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House Stark
A grey direwolf on a white field.
"Winter is Coming"
Currently in exile
(formerly Winterfell)
Currently in exile
(formerly The North)
Prince Bran Stark (rightful)
Prince Rickon Stark (official)
Prince Rickon Stark (rightful)
Princess Sansa Stark (official)
Military strength
Over 20,000 at beginning of the War of the Five Kings; destroyed and scattered after the Red Wedding. 2000 wildlings and northern houses still loyal
Cadet branches
Date of founding
More than 8,000 years (according to legend)
Ancestral weapon
Ice (destroyed by Tywin Lannister)
Eddard Stark: "Look at me, you're a Stark of Winterfell, you know our words."
Arya Stark: "'Winter is coming'."
Eddard Stark: "You were born in the long summer, you've never known anything else. But now winter is truly coming. In the winter, we must protect ourselves, look after one another."
— Lord Eddard Stark and his daughter Arya.[src]
House Stark banner

The banner of House Stark of Winterfell, the rulers of the North.

House Stark of Winterfell is an exiled Great House of Westeros, ruling over the vast region known as the North from their seat in Winterfell. It is by far one of the oldest lines of Westerosi nobility, claiming a line of descent stretching back over eight thousand years. The head of the house was the Lord of Winterfell. Before the Targaryen conquest, the leaders of House Stark ruled over the region as the Kings in the North.

Their rule in the North seemingly ended after the events of the Red Wedding when House Frey and House Bolton betrayed them, and Roose Bolton personally killed King Robb Stark. Both the North and Winterfell have since been taken over by the Boltons but their hold has been jeopardized now that Sansa Stark has escaped their clutches after learning that her brothers Bran and Rickon Stark are still alive.

House Stark's sigil is a grey direwolf on a white field, sometimes white and pale green. They are one of the few noble Houses whose family words are not a boast or threat. Instead, the House Stark family motto is a warning, one that no matter the circumstances will always be relevant: "Winter is Coming."



Before the Targaryen conquest, the leaders of House Stark ruled over the region as the Kings in the North.[1] King Torrhen Stark was on the throne at the time of the Targaryen conquest and marched his army south to face them. He surrendered when he saw the Targaryens' vast host and dragons, believing that fighting was futile. He was made Lord Paramount of the North and served the Targaryens as Warden of the North. Thereafter, Torrhen was known as "the king who knelt".[2]

Season 1Edit

Lord Eddard Stark was executed for treason. His son and heir Robb Stark was declared the King in the North by his bannermen (the first in 300 years) and fought to secede from the Seven Kingdoms in what would become the War of the Five Kings.[3]

Season 2Edit

Robb Stark continues his campaign against the Lannisters, winning a trio of victories in the Riverlands and a further three victories in the Westerlands at Oxcross, The Yellow Fork and The Crag.

Season 3Edit

Although Robb continues to win every battle that he fights, House Baratheon of King's Landing secures an alliance with House Tyrell that effectively leads to victory over Stannis Baratheon at the Battle of the Blackwater. As Robb continues to march further in the Westerlands, many of his bannermen, such as Rickard Karstark who lost two of his sons, begin to lose faith in King Robb and are aware that he broke his vow to marry one of the daughters of Lord Walder Frey when he married Talisa Maegyr. Robb and his host arrive at Harrenhal to discover that Ser Gregor Clegane has put the 200 northern prisoners to the sword and left Harrenhal without a fight. News arrives to King Robb at Harrenhal that his grandfather Hoster Tully has died, and Robb leaves Roose Bolton and his men in charge of Harrenhal and goes to Riverrun to attend the funeral.

​At Riverrun Robb chides his uncle Lord Edmure Tully for attacking Ser Gregor Clegane at the Stone Mill, forcing Gregor's host to retreat to Casterly Rock and losing more than 200 men in the battle. Later Lord Rickard Karstark murders the two Lannister captives, Willem and Martyn Lannister, which causes Robb to execute Lord Rickard, making the Karstarks abandon King Robb. With his host diminished due to the Karstarks' abandonment, Robb opts to have the support of House Frey but finds it difficult because of his broken vow. However, the Freys agree to support Robb if his uncle Edmure marries Roslin Frey. Robb and Edmure agree to the terms of the Freys and prepare to head to the Twins for the wedding.

