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Eddard Stark

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"The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword."
―Eddard Stark[src]

Lord Eddard Stark, also known as Ned Stark, is a major character in the first season. He is played by starring cast member Sean Bean, and debuts in the series premiere. He reappears in flashbacks during the sixth season, played by Sebastian Croft and Robert Aramayo.

Eddard was the head of House Stark, the Lord of Winterfell, Lord Paramount and Warden of the North, and later Hand of the King to King Robert I Baratheon. He was the older brother of Benjen, Lyanna and the younger brother of Brandon Stark. He is the father of Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon by his wife, Catelyn Tully, and uncle of Jon Snow, who he raised as his bastard son. He was a dedicated husband and father, a loyal friend and an honorable lord.

Eddard's execution and revealing the illegitimacy of Cersei's children was the spark of the War of the Five Kings between Joffrey Baratheon, Robb, Renly Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon and Balon Greyjoy - being posthumously responsible for the involvement of four of the kings in this war.



Young Ned and Benjen Stark train at Winterfell.

Ned and Benjen as children, training at Winterfell.

Eddard Stark was the head of House Stark and Lord Paramount of the North of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms, and House Stark is one of the Great Houses of the realm. House Stark rules the region from their seat of Winterfell, and Eddard also held the title Lord of Winterfell. In addition, he was the Warden of the North.[1]

Eddard was the second son of Lord Rickard Stark. Lord Rickard served King Aerys II Targaryen as Warden of the North. Eddard's older brother Brandon was Rickard's heir. Eddard also has a younger sister Lyanna and a younger brother Benjen. Eddard was a stoic, dutiful, and honorable man and was considered to embody the values of the North.[2]

Ned Catelyn wedding

Ned's wedding to Catelyn Tully.

Eddard was a trusted, close friend and counselor of King Robert Baratheon.[2] He supported Robert's play for the throne by acting as a general in several major battles. Eddard's sister Lyanna, who was betrothed to Robert, was purportedly kidnapped by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, igniting a war. Brandon protested the kidnapping, but his attempt to bring Rhaegar to justice failed. Lord Rickard was summoned to court in King's Landing by Aerys, and both Brandon and Rickard were brutally executed by the Mad King.[3]

Their deaths left Eddard to inherit Rickard's responsibilities, serving King Robert instead. Brandon had been betrothed to Catelyn, and Eddard also inherited his brother's bride.[4][4][5] Lyanna died in Eddard's arms during the conflict.[6] Despite his happy family life, Eddard still felt the losses of his family quite keenly, often visiting his sister's tomb to light a candle for her as his daughter, Sansa, remembered.[7] Despite barely knowing each other, Eddard and Catelyn formed a strong and loving marriage, and had five children, Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon. Eddard also had a supposed illegitimate bastard son, Jon Snow, apparently fathered with a common serving girl, Wylla, but in reality Lyanna's child with Rhaegar, whose heritage Eddard kept secret from everyone, including Robert and Catelyn, which would become a source of occasional friction between Eddard and Catelyn, who remained ignorant to Jon's true origins.

Eddard's other younger sibling, Benjen, still lives and is a member of the Night's Watch, an institution of which Eddard is a keen supporter.[8] He also appeared to have troubles keeping his bannermen in line as Stannis Baratheon remembered his brother, Robert, saying the Northmen were difficult to control, even with Eddard on his side.[9]

Eddard wielded a Valyrian greatsword named Ice (an heirloom of House Stark) which he used on ceremonial occasions.

Season 1

Eddard 1x01

Eddard passes sentence on Will.

Eddard Stark executes a deserter from the Night's Watch named Will. Will tries to warn Eddard about the return of the White Walkers, but Eddard dismisses him as a madman. Eddard's sons Robb, Bran, and Jon accompany him to the execution. Eddard makes a point of telling Bran that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword and take responsibility for his own decisions.[10]

On the way back to Winterfell, the party finds a dead stag and a dead female direwolf. The direwolf was survived by her litter of six pups. Eddard's first instinct is to kill them, but Jon argues that as the direwolf is the sigil of House Stark, this may be an omen. Eddard agrees to let his children look after them on the condition that they clean, raise, and feed them with no help from the servants.[10]

A raven bears news of the death of Jon Arryn, Eddard's childhood mentor, to Winterfell. The missive also states that King Robert and much of the royal court is on their way to the castle. Eddard realizes that Robert means to name him as Hand of the King to replace Jon. He ponders refusing, but when Robert arrives he makes it clear that he badly needs Eddard's help in King's Landing. He also sweetens the deal by offering to betroth his son and heir Joffrey to Eddard's daughter Sansa. Eddard remains uncertain until a secret letter from Lysa Arryn, Catelyn's sister, implicates the Lannisters in the death of Jon Arryn.

