assassin's reflexes, and insists that one way or another, she's getting in. She explains to them that if she is Arya, they'll be in a lot of trouble for turning her away, and if she isn't, she won't last long in Winterfell anyway. Mildly concerned, they agree to at least let her in the courtyard but insist that she stay put while they consult Sansa so they can disprove her identity. As soon as they take their eyes off her, however, she slips away. The two guards go to inform Sansa and try to wave it aside as just some impostor, but when they mention she asked for Luwin and Cassel, she instantly realizes it must be Arya, and already knows where she has gone. Sansa finds Arya where she expected, in the crypts looking over their father Ned's grave. They are happy to see each other but so much has happened to both of them in the past few years that they are at first awkward, unsure of what to say. Arya asks if she has to call Sansa "Lady Stark" now, to which Sansa firmly insists yes, and laughs. They smile and hug, though still a bit unsure. Arya notes that Jon left her in charge and smiles when Sansa says that she hopes Jon will be back soon. He will be both surprised and happy to see Arya, Sansa remembering how happy Jon was to see her when they were reunited. The sisters then look sadly on their father's grave statue. Arya says it doesn't really look like him. Sansa acknowledges that everyone who knew his face well is dead. Arya points out they're not. Arya then asks if Sansa killed Joffrey as everyone believes. She explains she actually didn't, though she wished she had. Arya remarks that he was always at the top of her "list". This confuses Sansa, and Arya explains that she'd been keeping a list of everyone she was going to kill, at which they both laugh. Finally Sansa asks how Arya got back, but she only says her road wasn't a pleasant one. Sansa says hers wasn't either. They hug again, earnestly and warmly. Sansa then informs Arya that Bran is home too. Arya is elated, but her face falls when Sansa makes no mention of Rickon, immediately realizing that Rickon is dead. Sansa brings Arya to Bran in the Godswood, where he is lost in thought by the Weirwood heart tree. Arya is saddened to see him so paralyzed. Still somewhat detached even at the sight of Arya, he says he isn't surprised she's alive because he saw her at the Crossroads. Arya is confused, and Sansa explains that Bran is having "visions" now. Bran says he thought Arya was going to King's Landing, and when Sansa asks why she would head there of all places, he again startles them both by saying it's because Cersei is on her list of names (which he can't possibly be aware of through normal means). Sansa asks who else is on her list, but she says most of them besides Cersei are actually dead already. They then remark on the Valyrian steel dagger in his lap, and he explains that Littlefinger gave it to him, thinking he'd want it. Despite it being such a horrible keepsake that nearly killed him and indirectly set off a chain of events leading to his parents' deaths, he is still listless and disinterested in it. Arya is confused as to why a common cuthroat would have a rare, priceless blade of Valyrian steel. Bran matter-of-factly says that someone very wealthy wanted him dead, and gave it to the assassin. Sansa acknowledges she doesn't actually trust Littlefinger and he'd never give anyone anything unless expecting something in return. Bran says that doesn't matter, because he doesn't even want it. Instead, Bran hands it to Arya and says she can have it, being "wasted on a cripple". Sansa looks down, dejected at how her brother considers his own physical state to be useless. Sansa, Bran, and Arya - the three remaining trueborn Stark children - proceed back to Winterfell's castle courtyard together, with Arya pushing Bran in his wheelchair. On Dragonstone, Daenerys Targaryen and Missandei make their way down to the beach to meet Jon Snow. Missandei is worried about Grey Worm because they haven't heard any news from Casterly Rock yet. Daenerys asks what happened between her and Grey Worm, and Missandei wryly says "many things", smiling. Jon then leads Daenerys on a tour of the long-abandoned Valyrian dragonglass mine that Samwell Tarly told him about. The mine is ancient and impressive, used by the First Men long before the Valyrians came to Dragonstone. But this is not why Jon asked Daenerys to come. As they proceed deeper into the mines led by torchlight, Jon shows her cave paintings they discovered left behind by the Children of the Forest, filled with arcane magical symbols. Daenerys is stunned that the mythical Children stood where they are standing now, thousands upon thousands of years ago, long before mankind ever arrived in Westeros. Jon says this isn't exactly true, leading her into another chamber, this one filled with narrative drawings of the Children and the First Men. Daenerys wonders if the Children and First Men fought each other, but Jon then shows her ancient carvings of the White Walkersthemselves, one of which Jon recognizes as an image of the Night King. Jon explains that the Children of the Forest and the First Men only managed to drive off the White Walkers the first time during the Long Nightbecause they chose to join together to fight off their own extinction, and that is the choice between Jon and Daenerys now. Jon still wants Daenerys to ally with him despite not submitting the North to her rule. He insists that the North won't accept a southern ruler again after everything that has happened to them. Daenerys urges that they will if their king does. If his point in showing her the cave drawings was that she should swallow her pride and ally with him because the White Walkers are such a world-ending threat, by the same token, the North should submit to her, because their survival should outweigh their pride.

