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"His name is Aegon Targaryen. If Robert finds out, he'll kill him. You know he will. You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned. Promise me."
―Lyanna's final wish for her son, Jon Snow, to her brother Ned.[src]

Princess Lyanna Stark was the daughter of Lord Rickard Stark and sister of Brandon, Eddard, and Benjen Stark. She went on to be the wife of Rhaegar Targaryen, the Prince of Dragonstone, and mother to his son.

Her alleged kidnapping by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen contributed to the outbreak of Robert's Rebellion. Lyanna dies near the very end of the rebellion shortly after giving birth to her son, revealed to be Jon Snow, who is her child with Rhaegar Targaryen. Before she passes away, Lyanna tells her brother Ned the name of her baby is Aegon Targaryen and pleads with Ned that he'll promise to keep her child safe, fearing that her formerly betrothed, Robert Baratheon, would have her son killed if he ever found out the truth that his father was Rhaegar. To protect his sister's son, Ned brings his infant nephew to Winterfell, renames him 'Jon'[1] and claims him as his own bastard son, raising him as his child alongside his trueborn children.

Biography

Background

Lyanna Stark was the only daughter of Lord Rickard Stark, 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.[2]

Robert and Lyanna

Lyanna is betrothed to Robert Baratheon.

Lyanna had three brothers, Brandon, Eddard, and Benjen Stark. Her father arranged a betrothal between her and Robert Baratheon, Lord of Storm's End and Lord Paramount of the Stormlands.

Some time after the betrothal, Lord Walter Whent organized a great tourney at Harrenhal, in which Lyanna saved Howland Reed from a group of squires who were tormenting him. Later, she took him to their tent, where she introduced him to her three brothers. Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, the heir to the Iron Throne, was the victor. Afterward, the Prince rode past his wife, Princess Elia Martell, and placed a crown of winter roses, the crown of the Queen of Love and Beauty, on Lyanna's lap. This action was considered an outrage by many because not only was Rhaegar married but Lyanna was already betrothed to another man.[3]

Lyanna and Rhaegar

Lyanna is "taken" by Rhaegar Targaryen.

At some point after these events, Lyanna was supposedly abducted by Rhaegar, who took her south and hid her away in Dorne.[4] In reality, Lyanna had willingly eloped with Rhaegar and married him in a secret ceremony (the High Septon had also secretly annulled Rhaegar's marriage to Elia Martell). Brandon, who had been on his way to Riverrun to wed Catelyn Tully, went to King's Landing instead to demand Rhaegar's arrest and punishment. Unaware of Rhaegar's new marriage, King Aerys II Targaryen had Brandon and all his companions charged with treason. He demanded all their fathers, including Lord Rickard Stark, come to King's Landing and promised they would receive a fair trial. Instead, the King had them all burned alive, except for Brandon, who strangled himself trying to save his father.[5]

This incident sparked the uprising known as Robert's Rebellion. Jon Arryn was commanded to arrest and turn over his wards Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark, but he refused. The three of them rose in rebellion along with Hoster Tully of Riverrun after Eddard and Jon Arryn married his daughters, Catelyn and Lysa, respectively. The war saw House Targaryen almost completely destroyed and Robert installed as king after he personally slew Rhaegar at the Battle of the Trident. During the war, Lyanna died of then-unknown causes in Eddard's arms after her rescue.[6] As per her request, she was buried next to her brother Brandon in the crypts at Winterfell.[7] Robert continued to mourn her despite becoming king and marrying Cersei Lannister.[6] Though Eddard was furious with Robert for refusing to hold Tywin Lannister and his army accountable for the Sack of King's Landing and for condoning the murders of Rheagar's children with Elia Martell, their friendship was rekindled over their mutual grief over Lyanna's death.[8]

Lyanna funeral

Lyanna is buried in the tomb beneath Winterfell.

Lyanna's death, in reality, was from complications after giving birth to her son with Rhaegar. Her death was witnessed by Ned, two handmaidens and possibly Howland Reed. Before her death, Lyanna reveals her son's name is Aegon and begs Ned that he'll promise to keep her son safe from Robert, who would have had the child killed if he found out Rhaegar was his father. Remembering how the Lannisters had already brutally murdered Rhaegar's two children with Elia Martell, Ned protects his sister's son. He brings Lyanna's child with him to Winterfell and claims his nephew as his bastard son to keep him safe, renaming him Jon Snow. Ned raises Jon as his own alongside his trueborn children and Jon grows up with the maternal side of the family, unaware of his origins. Few knew the truth of Jon's parentage, with Ned, Howland and the two handmaidens being the only individuals bearing the knowledge.