Winter is Coming Robert crypt with ned

Ned in the catacombs visiting Lyanna's crypt with Robert.

Eddard decides to accept to investigate both Jon's death and a potential plot against the king. He decides to bring both of his daughters to introduce them to the court.[10]

Bran is found comatose at the base of a disused tower following an apparent climbing accident. Eddard reluctantly decides to leave as planned, to his wife's distress. Eddard, Arya, Sansa, and the royal party head south to King's Landing. At their parting Eddard tells Jon that, though he does not have Eddard's name, he has his blood. He also promises to tell him about his mother the next time they meet.[11]

On the Kingsroad south to the capital, King Robert calls a halt to discuss troubling news from Essos. Robert's spies have learned of Daenerys Targaryen's marriage to Khal Drogo, whose khalasar is reported to number over one hundred thousand warriors. Eddard points out that the Dothraki cannot cross the Narrow Sea, as they have no ships, but Robert is concerned that the Seven Kingdoms will soon face another war. Robert also asks about Wylla, the mother of Jon Snow, but Eddard quickly deflects the line of questioning.[11]

Eddard and Jon

Eddard and his nephew/adopted son Jon Snow.

Joffrey is mauled by Arya's direwolf Nymeria after he attacks Arya. Arya then forces Nymeria to flee and hides in the woods. Arya is found and Eddard is brought before the king and instructed to punish Arya. Joffrey lies about the cause of the incident and Sansa supports him, enraging Arya. Queen Cersei insists that a direwolf must be punished and Robert orders that Sansa's direwolf, Lady, must be killed in Nymeria's place. Eddard attends to the matter himself, to Sansa's anger.[11]

On his arrival in King's Landing, Eddard is immediately summoned to a small council meeting and finds the capital immersed in political intrigue. Members of the king's small council are at the heart of these machinations: Petyr Baelish, the master of coin, known as Littlefinger; Varys, the master of whisperers; Pycelle, the Grand Maester; and Renly Baratheon, the master of laws and Robert's younger brother. Eddard learns that the crown is six million gold dragons in debt, with half of it owed to Lord Tywin Lannister. Robert has ordered a lavish tournament to celebrate Eddard's appointment regardless.

Ned and Arya

Eddard and Arya at the Crossroads Inn.

While acclimating to the political maneuvering, Eddard also tries to repair the rift between Sansa and Arya, with mixed results. Sansa rejects his gifts, but Arya is delighted when he hires a swordmaster, Syrio Forel, to train her.[12]

Littlefinger tells Eddard that Catelyn has followed him to the city. Eddard is furious when Littlefinger brings him to a brothel, believing he is the victim of a bad joke. Catelyn intervenes as Eddard attacks Littlefinger. She tells Eddard that she has traveled south to report an assassination attempt against Bran. The assassin was killed but was carrying a Valyrian steel knife. Littlefinger identifies the blade as one that he lost in a bet with Tyrion Lannister, and they conclude that the Lannisters were also behind Bran's original injuries. Eddard agrees to try to expose the truth, and Catelyn urges him to trust Littlefinger, her childhood friend. Eddard reluctantly agrees, though he finds Littlefinger obnoxious and dishonorable.[12]

Eddard's investigation reveals that Jon Arryn took an interest in Robert's numerous bastard children, including his son Gendry. He learns that Jon borrowed The Lineage and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms from Pycelle. Eddard reads the book but cannot determine why Jon wanted it. Eddard discovers that soon after Jon's death his squire, Hugh, was knighted. Eddard sends the captain of his guards, Jory Cassel, to investigate, but Hugh refuses to talk to Jory.

Eddard and Cersei 1x07

Ned confronts Cersei.