After exiting the cave and learning about both the Sack of Highgarden and the Lannister's strategic victory when Casterly Rock was captured. Daenerys is furious and struggles to keep her temper, as now all three of her major allies in Westeros are gone and all she has gained is a castle with no supplies. She snaps at Tyrion, blaming his cautious strategy for losing them Dorne, the Iron Islands (Yara's forces), and now the Reach. She then accuses Tyrion of wanting to use a light hand against the Lannisters because they're his own people. Tyrion insists that they still have just enough ships left to at least shuttle the Dothraki from Dragonstone to the nearby mainland coast; even with the loss of all her other allies, her combined Unsullied/Dothraki forces are still the largest single army in Westeros. Daenerys fumes that her vast numbers are useless if she can't feed them all, as that was the Reach's true strategic value. Daenerys decides she has had enough of clever plans, and will use the Dothraki and her dragons in a direct assault to turn the tide of the war back in her favor. She desires to assault the Red Keep with all three of her dragons, intending to raze it to the ground with all her enemies inside it, but Jon argues against such a course of action when she asks him his opinion; by bringing dragons back to life and breaking the back of the slave trade, Daenerys has proven she might be capable of doing things differently. However, if she uses her dragons to "melt castles and burn cities", she will be no different from any of the more tyrannical of her Targaryen ancestors who came before her. Later, Jon and Davos Seaworth proceed back up to the castle. Davos remarks that Jon seems somewhat attracted to Daenerys, but though Jon says Daenerys has a good heart, he brushes Davos' observation aside, saying he doesn't have time "for that" as he has seen the Night King and his horde of the undead. Jon stresses that they need to ally with Daenerys, because the North itself is largely depleted of soldiers after so many years of war (and the Red Wedding), so they only have maybe 10,000 soldiers or less left (to which Davos corrects "fewer"). While they are still on the causeway, they see a lone ironborn ship approaching the island, a survivor of Yara Greyjoy's fleet. Theon Greyjoy himself and some of his men come to shore on a rowboat. As Theon disembarks, he is stunned to see Jon Snow, whom he had had last seen leaving Winterfell to join the Night's Watch. Since then, Theon of course had betrayed House Stark, a factor (albeit not the only one) that nearly destroyed House Stark and contributed to the deaths of two of Jon's half-brothers, Robb and Rickon. Jon is stunned for a moment as well. Theon walks up to Jon and asks him if Sansa is all right, prompting a furious Jon to angrily grab him by his coat and shake him. Remembering all of Theon's past treachery, Jon tells Theon that what he did to save Sansa is the only reason that he is not killing him on the spot and releases him. Visibly relieved, Theon informs them that Euron Greyjoy attacked their fleet and took Yara prisoner. He says he has returned to ask Daenerys's help in saving her. Jon grudgingly tells him that Daenerys has just left.