Robb and all of his bannermen arrive at the Twins where Lord Walder Frey begins preparations for the wedding. All the northern lords of Robb's host attend the wedding while the northern army camps outside during the feast. After Edmure and Roslin are taken away for the bedding, the Freys and Boltons betray King Robb and massacre them in an event known as the Red Wedding, secretly orchestrated by Tywin Lannister. King Robb, Queen Talisa, Catelyn, as well as his direwolf Greywind and the northern lords and most of the northern army are murdered.[4] In the aftermath of the Red Wedding the Freys sew Greywind's head to King Robb's body as a final insult to the King in the North. House Stark is stripped of its lordship in the North and is given to House Bolton, making Roose Bolton Warden of the North for his contribution to Robb's death[5].

Season 4Edit

Bolton has his whole army trapped south of the Neck, since the ironborn captured Moat Cailin, and cannot properly rule the North.[6] His son Ramsay takes back the Moat and the Boltons ride to Winterfell in order to rule the North from there, as it is the ancient stronghold of House Stark and the capital of the North.[7]

Tywin Lannister's eventual plan was to return the North to the Starks under Lannister control through his possible grandson by Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark, but the two of them ran away as a result of King Joffrey's assassination and Tywin himself was killed before his plan could come into fruition.[8][9]

Season 5Edit

Petyr Baelish secretly returns Sansa to Winterfell in the hopes of wedding her to Ramsay Bolton. The Boltons are eager to cement their control over the North, particularly since they are now living in a Westeros without the certainty of Tywin Lannister. Littlefinger tells Sansa that she is perfectly situated: Stannis Baratheon is likely to liberate Winterfell soon, and will likely declare her Wardeness of the North. Even if he doesn't, Sansa will be perfectly placed to retake Winterfell from within House Bolton. Although Sansa doesn't quite realize it, there are many in the North who are already taking heart from the fact that there is again a Stark in Winterfell.[10][11]

Although Sansa's attempt to contact her supporters (and unknown to her, Brienne of Tarth) ends in failure and the brutal death of a Winterfell servant, Sansa herself begins to have hope for her House after she forces a distressed Reek to admit that he killed two farm boys and not Bran and Rickon.[12] She later flees Winterfell with Theon Greyjoy during the Battle of Winterfell.

Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch at the time, is betrayed by his men and stabbed to death by Alliser Thorne, Olly and several other Black Brothers.

Season 6Edit

After Sansa fled from Winterfell with Theon at her side, they forded a wide river at great risk and took shelter in an attempt to conceal themselves from Ramsay Bolton's hounds. Unfortunately they are caught despite Theon's attempt to ward them off. Before they could be dealt with, they were saved by Brienne and a now-trained Pod, who proceeded to eliminate Ramsay's hunters, with Theon eventually saving Pod akin to how the latter saved his former master Tyrion at the Battle of the Blackwater. With the threat neutralized, Brienne again offers herself to serve Sansa in order to keep the oath she made to her mother. [13] Unlike before, Sansa accepts, and the two recite the oath of service, with assistance from Pod. Later on, Brienne advised Sansa to seek refuge with her half-brother Jon at Castle Black. Theon opted to leave Sansa's side - with her blessing - to return home to Pyke, knowing that he could never make amends for his grave misdeeds against his former adoptive family.[14]

Meanwhile, Bran Stark experiences a vision of his family while training with the Three-eyed raven. He witnesses several of his family members including his father Ned, uncle Benjen, and his aunt Lyanna Stark. Meanwhile, at Castle Black, the Red Priestess Melisandre resurrects Jon Snow from the dead.[14] Later, Smalljon Umber trades Rickon Stark and Osha over to Ramsay Bolton, the new Warden of the North, in order to secure an alliance with House Bolton against the Free Folk. Back at Castle Black, Jon decides to leave the Night's Watch on the grounds that he his watch has ended through his death.[15] Sansa, accompanied by Brienne and Podrick, reunite with Jon Snow at Castle Black. After receiving a letter from Ramsay stating he has Rickon and demanding the return of Sansa, Jon at Sansa's urging resolves to lead an army of Free Folk against the Boltons and reclaim Winterfell.[16]