Hugh is killed by Ser Gregor Clegane - a noted servant of Lord Tywin Lannister - in an apparent tourney mishap before Eddard can talk to him.[13] As the tourney continues, Eddard discusses the death with Lord Commander Barristan Selmy of the Kingsguard, one of the most decorated and honorable knights in Westeros. They cannot ascertain if Hugh was killed deliberately. Eddard convinces King Robert not to fight in the tourney, bluntly calling him too fat. Robert reluctantly agrees.[14]

Yoren of the Night's Watch arrives in the city and tells Eddard that he witnessed Catelyn arresting Tyrion Lannister. This allows Eddard to claim that he ordered the arrest. Varys visits Eddard and warns him that there is a conspiracy, saying that Jon was poisoned and that King Robert may also be killed if Eddard cannot stop it.[14]

A rift is opened between Eddard and Robert when Eddard refuses to sanction the assassination of Daenerys Targaryen upon hearing she is pregnant with Khal Drogo's child. Eddard resigns as Hand and prepares to return to Winterfell. Littlefinger gives Eddard another lead, keeping him in the city. Eddard finds another of Robert's bastards, a baby girl named Barra in one of Littlefinger's brothels. As Eddard leaves the brothel, he is confronted by Ser Jaime Lannister over Tyrion's capture. Jaime kills Jory and Eddard's other bodyguards and engages Eddard in single combat. A Lannister guardsman interferes and stabs Eddard in the leg, angering Jaime. He tells Eddard that he wants his brother back and leaves.[14]

Eddard and Petyr 1x07

Littlefinger turns on Eddard Stark.

An injured Eddard wakes up in the Red Keep to be confronted by Cersei and Robert about the fight with Jaime and the abduction of Tyrion by Catelyn. Cersei is enraged that Eddard will not be punished. Robert tells Eddard that he is like a brother, and he refuses to accept his resignation as Hand. Robert commands Eddard to take back the badge and to make peace with the Lannisters, as he will not risk another civil war. Eddard reluctantly agrees. Robert goes on a hunting expedition, and Eddard receives word that Ser Gregor Clegane is leading a series of pillaging raids on the Riverlands, possibly at Lord Tywin Lannister's command. Despite his order to make peace with the Lannisters, Eddard commands Lord Beric Dondarrion to carry out an order of execution on Gregor, whom he strips of all rank and title. Eddard also orders that Tywin present himself in the capital to explain his vassal's actions under penalty of being branded a traitor.[15]

Despite being restored to the king's favor, Eddard worries that the situation may yet come to war. He orders Sansa and Arya to return to Winterfell. A chance comment by Sansa that golden-haired Joffrey is a lion, not a stag, and is "nothing like" his old drunk of a father, makes Eddard realize the truth. He consults The Lineage book and sees that in every match between a Baratheon and a member of another house, the Baratheon black hair always dominates. He realizes with shock that this means that Joffrey and the other royal children are not Robert's and have no claim to the Iron Throne.[15]

Eddard confronts Cersei and warns her that he knows that her three children are the product of her incestuous relationship with Jaime. He warns her to flee into exile before Robert returns from his hunt, when he will tell Robert the truth. Robert is mortally wounded while on the hunt.

Ned 1x09

Eddard in the black cells of the Red Keep.

Wishing him a peaceful death, Eddard withholds his discovery. Robert names Eddard Protector of the Realm, to rule until Joffrey comes of age. Eddard transcribes the command as referring to Robert's rightful heir, not mentioning Joffrey by name.[16]

Eddard writes to Robert's brother and true heir, Stannis, urging him to take the crown. He dispatches his guardsman Tomard to deliver the letter. He tells Littlefinger the truth of the matter, but rejects Littlefinger's suggestion that they take advantage of the situation to increase their own power. Reluctantly, Littlefinger agrees to recruit the City Watch to Eddard's cause. Renly also offers Eddard the use of soldiers in securing Cersei and her children, but Eddard refuses to dishonor Robert's last few hours by spilling blood and frightening children. Renly flees the castle fearing that the Lannisters will show no such respect.[16]

Robert dies and Joffrey takes the throne. Cersei tears up the letter proclaiming Eddard as Protector of the Realm. Eddard tells Joffrey that he has no right to the Iron Throne and commands the City Watch to take him and his mother into custody. Instead, the City Watch turns on Eddard's men and kills them. Littlefinger holds a knife to Eddard's throat, telling him that he shouldn't have trusted him.[16]

Ned's execution

Eddard is executed by Ser Ilyn Payne in "Baelor".

