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King in the North

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The king in the north

Robb's bannermen swear fealty

"There sits the only king I mean to bend my knee to: the King in the North!"
―Lord Greatjon Umber, indicating King Robb Stark[src]

King in the North was the title given to the ruler of the North during its time as an independent kingdom, before the coming of the Targaryens. A colloquial title also used for the rulers of the North was the "Kings of Winter". House Stark ruled as Kings in the North for thousands of years.

History of the title

The ancient Kings of Winter

King of the Andals and the First Men

Crown of the Kings in the North

House Stark ruled as Kings in the North stretching back into the mists of time, before written history began six thousand years ago, when the Andals invaded all of southern Westeros. When the Andals arrived, the Stark Kings in the North were already ruling at Winterfell. According to legend, the first King in the North was Brandon Stark, better known as Bran the Builder, who lived eight thousand years ago. According to the legends, he led the forces of the North in the War for the Dawn against the White Walkers and built the Wall to guard against their return, and also began construction of Winterfell. The Kings in the North were successfully able to fend off the Andals from invading, holding the line of the Neck at the choke point of Moat Cailin. As a result, the North remained the only independent kingdom of the First Men, with little or no ethnic imprint by the Andals. This also meant that the Faith of the Seven practiced by the Andals gained little foothold in the North, where the Kings of Winter continued their worship of the Old Gods of the Forest.

Although all the kings of Westeros sent men to join the Night's Watch, the Kings in the North, due to their proximity to the Wall, had the duty of policing the Watch when needed. In this capacity they executed deserters, intervened in disputes amongst commanders, and even on some occasions dealt with threats that somehow slipped past the Wall.

The Targaryen Conquest

During the War of Conquest, by the time King Torrhen Stark gathered his armies to challenge the invaders, Aegon the Conqueror had already won the decisive Field of Fire and conquered most of southern Westeros. Seeing that the war was already lost and that the Northern armies had no hope of driving back Aegon's armies or his dragons, Torrhen wisely chose to spare his people by bending the knee, although it earned him the derisive nickname "the king who knelt". In return for Torrhen's submission, Aegon allowed House Stark to continue ruling the North as they had for thousands of years, but as vassals of the Iron Throne. They held the titles of Lord Paramount of the North, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. The Starks thus retained their ancient positions and traditions, including their duties policing the Night's Watch.

Three centuries later, House Stark was amongst the rebel Houses during Robert's Rebellion, in which the Targaryen dynasty was deposed and Robert crowned as the new king. The Starks were actually the primary wounded party of the events leading up to the rebellion: Lyanna Stark had been kidnapped by Rhaegar Targaryen, while her father Rickard Stark and brother Brandon were brutally murdered on trumped-up charges of treason by King Aerys.

After the war, House Stark continued to faithfully serve the crown, as King Robert of House Baratheon was one of their closest friends, although they rarely attended court in King's Landing.

The new King in the North

During the opening stages of the War of the Five Kings, Lord Robb Stark was proclaimed as the new King in the North by his bannermen, the first in 300 years. Outraged by the imprisonment and then wanton execution of Robb's father Eddard Stark by Robert's successor Joffrey Baratheon, the noble lords of the North openly rebelled against the Iron Throne. Joffrey had brashly intended to shock the North into submission by executing Ned Stark, but instead this drove the Northern lords to deciding that they would never submit to Joffrey, no matter the odds against them. At a council of Robb's bannermen, some were undecided about whether they should support the rival claims to the throne by Robert's younger brothers, Stannis Baratheon or even Renly Baratheon.

Robb 1x10

Robb Stark is proclaimed "King in the North" by his troops

Greatjon Umber, who was tired of being ruled by southern lords thousands of miles away, then pointed out that it was the Dragon-Kings of House Targaryen that the North had submitted to, but now they were dead. Robert Baratheon had been their ally, but now he was dead, and his younger brothers meant nothing to him (and as was soon after revealed, Joffrey wasn't even Robert's actual son but a bastard with no claim to being a Baratheon). Lord Umber declared that there was only one king he would ever serve, the King in the North. Rickard Karstark, Maege Mormont, Galbart Glover and Jonos Bracken, a local river lord, were among those who swore fealty to Robb, as did Theon Greyjoy. The call was then taken up by all of Robb's bannermen, chanting "the King in the North!".[1] Soon after being declared King in the North by acclamation of his bannermen, King Robb sent a formal declaration of independence to Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, proclaiming that "from this time until the end of time we are a free and independent kingdom".[2]

Robb was declared King by not just the northern lords, but also several of the lords of the Riverlands, as the Starks had come to relieve the Riverlands from an invasion by the Lannisters. Also, Robb's mother is Catelyn Tully, daughter of Hoster Tully the lord of Riverrun, and thus Robb is by rights a blood relation of House Tully, the Lords Paramount of the Riverlands. Therefore, King Robb's claimed kingdom includes both the North and the Riverlands. In practice, however, during the course of the War of the Five Kings Robb's forces only maintain firm control of the Riverlands north of the Trident River, particularly around the regional capital of Riverrun. All of the Riverlands south of this, between the Red Fork of the Trident and Gods Eye lake, are a warzone between Lannister and Stark forces.