Household and retainersEdit

  • Maester {Luwin}, counselor, healer, and tutor. Injured by Dagmer Cleftjaw prior to the Sack of Winterfell and mercy-killed by Osha shortly after.
  • Theon Greyjoy, ward and hostage of Lord Eddard. Betrayed House Stark to his father Balon and took over Winterfell in the name of House Greyjoy. Betrayed in turn by his men and delivered to Ramsay Snow, who tortured him to submission and renamed him "Reek". He has currently fled Winterfell with Princess Sansa.
  • {Vayon Poole}, steward of Winterfell. Executed during the purge of the Stark household.
  • Ser {Rodrik Cassel}, master-at-arms of Winterfell. Executed by Theon Greyjoy.
  • Septa {Mordane}, tutor of Sansa and Arya. Executed during the purge of the Stark household.
  • {Nan}, called "Old Nan", a former wet nurse turned storyteller and a great-grandmother to Hodor. Perished of old age.
  • {Hodor}, a simple-minded stable boy, went with Bran beyond the Wall. Died protecting Bran and Meera Reed from wights.
  • {Osha}, a captive wildling spearwife made kitchen wench, was a captive of Ramsey Bolton when handed over by Smalljon Umber, however mortally wounded and murdered by Ramsey.
  • Farlen, the kennelmaster at Winterfell. Possibly killed during the Sack of Winterfell.
    • Palla, his daughter. Possibly killed during the Sack of Winterfell.
  • Mikken, a smith. Possibly killed during the Sack of Winterfell.
  • {Jojen Reed}, son of Howland Reed, Lord of Greywater Watch, and ruler of the Crannogmen. Escorted Prince Bran beyond the Wall. Mortally wounded by a wight and then mercy-killed by Meera.
  • Meera Reed, daughter of Howland Reed, Lord of Greywater Watch, and ruler of the Crannogmen. Escorting Prince Bran beyond the Wall.
  • Lady Brienne of Tarth, daughter of Lord Selwyn of Tarth. Currently Princess Sansa's sworn sword; formerly the sworn sword of Lady Catelyn.

Sworn to House StarkEdit

House Stark tapestry

The sigil of House Stark on a tapestry in Winterfell.

Vassal HousesEdit

Minor Vassal Houses

Vassals and alliesEdit

The Lords of the North

The Riverlords

Military strengthEdit


Robb Stark in Northern cavalry armor

Due to the North's vast size, gathering the full military strength of the Starks and their vassals is a difficult process, requiring months of travel time and the ability to supply and feed the host even before it sets out.

For this reason, the 18,000 men Robb Stark takes south to confront the army of the Westerlands is not the full strength of the North, only what could be assembled at relatively short notice.

By the time of the Battle of the Yellow Fork, however, the Stark force is allied with House Tully and their vassals, including House Frey, so it is estimated that their force is even or greater than the Lannister force, which would place it at around 30,000-35,000 soldiers at least in the Westerlands/Riverlands, with at least 1,000 further soldiers left to guard The North.

Stark guard (The Pointy End)

A Stark guardsman

The average Stark soldier wears a brown or dark blue coat with green or grey sleeves protected by chainmail underneath, grey or brown leather boots, a grey steel or iron helmet and a grey shield emblazoned with the Stark Direwolf, presumably steel or iron. Warriors in the Northern heavy cavalry or heavy infantry wear a chainmail and leather suit of armor with some steel or iron work, as compared with the expensive plate armor of the well equipped Lannister troops.

During the Red Wedding, almost the entire army sworn to House Stark present at the Twins is annihilated, with anyone who managed to escape the massacre being hunted by House Frey. While Houses Bolton and Karstark remain mostly unscathed and possess the largest armies in the North, the only possibility of military support to the scattered heirs of House Stark comes from the remaining garrison and levies of other northern houses, provided they do not bend the knee to the new Warden of the North, Roose Bolton.