Eddard is incarcerated in the black cells under the Red Keep. He is visited by Varys who is disguised as a gaoler. Varys is bemused by Eddard telling Cersei that he knew about the parentage of her children and adds that his mercy is what killed Robert. He also informs Ned that Catelyn no longer has Tyrion in custody. Eddard asks if he will be killed and Varys replies, "Not today."[17] Varys returns to urge Eddard to confess to treason in exchange for exile in the Night's Watch. Eddard refuses until Varys elucidates that the Lannisters still have Sansa as a hostage - Arya has escaped. Varys adds that the Lannisters need him alive so they can bargain with his son Robb, who is leading an army to confront them in the Riverlands.[18]

Eddard is taken to the front steps of the Great Sept of Baelor. He spots Arya crouching beside the statue of Baelor the Blessed and signals Yoren, who is also present amidst the gathered crowd. Having relented to Varys' request, Eddard confesses that he intended to seize the throne for himself and recognizes Joffrey as the rightful king. Joffrey, however, ignores his mother's counsel that Eddard be exiled and orders his immediate execution. Before Ser Ilyn Payne swings the Lord of Winterfell's own sword Ice, Eddard notices that Yoren has taken Arya.

Eddard's Head

Eddard's head on a spike.

Sansa watches as Payne decapitates Eddard before the shocked Cersei and council can intervene, as the baying crowd cheers. Before he dies, Eddard mutters a few last unheard words.[18] Yoren is able to smuggle Arya out of the city.[19]

Eddard's head is placed on a spike above the Traitor's Walk in the Red Keep. Joffrey torments Sansa by forcing her to look upon it as well as the other slain members of her household. She overcomes her revulsion and is able to maintain her composure, preventing his satisfaction at seeing her upset. Eddard's death launches the Seven Kingdoms into the devastating War of the Five Kings, with the North and the Riverlands seceding from the authority of the Iron Throne and Robb Stark proclaimed as the King in the North. Tywin calls his death "madness and stupidity", as the Lannisters could have used Eddard to end the war with the Starks, while fighting Robert's brothers for the throne.[19]

Season 2

The return of his father's remains for proper burial is one of the demands that his son Robb Stark, the new King in the North, tells Alton Lannister to deliver to Queen Cersei Lannister in King's Landing.[20]


The Silent Sisters deliver a box containing Ned Stark's bones.

Cersei scoffs at Robb's declaration of independence when his demands are read to the Small Council, but Tyrion insists that they should at least return the bones of Robb's father.[21]

When Catelyn Stark and Petyr Baelish both approach the army camp of Renly Baratheon in the Stormlands for negotiations, Baelish delivers Ned's bones to Catelyn, in a box escorted by a pair of Silent Sisters. The delivery was a gesture of goodwill by Tyrion, in the hope that this would smooth the way to achieving the liberation of his brother Jaime from Stark captivity. Catelyn mourns over Ned's remains.[22]

Season 3

Bran Stark has a dream at one point where he hears his father's voice, repeating his previous words of encouragement that Bran will become a better archer with practice, and scolding Jon and Robb for laughing at him.[23]

In a conversation with Lady Olenna Tyrell, Varys states that he admired Lord Eddard, and Lady Olenna retorts that Lord Stark had many admirers, none of which came to his rescue, not knowing that Varys had tried and failed to have Ned spared. Varys replies that he regrets he was unable to save Ned from execution, and that he wishes to help Sansa as a means of restitution for this failure.[24]

Theon Greyjoy, after reflecting on his betrayal of the Starks and his abandonment by his father, comes to the conclusion that Ned Stark was the closest thing to a father he ever had, realizing that his "real father died in King's Landing", which he confesses to Ramsay Snow. The realization that he had betrayed Ned's memory and the only people who ever truly treated him like family moves Theon to tears.[24]

During her time with the Brotherhood Without Banners, Arya Stark learns from Thoros of Myr that they were indirectly created by her father to bring justice to Gregor Clegane. She also learns that their leader, Beric Dondarrion, greatly admired Ned, and regrets the necessity of holding Arya for ransom.[25]

