- "Any man who stands between a father and his vengeance asks for death!"
- ―Rickard Karstark
Rickard Karstark is a recurring character in the first, second and third seasons. He was originally played by guest star Steven Blount and debuts in "Fire and Blood". The role was recast for the second season with John Stahl playing Lord Karstark. Rickard Karstark is the Lord of Karhold and the head of House Karstark. He is fighting for King Robb Stark, his distant relative and liege lord, in the War of the Five Kings. He has lost two of his sons in the war against House Lannister.
Rickard Karstark is the Lord of Karhold and the head of House Karstark, a vassal family to House Stark of Winterfell. He is a close ally and distant relation of House Stark. He has at least two sons, Torrhen Karstark and Harrion Karstark.
Lord Karstark listens to the debate between Robb Stark, Jonos Bracken and Greatjon Umber about whether they should join forces with Renly or Stannis Baratheon. When the Greatjon names Robb as the King in the North and lays his sword at his feet, Karstark is the second to join him, saying he'll have peace on those terms.
Rickard Karstark is among Robb Stark's host in the Westerlands and is present when Alton Lannister gives Queen Cersei Lannister's response to Robb's peace terms. Karstark's son Torrhen Karstark is later killed by Jaime Lannister during an escape attempt. After Jaime's recapture, Lord Rickard demands Jaime's execution in revenge for the murder of his son, but Catelyn Stark speaks for his life. After Lord Rickard's threatening reaction, she reminds him that he has sworn an oath of loyalty to Robb Stark and that Jaime is a prisoner of war. She says that he should remember who his king is and who she is. She promises him that Jaime will be punished for what he did. Reluctantly Lord Karstark gives in, but demands retribution when his King returns from The Crag. During the confrontation with Lady Catelyn, Lord Rickard also dismisses Talisa Maegyr as a "foreign whore".
Catelyn sends Jaime to King's Landing with her sworn sword Brienne to exchange him for her captive daughters, fearing that Rickard or his men will kill him if he remains in the camp. He is furious that she has denied him his vengeance and rejects her argument that Jaime may yet save the lives of her children, adding that he personally would happily exchange his life for those of his deceased children, Torrhen and Harrion, even if it meant captivity for them. Robb tells Catelyn that she has betrayed him and orders her kept under guard.
Rickard's faith in Robb continues to deteriorate as the Northern host arrives at Harrenhal, finding the castle's inhabitants had been put to the sword. Roose Bolton attempts to reassure Rickard, telling him that he has sent his best hunter in pursuit of the Kingslayer, and that the dead will be avenged in time. Karstark, however, is clearly unconvinced.
Lord Karstark manifests his disapproval of the march to Riverrun for the funerals of Lord Hoster Tully, grandfather of his King, considering it a distraction from the war effort. When questioned by Robb if he has lost faith in the Northern cause, Lord Karstark insists that if the cause is revenge he will keep faith "until it snows on Dorne", but adds that Robb lost the war when he married Talisa Maegyr.
Rickard Karstark and his men kill Martyn Lannister and Willem Lannister in the dungeons of Riverrun and are brought before Robb Stark. He openly insults the King in the North and claims the war is a lost cause. Remaining true to his honor just like his father, Robb decides that Lord Karstark must die for his treason. As Rickard Karstark is brought before Robb, he reminds him that the blood of the First Men run through both of their veins since they are of the North. Lord Karstark also reminds Robb he fought alongside Eddard Stark during Robert's Rebellion and alongside him against King Joffrey. Finally, he states that they are both kin, since House Karstark was founded by a Stark of Winterfell. Robb tells him that all of it didn't stop him from murdering the Lannister boys and it will not save him now. Rickard doesn't want to be saved, but he wants it to haunt him for the rest of his days. True to the traditions of the North and his father, Robb Stark personally beheads Rickard Karstark with a single strike with his sword after Rickard curses Robb and denounces him as King in the North. 
|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|
|Season Two appearances|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
|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|
Behind the scenes
Originally Vinnie McCabe had been announced in the role of Rickard Karstark, however he turned out to be playing a Lannister bannerman, Leo Lefford, in the same episode as Karstark's debut. Steven Blount appeared as a Stark bannerman in "Fire and Blood." Blount's character was given lines spoken by Rickard Karstark in the book and his CV lists him as playing Lord Karstark. For the second season it was announced that John Stahl was playing Rickard Karstark. Stahl was named on screen as Lord Karstark in "A Man Without Honor."
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Rickard Karstark is the ruling lord of House Karstark of Karhold. Their lands are along a heavily-forested headland far to the north-east of Winterfell, overlooking the Shivering Sea. He is named for Eddard Stark's father, Rickard, and fought in Robert's Rebellion alongside his liege lord. He has four children: Harrion, Torrhen, Eddard and Alys. He's described as gaunt and long-bearded, and Jon Snow implies he is a fierce warrior.
Two of Lord Rickard's sons, Torrhen and Eddard, are struck down by Jaime Lannister in the Battle of the Whispering Wood, while he kills Stafford Lannister at the Battle of Oxcross. Lord Rickard's mention of losing a son to Jaime prior to Torrhen's death seems to reference Eddard's death at the Whispering Wood. Though clearly angered that Jaime is kept alive, Lord Rickard doesn't openly demand the execution of Jaime. Catelyn's decision to send Jaime back to King's Landing isn't caused by Karstark's actions but of fear that Joffrey may execute Sansa on a whim, as she believes Theon has executed Bran and Rickon. Lord Rickard becomes furious when Robb forgives Catelyn for her actions, and murders the hostages Willem Lannister and Tion Frey - not Martyn Lannister.
- ↑ HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Stark - Rickard Karstark entry
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 "A Man Without Honor"
- ↑ "Kissed by Fire"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "Fire and Blood"
- ↑ "The Prince of Winterfell"
- ↑ "Valar Dohaeris"
- ↑ "Dark Wings, Dark Words"
- ↑ "Kissed by Fire"
- ↑ Steven Blount's CV at First Call Management.
- ↑ George R.R. Martin's blog announcing John Stahl's casting
|Title(s):||Lord of Karhold|
|Ancestors:||Brandon the Builder · Rodrik Stark · Karlon Stark · Beric Karstark · Mara Karstark · Commard Karstark · Regan Karstark · Berrican Karstark · Petyr Karstark · Laurence Karstark · Jon Karstark|
|Deceased members:||Rickard Karstark · Torrhen Karstark · Harrion Karstark|