At the Godswood in Winterfell, Bran Stark wargs into a flock of ravens to fly over the Wall into the Lands of Always Winter. Through the ravens, he sees the Army of the Dead led by the White Walkers and the Night King, traveling south towards Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. His reconnaissance continues until the Night King sees the ravens, at which Bran severs the connection. He tells Maester Wolkan that they need to send ravens at once. Later, in Winterfell's council chamber, Arya Stark observes Regent Sansa Stark presiding over a meeting of the Northern lords. Saying that the King in the North should stay in the north, Lord Robett Glover and Lord Yohn Royce of The Vale of Arryn imply they made a mistake in their choice of ruler and that she take over power in the absence of her half-brother Jon Snow. However, Sansa insists Jon Snow is their true ruler who is doing what he believes is right for their people and that she is his regent. Following the meeting, Sansa confides her frustration in the Northern lords with Arya, who calls Sansa out for diplomatically handling their concerns instead of shutting the lords down. Arya thinks that she should not let the lords get away with insulting Jon and hints at assassinating them. Sansa disagrees, at which Arya calls attention to the fact that Sansa is using their parents' chambers and that she still thinks she's better than anyone else – perhaps she even thinks that she will need the support of the northern lords if she wishes to seize the North for herself, even if she tries not to think of it. Disturbed at her younger sister's homicidal streak and hurt by the accusations, Sansa tells Arya that she has "work to do." Much later, Arya stalks Petyr Baelish as he is walking through the grounds of Winterfell. She follows Petyr into his personal quarters and catches him chatting with Maester Wolkan. She eavesdrops on Petyr asking Wolkan if he is sure that "this" is the only copy. Petyr replies that Lady Sansa Stark thanks him for his services. After Petyr and Wolkan have left, Arya enters Petyr's chamber and rummages through his study and furniture. While searching through his mattress, she finds a scroll written by Sansa. This turns out to be the scroll that Sansa wrote to their late brother Robb Stark urging him to bend the knee to King Joffrey Baratheon. Arya, unaware that Sansa had written the letter under duress from Cersei in an attempt to save their father Eddard Stark, looks horrified. Arya scrunches up the letter and sneaks out of the room, oblivious to a grinning Littlefinger watching from behind a wall. At Dragonstone Jon Snow is walking on the grounds of the island when Daenerys arrives on the back of her dragon Drogon. Drogon roars at Jon at first and stretches out his head to face the King in the North. Drogon calms down and recognizes Jon as a friend of his master (and possibly sensing his Targaryen ancestry), allowing him to stroke his snout, much to Dany's surprise. When Jon Snow (under slight duress) replies that the dragons are beautiful beasts, Dany responds that the dragons are her children. When Jon Snow observes that she was not gone for long, Daenerys curtly replies that she has fewer enemies to deal with. Daenerys then asks Jon about the Battle of the Bastards and him "taking a knife in the heart for his people". Without going into detail, Jon replies that Davos Seaworth likes to embellish things. Their conversation is interrupted by the return of a recently-healed Jorah Mormont. Daenerys introduces Jorah to Jon, who says he worked under Jorah's father in the Night's Watch. Later, at the Chamber of the Painted Table, Jon tells Daenerys about the news of his half-brother Bran and half-sister Arya Stark's return to Winterfell. He warns Daenerys about Bran's vision of the Army of the Dead marching towards Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. Tyrion is present and proposes bring a Wight south in order to prove that the Army of the Dead and the White Walkers are real. Varys opines that it is suicide trying to appeal to Queen Cersei Lannister but Tyrion argues that he can persuade his brother Jaime. Davos also thinks such a mission is risky even for a smuggler like him. Jorah volunteers to go north to help capture a Wight while Jon volunteers to lead the expedition. Apparently on the verge of tears about the idea of Jon leaving, Daenerys responds that she did not give Jon permission to leave but Jon reminds her that he is the King in the North. He tells her she has the power of life and death over him but that he trusted her even though she was a stranger. He pleads with her to return the favor by trusting him. Later, Davos and Tyrion chat about smuggling before embarking on their mission to infiltrate King's Landing. Davos and Tyrion return with Gendry to Dragonstone. At the dragonglass mines, they meet Jon Snow, who is supervising the diggings and excavations. Gendry remarks that Jon is a lot shorter than he expected – and immediately blurts out his true parentage, on the assumption that Jon will value honesty and will appreciate the idea of Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon's bastards joining forces. Gendry volunteers to accompany Jon on his mission to the North to capture a wight and convince Queen Daenerys and Queen Cersei that the true war lies to the North. As Jon Snow and his party including Jorah Mormont prepare to depart on boats for Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, Dany and her entourage arrive and bid Jorah farewell. Jorah quips that he is used to saying farewell. Jon warns Daenerys that there is a chance that he might not return and wishes her well in the "wars to come." Dany and Tyrion watch as Jon Snow and his party depart on their boats for Eastwatch.