Season 1

Winter is Coming Robert crypt

Robert Baratheon visits Lyanna's grave.

King Robert Baratheon visits Lyanna's tomb under Winterfell almost immediately after arriving. As part of their romance, he would bring her feathers from an exotic southern bird. During this visit, he places one in the hand of her statue. Robert says the statue doesn't do her justice. He becomes emotional and tells Eddard how he relives killing Rhaegar Targaryen again and again in his dreams for what he did to Lyanna. He asks Eddard if it was necessary to bury Lyanna in a cold tomb rather than somewhere in the sunlight, but Eddard responds that she was of the North and of House Stark; this is her place.[7]

While departing Winterfell, Jon Snow asks Eddard about his mother, unaware of her identity, and as to whether or not she is alive or knows about him. Still unprepared to tell Jon the truth about Lyanna and Rhaegar, Eddard promises that the next time they see each other, they will talk about Jon's mother.[9]

In King's Landing, Robert shares a drink with his wife, Cersei Lannister, and they begin to talk about Lyanna Stark for the first time in their marriage. Robert tells Cersei how much Lyanna meant to him. He explains that even though now he cannot even remember Lyanna's face, she was the only thing he ever wanted but then someone took her away from him, and even the entire Seven Kingdoms couldn't fill the hole she left. Cersei reminds him that she once had feelings for him, which Robert acknowledges. She asks if there had ever been even a moment when he had loved her but Robert says no. He asks her if that makes her feel better or worse. Cersei replies it doesn't make her feel anything.[10]

When Eddard discovers that Cersei has been having an incestuous affair with her twin brother Jaime, he confronts her. Cersei denies Eddard's accusation that she always hated Robert, saying she once worshipped him back when he was young and handsome and muscular. All the girls wanted him, and he was hers by oath. But then that love turned to hate on their wedding night when Robert came to bed drunk and afterward, muttered Lyanna's name in her ear.[11]

Lyanna's statue

The statue at Lyanna's grave in Winterfell.

Bran Stark shows Osha the tombs under Winterfell and gives a quick summary of the events leading to the civil war: how Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna, who was betrothed to Robert Baratheon, and the Mad King then killed Lyanna's brother and father, triggering the war.[12]

Season 3

When speaking to her daughter-in-law Talisa Stark, Catelyn Stark confesses her guilt over not being a mother to Jon Snow, and even praying for his death as a baby "all because [she] was jealous of his mother". When Jon becomes ill as a young boy, Catelyn was overwhelmed with guilt, prayed for his survival, but was unable to be a mother to him. She remained unaware that Jon was Eddard's nephew and not his son, Jon's mother being Lyanna.[13]

Season 4

When speaking to Tyrion Lannister, Oberyn Martell expresses anger that, despite his sister Elia's love and loyalty for her husband Rhaegar Targaryen, Rhaegar ended up leaving her for "another woman", Lyanna Stark.[14]

Season 5

Sansa Stark, upon returning to Winterfell after being gone for four years, visits her Aunt Lyanna's statue and lights a candle in the statue's hand to honor Lyanna as her father used to do. Petyr Baelish finds her there. They discuss what happened at the Tourney of Harrenhal where Rhaegar Targaryen shocked everyone present by passing over his wife Elia Martell in order to crown Lyanna as the Queen of Love and Beauty. Sansa says Rhaegar later kidnapped and raped Lyanna, while Petyr said Rhaegar's choices led to the deaths of thousands.[3]

Season 6

Home 01

Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven observe a young Lyanna with her brothers Eddard and Benjen in Winterfell.

While exploring his Greensight under the tutelage of the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran Stark views an event from his father's past, and sees Lyanna showing off her riding skills as a girl in front of her brothers, Eddard and Benjen. She later encourages a young Benjen to fight a bout with the young stablehand Wylis, giving Wylis tips on how to beat her brother.[15]

In yet another vision, Bran witnesses another event, this time during the aftermath of Robert's Rebellion, in which Ned Stark, accompanied by five bannermen including Howland Reed, confront Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Gerold Hightower of the Kingsguard before the Tower of Joy, in the Red Mountains of Dorne. Before the fight ensues, Ned demands to know where Lyanna is. After the battle, Ned and Bran hear Lyanna scream from inside the tower. Ned hurries inside, but Bran is pulled out of the vision before he can pursue.[16]

S06E10 - Jon, Ned and Lyanna

Bran observes Ned receiving Jon on Lyanna's deathbed.