Image galleryEdit

Family TreeEdit

Rickard Stark
Lady Stark
Brandon family tree
Brandon Stark
Catelyn Tree
Catelyn Stark
née Tully Tully shield icon
Eddard tree
Eddard Stark Stark shield icon
Unknown tree
Lyanna tree
Lyanna Stark
Benjen Tree
Benjen Stark
Night's Watch Crow shield icon
Robb fam tree
Robb Stark
Family tree Talisa
Talisa Stark
née Maegyr
100px-Tyrion tree
Tyrion Lannister Lannister shield icon
100px-Sansa tree
Sansa Stark House-Bolton-Main-Shield
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
Night's Watch Night's-Watch-sigil
Ygritte tree
Ygritte Wildling shield icon

In the booksEdit

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, House Stark was founded by Brandon the Builder, a semi-mythical figure who is credited with building the Wall and Winterfell, founding the Night's Watch and ensuring the survival of the people of Westeros after the mythical Long Night and the War for the Dawn against the enigmatic Others (called "White Walkers" in the TV series). The family has survived for over 8,000 years and was the independent royal house of the vast territories of the North until King Aegon the Conqueror overran the southern half of the continent. By the time the King in the North, Torrhen Stark, had gathered together his widely scattered bannermen, Aegon had already conquered most of the South. Particularly, Aegon had already used his dragons to inflict a crushing defeat on both the Westerlands and the Reach at the Field of Fire. Torrhen Stark finally advanced south to the Riverlands with the amassed armies of the North to a confrontation with Aegon, but upon seeing Aegon's vast numerical superiority and his dragons realized he had no hope of victory, and chose to bend the knee in submission.

The civil war known as Robert's Rebellion began when Lyanna Stark was kidnapped by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Lord Rickard Stark and his son and heir Brandon both demanded her return from King Aerys II Targaryen and were executed by the Mad King for their presumption. Eddard Stark, now the head of the family, called the banners of the North to war, supported by House Baratheon, House Tully and House Arryn. It was decided that Robert Baratheon would claim the throne due to his strong claim as the grand-nephew of a previous Targaryen king. During the civil war Stark troops were instrumental in several engagements, including the Battle of the Bells and the Battle of the Trident, and it was Eddard Stark's forces which reached King's Landing just after the Lannisters had sacked it, ensuring the city was turned over to Robert's army when it arrived. The Starks also proved instrumental in the later Greyjoy Rebellion, lending troops used by Robert to storm the castle of Pyke and crush the uprising.

In the novels, all of Lord Eddard Stark's children take after their mother Catelyn's looks, possessing the auburn hair and blue eyes distinctive of House Tully. The one exception among Catelyn's children is Arya, who possesses the dark hair and stern long face typical of the Starks. While this has resulted in Arya being mockingly called "Horseface", Ned assures her that she bears a striking resemblance to his beautiful deceased sister Lyanna when she was a girl. Jon Snow, as a bastard and not Catelyn's son, does not possess Tully blood. While Ned has never revealed the exact circumstances of Jon's birth, all agree that he bears such a striking resemblance to Ned that he is obviously his blood relative. Indeed, as a little girl Arya once feared that she might be a bastard because she and Jon share the same dark physical features (distinctive of House Stark), though Jon assured her that she was not.

In the novels, the Stark banner is a whole direwolf. In the TV series, the Stark banner most often used is just a direwolf's head, though the alternate version showing the whole direwolf is also seen (i.e. on banners during the Tourney of the Hand, tapestries at Winterfell, and Ned Stark's wax seal on the letter he sends to Stannis Baratheon). Further, the sigil in the books is just a grey direwolf on a white field. This is used in the TV series, but it also frequently uses a subtle variant which has the grey direwolf on a white field, surmounting a small green escutcheon at the bottom.

Many houses sworn to House Stark in the books have yet to appear in the series:

Lesser Houses

  • House Condon
  • House Fenn
  • House Flint of Flint's Finger
  • House Ironsmith
  • House Lake
  • House Lightfoot
  • House Locke
  • House Moss
  • House Overton
  • House Slate
  • House Stout
  • House Waterman
  • House Wells
  • House Woolfield

Mountain Clans

  • Burley
  • Flint of the Mountains
  • Harclay
  • Nott
  • Liddle
  • Norrey
  • Wull

Skagos Clans

  • Crowl
  • Magnar
  • Stane

See alsoEdit


v  d  e
House Stark
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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