At Winterfell, Arya Stark talks to her sister Sansa Stark about borrowing Bran Stark's bow and arrow. She tells Sansa that she practiced several times until she finally hit the bullseye. Arya recalls that their father Eddard Stark had been watching and clapped his hands in praise of her accomplishments. Arya reasons that their father knew that the rules were wrong but that his daughter was in the right. She then confronts Sansa about her alleged role in their father's death. Arya presents the letter that Sansa had written to their late brother Robb Starkurging him to come and bend the knee to King Joffrey Baratheon. Sansa replies that the Queen Mother Cersei Lannister forced her to do it under duress. Arya counters that she was not tortured and that she saw Sansa at Ned's execution; Sansa retorts that Arya did nothing to stop their father's execution either. Arya chastises Sansa for betraying their family but Sansa responds that they have only returned to Winterfell because of her, while Arya travelled the world in pursuit of her own agenda. Sansa adds that their half-brother Jon Snow was saved from defeat when Petyr Baelish and the Knights of the Vale came to their rescue and insists Arya would not have survived the torments she endured at the hands of Joffrey and Ramsay. Sansa demands to know where Arya found the letter and chides her younger sister that Cersei would be pleased to see them fighting but Arya is still bitter towards Sansa. She realizes that while Jon would understand the difficult circumstances Sansa was under when she wrote the letter, Sansa is afraid the Northern lords will discover it and turn on her, including Lyanna Mormont. Arya adds that Lyanna is younger than Sansa was when she wrote this letter but argues Lyanna wouldn't agree with Sansa's defense that she was a child at the time. While recognizing that Sansa wrote the letter out of fear, a bitter Arya says that she prefers to embrace anger over fear. Later, Sansa asks Petyr Baelish about where Arya got the letter from, unaware that Baelish orchestrated the entire incident. Sansa tells Petyr that she is commanding 20,000 men who answer to Jon but not to her. Petyr tells Sansa that the men will trust her because she can rule. Sansa does not trust the loyalty of the Northern lords, citing their history of switching sides. She counters that the discovery of the letter will turn her liege lords and men against her. Sansa confides in Petyr about her strained relations with Arya. Petyr suggests that Sansa talk to Brienne of Tarth because she has sworn to protect both of Lady Catelyn Stark's daughters from harm's way. Trusting Baelish, Sansa accepts his advice. he following morning, Maester Wolkan informs Sansa that they have received a letter from Queen Cersei. Sansa meets with Brienne, who advises her not to leave Winterfell. Instead, Sansa decides to send Brienne as her representative since she could reason with Jaime Lannister. Brienne warns that it is too dangerous for her to leave Sansa alone at Winterfell with Petyr. Sansa insists that her guards and men are loyal to her but Brienne warns that Petyr might be bribing them behind her back. Brienne offers to leave her squire Podrick Payne, whose swordsmanship has improved, but Sansa insists that she can take care of herself.