The "Kingdom of the North" came to an end during the Red Wedding when Roose Bolton, who conspired with House Frey and House Lannister, initiated a massacre to the northern army and stabbed Robb Stark personally a dagger through the heart. After that he became the new Warden of the North as a reward by Tywin Lannister.

Known Kings in the North


War of the Five Kings

Line of succession

  • Prince Brandon, called "Bran", believed to be deceased but is the rightful successor of King Robb. Currently north of The Wall. Never claimed the title, and may have functionally abdicated - telling his younger brother Rickon that if he doesn't return south of the Wall, Rickon is heir to Winterfell.
  • Prince Rickon Stark, believed to be deceased. was somewhere in The North .Currently a prisoner of Ramsay Bolton with Osha
  • Princess Sansa Stark, believed to be the last Stark and the lawful heir to King Robb, forced against her will to marry Tyrion Lannister, fled to the Vale, later forced to marry Ramsay Bolton. Currently somewhere in The North with Theon Greyjoy.
  • Princess Arya Stark, missing, believed to be deceased. Currently at The House of Black and White in Braavos.

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the monarchs of the Stark proto-kingdom centered around Winterfell itself called themselves the "Kings of Winter", back when the North was divided into over a dozen petty kingdoms. Gradually the Kings of Winter extended their hegemony over the other petty kingdoms, uniting them from time to time in alliance to throw back wildling invasions, etc. Their greatest rivals were the Red Kings of House Bolton, whose kingdom was centered around the Dreadfort on the eastern shore. The Starks finally subdued the Boltons and united the North just around the time that the Andal Invasion began, about 6,000 years ago. As a sign of their new control over the entire region, around this time they gradually shifted from calling themselves "King of Winter" to calling themselves "King in the North" (the phrasing is always "King in the North", never "King of the North").

According to myth, the first King in the North was Bran the Builder, the great lord who built Winterfell and the Wall and founded the Night's Watch, following the defeat of the White Walkers in the War for the Dawn. The King in the North held all the lands of the North south to the Neck, where the ancient fortress of Moat Cailin threw back every attempt by the southern kingdoms and, later, the Andals to invade.

Before Robb, the last King in the North was Torrhen Stark. During the invasion of Aegon the Conqueror, Torrhen led a great host to the banks of the Red Fork of the River Trident, meaning to give battle, but after hearing tales of the Field of Fire and upon seeing the size of Aegon's host and the presence of his dragons, Torrhen realized his cause was hopeless. Instead, he knelt and swore fealty to Aegon. Aegon acknowledged him and House Stark as the rulers of the North in the name of the Iron Throne.

Many kings are mentioned in the final chapter of A Clash of Kings: Edwyn the Spring King, Brandon the Burner, Brandon the Shipwright, Benjen the Bitter, Benjen the Sweet, and King Theon Stark, among others.

They had a crown that was lost to Aegon the Conqueror. In A Clash of Kings, Robb Stark has a new one made, matching the old one to a very precise description: an open circlet of bronze with no gemstones, topped by a row of nine black iron spikes shaped like longswords. The crown was made of only simple iron and bronze because they are the metals of war.

See also


v  d  e
Lord: Prince Bran Stark Heir: Prince Rickon Stark
Seat: Winterfell (formerly) Lands: The North
Title(s): King in the North · Lord Paramount of the North · Lord of Winterfell
Ancestors:Brandon the Builder · Brandon the Breaker · Dorren Stark · Rodrik Stark · Karlon Stark · Osric Stark · Torrhen Stark · Cregan Stark
Current members:Sansa Stark · Arya Stark · Benjen Stark
Deceased members:Rickard Stark · Brandon Stark · Lyanna Stark · Eddard Stark · King Robb Stark · Talisa Stark · Catelyn Stark · Jon Snow
Household:{Ser Rodrik Cassel} · {Maester Luwin} · {Jory Cassel} · {Vayon Poole} · {Septa Mordane} · Jeyne Poole · Osha · Hodor · Farlen · {Old Nan} · Mikken · Varly · Heward · Wyl · Tomard · Tommy · Jacks

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