When Jaime reveals to Brienne of Tarth his true motives behind killing the Mad King, Brienne asks him why he didn't tell Ned Stark of his motives. He angrily rants that the "honorable" Ned Stark would never have believed him. Jaime believes that Ned judged him guilty the moment he laid eyes on him.[25]

Shortly before they are massacred at the wedding of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey, Robb and his wife Talisa consider naming their unborn child after Ned if it is a boy. Catelyn also reveals to Roose Bolton that at their wedding Ned forbade the traditional bedding, fearing it would be bad luck if he punched a man on their wedding night.[26]

Season 4

When Bran is on the other side of the Wall, he wargs into a Heart tree and sees a vision of his father sitting in the Godswood of Winterfell with his sword Ice, and in the black cells of the Red Keep.[27]

When Tyrion Lannister is given the opportunity to take the black if he admits to assassinating Joffrey in his trial and then pleads for mercy, he rightly points out that Ned Stark was promised the same and was executed nonetheless.[28]

When Sansa reveals her identity to the lords of the Vale, Lord Yohn Royce mentions that Ned was a good friend of his, and that they used to hunt together.[29]

Season 5

As she prepares to maim Sansa, Myranda quips that Ramsay Bolton needs her alive because her father Ned was the Warden of the North, and with all of Ned's other children either dead or presumed such, Sansa is essentially Ned's heir. Myranda then threatens to maim Sansa, as she does not need to be completely "intact" to bear Ramsay children with Stark blood. However, Theon begins to atone for the role he played in the downfall of House Stark by killing Myranda before she can harm Sansa and helping her escape the clutches of the deranged Ramsay.[30]

Season 6

Ned appears in one of Bran's visions while under the tutelage of the Three-eyed raven. In the vision, Ned appears in his youth, training with Benjen Stark. Ned teases Benjen about his swordsmanship while hugging him. The brother also try to invite Wylis, a stable boy who later became Hodor, but Wylis' mother insists that her son will not be fighting with lords. Ned's younger sister Lyanna Stark also appears in the vision.[31]
Young Ned S6 reaching Lyanna

A young Lord Ned Stark, Howland Reed and a band of Northmen about to face two of the Mad King's Kingsguard, Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Gerold Hightower.

Later, Ned appears in another flashback, in which he leads a small force against Lord Commander Gerold Hightower and Ser Arthur Dayne in the Red Mountains. In this battle, Ned Stark is shown to have been a highly skilled swordsman who bested Ser Gerold and held his own against Ser Arthur before he was disarmed by the latter. Before Ser Arthur can kill him, however, Lord Howland Reed stabs the former through the back of his neck, and Ned picks up Dawn and finishes off the knight of the Kingsguard with it. After killing Ser Arthur, Ned hears a woman scream and then heads for the Tower of Joy, though he pauses when Bran calls out to him.[32]

In a later vision, Bran witnesses Ned hugging Benjen and bidding his father, Rickard, farewell before his departure to be fostered at the Vale.[33] After the Three-eyed raven frantically passes all of his knowledge to Bran, he sees several images, some of them of his father, such as Ned's beheading and his fight with Dayne.[34]

After the victory at the Battle of the Bastards, Jon and Sansa decide to bury Rickon, recently murdered by Ramsay Bolton, besides their late father at the crypts of Winterfell, indicating that Ned's bones reached the castle and were interred at some point prior to the castle falling to the ironborn.[35]
The Winds of Winter 22

It is revealed that Lyanna is Jon Snow's mother and that Eddard is his uncle, not his father.

Bran later returns to the vision of the Tower of Joy, picking up from Ned entering the tower. He arrives to a room where he sees her sister Lyanna lying in a bed and a slice in her stomach. Ned calls the present maidens for help but Lyanna stops him and tells him to take care of her recently born son, fathered by Rhaegar. Lyanna makes Ned promise to keep him safe, knowing that Robert will kill him if he finds out of his Targaryen blood, and then passes away. To cover up the baby's true parentage, Ned returns to Winterfell with his nephew, presenting him as his bastard son, Jon Snow.[36]