Beyond the wall Jon Snow and his ranging party travel through the lands beyond the wall on their mission to capture a wight. While walking, Jon and Jorah Mormont also chat about their relationships with their fathers Eddard Stark and Jeor Mormont respectively. They say that their fathers were good and honorable men and did not deserve their deaths. Jon tells Jorah about the brutal death of Jeor at the hands of the Mutineers and that Eddard was beheaded. Jon tries to return Jorah his father's Valyrian sword Longclaw but Jorah tells him that he is not worthy to bear his father's sword and tells Jon to keep it. While trudging through a snowstorm, Jon and his party sight a massive snow bear with blue eyes approaching them. The snow bear turns out to have been resurrected by a White Walker. The monstrous creature mauls and kills three of their company. Beric and Thoros manage to set the snow bear alight with his flaming sword but it continues to attack, forcing Thoros to get in its' way when it attacks Sandor. Thoros is unable to break free of its jaws until Jorah stabs it with a dragonglass dagger. Beric cauterizes Thoros' wounds with his flaming sword As a horde of wights approach, Jon sends Gendry back to Eastwatch to bring news to Daenerys. The wights pursue the group over a lake of ice. One of the ranging party is captured by the horde but manages to drag many of the wights down with him when the ice collapses under their weight. Gendry manages to outrun the wights after lending his hammer to Tormund. Meanwhile, Jon and his ranging party manage to retreat to the middle of an icy lake to escape the wights. Throughout the night, Jon and his comrades wait in the middle of the ice while encircled by the army of the undead. Meanwhile, Gendry reaches Eastwatch's outer gates but collapses from exhaustion. Davos Seaworth and several guards attend to him. When Davos asks what happened, Gendry tells him to fetch the Maester and to send ravens to Daenerys. In the morning, Jon and his company awake to find that Thoros has died from his wounds. Beric and Sandor pay their last respects, with the former praying for the Lord of Light to guard them. At Jon's insistence, they burn the body with Beric's flaming sword. The wights watch while their captive Wight struggles under its hood and restraints. Jorah proposes killing the wight but Jon counters that they need to keep it as evidence. Beric suggests that Jon kill the Night King, who has just arrived on horseback; given that they've seen killing a Walker destroyed the wights it controlled, killing the Night King might destroy them all. He then adds that the Lord of Light has not resurrected Jon for no reason, but Sandor reminds him that they have just lost their priest, and Beric is now down to his last life. Bored, Sandor hurls two rocks at one of the undead minions, knocking its jaw off. The second however, skids across the ice, and both the party and the undead quickly realize the ice, which has hardened overnight, is strong enough to support their weight, and in ever-increasing numbers, the horde attacks the group's position. Sandor holds them back with Gendry's hammer while Jon and the other members of the ranging party join in, wielding weapons of fire, dragonglass or Valyrian steel. Beric manages to set several of the wights alight with his flaming sword. The ranging party hack and slash at the wights with their blades but are unable to stem the tide. With the group overwhelmed, Jon orders them to fall back to the highest part of the island. Tormund is overwhelmed by several wights and is nearly dragged under the ice, but is saved by Sandor, who drags him back onto the island. The group continues fighting against the wights. One of the Wildlings falls off a ledge and is ripped apart by the creatures, who begin to scramble up the ledge towards the living. When all seems lost, Queen Daenerys arrives with her dragons, who attack the wights with dragonfire. Hundreds of wights are burned to ashes while others collapse under the ice, which is melted by dragonfire. Jon and his party rush to Daenerys and her dragon Drogon, dragging their captive wight with them, while