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Lyanna Stark

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"His name is [...] 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]

Lyanna Stark is a character in Game of Thrones. She is deceased when the events of the series begin but appears in a flashback in the sixth season. Lyanna Stark is the younger sister of major character Eddard Stark.

Her alleged kidnapping by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen contributed to the outbreak of Robert's Rebellion. She died near the very end of the rebellion, due to complications from giving birth to a baby boy, Jon Snow. Before she passed away, she begged Ned to promise her to keep her son safe out of fear that her betrothed Robert Baratheon would have him killed if he ever found out the truth that Jon's father was Rhaegar, which led to Ned raising Jon as his bastard son.



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.[1]

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 Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, the heir to the Iron Throne, was the victor. Afterwards, 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.[2]

Lyanna and Rhaegar

Lyanna is taken by Rhaegar Targaryen.

At some point after these events, Lyanna was abducted by Rhaegar, who took her south and hid her away in Dorne.[3] Brandon, who had been on his way to Riverrun to wed Catelyn Tully, instead went to King's Landing to demand Rhaegar's arrest and punishment. King Aerys II Targaryen had him 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.[4]

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 married his daughters, Catelyn and Lysa. 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 from childbirth in Eddard's arms, after her rescue.[5] As per her request, she was buried next to her brother Brandon in the crypts at Winterfell.[6] Robert continued to mourn her despite becoming king and marrying Cersei Lannister.[5] Though Eddard was angered at Robert for refusing to hold Tywin Lannister and his army accountable for the Sack of King's Landing, their friendship was rekindled over the mutual grief for Lyanna.[7]

Lyanna funeral

Lyanna is buried in the tomb beneath Winterfell.

Lyanna's death was revealed to be from complications from giving birth to her son, Jon Snow, whose father is Rhaegar. Her death was witnessed by Ned and two handmaidens and most likely Howland Reed. Before her death, Lyanna asks Ned to promise to keep her son safe from Robert, who would have the child killed if he found out Rhaegar was the father. Ned complies with Lyanna's wish and takes the infant to Winterfell. Fulfilling his promise, Ned says the boy is his bastard son, and named him Jon Snow. Few know 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.[6]

While departing Winterfell, Jon Snow asks Eddard about his mother, still 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 merely promises that the next time they meet, they will talk about Jon's mother.[8]

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 her how much Lyanna meant to him, even though now he cannot even remember her face, saying 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 he 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.[9]

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 worshiped 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 he came to bed drunk, and afterwards muttered Lyanna's name in her ear.[10]

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.[11]

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 "all because [she] was jealous of his mother", not knowing she was Ned's sister, Lyanna.[12]

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, he ended up leaving her for "another woman," Lyanna Stark.[13]

Season 5

Sansa Stark, upon returning to Winterfell after being gone for four years, visits her aunt'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 notes how Rhaegar later kidnapped and raped Lyanna, while Petyr said his choices led to the deaths of thousands.[2]

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 in front of her brothers, Eddard and Benjen. She later encourages a young Benjen to fight a bout against the young stablehand Wylis, giving Wylis tips on how to beat her brother.[14]

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.[15]

S06E10 - Jon, Ned and Lyanna

Ned receives 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 the dying Lyanna, who is lying in a bed of blood, which is later revealed to be caused by the aftereffects of childbirth. Lyanna talks to him about her struggle to be brave in the face of death, while Ned demands the hand maidens aid his sister. However, Lyanna stops him and whispers to him about her ordeal. As Ned takes in this revelation, a handmaiden places a newborn child into his arms. It is revealed that Lyanna gave birth to a baby boy, whose father is Rhaegar, and she asks Ned to promise to keep her son safe, fearing that Robert will surely have the boy killed if he finds out. Ned sadly complies with Lyanna's wish and holds his newborn nephew, who Bran immediately realizes is Jon Snow.[16]


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 *

Family tree

Rickard Stark
Lady Stark
Brandon family tree
Brandon Stark
Catelyn Tree
Catelyn Stark
née Tully House-Tully-Main-Shield
Eddard tree
Eddard Stark
Lyanna tree
Lyanna Stark
Rhaegar Targaryen House-Targaryen-Main-Shield
Benjen Tree
Benjen Stark
Night's Watch Night's-Watch-Main-Shield
Robb fam tree
Robb Stark
Family tree Talisa
Talisa Stark
née Maegyr
Tyrion family tree
Tyrion Lannister House-Lannister-Main-Shield
100px-Sansa tree
Sansa Stark
Ramsay Bolton House-Bolton-Main-Shield
Arya family tree
Arya Stark
Bran fam tree
Bran Stark
Rickon fam tree
Rickon Stark
Jon Snow family tree image
Jon Snow
Ygritte tree
Ygritte Free-Folk-Main-Shield

Image gallery


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]
"Elia loved Rhaegar. She obeyed him. And he chose to steal away Lyanna Stark, a pale Northern girl whose veins ran with ice, like all her people."
Oberyn Martell[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]
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]

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. She knew about Robert's philandering ways and felt his love for her wouldn't stop him from sleeping with other women. When Rhaegar Targaryen won the great tourney at Harrenhal, he crowned her 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 she 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, she 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 house was killed, though Eddard refused to let Lyanna's tragic death skew his views on justice and mercy.

See also


v  d  e
Lord: King Jon Snow Heir:
Seat: Winterfell Lands: The North
Title(s): King in the North · Lord of Winterfell

Pre-secession: Lord Paramount of the North · Warden of the North

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 · Bran Stark · Benjen Stark
Deceased members:Rickard Stark · Brandon Stark · Lyanna Stark · Eddard Stark · King Robb Stark · Talisa Stark · Catelyn Stark · Rickon 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

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