"I'll say this for Ned Stark: He's serious enough."
―Cersei Lannister to Robert Baratheon, regarding Eddard Stark.[src]
Eddard Stark was a man of principle, being patient, cautious, intelligent, noble and possessing an immense sense of duty. He was remembered profusely for being extremely honorable and a firmly moral character at heart. He always reacted to situations calmly and reasonably, even if the situations endangered him or the people he loved. He was a skilled and fierce warrior but certainly preferred the diplomatic and peaceful solution to situations, even if that solution was martial law. He, himself, remarked that he didn't fear death, and recollected that he grew up with soldiers - Cersei elaborated that Eddard's older brother Brandon was born to lead, whilst he was born to follow. In his own words, Ned explained that he "learned how to die a long time ago." Ned viewed situations and individuals by the scope of their moral compass, and judged almost everything on that perspective. He also speculated the concept that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword, showing that he can be pragmatic in his sense of honor. In spite of that, he was not narrow-minded and did not appear prejudiced, arrogant or self-serving.
Ned Stark vs Jaime Lannister

Eddard Stark fights Jaime Lannister.

Ned was a very loving father to all of his children, including Jon Snow, his "bastard son", even though Catelyn was of a different opinion. He was very patient with the romantic delusions that Sansa enjoyed, visibly tolerating the fact that she was obsessed with being married to a handsome prince. He did point out to her that Joffrey lacked bravery, strength of character, and even morality, but she didn't listen. He was also on great terms with Arya, and seemed to be one of few who could tolerate her feisty, adventurous mentality, and even encouraged it. He was, in many ways, like his son Robb, in that his sense of honor and duty ruled every aspect of his being, and he was a charismatic leader to those who served him. Ned had a close relationship with Jon Snow, who Ned raised as his own child alongside his lawful children. Like Robb, Jon inherited Ned’s traits of honor and duty. Ned treated Jon as his son - regardless of his legitimacy, and despite Jon being his nephew, and not his son. Ned was willing to sacrifice his own honor to protect Jon, and spent years letting everyone - including his whole family - believe that Jon was his bastard son to ensure Jon's protection. Ned's death provoked such a brutal reaction from all of his family because they all loved him more than words could say.

Eddard was highly skilled in combat, both in strategy and in a duel. He killed Ser Gerold Hightower, survived the Battle of the Trident and held his own impressively against the younger Jaime Lannister. He had earned the respect of men like Ser Arthur Dayne, the greatest warrior of his generation - indeed, Ned's sense of honor seemed to impress everyone around him, including the rigid and cold Stannis Baratheon and the cunning Varys. Aside from being selfless, dutiful and brave, he was slow to anger and thus he was one of the very, very few who could withstand the temper and misgivings of Robert Baratheon, with whom he shared a relationship that was a hair's breadth from being considered a brotherly one. Robert actually admitted that he never loved Stannis or Renly Baratheon, and had instead labelled Ned as his brother, showing that Robert's admiration for his old comrade was tremendous. Ned's calm and reasonable mentality was respected firmly by Robert, who recognized that Ned was the only one who would dare say no to him for the right reasons. Robert obviously trusted Ned, begging him on his deathbed to help Jofffrey in a way that Robert himself had failed and even naming the man as Protector of the Realm until Joffrey came of age. However, he had the fatal weakness of being a poor politician, preferring to take the honorable route than doing what would politically benefit him - Cersei speculated that, in the game of thrones, one had to take what was in arm's reach or be damned, but Ned disagreed because the fight he fought was never to survive, but to preserve the lives of those he loved.

Eddard Stark's honorable and dutiful personality put him at a weakness of judging people impractically by the evidence he saw with his own eyes, as opposed to the bigger picture. He had a bad habit of trusting people, which was a mistake he disastrously made with Petyr Baelish. He also did not predict that Cersei Lannister would be unreasonable enough to turn down his offer of mercy if and when Robert found out that Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella weren't his children; a mistake that cost Ned not just his own life, but set off a chain of events that has also so far led to the deaths of his wife and two of his sons. Still, Cersei's refusal also ironically led to the deaths of all three of her own children, an outcome that Ned sought to prevent in the first place when he confronted Cersei despite the trauma that her son Joffrey had visited upon his daughters on the kingsroad. Finally, he judged Jaime Lannister to have betrayed his king for dishonorable reasons the moment he discovered the Kingslayer sitting on the Iron Throne with the Mad King's corpse lying at his feet, though Jaime's arrogance did nothing to dispel this misconception. Ned would have probably understood if Jaime explained how Aerys ordered him to kill his father Tywin, since Ned would never have followed that kind of order even if such a refusal would have cost him his life.