Viserion and Rhaegal provide covering fire from above. Meanwhile, the Night King obtains an icy javelin from one of his lieutenants and hurls it at Viserion, scoring a direct hit. Viserion is struck in the neck and plunges helplessly into freefall, shrieking in agony as blood and fire pour from the fatal wound. Drogon and Rhaegal cry out for their brother, but are powerless to help him as Daenerys watches in horror and sorrow. Viserion crashes onto the frozen lake, shattering the ice, and slowly sinks beneath it. As the Night King readies another spear, Jon hollers at Daenerys and company to leave with her remaining dragons before being dragged under the ice by two wights. Daenerys and the survivors of Jon's ranging expedition flee with Drogon and Rhaegal before the Night King can kill them. He hurls the second javelin, but Drogon narrowly dodges it. With the dragons gone, the Night King and his army leave the scene. Later, Jon Snow climbs out of the ice and regains Longclaw. Jon is quickly spotted and pursued by a large horde. Before the wights can finish the King in the North, his long-lost uncle Benjen Stark appears on horseback with his flaming flail. Benjen tells Jon to flee on his horse while he stays behind to buy time for Jon to escape. While riding away on horseback, Jon watches his uncle being overwhelmed by the undead. At Eastwatch Daenerys sends Drogon and Rhaegal to scour the surrounding mountains for Jon. Jorah tells Daenerys that it is time to leave but she insists on waiting a bit longer. Before she can leave, they hear a horn blowing signalling a rider approaching. Looking down from the battlements, Dany sees a wounded Jon Snow approaching on horseback. Aboard their ship, Davos and Gendry tend to Jon Snow, who has suffered severe hypothermia and several minor injuries. Daenerys also notes the massive scars on his chest from his previous fatal wounds. Following the events of the Wight Hunt, Sansa enters Arya's quarters and opens a leather case containing several "faces", including the literally late Walder Frey's face. Arya catches her sister pilfering through her personal effects. When Sansa tells Arya that her men are loyal to her, Arya mockingly retorts that they are not here. Arya tells Sansa that she obtained the faces from the Faceless Men of Braavos and admits she spent time training to be a Faceless Man. She forces Sansa to play the lying game and begins by asking if she thinks that Jon is the rightful King. Sansa demands that Arya tell her what the "faces" are. Arya replies that they always wanted to pretend to be other people. Sansa wanted to be a queen while Arya herself wanted to be a knight. In the end, neither of them got what they wanted. Arya says that the faces allow her to become someone else and toys with the idea of assuming Sansa's face and status. Arya approaches Sansa with her dagger and muses as the possibility of becoming the Lady of Winterfell. However, Arya relents and leaves a disturbed Sansa alone with the dagger. In the Narrow Sea, Jon Snow wakes to find Daenerys watching over him in his chambers. Jon apologizes for the disastrous ranging party and the fact it caused Viserion's death, but Daenerys tells him not to apologize because she now knows that the Army of the Dead is real. Overcome with emotion, she tells Jon that the dragons are the only children she will ever have, and vows that she and Jon will together destroy the Night King. Jon thanks her for her support, addressing her as "Dany", and Daenerys realizes that the last person to address her by that name was her older brother Viserys Targaryen, who Daenerys remembers as not being a good person. Jon apologizes and asks if "My Queen" would be more appropriate; realizing he is agreeing to bend the knee, Daenerys asks Jon what the Northern lords loyal to him will make of this. Jon assures her they will come to see her for the good person she is, as he already has. Touched by his statement, Daenerys gently takes Jon's hand in her own for a moment. They gaze into each other's eye for a moment – a long moment – but Daenerys suddenly pulls away and tells him to get some rest and leaves him alone.