Much later, after becoming the new Three-Eyed Raven following his predecessor's death, Bran returns to the Tower of Joy vision and watches as his young father reunites with his dying sister, Lyanna, who is lying in a bed of blood, which is later revealed to be caused by the aftereffects of childbirth. Lyanna tells Ned she wants to be brave but she is afraid she is going to die. Ned tells Lyanna that she is not going to die and desperately orders the handmaidens to aid his sister. However, Lyanna stops Ned and whispers to him, revealing she has just given birth to a baby boy. She tells Ned her child's name is Aegon Targaryen and pleads with her brother to keep her son safe from Robert Baratheon, who she fears will kill her child if he finds out. As Ned takes in this revelation, a handmaiden places Lyanna's newborn child into his arms. It is later revealed that Lyanna had a son with Rhaegar Targaryen. Tearfully, Ned complies with Lyanna's wish and holds his newborn nephew, who Bran immediately realizes is his "half-brother" Jon Snow.[17][18]

Season 7

Rhaegar and lyanna s7 finale 3

Lyanna secretly weds Rhaegar.

While reading the journal of High Septon Maynard, who was known for recording every minor detail of his life, Gilly reads aloud to Samwell Tarly that Maynard issued an annulment for "Prince Ragger," who remarried at a secret ceremony in Dorne. This alludes to Lyanna, whom Rhaegar had married after Maynard annulled the marriage between Rhaegar and Elia Martell, though Samwell and Gilly don't realize this at the time.[19]

Upon his arrival at Winterfell, Samwell goes to see Bran, who shares his knowledge of Jon's true parentage with Sam. Bran believes that Jon Snow is actually Jon Sand as he was born in Dorne but Sam reveals Jon is the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, remembering Gilly's discovery. He tells Bran that Rhaegar and Lyanna were wed and asks if Bran can see this in a vision. Bran wargs into the past to see the wedding for himself. He confirms that it did happen and that Rhaegar was in love with Lyanna and she was in love with him. Bran then flashes forward to Lyanna's death, and hears Jon's birth name, whispered to Ned Stark with Lyanna's dying breath: Aegon Targaryen, the same as his half-brother.[18]

Relationships

See: Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark

Appearances

Season Six appearances
The Red Woman Home * Oathbreaker * Book of the Stranger The Door
Blood of My Blood * The Broken Man No One Battle of the Bastards The Winds of Winter *
Season Seven appearances
Dragonstone Stormborn The Queen's Justice The Spoils of War Eastwatch Beyond the Wall The Dragon and the Wolf

Family tree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Rickard Stark
Deceased
 
House-Stark-heraldry
Lyarra Stark
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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)
 
 
 