See: Eddard and Catelyn Stark


Season One appearances
Winter is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood *

* only appears as head and body; credited

Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words * Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa

* Voice only in Bran's vision (archive voice footage from "Winter is Coming", no credit)

Season Four appearances
Two Swords The Lion and the Rose * Breaker of Chains Oathkeeper First of His Name
The Laws of Gods and Men Mockingbird The Mountain and the Viper The Watchers on the Wall The Children

* Bran's vision (archive footage, no credit, no lines)

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 *

* Bran's vision

Image gallery

Family tree

Rickard Stark
Lyarra 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


Spoken by Eddard
Arthur Dayne: "And now it begins."
Eddard Stark: "No. Now it ends."
— Eddard Stark and Arthur Dayne before the Showdown at the Tower of Joy.[src]
"And which one of you was a marksman at ten?"
―Eddard to Robb and Jon when they laugh at Bran.[src]
"I don't fight in tournaments because when I fight a man for real, I don't want him to know what I can do."
―Eddard to Ser Jaime Lannister[src]
"The wolf is of the North. She deserves better than a butcher."
―Eddard volunteers to put down Lady.[src]
Cersei Lannister: "You're just a soldier, aren't you? You take your orders and you carry on. I suppose it makes sense. Your older brother was trained to lead, and you were trained to follow."
Eddard Stark: "I was also trained to kill my enemies, your Grace."
Cersei Lannister: "As was I."
— Exchange between Eddard and Cersei Lannister.[src]
Eddard Stark: "I followed you into war. Twice. Without doubts, without second thoughts. But I will not follow you now. The Robert I grew up with didn't tremble at the shadow of an unborn child."
Robert Baratheon: "She dies."
Eddard Stark: "I will have no part in it."
Robert Baratheon: "You're the King's Hand, Lord Stark. You'll do as I command, or I'll find me a Hand who will!"
Eddard Stark: "And good luck to him. I thought you were a better man."
— Eddard refuses to take part in killing Daenerys Targaryen and her unborn child.[src]
"I grew up with soldiers. I learned how to die a long time ago."
―Eddard to Varys[src]
"You think my life is such a precious thing to me, that I would trade my honor for a few more years... Of what?"
―Eddard to Varys[src]
"I am Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Hand of the King. I come before you to confess my treason, in the sight of Gods and men. I betrayed the faith of my King, and the trust of my friend, Robert. I swore to defend and protect his children, but before his blood was cold I plotted to murder his son, and seize the throne for myself. Let the High Septon and Baelor the Blessed bear witness to what I say. Joffrey Baratheon is the one true heir to the Iron Throne. By the grace of all the Gods, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm."
―Eddard's last words.[src]
Spoken about Eddard
Maester Aemon: "If the day should ever come when your lord father was forced to choose between honor on the one hand and those he loves on the other, what would he do?"
Jon Snow: "He would do whatever was right, no matter what."
— Maester Aemon and Jon Snow discuss Ned Stark.[src]
"You were right about Eddard Stark. If he were alive, we could've used him to broker a peace with Winterfell and Riverrun, which would have given us more time to deal with Robert's brothers, but now? Madness! Madness and stupidity!"
Tywin Lannister to Tyrion Lannister[src]
Cersei Lannister: "I've done nothing."
Tyrion Lannister: "Quite right. You did nothing when your son called for Ned Stark's head. Now the entire North has risen up against us."
Cersei Lannister: "I tried to stop it."
Tyrion Lannister: "Did you? You failed. That bit of theater will haunt our family for a generation."
— Tyrion reprimands his sister for failing to prevent Ned's death.[src]
"It is strange to find you beside my brother, Lady Stark. Your husband was a supporter of my claim. Lord Eddard's integrity cost him his head, and you sit beside this pretender and chastise me?"
Stannis Baratheon remembers Eddard Stark.[src]
"You think the honorable Ned Stark wanted to hear my side? He judged me guilty the moment he set eyes on me. By what right does the wolf judge the lion? By what right!?"
Ser Jaime Lannister to Brienne of Tarth[src]

Behind the scenes

  • Despite the death of Eddard Stark being a key event in the novels, the decision to do so in the TV series adaptation generated considerable media interest, as it's considered rare for a lead character to be killed off so quickly in American television. Reaction ranged from outrage[37] to shock.[38] In an interview with the periodical Entertainment Weekly, actor Sean Bean wryly suggested viewers complain to George R.R. Martin about it.[39]
  • On the Season 6 Blu-ray, Eddard narrates the Histories & Lore video "House Dayne".
  • Prior to the airing of the fifth season, Sean Bean inadvertently confirmed the spoiler in an interview with Vulture that Eddard was not Jon Snow's father.