Later at the Parley in King's Landing the various factions meet: Cersei Lannister, Jaime, Qyburn, and Euron representing the Iron Throne, Jon, Davos and Brienne representing the North, and Daenerys's court. After Daenarys arrives on Drogon they discuss the greater threat at hand but she dismisses it as a ploy to trick her into lowering her defenses. To prove their claims, Sandor returns with the crate containing the wight, which is worryingly silent. Sandor gets the crate open, but there is still no movement. He finally gives the crate a massive kick, which prompts the enraged wight to launch itself out and charge toward the nearest target - Cersei, appropriately enough. Visibly horrified, the Lannister queen and her allies recoil in horror as Sandor pulls the wight back on a chain, its claws inches from Cersei's face, and manages to slice the creature in half when it turns to attack him. The assembled look on in shock as the wight's upper half still moves around. Jon steps forward and picks up the wight's discarded hand, using a torch provided by Davos to demonstrate how fire can be used to stop them. He then uses a dragonglass dagger to the heart to end the wight's upper half, bluntly stating that if they don't win the coming war, such a fate awaits every person in Westeros. A horror-struck Jaime asks how many wights are coming, and Daenerys tells him the army of the dead numbers at least 100,000. Seemingly convinced, Cersei immediately offers terms: satisfied that Daenerys is concerned with the Army of the Dead, Cersei will not withdraw her troops, but will guarantee that they will not hinder the Targaryen or Northern forces in any way during the battle against the White Walkers. She refuses to deal with Daenerys at all, however, and calls on Jon Snow, as King in the North and Ned Stark's son, to keep the truce and to stay out of any future conflict between Cersei and Daenerys. Jon, however, says that he cannot serve two queens - and reveals to all assembled that he has already declared for Daenerys, infuriating all three Lannisters present. Declaring that there will be no truce if it is just her and Daenerys, Cersei storms out, content to let the Starks and Targaryens battle the undead alone and then deal with whoever emerges victorious from that conflict. Desperate, Brienne grabs Jaime and begs him to reconsider, as what they've seen goes beyond family, Houses, and thrones. Jaime doesn't disagree, but walks away, not knowing what he can say to convince his sister. Meanwhile, Daenerys and Tyrion (who never knew about Jon's change of heart in the first place) rip into Jon over his ill-advised action, suggesting that learning to lie just a little might be a good skill. Jon responds by arguing that while such an attitude may or may not have contributed to getting his father killed, if no one is willing to speak the truth, then everyone's word is worthless, and lies will not help them win the coming fight. Tyrion reluctantly decides that he will go and try to talk some reason into Cersei alone. Daenerys and Jon protest, fearing Cersei may have him killed out of spite, but Tyrion insists it's the only way if they don't want everything they've done to be for nothing and bids them wait. Back at the Dragonpit, Daenerys and Jon discuss the dragons and how her ancestors caged them, and in turn become less impressive as the power of the dragons waned. Jon questions Daenerys's assertion of infertility, particularly when she admits that she never got an informed opinion about her condition from anyone except Mirri Maz Duur herself. Their conversation is interrupted by the return of all three Lannisters. Cersei has agreed to work with Daenerys, but not by keeping her troops back: the Lannister army will march north to fight alongside the Starks and Targaryens. However she plans to dishonor this truce as she previously plotted with Euron to enlist the aid of the golden company to defend them once the conflict in the North is over and the victor comes for the South. This however causes Jaime to reach his breaking point and see his sister for who she really is a power-mad narcissist and leaves her to aid the North. At Winterfell, Sansa Stark discusses the potential threat of her sister Arya Stark with Petyr Baelish. Baelish tries to manipulate her as usual, encouraging her to think as he does. He tells Sansa to ask herself what Arya's worst possible motivation is. Seemingly overcome with horror at the thought that Arya would want to take her place and reign as Lady of Winterfell, it seems that Sansa decides to do something about it, to Baelish's quiet delight. After a long time reflecting on her course of action on the battlements, Sansa orders Arya be brought to the great hall. In the Hall, Sansa and Bran are seated at the great table, the hall lined with Stark and Arryn men and a few key lords such as Yohn Royce and, of course, Baelish. Arya is brought in and asks Sansa if she "really wants to do this". Sansa replies it's not about what she wants, it's about justice, and them proceeds to rattle off a list of crimes perpetuated against House Stark... and asks Baelish how he intends to answer the charges. At this, all eyes turn towards Baelish. Thrown, Littlefinger tries to figure out what is going on. Sansa reveals his murder of Lysa Arryn and his use of Lysa to murder Jon Arryn. She uses his own words against him and accuses him (quite correctly) of orchestrating the conflict between the Starks and the Lannisters that has ultimately engulfed the Seven Kingdoms for the better part of the last decade, including the betrayal and death of her father Eddard Stark. Baelish tries to deny this, but Bran uses his Greensight to recall the exact words Baelish said as he held the knife to Ned's throat. Swiftly realizing that he has lost control of the situation and the trial is just a drumhead, Baelish demands that Lord Royce take him, the Lord Protector of the Vale, to safety; Bronze Yohn refuses him. In desperation, Baelish falls to his knees and pleads for his life, insisting yet again how much he loved Cat and how much he now loves Sansa, but Sansa, unswayed by his pleadings, sentences him to death and promises she will never forget all the lessons he taught her. As Baelish tries to speak, Arya slits his throat with the same Valyrian steel dagger that lay at the heart of his plots. Littlefinger slumps dead to the floor, the Northern and Vale men and women watching dispassionately. On the battlements, Sansa and Arya discuss Littlefinger's plots and how much they, as people, have changed. Arya tells Sansa that she wouldn't have been able to survive what Sansa did, although her sister disagrees, saying Arya is the strongest person she knows. The sisters muse on another of their father's stories, about how lone wolves die in the winter, but wolf packs survive, and realize the truth of his words as the Starks have at last been reunited. Some time later, Samwell Tarly and Gilly arrive at Winterfell. Upon hearing that Bran is back, Sam calls on him, recalling their meeting at the Nightfort some years earlier. Bran is glad to see Sam, but is surprised to find him here. When Sam reiterates his loyalty to Jon, Bran, unable to keep it a secret any longer, reveals the truth of Jon's origins: he was born to Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark at a Tower in Dorne, and is not a Snow at all, but a Sand. Sam realizes that that isn't true either, recalling the entry from High Septon Maynard's private journal about annulling Rhaegar's marriage. Bran expressed his doubts, but Sam reiterates the private nature of the journal and encourages Bran to use Greensight to confirm it. To his own surprise, Bran easily finds the wedding, where he sees a clearly happy Lyanna wedding Rhaegar in a Faith of the Seven ceremony before a Heart tree. Warging forward to the Tower of Joy, Bran finally hears Lyanna's dying words. Now piecing the truth together, Bran declares that Rhaegar never raped Lyanna. She loved him and ran off with him, and bore him a son: Aegon Targaryen. His voice breaks a little as he realizes that Robert's Rebellion, the deaths of his grandfather and uncle, and the entire reign of House Baratheon of King's Landing was all for nothing and built on a lie.