Image gallery

Quotes

Spoken by Lyanna
Benjen Stark: "Will you get out of here? We're sparring."
Lyanna Stark: "Who are you going to spar with when Ned goes off to the Eyrie?"
— Lyanna Stark and Benjen Stark.[src]
Lyanna Stark: "Benjen always raises his chin when he's about to charge."
Hodor: "And lowers it when he's going to dodge, m'lady."
— Lyanna Stark and Hodor.[src]
Lyanna Stark: "I want to be brave."
Eddard Stark: "Shh. You are."
Lyanna Stark: "I'm not. I don't want to die."
— Lyanna to her brother Ned Stark.[src]
Spoken about Lyanna
"We were meant to rule together. If your sister had lived, we would have been bound by blood."
Robert Baratheon to Ned Stark about his sister Lyanna.[src]
Robert Baratheon: "Did you have to bury her in a place like this? She should be on a hill somewhere with the sun and the clouds above her."
Eddard Stark: "She was my sister. This is where she belongs."
Robert Baratheon: "She belonged with me."
— Robert and Ned at Lyanna's tomb.[src]
Jon Snow: "Is my mother alive? Does she know about me? Where I am, where I'm going? Does she care?"
Eddard Stark: "The next time we see each other, we'll talk about your mother. Hmm? I promise."
Jon Snow asks Ned about his mother, unaware that she is his "aunt" Lyanna.[src]
"I never met my mother. My father wouldn't even tell me her name. I don't know if she's a noblewoman or a fisherman's wife or a whore..."
―Jon Snow about Lyanna.[src]
"Do you want to know the horrible truth? I can't even remember what she looked like. I only know she was the one thing I ever wanted. Someone took her away from me, and Seven Kingdoms couldn't fill the hole she left behind."
Robert Baratheon to Cersei Lannister about Lyanna.[src]
"And that night, he crawled on top of me, stinking of wine, and did what he did - what little he could do - and whispered in my ear, 'Lyanna.' Your sister was a corpse, and I was a living girl, and he loved her more than me."
Cersei Lannister recounts how Robert Baratheon drunkedly called her Lyanna when they consummated their marriage.[src]
"Your traitor father teach you that!? Or was it your whore mother!?"
―Qhorin to Jon Snow, unknowingly talking about Lyanna.[src]
"I'd condemned this poor, innocent child to a horrible death...all because I was jealous of his mother. A woman he didn't even know."
Catelyn Stark unknowingly talking about Lyanna.[src]
"The last time I was in the capital was many years ago. Another wedding. My sister Elia and Rhaegar Targaryen, the last dragon. My sister loved him. She bore his children. Swaddled them, rocked them, fed them at her own breast, Elia wouldn't let the wet nurse touch them. And beautiful, noble Rhaegar Targaryen...left her for another woman."
Oberyn Martell remembers Lyanna without mentioning her name.[src]
Petyr Baelish: "Your aunt Lyanna."
Sansa Stark: "Father never talked about her. But sometimes I'd find him down here lighting the candles. He'd say she was beautiful."
Petyr Baelish: "I saw her once. I was a boy living with your mother's family. Lord Whent had a great tourney at Harrenhal. Everyone was there. The Mad King, your father, Robert Baratheon. And Lyanna...she was already promised to Robert. You can imagine what it was like for me, a boy from nowhere with nothing to his name, watching these legendary men tilting at the lists. The last two riders were Barristan Selmy and Rhaegar Targaryen. When Rhaegar won, everyone cheered for their prince. I remember the girls laughing when he took off his helmet and saw that silver hair. How handsome he was. Until he rode right past his wife, Elia Martell, and all the smiles died. I had never seen so many people. He rode past his wife and he lay a crown of winter roses in Lyanna's lap. Blue with frost. How many tens of thousands had to die because Rhaegar chose your aunt?"
Sansa Stark: "Yes, he chose her. And then he kidnapped her and raped her."
Littlefinger and Sansa Stark discuss Lyanna.[src]
"Robert's Rebellion was built on a lie. Rhaegar didn't kidnap or rape my aunt. He loved her, and she loved him."
Bran Stark to Samwell Tarly, realizing that Jon Snow is a trueborn Targaryen[src]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Lyanna does appear, albeit only in flashbacks and visions. She is described as intelligent, tomboyish and willful, frequently compared to her niece Arya in terms of temperament and appearance.

When Robert says that Lyanna would never have opposed him vehemently as Cersei does, Ned notes that Robert either overlooked or had forgotten Lyanna's iron will. It is also implied she was not as passionate about her betrothal as Robert was.

Lyanna knew about Robert's philandering ways and felt his love for her wouldn't stop him from sleeping with other women. On the night her father promised her hand to Robert, Lyanna told Ned, "Robert will never keep to one bed. I hear he has gotten a child on some girl in the Vale." Ned could not refute his sister's words because he held Robert's illegitimate daughter Mya Stone in his arms, the babe Lyanna referred to, and Ned would not lie to her. Ned assured Lyanna that what Robert did before their betrothal was of no matter, that he was a good man and true who would love her with all his heart. Lyanna smiled and said, "Love is sweet, dearest Ned, but it cannot change a man’s nature".

When Rhaegar Targaryen won the great tourney at Harrenhal, he crowned Lyanna the Queen of Love and Beauty over his own wife, an action that stunned all present. A year later, Rhaegar kidnapped her, which led to Robert's Rebellion. During the war, Lyanna was hidden at a remote location and defended by three members of the Kingsguard, whom Eddard and his retainers had to kill. Only Eddard and Howland Reed, a vassal of House Stark, survived. However, Lyanna died from unknown causes before they could successfully rescue her.

Lyanna's death instilled in Robert a great hatred of the Targaryens, and he vowed not to rest until every last scion of the Targaryen house was killed, though Eddard refused to let Lyanna's tragic death skew his views on justice and mercy (though on his deathbed, Robert ordered that Daenerys be spared from death).

See also

References

v  d  e
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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