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Eddard Stark is in his mid-thirties when the story begins. He has a reputation for chivalry, honor, honesty, and command, but can also sometimes be remote. He has a frosty relationship with Ser Jaime Lannister, believing that the latter should have been, at the very least, stripped of his rank in the Kingsguard for his murder of the former king. A stoic yet fair and caring man, Eddard puts a great deal of importance on his family.

King Robert traveled to Winterfell to ask Eddard to replace Jon Arryn as Hand of the King, the monarch's closest adviser. Ned wanted to decline, but went south at his wife's urging to investigate Arryn's death. He eventually discovered that Cersei and Jaime were lovers and Cersei's three children were Jaime's, not Robert's. Ned warned Cersei to flee the city, but instead she remained while Robert was mortally wounded on a boar hunt. When Ned attempted to expose the truth of Joffrey's parentage, his men were executed and he was captured due to the treachery of Littlefinger. He was executed on the order of King Joffrey.

Eddard is also an accomplished battlefield commander, leading armies in Robert's Rebellion and the Greyjoy Rebellion. However, the books make no particular mention of his skills with a sword, other than the rumor of him killing Ser Arthur Dayne in single combat. The books do mention his brother's swordsmanship skills, which were most likely condensed into Ned for the TV show.

Unlike the show, Ned's bones are sent to Riverrun as part of a plot orchestrated by Tyrion Lannister to free his brother Jaime. Afterward a retinue of Stark men are sent to deliver them to Winterfell. However, with Moat Cailin held by the ironborn, the whereabouts of the retinue and their cargo remains unknown. Lady Dustin, who resents Ned (even after his death) for not bringing her late husband's bones to be buried in his ancestral home, intends to pay Ned back by feeding his bones to her dogs.

See also


  1. HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Stark entry
  2. 2.0 2.1 HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Stark - Eddard Stark entry
  3. HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Stark - Rickard Stark entry
  4. 4.0 4.1 HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Stark - Catelyn Stark entry
  5. HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Stark - Brandon Stark entry
  6. HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Stark - Lyanna Stark entry
  7. "Sons of the Harpy"
  8. HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Stark - Benjen Stark entry
  9. "The House of Black and White"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Winter is Coming"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "The Kingsroad"
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Lord Snow"
  13. "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "The Wolf and the Lion"
  15. 15.0 15.1 "A Golden Crown"
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "You Win or You Die"
  17. "The Pointy End"
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Baelor"
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Fire and Blood"
  20. "The North Remembers"
  21. "The Night Lands"
  22. "Garden of Bones"
  23. "Dark Wings, Dark Words"
  24. 24.0 24.1 "And Now His Watch is Ended"
  25. 25.0 25.1 "Kissed by Fire"
  26. "The Rains of Castamere"
  27. "The Lion and the Rose"
  28. "The Laws of Gods and Men"
  29. "The Mountain and the Viper"
  30. "Mother's Mercy"
  31. "Home"
  32. "Oathbreaker"
  33. "The Door"
  34. "Blood of My Blood"
  35. "Battle of the Bastards"
  36. "The Winds of Winter"
  37. Bonnie Says: How Dare ‘Game Of Thrones’ Kill OFF Ned Stark, The Heart & Soul Of The Series!, Hollywood Life, June 14, 2011; accessed May 14, 2012
  38. Producers react to Games of Thrones Shocker: They Killed off Who?!?, TV Fanatic, June 13, 2011; accessed May 13, 2012
  39. Sean Bean talks 'Game of Thrones' Episode 9, Entertainment Weekly (, June 12, 2011; accessed May 14, 2012
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 · Rickard Stark · Rodrik Stark · Karlon Stark · Theon 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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