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.

Upon Bran Stark, the rightful Lord of Winterfell, return 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 is now currently Warden of the North. Presently, the North and Vale are reintegrated into the Seven Kingdoms.[20] 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.[21][22]

Relationships

Members

Household and retainers

Ancestors

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-richard-madden-helen-sloan

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 force 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 force, 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, also wears a pair of grey or brown leather boots. The soldiers are often equipped with helmets and rounded 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, as compared with 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 managed 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 2000 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 limited allied forces came close to total destruction; they were saved by the intervention of a sizable force from The Vale. 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, Clay Cerwyn and the rest of the Northern Lords. With all of the Northern Houses and wildings combined, they have around 16,000 men, backed by further 20,000 men from The Vale, which declares for the Starks.

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 at this point (apparently not including the Vale's armies in that count, or perhaps counting just the Vale armies positioned 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.[23]

Image gallery

Family Tree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
70266f1c4153bb352f40bf85a5c68aa3
Rickard Stark
Deceased
 
House-Stark-heraldry
Lyarra Stark
Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-BrandonStark
Brandon Stark

Deceased
 
Famtree-CatelynStark
Catelyn Stark
née Tully House-Tully-Main-Shield
Deceased
 
Famtree-EddardStark
Eddard Stark

Deceased
 
Lyanna tree
Lyanna Stark

Deceased
 
Famtree-RhaegarTargaryen
Rhaegar Targaryen House-Targaryen-Main-Shield
Deceased
 
Famtree-BenjenStark
Benjen Stark Night's-Watch-Main-Shield

Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robb fam tree
Robb Stark
Deceased
 
Family tree Talisa
Talisa Stark
née Maegyr
Deceased
 
Tyrion-Lannister-Familytree-Pic
Tyrion Lannister House-Lannister-Main-Shield
 
Famtree-SansaStark
Sansa Stark
 
Famtree-RamsayBolton
Ramsay Bolton House-Bolton-Main-Shield
Deceased
 
Famtree-AryaStark
Arya Stark
 
Famtree-BranStark
Bran Stark
 
Rickon fam tree
Rickon Stark
Deceased
 
Jon Snow family tree image
"Jon Snow"
(Aegon Targaryen)
 
 
 


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

References

v  d  e
House Stark
Lord: Jon Snow Heir: Sansa Stark
House-Stark-Main-Shield
Seat: Winterfell Lands: The North
Title(s): Lord Paramount of the North · Warden of the North · Lord of Winterfell

As independent kingdom: King in the North

Ancestors:Brandon the Builder · Brandon the Breaker · Dorren Stark · Rickard Stark · Rodrik Stark · Karlon Stark · Theon Stark · Osric Stark · Torrhen Stark · Cregan Stark
Current members:Arya Stark · Bran Stark
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} · Meera Reed · {Jojen Reed} · Brienne of Tarth · Podrick Payne · Davos Seaworth · Maester Wolkan

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